Superman Action Comics Rebirth: Superman Meet Clark Kent (Comic) Review

Superman is Clark Kent. Clark Kent is Superman. It’s what DC Comics fans have known for over 75 years. But with DC’s new comic event Rebirth, there have been some changes to that dynamic. As if DC were taking cues from soap operas like General Hospital or Days of Our Lives, Superman and Clark Kent are no longer synonymous. In a shocking twist, Superman and Clark Kent exist separate from one another. While the new Superman is still Clark Kent at home with Lois and their son, there is another Clark Kent – one who works for the Daily Planet but who has no superpowers whatsoever. And in a short mini-series, Superman and Clark spend some quality time getting to know one another.

Superman Action Comics Rebirth: Superman Meet Clark Kent (Comic) Review 3Superman Action Comics Rebirth: Superman Meet Clark Kent (Comic) Review 3In Superman Action Comics #963-964, this two-part event titled Superman Meet Clark Kent, comes right on the heels of the action packed Path of Doom (see my previous review for more). In Path of Doom, the world was witness to Superman and Lex Luthor fighting Doomsday through the streets of Metropolis. But the captive audience was also witness to the return of Clark Kent. Near the end of The New 52, it was revealed to the world that Clark Kent was Superman. But the Rebirth Clark Kent has no superpowers – breaking his arm in the Doomsday dustup. As Superman Meet Clark Kent opens, Lex Luthor is holding a press conference. Being the President and owner of The Daily Planet, Luthor brings Clark Kent out to face the cameras. Someone fires a gun at Clark, trying to prove he’s really the Man of Steel. But the bullets miss their intended target. After surviving the attack, Clark is subject to a camouflaged Bruce Wayne administering a lie detector test. And finally, to seal the deal, Clark is picked up by Superman himself and flown to the Fortress of Solitude to conclude the prosecution – who is Clark Kent?

Superman Action Comics Rebirth: Superman Meet Clark Kent (Comic) Review 1Superman Action Comics Rebirth: Superman Meet Clark Kent (Comic) Review 1Writer Dan Jurgens does a superb job handling Rebirth’s twists and turns with regards to Superman and his alter ego in Superman Meet Clark Kent. This is no small feat. As stated in the beginning of this review, Clark Kent is Superman. But now, they are separate entities. What would happen when these men come face to face? It’s a tall order, but Jurgens gives readers a satisfying moment – something thankfully not drawn out and worth a two part mini-series. In fact, Superman and Clark Kent don’t get into the conversation until Superman Action Comics #964. And the most poetic part comes in the final pages, where a series of panels give way to Clark Kent’s Daily Planet article titled “My Day With Superman”. It makes way for this new Superman and proves that the DC world can exist with two Clark Kents and, of course, one Superman.

Illustrator Patch Zircher adds artwork that completely complements Jurgens’ Superman Meet Clark Kent script. Zircher’s Superman and Clark Kent remind this reviewer, in part, of Christopher Reeve. He is the classic Superman, a departure from the dour Man of Steel in DC’s Cinematic Universe. Zircher’s artwork has a timeless feel – illustrations that reflect all that works well with the Last Son of Krypton.

Superman Action Comics Rebirth: Superman Meet Clark Kent (Comic) Review 5Superman Action Comics Rebirth: Superman Meet Clark Kent (Comic) Review 5Superman Meet Clark Kent is the perfect follow up to Path of Doom. The latter was an electric five-part series, bringing back one of Superman’s greatest foes. There needed to be a breather. And surprisingly, Superman Meet Clark Kent’s the right fit; it answers some necessary questions surrounding this alternate Clark Kent. But even more so, it’s done in an entertaining and touching way.


Supergirl: Did Season 2 Just Introduce Cyborg Superman?

Warning: this article contains spoilers for this week’s new episode of “Supergirl”!

“Welcome to Earth” was a very eventful new episode of Supergirl, with several characters making their debuts and the reveal that J’onn J’onzz isn’t the only Green Martian living on Earth. But perhaps the most intriguing reveal of all is that President Olivia Marsdin (played by Lynda Carter) is some sort of shape-shifting metahuman in disguise. But who is she really? Was she always a shape-shifter, or has the real President Marsdin been kidnapped and replaced?

It may be some time before the series answers those questions. However, we have an interesting theory. We think President Marsdin may be an iconic Superman villain in disguise. She may actually be Cyborg Superman.


Perhaps a little background is in order first. In the comics, Cyborg Superman was originally an astronaut named Hank Henshaw. In a storyline inspired by Marvel’s Fantastic Four comics, Henshaw and his crew were exposed to solar radiation and began to mutate. The rest of his crew died (including his wife), but Henshaw managed to survive by bonding with Superman’s Kryptonian Birthing Matrix (don’t ask) and eventually returned as a cybernetic villain who partially mimicked the appearance of his hated enemy.

Cyborg Superman has battled the real Superman several times, but he can never truly be defeated since his digitized consciousness can always create new bodies. That’s actually the core tragedy of the character – he wants to die but can’t find the means to end his un-life.

At this point you might be wondering what Cyborg Superman has to do with Supergirl’s version of Hank Henshaw. That’s where our theory begins. Supergirl’s series premiere introduced Hank as the gruff, no-nonsense leader of the DEO. Over the course of Season 1, viewers learned that this Hank was actually the Martian Manhunter in disguise. The original Hank Henshaw apparently died along with Jeremiah Danvers when they were sent by the DEO to find J’onn in Peru.

Supergirl: Martian Manhunter Meets Miss Martian


Shortly after, J’onn began impersonating Henshaw and leading the DEO onto a more noble path, and the rest is history. However, recently our heroes found evidence that Jeremiah is still alive and being held captive by the mysterious Project Cadmus. Is it much of a stretch to believe that the real Hank Henshaw survived as well?

We think that Henshaw may have been transformed into a cyborg, either through exposure to some sort of Martian technology or by the scientists at Cadmus. Like the comic book Hank Henshaw, he can now alter his form and transfer his digitized consciousness from one body to the next. Our theory is that Henshaw is now masquerading as President Marsdin.


She does have a Mr. Burns thing going on.

Consider this: one of Henshaw’s defining traits is his distrust of all alien lifeforms. He didn’t even trust Superman. He made it his mission to police the globe and ensure that no aliens infiltrated ordinary human society. His ordeal in Peru probably did nothing to soften his stance on alien immigration. Furthermore, the scientists at Cadmus have a similar anti-alien stance. Could that be because they’re being controlled by Henshaw? Was the creation of Metallo in “The Adventures of Supergirl” a sort of test run for the debut of Cyborg Superman?

It might seem strange that Henshaw would impersonate the President, only to introduce a pro-alien immigration bill that would theoretically work against his plans. But he’s probably playing the long game. Tensions between humans and aliens are at an all-time high in the aftermath of Myriad and Non’s nearly successful attempt to wipe out humanity. And now, every time President Marsdin makes a show of promoting peace and understanding, she’s attacked by a vengeful, fire-wielding alien. Bad luck, or is she secretly trying to turn public opinion even more against aliens?

Lynda Carter's Debut Ushers in a More Inclusive Supergirl

There’s also the simple fact that when Marsdin briefly showed her nonhuman form, her body flashed with red and blue energy. Is it just a coincidence that she channeled Superman’s colors?

Marsdin being Cyborg Superman makes a lot of sense. It ties the anti-alien hysteria and Cadmus storylines into one larger conflict. It solidifies the idea that this season is all about the quest for tolerance and understanding between humanity and their alien neighbors. And it allows the show to take the lingering Hank Henshaw/Jeremiah Danvers mystery in a crazy new direction. We wouldn’t be surprised if Hank takes Jeremiah’s form when he appears as Cyborg Superman, essentially allowing actor Dean Cain one more chance to don the Superman costume. How cool would that be?

Just pretend that half his face is metal.

Just pretend that half his face is metal.

What say you? Do you buy into this theory? Do you have other ideas as to the true identity of President Marsdin? let us know in the comments below.

Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.


Essential Superman Arcs You Need to Know

Created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman is one of the most iconic characters in pop culture. His iconic, red and yellow S-shield is everywhere, and with his recent appearance on Supergirl, played by Tyler Hoechlin, it was a wake-up call as to why the Big Blue Boy Scout is so great. So if you’re a fan of the Last Son of Krypton and you want to know more, here are ten Superman comics that you should read.


Golden/Silver Age – It might seem unfair to lump up the first four decades of Superman stories together, but there are not a lot of particularly notable stories to pick out. Instead, there are hundreds of really great, fun, off the wall stories featuring Superman, his girlfriend Lois Lane, his best pal Jimmy Olsen, and so many other wacky, zany characters. If you’re interested in getting into Superman from the ground up, DC has collected these stories into omnibuses, with the first Golden Age edition available here.


Man of Steel – The first, honest attempt to streamline Superman’s continuity, including his powers, supporting cast, and even what the character is about, came in writer/artist John Byrne’s 1986 series, the Man of Steel. Launched after the Crisis On Infinite Earths in 1985, which itself was meant to reboot the DC Universe, The Man of Steel is an exploration of just exactly who Superman is. While a lot of it’s ideas, have either since been abandoned or themselves rebooted out, the series got the continuity of the character under control, and laid the foundation for the next 25+ years of stories. It has since been collected into a trade paperback format, available here.

via DC Comics

Marriage – After Lois Lane discovered Clark Kent’s secret identity in 1991, the two characters’ relationship quickly blossomed, resulting in their wedding in 1996, which happened alongside the TV show Lois Clark which focused on their relationship. While a superhero wedding may seem silly, the two characters had been together for over five decades of publication. The Wedding Album one-shot is available online here.


Death of Superman – In 1993, in an effort to revitalize the character, DC Comics killed off Superman in a showdown with the recently introduced Doomsday. One of the highest selling comic books of all time, Superman #75 was the comic heard round the world, and it set into motion one of the weirdest eras for the character. It has since been collected and is available online here.


Reign of Supermen – The 1990’s were a tumultuous period for comic books, with Spider-Clones, broke Batmen, and a dead Superman. Following the Death of Superman storyline was the Reign of Supermen story, which introduced four characters that all claimed to be the real Superman. Later, revived, the true Superman has to team up with the impostors to take down an even greater threat. This has since been collected and is available online here.

via DC Comics

What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way – In 2001, writer Joe Kelly and artists Doug Manhke and Lee Bermejo put Superman up against his greatest challenge yet… ideals. Coming into conflict the Elite, a superhero team that actively used lethal force, Superman is forced to not only fight against super-people, but the idea that being non-lethal is the the wrong thing to do.

via DC Comics

All-Star Superman – While technically the only entry on this list that is not considered to be canon, writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman series is a definitive story for the character. Embracing all of the weird and abstract ideas of the golden and silver age, Morrison weaves it all into gold, delivering one of the most poignant, beautiful comics of all time, while also just being a masterful take on the character. It has since been collected and is available online here.

via DC Comics

Brainiac – Writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank’s 2009 story, Brainiac, was a breath of fresh air for the Man of Tomorrow. Injecting a lot of personality and humanity into the character, even making him look like Christopher Reeve, this story was exactly what the Superman series needed. Superman found himself facing the one, true Brainiac and dealing with both his Kryptonian heritage and his human family. They even adapted this story into an animated movie, called Superman: Unbound, with John Noble of Fringe playing Brainiac, or you can find the complete series online here.

via DC Comics

New 52 – In the summer of 2011, DC’s event Flashpoint shook up the entire timeline, resulting in a new, streamlined universe, referred to as the New 52. This incarnation of Superman was younger, single, brash, and definitely not your dad’s Superman. It was such a departure for the character that many fans did not take to it, as it didn’t feel like the Superman that most people had been raised on. DC recently course-corrected with their newest relaunch, but don’t call it a reboot. With the New 52 over, you can catch up on the four years worth of stories here, in preparation for the most recent Superman series, but don’t call it a reboot… It can be downloaded here.

via DC Comics

Rebirth – The most recent status quo for the Man of Steel has the classic, pre-New 52 version of the character returning, in an effort to bring the character back to his roots. With all of his pre-reboot memories intact, this Superman is more experienced, mature, married, and even has a son named Jonathan Samuel Kent with Lois Lane. This new Superman series is written by Peter J. Tomasi, with art by Patrick Gleason, and is currently ongoing. The series so far is available online or at your local comic shop, with issue 9 out now, available here.


Superman shilled for AT&T in the ’80s

The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade was the best day of my life

Ever since I learned about the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York City, I knew I would have to make it my life’s mission to go someday. That dream finally came true for me when I moved to New York last year, and the parade, as…


Ask Chris #312: Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Superman – Comics Alliance

Ask Chris #312, background art by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke


Q: Are superheroes inextricably tied to their alter-ego day jobs? For example, does Clark Kent have to be a journalist, or Hal Jordan a pilot?@Chan_180

A:For all the questions about whether the Secret Identity is a concept that can still provide drama within the superhero genre or something that just sticks around as an outdated trope from the Golden Age that was handed down to comics by Emma Orczy and the Scarlet Pimpernel, the idea of getting rid of the day job is something that’s rarely discussed, probably because it hasn’t actually happened all that often. Let’s face it: If you’re a superhero, you’re a whole lot more likely to literally come back from the dead than you are to start a new career once you’re in your thirties.

But while it’s a lot easier to imagine Superman just not being Clark Kent anymore than it is to imagine Clark Kent not being a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, I don’t know if it’s entirely impossible to separate them. Like a lot of things, I think it depends on the character.


Flash and Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold, DC Comics


It’s interesting that you bring up Hal Jordan because — along with Spider-Man — he’s probably one of the few characters who actually has switched jobs a few times over the course of his superheroic career. Sure, he started out as a test pilot, but over the next few decades, he was a toy salesman, a trucker, and even dabbled in the fascinating, action-packed world of insurance! And believe it or not, I think that’s actually one of the reasons that I never really became a fan.

I know, I’m surprised too. You’d think that I would’ve been sold on him the second I found out about that stretch in the ’70s where he was a trucker with a magic ring who occasionally had to park his big rig in orbit while he went off and fought space crooks. That’s like the plot of the Green Lantern movie that Hal Needham never got the chance to make. And yet, for whatever reason, it always seemed less like a series of dynamic new directions and more like an off-putting inconsistency.


Superman Adventures, DC Comics


I think part of it just comes down to the way that superhero comics are built. Since they’re serialized fiction that’s meant to go on forever, they’re repetitive by their very nature, and the enjoyment often comes from seeing the way those stories take those same elements that we see every month and add those minor twists that make something new. The thing is, if that’s going to work, it has to be built on a foundation of consistency. After all, the only way you can appreciate a new twist to the formula is if you know what the formula is to begin with.

That’s where the day job comes in, and why it ends up being so difficult for a character to break away from. For superheroes, the day job isn’t just the place where they get the money to pay the rent and buy web fluid or batarangs, it’s a place that helps establish a baseline. It can provide the supporting cast, it can serve as a consistent background and a vehicle for exposition, and while all of those things are also true about the day jobs that you and I have in our regular, non-superheroic lives, comic book characters also have the added requirement of having jobs that help to underscore their central metaphors.

Going back to Hal Jordan, there’s a reason that “toy salesman” and “occasionally spacefaring trucker” didn’t really stick around in the way that “test pilot” did as his definitive career path. He’s a character who’s defined by his courage and his ability to conquer fear, and since superheroes tend to have everything in their stories made to orbit around that single set of defining characteristics, it makes a lot of sense for him to have a job that reflects that, too. Climbing into an untested aircraft and running the risk of having it explode into a fireball as soon as it gets off the runway certainly fits the bill, even if it runs the risk of being hard to separate from the jet-age aesthetic of the era when Hal was created.

Superman’s the same way. As much as the in-continuity reasoning behind Clark Kent getting a job at the Daily Planet came as a result of being able to hear about crises that need his attention as early as possible, the idea of a journalist as someone who seeks out truth and brings it to the masses is pretty tightly interwoven with the rest of his character. Also, I imagine that it’s a lot easier for a writer to get inside the head of someone with Superman’s incomprehensible power when Superman is also pecking away at a keyboard trying to make his word count while someone yells at him about deadlines.

If you take away that job, you lose that connection, the idea that Clark is always pursuing those same ideals even when he’s not Superman — and you also lose most of his supporting cast, including Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, and the idea that they’re also connected to those high ideals. For Lois in particular, that’s a pretty big loss.

That’s not to say that it can’t be done, or even that it hasn’t been done well. In the past five years alone, we’ve seen two stories where Superman has found himself in a different line of work, and while both of those were built primarily around changing the secret identity with the day job as a side effect — once when Clark faked his death and became a firefighter for a hot minute, and then again when he lost his secret identity and was a full-time Superman and part-time pro wrestler — they were both twists that worked really well.

And they also both defaulted right back to the established foundation of Clark Kent, Mild-Mannered Reporter.

Because that’s the thing about a superhero’s day job. It’s always meant to inform the rest of the character in some way or another, and whether by accident or design, that often becomes tied to their character in a way that even things like super-powers and visual iconography aren’t.

Even Batman, who doesn’t actually have to work, still has the day job of “Billionaire Philanthropist” to explain how he has the rocket cars and Bat-shaped kneepads that he uses to fight crime. At the very least, it’s a convenience of the plot to make more room for punching out the Riddler, but it’s also something that can easily be seen as one of the defining elements of the character. Bruce Wayne has the money to do anything, and he uses it to become Batman. That means something.

But that doesn’t mean that it applies to everyone.


Flash, DC Comics


It all really depends on who the character is and what they’re built for, but it seems to me like the easiest way to separate a character from their job is to just lose the secret part of their secret identity.

Wally West is unquestionably the most successful attempt at making a character like this, and it only really happened because of the way he stepped into the spotlight. As the Flash‘s kid sidekick, he was too young to warrant a day job until the moment that he inherited the identity from Barry Allen, and that served as a catalyst to making him a character for whom secret identities and day jobs were irrelevant.

If Barry was defined by being a cop and a scientist — a description of his day job that also matched up pretty well with what he was doing in costume — then Wally was defined specifically by being the Flash and carrying on that legacy. It superseded anything else that he could’ve been doing with his time, and while there a few really interesting ideas thrown out in terms of employment (most notably that time he spent as a super-powered tax collector working for the IRS), they were tied up in the idea of doing the jobs as capital T, capital F, The Flash, not as Wally West.


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Best Shots Rapid Fire Reviews: INFAMOUS IRON MAN #1, SUPERMAN #9, DKIII #6, BLACK PANTHER #7, CAVE …

DC Comics October 2016 solicitations

Credit: DC Comics

Greetings, ‘Rama readers! Ready for your Thursday pellets? Best Shots has you covered, with this week’s installment of our Rapid-Fire Reviews! Let’s kick off today’s column with Jolly Jon Arvedon, as he takes a look at Infamous Iron Man

Credit: Marvel Comics

Infamous Iron Man #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Jon Arvedon; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Infamous Iron Man #1 is a book that seems to have come full circle from last year’s Invincible Iron Man #1. However, instead of following the exploits of billionaire playboy Tony Stark, this new series features a seemingly reformed Victor Von Doom, formerly Doctor Doom, ruler of Latveria and ruthless Marvel villain. The majority of the issue deals with Doom’s journey towards the decision to take up the now-absent mantle of Iron Man. We don’t know the full details of Tony Stark’s post-Civil War II fate, so there is a bit of missing context, but Stark’s new status quo comes off as both ominous and yet affords him a new and interesting dynamic with Victor. Oddly enough, this issue contained far less dialogue than your typical Brian Michael Bendis book. Still, less truly was more in this case, with plenty of character development and plot building. Alex Maleev’s art, particularly his inks, can be dark and heavy-handed at times, but his style is complemented by Matt Hollingsworth’s pastel-like palette selection. Ultimately, the visuals lend themselves well to this intriguing story of redemption for one of the former greatest villains in the Marvel Universe.

Credit: DC Comics

Superman #9 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Peter Tomasi, Pat Gleason and Doug Mahnke’s touching tribute to Darwyn Cooke continues with Superman #9, as Clark and Jon team up with Captain William Storm to escape from Dinosaur Island. While this issue doesn’t quite meet the surprise twist of the last one, Tomasi, Gleason and Mahnke balance nicely between heartfelt family dynamics (watching Jon quietly freak out that he might never see his mom again is just too cute) and over-the-top spectacle (like Captain Cloud having his own pterodactyl that he can call on command). But ultimately, this book hinges on one thing: how the rest of the world sees Superman. And while we’ve become accustomed to Jon Kent’s wide-eyed enthusiasm, it’s touching – and a little heartbreaking – to see Captain Cloud realize that with the Man of Steel around, his world and his very way of life is “so far gone it’s not even in the rearview mirror anymore.” Admittedly, the actual antagonists of the issue are pretty thinly sketched – even if they are given some visceral life by Mahnke’s skilled art – but ultimately, the activities on this unexpected trip are less important than the father-son bonding we get to witness alongside it.

Credit: IDW

Star Trek: Boldly Go #1 (Published by IDW Publishing; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Major shakeups are afoot for the Kelvin Timeline in Star Trek: Boldly Go #1. Set after the events of Star Trek Beyond, this new series from Mike Johnson finds the crew of the Enterprise assuming new and very interesting roles throughout the galaxy. While the separation of the crew is a great hook for this first issue, Johnson does us one better with a major callback to the original series films and a final page cliffhanger that is sure to leave Trekkies gasping for the second issue. Artist Tony Shasteen and colorist Davide Mastrolonardo deliver screen accurate character and costume designs to anchor the series, but also have the opportunity to stretch their design muscles with the title’s two new starships, the Endeavor and Concord. Hot on the heels of another tremendous debut issue, Star Trek: Boldly Go #1 proves that IDW’s new Trek titles are forces to be reckoned with.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Doctor Strange #13 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Jason Aaron continues his weekday themed reintroduction of Doctor Strange’s rogues gallery in Doctor Strange #13. Trapped in the dream realm, Strange must survive the onslaught of Nightmare in order to save his mind as well as those of Wong and Zelma, both of whom have ventured into the unknown to save him. Aaron’s take on Strange has been a consistent high point, but throwing the newly depowered Stephen up against his deadliest foes makes this title all the more fun. Artist Chris Bachalo, backed by a full roster of inkers, and colors by the man himself and Antonio Fabela and Java Tartaglia, delivers more tightly packed and sumptuously drawn and colored pages, but it is his knack for visual comedy in the realm of dreams that really steals the show in this thirteenth issue. Armed with one of the weirdest cadre of foes in comics and a clever hook Doctor Strange #13 is another strong showing from a consistently strong solo title.

Credit: DC Comics

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #6 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): The World’s Finest stand together one last time in DKIII: The Master Race #6. Weakened by synthetic Kryptonite rain, Quar and his acolytes are beaten back by the armored Batman and Superman, with help from the citizens of Gotham and Commissioner Yindel’s assembled police force. Though the unexpected team up of Batman and Superman provided this series a fantastic cliffhanger ending last issue, Miller and Azzarello play this issue a bit too safe heading into the finale with most of the plot focused on the larger battle, peppered with narration. Art team Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and Brad Anderson keep the large scale battle moving with plenty of fast paced panel construction and even a big visual callback to the original series with an EKG monitor line dominating the final pages. Though a bit too focused on the larger picture instead of specific characters, DKIII #6 still sets the series up for a suitably epic and bittersweet finale.

Credit: Archie Comics

Archie #13 (Published by Archie Comics; Review by David Pepose; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Exiled from Riverdale by her fuming father, Veronica Lodge is back on her own in Archie #13 – that is, if Cheryl Blossom has her way. Serving as an interlude of sorts following last issue’s big upheavals, Archie #13 also gets a change-up of a different sort, with Joe Eisma joining as the series artist. And boy, was that an excellent pick – Eisma has had a lot of practice drawing teenage characters over in Morning Glories, and there’s a surprising amount of heart to his angular style, particularly during a scene where Archie struggles to live a life without Veronica in it. Writer Mark Waid, joined by freshman comics writer Lori Matsumoto, gives Veronica a great amount of pathos now that she’s been uprooted yet again, giving some texture to a character that can easily be seen as one-note – that said, however, Cheryl in comparison is still a little predictable, with her malevolent turn coming as no surprise. Still, with an energetic new artist on board, Archie continues its must-read status.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Black Panther #7 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): T’Challa’s assembled a Crew — now it’s time to bring the ruckus. While Black Panther has always been a worthwhile read, it’s been firing on all cylinders since Zeke Stane was added as a main cast member. He’s helped to show that the prose like dialogue evident in the first four issues is a Wakandan trait over part of Coates’ style and that’s proven further here. Each member of the Crew has a manner of speaking that’s distinctive from the rest and a discussion about a slur shows they have different viewpoints as well rather than being carbon copies. While Shuri’s plot is moved forward slightly, like Tetu and Zenzi’s, it receives a reduced focus as the action comes to a head for T’Challa. Here Sprouse delivers a thrilling sequence where despite the number of characters involved, it never feels unfocused, and Martin’s colors are as stunning as ever, a fire gives off a burning intensity in an issue that indicates full speed ahead.

Credit: DC Comics

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 (Published by DC Comics/Young Animal; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): So far, Young Animal has had the creators involved going wild from the outset. Both Doom Patrol and Shade the Changing Girl jumped into the swing of things, while Cave Carson is a slower burn. By the end of the book, it’s just as wild and psychedelic as the aforementioned series, but it puts focus on Cave’s family and a tragedy it’s subject to. You may be unfamiliar with Jon Rivera, but this issue will make you glad that Way uncovered such a strong creative mind who’s able to balance standard drama with far-out concepts. However, Michael Avon Oeming should be a name you recognize and the family-focused scenes deliver that expressive and bold style he perfected on Powers. But it’s the scenes involving the Cybernetic Eye and out-there concepts where he and colorist Nick Filardi get a chance to go wild and swing for the fences. In short, another strong debut for the imprint — bring on Mother Panic next month.

Credit: Marvel Comics

All-New X-Men #14 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): For everyone who has bemoaned the perceived downward trajectory of the X-Men as a franchise, I offer you the antidote to your antipathy: All-New X-Men, which continues to be a beautifully realized and deftly characterized look at the first generation of Xavier’s students. Laid up with a broken leg, writer Dennis Hopeless pits Scott Summers against his most daunting foe yet: cabin fever. For an obsessive master tactician, having limited mobility and no clear mission is a maddening prospect, and Hopeless absolutely nails what makes Scott tick, as he tries valiantly to suss out a potential threat brewing in the Beast’s lab. And it’s clear that artist Mark Bagley has keyed into Hopeless’s story nicely, picking up that endearing, down-to-earth vibe, particularly as Scott seems to shrink into himself when Hank scolds him for his “erratic” behavior, but he also nails the quiet superheroic moments, like Scott putting on his battle visor. While it might not have the flashiness of an event book, All-New X-Men isn’t only the best X-Men book on the stands — it stands in the running for one of the consistently best Marvel books on the stands, period.

Credit: Dark Horse Comics

Black Hammer #4 (Published by Dark Horse Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Jeff Lemire delivers origin stories and awkward family dinners this week in Black Hammer #4. Framed by a look at the early career of Abraham Slam, Lemire pits the hidden heroes of the series against their toughest foe to date, someone from the outside. As Abraham and his date struggle through dinner, Lemire cranks up the tension and deception as everyone plays their parts to the best of their abilities, some a bit more reluctantly than others. Artist Dean Ormston and colorist Dave Stewart adapt very well to the shifting time frames of this issue, rendering the rollicking action of the past with vigor and sepia toned color schemes while the action in the present takes on a sickly mundane look lit by warm natural lighting. Though the central mystery of the series is still shrouded, Black Hammer #4 shows that its real strength lies in its characters.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Death of X #2 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): While the first issue filled in the story points the Inhuman and X-books have been teasing over the course of the past year, Death of X #2 provides context for some of the changes to the status quo that happened during the eight-month time jump that preceded All-New, All-Different Marvel – like why Beast is with the Inhumans. The conflict is taking its time to build, but it’s appreciated that neither side wants to go to war before they’ve exhausted all the pacifist options available. Lemire and Soule do a good job with stressing this, but also continuing Cyclops’ character arc. Sadly, the issue is hampered by some inconsistent art. While the locations are vivid and Kuder conveys a strong sense of motion, the faces of some characters, particularly Crystal never look quite right. In spite of this, the issue is compelling enough in building the unity of the two sides in preparation of a future issue making it fall apart.

Credit: Titan Comics

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #4 (Published by Titan Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): The penultimate issue of Titan Comics’ latest Doctor Who events adheres to the idea that it is always darkest before the dawn. Writers George Mann and Cavan Scott place the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors and their companions in increasingly dire situations as the Twelfth Doctor is confronted with Rassilon’s diabolical endgame, setting this series up for a truly insane finale issue. Artists Ivan Rodriguez and Walter Giovanni, with ink assists by Nelson Pereira and Rob Lean, pack the issues with pages and pages of action and even a bit of nice scale work in the Tenth Doctor scenes, capped off by the eye-catching colors of Nicola Righi. Though things look bleak for the Doctors and their companions now, Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #4 promises plenty more action and out there science fiction before this series has had its final say.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Astonishing Ant-Man #13 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): The verdict is in —Astonishing Ant-Man #13 sticks the landing and provides a fitting send-off for Spencer and Rosanas’ run on the title. Scott Lang’s trial heats up as members of the supporting cast are brought in to testify, and comes together with the Cassie plot which has been bubbling in the background since the series started back in 2015. While the latter has occasionally taken the main focus, here it reaches a crescendo. Joining it with Scott’s plot highlights the father/daughter relationship which has been driving the book from the outset and Spencer gets chance to pay it off with the optimistic charm the book has always been stuffed with. Both Rosanas and Schoonover’s art is great as always and while they don’t get a chance to deliver a truly inventive sequence in terms of paneling, it’s crisp and clean as ever, no doubt helped by Jordan Boyd and Wil Quintana’s colors, which are just as bright as the ending.

Credit: Dark Horse Comics

Weird Detective #5 (Published by Dark Horse; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Weird Detective comes to a satisfyingly bananas conclusion this week with issue #5. As Sana is exposed to the truth in regards to her partner, Greene is faced with a monstrous figure from his past who he must stop in order to put an end to the killings gripping the city. While Fred Van Lente delivers plenty of insanity and banter throughout, it is the emotional core of the series, the relationship between Greene and Sana, that provides the true cap for this comedic tale of monsters and madness. Artist Guiu Vilanova and colorist Mauricio Wallace send this issue off with plenty of the tentacles and sickly green and yellow colors that made the series just a visual knockout from the start, but like Van Lente’s script, it is their expressive character models that truly shine through. Reveling in craziness from the very start, Weird Detective #5 is an ending befitting of Dark Horse Comics’ strangest hit series.


Is The CW Preparing for ‘The Death of Superman’?


When Supergirl debuted on CBS, the closest thing we got to seeing Superman in the flesh was a strong-jawed silhouette, plus a few anecdotes from Kara Danvers and James Olsen, and the occasional text. Now that the show is on The CW, Superman has stepped into the spotlight thanks to Tyler Hoechlin‘s performance. (Some are calling him the best Superman since Christopher Reeve.)

In the previous episode, “The Last Children of Krypton”, Clark Kent/Superman ended up leaving National City for Metropolis, his home city, after a battle against Metallo(s). And while that’s clearly a smart way to give Supergirl back the reins of her own show (and a budgetary move since Hoechlin isn’t a series regular at this point), it might also signal an impending doom for the Man of Steel.


Image via DC Comics

The move to The CW opened up a lot of opportunities for Supergirl: Not only does the show bring some serious firepower to the network’s connected DC TV universe, it folds Supergirl’s mythology and drama into that of The FlashArrow, and even Legends of Tomorrow. That’s a big stage. But the bigger the stage, the bigger the comic book arcs the shows’ writers can tackle; see the network’s nods to “Flashpoint” and “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” We’ll see how they handle “The Dominators” later this season in an epic, ambitious, four-series crossover special. However, there are not many DC Comics stories bigger than “The Death of Superman”, so that might be just where The CW is heading in the near future.

For those of you who haven’t read the saga, or weren’t alive when it was published, “The Death of Superman” saw the Man of Steel taking on the monstrous Doomsday in Metropolis. Spoiler alert: the fight claimed both of their lives, shattering the long-held belief by both comics readers and in-universe characters alike that Superman was immortal. It was a powerful arc packed full of unforgettable visuals, and the fallout from the title event had a huge impact on the rest of the DC Comics universe for years to come.

Read on to find out how this massive event might play out on The CW.


How Supergirl’s Mysterious Pod Person Connects To The Comic Books

Lar Gand came across a young Clark Kent, then-Superboy, who wrongly assumed that he and the similarly powerful Lar Gand were brothers of the house of El, and that Lar Gand’s name should be Mon-El. It was only when Superboy discovered that Mon-El was unaffected by Krytonite that he realized they were different races of aliens. Unfortunately for Mon-El, he was affected by lead rather than Kryptonite, and Superboy accidentally exposed him to a lethal amount of the substance. Rather than letting the Daxamite die on Earth from lead poisoning, Superboy sent him into the Phantom Zone to endure throughout the ages. He was finally cured in the 30th century, and he joined the Legion of Super-Heroes while wearing the reverse colors of the traditional Superman suit.


Comic art values surge as Tintin flies past Superman, Batman and Spiderman


The Importance of ALL-STAR SUPERMAN and ‘Comic Thought’

I am a English instructor who regularly works with a variety of young adults. My goal is to help them become better writers, a process that, I believe, will help them to become “better” thinkers than when they first started class with me.

Or, if I am to hold myself up to the same level of precision that I ask my own students to aspire to, I should say I want them to become individuals with minds that are more receptive of information and more willing to investigate. I believe that while it is often hard to help a student “writer better” and to expect results within 16 weeks, asking students to stop, think, and start asking questions allows for some great results almost immediately.

Grant Morrison, funny enough, has proven to be a fantastic way to get my students talking about what troubles them, what their concerns in life are, and to think about how writing can and does transform us.


I have noticed that many students fall into at least three kinds of “thought” patterns. There are those who have guarded thoughts, i.e. their ideas, and their writing, are intensely personal. These students are not keen on sharing, with myself or with others, and so it takes a lot of attention and concern to make them feel that their writing as always good enough to share and build on.

There are those who have broadcasted thoughts, i.e. these are the students who transmit everything they think with loud, determined passion. Their writing and their hearts are something like an air-raid siren, alerting all in the vicinity that they have ideas, they want to share them, and sometimes they can be bombastic (which is great!)

Thirdly, there are students with protean thoughts, i.e. much of what they contribute in class, through voice and on paper, is open to suggestion. These students have their own ideas, to be sure, but they are deeply concerned with wanting to know where and how their ideas can and should change. There are obviously other kinds of thought, but these are the three “kinds” I tend to encounter the most often.


Is it common that we think of comics as having a kind of “pattern?” The excellent King in Black column by Matt Santori-Griffith was a piece that moved me, not only because of its insight as to how many different comics connected together, but also because it managed to get at what the “thought” style of King was and is across many works.

I think, personally, I’d love to write a piece on Grant Morrison in a similar vein, but before I even start to work on that, let me share with you one example of how a class I worked with encountered Superman.

As it tends to happen, I sometimes arrive earlier than my students by a good number of minutes. Some students at one point were similarly early so we got to talking about comics and popular culture.

STUDENT: I think writing can’t really change much. I mean, what good will my ability to write this paper do to help me find love, be a good person, or matter at all.

MYSELF: You’re asking something that research writing might not always help with, but certainly writing can help you do all those things if you let it.

STUDENT: I don’t buy it.

MYSELF: I am dead serious when I say this, but read All-Star Superman.

STUDENT: I don’t like Superman.

MYSELF: You should still read it if you can. I promise you that, on some level, you’ll wind up feeling something and I want to know what it is. Even if it is contempt for an awful book that you think is boring, ‘cause maybe that is what you think Superman is, let me know.


I did not hear from that student on the Superman subject until today, hence why I am writing this. I ran into the student outside on the way to drop off some flyers for a booth near our library. While we exchanged the common pleasantries, something awesome occurred.

STUDENT: I also checked out that Superman book. I never thought anybody could make a Superman comic that would make me cry.

MYSELF: What part hit you so hard, I mean, I think the whole book is gold, but was it something specific or …?

STUDENT: I had friends who thought about ending their lives, so the idea of Superman talking to that girl? It wasn’t what I was used to seeing in hero comics.

MYSELF: Morrison genuinely, as dumb as this may sound, wanted to create a Superman that was a better idea than all the violence and destruction we tend to use to solve our shitty human problems. Remember how you wondered if writing could do all these other things and make you a better person? Morrison wrote that Superman comic to try and get something out of life. If he couldn’t see or find that perfect hero, he wrote about it, and shared it, and now you’ve read it and you’re a better and stronger person.


STUDENT: How am I stronger?

MYSELF: You cared about your friends, the ones who had gone through those difficult times and had their hearts go into some deep places, right? You suddenly got reminded of how much they meant to you and suddenly they mattered. I mean, they mattered to you more clearly as you read Superman than they did before you opened the book, right?

STUDENT: Yea, I think so.

MYSELF: Right now, man, channel that, use that. Do something kind for another person. Call your mom, or your siblings, spent time with your pets and connect with people. I don’t know if you ever write anything creatively, but give it a try. Write letters to people, make an effort. Be a Superman for somebody, or something, just … BE! Love and care actively, not reactively.

While I need to admit that I am trained for Creative Writing, but I have not taught it, my goal was always to help that student understand that writing, even (heck, especially) comic writing can reach people and it can matter. I think of Morrison’s comic thought as being “broadcast” level, he has a clear message, one he has seemingly spoken about quite frequently over the years.

To Morrison, Superman is the best idea we can possibly aspire to. More than bullets or guns, Superman represents something within all of us that we frequently repress and stifle, but it is a force within our natures that can genuinely help and touch people.


Do I think everyone is capable of just diving into their inner pool of Superman? No, not exactly. I use my passion for teaching research to, where possible and correct, guide students into coming to terms with the fact that they need to flex their empathy and criticism muscles.

At heart, everyone can write something. What people tend to get less training on is how to assess rhetoric and how to accept evidence versus opinion. I think that having empathy is hard when you don’t fully understand why somebody says or does something, but it is often not the easiest thing in the world to just stop and “get into somebody else’s head” on an issue.

The closest we can really get is either by writing or by talking. This is why I continue to love All-Star Superman, because so much of how Clark deals with issues is as much rooted in conversation as it is fists. Much of the heart of Morrison’s comics comes from the fact that he is broadcasting a loud and clear signal about love and understanding. That might sound really hippy-ish, but it works.

All-Star Superman was a work that was reflective for Morrison, it showed much of who he had become and, after the death of his father, what he wanted to continue being. In his semi-autobiographical book, Supergods, Morrison details the impact of All-Star Superman on his life and how different it was for him to write that work as opposed to Final Crisis and The Filth.


I have talked with my students about how some authors such as Morrison comics as rhetorical vehicles for “bigger ideas,” for thoughts that could be just as easily transmitted through an essay or prose text, but whose impact is magnified through a combination of visuals and prose together. While I have tended to use All-Star Superman briefly, mainly to get at conversations about Pathos, the work has been something that has at least wound up being important to one student. I hope by sharing that one student’s story, it thus impacts you.

When you next stop reading a particular comic, stop and think about it. Does the author present their ideas candidly, say, though only a single character or plot? Do you even know what ideas the author has and if they are being shared with you? Does the author use the comic as a vehicle to loudly broadcast this or her thoughts right in your face? Does the author work more nebulously, challenging common beliefs while not exactly pitching a flag on any one side of a topic?

These might seem like silly questions, but consider them strongly when you read comics.


Then, after you think about all this? Try writing down what the comic inspires in you, if it inspired anything at all. I believe somewhere is a comic that moves us to be better, or to at least consider how we could be better. Who knows, maybe after reading all this one comic will JUMP into your mind and you’ll read it. Maybe then, afterwards, you’ll do something for a person you never would have done otherwise today.

Keep reading comics.

Keep asking questions.

Share what you find with others.



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