Thursday, October 23, 2014

K. Perkins On Newsarama


Since the announcement of the new creative team on Supergirl and the 'bold new direction' of the book, I have been waiting for an interview or some publicity. And ... at last ... it has happened. Newsarama has a very intriguing interview with Supergirl writer K. Perkins and here is the link:
http://www.newsarama.com/22518-meet-supergirl-s-new-female-writer-and-kara-s-new-scoobiegang.html

Now I highly recommend heading over there and reading the interview in its entirety. It is very interesting and lays a nice foundation of what Perkins thinks of Supergirl as well as giving some hints about the new setting. I was pretty impressed by her answers although one word made me nervous.

Here are the pieces of the interview that really grabbed me and my thoughts.


Newsarama: Kate, how did you get interesting in writing for DC?
K. Perkins: Call me Perkins. We're friends now.
I've always been a fan of DC and comics in general. I love the medium and am thrilled this is my next step in writing. I gravitate toward characters that have oceans of complexity underneath powerful exteriors, so DC is a pretty natural place to end up, isn't it?

Nrama: Yep! What interests you about writing Supergirl?
Perkins: I really love Kara. There's nothing more exciting to me than writing for a character who is smart, tough, strong-willed, and curious, but is also deeply flawed (and often unapologetic about it).
Also, who doesn't love a girl who kicks a little ass?

Now I just posted about the various non-comic interpretations of Supergirl and how each one seemed to concentrate on one of her many facets: her innocence, her fierceness, her thirst for justice, her heroic journey. So to hear Perkins recognize how complex she is was refreshing. How can you be bright and optimistic and fierce and strong and also new to the hero business but growing. It isn't easy. And trying to make all of those aspects seem legitimate and feel real isn't easy. I suppose Sterling Gates is the most recent writer to capture all that. But sounds like Perkins understands it.

She follows it up by calling Kara smart, tough, strong-willed, curious, and deeply flawed. And that all sounds great ... except the word 'deeply'. Look, this Kara has been through a ton. I understand she isn't perfect and I don't want her to be. But that 'deeply' makes it sound like something pervasive, something dominant.

Some of my response may be the PTSD from all the bad publicity I have read about Supergirl over the years. The lonely, isolated, bull-headed, dark, disaffected, 'Hell on Wheels', 'just as likely to fight her friends as her enemies', angry, alien. I am thrilled that Perkins didn't use any of those words!

Nrama: True, but Supergirl has gone through a pretty big evolution since she first landed on Earth when the New 52 started. How would you describe Supergirl right now? What's she like?
Perkins: Like in everyone's personal journey, Kara's on a quest to discover who she is. She has been for awhile. Where Mike and I pick up the story, Kara's just come off her tour with the Red Lanterns (that didn't work out so well), people close to her are suddenly gone or unavailable, and she has a "Now what?" moment.
I would say she's really embracing that moment of flux and is moving forward on a self-started path of discovery.

Nrama: Why did you think this challenge in particular made sense for Supergirl at this point?
Perkins: From my point of view, Kara was kind of grabbing at straws before Crucible Academy. She was trying to find out who she is and where she fits in the universe through other characters. I think she's back at a new kind of zero now.
She fully realizes her life on Krypton is gone and understands that mourning won't do her any good any longer. So, she starts anew on Earth by her own choice. Making that step is an incredibly hard thing to do for anyone, especially for someone who has to count largely on herself.
And though she make strides on Earth, she chooses to remain at Crucible because she sees the value of being there.

Remember, Tony Bedard had just brought Supergirl to a place that I was happy with. Heading off into space and not calling Earth home is a little concerning to me. I don't know if I would put a negative spin on her time with the Reds. And it does sound ominous that no one is around for her. What about Superman? Siobhan? Michael?

I almost wish the impetus for staying at Crucible was one more born out of a sense of duty than because she again felt abandoned or alone on Earth.

All that said, this sounds like Kara's choice. Her journey. I liked hearing that the mourning is a little behind her, that she would start anew on Earth if not for this opportunity. And, for me, Supergirl being on this journey is the best part of her character. She is inspired to be a hero like Superman but she isn't there. She's learning. What better place than at a school?

Still, I really really really (that's 3 reallys) want Superman to be a part of her life.


Nrama: Are we going to see Captain Comet again in Supergirl's life. And what new or returning DC characters will show up in Supergirl?
Perkins: We have a great mix of new and returning characters (as you can probably tell from issue #36's cover by the brilliant and talented Emanuela Lupacchino).
Captain Comet — now just Comet — is back, as well as Maxima (both, of course, slightly reimagined). They're part of our galactic version of Kara's scoobiegang at Crucible.
A new character in Kara's scoobies is Tsavo, an impassioned, driven super-werecat with his own agenda (maybe a nod to a certain meow in Kara's past?). He and Kara form a special relationship over the similar ways they see the world/universe.
Also introduced is Crucible's staff — Lys Amata, a shifter, Preceptor of Crucible Academy, and overall badass woman, and Korstus, Crucible's Vice Preceptor and voice of reason and morality.
It's a fun, complex cast to write for as no one is who they appear to be.

This was easily my favorite part of the interview as we finally hear a little bit about the direction.

We had heard about Maxima already.
Captain Comet being there is brilliant, especially given his role as love interest in Bedard's Futures End issue. And the fact he is called Comet is doubly brilliant, tapping into Supergirl's history.
And then Tsavo? Is he some sort of Streaky riff?

Any time a creator taps into Supergirl's history, it makes a fan like me very happy.

Add to that the staff descriptions and it sounds like Buffy The Vampire Slayer at Hogwart's. And that sounds like fun.

You can feel the energy and enthusiasm and passion in this interview. It all sounds fast-paced, exciting and introspective.

Refreshingly, there isn't anything overtly negative. No one talks about how dark the book is ... how dark Supergirl is ... how horrific her life is. Thank you for that K. Perkins!

Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about what's coming up for Supergirl?
Perkins: Mike and I are having a blast writing this arc. We are challenging a lot of things and are pushing Kara (and the whole cast!) to make bold choices. Also, we just really want to go to super school ourselves. Pick up issue #36 in November and let us know what you think!

I'll be there!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Supergirl #38 Flash Variant


After something of a dry spell, Supergirl is getting the benefit of variant covers.

In honor of the Flash's 75th anniversary, the January DC books will sport a Flash based variant cover. And they covers are based on classic DC covers albeit with a Flash upgrade, like this cover of Supergirl #38. I'll be covering all the January solicits tomorrow but today is all about the variants.


Here is a link to Newsarama's coverage: http://www.newsarama.com/22474-the-flash-gets-next-variant-cover-month-for-75th-anniversary-in-january-2015.html


Supergirl #38 is a riff on Supergirl's first appearance in Action Comics #252. The art is by Michael Avon Oeming. And it is amusing to see the Flash interrupt the cousins from meeting.

They are all worth seeing and trying to figure out what the base cover is. But I thought I would share two.


This is Action Comics #38 by Dave Johnson. And this is based on ...


Neal Adams' Action Comics #485 (which is a riff on the more famous Superman #233).


And Harley Quinn #14 by Bruce Timm which is based on ...


Bruce Timm's Mad Love special.

I hope these are of the 50/50 variety of variants so I don't need to shell out major dough and reserve copies.

I wonder/hope if there will be Supergirl based variants when her TV show hits the small screen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Batman/Superman #15

Batman Superman #15 came out this week and ended the three part 'amnesia' storyline. Greg Pak has, for the most part, made this a cerebral title for these characters, focusing on elements of their personality and ethics. Yes there is action in all these stories but most have been Batman and Superman dealing with some conundrum and wondering how far they would go, what is the limits of 'good', and in this instance, what sort of personality bubbles under the surface. Where does nature end and nurture take over? What would Batman be if he didn't remember his horrific origin and twisted adventures? What would Superman be like if he didn't remember his upbringing and ethics.

The art work is something of a group effort with art by Pascal Alixe, Diogenes Neves, Cliff Richards, and Mark Deering. After months of delays, apparently due to Jae Lee, it looks like DC is working to get this book back on track. This catches things up and clears the deck for new artist Adrian Syaf. I will state that I love Jae Lee's art. But the delays were killing the momentum of the book. The team on this issue do a nice job bringing a similar style and getting the story told.

The book opens with Kaiyo, the chaos demon, telling Lord Satanus that Bruce and Clark can get their memories back simply by wishing for them. What has stopped them from wanting to return to normal? Maybe it is how much they are enjoying the freedom of a blank slate.


Remember, last issue an untrained Batman couldn't save lives and stop the Scarecrow and as a result some innocents died. It made him question moving forward as a hero at all. But his interaction with Lois must have moved him. Inspired by her detective work and strive for justice, he looks her up, asking for help.

So, while he might like the carefree life of millionaire Bruce Wayne, he knows that he can't let innocents die. And he admits he needs help. I like that Lois recognizes that there must be some part of Batman still in there. Although I would hope that everyone would step up to help people in danger.


To entice (seduce?) Lois into action, Batman says he will bring her along. And the extra lure is that she will be part of the action. He brings her a Batgirl suit and she gladly puts it on.

They spar with each other as they leap the rooftops but it is clear there is some flirting and playful touching and romance happening here. Who is seducing who? It is strange to see Batman smiling and saying how great a catch Lois is.

That said, I don't like Lois getting into costumes and joining the fray like this. Lois strength is that she is one of us, someone without powers, who still impacts the world around her. I don't need her in a cape and slugging it out with villains to know how great she is. She is fine as an intelligent investigative supporter.

As for Superman, he is enjoying his newfound role as tough guy wrestling the world into line. He catches up with Mangubat accosts him. And then he lets a suddenly ruthless Metropolis PD have their way with him, pummeling Mangubat with their nightsticks.

It is just as odd to see Superman watch this 'punching down', this overt and unnecessary violence happening in front of him without stopping.


And even more, he looks downright scary with this odd smirk as he says the world doesn't need anyone's help other than from him. Superman grabs Batman and puts him into a cage, a cage made from support beams Superman has molded into a cell.

This seems to be nature and not nurture. This isn't Pa Kent's son. All bare-chested bravado, acting as judge and jury ... that isn't Superman.

Of course, that is the Superman in Earth 2, Injustice, etc. Kind of sad.


Thankfully, Pak actually shows that Lois' place isn't in combat. When Mangubat and his drones press their attack, Lois get injured in the leg.

Bruce blames himself ... as he should. I would say he should know better but he does have no memories.

Again, I don't need my Lois to be swinging haymakers to recognize her strength.


For whatever reason, seeing Lois injured angers this already slightly unhinged Superman even more.

He cauterizes her wound with heat vision. He then pounds Mangubat and flies him into the sky. This is going to be a very public execution.

Maybe I can say that the anger at Lois' injury shows that somewhere deep in him, his memories are crawling around.

But this is the scary part of an out of control Superman. Now he isn't just judge and jury but also executioner. This is the Superman from the other books, the Dark Superman we see all too often. But as I said, seeing this here and knowing this is the 'wrong' Superman is interesting. I think Pak is trying to show who Superman is by really showing what he isn't here.


Lois knows that Superman would never forgive himself for killing someone. She knows someone needs to stop him. And she knows the only one who could get through is Batman.

She asks Bruce to remember.

There is a pause. He might not want to return to that brooding guy. And he actually loves Lois and knows there is no place in the 'other' Batman's life for her. Ultimately he knows what's right. He kisses Lois and remembers, complete with a slick splash page with highlights of his career.

I do think there is a little too much 'love at first sight' here. Both of them acknowledge a burgeoning love here ... but doesn't it feel soon? Or am I an old jaded reader?


And Batman knows the strings to pull.

He calls Superman Clark and tells him he has to know who he really is. And the word Clark opens the flood gates. Also in a splash page we see Superman remember everything.

He floats down with Mangubat, tells the cops not to beat him, and thanks Batman.

Just like that, the adventure is over. Batman walks away from Lois. Catwoman walks away from Clark.

Nurture is back.


But there is this wonderful ending where Superman and Batman deal with what they have done.

Lois tells Superman that the person he was without memories is not who he is.

But Superman knows it was. He realizes that somewhere in him is that angry control freak. That sort of super-dictator, that bully, is just under the surface. I wonder how often it is a struggle to not let *that guy* just come out. That is the never-ending battle.

That's just great.


And Batman. Well, he tells Alfred to not call him Bruce. Because Bruce is the mask. He is Batman. Somehow the small family picture in the background of the first panel adds to the funeral feeling here.

All those things that Bruce was just enjoying ... flirting, parties, toys, etc ... it is gone. He can't be that man. He has to be this crusader. And we see Alfred silently mourn.

So I will admit that when I read the first part I sort of bemoaned another look at 'just how far will Batman and Superman go' theme feeling we had read a number of those stories already. But I really liked this story. It was interesting to see just how much the overlay of tragedy has formed who these two are.

That said, I'd love an old-fashioned punch-em-up. Maybe throw in a couple of super-villains.

Overall grade: B+/B

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sales Review: September 2014


ICv2's coverage of last month's sales somehow slipped past me so I am sorry this post is coming in later than usual.

September is DC's gimmick month (although with all the 50/50 variants lately there have been a fair number of months which could fit the bill). Last month was the Futures End month, a look into the future of the title characters in issues complete with lenticular covers. As I said during the month, unlike" Zero month" with its origin stories or "Villains month" with its look at arch enemies, "Futures End" month didn't entice me to sample new titles. Why read a new title if it is a future story which may never come to pass? In fact, I skipped some of my monthly titles! I guess I am not a complete completist.

The sales for the month are reviewed here: http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/29843.html
As always, I thank ICv2 for their great coverage and recommend you visit the site.


Supergirl's Futures End issue was a mixed bag. Again we have a story where she was (presumably) defeated by the Cyborg Superman and brainwashed.

While she does end up throwing off the brainwashing, ripping off her robotic bits and defeating the Cyborg, she only does it with the help of her boyfriend Captain Comet.

The art was lovely.


I guess my lack of excitement over the month didn't mean sales weren't brisk. (As always, when I say sales, I mean volume purchased by comic stores for sales.)

Amazingly, all DC titles sales were up. And it has to be because of the fancy covers and the Futures End crossover.

Futures End Supergirl sold 48,597 units. Incredible. That is the most the title has sold since the second issue of the New 52! Even her zero issue only sold 34K. I hope that some of those new readers, buying the cover, will stick around. Of course, there is a new direction coming up.

I suppose this means that DC will continue doing such things as fancy covers and big crossovers as they seem good for business in the short term. Let's hope Supergirl continues to get some boost from these things.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

IGN's Interview With Laura Vandervoort At New York Comic Con

There was very little Supergirl news coming out of New York Comic Con. And I have to say that surprised me.

The comic is just about to kick off a bold new direction. Kate Perkins is taking over the primary writing job and is only the second woman to write Supergirl. Emanuela Lupacchino is the artist. Things are going to be very different. You would think that with general comic panel and a Women in Comics panel strictly for DC that the book would have got a little publicity. But nothing.

And let's not forget that CBS has picked up a Supergirl show for next season. Now it is early. But surely there could be something official about the show. But nothing there either.

There was one thing that I did stumble across which was this interview that IGN did with Laura Vandervoort where they talk about her show Bitten as well as her thoughts on Supergirl. Here is the link:
http://www.ign.com/videos/2014/10/09/laura-vandervoort-talks-cbss-supergirl-show-and-fan-encounters-nycc-2014

Please visit the site.


I am a fan of Vandervoort and I love that she feels some attachment to the Supergirl character. So I have a couple of comments about this interview.

I love that she talks about whoever is taking over the role should pick something that resonates personally about Supergirl and bring that to the character. With Vandervoort I think she brought that strive for justice, even a fierce edge about it. She was great as Kara.

But I do like that she acknowledges that everyone has a sense of what Supergirl should be like. As I always point out here, Supergirl is a complicated character. Is she sweet and innocent? Bright and optimistic? Fallible as a new hero? Fierce crusader of justice? All of the above? And there is a subset of her fandom which think she should be primarily one of those categories.

I am glad Vandervoort went with the fierce aspect.



Vandervoort also wouldn't mind guest starring on the Supergirl show if they would have her. As she says, Smallville did a great job with that, bringing in Terence Stamp as Jor-El, Helen Slater as Lara-El, and Christopher Reeve as Dr. Virgil Swann.

For me, I wouldn't mind seeing her as a villain (something she says in the interview). And if I had to pick one that has some Supergirl history, I would pick The Enchantress.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: Supergirl #35

Supergirl #35 came out this week, the last issue of the Tony Bedard's all too short run on the title. From the beginning, Tony Bedard said he wanted to rehabilitate Supergirl, moving her away from anger and isoloation and more towards optimism and hope. And I think he succeeded ... amazing given that one of the editorial choices was to send Supergirl into the ranks of the Red Lanterns.

This issue seems to cement that new outlook by Kara. She rejects a 'bad boy', doesn't lose control, grows in a relationship, and (gasp) seems happy! This issue seems to be a repudiation of much of the tone that this title had in the first 2 plus years.

Of course, cement might not be the best verb as all of this is going to go away next issue when Kara heads off to outer space school. So maybe showcase would have been a better word. Still, this was a nice little coda for Bedard's run, an issue were the mission seems forgettable but sets up the characterization nicely.

The internal art is done by Jonboy Meyers who brings a bright, stylish, almost Anime-like feel to the book. It works nicely with the feel of the story and reminded me of Ame-Comi Girls.

The issue starts with Supergirl flying Michael's parents to their home so they can be reunited.

The interaction is sweet. The family thanks her, telling Supergirl that she didn't need to fuss over them, and makes sure that taking them home isn't taking her away from her Justice League duties. These are ordinary, nice people and I like them already.

But Supergirl's response is even better. She wants more friends like Michael, people away from the insanity of her adventures. It means she is embracing Earth as her home, looking for a community to be a part of, and a circle of friends to be part of. The smile on her face says even more.

That is about a light year away from the Scott Lobdell Supergirl who called Earth a 'ball of mud filled with sweaty humans' (I'm paraphrasing from H'El on Earth).





Unfortunately life isn't always so simple. When Supergirl enters Michael's apartment who is there waiting for her ... Red Hood.

Even this internal monologue tells us so much about the current Supergirl. The Red Hood is trouble. And she is 'sick to death' of trouble.

You get the sense that Kara recognizes the pandemonium of her time on Earth up to now and just wants to catch her breath.


 She grabs Jason and flies right through Michael's window to get him away from the family.

Now I really have never cared for Jason Todd since his resurrection. Here he is sporting some new super-powers. And he is a true anti-hero. He wants to stop alien weaponry to hit the streets and he needs some back up. This wraps up the 'alien gun runner' plot that Lobdell started and dropped in Superman. (Remember Brainiac Lois freezing a whole city block?)

And Jason liked how Kara and he teamed up on Warworld. And he thinks Supergirl won't be so controlling as Batman would be. I suppose that means that he thinks she is something of a loose cannon who might look the other way if he decided to use lethal force. Again, I can't help but think this is a look at who Supergirl was and where she is now.


There is a lot of punching and flipping and shooting, an almost afterthought in this issue.

But I did like how Supergirl acknowledges that maybe she is drawn to 'bad boys'. But admitting you have a problem is the first step of beating it? She also calls him obnoxious. And the tone in my head was that she wouldn't get sucked into a web of chaos again.

The initial battle leads them the the stronghold. To get the information, Red Hood had to threaten to kill one of the thugs, something Supergirl didn't appreciate.

One of the thing that Supergirl writers seem to struggle with is how to have her be a part of the super-family but not be defined by Superman. Her adventures shouldn't be Superman adventures with Kara simply as a stand-in.

I liked this panel. When Red Hood asks Supergirl to look the other way like Superman does with Batman, she says outright that she isn't her cousin. I actually like the annoyed look on her face. She might aspire to be a hero like Superman. She might be striving to honor the S-shield. But she isn't a follower. She is her own person. 


 Then there is more action as the two shut down the weapons ring.

And Supergirl helps mop things up. Red Hood can't help but be impressed. She is something all right.



It reminded me of this moment in Superman/Batman Annual #5 where Dick Grayson (acting as Batman) calls Supergirl magnificent.


Or this moment where Damian Wayne says she has earned his respect.

I like that the Bat-family recognizes Kara for the greatness she is.


 With the adventure over, we actually get to see some downtime between Kara and Michael.

One thing I liked was how Supergirl replaces the window she smashed, even putting on a red bow.

Michael and Kara care for each other. He worries about how alone she is. And let's face it, she has been alone for most of her New 52 life. Heck, she created a true fortress of solitude, someplace she could be completely alone. It was only with the Reds that she had someone to lean on.

But I think Bedard ends this chapter of Kara's life. She leans in and kisses Michael. She has someone who cares for her. She has someone she cares for. It is progress.


She kisses Michael.

And then she dismisses any concerns about her falling for Red Hood.

She wants something normal and real.

It is a very nice last panel for this particular run. We have gone from out of control, angry, isolated, disaffected Supergirl to a heroic Supergirl, embracing Earth, helping people, finding romance, and being part of the super-family.

Of course, it is also ironic that the last panel is that she wants some normalcy because we know next issue is anything but normal, sent to a warrior school in space. So we finally get to a place I like with Supergirl only to blow things up completely again.

Still, I will enjoy this issue for what it was. And I will again applaud Tony Bedard for bring Supergirl much closer to what I see in her and farther away from an abomination. I can only hope this isn't the last chance that Bedard gets to write the character.

Overall grade: B+

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Figures Toy Company Silver Age Action Figure




There are a number of pieces of Supergirl memorabilia that I have on my wish list which I know I will never own. One of those is an original Supergirl Mego figure. There is no way I can afford that.

So I have to thank Figures Toy Company for coming out with faux Mego figures. Based on the original designs, these figures really channel the Mego's but for a far more affordable price. (Not that this wasn't pricey - coming in at $29.99 at my LCS.)

This is one of the few pieces of merchandise that have Supergirl in her Bronze Age hot pants costume. And it is interesting to note this figure has her in the ballerina slippers, the original footwear for this costume. Ultimately she dons red boots (as we see in the packaging).

There is a very retro feel to this figure right down to the 'real' hair and the flesh leggings to cover up the doll legs. There is also an innocence in her face which goes well with the curled up old fashioned hair style.

I also have to give kudos to the company for the packaging. This is a beautiful card with a great Supergirl flying into action. But I also love that this clam-shell plastic packaging allows you to open and close it without ripping anything. As the figure can't stand on her own, it is nice to put it back and use as a display. Lastly, there is a plastic bundler which closes the top so you know if the figure has been opened (as mine has).


The back shows the other Superman figures including Lois !!! And Mxyzptlk! And Bizarro! And Jimmy!

I wish I could buy them all! Again, nice art on the back as well.


As I said, there isn't much merchandise in this costume. But this has a nice spot surrounded by others including the two tumbler glasses and the Crisis on Infinite Earths action figure. Here is that corner of my collection.

I love this figure and so glad to have it in my collection. There is no way I could afford the original Mego. So glad that I have some version of it in my collection!

For complete details head here: http://figurestoycompany.com/supermanretro8inchactionfiguresseries1superman-1.aspx