This is the third issue of the Tony Bedard era on the title and we are nearing the end of Supergirl's inclusion in the book. Once again, in this issue, we are on Winath with Star Boy, Sun Boy, and Mekt Ranzz investigating the Cult of Validus, the Lightning Lord.
This was a 'new' Legion with less 'hard and fast' continuity. And Tony Bedard, stepping in after Mark Waid, decided to take advantage of that, reimagining the idea of Validus, Tenzil Kem, and the culture of Winath.
But that's not all.
The issue ends with a cliffhanger ... a shot of Wildrfire!
Wildfire hadn't been seen in this Legion. He is my favorite Legionnaire and so I was thrilled to see this.
Still, there was a feeling of unease when I was reading this book when it came out. It felt like DC was trying to be daring here, trying to keep this book alive.
I will sound fatalistic but I think this book was almost destined to fail. One cannot serve two masters. Trying to bring in a new generation of Legion fans with a brand new Legion while also trying to court old fans married to continuity seems like a fool's errand in retrospect.
Since Rebirth revamped the Superman books, a question that I have been mulling over is 'who is Clark Kent'? Now I have 40 years of comic reading under my belt to have a pretty good idea who Clark is. But in this new DCU, one that has been reborn, there is a new Clark. One that seems human. One that is vehement that he is not Superman. One that believes what he is saying. Who is this guy? Where did he come from?
In Action Comics #964, writer Dan Jurgens and artist Patrick Zircher begin to answer the question. We get this Clark's origin story, at least the one he is telling us. We get some clues into his humanity. We get to read his writing style. And we add some new clues and plot threads into a comic already pretty mysterious. Do I have some new guesses about who this Clark is? A couple.
I have to say I was thrilled with this issue. Much like Superman #7, this was something of a pause after the Doomsday story and before the upcoming Godkiller one. And yet this wasn't wasted space as the story and overall arc continued to move forward.
As usual Patrick Zircher brings some artistic heft to the issue. Everything is pretty bold and complements the words tremendously. My favorite panel, filled with portent, is probably one glossed over by many. I hope at some point this book ratchets back to monthly and Zircher signs some long term deal to stay with the character.
If you are a Supergirl fan, hopefully you realize that we are living in a wonderful time.
The current Happy Meal at McDonalds is JLAction and DC Superhero Girls. And that means that we actually have a Supergirl doll as a Happy Meal toy. The Girl of Steel is everywhere. And she is being marketed to all demographics. Gone are the days when I would say I was a Supergirl fan and people would say 'she doesn't exist'. Everyone seems to know about her! And that is great.
As for the Happy Meal toy, it is a pretty solid figure. There isn't much articulation but the pose is heroic, the face is lovely, and oh that hair!
I am a fan of this golf shirt, red Chuck Taylors, and red skirt look as a decent take on what Supergirl might wear to school.
But a very nice figure.
As I said, the hair is the big draw to this figure. The cape is fine. But this is truly a doll. Cool.
She has found a spot on one of the shrine shelves, taking a space next to the official figure. I have to say I might like this Happy Meal toy more than the figure. But both are nice.
Here is that entire shelf with the DC Superhero Girls section there on the right.
That shelf is pretty full!
But the figure isn't the only cool thing in the Happy Meal. You get a Supergirl tattoo. And if you log into a Happy Meal app and scan your doll, you get access to the Supergirl/Katana game. Interesting pairing!
The game was designed by blog friend and overall talent Luke Daab. Here is what Luke said: Ta-da! So the game works like a pinball game turned on its side. Instead of one place to lose the ball, there are three. If you activate all the lights surrounding the window at the top, Katana shows up and block the top two exits.
Even better, the Super cousins are shown together in a little add on the toy standee in the McDonald's lobby! The Super Cousins are together everywhere these days!
Now let's all be honest, who is going to head to McDonald's to try and grab one of these?
I have tried to avoid covering all the news that has come out about the television show because other sites will do that much better. If I am just posting links and blurbs, I'm not adding much to the mix.
But there has been news and items that are so incredible and so jaw-dropping that I feel I need to comment. And this week, two major things dropped that brought me such joy that I felt I need to comment on them here. After months of silence, the CW dropped two trailers on the same day. And both of them showcase not only Supergirl but also Superman! And most importantly, it showcases the two together, working as partners and family. And frankly, that has been missing for most of the last 10 years, and definitely the last 5, in comic. And so I feel I need to applaud it and loudly.
But there is so much more. I have basically watched these on a loop and I haven't stopped grinning.
We get a nice big dollop of Tyler Hoechlin's Clark Kent. He is charming and mild mannered. He says 'lickety split' and has to promise Perry White that he'll make a deadline.
Hoechlin really channels the small town 'aw shucks' feel of Clark in these opening seconds.
But then he hears about a spacecraft malfunctioning and crashing to Earth. The newsreporter hopes that 'he is listening', that is Superman.
And then we get a great shirt rip.
Clark runs down an alley, tossing his tie to the side and tearing open his dress shirt to reveal the S-shield.
It is perfect.
But this isn't a Metropolis emergency. This is a national emergency. And so a plea is on the National City newsfeed with that reporter hoping that 'she' hears about it.
Cut to Jimmy Olsen saying that she does. And out walks Supergirl who streaks out the window. I love Kara's determined heroic gait as she streaks into action.
And then we get a scene that I have been waiting for my entire life.
Supergirl and Superman arrive to save the day.. There is a very warm 'hey cuz' as the two join in the rescue. "This is a job for the both of us!" Kara says.
It is glorious. Wonderful. Too long in coming.
I have been waiting for the super-cousins to act like loving and supportive family for a long time. Looks like we might get it here.
I will say that Supergirl arrives first and tries to slow the descent of the ship by
pushing against the nose. It is very reminiscent of the jet rescue in
Superman Returns (the best scene in that movie).
But then The CW doubled down and released another trailer, this one focusing not so much on the action and more on the idea of Superman's presence in National City. And it too is just fantastic. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jszqOX0Q4c
There is almost too much to love. After saving the ship, Kara excitedly, enthusiastically, runs up to Superman saying that rescue was 'terrible but awesome'. Of course a plummeting space ship is terrible. But the two working together *is* awesome!!
The way Supergirl jumps up and down, shaking her fists. She is clearly excited. She seems like a fan herself!
And then we see just how powerful a person, a symbol, Superman is in all his identities.
Clark arrives at CatCo and for the first time we see Cat being a little nervous. She stamps her feet and wiggles about how Clark is going to be there. She asks if she has anything in her teeth.
Could Cat be smitten with Clark? Does that explain her catty behavior about Lois?
Anyways, I appreciate that Clark is getting some love as well as Superman.
There is a great action sequence where we see a criminal shoot at Supergirl and she neatly grabs the bullet out of the air.
That is such a slick shot. I made it my Twitter theme. Just fantastic.
And then we see the DEO agents sort of melt when Superman arrives. Everyone sort of backs up like he is royalty. Alex comments that he smells nice. And Winn, in full fanboy mode, nearly evaporates when meeting the Man of Steel. He even asks the truly nerdish 'how do you shave' question.
I do wonder if the adulation heaped on Clark will irk Kara. Or if she will wade in like everyone else.
There is a 'blink and you'll miss her' peek at Lena Luthor and an attack on LexCorp (or LCorp).
I am intrigued with this running thread in this season.
But the big winder is Hoechlin as Superman. He clearly is a presence throughout as he walks the Superman walk through each scene. He is worthy of the sort of awe everyone shows. And yet, his demeanor is so good natured that he seems uncomfortable.
And he smiles!
And he winks!
I mean, I know I am judging a lot from snippets from trailers, but this is far away from the glum, brooding Man of Steel from the DC movies. This is what Superman should look like and act like.
The sales reports for DC Comics since the inception of #Rebirth have been, to say the least, robust. DC has climbed in sales and market share. Whether this is a mix of a company wide renumbering, a return to the classic feel of their characters, a lackluster massive Marvel crossover, or a combination of both, the results have been staggering.
Now there is a lot to digest. I think DC is allowing returns meaning stores can order more. And we saw a major bump in sales (briefly) with the New 52 and we know how that turned out.
A couple of weekends ago, I attended the Granite State Comicon with two of the supergirls and had a really fun time.
As I have said before, Granite State is a great palate cleanser for me after Boston Comic Con. While Boston is a con for running around to get signatures and commissions, Granite is a more laid back venue. Sure there are usually great guests. But for me, this is the con where I actually feel I can wander around, looking at the books and toys and actually shopping.
This year, the guest list was pretty solid. One of the things about heading to all the local cons is that I have met a lot of creators already. So I was heading there to meet Jeff Parker (again), Babs Tarr (again), JK Woodward (again), and Larry Hama (for the first time).
And I really only had one commission I was aiming for. Jeff Parker, who I know best as a writer (I love Future Quest, his run on Flash Gordon, his run on JLUnited), has been starting to draw again. He started out in comics as an artist.
As usual I had done some pre-show legwork and found out that Parker was sketching. So I brought one of my sketch books.
After gushing over Future Quest (my tagline is "Come for the Herculoids, stay for the Galaxy Trio!") and Flash Gordon, I asked and obtained this commission. There is so much to love here.
First off, despite three sketchbooks running and nearly 75 sketches, this is the first time an artist turned the book and did a horizontal commission. Second, I love the background with pine trees and a lighthouse! It feels so New England, perfect for a hometown boy like me! Lastly, Supergirl is just perfect, streaking in flight, smiling, hair awash in the wind. Wonderful!
As a bonus, Parker threw in his rough sketch, the quick work he did to get the pose right!
I love this commission. And Parker is just a really nice guy. Folks should definitely pick up his stuff!
I brought a number of issues to get signed from the other attendees. I got some Fallen Angel signed by JK Woodward. I got Babs Tarr to sign the newly published Doom Patrol #1.
But the big score was getting some early G.I.Joe issues signed by Larry Hama. I got these issues as a kid and they show that love. Look closely and you'll see the crinkles and folds of books read and reread in my youth. Love getting these signed.
And I bought a handful of comics, all from the $1 or $2 box. Continuing my odd fascination with early Tigra stories, I found Marvel Chillers #4. I now own 3 of the 5 Chillers issues that featured Tigra. You know what that means fellow collectors. I have to find the other 2.
But the best thing about the day was going to the con with the two youngest Supergirls. We had a great time. They loved seeing all the cosplayers (Steven Universe was well represented). They each got some cool stuff. And we just hung out and talked comics and pop culture. Too much fun.
I love the Granite Con for all that it is. I will always support it!
So all that's left is the RI Comic Con for this con season.
The book is transitioning from Mark Waid and Barry Kitson's vision, shifting to the stewardship of writer Tony Bedard and artist Dennis Calero.
Bedard takes full control of the book and the team. He isn't going to coast. He shakes things up. This isn't your father's Legion. The continuity is looser. And writers could scrawl what he wanted onto their history. It is bold, especially given that the book seemed to be struggling to find a mixed audience of old and new readers.
Supergirl is only seen on a monitor in the background of one panel. So don't get this book for her.
But it does give a pretty thorough and fresh look at the planet Winath's culture and Mekt Ranzz's back story. You get new takes on Validus and the Lord of Lightning. And you really sympathize with Mekt who was isolated and rejected by just about everybody. No wonder he loves his team so much!
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that Bedard decided to take the book in a direction he wanted. He helped the New 52 Supergirl find her way back into the fold.