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Check back here for detailed information on updates to the reading orders or database, reviews by myself or any of the other site contributors, and general comic news we find interesting! You can also subscribe to an RSS feed for updates.

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By | Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | 4:34 pm | 1 Comment | Blog > Database Updates

Today’s update brings some small tweaks and additions to the site structure since the DC update isn’t quite ready yet.

First of all, I added a “Comment” link that also turns into a comment count (if the book has any discussion on it) right onto the reading order pages.

This increased the size of that segment, so I tweaked the others accordingly and changed “Info” to “More Info” and “CBDB” to “CBDB Entry.” “Review” has also been changed to “TRO Review” and moved to the top (remaining bold). The CBDB and TRO Review links will only appear when available, of course.

If you didn’t follow any of that, you should be able to see what I mean by looking at any random reading order page.

We’re also updated to WordPress 3.1.2 and a couple of the plugins (caching mainly) have been updated as well. As always, let me know if you see any weirdness with any of this.

There are also a few database updates to mention.

The following Marvel releases were added by Marc and are now placed on the Unplaced Books list until I have a chance to technically place them in the system (or until we figure out the contents.):

Evolutionary War Omnibus
Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics Vol. 6
Spider-Man: The Next Chapter Vol. 1
X-Men by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee Omnibus Vol. 1
Spider-Man: The Vengeance of Venom

Also, I made a tiny change to the listed contents of Civil War: Fantastic Four, just putting in some spaces around the “Young Avengers / Runaway” slash so it line breaks more gracefully on the reading order pages.

That’s it for now, back to working on some of the upcoming reviews and the DC update. You’ll get to see whichever one I finish first soon!

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By | Monday, April 25, 2011 | 7:59 pm | 3 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

Obviously, the time it took to get the Marvel list online has taken our focus off the DC list. Now I’d like to start the ongoing forever-battle of juggling both (and the rest of the site, but let’s start with the big two.)

I’m just about to start adding the upcoming solicitations in and getting back to placing the unplaced books, as detailed in this forum thread (which will be updated with progress).

Here are the DC books I’ve got in the offline database so far. They’ll go up as soon as the publication info is in (hopefully tomorrow.)

Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus
Batman: Vow From The Grave

Batman: Challenge of the Man – Bat

Batman: Red Water, Crimson Death

Batman: The Frightened City

The Complete Frank Miller Batman

Batman: The Joker’s Revenge

Authority / Lobo: Holiday Hell

Chiaroscuro: The Private Lives of Leonardo da Vinci

The Mystery Play

Batman / Deathblow: After The Fire

Detective Comics Classics

JLA Cold Steel Book 1

JLA Cold Steel Book 1

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive Vol. 7

Brightest Day Vol. 2

Batman & Robin: Batman Must Die

Our Army At War

Sugar And Spike Archives Vol. 1

Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol. 1

Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes: The Early Years

The Mighty Crusaders

Secret Six: The Reptile Brain

Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965

Yossel

Jew Gangster

Batman: The Brave And The Bold: Emerald Knight

Tiny Titans: Field Trippin’

Hellblazer: City Of Demons

House Of Mystery Vol. 5:

House Of Mystery Vol. 6: Safe As Houses

Unknown Soldier Vol. 1: Beautiful World

Batman: Bruce Wayne: The Road Home

Batman: Knight And Squire

Brian Bolland Cover To Cover

Batman: Red Hood: The Lost Days

Red Robin: Hit List

Superman Chronicles Vol. 9

Green Arrow: Into The Woods

Absolute Identity Crisis

Justice

Jack Kirby Omnibus Vol. 1: Starring Green Arrow

Power Girl: Bomb Squad

Showcase Presents: Doc Savage

Showcase Presents: The Trial Of The Flash

Gotham City Sirens: Strange Fruit

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors Vol. 1

New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 1

Superman: Grounded Vol. 1

Legion Of Super-Heroes: The Curse

Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1: Starring Shade The Changing Man

The Secret Society Of Super-Villains

Outsiders: The Great Divide

Northlanders?

Hellblazer: Bloody Carnations

Absolute Sandman Book 5

Brightest Day Vol. 3

Green Lantern Corps: The Weaponer

Doom Patrol: Fire Away

Justice League Of America: Omega

Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth Omnibus Vol. 1

Supergirl: Bizarrogirl

Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane Archives Vol. 1

Legion Of Super-Heroes: Consequences

Superman: The Black Ring Vol. 2

Billy Batson And The Magic Of Shazam!: Back In Black

Madame Xanadu Vol. 4: Extra Sensory

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By | Friday, April 22, 2011 | 7:36 pm | 18 Comments | Blog > Reviews
Power Girl
Find This Book At:
Amazon (Softcover)
Half.com (Softcover)
Ebay (Search by Title)
Ebay (ISBN/Softcover)
View our database entry
Includes Issues: Showcase 97-99; Secret Origins 11; JSA 32, 39; JSA Classified 1-4
Issue Dates: February – April 1978, February 1987, March 2002, October 2002, September – December 2005
Creators:
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This review contains spoilers as it discusses Power Girl’s origin and history. Skip To The Verdict? »

The DC property known as Power Girl has a complicated history, so allow me to start this review with some background musings.

Like many comics readers, I was introduced to the complicated nature of continuity early. Growing up, I realized that there were two large powerhouses in the industry.  There was Marvel and there was DC.  After a while I recognized who was from what company and, with the rare exception, these heroes and villains stayed in their respective universes, far from each other. Figuring out that divide was step 1.

Power Girl - Adam Hughes LineworkI’m not sure what event pushed me to the next level of understanding. Was it Crisis on Multiple Earths #1 featuring the Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America? Or, more likely, was it Crisis on Infinite Earths that featured…well, everyone?

I remember being thoroughly confused.  How did two versions of the same character – and many more as I was soon to find out – exist in the same story?  I had a strong grasp on time travel, but a “Multiverse”?  This wasn’t just a comparison of a present and future Superman I was looking, it was actually two different men.  After some time I learned to pick up the subtle differences between characters who shared the same name, but had slight deviations in their makeup.

Later down the road, things got even more confusing.  I found out that there were two prominent versions of Supergirl, neither with a particularly clear origin story.  One was from Earth-One, but died tragically in Crisis on Infinite Earths.  At this point, The Earth-Two “Supergirl” was not branded as such. She was called Power Girl and really didn’t appear to be of the same makeup at all.

Different hair, different clothes, very obviously different… uh… proportions, but she still fought against evil along the side of her cousin, Superman of Earth-Two. She could be seen Pre-Crisis in the pages of the late 70s All Star and Adventure Comics (Collected in Justice Society Vol. 1 and Vol. 2).

Then I learned there were at least four or five different Supergirls. Kara Zor-El, Linda Danvers, Cir-El, Matrix, and Post-Crisis “Dead” Supergirl.  What was going on here? At most, from what I could tell, the main difference between the two primary variations of Superman was a little gray hair.

A little “wiki-ing” later I saw that not only was Power Girl an actual “Supergirl” variation from Earth-Two (and the only one still in publication alongside our modern Supergirl) but there also happened to be a trade available documenting this journey and transformation from a bodacious nobody with a secret past to the buxom beauty we now know (with a very convoluted past).  Which finally brings us to the book before us.

Power Girl was published by DC Comics in June 2006.  Instead of collecting a single story arc, it is a compilation and presentation tackling the complex history of Ms. Kara Zor-L.  This collects Showcase #97-#99, Secret Origins Vol 2 #11, JSA #32 and #39, and finally JSA Classified #1-#4.  These issues were published from 1978 to 2005.  A welcomed addition is an editorial description before each section, which helps ease the reader in by describing the current times in DC and the company’s reasoning for the tangled and ever-changing history of Power Girl.

Power Girl - Alone On Earth

The collection starts with an origin from Showcase #97 from February 1978, written by Paul Levitz with Joe Staton and Joe Orlando as the artists.  It shows our Dynamic Double D Damsel swooping in to stop a robbery in progress.  Andrew Vinson, a pesky yet daring reporter from the Daily Globe, then enters into Power Girl’s life. He demands she finally fess-up to the rest of the world and explain where she came from and what her purpose is.

Unfortunately for the reporter, she takes offense and immediately flees the city. Luckily for us, his questions get her thinking as she takes a little R&R to dream about life back on Krypton in her home town of Kandor (while Andrew is in hot pursuit to get his own answers.)  We are introduced to the Symbioship which carried Power Girl all the way across the galaxy while she grew from a toddler to the young eighteen year old she is now.

According to the story, the ship helped her develop not only physically but mentally as well. Using various forms of electronic education and an “Artificial Reality,” it gave her “normal” experiences that any Kryptonian would have growing up. In a classic Bronze Age-style twist, the ship then becomes a threat, using Andrew to attack Power Girl – then the main villain of the story, Brain Wave, is introduced.

Power Girl - Brainwave

From here we get an action tale about Brain Wave trying to take down the JSA (with appearances by the original Flash and Green Lantern from Earth-Two), while also filling in the rest of her original origin story, and for the first time giving her the secret identity of Karen Starr.  The art might seem a little dated, but it’s fitting for the era and in no way detracts from the story.

Flash forward to 1987 and we are left with a Power Girl who survived the Crisis of 1985, but somehow lost her origin story (to allow Superman to be the only surviving Kryptonian.)  She bounces around from title to title and in Secret Origins Vol 2 #11 writer Paul Kupperbreg and artist Mary Wilshire tackle her reboot.

Paul takes his established character Arion, the “Lord of Atlantis,” and through a lot of dialogue, and I mean a lot, details Power Girl’s “true” origin.  She’s shown once again feeling very alone on Earth, not only because she has no family, but because she’s actually aware that she survived the “Crisis” and should not exist in this universe.

Power Girl - No One Knows

She is shown talking to herself while sitting in her Symbioship, which apparently survived as well, and out comes the apparition of Arion to explain everything. This origin story won’t be discussed in detail for various reason.  First of all, it’s pretty crazy.  A little magic and some time travel are involved.  Plus, it doesn’t matter now because, like her previous origin, this one was retconned as well.

Like the previous story, the art is very reflective of the decade it was drawn in.  The details differ significantly, however, depending on the scene and shot.  Up close, the pencil hash marks to display shadows can be overdone, but the more open and far away scenes are underwhelming with lack of detail. Some look as though they were initially drawn through carbon paper, with similar design sensibility to the 1980’s mature animated film Heavy Metal.  Worse, the sequence lacks action and interesting dialogue, consisting almost entirely of stale exposition.  At times I had difficulty staying awake and pushing through this relatively small sixteen page section.

Power Girl - Blah Blah Blah

The third and final entry into this trade is the latest, though unlikely last, retelling of how Power Girl came to be.  Dan Didio, the Senior VP-Executive Editor of DC in 2005, decided that it was time to clean up and set some things right with our heroine.  Geoff Johns took on the challenge.

She was added to the JSA roster, two issues of which included here, where a whole three pages was devoted to taking the magic-based power theory and throwing it right out the window. It’s stated very clearly that her powers (like Superman’s) are biologically inherited.

Power Girl - Interesting Results

JSA #39 and JSA Classified #1-#4 then basically retell her original story while threading it into current continuity.

This new background even touches on why she happens to wear the most cleavage-centric outfit in the entire Multiverse, and somehow does it in a very respectful and telling way.

These issues are chock FULL of DC character cameos, including a very awkward (for her) scene between Superman, Supergirl, and Power GirlPsycho Pirate plays the antagonist there is a great exchange between a confused Huntress and our desperately open heroine.

The contemporary art is incredibly fun (thanks to Peter Snejberg, Patrick Gleason, and Amanda Conner) and really utilizes the physical “attributes” that she has, showing a much more provocative image than the classic material.

As expected from Johns, the action and conversations are fun and well worth the time invested.

Summarizing this entire trade is an intimidating and difficult task due to the span of its collection, both with writers and artists, as well as over decades of direction in the DC Universe.

While the art is extremely varied in style and quality, it’s entertaining to see how much DC comics have changed over time.  The middle story with Arion was really the worst part of this entire collection.

It was downright boring and felt extremely unnecessary. I would have hated to have suffered through this as a DC reader at that time, being stuck with such a terrible origin, but perhaps I’m spoiled as a modern comic reader.

I would still recommend this trade to any serious collector or those intrigued by the history of one of the most interesting characters on DC’s roster.

Power Girl - Tell You A Secret

Power Girl - Show Em What You Got

Verdict:
3.5 out of 5.  The collection is fantastic from an editorial standpoint and above many others I’ve read, but does lack in areas from an entertainment perspective.

Essential Continuity:
Ha, it depends on what section you’re referring to –  the final issues from Geoff Johns and company are 100% in continuity now.

Read first:
This trade is built to be an intro to the character so there is no previous reading required.  It wouldn’t hurt to have read Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 70s Justice Society Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, or the more recent JSA issues (since Johns took over) to familiarize yourself with the supporting cast.

Read next:
You will likely want to read Infinite Crisis and 52 next, but it’s possible to jump straight into Power Girl solo trades with Power Girl: A New Beginning as the next on your list.

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By | Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 1:02 pm | 2 Comments | Blog > Uncle Gorby's Corner Of Free Stuff

Afrodisiac, by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca, is out of print. And it’s going for huge prices on Amazon for the hardcover. It’s probably worth it – it’s a great comic.

But it’s also Eisner nominated, so you don’t have to take my word for it! To make it easier for people to read and judge for themselves, it’s now available online.

Today’s Feature:

Check it out! And I highly recommend viewing in fullscreen. (If you don’t see the content above, make sure you’re reading at the site and have flash installed.)

Still Bored? Visit Uncle Gorby’s Archive for More Links or Visit Uncle Gorby’s Corner in the Forum!

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By | Monday, April 18, 2011 | 2:30 pm | 2 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend! We’ve got another wave of updates to share with you today, so let’s get started!

First of all, I’ve streamlined the Nick Fury tags by deleting the “Fury” tag and limiting the “Sgt. Fury” tag to the following books:

Fantastic Firsts
Marvel Masterworks: Sgt. Fury Vol. 1
Marvel Masterworks: Sgt. Fury Vol. 2
Marvel Masterworks: Sgt. Fury Vol. 3
Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby Vol. 1
Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby Vol. 2

After getting some feedback on the forum, I changed the “Kraven” tag to “Kraven the Hunter” as well. I also did a bit of clean-up with some of the creator tags:

Hulk / Thing: The Big Change (Removed and deleted tag “Berni Wrightson”; replaced with “Bernie Wrightson”)
DC Comics Classics Library: Roots Of The Swamp Thing (Removed and deleted tag “Bernie Wightson”; replaced with “Bernie Wrightson”)
Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis (Removed and deleted tag “Bernie Wightson”; replaced with “Bernie Wrightson”)
Deathblow / Wolverine (Removed and deleted tag “Aron Weisenfeld”; replaced with “Aron Wiesenfeld”)
Nova: War Of Kings (Removed and deleted tag “Andy Lanning Kevin Sharpe”; replaced with “Andy Lanning” and “Kevin Sharpe”)
Angel: Autumnal (Removed and deleted tag “Andrew Peppy”; replaced with “Andrew Pepoy”)
Batman: Venom (Removed and deleted tag “Andrew Heiffer”; replaced with “Andrew Helfer”)
Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II (Removed and deleted tag “Andrew Heifer”; replaced with “Andrew Helfer”)
Killraven (Removed and deleted tag “Allan Davis”; replaced with “Alan Davis”)
Impossible Man (Removed and deleted tag “Alan David”; replaced with “Alan Davis”)
Incredible Hulk Vs. Superman (Removed and deleted tag “Al Migrom”; replaced with “Al Milgrom”)
Essential Savage She-Hulk Vol. 1 (Removed and deleted tag “Allen ‘Al’ Milgrom”; replaced with “Al Milgrom”)

I also made some adjustments to the tags for Andrew Pepoy, although I took a roundabout route to make it quicker. Since the majority of his books were tagged with “Andrew J. Pepoy,” that’s what I changed all of the tags to before editing the tag as a whole to “Andrew Pepoy.” As a result, the following books appear in the Recent Updates page, although nothing was actually changed for them:

X-Men: Children Of The Atom
Thunderbolts Classic Vol. 1
Thunderbolts: Justice Like Lightning

And to round things out, here are a few more miscellaneous updates:

The Villainy Of Doctor Doom (Standardized Issues section, tagged characters)
Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne Vol. 1 (Standardized Issues section, tagged characters)
Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby Vol. 2 (Standardized Issues section, tagged characters)

That’ll do it for now, but stay tuned throughout the week for more updates!

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