Posts Tagged ‘Power Girl

04
Mar
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 258: Movie Night and More

Blake and Erin get together this week to talk about movies. They give their thoughts on the recent film Chronicle and the newest DCU animated film Justice League: Doom, plus a few other films that have crossed their Netflix queues lately, and look forward to John Carter and The Hunger Games. Moving on to other talk, we say farewell to Sheldon Moldoff and Ralph McQuarrie, celebrate the return of Community, talk about the pre-orders for Avengers Vs. X-Men and the Earth Two costume designs and more! In the picks, we talk about Hack/Slash #13 and The Shade #5. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 258: Movie Night and More

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

15
Jan
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 253: On the Long Road Home

The Showcase guys had a long weekend in Florida this week, but on the way back they find a few minutes to talk about some of the comic shops they found in Pensacola, this week’s announcements regarding the New (New) 52, and why it’s a bad idea to take a road trip with Mike. In the picks, Blake jumps in with The Ray #2 and X-Men: Legacy #260.1 Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 253: On the Long Road Home

07
Aug
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 232: Spider-Man, DC Changes, and Phineas and Ferb

Blake and Kenny hang out this week and touch upon a wealth of new comic book topics, but not before giving their ecstatic review of the TV movie Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension! After that moment of geeking out, the guys talk about the Ultimate Spider-Man news, images of Henry Cavill as Superman and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, the aftermath of War of the Green Lanterns, a more thoughtful reaction to the DC Relaunch, the prospect of a Tuxedo Gin movie, and more! In the picks, Kenny chooses Power Girl #26 and Blake goes with Flashpoint #4. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 232: Spider-Man, DC News and Phineas and Ferb

27
Feb
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 211: Reboots That Didn’t Suck

The Amazing Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, X-Men: First Class… We’re entering yet another era of reboots. And as the fear of any reboot is that it’ll ruin the franchise, today the boys look back at some successful reboots to give us a little hope for the ones ahead. In this week’s picks, Blake digs Twilight Guardian #2 and Kenny goes with Power Girl #20. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 211: Reboots That Didn’t Suck


22
Dec
10

Classic EBI #142: Christmas Comics From Duckburg to the Watchtower

It’s the last Wednesday before Christmas, my friends, and that means it’s time for my annual look at all this year’s Christmas Comics! There are plenty of ’em — a Larfleeze special, a Night of the Living Dead one-shot, an appearance by Dynamo 5 and Jingle Belle, the usual offerings from the Simpsons, Disney, and Archie, and more! They’re all right here:

Everything But Imaginary #379: The Christmas Comics of 2010

But here at the ‘realms, we’re going back to December 14, 2005, and one of my early Christmas round-up columns… let’s take a peek…

Everything But Imaginary #142: Christmas Comics From Duckburg to the Watchtower

Less than two weeks until Christmas, gang, and the comic shops are swarming with Christmas issues this year. There have been Christmas comic books for as long as there have been comic books at all, and if I’d been alive then, I would have been a fan of them for just as long. As everyone who’s been following along with the Christmas PArty testify, this is the one time of year that I lean more Clark Griswold than Clark Kent.

I decided a few weeks ago to get my hands on every Christmas comic book that was put out this year – or at least all those I could find, and share my thoughts on ‘em with you guys here in Everything But Imaginary. Comic books, after all, make the perfect stocking stuffer – if you’ve got kids that you’d like to see get into the habit, what better way than to give them a dose of four-color jollies under the tree? I was surprised, however, at how many I managed to find this year. Perhaps there’s just more Christmas spirit in the air, I don’t know, but I’m in favor of it. So rather than doing one monster of a column, I’m going to break it up into two, and I’m going to begin this week by taking you down to visit the gang in Duckburg.

Since the classic Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade published by Dell back in the 50s, Disney comics have been some of the biggest boosters of Christmas in print, and I’m happy that the current licensee, Gemstone, is continuing the tradition in its third year of publication. This year’s Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade #3 is a ginormous collection of comics both old and new, kicked off with the Carl Barks classic “The Golden Christmas Tree.” Donald Duck’s nephews announce that they want a golden tree this Christmas, but when the tree turns out to be cost-prohibitive, the boys fall into a trap left by a witch concocting a potion to eradicate Christmas forever. It’s a grand adventure in classic Barks style.

Next up is Mickey Mouse in Romano Scarpa’s “It’s a Wonderful Christmas Story,” a familiar tale in which the world-famous mouse falls down on his luck and wishes he’d never lived in Mouseton. When a special guest-star (okay, it’s Santa Claus) shows him what the world would be like without him, he changes his tune. “Sentimental Energy,” by Marco Rota and Tony Isabella, is another gem, in which a group of aliens crash in Duckburg on Christmas – and need very special fuel to get back into the air.

The book also features stories with the Big Bad Wolf, Pluto and Grandma Duck and another Barks classic, “Silent Night,” focusing on Donald’s everlasting feud with his neighbor. It’s a fantastic package that any kid would gobble up.

But the Christmas Parade wasn’t enough for Gemstone. They gave Christmas themes to all four of their regular monthly Disney comics as well, starting with Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #663. Now this issue starts with a non-Christmas tale, Don Rosa’s “The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros,” a fantastic story in its own right, but I’ve already reviewed that one. Mickey Mouse, on the other hand, is featured in two Christmas stories this issue. In “The Spirit of Christmas,” that old crumb Pete is at it again, stealing an experimental virtual reality machine. Mickey makes a play to get the device back, but the real change for Pete comes in the form of three visions of the past, present and future. Yeah, it’s the old Dickens formula… and it still works.

In “Miracle on Main Street,” Goofy gets a job as a department store Santa, but when a little girl sees him changing out of his costume, she loses her faith in Santa Claus. Mickey and Goofy set out to prove that he exists – and have a little help. The issue also features great winter (if not specifically Christmas) stories with Chip and Dale, the Big Bad Wolf and Donald Duck.

In Uncle Scrooge #348, we get a great old-fashioned Scrooge adventure, “The Hunt For White December.” The richest duck in the world makes a bet with his old rival, Argus McSwine, that Duckburg will have a white Christmas. When McSwine realizes he’s going to lose the bet, he calls on Magica DeSpell to help him win. The witch double-crosses him, using the bet as a pretense for her latest effort to get her hands on Scrooge’s number-one dime. It’s really a great adventure.

In “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t,” Gyro Gearloose loses Helper, his lightbulb-headed assistant, while delivering decorations for Daisy Duck’s Christmas party. Gyro calls on his friends to track Helper down, but he may be too late. This is a really unusual story for Gyro – it doesn’t rely on a screwy invention to drive the plot, but rather on his faith in his friends, making it one of the best Gyro stories ever. The book also gives us the Beagle Boys in “The Christmas Gathering” – the notorious crooks call up all their family for a Christmas crime spree. It’s a funny tale that rounds out this issue’s holiday offerings nicely.

Mickey Mouse and Friends #283 continues the yuletide offerings with “Mickey’s Christmas Trees.” Pete is at it again (man, that guy gets around), this time using the Christmas shopping rush to hide a shoplifting spree. Goofy decides to go “undercover” to sniff him out, leading to a hysterical confrontation in Mickey’s Christmas tree lot. Come on, if you’re gonna tell me you don’t find cross-dressing cartoon characters funny, I’m calling you a liar. Later in the issue we get “Songs of the Season,” in which Mickey and Horace Horsecollar go head-to-head in a Christmas song competition – after all, anything would be better than the “Silver Bell Rock” that keeps bludgeoning their ears. It’s a short, quick story about the spirit of Christmas, with a great punchline.

Wrapping up (no pun intended) the Gemstone offerings for this year is Donald Duck and Friends #334, with another Barks story. In “Santa’s Stormy Visit,” Donald has taken on yet another job, this time at a lighthouse, but his nephews are concerned that Santa Claus might not be able to find them there. Desperate, the boys attach a letter to Santa to an albatross and send him off to deliver it, but a hellacious storm blows him off-course. This being a Disney comic, of course, there turns out to be a happy ending after all. “Santa’s Helpers,” by Lars Jensen and Marco Rota, is actually a sequel of sorts to an earlier tale featuring (of all people) the Easter Bunny. When Santa sprains his ankle making his delivery to Donald’s house, he summons the Easter Bunny to finish his rounds for him, asking Donald to tag along. The Bunny soon discovers that Christmas deliveries are a bit different than hiding eggs, and Donald is in way over his head. Out of all the stories I’ve read in these comics, this screwy little tale may just be my favorite.

If Disney comics aren’t your thing… well, you’re kinda reading the wrong column, aren’t you? But let’s finish up this week’s installment with a couple of non-Disney comics. First up is Justice League Unlimited #16. I’m on record as saying that the JLU cartoon is one of the best superhero cartoons ever made, and the comic book is a great extension of a great TV show. This issue it’s Christmas Eve, and the JLU (displaying flagrant ageist policies) has a rule that the junior members are on monitor duty. So Supergirl, Power Girl, Stargirl, Atom Smasher and Firestorm (along with a volunteering Hawkgirl) are holding down the fort at the satellite when the call comes in – Girder has broken out of Iron Heights. The team scrambles to capture him, but Atom Smasher discovers that his motives may not be evil for once. This is a strong Christmas tale that’s also notable for pointing out the diversity of the cast – it’s Atom Smasher, the lone Jewish member of the JLU, who remembers what the season should be about.

And finally, let’s talk about the debut product from a new company, Taylor Comics, I Gotta Catch Santa Claus #1. This comic actually came out in October, although Taylor promises to follow it up with more one-shots, I Gotta Catch the Easter Bunny and I Gotta Catch the Tooth Fairy. This is a rather different sort of story – a grade school chess team finds a rather unlikely contest – a $25,000 chess scholarship for anybody who can provide proof of the existence of Santa Claus. Drawing on their strategic skills, the children lay traps for him at each of their houses… but c’mon. Santa has been at this for centuries. Do they really have a chance? It’s a cute story – not quite a classic, but entertaining enough if you can find a copy for your kids.

Am I kind of a nut for Christmas? Well heck, of course I am. And I make no apologies for that. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glance at some of this year’s holiday offerings, and come back next week when we’ll visit the gang from Riverdale High School, a Christmas party at Dr. Strange’s, and more!

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: December 7, 2005

Just two issues in, I’ve already completely been won over by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s resurrection of the classic western hero Jonah Hex. A hard-ridin’ western hero who has no qualms about killing wrongdoers, or even leaving them to face their own horrible deaths. This issue, when a priest is murdered, Hex rides off for some vengeance. Like this first issue, this is a simple done-in-one story that works wonderfully. The western is back, and DC has got it!

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.

 

15
Sep
10

Classic EBI #65: The Supergirls From Krypton

In this week’s Everything But Imaginary, the characters from the long-defunct Atlas Comics will soon be returning to a comic shop near you! Is this a good idea? Well… it’s not unprescedented, at least.

Everything But Imaginary #367: Back From the Dead-Ish

But in this week’s Classic EBI, we’re headed back to the mysterious days of 2004, when there was no Supergirl, but rumor had it one was about to turn up in the pages of a little comic called Superman/Batman

May 2, 2004

Everything But Imaginary #65: The Supergirls From Krypton

One of the things I like about our little Comixtreme home is how people can ask just about any question about any comic and, chances are, there’ll be somebody around who knows the answer. Where’s a good spot to start reading Aquaman? When did Triathalon quit the Avengers? Is that Lady Gaga’s real hair color?

But one thing that seems to come up over and over, especially since the current arc in Superman/Batman started, is how to reconcile the various incarnations of Supergirl. There have been, after all, several young ladies who’ve used that name, and some of ‘em just don’t jive with each other. So for this week’s course in Comic Book Minutia 101, I’m gonna walk you guys through the Supergirls so that even a new reader can get into the new storyline with little difficulty. Now keep in mind, I’m only talking about characters that were (at one point or another) official DC canon — no Elseworlds (Superman and Batman: Generations), crossovers (Superman/Aliens) or potential futures (DC One Million) will be covered, because nobody likes a migrane headache.

Now everybody knows the first Supergirl was Kara Zor-El, right? Wrong. Ha-ha. I love tricking you guys. Several months prior to Kara’s debut, Jimmy Olsen came into possession of a magic totem that would grant him three wishes. Pal that he was, he decided to use all three to help his buddy Superman, who immediately wished Jimmy had just wished for a cool car or something like a normal teenager, because all of the wishes turned into disasters. One of them was for a “Supergirl” who could be a suitable mate for the ol’ Man of Steel. A girl appeared, clad in a costume similar to Superman’s, and went on to cause lots of well-intentioned trouble before sacrificing herself in a valiant effort to wrap up the story so they could get on to the second wish.

The story proved popular, though, and in Action Comics #252, the new Supergirl debuted. Superman found a spaceship that crashed to Earth containing a girl wearing a variation of his costume (who looked eerily similar to the very woman Jimmy had tried to fix him up with earlier, adding a Freudian aspect to the whole thing) and who claimed to be his cousin. She escaped the destruction of Krypton when her whole city was blown away under a plastic dome. Her father sent her to Earth when a meteor shower killed everyone in Argo City by exposing them to Kryptonite, which makes you wonder why they didn’t try building a few more spaceships all those years they were drifting in the void.

Superman, displaying the sort of foresight that makes airport screenings in America such a rousing success, accepted Kara’s story and helped her build a life for herself by dropping her off at an orphanage. Fulfilling the contractual obligation to introduce one new Superman character with the initials “LL” every five years, she took the human name “Linda Lee,” later “Danvers” when she was adopted. She went on to be a beloved hero and part-time member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, where she had an on-again, off-again romance with Brainiac 5, allowing female fans to swoon over a green-skilled superhero years before males got She-Hulk to satisfy that urge.

It should be noted that, at the time, there were two DC Universes – Earth-1, which was the home of every character we read about regularly, and Earth-2, which was the home of the Golden Age versions of the characters. (Why didn’t the original characters get to be from Earth-1? Because no one at DC could count.) Anyway, someone decided that since Superman of Earth-1 had a cousin, so should his Earth-2 counterpart. Kara Zor-El’s origin was more or less duplicated on Earth-2, but for some reason she decided to call herself Power Girl instead of Supergirl, showing that she was definitely already more liberated and independent than her Earth-1 doppleganger.

All joking aside, this Supergirl is the one most fans remember, love, and rabidly salivate over in bizarre fan fiction that has no place on a family website like this. Interestingly though, like Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation, it took her death to make people appreciate her. Kara gave her life to save the universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, creating the most parodied comic book cover since Action Comics #1 and the biggest shocker of the series right up until the next issue when Barry Allen, the second Flash, died.

The big change of Crisis, of course, was merging Earths 1 and 2 and eliminating redundant characters. But with Supergirl dead, what was to become of Power Girl? Well, someone at DC decided to say that, rather than Kryptonian, she was Atlantean, which makes perfect sense when you think of all the times we’ve seen Aquaman flying around using his heat vision. That origin was also later abandoned, and currently Power Girl’s origin is so screwed up that even Power Girl doesn’t know what it is, and the only hope we have of straightening it out is for Geoff Johns to step in, so let’s stop discussing it before I get a migrane.

After the Crisis was over, John Byrne revamped Superman’s history from the ground up, wiping away his years as Superboy and making him, in fact, the sole survivor of Krypton — which meant that Kara, in the new universe, never existed, except for a cameo in a great Deadman Christmas story a few years later.

Not long into the new continuity, though, Byrne introduced a new Supergirl. With Superboy gone, Byrne explained the fact that the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th Century modeled themselves after him by saying a Superboy existed in a “pocket universe” created by their old foe, the Time Trapper. In that universe, a heroic scientist named Lex Luthor created a synthetic being with shapeshifting powers to fight a trio of Kryptonian villains that were destryoing the world. Christening her Supergirl, he sent her to our universe to bring Superman to help. When the smoke cleared, the new Supergirl was the only survivor of her world. Superman brought her back to his Earth where she roamed, got hooked up with Lex Luthor II (actually Lex in a cloned body), joined the Titans and was generally ignored until Peter David said, “Let me have a crack.”

In his new Supergirl series, Supergirl saved the life of a hopeless reprobate named — wait for it — Linda Danvers. In David’s theology, though, when a being of pure good sacrifices her life to save someone beyond redemption, the two souls are merged into one “Earth Born Angel.” He told some great comics about this new merged Supergirl until, fighting some demons, they were separated. Supergirl went missing and Linda was left with a fraction of her powers. She put on a wig and a costume based on the Supergirl of the Superman cartoon (which we’re not talking about since that’s an alternate continuity, blast it!) and set off to find her. Eventually she rescued Supergirl and set her spirit free with the help of Mary Marvel and a mysterious angelic being named — wait for it — Kara.

Unfortunately, no one could save the book from cancellation. David’s last storyline involved Linda finding the old Pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El transported to our dimension. David has said that, if he’d been allowed to continue the series Linda would have become a new Superwoman, Kara would have remained Supergirl and Power Girl would have joined the cast, making the book a Superman-family equivalent of the popular Birds of Prey. Unfortunately, the book was cancelled, Kara was sent back in time to die in the Crisis and Linda, consumed with guilt, left Superman a note asking him not to look for her and vanished, prompting many fans to speculate she is the mysterious protagonist of David’s new Fallen Angel series. (2010 note: She was not.)

Now what I’m about to say next I don’t know for sure, this is pure speculation, but with Supergirl sales on the rise at the time of her cancellation, it seemed to me that DC was just clearing that character out of the way to make a path for the biggest mistake in Supergirl history (and yes, I include Streaky, the Super-Cat in that)…

Cir-El. A mysterious girl appeared in Metropolis claiming to be the daughter of Superman and Lois Lane from the future, or possibly from last month’s X-Men, considering the backstory. She wasn’t. She was a pawn in a scheme of villains called the Futuresmiths and lasted about a year before Superman stopped them, then she either died or lost her powers or joined the circus or something. At that point the story was so messed up I didn’t even care anymore.

Then came Jeph Loeb. Dear, sweet Jeph Loeb, who at this point could generate buzz by writing a fortune cookie. In Superman/Batman #8, the World’s Finest duo found a lifeboat inside a Kryptonite meteor that fell to earth in issue #6 of the same title, and inside that capsule was a blonde girl with all of Superman’s powers. After a brief conversation in Kryptonese Superman, proving that he hasn’t learned anything about checking a passport in the past 50 years, proudly introduced her to Batman as Kara, his cousin from Krypton

The great thing about this story is that we readers have the same scepticism as Batman. Is she really from Krypton? Is she a threat? A Trojan horse? Or is this really a permanant return to the character, bringing us back where we were nearly 20 years ago when she died in the Crisis? Three issues left to find out that answer.

So to come back to the original question, “What’s the deal with Supergirl?” my reply would be, “This is why retcons suck.”

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: May 2, 2004

Speaking of Legion my “Favorite of the Week” trophy goes to the end of the five-year run of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with the preiminent heroes of the 31st century. In Legion #33, Live Wire, still trapped in the body of the late Element Lad, must save his team from revenge-crazed band of villains seeking retribution for the crimes of the Progenitor (Element Lad after he went crazy) back in the Legion Lost miniseries. For five years, now, this has been a great title, and I hate to see DnA leave. But things are bright — the future holds an arc by Gail Simone, a crossover with Teen Titans (explaining why Superboy is in both books) and a relaunch by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson — so I can smile, secure in the knowledge that the Legion of Super-Heroes is in great hands.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.

03
Jul
10

Recent Roundup: Heroes, Robots, and Something Screwy

Continuing my look at some comics that have hit the stands lately that I think are worth talking about…

Avengers Academy #1: Marvel relaunched their Avengers franchise with a new first issue… heh, just kidding. That’s FOUR new first issues. Actually, six if you want to include miniseries. But I digress. I decided to sample each of the new ongoings to see which, if any, I would want to continue reading. Not surprisingly, the one I enjoyed the most was the one written by my favorite writer in the group: Avengers Academy by Christos Gage. With the Initiative camp shut down, a group of Avengers is given the job of training superpowered teens that were recruited under Norman Osborne’s regime. In the first issue we’re introduced to our core group of six young would-be heroes and the team of Avengers responsible for their training. There’s a lot to like about this issue — the inclusion of Speedball among the trainers not the least of those things. I absolutely despised it when he became “Penance” after Civil War, and bringing him back into the fold this way is keeping true to who the character really is without just ignoring that part of his continuity. The six new characters are well-shaped, well-developed, and each with their own distinct personality. Gage also finishes off the book with a pretty stunning revelation about our young cast. It’s a nice surprise, one that reminds me of the classic reveal at the end of Thunderbolts #1. (It’s not the same reveal, that wasn’t a spoiler, it just gave me the same sort of jolt.) This title has a wealth of potential, and I can’t wait to see what Gage does with it.

Rating: 4.5/5

Batman Beyond #1: Ever since the Batman Beyond TV show went off the air, fans of the character have been waiting to see him get some love in the DC Universe. A couple of years ago, we did get a glimpse of one of DC’s 52 Earths where he seemed to exist. Finally, after a tease in Superman/Batman Annual #4, Terry McGinnis is back in his own miniseries. If you didn’t watch the show back in the day, the premise is simple. We’re in the Gotham City of the future, a “Neo-Gotham,” where Bruce Wayne has gotten too old to continue the fight as Batman. Terry is the heir to the throne, a young man Bruce is training as he once trained his Robins, only this young man has taken on the mantle of the bat. In this first issue, someone has murdered one of Bruce’s old enemies, and as Terry races to save another, it turns out the perpetrator may be someone no one would ever have suspected. The last-page cliffhanger here is fantastic. Adam Beechen has plucked Batman’s most potentially dangerous adversary (even more than the Joker) and put him front and center here. It’s also nice to see a nod to the TV show, with Micron of the new Justice League again trying to get Terry to join up. I hope to see more of those characters as the series continues. Ryan Benjamin‘s style is interesting. It’s not a dark, gritty sci-fi comic, but it doesn’t have the animated feel that the original series did either. It exists somewhere in an in-between place that helps to ease the story into the DC Universe. Great first issue. I can’t wait for the rest of this arc.

Rating: 4.5/5

Fantastic Four #580: Also part of Marvel’s Heroic Age soft reboot, Jonathan Hickman‘s Fantastic Four has become probably their best ongoing title again (as it should be). Reed Richards has assembled a group of child geniuses to be his new apprentices, a group that includes his daughter Valeria, but doesn’t include his son Franklin. (Frank is potentially the most powerful mutant in existence, but doesn’t share Dad’s genius. Johnny Storm instead takes Franklin and his pal Leech to a toy store, where they encounter a pair of old adversaries — the mischievous Impossible Man and the murderous Arcade. Franklin and Johnny’s story makes up most of this issue, and it’s a good one, but what really knocks this issue out of the park is the conclusion, where Reed’s young geniuses decide on a class project, something they can do to help the world. What they decide on is something totally unexpected, something that can actually have a permanent effect on one of the members on the team. There’s something wonderful and brilliant about it. This has always been the book that housed my favorite Marvel characters. I’m really glad that, with Hickman writing it, it’s also a book that finally lives up to the name “The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine.”

Rating: 5/5

Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark #1: Sometimes it’s worth it to just do something silly. Artists Ryan Ottley and Jason Howard, best known for their collaborations with writer Robert Kirkman on Invincible and The Astounding Wolf-Man (respectively), were at a convention last year, throwing around some crazy ideas. One of those ideas, the idea of a bear and a shark getting “mixed up,” somehow stuck and turned into this one-shot. In Howard’s Sea Bear story, we watch as a young man undergoes terrible personal sacrifice to destroy the ferocious sea beast that killed his family. Grizzly Shark, on the other hand, follow a group of hunters that delve deep into the forest to try to hunt down the ferocious killer. Both stories are bizarre, crazy, and bloody as hell. They’re also a lot of fun. The stories themselves are somewhat ridiculous, and the one-page origin tale written by Kirkman to explain just how “they got mixed up” is even sillier. But it’s an awful lot of fun. The giant-sized book gives you two complete, full-length comic book stories for your money, and you’d be hard-pressed to find two crazier, more enjoyable stories on the shelves of recent comic books.

Rating: 4/5

Wall-E #7: This issue wraps up the “Out There” story arc, in which an astronaut named Andy (a nice little nod to Toy Story, I imagine) has returned to Earth to find it empty of human life, including his wife and children. With Wall-E’s help, Andy has been trying to repair his spacecraft, and he just may be on the verge of doing it. This was kind of a low-key ending to this arc… kind of quiet, even a little anticlimactic, but it actually sort of fits in with Wall-E and the desolate world he inhabited before the events of the movie. It’s a bittersweet story, and a highly appropriate one for this title. Bryce Carlson and Morgan Luthi have done a good job with this arc. Carlson’s story is sad, but hopeful, while Luthi’s artwork is a little grimy and dirty, which is absolutely perfect for a story set on the BNL-ruined world that we met in the motion picture. Whether or not the next arc (or any future arcs) will be set after the movie, I don’t know, but I hope they get to that part of the timeline sooner or later. I think there’s a lot of potential there for different kinds of stories than we’ve gotten in this comic so far.

Rating: 4/5

Wonder Woman #600: The 600th issue of Wonder Woman’s title (if you add up the three volumes) arrives with a bang. Outgoing writer Gail Simone and legendary Wonder Woman artist George Perez start off with a tale about an invasion force that only has the power to control men. Diana’s solution? Round up a team of DC’s greatest female fighters to take them out. This story really does the job of showing the position that Diana holds in the DC Universe — who she is and what she means to the other female heroes. There’s also a much more personal half to the story, where we catch up on a forgotten member of Wonder Woman’s supporting cast, someone who first showed up in George Perez’s legendary run on the title. In the second story, Amanda Conner writes and draws a team-up between Diana and Power Girl (with a little Batgirl thrown in). It’s a nice “girl’s night” story that’s very cute, but actually seems to fit in more as a chapter of the Power Girl title Conner recently left than a Wonder Woman story. Louise Simonson and Eduardo Pansica give us a Wonder Woman/Superman team-up, which isn’t bad, but is fairly generic.

The last two parts of the issue get more into the real meat. Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins (doing some work that’s very different than his usual style, but in a good way) provide a story that delves a bit into who Wonder Woman is and how people don’t realize her importance. This serves as a sort of prologue to the last part of the story, the beginning of writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Don Kramer‘s Odyssey storyline, in which Wonder Woman finds herself in an alternate reality where Paradise Island is in ruins and she never became the warrior we know her to be. This is also the story that introduces Wonder Woman’s much-publicized new Costume. I actually rather like the new look (although, like many others have said, I don’t care for the leather jacket), but I also recognize that it’s most likely a temporary change. Even if it doesn’t go back when Wonder Woman inevitably succeeds in restoring the original timeline, she’ll go back to the classic costume sooner or later. It’s an interesting starting point for a story, and I sincerely hope it does the job it promises to do — show people why Wonder Woman is so important, not just to the DC Universe, but to the culture of comic books in general. She’s been severely undervalued as a character for years. I don’t know if Straczynski is the man to change that, but I’m willing to give him a chance.

In addition to the stories, the book has an introduction by TV’s Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, a cover by Perez, and an avalanche of pin-up pages by the likes of Adam Hughes, Nicola Scott, Ivan Reis, Greg Horn, Francis Manpul and many more. Some of these are just okay, but many of them are great. It’s a solid issue, and a fitting anniversary for comics’ first female.

Rating: 4/5

13
Jun
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 174: Greetings From Pittsburgh

Blake and Erin get on the microphone together for another of their epic visits together. The two of them discuss their adventures seeking out new comic book stores, how Blake was worried about defending the honor of the New Orleans Saints in the midst of Steeler nation, the glory of Bacon Night, and what they thought of the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. In the picks, Erin digs Power Girl: A New Beginning, and Blake was a fan of Young Allies #1. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 174: Greetings From Pittsburgh
Inside This Episode:

27
May
10

What I’m Reading: Brightest Day in May

Okay, technically I this is my second Brightest Day post in the month of May, following this earlier one, but it rhymes, and I had a rough week, and I’m tired, and shut your face.

I’m sorry, I… I didn’t mean that. It’s the last week of the semester and I’m worn down and… I like your face. Really?

Let’s review some comics, okay?

Justice League: Generation Lost #1

The other bi-weekly series that we’re going to follow for the next year kicked off two weeks ago with this first issue. Maxwell Lord was an entrepreneur with a metahuman talent, the ability to control people’s minds, but the power was a weak one and even a small strain caused him to break into nosebleeds. Instead of becoming a hero himself, he settled for organizing the “International” incarnation of the Justice League in the 80s and 90s. But in the opening days of what would become Infinite Crisis, Max revealed that he was in fact manipulating the heroes in concert with Checkmate, and murdered the Blue Beetle. Wonder Woman was forced to put him down to stop him from using Superman as a weapon, and the fallout nearly destroyed her career. But in the wake of the Blackest Night, Max has come back to life, and in this issue he’s pulling the biggest scam of all time — using his power to make the world forget he ever existed.

Keith Giffen, who wrote the original Max stories back in the JLI era, is the plotter and breakdown artist for this series, helping give it a strong continuity. This isn’t the “Bwa-ha-ha” League he wrote back then, however. He’s giving us a more serious story, with real stakes for our heroes. His co-writer, Judd Winick, has often been hit and miss for me. His humor books (like The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius) are great, but his superhero work often fizzles out. I’m hoping that having him work in concert with Giffen, we’ll prevent that sort of thing from happening here.

As this is a biweekly book, there isn’t much chance of a “regular” art team. Aaron Lopresti does the chores on issue one, and he does a solid job. Working from Giffen’s breakdowns, he tells a solid story that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Rating: 7/10

As it’s been three Wednesdays since I talked about Brightest Day, another issue of this biweekly has already hit the stands. Let’s talk about it, shall we?

Justice League: Generation Lost #2

In the second issue, Max has cut loose with his power and succeeded in not just making nearly the entire planet forget him, but place some sort of post-hypnotic suggestion that makes people reject the truth when confronted with it. Only four people remember the truth, four members of Max’s former League who were in contact with his blood when he pulled his stunt. Booster Gold is already considered a joke to many of the heroes of the DC Universe, so his word is taken with a grain of salt, but now Max is taking steps to discredit and ruin Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom as well. With no one to turn to except each other, they set out to prove the truth and bring Max to justice.

The plot really kicks into gear this month, as the aftermath of Max’s global windwipe starts to come together. The writers have done a good job of filling in the gaps, even to the point of figuring out who Max would attribute each of his crimes to  in order to make people forget him more readily. The things he allows people to believe about Ted Kord’s death are perhaps more insidious than anything else he’s done, and it kind of makes you hope that Booster Gold is the one who lays the smack-down on him when the time comes. I’m also glad that the writers gave us a more scientific explanation (well… comic book science) for why these four and no one else remember Max. I was afraid it would be more emotional, that these four somehow felt more strongly than anyone else, but an answer like that would really be a disservice to Guy Gardner, the Martian Manhunter, Power Girl, and other members of those JLI teams.

Two issues in, I really think the writers have given us a solid start. I just hope there’s enough meat to the story to last a whole 26 issues.

Rating: 7.5/10

Titans: Villains For Hire Special #1

With the former Titans team pretty much disbanded and its members scattered to the four winds, the assassin called Deathstroke takes the name for his new team of mercenary villains. Their first target? Someone known to the heroes of the DCU all too well.

Plenty has been written about this issue already, so I won’t belabor the point, but there is one positive thing I can say about it. I promised that I wasn’t going to go out of my way to get every Brightest Day related title, but until I read this issue I was afraid that might happen anyway. Now, the chances of me following this story into the ongoing Titans comic are slim to none. First of all, the hero that’s killed in this issue is done so almost in a perfunctory way. I feel like he was discredited, killed just to show how “badass” the villains are. Death in comics, especially in a post-Blackest Day world, should mean something. When Ted Kord died, for example, it was very clearly the opening shot in a war. I don’t get the sense that there are going to be any serious repercussions for what Deathstroke’s team does in this issue.

What’s more, the team doesn’t really make any sense. Deathstroke has never needed a team before, and the only reason this book is called Titans is because no one seems to know what to do with the franchise. There are only two characters in this book I’m interested in reading on a regular basis, Tattooed Man and Osiris, but neither of them are villains. Neither of them belong on a team full of murderers. There’s an attempt to explain what Deathstroke has over them, but it doesn’t make their inclusion seem any less forced.

I was really happy to see Osiris among the living at the end of the Blackest Night, but my happiness was short-lived. I won’t be following his future adventures in this book.

Rating: 3/10

Birds of Prey #1

The birds are back! Barely a year after the title was canceled in the restructuring of the Batman universe, Gail Simone and Ed Benes return to the title they made great. Oracle decides to get the band back together for a new mission, calling up Black Canary, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk to once again help her protect the heroes of the DC Universe from threats they can’t face on their own. While she’s rounding up her friends, however, the recently-resurrected Hawk is having some issues re-acclimating to life among the living. It seems he and his partner, Dove, may have to find a home among the Birds to figure out where to fly.

This new dynamic offers some really interesting story possibilities that I’m sure Simone will have the guts to address, and I don’t just mean the fact that Hawk is the first male member of this traditionally all-female team. Before he died, Hawk walked around for some time in villain’s clothes, and he killed a lot of people, including several founding members of the Justice Society of America. I can’t imagine the folks at JSA headquarters are going to be wild about him joining the “911 operators of the DC Universe,” as Simone often refers to this squad. This is something that almost has to be addressed. But I have every faith in Simone’s ability to do it.

Benes’ art hasn’t lost a step. He’s still got great, energetic, dynamic pencils and fantastic fight scenes. Coloring has progressed even more since his first run with these characters, and it’s not hyperbole to say this book looks better than ever.

I was really bummed when this title was canceled, but I couldn’t be happier to have it back, and back in the best of hands.

Rating: 8/10

The Flash #2

In part two of “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues,” Barry Allen is on the run from a group that mimics his worst enemies, but claim to be from the far future. This group, the “Renegades,” is in our time to arrest Barry because he’s going to murder one of their members 84 days in the future. Barry is none too keen on the idea of being arrested, of course, especially for something he hasn’t done (yet), and the Flash is soon on the run. Meanwhile, the present-day Rogues approach their recently-returned member, Captain Boomerang. Boomerang is none too happy with his old friends, though, as they seem intent on making him “prove himself” before they let him back into the club.

It’s not really clear how much of his time as a Black Lantern Captain Boomerang remembers. Does he remember killing his own son? Does he remember that his teammates basically gave him the boy as a snack? Does he even really want to reunite with the old team? One of the things that made Geoff Johns‘ first tenure on the Flash so memorable was the way he redefined the villains. It looks very much like he’s poised to do the same here.

Something that’s different than when he wrote the adventures of Wally West, though, is the way he’s bringing in more of the goofy comic book science and tech. Things like the Renegades are a very Silver Age-ish concept, and he’s executing them nicely in the present day with a more modern edge. Add in some great art by Francis J. Manapul and you’ve got another book I’m really happy with.

Rating: 8/10

Brightest Day #2

While some of the returnees have splintered off into the other titles we’ve been discussing, here in Brightest Day the focus really seems to be on some of the other characters. Firestorm is in a quandry, with Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond fused together in the Firestorm matrix. The situation is even more uncomfortable because Ronnie doesn’t remember, as a Black Lantern, killing Jason’s girlfriend. Jason, however, remembers it all too well. Also this week, the Martian Manhunter is seeking out the daughter of the scientist who brought him to Earth in the first place, and the Hawks are hunting down their oldest enemy. Firestorm is probably the most interesting part of this book to me, though, with Deadman coming in a close second. Still being jerked around by the White Lantern ring, Deadman gets a fantastic last-page cliffhanger.

The main mystery of Brightest Day seems to be split between this title and Green Lantern, with this book delving into those who returned from the dead and why. I’ve heard a few people understandably perturbed by the lack of Lantern content in this book, but I don’t think that’s what this is about. It reminds me much more of 52, the weekly series Johns co-wrote a few years ago, in that it follows a group of characters in the wake of a major event and examines how it changes their lives and, as a result, their world. Taken on its own merits, I think this story is succeeding quite well.

While I don’t expect a biweekly book to have a regular art team, it bothers me a bit when there are so many different artists on a single issue. Guys like Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Adian Syaf, Scott Clark and Joe Prado are all fine artists, but their styles are too different from one another to transition without a jolt. Hopefully future issues will be able to have a little more consistency.

Rating: 7/10

Justice League of America #45

This issue is part two of the two-part prelude to the five-part Justice Society of America crossover, “The Dark Things.” (They really should have just called it a seven-part crossover.) Jade, a Blackest Night returnee, comes back to earth inside a crystal. This “Starheart” is the mystical artifact that powers her father, the Golden Age Green Lantern, but now Alan Scott’s power is going haywire. The Justice League, Justice Society, and a few friends get together to try to prevent a disaster, but Power Girl seems to have gone mad. There’s only one person Batman can find with the juice to face her — Supergirl.

We know Supergirl is joining the team full-time soon, and this issue works very nicely as an introduction to her membership. She’s called up to deal with a specific threat (a nutcase Power Girl), but she’s already working well with the rest of the group. Robinson seems to want to build a JLA that’s built around all of the main “families” of the DC Universe without actually having the usual members. That’s an interesting idea, and as such, Supergirl is a very good candidate to represent the House of El.

The end of this book is an interesting cliffhanger, if not an earth-shattering one. Future solicits have already spoiled the end of this book (I hate when that happens) and I doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that’s likely to be permanent anyway. Still, it’s a pretty good superhero team-up, and it seems to be helping the League on a much-needed march towards stability.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern #54

The other main mystery in this series is that of the White Lantern itself. Fallen to Earth, we see as Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris and Sinestro (the “New Guardians” of the Green, Violet, and Yellow Lantern Corps, respectively) step up and try to lift the Lantern. It becomes clear, though, that the Lantern isn’t there for just anyone. It’s waiting for someone… or something.

Geoff Johns throws in two different B-plots in this issue, and each of them is intriguing. Atrocitus, “New Guardian” of the Red Lanterns, is prowling the subways of New York in search of something, while the entity that captured Parallax a few months ago makes a play for another of the entities that power the seven Corps. The mystery of the entities is one thing that Blackest Night didn’t dig into very deeply, and I’m really glad to see that storyline is being fed here. The whole “Sword in the Stone” analogy for the White Lantern seems a little on the nose, but that may be a red herring (or green or yellow or whatever the case may be). Atrocitus is becoming more and more interesting as a character, and I’m very curious to hear the long-awaited story of Dex-Starr.

I’ve said it over and over, but one of the best things to come out of the Blackest Night are the new characters in the new corps. I want to see more of those guys, and that’s what Johns is giving to me. It doesn’t appear that’s going to change any time soon, and I’m very happy about that.

Rating: 9/10

Green Lantern Corps #48

Closing off our look at the recent Brightest Day releases, we have Tony Bedard‘s debut as the new writer of Green Lantern Corps. As Guy Gardner leaves for a mysterious new mission of his own (which no doubt will be the focus of the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors series) John Stewart comes to Oa to help with the rebuilding of the planet after the war. As he and Kyle Rayner help the rest of the Corps with reconstruction, the former Guardian called Ganthet approaches his brothers and sisters with a fateful decision — he is renouncing his status as a Guardian for any Corps, and instead will become the new permanently-stationed Green Lantern of the planet Oa.

The idea of Ganthet stepping down and becoming a “grunt” is an interesting one, and to the best of my knowledge it’s something that’s never been done before. Between that and the trade-off of Guy for John, Bedard has immediately created a very different feel for this book than it had under Peter Tomasi. As good as Tomasi’s run was, this new approach has a lot of promise of its own. John has really been forced out of the spotlight in recent years, ostensibly sharing the main Green Lantern title with Hal, but really getting very little screen time. Putting him in this book is already giving him a higher profile, without sacrificing any of the focus on Kyle Rayner or the rest of the cast. We also get a new mystery surrounding the Alpha Lanterns, characters that seemed to be out of a purpose not long ago. Bedard has re-purposed them and is turning them into something different, ominous, and fun to read about.

It’s a new era for this title, but it’s still a very strong part of Brightest Day.

Rating: 8/10

18
Apr
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 167: Iron Man-The Commentary

In just a few weeks, fanboys will be swarming the movie theatres to see the second adventure of Robert Downey, Jr. as the armored Avenger. Before Iron Man 2 hits, though, the guys sit down and re-watch the first Iron Man film. Listen in as Blake and Kenny discuss the first movie, talk about their hopes for the sequel, chat a bit about the character’s history and current state in the comics, and even discuss the movie tie-in toys from Hasbro! In the picks, Kenny goes with perennial favorite Power Girl #1, and Blake cheats a little, doubling up with The Muppet Show #4 and Thor and the Warriors Four #1. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com.

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 167: Iron Man-The Commentary
Inside This Episode:




Blake’s Twitter Feed

May 2022
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Blog Stats

  • 316,824 hits

Blake's Flickr Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.