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Tony's Online Tips
Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Monday, August 31, 2009

Supergirl 42

My ongoing reviews of DC's "New Krypton" storyline, currently running through Action Comics, Supergirl, Superman, and Superman: World of New Krypton, brings me to Supergirl #39-42 [$2.99 each] and the final chapter of the "Who Is Superwoman?" serial. To properly discuss these issues, I'll need to reveal plot elements. In other words...

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Writer Sterling Gates takes Supergirl down some dark paths in these issues. While I've maintained from the start that, by their own actions, the Kryptonians do pose a major threat to our world, the zealotry of General Sam Lane in opposing that threat violates the laws of the United States, as well as the letter and spirit of our Constitution. He has allowed super-villains to maim and murder to achieve his objectives, which included the assassination of Zor-El. He turned his own daughter into a lethal weapon who murdered at his command and who subsequently died horribly as a result of his machinations. Clearly, he would have been a rock star in the Bush administration.

The soap opera elements of these issues are fitting a bit more naturally into the overall storyline. The reactions of Lois Lane to the news of her sister's death are believable and powerful. The revelation that Lana Lang is suffering from some sort of terminal illness is a little too soap opera cliche, but not untenable at this point. And we're seeing less of the odious Cat Grant, whose new persona and place in the Superman titles was a misstep from day one of her reappearance.

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Gates' Supergirl is a terrific character. With the energy and inexperience of youth, she struggles to find a place in two worlds. The biggest difficulty is, of course, that her mother Alura is a murderer who needs to be brought to justice. Aside from that lapse of moral clarity, Kara is an admirable and courageous hero. I won't argue with those who deem this version of Supergirl to be the best ever. It's a fair assessment, even to someone who had a crush on the 1960s Supergirl.

Jamal Igle's pencils/storytelling are first-rate throughout these issues. The fill-in by Fernando Dagnino is less so. But, overall, the series looks very good.

Gates and crew have me eager to see where Supergirl goes from the conclusion of this storyline. That level of interest earns Supergirl #39-42 four out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

******

TONY'S MAILBOX

One of my big projects for the rest of this year is organizing my vast accumulation of stuff - comic books, books, etc. - and that includes going through old files for e-mails and other items which were saved for possible use in future TOTs. Some of these go back years, so I hope you'll bear with me.

First up is this 2005 question from Phil Soencksen:
Is there a complete online listing of all your writing credits (titles, issue numbers, and so on)? I'm currently enjoying some of your work as reprinted in Marvel's Essential Luke Cage/Power Man Vol. 1.
Adding the "Tony Isabella Bibliography" to this website is one of those things I've always wanted to do and have never quite found the time to do. I'll put it on my "bucket list" for 2010. In the meantime, you can get an incomplete-but-pretty-good listing of my comics credits at the Grand Comics Datebase:

www.comics.org

Just do a "writer" search for "Tony Isabella" and you'll get a list of close to 400 entries. Some of those are for reprints and foreign reprints of my comics stories, but it's a decent starting place for the would-be Isabella completest.

******

SHOJO MANGA

Also from 2005, I found a request from Sequential Tart to take part in an industry roundtables. They asked: "What is it about shojo manga that appeals to you and why?"

Though it has female and male readers of all ages, shojo manga is manga created for and largely marketed to female readers between the ages of 10 and 18. I responded:

"There isn't anything specific about shojo manga per se that appeals to me. It's the additional variety and voices it adds to the comics field. If I had to name genres which appeal to me because of their very nature, only superhero and political comics would make the cut and even a steady diet of them would get tiring very quickly.

I welcome the arrival of shojo manga to our shores because of the variety and the new voices. Five years ago, I would have never guessed two of my favorite comics series would be about cooking and the game "Go". Whatever else is out there, I'm up for giving it a chance."

The latest issue of the Sequential Tart webzine can be enjoyed at:

www.sequentialtart.com

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 08/28/2009 | 08/31/2009 | 09/01/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



Please send material you would like me to review to:

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840 Damon Drive
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