Comic Book Review – Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend (2016)
Reprints Action Comics #685-686, Adventures of Superman #498-500, Justice League America #70, Legacy of Superman, Supergirl and Team Luthor Special, Superman #76-77, and Superman: The Man of Steel #20-21
Written by Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, William Messner-Loebs, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern
Art by Jon Bogdanove, June Brigman, Rick Burchett, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dennis Janke, Dan Jurgens, Denis Rodier, Walt Simonson, Curt Swan, Brett Breeding, Butch Guice, Doug Hazlewood, Mike Machlan, Ande Parks, Josef Rubenstein, and Trevor Scott

For a couple of months, the four Superman monthly titles had no Superman. Instead, these issues and couple special one-shots focused on how the citizens of Metropolis and the world dealt with the death of the Man of Steel. There’s little action or typical superhero antics in these titles, and it’s a strangely introspective collection for the time. The story opens immediately after the final page of Superman #75, with Lois still holding Superman’s lifeless body. The writers don’t feel afraid to embrace the tragedy and loss, though they have some tricks up their sleeve coming in the next volume, and any reader would know the hero wasn’t going to be permanently gone.

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TV Tryouts – Stargirl

Stargirl (The CW)
Season One, Episode One – “Pilot”
Written by Geoff Johns
Directed by Glen Winter

I am a huge fan of Geoff Johns’s contributions to DC Comics, mostly as the Justice Society writer. He was able to present aging heroes and those who took up their legacies in a way no writer since Roy Thomas had done since All-Star Squadron in the early 1980s. There’s always a rich sense of history that is reasonably accessible to the unfamiliar and resonates powerfully with those who know the backstories of characters. Making a series based on Stargirl, which I reviewed the comic earlier this month, is a brilliant choice to introduce lesser-known heroes and villains.

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Comic Book Review – The Death of Superman

The Death of Superman (2016)
Reprints Action Comics #18-20, Adventures of Superman #496-498, Superman #73-75, Superman: The Man of Steel #17-19, Justice League America #69, Newstime: The Life and Death of Superman
Written by Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern
Art by Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Rick Burchett, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, and Denis Rodier

There was no comic book event more prominent and more hyped in 1992 than the Death of Superman. I was eleven years old and was very aware of it from nightly news reports adding to the media frenzy around the pending death. I didn’t get to read the title at the time due to not having much disposable income, but I did hang around the comic books rack at Kroger, loitering & reading while my mom shopped. The opening chapter in the larger nearly year-long storyline is not the best part of the story, but you can’t skip it without losing some critical context. The Death of Superman is arguably a much too long fight scene spread out over multiple issues, a conflict that could have been resolved in a couple of books.

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Comic Book Review – Stargirl by Geoff Johns

Stargirl by Geoff Johns (2020)
Reprints Stars and STRIPE #0-14, JSA: All-Stars #4, excerpts from DCU Heroes Secret Files and DCU Villians Secret Files
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Lee Moder

I can remember buying the first issue of Stars and STRIPE when it came out. I was an awkward eighteen-year-old in the summer before college, I cannot believe how much I’ve changed as a person. This comic was on sale at Piggly Wiggly, one of the few stores in my rural American Southeast town that still sold comics. I was excited to get in on the ground floor of a brand new character and especially loved the connection to the Golden Age heroes. Anytime I read a comic that embraces the depth of a universe’s history, I get happy. I kept picking up the title as it came out until I moved off to college and began going down a different path for a while. Eventually, I would come back to the character through Geoff Johns’ JSA run. With the debut of Stargirl’s series on The CW, DC Comics has collected her earliest appearances and repackaged them here.

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by George Perez Volume 4

Wonder Woman by George Perez Volume 4
Reprints Wonder Woman V2 #36-45, Annual #2
Written by George Perez & Mindy Newell
Art by Chris Marrinan, Jill Thompson Steve Montano, Colleen Doran, Jan Duursema, & more

George Perez’s reboot of Wonder Woman in the late 1980s is just so unlike anything else that came before or after. Wonder Woman was always a strange comic when compared to others, being a female-led title when such a thing wasn’t trendy. The world of Wonder Woman was so unique pre-Crisis and continued to be different when it came to the tone. In the early days, there was more of an effort to incorporate Princess Diana’s stories with the DC Universe proper. We saw that in previous volumes with Millennium and Invasion tie-ins. This period of Perez’s run felt like it was drifting away from the larger universe, become more insular with Diana’s supporting cast.

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Movie Review – Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn)

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)
Written by Christina Hodson
Directed by Cathy Yan

I am not going to pretend I was excited in any way to see this movie. With the foul taste of Suicide Squad in my mouth and my opinion that Harley Quinn is not nearly as interesting a character as DC Comics is trying to make her, I knew I was going to dislike most of Birds of Prey, and I did. I won’t even go with the statement that “this movie wasn’t made for me” because it sort of was. I have loved DC Comics since I was a kid, especially the B-tier or lower obscure characters. Birds of Prey is chock full of them, and seeing a version of those characters on screen was mildly amusing.

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Comic Book Review – Doomsday Clock

Doomsday Clock (2017 – 2019)
Reprints Doomsday Clock #1-12
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank

In 2016, when DC Rebirth hit the stands, it became clear that DC Comics was working towards some crossover between their universe of characters and the Watchmen reality. For the next year, the event was teased in smaller stories, but the details remained obscure. What we knew was that Doctor Manhattan has some role in the New 52 reboot of the DCU, a 2011 line-wide decision to try and revitalize the characters. It appeared to be an in-universe way to explain why such drastic changes happened and why certain characters vanished.

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