These are great times to be a Superman Family fan. Superman has seen something of a renaissance under Brian Michael Bendis. A Supergirl book is on the rack. It has all but been confirmed that a Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes book is happening. Lois Lane has a solo book. And now, another title hits the stands.
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1, the first part of a 12 part maxi-series, came out this week and was a funny, fast paced, entertaining romp through the Superman universe. If the Superman books are standard super-heroics and Lois Lane is a gritty, topical look at the more noir aspects of Metropolis, Olsen is a weird, Vertigo-lite, Silver Age crazy book. Writer Matt Fraction seems to have embraced the wackiness of Olsen's classic title, showing us the strange events that seem to gravitate to Mr. Action. Throw in a number of new characters who could be a supporting cast and you have a heady brew. I loved it.
And the decision to have Steve Lieber on art is something of an inspired choice. This is going to be a crazy book, no doubt. But you can lean a little too hard into the weirdness. Pick an artist that is too stylized or too cartoony and it becomes a caricature. Pick someone too photo-realistic and it is jarring. Lieber walks that fine line. This is solid, realistic art which makes the craziness seem that much more insane. These events are happening in a grounded world.
I don't know if I was ready for the sort of 4-page mini-burst rapid fire story telling of this issue. But if that is going to be the feel of the series, I'll be okay. You can't settle in. Things happen, happen fast, and then we are off to the next thing. This is a sprint of a book, perfect for Jimmy.
On to the details!
We start out with a look to the past. Metropolis hasn't sprouted from the wild. Joachim Olssen staked his claim to land that was literally a gold mine. It was from this boon that Metropolis was built.
Unfortunately, it is hard to know just how much of the gold Olssen got to enjoy. A family called the Luthais make a claim to the land. And when Olssen won't respect the deed, Luthais kills him.
The Luthais have to be the Luthors. So interesting to see some feuds go back many generations. And Luthor ruthlessness seems hardwired.
Lastly, is this the explanation for the Olsen billions which we have seen from time to time.
We transition to a news show panel where the current generation of the families debate which lineage has had a bigger impact on Metropolis. On one side, Lex Luthor. On the other, Julian Olsen, a slick back business man. He seems more comfortable here than Jimmy ever would. And I like how both men's sport coats blend into the black background.
The discussion is around the destruction of the 'Monarch of Metropolis', a gigantic lion statue constructed by the Luthors.
Have we heard of Julian before?
It turns out that the Monarch was destroyed by Jimmy.
Jimmy has a social media presence where he asks his readers to send him a challenge. Today's event was to dive from space to Earth without a satellite. To aid survival, Jimmy gets an infusion of Metamorpho stem cells. Unfortunately, it was also mixed with turtle genetic material.
In a definite throwback to the Silver Age, Jimmy turns into a giant turtle and slams through the Monarch. Of course, that's better than the city itself. He was deflected by Superman.
How ridiculous is it to see Superman and a giant turtle boy skip across the water like a stone. Hilarious.
Back at the Planet, Perry White and newspaper owner Mama Leone try to fire Olsen for the cost of this event. Jimmy's antics are so costly that the Planet needs to have a separate insurance rider to cover the cost.
Knowing what we know about Jimmy's historical antics, this makes sense.
But just in case ...
When Jimmy asks for proof of how much he costs the Planet, we get a silent montage of some of his adventures. Gorilla marriage? Wading into gunfire? Life as a ghost? T Rex attack?
That's Mr. Action!
What I like about this is that third panel of simple crime reporter photography, that real world news story, is mixed in with the insanity. Perfect way to ground this in some semblance of reality. And Lieber shows that range.
Ultimately though, Olsen's stories always go viral. That means his ad revenue on the Planet website more than cover his costs. He is a profitable commodity. And just like that, Perry changes his mind.
My favorite moment is the Silver Age wink to the readers by Clark. Almost as good as that is Leone being flummoxed, wondering who Clark is winking to. Definitely a laugh out loud moment.
I do have to ask, is this the first place we have seen Leone be revealed to the rest of the characters as the Planet owner? I didn't expect to see her so out in the open as this.
Despite bringing in money, Leone doesn't like the damage Olsen brings to her city. So she ships him off.
Olsen, now holed up in a dingy apartment, gets the run down from his landlord. Ignore the holes in the ceiling. No murders. If Jimmy dies or doesn't pay his rent, the landlord gets Olsen's stuff.
It reminded me of a scene in the movie Stripes. "If you call me Francis, I'll kill you. You touch my stuff, I'll kill you.'
But where is this place?
Why it's in Gotham!
And Jimmy has a story to investigate. His own murder.
I really loved this issue. It was an accelerated pace through different aspects of Jimmy's life. I love how we hurdle from one thing to the other, appropriate for the zaniness of Jimmy's life. And it is weird and wild and funny.
If Lois Lane is a shot of bourbon and a cigarette, Jimmy Olsen is pop rocks and coke. Overall grade: A-
I have been enjoying the new The Green Lantern comic for all its Grant Morrison zaniness. Now I am a Morrison apologist and almost nothing he does is going to fall flat for me. But the scope of this book so far has been insane. And for once, I actually sort of like Hal.
One thing that has always impressed me with Morrison is his knowledge of continuity lore and his willingness to include comic history in his stories.
So I was both thrilled and not surprised to see Luma Lynai appear in The Green Lantern #9.
And I love the way artist Liam Sharp draws her. Just spectacular.
Just a reminder that Lynai was considered the ultimate woman for Superman way back in Action Comics #289.
Ah, when Supergirl acted as matchmaker for her cousin. That comic also includes one of the creepier panels from the Silver Age!
But on Staryl, under an orange sun, Lynai was a world's superhero. But Superman was powerless on the world. And yellow sun rays were lethal to Luma so she couldn't move to Earth.
Feeling he had a duty to be a hero, Lynai told Superman to leave her and return to Earth.
Lynai crops up now and then. That costume design is too good. Here she is one of the super-sirens trying to tempt Superman. (Turns out she is an alien shapeshifter trying to kill Superman.)
She also makes a brief appearance in JSA Classified #3 (written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Amanda Conner!) as a future Supergirl who is Power Girl's mother. Anyways, always happy to see Lynai and that cool green/white costume whenever it shows up.
The seed was all the Watchmen overtones I saw in the initial clues. That led me into thinking the Leviathan group is basically the Charlton Heroes of Earth-4 now united by Ted to be the Leviathan organization. Between Monarch-looking enforcers and a high ranking female Leviathan operative, I can easily see Captain Atom and Nightshade in the mix.
Moreover, I have this sense that this Ted has seen it all ... or remembers it all. He remembers being killed by Max Lord, at the time the head of Checkmate. He remembers the betrayals and the Crises. He is spurred to action.
And in last week's Event Leviathan #2, several clues were dropped which help bolster my opinion.
I already covered all the clues from the solicited cover here. Looks like my thoughts on the cover being an homage of Justice League #1 was on the money. On Twitter, artist Alex Maleev said it was not coincidence the cover looked that way.
Now, let's take a look into the issue and start a deeper dive. And get ready for a long read. Because conspiracy theories can be rambling.
We'll start out with one of the first exchanges in the Leviathan conversation with Plastic Man.
Of course Plas is quipping away, never taking anything seriously.
And look, Leviathan laughs! He says 'HA!'.
Now when I look at other theories - Roy Harper, Martian Manhunter, Jason Todd, and others - none of those guys seem likely to laugh at something as stupid as that comment.
But Ted Kord?
Well, he is as well known for his 'Bwa-ha-ha' as he is for his adventures.
More than any other clue in this issue, that simple 'ha' made me think I'm right.
But wait, there's more.
Leviathan knew who Batgirl was.
Now we learn he knows who Plastic Man is. He calls Plas 'Patrick'! How many people know what Eel O'Brien's real name is?
And this exchange makes it seem like they know each other from the Justice League. Now I don't know if Blue Beetle and Plastic Man have ever officially been on the roster.
But between all the continuities and all the reserves, they have crossed paths.
Of course all this assumes my theory that this Ted Kord somehow knows all the continuities, has seen all the timelines.
And this is shown when he rattles off all the groups that Plastic Man has been a part of in Plas' history, including the All Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters. I doubt this Plastic Man has been around since WWII. But more importantly, I don't think those groups even exist in the current DCU continuity. Whoever this Leviathan is, he has seen the big picture.
That makes this exchange, where Leviathan admits he comes from a broken world which almost killed them. And that made Leviathan step back and reassess.
Maybe Ted Kord saw himself get killed by Max Lord and realizes that while that continuity is gone, the remnants remain. Maybe he realized that he had to stop that possible outcome from happening and the best way to do that was to destroy all the intelligence organizations (like Checkmate) and to take over peacefully.
Or maybe that broken world is the original Earth 4, the broken world almost destroyed before being molded into the main Earth? And maybe, given all the Watchmen overtones, he has peeked into that completely broken world reality, has seen himself as Dan Dreiberg, and has decided to make things better.
Some of Leviathan's agents gear is similar to Batman's tech.
Ted Kord ran a technology company. He created all the Blue Beetle gear and gizmos he used. And he worked with Batman in the League. Maybe he learned something from the Dark Knight.
It all adds up to Ted Kord.
But wait, there's more.
Let's look less at Ted and more into the Charlton side of things.
The Leviathan agent from ARGUS was Casey Klebba. Even Batman knows that is probably a pseudonym.
Trying my best to unscramble the letters, I can't help but notice that Black is in there. One of The Peacemaker's identities in comics was Mitchell Black. (Essay Black? Yes, as Black?) I also see Blake in there. Blake was the last name of The Comedian, the Peacemaker analog in Watchmen.
In fact if you replace Casey with K.C. then you can squint and make Blake/Black.
Of course, Klebba is an established character, Agent Dale Gunn's husband as shown in Sterling Gates' Vibe comic. So I might be looking in a wrong place.
Finally my good friend Mart Gray in his review even points out that the Leviathan costume even looks like the Peacemaker's.
Yes, some of these clues could be attributed to the Martian Manhunter (broken world, almost dead). Some of these point to an Earth X incursion (the Enforcer is the Human Bomb, knowing all of Plastic Man's history). But it is clear, Leviathan is Ted Kord. This time I'm right.
Superman #13 came out last week and was an interesting issue, basically a flashback to the daysbefore Krypton exploded. We have seen Jor-El pleading to the Science Council in just about every incarnation of the Superman origin. This time we see him pleading to another group, the Circle. And finally, it is revealed he was part of that group.
When Brian Michael Bendis came on board and talked up Man of Steel, he said that he was going to tell a story about Krypton's destruction, answering a question that hadn't been asked before. And this issue feels like a sort of pre-quel to Man of Steel in many ways. We have seen that Rogol Zaar initiated the destruction of Krypton. Now we know that Jor-El was involved with the Circle and might be complicit in some of that group's more unsavory interactions with cultures. I haven't really enjoyed this demolition of Jor-El from brilliant scientist to sociopathic madman now to historical murderer. So much for the House Of El being a noble house on Krypton, differentiating itself from others. Now they are just as much in the mud.
At least Superman calls his father out for these actions. I guess here nurture overcame nature.
The art is predominantly by Brendan Peterson, covering the flashback portion of the issue. The art is stylish with almost a Cully Hamner feel. Ivan Reis does the present time portion with his usual classic look.
Alas poor Jor-El. I thought I knew you well. On to the book.
I said this has the feel of Man of Steel as we revisit the Circle, secret meetings, and Rogol Zaar.
So why not open it up with a shot of a globe, the intact Krypton.
After all, every Man of Steel issue opened up with such a shot.
It turns out that the Science Council won't listen to Jor-El. They won't listen to his claims of doom.
Lara thinks the whole council should be disbanded.
More than ever, this resonates a little. It is like people denying climate change. I couldn't help but think of folks calling for the dissolution of the Senate or the Electoral College.
This is a rather fetching Lara. And I like how even as a wee lad, Clark's hair just fell into the spit curl. Too cute.
The Science Council might not listen. But there is a higher power.
Jor-El is part of the Circle. So he approaches that group in hopes of convincing them to help. Maybe they can help him convince the Science Council of his work. Or maybe they can figure out how to save the populace. And if they won't help, they should expect retribution.
It is interesting to see that the Circle denies Jor-El's findings too. Remember, they didn't want Zaar to do anything to Krypton but we now know Gandelo gave him the go-ahead. I also like the bored 'can I hang up now' by the Tamaranean king when Jor-El starts ranting.
Still, Appa Ali Apsa asks about Zaar. Maybe the Guardian wonders if all of this environmental distress is because of some intentional interference.
But the fact that Jor-El is in this group is interesting. Does this mean he agreed to be proactive, interfering with other planets? Who knew he had the same position as kings, empresses, and Guardians.
I also had to laugh that Jor-El took this call from his bathroom.
Have we seen Kryptonian commodes before?
And doesn't he have an office?
Of course, his implied threat to the Circle can't go unanswered.
Walking home one day, he finds himself under attack by a Thanagarian squad on Krypton.
This is also a little weird. This is a 'new' Krypton of course. But I thought they were isolationists. And can Thanagarians move so easily on this planet?
Perhaps it is that change in environment that allows Jor-El to be an action scientist, defeating a squad of winged warriors.
Heading back home, we get a replay of the classic scene. Krypton is falling apart around Jor-El and Lara. Their only hope is to rocket Kal off. Unlike prior histories, Lara joining her son is off the table.
But things are dire.
Jor-El makes one last desperate call.
This time only two people respond. Gandelo (who we know is behind the destruction) and the Tamaranean king. They can't help. They won't send fleets to get people off world because they still don't believe Jor's findings.
Great progression of panels here, Jor-El suddenly small and in the dark, powerless. The ironic 'Long Live Krypton' hanging in the air.
Back in the present, Superman is rather disgusted at the revelations.
His father was part of the Circle. He is complicit in other crimes. He was part of a group that blew up Krypton and killed Lara.
Jor-El cannot play the martyr card here.
How I keep hoping this is some alternate Jor-El. But it is pretty clear this is canon now. Superman's father has always been a villain.
Not much more about that storyline here.
Instead the issue ends with the 'Year of the Villain' Luthor offering. He gives Lois' a box which holds something that grabs her attention.
It all seems so Underworld Unleashed to me. But maybe I'll be surprised.
While the story itself here was entertaining and interesting with lush art, I just have to grieve a little at this Jor-El character assassination. Where is that barrel-chested upstanding guy? I guess nestled in the Silver Age. Overall grade: B
Supergirl #32 came out last week, another chapter in the House of El storyline, trying to tie up the Rogol Zaar storyline started in Man of Steel before the Event Leviathan mega-arc takes over the focus of the super-books.
As such, and no big surprise given some of the turns in the Supergirl title, things happen rather quickly here. In some places, too quickly.
I also think there was something of a missed opportunity here. Superboy joined Supergirl on this mission. And yet, he is only in the beginning and the ending of the book, sort of disappearing in the middle without much explanation. It's a shame because their interaction in the few pages they share is well done, the sort of banter cousins would have.
But once again we have an uneven presentation of Supergirl who floats between overpowering rage and unflinching morality depending on the whim of the script. Since this is an even issue, she is measured in her actions. Were this an odd issue, she would be the Queen of the Axe coming within millimeters of decapitating someone. (I kid. But it seems that random.) Marc Andreyko has yet to show me he has an understanding or even a foundation for the character.
The art is done by Kevin Maguire and is his usual top notch stuff. Really love his take on Jon.
On to the book.
Last issue Kara, Jon, and Krypto teleported out to face Empress Gandelo. I was looking forward to seeing how Kara would deal with her suddenly older cousin. And I thought it would be fun to see them fight as a pair.
There were a couple of things I liked about this opening page.
First of all, there is something endearing about Kara calling Jon 'kiddo'.
But I really like that she seems to want to head back to Earth. She talks about bubble baths and sandwiches, as if she has accepted Earth as her home and misses it.
Of course, that wasn't the sentiment at all when she uprooted herself and went off on this mission, cutting ties with everyone and everything on the planet.
The two confront Gandelo, telling her that they are bringing her in for coordinating planetary massacres. It is a nice moment when Kara stands up to Gandelo and talks about bringing her in rather than killing her.
But before they can, Gandelo toady Hakmon fires some 'clone sperm' out of his back, creating a small army of himself to just dogpile on the pair. Yes, it looks like sperm. And yes, it is funny to see the sort of awkward conversation between Kara and Jon about it, complete with pitch perfect expressions by Maguire.
But the thing is, within a panel, Supergirl is freed and in Gandelo's face. Unfortunately, Jon and Krypto are somehow overwhelmed and not seen until the end.
Why have him guest star if he isn't going to guest star?
Gandelo jumps out the window and Kara follows. But at the last minute, Gandelo swoops upwards leaving Kara to face plant on the ground.
I did not like this moment at all.
Supergirl has been doing this too long to pratfall like this.
It isn't funny. And it kind of shows the lack of respect this title has for its character right now.
Now in a sort of crystal bird form, Gandelo grabs Kara and says she doesn't regret bringing about Krypton's destruction. Just as she didn't regret bringing about the end of Rogol Zaar's world.
So that comes out of nowhere. And is something of a throwaway line.
This is a big deal. Zaar's motivations for destroying Krypton seem linked to his thoughts they are similar to whoever killed his world. I'm just a bit surprised that reveal was here.
And then, on cue, but also surprising, Rogol Zaar suddenly appears on this world.
I didn't recall him following Kara. I suppose he could be following his ax. But I would have liked one line to inform me why he is suddenly there.
And, of course, he arrives just as Gandelo admits to the crime she committed at least 25 years before, having hidden it from Zaar all this time.
Also seems a bit too convenient.
During the battle, Supergirl and Zaar get into a mental battle for control of his ax. Because we want the blood-drenched weapon that has executed many to want to be in the hands of our hero.
But before Zaar can physically attack Supergirl, Z'ndr Kol arrives. And he uses Kara's ship to remove Zaar briefly from the fight.
I do like the silly landing feet of the ship being used as arms. Reminds me of Bronze Age Supermobile! That is never a bad thing.
And then, again, done almost nonchalantly, Zaar kills Gandelo.
I feel like Gandelo was pretty 2 dimensional in all her evil hand wringing.
So she reveals she destroyed Zaar's world, Zaar discovers this deception, and Zaar kills her in the span of a few pages. This is a story that has been going on for over a year.
This seems like there was a push to wrap things up.
With Kara locked in physical and psychological combat over the ax, Jon finally joins the fray.
I like this panel with the red aura of the heat vision. I like he asks her what he should do, showing she is the 'leader' of the two.
But I wish we could have seen more of this duo. Instead, Jon triggers the teleport circuits, sending the super-team back to Jor-El's ship.
But Kara doesn't have the ax.
It chose Zaar.
As this is a Year of the Villain crossover, we get a Lex Luthor sighting at the end. He finds some Brainiac drone hiding in a factory and offers this version of the android an upgrade.
I have to admit, I don't know much of what Lex is talking about here. Have we seen this Brainiac before? Wasn't Lex working with a more classic Brainiac over in Justice League?
Anyways, this thing looks more bug-like, a nice look. And I guess I'll see where this goes.
So on the plus side, Kara likes Earth again. She works well with Jon. She wasn't eager to kill. But so much happens so quickly, I felt a bit unsatisfied. And that faceplant is idiotic. Overall grade: C+
Event Leviathan #2 came out this week and was another interesting chapter in this ongoing, all-reaching mystery. I feel like this series is going to have a pace like a snowball rolling down a mountain. We are still just building momentum. But as this moves on, my guess is things will go faster and crazier.
The first issue ended with Damien Wayne wondering if the Red Hood was Leviathan. After all, some of the aspects of these attacks sound like something that Jason Todd would do. This issue is Batman questioning Red Hood, trying to see if this allegation by Damien holds any weight.
Now admittedly, I am not a Jason Todd fan. I don't read the Red Hood. But my interactions with him in passing make me think that he isn't a team player. He isn't a leader. And he doesn't seem like one to be as organized as the Leviathan attacks have been. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
But the bulk of this issue is this quasi-interrogation. But there are clues sprinkled throughout, most of them in a scene between Plastic Man and Leviathan himself. Some of these definitely add to my theory, all of which will be laid out in a separate post.
Alex Maleev continues to stun me with his art and colors here. From the varied dappled nighttime scenes to the cool, in control 'green' of the Question, to the bright reds when action unfolds, this whole thing works.
I am totally on board here.
On to the story.
The Red Hood is outside the devastated ARGUS headquarters, investigating the scene from afar, when his old mentor Batman shows up.
They compare notes quickly. Leviathan has done the unthinkable, removing ARGUS, Spyral, the DEO, Kobra, and the original Leviathan group from the espionage world.
Moverover, Batgirl was on hand during one of the attacks and is missing. And Green Arrow was with her during the attack and was found in his home. Whoever Leviathan is, he is coordinated. And he knows things ... like Ollie's home address.
Now that is an interesting thing to unpack. If Batman thinks Todd is Leviathan, then he must be telling the Red Hood all these things to gauge his response. After all, Todd would know all the things he has done.
As in Action Comics where we get a view of people's desks as a peek behind the curtain, in Event Leviathan we get a corkboard of clues. This is as much a recap page as some text piece but so much more interesting.
Once more we hear that there are no bodies in the rubble of these attacks. The blue energy of these attacks suggests instant disintegration. Maybe no bodies are found because there aren't any bodies.
Still, that Green Arrow information is stuck in Jason's mind.
Finally, he asks Batman what he wants.
Batman knows that there is a small window in time for the good guys to act. Leviathan acted swiftly. That means the next day, there will be a new reality. A new regime. Jason calls it a revolution.
With only hours to go, Batman is putting together a team of detectives to figure it all out. One of those detectives is Lois Lane, a member of the press. That shocks Jason ... it should. After all, they are all about stealth, not headlines.
Jason even wonders if Lois could be Leviathan.
But then Batman drops more information. Lois' father was attacked, suffered a heart attack but survived. It is doubtful that Lois would try to kill her own father. Especially since there was another attack on the General.
Luckily, the Question was there to defend.
A Leviathan agent, dressed up in black leather and a finned helmet which reminds me of The Ray, came in finish the General off. With the guards outside the room incapacitated (offscreen sounding as if they were drugged or gassed), the assassin came in only to be confronted by the Question.
Before much can happen, the General pulls out a concealed sidearm and kills the Leviathan thug.
Now I can't imagine the hospital staff knew he had that gun. But the most unbelievable thing about this is that Lane is still in the ER! Get that man to an inpatient bed! Probably in a Cardiac Unit. Okay, I digress.
The uniform of the agent is certainly interesting.
I love the colors here. The Question is all Zen so the cool greens make sense. And that is shattered by the red of the gun shot.
Moreover, it turns out that the killer as named Casey Klebba. He as an ARGUS agent.
As I thought all along, there aren't bodies at these attacks because the people in these organizations are being taken away and recruited. And it seems it is a pretty quick conversion. This is an ARGUS agent just hours after the attack.
And then we get another scene.
The body of the Leviathan agent was scooped up by The Question so it could be examined for clues. Now it seems odd that Plastic Man gets that job, but he does.
And who should show up to claim the body but the man himself, Leviathan. It is a great scene with Leviathan stating his party line that people will willingly join his group when they see the goals, Plastic Man included.
But there are clues here. Leviathan says Plastic Man knows him.
It seems like Leviathan is implying that they know each other from the Justice League. Hmmm...
But then that Justice League could simply be the beginning of a list as Leviathan rattles off all the other groups Plas has been a part of including the All Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters all the way up to The Terrifics. These are all places Plas has tried to find a home in.
Are all those groups in continuity any more?? Hmmm ...
And then a little peek behind to curtain of Leviathan.
Both Plas and Leviathan came from broken worlds and both had to take a step back and reassess their goals. And this world has to be changed. And Plas will ultimately decide the best way to change it is by joining Leviathan.
With that, Leviathan and the dead agent both disappear, teleported away in blue energy. (Maybe Leviathan and 'The Enforcer' are the same person?)
Finally, Batman reveals his hand. The entire group of detectives, even Manhunter, are all on the roof. They decide to actually accuse Jason of being Leviathan.
They pepper him with Questions. We learn the tech on the Leviathan goon was similar to WayneTech. It all seems to add up.
In perhaps the worst response, Jason runs. The chase is on.
Oooohhh ... how I love a mystery!
This was another dialogue heavy issue, interrupted only by the brief hospital scuffle and the chase on the last page. But who cares. The game is afoot! We have to see the clues laid out before we can put together a theory. And that means legwork first. Fisticuffs later.
I am loving this.
Now I promise I'll review the clues as they pertain to my theory soon. But this issue also made me ponder Martian Manhunter again as a suspect. And now, between the Freedom Fighter reference and the Ray armor, an Earth X theory could be percolating. Great story. Inspired art. Overall grade: A
I have spoke of Anchoring Bias, the idea that once you have an idea, you cannot move from it.
Now I am manifesting Confirmation Bias, the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.
I believe that Leviathan is Ted Kord.
Now I am seeing confirmation of that idea just about everywhere. Even in comics outside of Event Leviathan and Action Comics.
But a Levithan Theory clue in Harley Quinn #63 ?
Well in the latest issue of Harley Quinn, Harley is in the early stages of grief as she has to deal with her mother's terminal condition.
In the issue, Harley struggling with her feelings about her mother, gets visited by Death. It is a fascinating blend of humor and seriousness as both Harley and her mother come to terms with things. It really is deftly handled by writer Sam Humphries with some gorgeous expressive work by Otto Schmidt.
But there is a Leviathan clue in there. The setting for Quinn's sit-down with death is in an old video store, the end of a beloved franchise. Look closely at the store.
That's right, this is a meta-textual Leviathan clue, perfect in a book which routinely breaks the fourth wall and is loose with reality.
The end of a beloved franchise. The end of Kord Video?
I can imagine some DC meeting where Brian Michael Bendis said "I am making Ted Kord a villain named Leviathan." And someone said 'The end of the bwa-ha-ha Blue Beetle. A beloved franchise has passed.' Then Sam Humphries said 'I can use that line'.
Of course, because Ted Kord's beloved time as Blue Beetle is coming to an end as he becomes the villainous Leviathan. Brilliant cross-promoting. Leviathan Theory! This time I'm right!
The shrine got a little bit bigger this week when the Artgerm Supergirl statue finally arrived at the store.
This is a really beautiful piece. It seems to veer near cheesecake. But there is something also wholesome and angelic about it that really makes it a wonderful addition to my collection.
Standing pretty tall on a metal post, giving the illusion of flying, this is a DCAU Supergirl, or a latter half PAD Supergirl depending on your viewpoint. But whatever continuity it is gorgeous.
And the sculpt itself is solid with great details
And how great is it that it truly mirrors the cover of Supergirl #19!
I love when things hearken back to the comics.
One thing I do think is interesting about this sculpt is the paint.
Notice that rather than having shadows form on their own depending on the light source, the paint job does that accentuating for us.
There are grays painted on the shirt to simulate the shadows of the cover. At first I thought this was a two-tone shirt. But now that I know that it is shadows, I am more into the look. Fascinating decision.
The same sort of color differentiation is done on the cape.
Obviously, the cover doesn't give cues. So this was either artist decision, or perhaps Artgerm if he drew a 360 take on the statue.
It is a nice addition to the white shirt section of the collection. I think an overall look at the shrine might need to happen sooner rather than later.
Adventures of Super Sons #12 came out last week, the end of the maxi-series and the end of the sons as we have known them.
This is the end ...
Or is it?
Writer Peter Tomasi has been sending the boys through a warped tour of DC's Silver and Bronze ages in this book as Jon and Damien fight Rex Luthor and his Gang. And now that Jon is 17ish and presumably about to join the Legion of Super-Heroes, we won't be getting more tween adventures of this next gen World's Finest. And that makes me more than a little sad. The boys have brought a lot of joy into comics and heaven knows I need as much fun as possible.
Artist Carlo Barbieri has also brought a sort of whiz-bang quasi-anime feel to the book which has really given it a ton of energy.
But anytime a book or concept like this ends, I have to wonder why. Certainly there were more stories to tell. And while I know I only need go back to the longbox to reread these stories, I'll always wonder what might have been.
Still, there is a little bit of light peeking through the darkness of this ending. Maybe there is more?
Last issue, Rex tricked the sons into trapping themselves in the 'cosmic cube' Luthor has been using to power his scheme. Trapped in the white space of the cube, the sons try to figure out how to break free.
And then, something crazy happens. A personification of the Cube appears. The Cube has attained sentience. It has watched time pass. It has seen the events in the Fortress. And it wants to have a life of its own.
I love the 'cube' word balloons.
Wishing to make his own stories, the cube tapped into it's own power and created a sort of pocket universe/new world ... the home world of Rex and his gang. But then, Rex somehow usurped control, grabbing the Cube and wielding its power on his own. Rex the student became the master.
I love the little meta-commentary where Jon says the Cube created his own imaginary story. Aren't they all?
But as innocent as this Cube is, there have been real complications. The Puppeteer was killed by Rex.
Of course, the Cube has phenomenal cosmic power. At Jon's suggestion, the Cube brings the Puppeteer back to life. And in a few minutes, Robin is somehow able to retro-engineer the Puppeteer tech to take control of Rex in the real world.
There is something smug about Damien's assessment. And his expression is perfect.
These are tween boys.
So first Damien makes red shout a bunch of sophomoric self-insults. But then Rex is forced into releasing the boys. And they quickly smash him.
I'll miss these shots of the kids fighting together.
Part of this story has been the boys visiting horror worlds and sci-fi worlds. Now we know that these were manifestations of the Cube's desire for stories.
We have seen them inspire older versions of themselves.
Now they inspire the Cube. It is time for the Cube to take control back. And the boys inspire the Cube by bringing up all the stories they have gone through.
And just like that, it's over.
Now the Cube has an internal world filled with all these incredible characters. There are good guys and bad guys. There are wild locales.
This is the world where we saw those 'How I Met Your Mother' scenes were older Sons tell of their adventures to their kids.
So there is a world out there, inside the hypercube, where any story can happen. Maybe some sequel can happen?
With Rex captured and the Cube's powers harnessed, the boys find themselves back at home. Finally their summer can truly start.
But then we get a fun twist. This Gang adventure ate up the entire summer.
Today is the first day of school!
I have to admit. I chuckled out loud.
And so we come to the end of this run of the Adventures of the Super Sons.
But these are stories.
It is never the end.
I have said it before. I'll say it again. I'll miss these guys. I'll miss this dynamic. I'll miss seeing this relationship grow. We saw both kids pick up traits of the other. I loved how this was the palate cleanser to the sometimes bristly relationship between Clark and Bruce.
For now, no more.
At time like this, I remember a similar ending ... Bryan Q. Miller's Batgirl #24.
It's only the end if you want it to be.
Thanks to Mr. Tomasi and Mr. Barbieri. I'll miss these guys. Overall grade: B+
Lois Lane #1 came out last week and was a great opening issue to this maxi-series, giving us a sort of quick cross-section of what the investigative reporter's life must me like on a day to day basis. I was very entertained by the issue and was instantly wanting to read more. That is always a good sign for a first issue.
Writer Greg Rucka is known for his adept handling of female characters and this issue puts that on display. We get a very three-dimensional look at Lois, making her feel like a real person living her unreal life. From a very topical expose of the President, to her beginning an investigation on the apparent suicide of a Russian colleague, to the complicated private life of being Clark Kent's wife and Superman's paramour, we get just about everything. And Lois responds to all those chunks of her life impressively. She is determined, quick-witted, intelligent, angry, blase. But mostly she's unfazed. She has been around the block a couple of times. This read like the way I want Lois to read.
And Mike Perkins on art gives a very real portrayal of all this. I think Perkins' style works best in the dark, seedy corners of investigative journalism. But even the bright shiny press conferences and sun-dappled romantic scenes really crackle here. The work really shines.
Paul Mounts contributions as colorist can't be dismissed either as the scope of the book goes light to dark, dingy to spotless and his colors capture it all.
If the whole series is going to be like this first issue, I'll be thrilled. We need a Lois book on the racks. And this is a great one. On to the story ...
Now I definitely spoke highly of the issue in the introduction to the review but one piece to Lois' story that I hope Rucka answers is her current living arrangement. She is estranged from Clark, living in a Chicago hotel, and kind of has a marital relationship with benefits.
We open with her furiously tak-tak-tak-ing away at her keyboard, sending off an article to expose some 'arrogant #$%%$#'.
This single life veers a little close to a film noir reporter diving into tricky places. Lois tells the maid she always wants the mini-bar filled, like a hard-drinking ink-stained newspaper person from the 40s. And she smirks when the maid brings up her marriage to Clark and the well-publicized kiss with Superman.
I still don't quite get why they are separated and why they would kiss as Lois/Superman in the middle of a city street. Hopefully we get there.
Perry contacts Lois about the article she just sent hoping she has proof for the claims she has made. As always, she stands by her piece and she wants her name on the byline. She'll face the slings and arrows for those upset with it. I suppose that dogged pursuit of the truth and her being the face of the investigation is one of the things I love about Lois.
So right off the bat we see her as the hard-hitting reporter.
But Perry gives us a subplot. Mariska Koronova, a Russian reporter, a sort of Lois analog, someone critical of the Kremlin, has seemingly committed suicide. And that doesn't seem right to Lois. Looks like a new mystery has cropped up.
So then we see Lois as a wheeler dealer.
In classic Hollywood fashion, she meets someone in a parking garage. She tells the Question that she wants Koronova's suicide looked into. More importantly, Koronova had a copy of all the Kremlin information stashed somewhere and told Lois. She wants it retrieved.
I loved this little bit of dialog. Lois doesn't mind a little lying to get information. But she doesn't like being dishonest to get a story. The Question heading into Russia to grab that intel, probably with a clenched fist, is inherently illegal. That isn't being a squeaky clean, above reproach member of the 4th estate.
But sometimes the ends justify the means.
So now we see a Lois willing to bend the rules a bit.
Again, Perkins use of shadows and blacks here is perfect.
Heading back to her hotel room, she spies Clark in the shower and slips into it with him.
Later, in the post-amorous sunrise, she sees that he has been watching her sleep.
It is a tiny little throwaway line, but I like how she reminds him that he needs to sleep. We have all seen stories where a sleep-deprived Kryptonian gets a little nutty.
Now we see the head-over-heels in love Lois, the concerned spouse.
Perkins now has to give us a sun-kissed romantic morning right out of the pitch of the nighttime garage. Lovely.
Heading out in public for breakfast (hope they can explain Clark being in Chicago), Lois is called a slut by a passerby. After all, she is Clark's wife and kisser of Superman.
She laughs it off as sexism. Superman never gets insulted because he is a guy.
While Superman might be above insults, I am sure Clark could face some troubling words or mocking phrases. I wouldn't mind seeing that side of this as well.
And then the story that I am most interested in reading.
Lois has moved out. Moreover, she learned something when in space with Jor-El that she hasn't shared with Clark yet. And she needs to trust him. She has her reasons.
He takes it all with a smile.
Yes, I am very intrigued by what it could be she has learned.
But I don't know many married couples that would be thrilled with one person saying 'I am keeping secrets from you. Don't worry about it.'
Meanwhile in Russia, in the dark of night, the Renee Montoya Question beats the snot out of some goons sniffing around Koronova's dead drop site. They came too late. Montoya has the thumb drive.
These are gorgeous, well-executed fisticuffs all done in the blacks, blues, and purples of twilight. These were my favorite pages by Perkins and Mounts.
But then we get back to that story from the beginning pages.
In a White House Press Conference, Lois asks about her story. She has uncovered that private companies are sending kickbacks to the administration in order to get contracts to build 'tender care camps', the DC equivalent of the current detention centers at the border. The government is monetizing the separation of families.
Even when the Secretary says she cannot reply, Lois continues to push.
Obviously the dollar numbers she quotes are the bits that Perry wanted confirmation on.
The line of questioning gets Lois escorted out, her credentials stripped. But I love that look of defiance at the top. She did her job. She lit the fire. Now the other reporters can fan the flames.
The proud walk away in the last panel really sells the issue. She is Lois Lane. Nothing can stop her.
This whole last page is just phenomenal by Perkins. So much of the feel is left to the art to convey.
I do worry when such a hot button issue like detention camps gets inserted into comics today if only because it can date the story. But this would be an issue Lois would tackle. So I suppose it works. And clearly this whole scene with Lois hammering away before strutting off is just about perfect.
So overall a great sort of 'days in the life' look at what it means to be Lois Lane. I suppose now that we have a foundation of Rucka's take, we'll have the new plots become more front and center. But I liked this for what it was, a primer on Lois with some plot seeds planted.
And Mike Perkins shines no matter what scenario he has to take on. Overall grade: A