Archive for Supergirl

Holiday Gift Bag: Supergirl’s Cosmic Adventures

Man, I still got stuff I want to recommend for your gift list, and time’s starting to get short. So today, let’s look at the infinite awesome that is Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade by Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones.

You may remember I reviewed the individual issues of this series when it originally came out in 2008-09. I loved it then, and if you didn’t get a chance to read it then, it’s definitely worth the bucks to pick up the trade paperback.

What we’ve got here is an all-ages comic starring the best version of Supergirl ever. She’s still Superman’s cousin (this time from a part of Krypton that got zapped into another dimension when the planet exploded), but this time she’s a gangly, awkward pre-teen with a lot of enthusiasm and imagination, almost as much self-doubt, a poor grasp of her powers, and an even-worse grasp of life on Planet Earth.

Superman doesn’t really know what to do with her, so he gives her a secret identity and enrolls her in junior high. And she, like almost all junior high students, doesn’t like junior high at all. It doesn’t help that she’s the class freak — always asking weird questions about everyday life based on what she knows from futuristic Krypton — but she soon acquires a rival who’s really her much more popular imperfect clone, as well as a best friend who could turn out to be her worst enemy.

Author Landry Q. Walker and artist Eric Jones really turned out a brilliant comic book with this one. The art is whimsical, emotional, and frequently madcap — the writing matches it, maybe even goes beyond. Supergirl’s character is just plain fantastic — charismatic, goofy, awkward in that way that only teenagers can be — and when things get tough, she’s as likely to turn to her wildly creative imagination — often to her daydreams of herself as the hyper-competent and beloved “Moon Supergirl” — as she is to use her superpowers.

I think this would make a great gift for younger readers, both male and female — but it’d be especially appreciated by girls. Supergirl is a lot of fun — she’s frustrated by all the pointless junior high nonsense she has to put up with, but she also wants to be loved and adored by everyone — she reminds me of several girls I knew when I was close to that age. She’s got tons of moxie (Do the kids today still say “moxie”? Actually, did any kids every say “moxie”?) and charisma, and for all her clumsiness, she makes a great role model.

And the great thing about a lot of all-ages comics nowadays is that they’re often very accessible to adult readers, too. This comic is no exception — the dialogue is smart, the characterizations are excellent, the humor is entirely wonderful.

The book is available for about $13, and I’d recommend it for kids and adults — tons of humor, tons of excellent stories, tons of Kryptonite-powered awesomeness.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade by Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones. Go pick it up.

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Super Smash Sisters

Supergirl #58

Cat Grant suspects there’s a connection between Supergirl and Lana Lang, so she blackmails them into having Supergirl accompany her to visit Winslow Schott, the Toyman, in Arkham Asylum. They suspect him of kidnapping children in Metropolis and sending robot dolls to Cat. But when one of the dolls reactivates and tries to kill Schott, they have to re-evaluate their suspicions about his involvement. Cat’s vehement dislike for Supergirl drives Kara back to Metropolis, where she carries out her own investigation by beating up on bad guys. Cat, meanwhile, runs into some more murderous dolls — this time definitely free of Winslow’s influence.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Could I just say how much more I’m enjoying this non-pop-tart version of Supergirl? So much more personable and non-dorky and interesting than the one from just a few years ago. If they can get her into a new costume that doesn’t involve a belly shirt, the transformation into an awesome character will be complete…

Zatanna #7

Zatanna is visiting Hollywood to pay a visit to a woman who’s putting together a museum of magic, featuring costumes and artifacts from dozens of different DC spellcasters, including Dr. Fate, Ibis the Invincible, Baron Winter, Manitou Raven, Sargon the Sorcerer, and even Zatanna’s father, John Zatara. Unfortunately, all those costume pieces contain tiny fragments of the psyches and magical powers of all their previous owners, and Sargon’s turban is able to take command of the other articles of clothing in the museum, taking them on a magical rampage through Los Angeles. Can Zatanna figure out a way to shut down the spectral sartorial sorcerer?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice done-in-one story with a good emotional core at the center of everything. I love the way so many of these Zatanna stories revolve around either stage magic or Zee’s relationship to her father. You’d think it’d get tiring, but it’s still working pretty well.

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Robin the Cradles

Tiny Titans #33

The two Robin-wannabes, Tim and Jason Toddler, are back, making life tough for regular-Robin. They visit Aunt Harriet‘s Day Care Center and are introduced to the other new students…

That’s Stephanie Brown, the current Batgirl, Carrie Kelley, the Robin from Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” and Cassandra Cain, the ninja Batgirl from a few years ago. And yes, Tim and Jason have brought Robin costumes for everyone, including Jericho, Miss Martian, Kid Devil, and Wildebeest. When Robin and Alfred go to pick up Tim and Jason after school, they end up with a carload of extra Robins, too. And once they all get to the Batcave, Jason makes a new costume so he can be the Red Hood, and Cassandra gets her own Batgirl costume. And there are even more Robins!

Verdict: Thumbs up. This one is awesome and funny from beginning to end. I really enjoyed all the extra guest stars. It’s great the way this comic can appeal to kids and to their grownup parents who know a little more about all the continuity gags being dropped on every page.

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batgirl #1

I wasn’t planning on getting any of these “Road Home” comics, ’cause they just seem like another bunch of crossover comics I didn’t much want to buy. But hey, the “Batgirl” comic is written by Bryan Q. Miller, the writer of the current “Batgirl” series, so it’s like an extra issue of the regular comic! Yay!

Anyway, Bruce Wayne has finally made it back from his spectacularly long trip through time (even though the “Return of Bruce Wayne” comics haven’t wrapped up yet), and for whatever reason, he’s running around Gotham City in a high-tech costume pretending to be a supervillain so he can “test” his fellow crimefighters. Stephanie cat-and-mouses after him for much of the issue before she finally manages to track him down, and he unmasks himself. Stephanie’s reaction surprises even herself…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I loved this one. It’s far more about Stephanie and her methods and reactions as Batgirl as it is about the much-anticipated return of Bruce Wayne. It’s got all the humor, action, and great dialogue we’ve come to expect from the “Batgirl” title, so it’s definitely worth picking up.

Chaos War #2

Hercules’ entire superhero army has already been brought low, taken out by the Chaos King’s access to Nightmare’s abilities to send mortals to sleep. With only himself, Thor, and Amadeus Cho still awake to save a world gone snoresville, Hercules briefly stops time to allow Thor the chance to save more people. Meanwhile, in Hades, Pluto finds his realm of the dead invaded by the Chaos King’s forces — in desperation, he promises to free the dead superheroes and supervillains in his kingdom if they’ll fight to stop the Chaos King — but when Zeus appears to die again, the psychic feedback forces Hercules to drop his time-freezing spell. Herc also summons Eternity, the entity representing all living things, to fight on their side — but he can’t do it, as the Chaos King is his polar opposite — he couldn’t fight him without fighting himself. So finally, Herc summons Sersi of the Eternals, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, and Daimon Hellstrom to serve as the new God Squad.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice action, nice dialogue. Nice work on raising the stakes even more in this series, and it’ll be fun to see how many of these “dead” characters actually make successful resurrections when this is all over.

Supergirl #57

Bizarro World is in deep, deep trouble — the Godship is actually a gigantic alien, and it’s much, much too powerful for Supergirl or any of the Bizarros to defeat. Supergirl exposes herself and Bizarro #1 to blue solar radiation, giving them the ability to create even more Bizarros, but it’s still not enough. If the planet’s defense is going to require Bizarrogirl’s aid, will she be able to summon enough courage to get the job done?

Verdict: Ehh, kinda in the middle. The story seems fine, but I’m just not sure that the Bizarros should be in a story this serious and angst-filled — I always enjoy ’em more when they bring a lot of absurdist humor to the story.

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Yin and Yang

Supergirl #56

Supergirl has kidnapped her Bizarro double, Bizarrogirl, so she can return her to Bizarro World. But when they get to Bizarrogirl’s home, they learn that something has cracked the whole cube-planet open, and everything’s in chaos. Well, more in chaos. After a green space monster eats Bizarro Luthor, Bizarro himself shows up and reveals that something called the Godship is behind all their troubles. It crashed into the planet and periodically sends out space-monster drones to eat people — the drones then get processed to provide the ship’s fuel. Supergirl goes out to check out the Godship — and discovers that it’s not a ship at all. And it won’t be easy to beat it.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It ain’t perfect, but I love this comic’s blend of humor and superheroics. The Godship is plenty impressive, and I like the way the Bizarros aren’t being portrayed as solely dim-witted buffoons. The artistic style is great, too — it’s so nice, after the last few years, to see a Supergirl who’s not drawn to look like a hooker.

The Avengers #5

Time appears to be broken bad, and while the Avengers in the present mostly sit around and gawp at the ongoing disaster (except for Thor. Thank Thor for Thor! He zooms right out and hits Galactus with his hammer), the small group of Avengers in the future have a lot more to do. Future Tony Stark has stripped out all the electronics and armor out of Regular Tony Stark to keep Ultron from using his armor to spy on them. Future Tony Stark and the Maestro reveal that time breaking is all the fault of Kang — he was trying to defeat a super-advanced version of Ultron and kept twisting time to bring in more and more heroes and villains to help him until he finally fractured time good.

Future Tony has a big Rip Hunter map of the Avengers’ future, and he realizes that he has no idea who Noh-Varr is — which means he’s could be the key to stopping time from breaking. The Avengers suddenly find themselves shot back into the past, Groundhog Day style, at the moment a few issues back when Apocalypse and his Horsemen attacked. Can the Avengers figure out the clues they need to prevent the disaster? And who will they have to ally themselves with to stop it?

Verdict: Thumbs up, with reservations. I loved all the future stuff, even when it was chaotic and crazy. I really disliked the stuff in the present, particularly the way that everyone except Thor limped around staring goggle-eyed at a bunch of cavemen and dinosaurs and whimpering that they had no idea how they could help and the whole world was just ruined and how can any of us go on? The whole thing made me want to smack the tar out of a bunch of whiny superheroes. And Bendis’ dialogue was downright weak this time. But yeah, even with all that going against it, I still enjoyed enough of the story to feel happy with it.

The Flash #5

I didn’t actually buy this one. I’ve been feeling unhappy with the way it’s been going, so I flipped through it in the store. General summary: Flash fights the Rogues and also the future versions of the Rogues, who are all cops. They want to arrest him because they say, at some point in his future, he killed one of the future cops. At some point, for no real reason I could see, Captain Boomerang gets a bunch of White Lantern powers.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The random “Hello, White Lantern!” thing was bizarre. The way the future cops are wanting to arrest Barry for a crime he hasn’t committed yet — and if jailed, will never commit — is stupid. But you know what really chaps my hide about this? This comic about the Fastest Man Alive is incredibly slow and boring. I doubt that I’ll be reading any more of it.

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Supergirls and Superboys

Supergirl #55

Hey! Amy Reeder, creator of freakin’ gorgeous artwork on the “Madame Xanadu” series, is now drawing freakin’ gorgeous covers for “Supergirl!” Yay!

In this issue, Supergirl narrowly gets out of Bizarro Supergirl‘s turn-you-to-metal vision by apparently using superspeed to escape before she was completely covered in metal. Aaaactually, I’m not sure the Flash’s superspeedy vibration power really works that way. I mean, if you’re vibrating out of an ice coating, yeah, but not when you’re being turned into metal. Ahh, well. Supergirl rescues the hostages, then gets Dr. Light (the good female Dr. Light, not the very bad and dead male Dr. Light) to synthesize orange sunlight to take away Bizarro Supergirl’s powers. After that, Supergirl kidnaps her Bizarro version to return her to Bizarro World.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great cover, and really nice artwork inside the issue by Jamal Igle. This is all full of quite a bit of wonky comic book science, but the story itself moves along just fine. And next issue, looks like we’ll have a whole bunch of Bizarros hanging around, which is often a lot of fun…

Tiny Titans #31

Superboy, Supergirl, Superman, and the Super-Pets are all attending a birthday party at the Fortress of Solitude for Match, Superboy’s clone-turned-Bizarro. They get several special party guests, like Lex Luthor, the Brainiac Club, and the Tiny Titans version of the Legion of Super-Heroes. All that, plus Jor-El thinks his son is a monkey.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, cute, fun, and funny. The Brainiac Club is very humorous, and the Little Legion is something I’d like to see a lot more of in future issues.

Justice Society of America #42

I forgot that they were doing a long crossover with the Justice League comic, and that the whole thing was going to be written by (ugh) James Robinson, or I would’ve skipped buying this one. As it is, Jade and Obsidian get merged into one squick-worthy being, there’s a big fight with a fake evil Alan Scott, then there’s a big fight with the real evil Alan Scott, and Doctor Mid-Nite has to try to save Starman‘s life.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Even for an issue of a crossover that I haven’t been following, this one was confusing, bizarre, and just badly written. I sure hope they’ll be done with this crossover before another issue rolls around.

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The Brand New Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman #601

The first full issue of J. Michael Straczynski’s run on this title. History has been rewritten — Themyscira was destroyed decades ago, and Wonder Woman has been on the run ever since. A blind oracle grants her a vision of the final days of Paradise Island, after the gods withdrew their protection of the Amazons. A mysterious force attacked the island with superior magical firepower, and Queen Hippolyta died rather than betray where Diana was being hidden. After she leaves the oracle, Diana tracks the men who’ve been pursuing her, but before she can attack them or their shadowy leader, she learns that some of the surviving Amazons are about to be attacked and destroyed. Can she make it halfway around the world in time to save them?

Verdict: I’ll give it a thumbs up. I was not expecting much from this, because in the past few years, J. Michael Straczynski hasn’t done much to justify the very high opinion that people have of him. His work on “The Brave and the Bold” has mostly spotlighted a lot of stories where JMS mangles characters’ personalities, and his just-begun run on “Action Comics,” where Superman sets out to walk across the country, has been greeted with howls of derision. In contrast, this one is… not bad. It’s not the best comic of the week, but it isn’t bad at all.

So why is this one better than his other DC books? My theory is that JMS does his best writing on his own characters — “Babylon 5,” “Rising Stars,” you name it — but when it comes to characters that he didn’t create himself, whose personalities were crafted and established by other writers, he doesn’t do as well, because he gives them the personalities he wants them to have, rather than the personalities that readers have come to expect. And this Wonder Woman, with her completely altered origin and history, with none of her previous supporting cast, is a completely different character than any previous Wonder Woman. Will he be able to write a decent Wonder Woman when the reality-altering storyline is over? Or is JMS hoping we’ll all forget what Wondy was like before he came along? Only time will tell.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4

Welcome to the Wild West, where murderous thugs execute homesteader families and no one defends them… except for a time-traveling bat-obsessed masked man wearing a black cowboy hat and duster. Vandal Savage, the immortal caveman, has survived to the 1800s and has hired Jonah Hex, the West’s foremost hired gun, to protect him while the diabolical Dr. Thomas Wayne tries to open a mysterious box with a bat emblazoned on the cover. Can Bruce Wayne save the innocent, punish the guilty, preserve the future of the Wayne family, and avoid getting gutshot by Jonah Hex? Hmm, well, maybe not all of that…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice Western fun with a little Batman flavor to go with it. I completely approve.

Supergirl #54

We start out with a great moment — with disaster all around and a little kid in grave danger, Jimmy Olsen shows up to save the day. But he runs into trouble soon afterwards after he gets abducted by a Bizarro Supergirl. And where’s the regular Supergirl? Angsting it up at home because she doesn’t want to be a superhero any more after the destruction of New Krypton. When Lana Lang discovers what’s tearing up Metropolis, she calls Kara and convinces her to go take care of the Bizarro. But is Supergirl prepared for the new Bizarro superpower?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great stuff with Jimmy Olsen at the beginning, and decent superheroics, elsewhere. The Bizarro Supergirl is very nicely creepy, and I’m generally happier with the art style than I’ve been with a lot of previous incarnations of the main character. There are also some nice plot complications going on in the background that will be a lot of fun eventually.

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A Bunch of Short Reviews, Followed by a Hiatus

I got a great big stack of comics sitting on the desk, all ready to start reviewing for the week.

And I’m also getting a bit tired of blogging. The weather is nice, I’ve got a stack of interesting new games I could be playing, I’ve got a bunch of books I never have time to read, and I’ve got non-blog writing I’ve been wanting to do forever. The blog gets in the way of all of that.

So here’s what I’m gonna do — get all these comics reviewed today, then take most of the rest of the week off, except for Friday Night Fights. Maybe I can recharge my batteries, maybe I’ll get some writing done, maybe I’ll actually finish a book for once.

So here we go…

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #18

Batman teams up with the Martian Manhunter to take on Ma’Alefa’Ak, the other last survivor of Mars, and later, Dr. Fate assists when Batman is possessed by the evil Martian.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story with a few twists and turns. Evil Batman is lotsa fun.

The Flash #3

Captain Boomerang gets magic black-lantern boomerangs, Barry Allen gets in trouble at work, and the Flash gets chased by the futuristic Rogue-inspired cops

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s just not particularly fun or exciting.

Green Lantern #55

Lobo’s in town, and that means a bunch of ring-slingers are gonna get beat up. All that, plus the origin story of adorable rage-filled Red Lantern cat Dex-Starr!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great stuff, including Hal on a space motorcycle. And the Dex-Starr origin is worth the price of admission all on its own.

Heralds #5

Nova has kidnapped Valeria Richards, and all the heroines have to go into space to rescue her. Will Frances the diner waitress be able to assist with her mysterious connections to Nova? Or is someone gonna die?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Not enough of Tonci Zonjic’s artwork. Too much confusion in the plot. A whole lot of stuff unresolved. This series started really well — I’m disappointed it ended so poorly.

Joe the Barbarian #6

Joe makes it to Hearth Castle, a deeply friendly and comforting place, where everyone promises to make his life completely happy. But Zyxy and Smoot track him down and try to get him to return to his quest.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Two issues left ’til the end of this one. Joe has to get a soda and try to save both himself and this weird little fantasy world that may be a lot more real than we expect.

Legion of Super-Heroes #2

While the Legionaires try to clean up after the destruction of Titan, Saturn Queen takes control of Ultra Boy, Earth-Man tries, probably deceitfully, to win his new teammates’ trust, and Saturn Girl travels time to find her children.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Too much stuff happening! Come on, it’s just the second issue — shouldn’t there be a little lead-up before we get this many subplots going on at once?

Madame Xanadu #24

Rosalyn is trying to live a normal life, but she’s begun to see visions of normal people with horrific injuries — visions that no one else can see. Can Madame Xanadu help cure her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice work, great setting details for 1963. Rosalyn is a very appealing character. The art by Marley Zarcone is different than normal for this book, but it works very well.

Supergirl #53

The War of the Supermen is over, and New Krypton is destroyed, and now Supergirl doesn’t much wanna be Supergirl anymore. But a new Bizarro Supergirl may soon force that issue.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice characterization, nice dialogue, cool art. Supergirl’s desire to get out of the spandex-wearing career is written really well.

Aaaaand that’s that. See y’all Friday evening.

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Friday Night Fights: Hit like a Girl!

People, it’s already past the mid-point of June, and it’s getting painfully hot. I can’t do anything about that. Sorry. All I can do is try to distract you from this increasingly awful heat with some early-weekend fisticuffs via… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

The last time we featured Supergirl here, it didn’t really end well for her, as she got impaled on a giant shard of artificial Kryptonite. But we’re gonna make it up to her now. This is from that same storyarc, from May 2007’s The Brave and the Bold #2 by Mark Waid and George Perez. A little background info — Supergirl and Green Lantern have traveled to a planet obsessed with gambling to try to shake out a stolen artifact that can foresee the future. In an attempt to get the thief to reveal the artifact’s predictive abilities, the Girl of Steel is going to fight a couple of giant rock monsters while in this disguise:

And what follows after that… is this:

Dang it, that didn’t distract anyone from the heat at all! I think it’s actually getting hotter!

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Friday Night Fights: A Giant Shard of Artificial Kryptonite!

It’s time for the twelfth and final match of the latest round of Friday Night Fights.

Let’s set our stage. It’s The Brave and the Bold #6, from October 2007, by Mark Waid and George Perez. Someone has stolen the Book of Destiny — the magical book owned by Destiny himself. The book shows the complete history of the universe — everything that has or is going to happen. By reading it, you can know your how your enemies are going to move against you and counter them perfectly. It’s fallen into the hands of a guy named Mondath, who plans to use it to become the champion of the planet Rann, and it’s going to get handed over to the evil Luck Lords, who want to use it to conquer the universe. Green Lantern, Supergirl, Adam Strange, and Batman are trying to fight off Rann’s forces, and Batman figures out that the Challengers of the Unknown, because they’ve cheated death, are completely invisible to the Book of Destiny, so Adam Strange uses the Zeta Beam to teleport them from Earth to Rann. Their actions are the only possible counter to the Book of Destiny, and they show immediate success in foiling the plans of Mondath and the Luck Lords.

Or so Supergirl thinks, until she gets a rebuttal from a Giant Shard of Artificial Kryptonite.

Thanks to our pal SpaceBooger for another fun 12 rounds of weekend fightin’, and I’m looking forward to the next 12, too.

Y’all have a merry weekend, and I’ll see y’all back here on Monday.

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Blondes Have More Fun

Power Girl #1

The bestest blonde bombshell in comics finally gets her own ongoing series. And it’s got art by Amanda Conner! This is fantastic news all around.

Power Girl is settling in at her new hometown, New York City, and re-starting her old secret identity as Karen Starr, owner of Starrware Labs. But the Big Apple gets invaded by rampaging robots that transmit — for lack of a better word — bad vibes, and PeeGee gets captured by the Ultra-Humanite. What’s the evil brain-swapping super-ape gunning for?

Verdict: Numerous enthusiastic thumbs up. Yay, an ongoing series for Power Girl! Yay, art by the impossibly awesome Amanda Conner! All that plus lots of great character moments for Karen Starr and her employees. And a nice cliffhanger with the Ultra-Humanite, too. Go pick it up!

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #6

A great series ends here — hope they eventually pick it back up for an ongoing.

The school principal has revealed his big secret — he’s secretly Mr. Mxyzptlk in disguise! And he plans to destroy both the Third and Fifth Dimensions to give himself ultimate power! Belinda Zee has been turned into a statue, Supergirl’s time-traveling future self has been pulled back to the future, Superman and Lex Luthor have been turned into two-dimensional crayon drawings, and it’s all up to Supergirl and Lena Luthor to put their differences aside and save the world. I’d say more, but I don’t want to give away too much, ’cause it’s awfully good.

Verdict: Another colossal thumbs up. Vast, insane fun. I’m pretty irritated that this one is over already, and I really hope they come back with a good sequel. Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones deserve tons of credit for crafting this impossibly charming and fun series. If you haven’t gotten it already, keep an eye out for the trade paperback.

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