Saturday, April 25, 2015

July 2015 Solicits

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

The entirety of the solicits are listed on Newsarama here:

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

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

On to the books.

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

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

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

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

I am about 20% excited, 80% worried.

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

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


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

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

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

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

Written by GREG PAK

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

And then this solicit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

What will July hold for us as Superman fans?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Convergence:Adventures of Superman #1

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

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

But Wolfman did kill her off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supergirl saves Superman. This is her story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall grade: B+

Thursday, April 23, 2015

DC Entertainment: Super Hero Girl Initiative

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

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

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

Frankly, I am thrilled.

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

But there is so much more to love.

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

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

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


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

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

I'll say it again, I am thrilled.

Here is the actual press release.

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Convergence Superman:Man Of Steel #1

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

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

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

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

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

It starts out great!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall grade: B

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Matrix Called Kara?

I pride myself on being a big Supergirl fan and having a good handle on her history.

So when something as obvious as the above panel slips by me, I am a little miffed at myself.

This panel is lifted from the recent Convergence:Supergirl Matrix mini-series. And that is Supergirl being called Kara by Lex.

That is a pretty big continuity gaffe. Matrix was called Matrix, Supergirl, even Mae. But she was never ever ever Kara. The whole point of her was that she wasn't a Kryptonian named Kara.

How did this sneak by the editors?

How did this sneak by me?

Tip of the hat to blog friend Rick Perry for pointing it out. If these thing get collected for a trade, I hope this gets fixed.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Convergence Superboy #1

Superman had died and four heroes came forward to claim the mantle. One was a brash youngster who claimed he was a clone of Superman. In fact, despite his youth, he demanded to be called Superman. Most called him Superboy.

After the events of Reign of the Superman, Superboy was given his own title. He was impetuous, sometimes immature, and always fun. Written by Karl Kesel with art by Tom Grummett, Superboy was a fun title in my pull list. He was a hero on a journey but he was having a good time.

Then things get choppy. He died in Infinite Crisis. He returned in Legion of Three Worlds. He was in a Twin Peaks style book by Jeff Lemire. And then the 52 happened and all bets were off. That new Kon was no character I wanted to read.

So, as with many of the Convergence books, I was thrilled to revisit the Metropolis Kid, a character happy to have powers and smiling as he flew around being a hero. Written by Fabian Nicieza with art by Karl Moline, Convergence Superboy gets us close to those fun-filled early days of the brash Conner.

But first we have a little bit of angst and pathos.

We start with Kon being tested in Cadmus. Dubbilex is trying to see if he can kickstart Kon's powers under the dome. Maybe by infusing him with solar power?

Well it turns out that somehow the dome created a psionic block in Superboy's mind. The energy is present but can't be accessed.

And this is a Superboy who we hear was just getting proud of what he was doing, just being accepted for who he was ... and then the dome came down.

Who is he if he isn't Superboy? He isn't Clark that's for sure. And that's hammered home in a panel where we see him looking at Jimmy and Lois running off somewhere. And he can't help them either. He's just a normal kid.

And then we see part of what is haunting him. What has always haunted him.

He is living in the shadow of Superman. Both figuratively and literally.

How do you fill in for someone that great? How do you live up to that? How do you not disappoint yourself?

This a Kon who is truly in adolescence, just on the cusp of adulthood, and trying to figure out who he is. And with his powers are gone, this is an even trickier conversation.

But then ... the dome drops .... and powers return!

And just like that the happy, smiling, exuberant Superboy returns.

I have to say, I smiled when I saw this page.

This period of joy is short-lived. The 'tournament of worlds' is announced by Telos. And that means a battle is brewing.

Superboy's Metropolis is set up to fight the world of Kingdom Come. There is Wally as a true Hermes, a red blur. And then the Dick Grayson Red Robin. They attack Superboy in an abandoned corner of the city.

I love Kon's matter of fact questioning wondering who these people are. I like the befuddled look on his face too. This is that sort of unfiltered response you expected out of this Superboy.

And then Kon shows a little ingenuity, using his tactile telekinesis to drop the empty buildings on Wally and Dick, incapacitating them.

Some intelligence maybe? Some growth in him and comfort in his ability?

Still, maybe the Flash, who in Kingdom Come was just a blur, should have escaped this?

But then the big Kahuna shows up, the Kingdom Come Superman. And he wonders who Superboy is and why he wears the S. Superboy's brash answer, the acceptance of the challenge seems spot on. After a year off, my guess is he is itching to use his powers and defend the city.

But I do have to wonder why the Kingdom Come Superman, so eager in that book to bring about some peace, would so willingly join in the tournament, fighting other heroes. That seems wrong. And the Kingdom Come Superman was so powerful, even Kryptonite wouldn't bother him. So I don't think would be a close fight.

I thought this was one of the better issues of Convergence because it captured the feeling of this period's Superboy book. That's more than I can say for Supergirl Matrix or Batgirl. And there was even a little teen angst to go along with the teen spirit.

Overall grade: B+

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Convergence Supergirl Matrix #1

Convergence Supergirl Matrix #1 came out this week, a look back at a time in Metropolis when the Matrix Supergirl was under the romantic spell of Alex Luthor, allegedly Lex Luthor's son but actually Luthor's brain in a cloned body. This was a tough time to be a Supergirl fan as the character of Matrix was still trying to find herself. She had gone from believing she was Superman to being a slave of Brainiac to being utterly devoted to Lex, his bodyguard and paramour.

Eventually, this Matrix grew into a very good character and a worthy representation of Supergirl. During Funeral for a Friend, she grew as a hero. And through Reign of the Superman and into her own mini-series, this Supergirl realized that she needed to be free, an individual, and find herself. Eventually that led to Peter David and the Earth Angel version.

When Convergence Supergirl Matrix was announced I was just a bit concerned. Just when in this awkward timeline would the book be set? And how would writer Keith Giffen, someone known to be irreverent to characters he finds lacking, treat her? When Ambush Bug, Lady Quark, and Lord Volt were named as the other characters in the book, I realized this was probably going to be more of a farce or humor book. And, in many ways, those thoughts proved true.

Sometimes you have to roll with it. Because Supergirl's characterization here is a bit up and  mostly down. But it is something of a fun book.

Art is by Timothy Green II who has a big dynamic style. His female characters are a bit thin, always in  coquettish poses, and often lingering on backsides. But otherwise, pretty electric.

But the tone of the book is set on the first page in the tiny little text boxes.

Giffen seems to be making fun of the characters he is charged to write. The explanation for Supergirl includes calling her a glob and trails off as being too complex.

And the art is pretty good at letting us know what we are in for. This is a good page to showcase the impending battle between Supergirl and Lady Quark. But there is an upskirt shot of Matrix that also shows her chest. And Lady Quark must have a C-shaped spine.

Convergence is supposed to be a look back at older continuities, a place to revisit some classic cherished characters and times. I was ready to read all about a swooning Matrix under the spell of a conniving Luthor. At this point, Luthor was pretending to be his son, pretending to be a nice guy ... not his 'father', but always scheming in the background. And part of that act was pretending to love Matrix, to keep his hold over her.

Unfortunately, Giffen writes things very differently. Matrix seems to know this is actually Lex. He talks openly about trying to destroy Superman. He calls her every insulting name in the book. This seems to openly bombastic and belittling for this Lex.

And why would she stay in such a terrible relationship?

When the dome drops, Matrix gets her powers back and Lex reverts to his usually form. He wants to get away from this Metropolis, away from this planet. He had been looking for ways to break through the dome. Now he is looking for evidence of teleportation tech, a way to escape completely. And so he sends Supergirl out into the city with a device designed to find it.

But 'shape-shifting cretin'? That's rough. How mentally abused is this Supergirl?

The Matrix back then was desperately needy, needing to feel accepted, loved, 'real'. And that was how Luthor's 'love' worked. (It helped he looked just like her creator from the pocket universe.)

But remember, this is also a tournament of cities. Telos has deemed that worlds must fight each other. And Matrix' world is to fight Earth 6, the world of Lord Volt and Lady Quark. (For those who don't know, these characters were introduced in Crisis on Infinite Earths, with Volt and their daughter Princess Fern killed within panels of being introduced. Quark survived but was bitter and angry at her lot in life.)

Quark and Volt are more interested in arguing and fighting each other than coordinating their attack on Matrix. They state that their marriage was arranged. And moreover, Giffen plays them up as stereotypes of gay men and women. She is short haired and tough. He is fey and flamboyant. I don't know if the meta-dialogue of labeling themselves as stereotypes makes this acceptable.

Even Supergirl says it is obvious. But then states the obvious ... who cares.

And once again we see the style that Green is going for here, arched backs and posteriors.

The art really grabs you visually. I just wish he could dial down the cheesecake a touch.

As I said above, the Matrix Supergirl did eventually free herself from Lex and became a solid hero and member of Team Superman. And, in places in this book, I wonder if she is nearing that sort of confidence and freedom on the Convergence world.

For example, she initially doesn't want to fight Volt and Quark, instead trying to fulfill Lex's mission. But when they won't leave her alone, she finally figure that she'll simply got right through them.

This was my favorite moment in the book. And I don't know if Green knew the 'finger to the mouth' quirk that Supergirl has had in the past. But I loved seeing it here.

And she does just that.

Even when Volt pauses, trying to rethink if he really wants to attack, she completely lays him out in a nice splash page. And then asks if Quark really wants to go through with the fight. I love Quark's response.

Some telekinesis ends up flinging Quark away so Supergirl can go on with her search for the teleportation tech.

And then, another great moment for this Supergirl. Sick of listening to Lex yell at her, she simply tosses the communicator/tracker device to the ground.

Hurrah ...

Well sort of.

Mere panels after dropping it, she ends up streaking for it and thinking how awful it will be for Lex to yell at her more.

We were close to seeing some growth here. Instead, we are still in dupe mode.

We get a great ending, no big surprise given Giffen is writing this. The teleportation tech that Matrix detected is none other than Ambush Bug, littered with tourist stickers of all the other cities!

So something of a silly and uneven book. I was a fan of the latter days of Matrix (and for the Linda Danvers merge). So it was fun to see a Supergirl in that costume (my favorite) kicking absolute butt. But seeing her kowtow to Lex wasn't too fun.

I liked the interplay with Volt and Quark, including some of Supergirl's bristling when thinking how they could have a daughter together.

But even the editing seemed uneven as some of the dialogue in the actual fight with Quark and Volt was confusing. Maybe a word balloon should have been pointing to someone else's mouth?

I have talked about the art ... slick and stylish with vivid colors by Hi-Fi.

But I think the lasting feeling for me was this Supergirl being verbally skewered by Lex and simply taking it. Maybe we'll see her toss off the shackles next issue.

Overall grade: B-