Thursday, April 30, 2015

TwoMorrows Upcoming Publications

This summer, TwoMorrows is putting out two Supergirl-centric magazines which I am eagerly looking forward to and you should be as well. Here is a link to their site:

Now I subscribe to Back Issue because it is spectacular in its coverage of my era of comics. So a Supergirl specific issue is going to be an extra special treat. Here is the solicit for Back Issue #84:

From hot pants to headbands, it’s Supergirl in the Bronze Age in BACK ISSUE #84 (84 FULL-COLOR pages, $8.95)! The Maid of Might’s 1970s and 1980s adventures, including her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths and her many rebirths. Plus: an ALAN BRENNERT interview, behind the scenes of the Supergirl movie starring HELEN SLATER, Who is Superwoman?, and a look at the DC Superheroes Water Ski Show. With PAUL KUPPERBERG, ELLIOT MAGGIN, MARV WOLFMAN, and many more. Featuring a jam cover recreation of Adventure Comics #397 by KARL HEITMUELLER, JR. and friends (STEPHEN DeSTEFANO, BOB FINGERMAN, DEAN HASPIEL, KRISTEN McCABE, JON MORRIS, and JACKSON PUBLICK). Edited by MICHAEL EURY.

I have to assume this was planned given the anniversary of Crisis (and therefore the death of Supergirl). The lineup here is fantastic. Alan Brennert from 'Should Auld Acquaintance' fame.Paul Kupperberg from Daring New Adventures! Marv Wolfman from the Crisis! Superman legend Elliot S. Maggin. And Supergirl herself Helen Slater! Incredible.

I can't wait to read about Superwoman - all of them. Kristin Wells, the Third Kryptonian, the Crime Syndicate villain, and Lucy Lane!

And the cover is a great homage to Adventure Comics #397! Fantastic!

I don't always get Alter Ego, the Roy Thomas fanzine. When the topic hits home, I do get pick up the book and I am always impressed.  Alter Ego #133 is focusing on Supergirl legendary artist Jim Mooney. Here is the solicit:

ALTER EGO #133 (84 full-color pages, $8.95) spotlights Gentleman JIM MOONEY, the guy who drew ’em all—Batman & Robin, Supergirl, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Legion of Super-Heroes, Tommy Tomorrow, Ghost Rider, Dial H for Hero, Kaanga, The Invaders, The Moth, Wildfire, Lash Lightning—and a whole host more! This issue features an incredible in-depth interview conducted by DR. JEFF McLAUGHLIN—never before published! Plus there’s FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America), MICHAEL T. GILBERT in Mr. Monster's Comic Crypt, BILL SCHELLY's Comic Fandom Archive, and more—all behind a cover montage by JIM MOONEY of his greatest DC hits! Edited by ROY THOMAS.

An unpublished interview! And art!

I'm in!

I love seeing Supergirl and her famed creators getting such publicity. I will be reviewing these here!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary Is Seven Years Old

On April 29, 2008 I posted my first post. It was my Jim Mooney commission. I dedicated this space to Supergirl.

This was my promise back then on that fateful day:
So here is the blog's new empty promise. My hope is to provide a review of each month's Supergirl issue for as long as the current title runs. Should I read a back issue from my S-Girl collection (which spans from the Adventure comics of the 70's through now) I will review that as well. Lastly, any nifty S-Girl items which I come across I will chat about as well. If things get slow, I will post something from my ever-growing collection of commissions.

It is interesting to look at that paragraph as it was clear I didn't expect to post as much as I do.

Looking back at the last seven years, I would say that this blog has helped me grow as a comics fan. I am a bit more discerning. Writing critically (and often lengthily - sorry) about the books has helped me recognize things in stories I may not have before, appreciating them more.

But more importantly, I have become friends with so many people through this site. From other bloggers to podcasters to regular visitors, I feel blessed to have such a community of friends I can talk comics with.  And through the miracle of social media, I have been able to reach out to creators and talk directly to them. I wish I could thank you all individually because it is the interaction I have with people here that makes me keep posting, keep talking, and hope to do so for a long time to come.

Thank you all.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And what about Supergirl?

Well the first issue I reviewed was Supergirl #29 by Kelly Puckett and Drew Johnson.

Since then we have had Gates and Igle, Walker and Jones on Cosmic Adventures, Peaty and Chang, DeConnick and Cross. We had the New 52 and a darker interpretation of Kara once more. We had Johnson/Green and Asrar, Nelson and Asrar, a revitalization and redemption when Bedard and Cinar and Lupacchino joined the book; we had Miller et al on Smallville, and finally Perkins/Johnson and Lupacchino on the main title. Lots of ups in the midst of some dark times. And then the ending of her title last month.

In these seven years, we have had animated features Apocalypse, Unbound, and Best Friends Forever. We had Vandervoort wrapping up Kara's story on Smallville. She's part of the new multimedia Super Hero Girl initiative.

And the big news that Supergirl is heading to the small screen, the lead character in her own show, a star. Suddenly, lots of people are talking about Supergirl, who she is, and what she represents.

And so I begin this next year of blogging. I hope you all will join me for the ride!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Back Issue Box: Action Comics #706

The Matrix Supergirl has been in the news recently with the Convergence:Supergirl mini-series and the possibility of her being a member in the Justice League 3001 book.

I have talked in broad strokes about the growth of the Matrix character from perennial dupe to independent hero. But I realize it has been a while since I reviewed one of her adventures. And while I could mirror the feel of the Convergence book, finding an issue where Mae was in thrall of the Lex. But I thought I would have more fun reviewing something right after she dropped him and started feeling like an individual.

The easiest way to do that would be to review the 1994 mini-series. But I feel that deserves a true issue by issue review, like a month of Mondays, and I have a bit too much on my plate right now. So instead I thought I would take a look at Action Comics #706, a book where Supergirl stole the cover copy from Superman, a solo adventure that led to her truly striking out on her own.

The issue was written by Superman scribe Roger Stern with art by Jackson Guice and inker Denis Rodier. Stern does a good job of giving Mae some moments in the story to express her new confidence even if the plot is somewhat cliched. And Guice is one of my all around favorite Matrix artists, drawing her during the heyday of the 90s.

I like the cover as a showcase for Supergirl but her expression is a bit flat. Something more dynamic might have jumped off the rack a bit.

'Saved by the Belle' is a great title for someone like me who thinks wordplay is a sign of high intelligence.

And we start out with some action. The Smallville county fair is opening and one of the rides is being erected by a lazy fair worker who isn't paying attention to details. As a result, the Hog Heaven ride flies apart during a trial run. Luckily Supergirl happened to be flying nearby to keep the damage to a minimum and the injuries at zero.

Nice opening panels here, a two page sort of splash of Matrix in flying in. And it showcases Guice's style with her as a lithe, leggy, athletic Supergirl.

Turns out Mae was heading back to Smallville to visit the Kents and spend some quality time with them. After all that time in Metropolis with Lex, she needed to reconnect with her loved ones and family.

I loved this simple exchange with Mae saying she will gladly take Kent hugs, anytime anywhere.

But this also shows how human she is getting to be. It makes sense to lean on those who love you after trying times.

At the fair, the Kents and Mae see the 'farm vehicle of the future', the Agro-Wonder, a fully automated rig which will sow, fertilize, reap, cropdust, and do just about anything else at the touch of a button.

It irks Pa Kent who believes in an honest day's work and farming by hand. But Martha knows that keeping things simple will help small town independent farmers like them.

We also get to meet the engineer of this thing. Cheated out of credit and royalty for his designs, he vows revenge. And the fair will make a great setting to discredit the company which is producing them while, in essence, robbing him.

There is nifty little subplot throughout the issue as well. Clark is being asked to cover the Smallville Fair as well. But he can't simply fly home as Superman. Perry is joining him in the field. That means a long airplane flight.

Initially Clark is worried he'll be bored to death by Perry's old war stories. But then, it turns out that Perry tells a good tale. Clark can't get enough.

I'd think Clark would already have a ton of respect for Perry. But I still thought this was a fun little side story.

Meanwhile at the fair, the fully automated farm machine is activated and begins attacking the crowd with high pressured hoses, bull dozing arms, etc.

So once again Supergirl has to make an appearance. (This version of the costume sur looks like the Supergirl in the upcoming JL3001. It's time for a 'Might Morphin' Power Rangerette' to bring this disaster to an end. I both groaned and smiled at the Rangerette comment. Kind of cute if outdated.

Things do get a bit dicey when the Agro-Wonder unleashes highly toxic pesticides onto Supergirl.

This story was done in a time when the best way to show how powerfully something effected Supergirl was to have her revert to her gloopy protoplasmic form. It seemed to happen every big brawl.

And so we see it again. Things look bad!

But luckily a couple of minutes later, she is able to literally pull herself together. A lot of it has to do with her sense of responsibility. If she doesn't regain her form (again both figuratively and literally), people will die. I think this again shows how much she has grown from the timid featureless Mae who lived with the Kents to this true hero.

And let's face it, the Agro-Wonder is basically a souped up tractor. She destroys it easily.

As for the engineer, he gets caught at the airport by Superman. All loose end tied up.

Except one.

With the adventure over, everyone enjoys a nice meal at the Kents. And there, Matrix has a heart to heart with Clark. It is a great moment of maturity and confidence for our young hero.

She has been beating herself up for having been taken in by the clone of Lex. And yet, despite all that, she did do good in Metropolis. She did act the hero. She shouldn't slight herself too badly. She should look at the bright side, accentuate the positive, and chalk this up as a learning moment. In other words, move along the hero's journey.

From here, she moves on to some solo adventures. She becomes part of Team Superman and helps out in multiple stories. And she really lives herself on her own terms.

I really feel like this was the first step of her believing in herself. And it was the first time that she didn't define herself by either Superman or Lex or Brainiac or someone else.

And that makes this a great story to read and own. Even if the big villain is a tractor.

Overall grade: B+

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Convergence:Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes #1

Convergence:Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 was one of the books I was most looking forward to when these titles were announced. I am a lifelong Legion fan. I cut my teeth on the Bates/Grell books. And I remember a Legion that was optimistic and a future that was bright. So of course I would want to revisit this time.

Writer Stuart Moore instead gives us a team struggling with their existence under the dome and trying not to lose hope. It has been a year without powers and without chance of escape. How would the Legion cope with this? And how would Superboy?

Given that these stories have to be told in two issues, there isn't slow build up of characterization. Instead, characters wear their feelings on their sleeves. This includes Superboy, who seems to be struggling the most with this imprisonment. It is a new take on the Boy of Steel, one which mostly doesn't feel right.

While Moore writes the characters with broad strokes, artist Gus Storms provides pretty minimalist art. I haven't seen Storms work before. His art is sparse and simple, a contrast to the detailed work I am used to seeing on Legion books.

The issue starts with Superboy broadcasting a message to the entire city of Metropolis, telling the citizens to not lose hope. The Legion is doing their best, tirelessly examining the dome in hopes of punching through.

The speech includes a mention of the great loss everyone has endured, including the Legion. Wildfire's suit is now in the hall of heroes as he simply dissipated when the dome arose.

Of course, for me, this means Wildfire will return when the dome drops. It would even smack a bit of his initiation into the Legion way back in Superboy and the Legion #201. Back then, they had his suit in their headquarters because he had died as ERG-1. He had to sneak in to reanimate it.

There is resolve in Superboy's words. He talks about surviving the loss of a world. He gives an oath to his Kryptonian ancestors that he will find and defeat whoever did this.

I did find it odd that he would vow to his Kryptonian family here, especially given his tone the rest of the book.

But we discover that these words don't ring true for him. He has lost hope here and is unsure if they will ever escape. We see him weeping in the Hall of Heroes, saying how much he misses Ma, Pa, Lana, and even Krypton. So to go from a nod to his Kryptonian heritage to then weeping about Smallville was     Weird. I suppose it shows the two sides of Superboy, the alien powerhouse and the farm boy.

This looks like the Legion in the early issues of the Baxter series with Ayla sporting lightning powers and Shadow Lass with a slickback hairstyle.

It also has a curmudgeon of a Brainiac 5, yelling at the Legionnaires for barging into his lab.

Brainy has received a message from beyond the dome. "We are here. But soon we are there." The message includes an image of 2 interlocking rings. For the first time, Brainy wonders if they are no longer on Earth.

Earlier, Ayla seemed to flirt with Superboy. In a somewhat heated discussion, she challenges Superboy to pull himself together. He talks about how his Legion adventures were like playtime for him. But his home was the past. He wants playtime to end.

Ayla reminds him that this is her reality, not some fun time. That she has suffered. First off Timber Wolf has left her. She suffered at the hands of Lightning Lord when she got her powers back. Now she is just as trapped. And she needs Superboy to be Superboy.

Again, this might be someone's first Legion comic. Who knows how many people remember the Legion continuity from decades ago. But this reads wrong. Ayla dumped Timber Wolf and never looked back. Superboy never seemed to have this 'fantasy' idea about his future adventures. 

If these Convergence books are supposed to celebrate these times, they should respect the times.

And then all those feelings bubble to the surface. Ayla and Superboy are about to kiss. And there is a spark ... literally!

The dome drops. Powers are restored.

As someone who loved the Ayla/Vi relationship and Ayla's character growth in the 80's and 90's, this also seemed off. Lightning Lass is my second favorite Legionnaire. I love that she is the one who tells Superboy to grow up. But her lamenting Brin and pining for Superboy didn't work for me.

Still,  literal spark with a kiss is a nice touch.

With the dome down, Telos delivers his statement about the tournament of cities. 

Brainy continues to try to decipher the message, the entwined circle image, and the tournament reveal.

I like that Brainy says the whole thing is 'disturbingly familiar'. Of course it is! This is Brainiac's planet and tech. It should be familiar.

Still, I don't know if I should understand this 'we are here, but soon we will be there' message. Am I missing something?

But the tournament is the more pressing matter. Who will they need to fight? And Sun Boy wonders if it is to be a battle to the death. Heroes obviously don't kill. And the Legion even has it in their constitution.

I do like that Ultra Boy wonders if this is the time to break from that code. He was raised on the rough streets if Rimbor. It makes sense that he would be the one to question this.

But I like that Superboy remains the moral compass. No killing will happen.

And then the mantle of Leadership is thrust on Clark. The Legion needs to kno what to do next. Do you reconnoiter? Establish your battle positions? 

The Legion asks Clark to lead. And he looks pretty reluctant in that last panel. He is hurting. He sounds depressed. He might not grab the role of leader role with gusto.

I wish there was time to explore that concept a little. That would have been a decent cliffhanger. What do you do when your leader can't lead?

Unfortunately, the decision is made for him. The Atomic Knights show up to battle. Not that I think they are a threat even to this tiny Legion force.

These Convergence titles are frustrating. They have often been a tease, giving me a tiny taste of something I miss but not delivering 100%. This is a Legion I miss. These are characters I love. And there are whiffs of characterization I miss. But it isn't perfect. And there are some missteps.

But I keep saying that living a year under a dome might explain away some of the character issues I have. Who knows how people would change after a year of imprisonment like that?

But what this book does do is remind me that there is no Legion book on the shelves. And that it has been a while since we had a great legion book to read.

Overall grade: B

Saturday, April 25, 2015

July 2015 Solicits

It took a while but DC finally released the solicits for July 2015 and there were a few surprises. Some of them were good. Some of them were bad. Some I am conflicted on.

The entirety of the solicits are listed on Newsarama here:

Now there is a lot to process in this post-Convergence, post-New 52 DCU. But for the purposes of this blog, the thing to realize is that in July of this month, a Supergirl appears in exactly one book. There is no solo title. She is no longer in Justice League United.

Add to that, Superman seems to be going in an odd direction.

On to the books.

Art and cover by HOWARD PORTER
1:25 Variant cover by GEOF DARROW

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s...Supergirl? Aww, for crying out loud, we were promised that someone would rein these guys in. Supergirl? Really? Trust’s actually pretty cool.

If you asked me if I would ever be commenting on Justice League 3001 on this site, I would have responded 'never'.

But now Supergirl ... a Supergirl ... is part of the book. It looks like Matrix. And I suppose if she is protoplasm, she might be immortal enough to be around a thousand years hence. But the short hair and the old school belt gives her an odd Silver Age feel, even if the skirt is wrong (for all but the totem Supergirl in Superman #123). But do I trust Giffen and DeMatteis to treat any Supergirl right. Will she be a joke to them? Is this an immediate low point after the high point of the last series ending.

I am about 20% excited, 80% worried.

Written by GREG PAK
Art and cover by AARON KUDER
The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Who will stand by Clark Kent?

Did they use 'the epic you never expected' when describing 'Grounded'?
I am assuming that the 'Truth' is that Clark's secret gets exposed. And I am hoping that Pak and Kuder can continue to churn out books I love. But they were derailed by a multi-title story. And then how do you undo this story? Worldwide mindwipe?


Art and cover by JOHN ROMITA, JR. and KLAUS JANSON

The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Has Lois Lane betrayed Superman with the truth?

I have been intrigued to see what Gene Luen Yang would bring to the Superman character. But I don't think that a multi-title storyline is the best way to initiate things. Why not give him a couple of issues, an arc, to get his feet wet, to let readers see what he is planning?

And having Lois Lane betray him? How much more harm can they bring to Lois?

Written by GREG PAK

The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Can Superman accept the truth about his new partner? Featuring the all-new Batman!

And then this solicit.

Superman on a motorcycle? I can see the posters ... "You'll believe a man can ride!"

This whole look, this cover, the blood dripping off the knuckles ... it just doesn't seem like Superman. I don't want a street level Superman. I want an inspiring hero.

I suppose I have to wait and see how this whole thing turns out but this is pretty offputting.

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA

The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Is there truth in madness? Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad guest-star!

Yep ... I want to stop collecting this book.

Will a Doug Mahnke Harley Quinn lure me back for one more issue.


It’s the Man of Steel versus the Martian Manhunter as Superman demands to know what J’onn J’onnz knew about the Martians’ terrible plans for Earth.

How can I not get this issue. Guest stars Superman. Helps promote a Martian Manhunter book.

But again, heroes fighting. I'm kind of over it.

So a Matrix Supergirl is cast in a book where she might be a laughing stock. Superman rides a motorcycle. No Supergirl solo title. No Supergirl in JLU.

What will July hold for us as Superman fans?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Convergence:Adventures of Superman #1

Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1 came out this week. This was the book I had the most trepidation about prior to reading. Sure Keith Giffen was handling the Matrix Supergirl and was probably going to make her a laughing stock. But Marv Wolfman was writing pre-Crisis Supergirl and, to be blunt, he doesn't have a great track record with the character.

Thirty years ago, Wolfman declared that Supergirl wasn't an integral part of the Superman mythos or the DC Comics universe. In a move to add some weight to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wolfman killed Supergirl off. Now she dies heroically there, saving the universe, and that moment has carried weight moving forward to all later incarnations of the character. It has provided Sterling Gates and Landry Walker and others a powerful moment  to build on, a sort of legacy to play off of.

But Wolfman did kill her off.

Moreover, Wolfman has revisited this moment in the past in books like Legends of the DC Universe and DC Retroactive. Those books have seemed in places to be an effort to justify his killing off Kara. They also have concentrated more on Superman's reaction rather than Supergirl's heroics.

So it should make sense that I went in to this book warily, wondering if Wolfman would abuse the Kara character again.

Incredibly, I thought this was a great book, showcasing Supergirl and all the positive things about the character. While Wolfman takes some continuity liberties which I'll point out later, I was able to look past them.because of the brighter parts. I also know that this is a Supergirl that hasn't been seen in 30 years, who many readers have no experience with, and that Wolfman has only 2 issues to push through a character arc. So some minor characterization wrinkles to add conflict are probably a story-telling necessity.

Roberto Viacava and Andy Owens are on art here and bring a steady influence to the book. Certainly, their Supergirl looks good.
Like many of the Convergence books, this one is set in Gotham. Superman and Supergirl were there for an unrevealed reason when the dome went up, trapping them and rendering them powerless.

But they aren't helpless. They work with Wayne Foundations Lucius Fox to try to find a way out.

This is the first continuity stretch for Wolfman. I think he is thinking about the Christopher Nolan Morgan Freeman Fox. In the comics, he's no tinkerer.

They do have a decent idea. Why not create a Phantom Zone projector, use it to get beyond the dome, and then find some rift in the Zone to exit on the way out. Of course, that means they might run into the imprisoned criminals. There are no guarantees here but after a year under the dome, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Kara strikes me as a little young here, making some jokes and snarky comments about their chances. This pre-Crisis Supergirl was pretty established, the hero of Chicago, and mature.

And hearing Zor-El helped create the Phantom Zone was strange if not outright wrong.

This was my favorite page of the book. Superman talks about how he is inspired by Kara as well as impressed by her. For once, Wolfman talks about the strengths in her character. Her warmth, caring, and optimism. How she is pro-active and determined. It sounds as if Wolfman finally gets just why people love the character. She wasn't a worthless part of the DCU. She was unique and valuable.

Most people know how Supergirl is inspired by Kal. It was refreshing to hear the reverse.

Unfortunately, the Phantom Zone is also very different than I am used to. Instead of a ghostly limbo, it's a true material plane, a blasted wasteland where you can be physically hurt. It struck me like the Phantom Zone in Smallville.

The Phantom Zone villains do end up attacking. The cousins split up to maximize their chances of escape. The bulk of the villains stay and overpower Superman while only four trail Supergirl.

Now after waiting decades for revenge, you think the villains would kill Kal outright. But instead, they decide to prolong this ... by setting up a trial by combat?? You think that their bloodlust would overtake them. And considering how many times Superman has defeated them, you think they wouldn't take this chance and would just kill him.

I think Wolfman adds a little Crisis wrinkle to the proceedings. The Zone's skies turn red. And while in this place, Supergirl gets a vision of her entire life. It actually is a nice little homage to so many parts of Supergirl's career. Argo City, the Midvale hollow tree, the reveal to the world, the Gang, the crying cover from the 70s solo title, and ... of course ... her death in the Crisis.

It shows a little respect for her history. Maybe more than Wolfman has shown her in the past.

It does mean that Kara now knows her fate. If she escapes the dome, she is fated to die at the hands of the Anti-Monitor.

There is a brief period where Kara questions what to do. Should she streak to her death? What if her death doesn't matter? But that period of doubt is brief. She gathers up her resolve and moves forward.

Now I said that this is supposed to be an established Kara. She is far along the hero's journey. And seeing her wonder about the vision and wonder if she should save Kal if it meant her own death seemed off for me. (Think of her speech in Crisis #4 to hear her thoughts about doing what's right and fighting.)

But for people who haven't read this Supergirl, it allows Wolfman to show that she would make this decision. Adding a little emotional punch makes it a more powerful moment.

The rest of the issue is really a showcase for Supergirl's fighting prowess.

She defeats the four villains who tailed her. Then she is able to stealthily overcome a number of the other Zone prisoners before bashing her way through them and saving Superman.

Supergirl saves Superman. This is her story.

Unfortunately, the rift from the Zone closes before the cousins can escape. It looks like its going to be a brawl.

I love how Supergirl is poised and ready, defending a battered Kal.

Of course the dome has dropped. And this Gotham is under attack by armed gorillas from Kamandi's time I presume. The cousins need to return and defend! This was almost an unnecessary and silly cliffhanger for the issue.

In many ways, I felt this was something of a love letter by Wolfman to the Crisis-era Supergirl. We hear about her warmth and compassion. We see her willingness to sacrifice herself to save her cousin and the universe. We see her strength and skills in defeating the Zone villains and saving Superman. This is really a Supergirl adventure. Superman had little to do here. And that made me happy.

Happy enough to look past Lucius making hard-core tech, Zor-El creating the Zone projector, and the Zone itself being a physical plane.

Because it had been a long time since I read this Supergirl in all her glory. So a tip of the hat to Marv Wolfman for writing a great Supergirl issue. (Now that's something I thought I'd never write!!)

Overall grade: B+

Thursday, April 23, 2015

DC Entertainment: Super Hero Girl Initiative

The news hit yesterday afternoon and nearly broke my social media streams. DC Comics in association with Warner Brothers had created The DC Super Hero Girls Initiative, a multimedia massive undertaking to bring the power of the DCU to young girls. I first heard about it here:

Now I do include the actual press statement below but here is  paragraph with the overall concept.

Developed for girls aged 6-12, DC Super Hero Girls centers on the female Super Heroes and Super-Villains of the DC Comics universe during their formative years—prior to discovering their full super power potential. Featuring a completely new artistic style and aesthetic, DC Comics’ icons such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy, Katana and many more make their unprecedented teenaged introduction. Each character has her own storyline that explores what teen life is like as a Super Hero, including discovering her unique abilities, nurturing her remarkable powers and mastering the fundamentals of being a hero.

Frankly, I am thrilled.

Now, I will admit, they probably had me with this look for Supergirl. Chuck Taylor's, wrist bands, short sleeves, Gwen Stacy headband, and of course,myths red skirt. Just a big win visually for this Supergirl fan.

But there is so much more to love.

The inclusion of Bumble Bee and Katana to have diversity. To have them look healthy and fun-loving. To have a Wonder Woman with a shield and not a sword. Artistically, it looks spot on.

And then I read about just how extensive a movement this is.

Animated specials. Direct to Video movies. Lego sets. Action figures. Books. And all done with the goal to inspire confidence and heroism.


As a father of three girls ranging from tween to later teen, I can tell you that it hasn't been easy to find comics and toys and merchandise that I could bring home to them. It was looking for a needle in a haystack. Yes, things like Supergirl Cosmic Adventures came along every so often. But I had to search for it.

But now, it looks like this stuff will be plentiful, in multiple media, and will actually take advantage of the strength of the DCU.

I'll say it again, I am thrilled.

Here is the actual press release.

Mattel to Launch Company’s First Action Figures for Girls
Unprecedented Initiative to Include Digital Content, TV Specials, Made-For-Videos,
Publishing, Toys, Apparel and Other Products
Random House Children’s Books to be Master Publishing Partner
The LEGO Group to be Exclusive Construction Partner
Burbank, Calif. – April 22, 2015 – Beginning in Fall 2015, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Mattel join forces to launch DC Super Hero Girls, an exciting new universe of Super Heroic storytelling that helps build character and confidence, and empowers girls to discover their true potential. Featuring DC Comics’ most powerful and diverse line-up of female characters as relatable teens, DC Super Hero Girls will play out across multiple entertainment content platforms and product categories to create an immersive world.
Developed for girls aged 6-12, DC Super Hero Girls centers on the female Super Heroes and Super-Villains of the DC Comics universe during their formative years—prior to discovering their full super power potential. Featuring a completely new artistic style and aesthetic, DC Comics’ icons such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy, Katana and many more make their unprecedented teenaged introduction. Each character has her own storyline that explores what teen life is like as a Super Hero, including discovering her unique abilities, nurturing her remarkable powers and mastering the fundamentals of being a hero.
“DC Entertainment is home to the most iconic and well-known Super Heroes including Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl,” said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “DC Super Hero Girls represents the embodiment of our long-term strategy to harness the power of our diverse female characters. I am so pleased that we are able to offer relatable and strong role models in a unique way, just for girls.”
The initial launch of DC Super Hero Girls in Fall 2015 will include an immersive digital experience, original digital content and digital publishing—providing opportunities for girls to interact with characters, learn about the storylines, and engage in customizable play. TV specials, made-for-videos, toys, apparel, books and other product categories will begin to rollout in 2016.
“Developing a Super Hero franchise exclusively for girls that includes all of the key components of a comprehensive entertainment experience—from content to consumer products—is something we are excited to be doing in conjunction with our great partners,” said Brad Globe, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “It’s really an honor to be part of this cultural moment and to be delivering a concept so rooted in a relatable and empowered theme that the characters of DC Comics are uniquely able to present.”
As master toy licensee, Mattel is collaborating with DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Consumer Products on DC Super Hero Girls’ narrative creation, interactive digital activations and ultimately a toy line launching in 2016. Mattel category-leading firsts include a line of characters for the action figure category, an area of the industry that has been primarily developed with boys in mind, and fashion dolls featuring strong, athletic bodies that stand on their own in heroic poses.
“Partnering with the best and being the best partner is of paramount importance,” said Richard Dickson, President, Chief Operating Officer, Mattel. “Together with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, the DC Super Hero Girls franchise will further expand our already powerful girls portfolio. We know Super Hero is a culturally relevant theme and the DC Super Hero Girls franchise will engage and inspire girls, providing cues to explore heroic acts through play and into real life.”
The Random House Books for Young Readers imprint of Random House Children’s Books has been appointed the master publishing partner for the franchise and will be creating a portfolio of books that will bring the DC Super Hero Girls world to life, beginning in Spring 2016. Random House’s publishing program will be complemented by a series of original graphic novels from DC Entertainment. The LEGO Group will also be key to building the DC Super Hero Girls franchise, leveraging their experience and success engaging girls in creative construction play to bolster this universe through an array of LEGO® building sets designed to inspire girls' imaginations. Additionally, consumer products partners around the world will be engaged in creating a merchandise line dedicated to DC Super Hero Girls across all key categories.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Convergence Superman:Man Of Steel #1

When Convergence was first announced, I thought it was a silly idea to bridge the temporal gap while DC Comics moved offices.

When the titles were first announced, I was thrilled. These two issue mini-series would be a chance for me to revisit some of my favorite characters in their prime.

After reading a couple of weeks of series, I think I am going to end up falling somewhere between silly and thrilled.

And Convergence:Steel is probably the poster boy of that sort of regression to the mean. This is John Henry Irons, inspired by Superman to become Steel, and training his niece and nephew Natasha and Jemahl. This book is written by Steel legend Louise Simonson. And it is drawn by another comic legend, June Brigman. It has everything going for it!

And yet, this story is sort of a middle-of-the-road, sort of pedestrian issue. Yes, I get Irons in the suit, fighting villains, and trying to protect his city. But I also felt like Simonson might have been trying to stuff as much Steel mythos as she could into the issue and that may have diluted things. So we see Natasha, Jemahl, Professor Hamilton, and Bibbo. But that's a lot for 20 pages while having to move the Convergence story as well.

It starts out great!

I mean this is a classic opening splash page with Steel flying into his lab, hammer in hand. Just fantastic.

And, most interesting for me, Steel has his 'powers' under the dome because he is tech based. Only biological powers are muted by Telos. So Steel can operate, defending the town.

And there are Steel's supporting cast: Natasha, Jemahl, and Professor Hamilton.

It was like the late 1990's all over again!

Unfortunately, other tech-powered individuals have their powers as well. That includes Team Luthor scrubs acting as rogues around the city.

Now there is a bit of comic luck to move the plot along. Two rival Team Luthor rogues who are battling each other just happen to crash into the IronWorks lab. Steel follows them out to try to stop them from wreaking too much havoc.

Of all the places to crash through! Maybe a bit too much comic book 'luck'?

I do like that we have seen in a number of books that the inhabitants have been experimenting on the dome in hopes of breaking through. In Steel, Hamilton has somehow extracted some of the techno-organic nanobots which power the dome.

Now I don't know what he is hoping to do, but he injects the nanobots into the pet cat. They bond to the kitty who becomes something of a cat version of the X-Man character Warlock.

Trust me, this is going to follow Chekov's gun rule. If you see techno-organic robots in act one, they'll be bonded to someone important in act three.

Behind Steel's back, Jemahl and and Natasha have made their own armor and fight crime as well. After all, Steel can't be everywhere.

But doesn't this seem like a stretch even for comics? John Henry wouldn't have noticed this? Either the creation of the suits in his factory or them sneaking away? The Metropolis news wouldn't cover these guys? 

Now I know Natasha has donned armor in the past. But has Jemahl?

They head to Bibbo's to break up a minor skirmish. And just at that moment, the dome drops.

It turns out that one of the barroom brawlers was a depowered Parasite! And he suddenly has his powers back!

Now I liked this turn a lot. If all of these superheroes could be captured under the dome, why not villains?

And then even more stuff gets added to the mix. It turns out that Telos has sent Gen13 to fight Steel for survival. And then Natasha and Parasite show up to make this a big old mess.

One of the things that bugs me is that DC has yet to really explain the 'rules' of this tournament. Is it all the heroes in a city (like here and Superboy)? Is it a 'champion' like in Batgirl? Do the readers vote? Because all of Gen13 fighting Steel seems like a mismatch. Heck, Fairchild alone might give him a good fight.

With the Parasite draining people and Gen13 out for blood, a true melee breaks out. And Natasha almost gets killed until John jumps in the way of a Gen13 double blast. The armor gets gets shattered and his spine gets pulped. While John survives, he is paralyzed ...

Oh wait ... we saw techno-organic nanobots merge with an organism in act one!!

So overall this was a fine if maybe overly stuffed issue. Between all the characters and all the plots, this felt a bit too busy. Maybe I wanted to get more John Henry and less of these others. And frankly, I have little use for Gen13.

Still, this wasn't a bad issue. I was entertained. It was good to see these characters again. Simonson captures everyone's voices nicely. Brigman's art is solid and classic. But I wonder if this story would be better served with three issues instead of two.

Overall grade: B