Friday, August 18, 2017

Bullet Review: DC Comics Bombshells #33


DC Comics Bombshells #33 came out this week, the last issue of this volume of the characters and my last issue reading this. When this series started out, I was very impressed at writer Marguerite Bennett's ability to weave a very solid story about World War II and the arrival of super-women fighting the Nazis. The first year was fabulous.

But since then, since the battle of London around issue 12, it has felt like the book has lost its way. There are a lot of ideas in this book but the stories haven't read well. It's like those ideas haven't gelled into a narrative. As a result, the book has been something of a mess. On top of that, there has been a bit too much cutesy dialogue recently ... something that I might have tolerated more of the story around it was stronger.

And so this last issue wraps up the story. Bennett has brought a bunch of subplots together into a large battle in Russia. So Supergirl's grief and Raven's familial issues and Lois's optimism are all here. But it seems so scattershot. So much happens with little explanation. The moments in the story where I have said to myself 'I guess I have to roll with that' were numerous. Now I will admit that I haven't been paying significant attention here. Perhaps my laziness as a reader because I haven't been engaged has been part of the problem.

One of the things that hasn't been a problem on the book has been the art. In particular, I discovered Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, and Sandy Jarrell in this book. All three are here and shine. In particular, Mirka Andolfo has become a favorite in my mind.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

This Weekend ... Terrificon!


I haven't even done my overall take on this year's Boston Comic Con and I am already heading off to my next convention.

Terrificon is a convention a little south of me in Uncasville Connecticut and I am considering this my big con for the season. For me, this just seems to be a convention more built for me. There are a ton of comic creators that are going to be there who had huge impact on me in my salad days of comic reading.

Yes, there will be current mega-stars there. You don't get much bigger these days than Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. And I will be hoping to get on commission lists for Brett Booth and Barry Kitson.

But it is the veterans that are going to be there, creators who I haven't met yet at other cons, that is the big draw. And so I'll be there with bells on!


Let's start out with Keith Giffen! Keith Giffen!!!

He plotted/drew Legion of Super-Heroes in the Great Darkness Sage era.
He wrote/drew/created my beloved 5YL Legion.
He wrote the bwa-ha-ha Justice League.
He wrote the Doom Patrol.
He wrote Justice League 3000/3001.
He wrote 52.
He wrote/drew/reinvented Dr. Fate.

I seriously could probably fill a whole long box to bring to have him sign. So distilling this down to my usual 8-10 books is proving to be difficult. I may need to head to his table once each day.

Seriously, I am geeking out that I will be meeting Giffen.

But there's more!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #14


New Super-Man #14 came out last week and continued to story of the Justice League of China fighting the fascist rule of the evil Emperor Superman. Once again, writer Gene Luen Yang provides a very entertaining issue, moving the plot ahead, stuffing in an incredible amount of character development, throwing in a great throwdown, and ending on a cliffhanger. What more could you ask for?

And yes, this ultimate throwdown of three super-teams from China is a great action piece. But for me, no big surprise, it was the personal moments - specifically between Bat-man and Wonder Woman that made me the happiest. This is a book basically about kids becoming heroes. And there should be growth. Given the tenuous shelf life that most comics have these days, Yang isn't taking the long road on some of the subplots here. And kudos to him for that. For the readers enjoying this book, we deserve to see these moments.

The art is again done by Billy Tan and I just loved the polished look of the book. It somehow fits the tone here. Tan is able to bring the right feeling to both the action sequences and the quieter scenes. Yang and Tan together really click.

I wonder how much more I'll have this book to enjoy. Everyone should be reading this book. It is a ton of fun.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: Superwoman #13

Superwoman #13 came out this week, and like Supergirl, I think it might be the best issue of the title so far.

Writer K. Perkins weaves story for us. We have a framing story set in the present day where a mind controlled Lana is fighting Lex Luthor. But we also get a flashback tale of Clark and Lana's adolescence back in Smallville. It all ties into Lana's origin and how she has maintained her Superwoman powers. (Of course I would pick the sepia-soaked nostalgia of the Renato Guedes variant).

Now there is no doubt that I am an absolute sucker for Smallville Lana stories and most of this issue is a flashback to those early years. That always works for me. But Perkins updates some of this story slightly. Gone is the vapid cheerleader Lana conniving to reveal Clark as Superboy (who I know doesn't exist in the current DCU). Instead we get a smart, independent, young woman who is bored with the idyllic small town life. This Lana better jibes with the Lana that we have now. And it isn't such a dramatic change to make me think 'this isn't Lana'.

And the art by Steven Segovia and Art Thibert is powerful. There were times that I was reading this issue that I paused on a page to just take in the art and make my eyes smile. I hope these two stay on the book.

Put it all together and you have a Superwoman book that seems to have put the first vexing arc behind us and sifted through the stabilization issues. Now we have stories moving forward instead of fixing the problems present when looking back.

Seriously, kudos to Perkins for wringing a story out here, complemented perfectly by the art (and colors by  Hi-FI!). I hope DC and readers notice what is unfolding here!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Action Comics #985


Action Comics #985 came out last week, a new arc with a guest creative team of writer Rob Williams and artist Guillem March. I suppose after the superb Superman Revenge Squad story as well as the upcoming Mr. Oz reveal, regular writer Dan Jurgens deserved a little bit of a breather.

This issue explores the new dynamic between Lex Luthor and Superman. With Lex being a 'hero' now and part of the Superman Family, but still having some nefarious history with the Man of Steel, this relationship is suddenly fresh soil to till. From the God-Killer arc to Revenge to this Only Human, it has been interesting to see a Superman struggle with a Lex who seems to be on the right side of humanity.

As a reader it has also been hard to take Lex at his word. Every so often he says a line which makes me think he is the same old Lex, just wearing a sheep's clothing.

Writer Rob Williams (who I know best from the quirky DCYou Martian Manhunter book) tells a solid tale of trust and mistrust even if he brings back The Machinist as a villain. I have to say very little of the Geoff Johns/JRJR run on Superman has stayed in my head. Was the Machinist part of Hordr? Did he die? Do I need to go back and look?

And I know Guillem March best from good girl art and covers. His art here isn't that style at all, bringing a rougher edge than what I am used to.

On to the book.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: Supergirl #12



Supergirl #12 came out this last week and is probably my favorite issue of this run to date. This is a fast moving issue with intrigue, action, and some teenage angst. There is punchy dialogue. There is a some mystery. There is just incredible art by Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques. And there is a Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau variant cover. If this title started out like this, we might still be selling 40K a month.

It's not that I disliked the first year of stories. But the Cyborg Superman arc was something of a bummer to start out on. And Brian Ching's somewhat loose pencils were definitely a style I needed to become accustomed to.

Now with the opening arc behind us, we are moving out of 'origin' and into adventures.

Steve Orlando is crackling here. This is the Cat Grant I want to read. These are the villains I want to see fighting Kara. And this is the caring Supergirl still reaching out to those who have hurt her as she moves forward. Plus, there is a lot of Legion working its way into this arc. Maybe Supergirl will join that team when we eventually meet them in the Rebirth DCU.

And I just have to say one more time in this introduction how much the art just sings on the page. This is detailed, energetic work which just sings. You see every clothes wrinkle, every hair strand, every crackle of energy. I hope everyone out there in comic land notices this book and trumpets it.

On to the story.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Boston Comic Con 2017


We finally are entering my convention season!

Boston Comic Con is this weekend (!!) and I will be going at least 2 of the three days. I have been going to the con since its inception when it was a tiny show in the basement of an insurance building. It has grown immensely over that time.

While that growth has meant that I have met a ton of creators, it also has meant a sort of creep in scope to now include non-comic, pop culture celebrities. And then, last year, the local coordinators who ran the show sold it to Fan Expo. I honestly worry that the feel for the show will change.

All that said, the guest list this year of comic providers is just as fantastic as in the past. I have a list of creators that I am hoping to run into and chat. Unfortunately, unlike prior years, I haven't been able to set up any commissions beforehand. And I have also noticed that over the last couple of years the price of commissions has skyrocketed meaning I probably won't be able to get as many as I used to.

So here is a list of the folks I am eyeing for a commission as well as some folks I am pumped to meet. I'll have a small stack of books for all the creators listed below to sign (hopefully).

Wish me luck!