Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Comic-book Night - 6/19/13

Two items came out on my pull-list today, but only one that I collect in print - Supergirl 21.  The other (Wonder Woman 21), I get via ComiXology and I won't be putting an order in there until the weekend.  My camera and photography equipment are still buried in the pile of stuff that's heaped in my guest bedroom awaiting sorting and organization after my move, and it's only one comic, so once again I didn't take a picture.  I will briefly review Supergirl 21 below.

In the mean time, I got an e-mail from my comic-book shop regarding +DC Comics' "Villain Month" - a month-long interregnum in DC's entire line that will see the villains starring in the various super-books.  The general idea is that each arch-enemy or major villain who fights a given hero will be the star of that hero's book for one month  So, for example, instead of Superman starring in Action Comics, we get Bizzarro or Cyborg Superman or Lex Luthor.

However, this won't be a one-to-one correspondence. DC is still going to put out 52 titles in September during "Villain Month," but not every title will be published. To my knowledge, DC has not publicly admitted the reason for this, which is quite simple -- most of their "B-list" characters don't have an established arch-enemy or rogues' gallery in the New 52 (examples include Batgirl and Supergirl).  The A-listers, however, have many, many arch-foes (examples include Superman and Batman). Therefore, DC is giving the A-listers' series more issues in September in exchange for halting publication of many B-list titles for the month.  As a simple example, there will be four issues of Justice League in September, but none of Supergirl or Batgirl. Because these are not stories about the starring characters (at least, not directly), DC is copying Marvel's asinine "decimal point" numbering system -- JL 23 comes out in August, and 24 in October. So in September? We get JL 23.1, 23.2, 23.3, and 23.4.

Now that we understand what is going on during "Villain Month," I can return to the e-mail my comic shop sent me. Basically, their e-mail says that for the month of September, all DC comics on the pull list are suspended.  They are not, by default, pulling anything for anyone.  Presumably the reasons for this are two-fold.  First, if you "subscribe" (as they call the pull list) to get Justice League, you are technically subscribing to an issue per month.  They can't force you to take four issues in September just because DC decided to change the publication schedule. And second, there's no guarantee that people who signed up to read a monthly comic about Superman, by the Superman creative team, are going to want to buy an issue about Bizzarro, but a totally different creative team.

I was glad to receive this e-mail, because I had already been planning to go down there and ask them to not pull any of the "Villain Month" stuff for me.  But those guys know what they are doing, and they must realize a lot of people won't want to just buy their regular titles as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.  So I have no pull list in September for DC.  I will still, of course, be getting Thor, God of Thunder and Red Sonja, which are not DC titles and therefore are not affected by the pull list changes.

I'll have a lot more to say about "Villain Month" and DC's other events in an upcoming post later this month, but now, on to my mini-review of this month's Supergirl.

Supergirl 21 - Last month, we saw Kara attacked by her own Sanctuary. Supergirl teamed up with her Earth-2 alter-ego Power Girl (also confusingly named Kara) to destroy it.  Now we see her flying through space on a galactic bike, which she has apparently stolen from Dr. Veritas.  Apparently, Kara is still "sick" from Kryptonite poisoning, although other than the statement that this is true, there is no evidence of it in this issue.  Kara finds a planetoid of some sort (from the double-page spread I would guess it is asteroid-sized) that is being attacked by a giant robot. She defends the city and the people thank her. Meanwhile she is being observed by a mysterious guy named "Delacore" who is able to shape-shift. Ultimately Delacore tells her that the whole world is made of a special clay-like material that can change into many other things. To demonstrate, he shape-shifts into a hero of Kryptonian legend.  Kara asks if the whole place could re-create Krypton, and Delacore says it's not really possible. But then the creature behind all this appears -- Cyborg Superman -- and asks Kara if she is really willing to do "anything" to make her wish come true.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting issue.  The art style is rather different, since it is done by Diogenese Neves instead of Mahmud Asrar.  Although I'm not a huge fan of Asrar (his sloppy-looking style has never been one I care for), Neves isn't necessarily an improvement.  The art was OK, but I think Asrar is better with facial expressions.  The storyline of the actual issue was interesting.  However, certain elements of the Kara story are starting to wear thin. For example, the Kryptonite poisoning has been going on since issue 18 now, and it's really enough already.  Superman's been exposed to Kryptonite before, and usually gets better fairly quickly. I don't understand why this "poisoning"being drawn out so much -- Supergirl was not exposed to the green K for all that long.  Additionally, the whole "Kara trying to restore Krypton" thing is wearing even thinner.  Every time it seems like she has finally accepted the fate of her home-world, the writers change their minds hand have her engaged in a hair-brained scheme to bring it back.  I had hoped that at least one good thing to come out of the awful H'el story-line was that Kara would finally accept reality, but here she is again 3 issues later, trying to get a world of shapeshifters to pretend to be Kryptonians.  At some point, she needs to get some closure and start moving forward.

Because the overall story was good and the art was decent, I give this issue an 8/10.  I deducted 2 points for the 2 tired plot elements -- the writers really need to wrap these up and start moving Supergirl forward.


  1. I would love to see Supergirl reach a point where she finally accepts Krypton's fate. She's becoming stagnant, although maybe that's more a statement on her being a teenager? Dwelling on things you have no control over, wishing it could go back to the way things were. Anyways, I want her doing teenager things here on Earth and learning to be a better human.

    I believe it was Scott Lobdell who said he wanted Kryptonite to be a more 'rare substance' with greater ramifications. He didn't like that everyone had access to a green rock and the effects disappeared once Superman was away from it. That being said if Supergirl isn't showing any lasting effects from it other than saying she's still poisoned, that sort of defeats the purpose.

    I really want to read Supergirl, but as a casual observer...I'm waiting for them to do something that draws me in as a reader.

  2. I am mostly in agreement with you. I think that Supergirl does to some degree have to 'act like a teenager,' but that shouldn't mean that the character just keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again -- especially because, as a reader, it becomes tiresome. We of course can't know where the new story is going yet. However, this feels an awful lot like H'el all over again -- a super-powerful villain Kara should know better than to get involved with, but who holds out the hope of her getting her home back.

    I understand that this would be a powerful pull for anyone who has lost a home, not just a teenager. But if they keep doing it it story arc after story arc then it loses its bite as a plotline.

    IN terms of doing something that draws you in as a reader -- I have said this for a while now. I can't see why anyone would like, or want to read about, this character as it has been presented in the New 52. There is no reason to be on her side, no reason to cheer her on. I do because of the previous versions of her, not because of anything this current incarnation has done.

    The main reason for this is that there is no personality to the stories -- there are no supporting characters, and we never, ever, get to see Kara in anything approaching a normal or "relatable" situation. So the new reader, the person who doesn't come at it pre-programmed as a Kara fan, has no reason to cheer her on.

    They need to do something about this, but honestly there is no sign that DC recognizes the need for fans to have something to root for in any of its New 52 line, not just Supergirl.