Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: Action Comics #993


Action Comics #993 came out last week, the second part of an arc where Superman goes back in time to investigate Krypton's destruction and the first part of the story 'Booster Shot' guest starring Booster Gold. After all, who messed with time to pluck Mr. Oz/Jor-El away?

I have never been a huge fan of Booster Gold. And I have never really been a huge fan of stories where Superman visits Krypton before its destruction. There are always too many questions that need to be answered. Does he lose his powers immediately? Or do they gradually wear off? How does he get off Krypton if he is powerless? And what is he hoping to get out of such a visit?

And so I enter this story already a bit on edge. At the very least, this Superman is only hoping to get a peek at Krypton's destruction from afar and only ends up on the ground because of a glitch.

But to add to the mix, there is a continuity error in this book which I feel is almost unforgivable. And that also sort of soured me. Writer Dan Jurgens should know better. But the editor should definitely know better. It may end up being that 'Rebirth' or 'Reborn' has changed things. Or maybe some of the anomalies we see here are new truths. But if it has no one but DC knows it.

Jurgens is also on art with Joe Prado inking which gives this issue a very classic feel to it.

There is a long way to go in this arc and maybe it'll grab me a bit more moving forward.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: Supergirl #16


Supergirl #16 came out this last week and was a very fast moving issue focusing on Supergirl's continued problems with the DEO. I was impressed with the pace of this chapter giving us both superhero action as well as continued deepening of Kara's civilian life.

For me, the human scenes and the supporting cast are crucial elements in all comics, not just Supergirl. I need to see more than the earth-shattering punches (although I do love those). And I need to see the character interacting with those around them. So the scenes that writers Steve Orlando and Jody Houser give us of Kara with her parents and Kara and her school friends are so important to me. It gives us the chance to learn about who Kara is in noncombat situations. We get to see the viewpoints of those around her and how they effect Supergirl. So I am tickled that we have been getting more of that these last few months and definitely in this issue.

Add to that the bigger action sequences of Kara fighting Strange Visitor in this issue, the introduction of villain Deceilia, seeing how vindictive Mr. Bones is, the influence of Mokkari, and you get a very satisfying superhero story.

But writing is only half of this medium. And Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, and Michael Atiyeh really shine here. First off, the action scenes with the lightning effects of Strange Visitor are gorgeous and flow beautifully. Visitor is drawn with a lot of cheekiness. But it is again those personal scenes where I think we see their efforts sparkle. There is a lot of expressive work here which completely sell the scenes.

Enough preamble. Onto the issue!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

More Alex Toth Supergirl



One of my all time favorite artists in comics is Alex Toth.

Literal books have been written describing his genius so I won't try to encapsulate it here. But his dynamic and economical style was brilliant. Everything is just incredible.

I always found it vexing that there just wasn't much Toth Supergirl out there. The most I found was a single panel in the Super Friends Treasury edition. And even then it is of a Supergirl statue.

So imagine my utter joy when this Toth image of Bronze Age Supergirl was forwarded to me.

Talk about hot pants. This is about as cheeky a Kara as you're going to see. But it amazes me just how much Toth is able to convey with his lines. This is just gorgeous.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Northeast Comic Con Review


This last weekend, I went to the Northeast ComicCon, apparently also known as the Boston Southcoast Com!cCon. I went with my youngest daughter and a good friend.

The big draw was Jeremy Jordan as a media guest. Jordan plays Winn Schott on the Supergirl show. I love Winn as a character, thinking he represents the comic demographic. But my daughter loves Jordan not only for Winn but also for Newsies. She keeps hoping Winn will end up with Kara. I don't know I would have gone if Jordan wasn't there as a draw.

Keith Champagne was also there as a guest. Champagne inked the early issues of the Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle run on Supergirl so I was hoping to meet him and get some signatures. As luck had it, I was able to get a commission as well.

But otherwise, this was something of a sparse show held in an empty department store in a mall.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Strange Visitor - Superman Our Worlds At War Secret Files & Origin



We are a day away from Strange Visitor appearing in the DCU again in Supergirl #16, perhaps as a villain who has been brainwashed or confused by Mr. Bones and the DEO. We know that Strange Visitor has always had a short fuse. So maybe a turn to a mad rage isn't that big a shift in character.

Over the last month, I have been reviewing the history of Strange Visitor, her first arc and her last sacrifice. That last issue in which she is a pivotal part of the defeat of Imperiex in the Our Worlds At War mega-arc was interesting to me for any number of reasons. But her appearance in Superman #173, so crucial to the defeat of Imperiex, seemed to come out of the blue. Now I am really glad I reviewed that issue as it is name dropped here in current continuity!

With that sudden appearance of Strange Visitor and her importance to the ending of Our Worlds At War in mind, I scoured the back issue bins and found her in Superman Our Worlds At War Secret Files and Origins #1. And it is an interesting appearance because it may have spoiled the ending of the story.

Now I will admit, I am missing a few more Strange Visitor books from this time, including the Batman Our Worlds at War Secret Files and Origins book and an Adventures of Superman issue. But this book still intrigued me.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: Batman #36


Batman #36 came out last week and frankly I am so blown away by the issue that I wasn't sure if I could honestly review the book. Writer Tom King has been on something of a creative hot streak with his work on Batman, Mister Miracle, and even a brilliant issue of the Kamandi Challenge.

Now I'll admit I don't read Batman but the appearance of Superman drew me in.

To be blunt, this is one of the best comics I have read in a long long time.

You see, the Superman/Batman friendship has been rough for the last 30 years, probably since Frank Miller destroyed it in The Dark Knight Returns. Since then we have had a bristling relationship, a Batman with a kryptonite ring and paranoia, a movie based on the two fighting. And, perhaps even worse, are stories which make them best buddies again, ignoring the last 30 years of rift. I have been looking for some issue, some creator, some story to explain this friendship to me again, to make me understand it, to bring them together while recognizing their differences and the three decades of anger.

This issue does just that. They want to be friends. They respect each other. They're in awe of each other. But they don't know how to reach out. They don't know how to discuss their feelings. They don't want to impose a friendship on the other.

Seriously, I wanted to scan the whole issue to showcase it. Every page is just perfection. And Clay Mann on art is also perfect. The whole layout of the issue, mirrored pages and two running stories of each hero explaining their feelings about the other hero is just spectacular. Just stupendous.

What are you waiting for ... if you are a fan of Superman or Batman or both, run out and buy this issue.

Just a few moments...

Friday, December 8, 2017

Review: Superman #36

Superman #36 was the final part of the Imperius Lex storyline and was a definitely entertaining and interesting ending to this arc. For me, seeing the turmoil on Apokolips in the context of Darkseid being gone has drawn me in. As a Fourth World fan, seeing the members of the court in-fight for power is a new wrinkle to those characters.

I also love seeing the three members of the Lane/Kent family each have moments to shine, showing their strength and character in these harsh environments.

But the big thing for me was the denouement of the Lex Luthor arc. The title of this issue is 'Liberation' and that works for both the Apokolips arc as well as Lex's character. For the longest time I have questioned Lex's motives, wondering if the old evil Lex was just under the surface. Finally, at the beginning of this arc, I had come to realize that maybe Lex had indeed turned the corner and become a true hero. And then, like the best of stories, the ending threw me for a loop and made perfect sense. It is a great ending and brings a new sort of Rebirth to the Luthor name.

So story-tellers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason really clicked on this arc. And Doug Mahnke shines here. I love his take on the Kirby characters. This whole thing crackles. The cover by Patrick Gleason is the first with the new print dress and DC symbol. Gone is the Rebirth banner. And Superman on the throne of Apokolips is a stark image.

On to the book.