Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Superman #31


Superman #31 came out this week and was a huge surprise. Why? It was a Deathstroke story that I liked.

A brief history. I liked Deathstroke back in the earliest days. Okay, sleeping with Terra was completely creepy. But he was a guy with a haunting past. He was clearly deeply troubled. In the end in New Teen Titans when he has a sit-down with Changeling, he feels exhausted. And that was good.

Then, the 90s happened. And everything was extreme. And suddenly Deathstroke became the ultimate badass. He killed everything. He skewered people. He assassinated Firestorm. And he was everywhere.

Everywhere.

And that character archetype, the cool as the other side of the pillow, heartless killer? It doesn't work for me. And I am sure that in the 30 years hence, there are good Deathstroke stories.

So when I saw this story solicited I kind of groaned. "Let me guess, Kryptonite shuriken?" was going through my already bored mind.

Then I read the issue. I had never read anything by writer James Bonny, someone who has a chunk of Deathstroke on his resume. Suddenly this more complicated Deathstroke was back. Here was a guy that seems to be going through the motions of life, almost bored or mentally exhausted with his life of violence. And he has a little bit of honor. And he treats Lois with respect. In fact, this is a Lois story, not a Superman story. We see her at her finest. Brilliant.

Tyler Kirkham is on art and I have waxed his car before. His art is just so beautiful. His Lois is gorgeous and strong. The action sequences feel a little static but they portray a freeze frame of the battle wonderfully.

On to the book.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sales Review: August 2017


The sales numbers for August have come out and DC hit the top three with Metal #1 and two Batman issues. Here is a link:
https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/38411/top-300-comics-actual-august-2017

Amazingly, Metal #1 sold over a quarter million issues, something I didn't think I'd see again. After those three, Marvel dominates the next 12 slots until All Star Batman slides in at #15. It is clear that D.C. Will milk the Batman cow for all the cash he is going to provide.

But we're not here to discuss Batman. Instead, we are here to discuss the sales on Supergirl. I have good news!

And I can't help but think that Artgerm has a lot to do with that good news. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #15

New Super-Man #15 came out a week ago and pushed forward the crazy storyline of the New Super-Man, the Great Ten, the Suicide Squad, and the Emperor Superman and his Imperial Army/White China Triad all battling it out in the streets. As much as the action is insane, a true free-for-all, it is the character moments seen between the fights that I enjoyed the most in this book. And that has been a standard  compliment I have given this book. I have read plenty of super-team books and Superman analog books in my time. It is always the strength of the characters that determines if I will continue to read the book.

So it really is the character progression here, more than the punching, that entertained me.

The art on the book is from newcomer Brent Peeples. His work isn't as smooth and polished as Philip Tan so this issue felt like a little bit of a break from the usual feel of the book. But the scenes play out well and the panels are well composed.

On to the book.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Superwoman #14


Superwoman #14 was released last week and a lot happens over the 20 pages. A lot. In fact so much happens, with so much progression and some large plot leaps, that I can't help but wonder if this was three issues of stories shoved into one. And anytime I feel like the creative team is trying to stuff all their stories into a book at the bottom of the sales chart, I wonder if the writing is on the wall.

And that is a shame because writer K. Perkins has clearly righted the ship on this title. Lana is in control of her life. She is seeking out answers for who she is. She wants to be a hero. There is character growth. And it is a shame because the art team of Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert are producing gorgeous art.

This book needs a little promotion, a little love from DC. And it sort of isn't getting any.

So this issue sort of suffers by the breakneck speed as so much happens that I am craving the details to fill in the story.

On to the book.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Action Comics #987


Action Comics #987 came out this week finally answering the question of 'Who is Mr. Oz?'. The story is titled 'The Oz Effect' which is appropriate given how Oz manipulates events on Earth to bring about a face-to-face between Superman and him. And the answer is ... well ... interesting if not already hinted at.

The idea has been percolating through the book since the Johns/Romita Jr run. Who is this character sitting behind a wall of TV screens, talking about how he taught lessons to Superman, and capturing Doomsday, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Tim Drake? And why is he doing all of that.

Between the name Oz and the Nostalgia symbols everywhere the initial guess was Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias. Then I thought it might be Vyndktvyx back to teach Superman more hard lessons from life. And then Bleeding Cool came out with the guess of Jor-El or even Zor-El. For me, I can't help but imagine that the identity of Oz has actually changed over time. I wish I could give Geoff Johns truth serum and ask who he planned Oz to be. I doubt it's who Oz ends up being at the end of the issue.

And even now I am not sure if there isn't one more reveal to come. Maybe this reveal is a feint for an ultimate reveal. "Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!"

The art on the issue is by Viktor Bogdanovic and he really shines here. Between big panels, wavy panels, and super narrow panels, the pace of the story speeds up with the art. And there are great images of Superman throughout. If Bogdanovic is being added to the stable of folks who work on this book, I'll be happy.

On to the story ... spoilers ahead.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Supergirl #13


Supergirl #13 came out this week and not only wrapped up the current Emerald Empress storyline but effectively blew up the landscape of the book, resetting it a bit for the year to come. When I finished reading the issue, I sort of shook my head to grasp everything that happened. In some ways this felt like the sort of issue that happens right before a creative team shake-up, a sort of clearing of the playing field. But we know that Steve Orlando and Robson Rocha are sticking around.

I wonder, if after a year of stories, the creative team sort of reassessed the book, looking at what was working and what wasn't, at what stories they wanted to tell and which they didn't, and decided to nudge the book in that direction.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. There was a sense of added energy for me when I was done. Things are going to be shaken up ... and in a good way. And perhaps, most important of all, the characterization of Supergirl despite all the upheaval remained sound. I was smiling. Because it would have been easy for the writers to march down the 'dark Supergirl' road, making Kara bitter. Instead, they have her shine even brighter.

I'll get into particulars in a moment. But I have to add that the addition of Robson Rocha on art has added a lot to my love of the book as well. This was a high action issue and demanded some detail and some dynamism and some 'oomph' and we got it. Add to that the Artgerm covers and suddenly Supergirl is firing on all cylinders.

On to the book!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Supergirl In Wonder Woman Encyclopedia


It has truly been the year of Wonder Woman.

The Patti Jenkins movie crushed at the box office, redefining a DC superhero blockbuster movie and proving that the relentless, dark, gritty vision of Zack Snyder doesn't need to be the primary vision of the DCEU. It amazes me that the movie is still in theaters despite now being available digitally. I loved the movie. And as the news keeps pouring in about it (Patty Jenkins just got hired to direct the sequel!!) , I felt I somehow needed to acknowledge it and honor it.

I also think that the Rebirth Wonder Woman book has been spectacular. Rachel Kimsey's performance of a Saiyan-like Wonder Woman on JLAction has been too much fun. The Professor Marston and the Wonder Women documentary is about to air. And DC Superhero Girls continues to plug along.

Diana is everywhere, deservedly. So why not join in the fun.

I forget if it was for a birthday or Christmas but somewhere along the way someone got me The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia. Put together by Phil Jimenez and John Wells, the book is a fantastic resource. And, more importantly, seems to be cheap these days, stacked in the bargain section of my nearyby Barnes and Noble. Get it as a gift for someone!

But this is a Supergirl blog. So where am I going with this?