Superheroes

Fri
09
Nov

Just in Time for Christmas -- DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments

100 Greatest DC Superheroine Moments

Following up on his chronicling of the Justice League's 100 Greatest Moments, comics historian and science fiction veteran Robert Greenberger manages to top himself with DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments. And while I wasn't particularly fond of the artwork selected for the packaging, finding it not particularly attractive, there's an adage about "books and covers" that comes into play.

This beautiful hardcover book isn't one that you rush through. You linger over each page and, if you're like me, you find yourself in one of two places: you're either recalling happily the first time you saw this event happen, perhaps when it was new to everyone, or you find yourself discovering something you've never known happened and now have something to seek out and add to your collection.

Tue
06
Nov

Christmas Comes Early with Batman: The Complete Animated Series on Blu-ray

Batman Animated Series

The year 1992 marked a turning point for animated superhero adventure. After years of shows like SUPER FRIENDS and THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN, the time was ripe for the Dark Knight to return to the screen, especially after the second coming of Batmania that followed the Tim Burton film starring Michael Keaton. Rumors began swirling on the prenatal Internet (BBSs in those days) of an animated Batman in the works, and there was even leaked a writers bible for the series written by J.M. Straczynski.  

Thu
01
Nov

Heroes in Crisis #2 Raises More Troubling Questions Than Just Whodunit

Heroes in Crisis

For the most part, Tom King does a fantastic job delving deeper into the mystery of HEROES IN CRISIS, leaving us with more clues but coming no closer to the truth of who massacred all the heroes (and villains) who were being treated at Sanctuary, the pscyho-therapy institute created by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman for super-people to come to deal with their post-traumatic stress.

A crucial clue to the mystery is discovered during an autopsy conducted on Commander Steel by the Trinity. Batman extracts an object (that apparently Superman couldn't detect with his x-ray vision) that would almost clearly indicate Harley Quinn commited the crime. But when they close in on her, she maintains her claim that it was actually fellow patient Booster Gold who did the deed -- and she gets away after casting serious suspicion on Batman that the other two cannot ignore.

Wed
31
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 504, "News Flash"

Flash 504 News Flash

Sometimes I watch an episode of THE FLASH and I'm all excited about the cool things that happened in the story. And then I catalog them in preparation for reviewing, and I thing, "Yeah, it was great except for this... and this... and this..." Eventually, I've picked it apart enough to realize that maybe I didn't like the episode as much as I initially thought I did.

Which is why "News Flash," in retrospect, is such a stinkeroo.

Here's what you need to know: When Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) and X/S (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) punched The Thinker's satellite into smithereens, those smithereens -- all infused with the same dark matter that once bathed the city at the beginning of the series -- fell where they had consequences. One of them created Cicada and his lightning-bolt dagger-of-power-dampening.

Wed
24
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 503, "The Death of Vibe"

Flash 503, Death of Vibe

I'm going on the record right now declaring that this episodes title is (a) a lie or (b) better be a lie.

This season's big bad, Cicada, wants to finish what he started with Vibe: killing him. Why he picked Vibe over Flash, or even Elongated Man, we can't say. Guess a man's got to have his priorities. Meanwhile, Team Flash is on the hunt for Cicada, who we learn from XS is a sort of metahuman serial killer -- who was never captured; not by Team Flash, the Legends, even the League (yes, that's a reference to a future Justice League).

XS's plan to find Cicada involves bringing in a detective. And it's not Ralph, which has to sting. No, it's time to approach... the Council of Wells. Yes, the WORST idea ever to inhabit the Flash Writers' Room is back -- or at least one of them is back. And he refers them to yet another Wells we've not yet met: Sherloque Wells, consulting detective with a string of ex-wives to whom he owes alimony.

Wed
17
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 502, "Blocked"

Flash 502 Blocked

The fifth season of THE FLASH makes it two-in-a-row with some great storytelling. With Team Flash now knowing that Nora (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) is not trapped in this time period but here because The Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) never returns from his disappearance in the Crisis that sits five years down the road, Barry settles into the role of mentor to teach his future-daughter how to become the best Flash she can be. But XS is too eager to prove herself, and takes chances that put both her and her dad in danger.

It takes a conversation with Joe (JESSE L MARTIN) for Barry to realize what XS is doing, with the understanding that all the knowledge of her father comes to a museum built in tribute to him. So he takes the time to show her some Season 1 highlights where he made mistakes on his path to becoming a capable hero.

Wed
10
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 501, "Nora"

Flash 501, Nora

If you’ve ever wanted a practical demonstration of Einsteinian relativity, you can always rely on the man’s simple explanation: “An hour spent talking to a pretty girl can feel like a minute. A minute touching a hot stove can feel like an hour.” For us fans of THE FLASH, a summer waiting for the new season to begin can feel like an eternity, and the hour we spend watching it can go by in a second.

We pick up immediately where Season 4 finished: with the family and friends all gathered at the West home, when a young lady shows up claiming to be Nora West-Allen — Barry and Iris’s daughter from the future. She’s also a speedster who goes by the name XS. This, and a throwaway reference to Lightning Lad means the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes is closer than we thought. It also means there’s a Legion on this Earth — or is it the same Legion we saw on SUPERGIRL last season?

Wed
03
Oct

Green Arrow a Hero in Crisis as the DCU Attends Roy's Funeral

Green Arrow 45

DC's latest crisis has just kicked off, and the first repercussions of it are felt in the pages of GREEN ARROW #45, as Oliver Queen and the various members of the Justice League, Titans, and Birds of Prey attend the funeral of Roy Harper -- aka Arsenal and former sidekick and ward to the Green Arrow.

The ceremony takes place on a remote butte, where friends and family give their eulogies while Oliver continues to blame himself -- and the Justice League -- for everything that happened to Roy, from his addiction problems to his ultimate murder at the Justice League's so-called Sanctuary where heroes go to get help and support for their personal problems. Ollie's upset enough to throw a punch at Clark, and threaten to use his ultimate trump card against the Justice League.

Wed
26
Sep

Deconstructing the Doomsday Clock #7

Doomsday Clock #7

Having crossed the halfway point of this 12-issue crossover between the DC Universe and the world of the WATCHMEN, we finally get to a place where we get answers. What has Doctor Manhattan been up to all these years, what is Ozymandias ultimate plan, and, of course...

Whatever Happened to the Justice Society of America?

Johnny Thunder has been convinced that he had a genie at his command once upon a time. So why does nobody remember him? Why does nobody remember Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of the Golden Age, and the rest of the age of heroes that followed him?

The answer is pretty simple: Doctor Manhattan altered the events.

Wed
26
Sep

Heroes in Crisis: No Crisis Ever Ends Well For...

Heroes in Crisis #1

One thing about Tom King that I've noticed: He loves writing for the 3-by-3 grid. You'll see that frequently in HEROES IN CRISIS #1, the latest so-called crisis to hit the DC Universe, and the first to hit it since the promise of an optimistic restart that came with REBIRTH.

Something else came with REBIRTH as well besides optimism, and both are dead after this issue.

The main narrative of the story follows Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, who meet out in the middle of flyover country, have some pie and coffee, then end up in a bloody battle. I will say that Harley is written wonderfully nutty here -- not the non-sequitur, fourth-wall-breaking whacky that we see in SUICIDE SQUAD, but someone who is psychotically out there, but with a sympathetic side. And Booster Gold is written, in foil, as normal and plain as can be imagined.

Tue
25
Sep

Truth, (Social) Justice, and a New American Way: Supergirl Season 3 on Blu-ray

Supergirl Season 3 on Blu ray

Of all the so-called Arrowverse shows, CW's televised adaptation of DC Comics superheroes, SUPERGIRL has been the most problematic. Besides taking place on an entirely different Earth than the other three shows, necessitating a cosmic crisis for the annual uber-crossover to occur, the show has a distinctly different feel to it. Perhaps it's because it's adopted into the Arrowverse, having been taken up after cancellation on it's original network. Perhaps its because the scripts have an undertone of agenda-driven plotting that shoehorns its way into the plots rather than rising organically out of the stories.

Whatever it is, it makes SUPERGIRL more difficult to watch, especially in binge-doses.

Tue
25
Sep

Batman: Damned Sells on Controversy, Not Story

Batman Damned #1

BATMAN: DAMNED #1. It's the first book from DC's "Black Label" imprint. It's the book with the singular event everyone's talking about. It's the book that's trending on eBay because of a singular, unimportant image.

It's not the book that's selling because people are talking about the story. That's possibly because the story is dense, hard to follow, and nonsequential in its telling. So let's go there.

Mon
24
Sep

Wolverine is Dead No More, and Nobody is Surprised

Return of Wolverine 1

It's a toss-up as to which Marvel "hero" has the largest body count -- The Punisher or Wolverine. But I do remember way back when Wolverine finally got his own series, some few years after the Frank Miller miniseries, that the body count was what helped sell the title. The promo poster even showed Logan -- man without a past -- standing atop a pile of bodies, claws extended and ready for more.

So it's not much of a surprise that this is what people in the Marvel Universe would know him for -- being a killing machine. But Charles Soule puts a different spin on those perspectives, with not one but two ordinary people trying to remind this new Logan that he's seen as a hero.

Yeah, I said "new Logan." I'll get to that in a minute.

Sat
22
Sep

Grandpa Darkseid? Mister Miracle's on the Verge of a Whole New World!

Mister Miracle 11

It's been a surreal journey, and it's about to come to an end -- or to a whole new beginning in Tom King and Mitch Gerads' unconventional take on Mister Miracle, Big Barda, and the rest of Jack Kirby's Fourth World pantheon of New Gods.

Scott Free -- the titular Mister Miracle -- is the new Highfather. And, in keeping with the family tradition, he must make a sacrifice to make peace with Darkseid. When Scott was a boy, his father gave him to Darkseid in exchange for Darkseid's son, an exchange that was meant to keep the peace between New Genesis and Apokolips. Now that Scott and Barda have a son of their own, Jacob, they find themselves in the same boat, forced to give up their child to Darkseid.

So they prepare him -- and a vegetable tray -- to go meet the boy's grandfather and negotiate the peace. 

But Mister Miracle is an escape artist, after all, and he's got a plan.

Too bad for him it's a total failure. Perhaps Plan B might have better luck.

Thu
20
Sep

Suicide Squad Loses Another in the Sink Atlantis Finale

Aquaman 40

Task Force X has been sent to Atlantis, recently risen from the ocean floor, to nuke it back to the sea bottom. Or have they?

It certainly seems that way, as Lord Satanus and Master Jailer break into the chamber of magical treasures of Atlantis, being the best place to detonate the bomb. But the rest of the Suicide Squad has decided this isn't the best move, orders from Amanda Waller be damned, and they're trying to break through the barriers that separate them so they can stop the explosion. And, hey, because this is Aquaman's book (AQUAMAN #40), he even gets a few lines in, as well as some fighting.

What ensues is some Harley Quinn fourth-wall randomness, a game of "Bomb, Bomb, Who's Got The Bomb?" and some quick grief therapy for Killer Croc who's gone completely nihilistic with the loss of The Enchantress. Oh yeah, and Harley has a secret sub-mission that she just remembered.

Thu
20
Sep

Dark Nights: Metal Still Reverberates Through Justice League #8

Justice League 8

The DC Universe is still exploring -- in JUSTICE LEAGUE -- the great cosmic odyssey that began with the destruction of the Source Wall, releasing unfathomable energy into the multiverse. It could be the end of everything, the beginning of something new...or it may just be a frustrating plot device to keep readers wondering.

Lex Luthor has been hard at work to unlock this secret, embodied in an energy source called The Totality. He's been traveling through time, using magic, and imprisoning a demonic Dark Multiverse maniac version of Batman himself -- the Batman Who Laughs, introduced in the DARK NIGHTS: METAL series. This Batman holds the answers Luthor seeks, but those answers come at a cost, one that Luthor is happy to pay.

Sat
15
Sep

Batman Goes Back to Solving Crimes in Detective 988

Detective 988

Nobody is dealing all that well with the way the Batman / Catwoman wedding went -- or, rather, didn't -- particularly Batman himself. In typical Batman fashion, whenever something traumatic happens to him, he buries himself in his work.

Now, normally, this would mean a trail of busted jaws and broken ribs stretching across the length and breadth of Gotham City, lasting until someone finally beats some sense into him. This time is different, however. As he relates to Commissioner Gordon at the scene of what seems a mundane murder, "Lately I may have gotten over my head. I need to reset. Bottom line, this is a mystery and I'm a detective."

Mon
27
Aug

The Thinker Debuts Nefarious Plans in The Flash Season 4 Now on Blu-ray

The Flash Season 4 Blu-ray

For all it's many (many, many) plot faults, the fourth season of THE FLASH is one of my personal favorites. It's not just because the big bad of the season finally wasn't another speedster who was faster than the titular "fastest man alive," or because the villain was (at least at first) one scary AF adversary. No, the real joy of this season of THE FLASH comes from the introduction of HARTLEY SAWYER as Ralph Dibny, aka The Elongated Man. In the Silver Age of comics, Barry Allen and Ralph Dibny were best friends, and teamed up often on cases, so it was nice to see that relationship begin to develop in the television series, even if it did begin on strained terms. The special effects for Ralph's powers were also better than anticipated, and will hopefully be even better and more creative going into the fifth season.

Mon
13
Aug

Fourth Season of Gotham Darkest Yet

Gotham Season 4

When we ended the third season of GOTHAM, it looked as though we were going to see Bruce Wayne (DAVID MAZOUZ) take up his night-stalking ways that will lead to his eventual identity as The Batman. Alas, as the season progresses, we find Bruce Wayne choosing to be more of a jerk, burying himself from his future by going full-bore into the playboy mode, spending nights on the town with drinking buddies and getting sloshed. He even ends up fighting with Alfred (SEAN PERTWEE) and ultimately firing him.

Fri
10
Aug

The World's Greatest Comic Magazine Relaunches. In a Word: Fantastic!

Fantastic Four 1 2018

I'll be honest with you, dear readers. I don't read that much Marvel. I love the characters, I've seen all the movies (even the Nicholas Hammond Spider-man films and the Roger Corman Fantastic Four!), I know the origins -- and I used to read a lot more of them, back in the 70s and 80s. But these days, reading the Marvel line seems less like an escape and more like a chore, what with all the Spider-men, X-People, and Avenger teams, all coming from different universes and timelines.

But a number one issue relaunch of a book we haven't seen for a little while, that's enough of an event to convince me to take a peek under the covers and see what's what. Which is how I ended up with one of the many variant covers of FANTASTIC FOUR #1 by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli.

In a word? It's fantastic!

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