Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Supergirl #18

Supergirl #18 came out this week, a crackling issue which moved the current storyline along nicely while also building the foundation of the supporting characters and environment. I don't know if I can say this is my favorite issue of the run but if it isn't, it is near the top.

One of the things that I have bemoaned a bit about comics in general has been the lack of interest in giving books a cast of supporting characters. I also feel that these days, at times, comics forgets to give us scenes with characters out of their costume, showing us the human side, something which allows me as a reader to relate more. In Supergirl, it felt like at the beginning of this run, the character was so busy in various circles that there was barely any breathing room. Whether it was acting as Supergirl or interning at CatCo or going to school or being at the DEO or living at the Danvers, Kara was running around. It felt like maybe the book was being too ambitious.

Writers Steve Orlando and Jody Houser have, in the last several issues, tightened things up a bit. The CatCo stuff is in the background a bit. Cat herself is gone. Supergirl is on the run from the DEO. That leaves just the Danvers and school as locales. Frankly, I have loved the new focus. We really have got to learn more about Kara Danvers, the shy, semi-awkward school girl trying to do what's right. And we get more in depth looks at Eliza and Jeremiah, at Belinda Zee and Ben Rubel, at Agent Ocampo. It all gives me as the reader a deeper feel of who these characters are.

That doesn't mean the action is lessened. The DEO is present as an antagonist. Villains are being sent to stop Supergirl. So you get characterization and super-heroics. It is just the perfect mix.

The art here sizzles too. First off, we get the Robson Rocha cover which has the feel of a 1940's horror movie or murder mystery. Then you get the Artgerm variant riffing on the cover of Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. And on inside art, you get Carmen Carnero. Carnero drew some of my favorite chapters of the Adventures of Supergirl digital series and seems very comfortable with the character. Everything is spot on, from the battles to the slow dances.

All in all a very satisfying read. On to the book!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sales Review: January 2018

The numbers for January sales are out and posted over on ICv2. Here is a link:

It is the usual combination of gloom and doom and interesting tidbits. DC and Marvel seemed to be in dead heat, splitting most sales and most dollars. DC took 6 of the top ten but that was Doomsday Clock or all-Batman.

But we are here to talk about Supergirl sales.

And Supergirl panic ...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Supergirl Valentine's

Happy Valentine's Day to all who celebrate!

I was pretty thrilled to see Supergirl appearing on a Valentine's Card when I was shopping the other day. This is in a pack of Valentine's meant to be handed out in schools, one of 4 stickers included in the pack.

This is a bit of a giddy find for me. We live in a time when Supergirl is popular enough to be one of four characters highlighted in the pack. Amazing. This seems to be some standard merchandise image because it looks very similar to the Supergirl on the Chef Boyardee pasta can.

Amazing. Supergirl on Valentine's cards and pre-fab pasta cans.

Hope you have a high-flying day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Amazing Heroes #78: Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 Review

I said it just last week ...
Every time I think I am done with covering Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, I get pulled back in.

Blog friend Greg Araujo (@garaujo1on Twitter) recently got a mess of old Amazing Heroes magazines and in that block was Amazing Heroes #78 from September 1985. No big surprise, based on the cover date, the book reviews the issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths which were still on the spinner racks at the time.

My how time flies.

Reviewer R.A. Jones takes a look at Crisis on Infinite Earths #7-9, discussing the major events. And these were the issues where people started to really sit up and take notice. It is one thing for Kid Psycho and the Crime Syndicate to die. It is another thing all together for Supergirl and The Flash to die. The stakes were suddenly real. World would live and die. And some characters would stay dead ... at least for a while.

Part of my research on the topic of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 has always been the fallout. There was no social media then. The decision that Supergirl was unnecessary and unloved seemed absolute back then. *All* the DC higher ups thought so, right?

So reading reactions and reviews from around the time help me get a wider pulse of what it meant to the comic world for Kara to be killed. Here, Jones does a wonderful job of putting the event into context. And Jones is much more sympathetic than his staff mate Dwight Decker, who wrote a 'damning with faint praise' hatchet job four months earlier.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Artgerm Supergirl #20 Variant

I have been pretty impressed with the variant covers that Artgerm has been producing for the ongoing Supergirl title. While it is abundantly clear that Artgerm is a 'good girl' artist, the pieces are so beautiful I can forgive if they occasionally veer to cheesecake.

And in particular, I have loved his more recent covers showcasing the different costumes the Supergirl character has worn over the years. I spotlighted the 70's hot pants cover for Supergirl #18  here. And didn't share the equally gorgeous 'white shirt' costume cover he is putting on Supergirl #19.

But when this variant for Supergirl #20 was out on the internet late last week I had to show.

People who have been coming to this blog for a while know that the belly shirt costume designed by Michael Turner is, without a doubt, my least favorite costume for Supergirl. In particular, when it was taken to it's extremes, growing ever tinier, I cringed.

But there is something about this cover that made me smile. So I want to tip my hat to Artgerm for honoring Michael Turner here. Because this pose by Kara is pure Turner.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Review: Superman #40

Superman #40 came out this week, starting a new storyline by writer James Robinson and artist Doug Mahnke. We all have heard the news of Brian Michael Bendis going all-Byrne on us when he joins DC, taking over all the Superman books. Knowing a bold, new direction is just around the corner, I'm not surprised to see a side story in the book. Why would Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason continue to world build if they aren't holding the reins anymore?

And Robinson's story feels quite familiar. There is a Silver Age sentiment to the idea of Superman saving a planet about to suffer the same fate as Krypton. Back in those days, this would be told in 18 pages or so. Now it is an arc. And, as we are now in 2018, I anticipate that it won't be as black and white or cut and dried as those simpler stories. Here there is a clear science vs religion component. And my guess is that the 'protagonist' isn't going to be pure. These are cynical times.

I've talked up Doug Mahnke for years here and have loved his work since first discovering it on Major Bummer. But what I love in this issue is his treatment of Jon. Jon looks like a kid. He's all gangly with limbs all awkward and everywhere. Jon has great kid expressions, from fear to snark. I wouldn't mind seeing Mahnke on a Super Sons issue at some point.

On to the book!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Who's Who Laurel Gand

I have been a long time fan of the Fire and Water Podcast Network. And in particular I have been a big fan of their Who's Who show, even joining in as a guest host on several Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes episodes.

Starting next week, Rob and Shag will begin their look at the 'loose leaf' Who's Who from the early 90s and I am very excited. I collected these when they were released so can't wait to relive them. Unfortunately, my binder of M-Z has been lost to time!

Anyways, to honor their hard work in this endeavor I thought I would review a Who's Who loose leaf page. But I already have reviewed the Supergirl one. And if you look hard enough here, I have also reviewed the Silver Banshee and even Maxima.

So this time I thought I would review Laurel Gand, the Supergirl analogue for the 5YL Legion run. For those who don't know, I reviewed the first 50 issues of the 5YL Legion over on the Legion of Super-Bloggers. I loved that run and I loved Laurel. Even though Matrix was around, I thought Laurel really captured the spirit of Supergirl.

And I love this Keith Giffen art. She is tall, proud, powerful. And I love how the red cape is a bit more of a darker, less primary red color. She was the muscle of the team. And that Darkseid head in the background has to be referencing the Great Darkness.

Just gorgeous.