Tag Archives: Supergirl

Panels of Awesomeness: Supergirl: Being Super

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

THE ISSUE: Supergirl: Being Super #1

CREATORS: Mariko Tamaki (Author), Joelle Jones (Pencils), Sandu Floreau (Inks), Kelly Fitzpatrick (Colors) Saida Temofonte (Letters)

RELEASED: December 28, 2016

THE SCENE: In the opening pages of this out-of-continuity take on Supergirl, we meet Kara Danvers and her friends.

WHY THEY’RE AWESOME: I’m a sucker for body language and certain subtle visual cues. Comic books are, after all, a visual medium. I wasn’t even two pages into Supergirl: Being Super when I found one I absolutely love.

The book reestablishes the character as a modern American teenager. One of the book’s best attributes is establishes strong connections early on between Kara and her supporting cast, specifically her friends. One of those friends is Dolly Granger. 

What I absolutely adore here is how perfectly the art and the caption boxes are intertwined. The one on the left is our set-up, as we get this information about Dolly’s parents. Then we have the reveal of her hair, which beautifully points to her non-conformist streak without saying a single word. We probably don’t even need the caption on the right. But it’s a nice bit of garnish. Incidentally, it’s probably not an accident that the background is rainbow colored.

One of the book’s best attributes is how real and genuine Kara’s friendships feel. They work wonders in making this otherwise goddess-like character feel very down-to-Earth. Often it can be cumbersome to get those supporting characters established while still doing the business of the plot. But Dolly’s introduction is quick, seamless, and masterful.

For more Joelle Jones, check out Panels of Awesomeness: Catwoman #1.

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A Teen Titans: Rebirth #1 Review – Make the Teen Titans Great Again!

Teen Titans: Rebirth #1, 2016, cover, Jonboy MeyersTITLE: Teen Titans: Rebirth #1
AUTHOR: Benjamin Percy
PENCILLER: Jonboy Meyers
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASED: September 28, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Here’s a sad truth: It’s been almost 10 years since we had a really good Teen Titans book.

Geoff Johns’ last issue as a regular writer for the book was in the summer of 2007. The man has his critics. But he knew how to write the Teen Titans, and the book hasn’t been nearly as good since he left nearly a decade ago.

Benjamin Percy, Jonboy Meyers, and their cohorts are the newest team to take a crack at it. To their credit, their take is the most promising I’ve seen since the Johns run. This issue sees Robin assemble the team in his own unique, forcible manner. Our members are Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven, and the newly christened Kid Flash, Wally West (not that one). From a plot perspective, the issue doesn’t give us much more than that. But there are some hopeful indicators for the books future.

First and foremost, Jonboy Meyers gives the series a much-needed face lift. Teen Titans has desperately needed a fresh look and energy for years now. As much respect as I have for the likes of Brett Booth, Kenneth Rocafort, and Ian Churchill, they didn’t give us that. The energy here is similar to what we’d find in the pages of Gotham Academy, or what Babs Tarr gave us in Batgirl. There’s a sense of fun in these pages. It’s been far too long since we had a fun Teen Titans book.

Teen Titans: Rebirth #1, 2016, Jonboy Meyers, Kid FlashDamian becoming a permanent fixture in this series is long overdue. They put him on the team for a few issues in 2011, and it worked out so well it became part of the inspiration for the Justice League vs. Teen Titans animated film. Part of what’s so great about the Damian character is if you add him to a story, he stirs the pot. He’s an agitator, which makes for for memorable chemistry with other characters.

For awhile now, I’ve been a proponent of removing most of the Marv Wolfman/George Perez characters, i.e. Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy, from this series. At least for awhile. I assume they’re there to tie-in with Teen Titans Go! But this series needs new blood to couple with its new look. Damian is back, and we’ve also got the new Kid Flash (shown left). Both characters offer a lot of fresh intrigue, and I’m longing for more of that. In a perfect world, I’d have swapped out Starfire and Raven for Supergirl and Emiko Queen (the latter Percy is still writing in Green Arrow), and kept Beast Boy. We can also toss Natasha Irons in there as as a techno-whiz. Notice that not only gives us an even male to female ratio, but it further diversifies the team.

Still, Percy and Meyers make the most of the characters they have by playing up the emotional isolationism so many teenagers feel. The first line in the book, from Beast Boy, is: “I’m alone…” Then we go to Starfire, who talks about how working makes her feel like she has “a place in this alien world.” In the next scene, Raven goes to a museum to “commune with my sadness.” Then we get some real-world commentary, as Wally gets mistaken for a thief, and says he can’t “outrun the assumption I’m up to no good.”

Teen Titans: Rebirth #1, 2016, Beast Boy, Jonboy MeyersThese elements were present to a lesser extent at the start of the Scott Lobdell/Brett Booth series, and again in the Will Pfiefer/Kenneth Rocafort series. But in Rebirth it feels like the thread that unites the characters. It makes them more than just teammates. A unifying factor like that is something you find in a lot of great superhero team books, and its a really good omen.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the restoration of hope to the DCU. This new Teen Titans book is barely established yet, but it’s already instilled me with a lot of hope that the series can be a hot commodity. It’s time to make the Teen Titans great again!

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A Batman/Superman #31 Review – The Search For Supergirl

Batman/Superman #31, cover, Yanick PaquetteTITLE: Batman/Superman #31
AUTHOR: Peter Tomasi
PENCILLER: Doug Mahnke. Cover by Yanick Paquette.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: April 13, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Damn. Just when you thought Big Blue was gettin’ things back in order…BAM. He gets a death sentence. And you thought Batman had bad luck.

Due to the after-effects of multiple intense battles, Superman is apparently dying. With the end in sight, the Man of Steel has begun getting his affairs in order. With help from Batman, he starts searching for Supergirl so that she might continue his work. But Kara isn’t easy to find, and Superman is running out of time…

Readers should be grateful Peter Tomasi has the pen on all the Superman titles for this big “Final Days of Superman” crossover. Not only does that bode well in terms of consistency between issues, but Tomasi is so good at injecting heart into his stories. That’s one of the main reasons his run on Batman & Robin was so good. In the recently rebooted DC Universe, Tomasi made sure the characters still felt familiar. Deep down, this was still the Batman we knew. He’s the perfect pick for a story like this. Though one can argue a story about Superman’s dying days has been done to perfection in All Star Superman.

Batman/Superman #51, Tusk, Doug MahnkeTomasi was a little vague in Superman #51 on what exactly is killing our hero. We knew it was a result of his exposure to the fire pits of Apokalips in Darkseid War, his fight with Rao in Justice League of America, and the A.R.G.U.S. Kryptonite chamber in Truth. In this issue he says something about “Kryptonite malignancy eating away at me.” Anything with the word malignancy in it must be pretty bad. But I’d still like a little more info on what exactly is killing the most powerful man on Earth.

Tomasi understands these characters better than most of the current crop of writers at DC. As such, the dialogue scenes in this issue feel the way they’re supposed to: Like a meeting between two old friends. They sound very much in character. There’s a panel where Batman asks Superman: “Do you know your irises are green?” Coming from another character, this would have sounded asinine. But from Batman it works. We also get the unlikely meeting of Superman and Bat-Cow, which plays to Clark Kent’s upbringing on the farm.

We also get an appearance from Tusk (shown above), who we met when these two worked together in Batman & Robin Annual #1. So we’ve got some fun continuity between that book and this one.

National City, the home of Supergirl on the CBS show of the same name, is mentioned late in the issue. I imagine this is an clue as to what we’ll be getting when Supergirl once again gets her own series this fall. Not a moment too soon, by the way…

Batman/Superman #31 (2016), flying, Doug Mahnke

We’ve also got a character in this book who has mysteriously gained Superman-like powers and is glowing orange. I imagine that’s our villain. Though what exactly is going on with him remains to be seen

Doug Mahnke has drawn so many big DC stories that his art inevitably brings a certain weight, or an “epic” feel, to whatever he’s drawing. This is true with both the action and dialogue sequences. Considering what’s happened over the last year with Superman losing his powers, and Jim Gordon tagging in as Batman, this issue feels like a homecoming.

I trust Peter Tomasi with Superman. Considering how protective I’ve become of the character in recent years, and what’s been done to him recently, that’s saying something. For the time being, Superman and “The Final Days of Superman” are in good hands.

Image 1 from adventuresinpoortaste.com. Image 2 from weird sciencedccomics.blogspot.com. 

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A Supergirl S1E3 Review – Calling in the Cousin

Melissa Benoist, SupergirlBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This week I stumbled across a story in USA Today about Supergirl‘s audience thus far. The article cites Nielsen statistics which say Supergirl draws a 51 percent male audience. Naturally, the other 49 percent is female. That’s huge for a superhero show. Granted, it’s not that far ahead of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which draws a 53/47 ratio, or Gotham, which does 57/43.

Long story short, Supergirl seems to be doing exactly what people hoped it would: Bringing in female viewers. Needless to say, that’s a great thing.

Now, on to this week’s episode…

Cat Grant, Kara, Supergirl, S1E3Cat Grant conducts a brief interview with Supergirl. I liked that Supergirl kept her distance from Cat here, which almost helps with my suspension of disbelief about the whole glasses disguise. Much like Superman and Clark Kent, it seems that’s one of those things fans are just going to have to live with.

The newspeg she went with was that Supergirl and Superman are cousins. I’m not sure why that’s such a big deal, quite frankly. It seems like common sense that they’d be related somehow.

Alex calls Kara out about liking Jimmy Olsen. At the risk of coming off like Jeb “Supergirl is pretty hot” Bush, Melissa Benoist’s awkward giggle is adorable. There’s that girl-next-door appeal we’ve talked about.

Winn sets up a secret office for Supergirl-related activities in the office. I call BS on this one. In an office full of reporters, nobody notices all that tech is there? And nobody ever goes into that room? C’mon, now.

Supergirl, ReactronReactron makes Supergirl a pawn in his quest for vengeance against Superman. Reactron came off pretty well in this episode. The suit looked cool, and Chris Browning did a hell of a job when the mask was off. I’d love to see more of Reactron as the series progresses.

Superman saves Kara in her second fight with Reactron. Thus far, we’re striking a very delicate balance with Superman’s presence on this show. He’s obviously impacting the proceedings, and in this episode Winn even found out the Clark Kent secret. But we’ve never seen his face, and he has yet to actually become a full-fledged character on the show. So where do you draw the line? He saved Kara in the episode, and apparently they can instant message. But can she somehow talk to him on camera? Will they ever team up somehow?

We get our first look inside Maxwell Lord’s tech empire. It must be nice having people call you “Mr. Lord.” The guy already has a huge ego, but they you throw that in…

Lucy Lane, Supergirl, S1E3Lucy Lane, Jimmy Olson’s ex, appears on the show, played by Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Lucy Lane, Lois’ sister, tends to complicate things when she shows up. In the comics she did indeed date Jimmy Olsen, and for a time was actually the unstable Superwoman. In Lois and Clark, she dated John Corben before he became Metallo.

I expect more of the same here, especially with her coming between this odd Kara/Jimmy romance. I buy Jimmy more as Kara’s big brother than her love interest. Hopefully they’ll give this a little more time to develop, so it actually has some meat to it.

Image 1 from designtrend.com. Image 2 from superherohype.com. Images 3 and 4 from comicbook.com.

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A Supergirl, S1E2 Review – Fighting Like A Girl

Supergirl, Melissa Benoist, Episode 2By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Supergirl kept most of its momentum going this week, and we even got a surprising confrontation that could very well have been saved for the season finale. All in all, a fairly strong episode.

There are still some bothersome ticks hanging on from last week’s pilot episode. For instance, Melissa Benoist still needs to work on conveying exertion when she’s lifting something heavy. Right now it just sounds like an empty scream.

On the flip side, I like that they have Melissa bending her knees before she takes off. It makes the whole flying thing see a little more believable. Of all things, it’s actually reminiscent of the old Max Fleischer cartoons.

But all in all, we upped the intrigue in this episode, and that’s exactly what they needed to do here.

Calista Flockhart, Supergirl, Season 2, episode 2Cat Grant wants a one-on-one interview with Supergirl. I expected this. The Superman/Lois Lane interview is something a lot of people remember from Superman: The Movie. So it makes sense to do it here.

It’s irritating that they keep softening the focus when they do a close-up on Calista. That’s a trick sometimes done in TV to hide the wrinkles on an actor’s face. I really wish they wouldn’t do that, especially on a show that’s deemed as feminist as Supergirl. I don’t think Calista’s age is a secret. So what’s the big deal?

James Olsen advises Kara about doing an interview with Cat Grant, talks about the glasses disguise. The lack of practicality in the glasses disguise is something that plagues the Superman mythos to this day, and it’s going to plague Supergirl. The line about Cat “not really looking” at Kara is BS. At least people are used to suspending their disbelief about it.

So, are we moving toward a romance between Jimmy (He’s not James. He’s Jimmy.) and Kara? I’m not sure how I feel about that. But the exchanges they had in this episode were good. The line about Jimmy moving to National City (*gag*) to become his own man was endearing, as was Kara’s response about it being an honor to be part of a team.

Alex, Supergirl, Season 1, Episode 2At the urging of Hank Henshaw, Alex exposes Kara’s weakness at fighting. I like when they do stuff like this with the Superman characters. It makes sense, and it made for some nice scenes between Kara and Alex. Granted, it also made for some hokey dialogue (What was that about hiding from the popcorn popper?). But it got us a little more invested in Alex, which is obviously important.

Kara faces off against her aunt, Alura’s twin sister Astra. This was a surprise. The reveal and the subsequent fight could have been the midseason finale, or even the season finale. Obviously they’ll fight again, though. When they do, they need to work on not making it look like the girls are on wires. I’m sure that’s not easy. But something like that can take you right out of the show.

Peter Facinelli makes his first appearance as Maxwell Lord. In the DCU, Maxwell Lord has been both a heartless villain and a ruthless businessman of sorts. I’m definitely interested to see what kind of Max we get here.

Kara is reunited with her mother Alura via interactive hologram. I believe this practice is what they call “Brando-ing.”

Images from CBS.com.

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A Supergirl S1E1 Review – Keep It Simple, Supergirl

Supergirl, CBS, posterBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

***WARNING: Spoilers lay ahead for the pilot episode of Supergirl.***

People are understandably excited about Supergirl. In essence, the character is getting the same treatment Green Arrow and The Flash are getting on The CW. This isn’t a prequel like Smallville or Gotham (Blech). This is Supergirl, flights and tights, in all her glory. On a major network, no less.

The pilot episode of Supergirl is charming in its simplicity. It lays everything out with fairly broad strokes, which is fine for now. We have our hero, her supporting cast, a place for villains to come from, and our big bad for the season. There’s a lot of ground to explore, and they’ve got a whole season to do it.

So let’s do what we love to do around here: Pick stuff apart…

Melissa Benoist plays Kara Zor El, a.k.a. Supergirl. This was great casting. Benoist has fantastic girl next-door appeal, and seems like she was somehow custom-built to be a TV star. It seemed like she was set for stardom on Glee before that show took an even bigger nosedive in quality. Either way, she makes a fantastic Supergirl. She’ll obviously need some time to break into the role and truly make it her own, as most actors do. But give her enough time, and she’ll pull it off.

Supergirl, pilot, Melissa BenoistSupergirl is widely being heralded as a feminist TV show, and a celebration of girl power. As a male fan, I’m not threatened or dissuaded by that at all. Despite all the superhero movies that have come out in the last two decades, we have yet to see one dedicated to Wonder Woman, Black Widow, or any other female hero. If Supergirl is successful, it could open some doors in that respect, and bring in new fans.

Calista Flockhart plays Cat Grant, head of CatCo Worldwide. Cat Grant was almost one-dimensional in how she was written here. Granted, this is only the pilot. At certain points in the comic books, the character had some nice depth that I’d love to see explored here. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make her a villain. Several years ago during Sterling Gates’ run on Supergirl, Cat was essentially made the J. Jonah Jameson to Kara’s Spider-Man. Using The Daily Planet as an outlet, Cat was able to turn much of Metropolis against the Girl of Steel. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine that happening on this show.

Incidentally, I loved her little rant about the word “girl.” That was really well written.

Supergirl, Hank HenshawKara becomes aligned with her sister Alex, Hank Henshaw, and the Department of Extranormal Operations to face fugitives from a Kryptonian prison. This seems like a cue from Arrow and The Flash. On those shows, both heroes have a team around them that helps them with logistics and what not. It makes sense, at least as far as the first season is concerned. The Fort Rozz angle is also very similar to what we’ve seen on The Flash. On that show, the same freak accident that gave Barry Allen his speed also created various metahumans. On Supergirl, the arrival of Kara’s shuttle accidentally released various prisoners from the Phantom Zone. This begs the question of why those prisoners are only surfacing now. But again, it’s only the pilot.

Also, in the DC Comics Universe, Hank Henshaw is the evil Cyborg Superman. Just throwing that out there.

Kara works alongside Winn Schott, who she later reveals her secret to. On the subject of supervillains, in the DCU, Winslow Schott is one of the incarnations of the villainous Toyman. Perhaps unrequited love drives Schott to madness?

Kara Zor El, Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl, CBSWhile Superman’s presence is felt, he is never fully seen on camera. I was excited when I heard how Superman would be dealt with on this show. Essentially, it’s the same way Veep deals with the President of the United States. The character’s influence is felt on the show, but we never see him. I’m pleased they didn’t do anything stupid to Superman, like kill him or banish him to the Phantom Zone. But this episode leaves me wondering why Kara doesn’t have more of a direct relationship with her cousin. You’d think he’s be the one person she’d want to talk to about superheroics and what not.

From a creative standpoint, the reason for keeping Superman out of the show is obvious: He draws attention away from Supergirl. But I’d like to see some reason given as to why she can apparently only communicate with him through other people.

Image 2 from youtube.com. Image 3 from moviepilot.com. Image 4 from cinemablend.com.

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A Supergirl: Death and the Family Review – I Was A Teenage Supergirl

Supergirl: Death and the FamilyTITLE: Supergirl: Death and the Family
AUTHORS: Sterling Gates, Jake Black, Helen Slater
PENCILLERS:
Fernando Dagnino, Jamal Igle, Cliff Chiang. Cover by Renato Guedes.
COLLECTS:
Supergirl #48-50, Supergirl Annual #1
FORMAT:
Softcover
PUBLISHER:
DC Comics
PRICE:
$17.99
RELEASE DATE:
September 15, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The most notable thing about Supergirl: Death and the Family, is that it has Helen Slater’s name on it. Slater played the Girl of Steel in the 1984 Supergirl film. But don’t get too excited, folks. Her contribution here isn’t that notable.

The book is a little scattered in terms of it’s story. The Supergirl Annual portion kicks off with Kara trying to save two wayward Kryptonians who are stranded in a bank by the Science Police (who have been ordered to capture all Kryptonians in the wake of Codename Patriot). Kara has good intentions, but ultimately ends up making what seems to be a mistake. Then, we see the secret origin of the evil Superwoman, and her connection to Lois Lane.

Supergirl #48, Lana Lang, sicknessThe main plot thread revolves around Lana Lang’s mysteriously unidentifiable sickness, which Supergirl discovered in Friends and Fugitives. After a surprisingly well done story involving Silver Banshee and Inspector Henderson (Supergirl’s answer to Commissioner Gordon), we find out what is actually ailing our old friend Lana. And it’s…not what you’d expect. All I’m going to say is it involves insects.

Finally, we get a six-page story by Jake Black and Helen Slater, which focuses on the public’s perception of Supergirl. It features a talk show host chatting with Cat Grant, an “arts and entertainment” writer whose public distaste for Supergirl has been well documented. No offense to Slater, but my guess is Jake Black handled most of the actual writing. Black has worked on Smallville, and has a number of books for younger readers to his credit. Considering it’s only six pages long, it’s got a hefty message regarding the character. But it’s nothing overly memorable.

Supergirl #50, Helen SlaterThough Slater’s name may prompt fans to pick up the book, Sterling Gates is its real star. One thing he’s always done very well is definitively making Supergirl a teenager. Some writers tend to overlook that incredibly important element when they’re writing young hero characters (pick up any issue of Teen Titans from the past year or so and you’ll see what I mean). Kara is emotional and vulnerable, despite being able to bend steel with her bare hands. This comes off especially well in the Annual bank story. You may as well call Gates “Mr. Supergirl.”

As for the art, it’s consistently done well, but I feel prompted to praise Fernando Dagnino in particular, perhaps because he did the art on the bank story. But I can’t say anything bad about Jamal Igle or Cliff Chiang either.

In the end, though it lacks a distinct beginning-to-end plot, and the story with the most riding on it is actually kind of silly, in terms of characterization, I consider this to be good Supergirl material. In a sense, this book is like Helen Slater in Supergirl. Not incredibly memorable, and not going to win any awards. But it’s fun to look at.

No offense, Helen.

RATING: 6/10

Images 1 and 2 from comicboxcommentary.com.

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