Happy Valentine's Day from Our February Bombshell, Batgirlio!

Feb 2019 Bombshell Batgirlio

If Spring is when our thoughts and fancies are supposed to take a turn for the romantic, then why is Valentine's Day right smack dab in the middle of wintry February? Oh, who cares, when you have some gorgeous cosplay that's hot enough to melt the snow from your sidewalk?

So we're cutting out paper hearts, gluing on glitter and beads, writing rhymes in our fanciest cursive with red markers, and slipping this special Valentine into your decorated mailbox for all your little love notes and cards -- as we happily present to you, our readers, the...


Critical Blast Bombshell, February 2019



Heroes in Crisis, Readers in Remorse

Heroes in Crisis 5

We've reached the exact midway point of Tom King and Clay Mann's murder mystery series, HEROES IN CRISIS, and things are adding up less and less.

We start with the cover, which shows the case file for the murder of Jason Todd. Except he's alive as the Red Hood. We've gone over that whole thing before when Batman gave his confession at Sanctuary about so many of his partners dying when they're all alive and kicking.

Add to this the polluting of past heroes during their Sanctuary confessions, some unbelievable confrontations, a major revelation that's actually more of a plot hole than anything else, and HEROES IN CRISIS begins to shape up into one beautiful mess.

Key points in this issue include:

  • Batgirl lying to Batman (unconvincingly) and getting away with it.
  • Booster Gold getting the drop on The Flash.
  • Superman giving a longer speech than the one that got cut from SUPERMAN IV.

Here, take a look for yourselves:


Catching Up: The Flash Episode 512, "Memorabilia"

Flash Memorabilia

With this episode, we finally delve deeper into the mystery of why Nora Allen (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) is visiting from the future -- and it's not just because she wants to capture Cicada (CHRIS KLEIN). She's taking direction from none other than Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash (TOM CAVANAGH), to change history.

Of course, stopping Cicada is part of that, and the hope is that they can appeal to him to stop his meta-killing crusade if they can resolve the core of his motivations: his comatose niece, Grace (ISLIE HIRVONEN). To awaken her, the team utilizes a memory machine from another Earth, brought over by Sherloque Wells (also CAVANAGH), that will allow them to enter Grace's memories. But when Nora learns that it will also allow her father to potentially see her own memories, she decides to go in early, and alone, becoming trapped in Grace's mind.


Reign of the Supermen Weaker Follow-Up to Death of Superman

Reign of the Supermen Blu Ray DVD

With THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN, the DC Animated Universe gave us a story that was emotionally impacting, as it developed the budding romance between Superman (JERRY O'CONNELL) and Lois Lane (REBECCA ROMIJN), with the Man of Steel having recently revealed to her his secret identity of Clark Kent. And then, Doomsday came, the battle was joined, and Superman was dead.

Or was he? Because the cliffhanger ending left us with a stolen body and an empty tomb.


Jesus Christ: Super...Hero?

Second Coming

As the 1980s were drawing to a close, DC Comics mature imprint, Vertigo, had a series called SWAMP THING. Rick Veitch was writing it, and his story arc had the plant elemental on a journey backward through time, having him wind up in historically important events to the DC timeline.

SWAMP THING #88 was intended to be "Morning of the Magician," which would have placed Swamp Thing at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. DC pulled the plug on the issue and Veitch walked away. While there was nothing seemingly blasphemous about Christ's appearance in the story, DC was shy of the controversy, since they had a SWAMP THING television series in development.

They've apparently gotten over their shyness, because now Vertigo is releasing what is intended to be a six-issue miniseries, SECOND COMING,


Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt is a Total Ripoff of Watchmen -- and That's Cool!

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt

Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, was one of the set of Charlton characters used as the basis for DC Comics' WATCHMEN series. Doctor Manhattan was supposed to be Captain Atom. Nite Owl was supposed to be Blue Beetle. Rorschach was supposed to be The Question. Comedian was supposed to be Peacemaker. Silk Spectre, Nightshade. And Ozymandias, the smartest man in the world, was supposed to be Peter Cannon.

So going into the comic book, PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1, from Dynamite Comics (and Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard), there's a natural bias to thinking, "This character reminds me of Ozymandias."

In fact, there are three phases the reader will go through when reading this comic:

1. Gee, this is kind of derivative of WATCHMEN.

2. Oh for crying out loud, they're just ripping off WATCHMEN.


What do we mean by that? Watch and see...


Catching Up: The Flash Episode 510, "The Flash & The Furious"

Flash 510

THE FLASH has been having some really great episodes in this fifth season.

"The Flash & The Furious" is not one of them.

This mid-season premiere introduces us to the Silver Ghost (GABRIELLE WALSH), whose meta-tech ability is...a key fob that controls any car. She's a car thief.

And when she steals a Lamborghini while Barry Allen (GRANT GUSTIN) is supposed to testify in court as a CSI for the trial of the Weather Witch (REINA HARDESTY), he gets paged to deal with it as The Flash.

Let's reiterate: a CAR is stolen, and because it's faster than a standard issue police cruiser, S.T.A.R. Labs thinks it's important enough to buzz in a pair of superheroes.

What next? Shining the Batsignal in response to a stickup? Firing up Jimmy Olsen's signal watch for a kitten in a tree?


Captain Marvel: Better Than All The Avengers Together

Captain Marvel #1

Captain Marvel -- Carol Danvers -- is back from outer space, just in time for the debut of her appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

No sooner does she arrive than she has to battle a groping Kraken (tentacles=symbolism), prove herself the equal of not just any Avenger but all of them, and take on misogyny personified in the form of Nuclear Man.

Heavy handed? A little bit. There's some nice dialogue, however, and it's pretty to look at in places. We're already putting bets down on how the 'shipping is going to go.

For our full review, here's the video livestream from our YouTube channel. (Be sure to subscribe and ring the bell.)



Young Justice #1 a Gorgeous, Lazy Mess

Young Justice 1

When DC rebranded it's teen sidekick group as Young Justice (as opposed to Teen Titans, which is really what the group was), it became a fan favorite. All the action of the Teen Titans comics with the mix of humor that made it something apart from that, unique to itself. Consisting primarily of Robin II (Tim Drake), Superboy (Conner Kent, the clone from Reign of the Supermen), Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark), and Impulse (Bart Allen), the group soon expanded to include many other young characters, all with distinct personalities and fan followings.


Heroes in Crisis: $%@# This

HiC 4

The mystery of who massacred literally dozens of metahumans -- some of them very high profile -- at the therapy retreat known as Sanctuary continues, without a single clue (maybe) coming to light in this fourth issue. The readers may get a clue, but it's a very slight one, and it has to do with why Harley was able to get past Booster Gold's shield when she hit him.

Other than that, what we really learn is just how $%@#'ed up our heroes are. And how much they all like to say "$%@#" in this issue. Which is understandable -- they should all be more distraught, angry... hell, they should be pissed off. But they're inhumanly restrained.


January Bombshell, Kelly Poynter, Hits Bulls-eye with Worthy Cosplay

Bombshell 2019 01 - Green Arrow

Wow. 2018 has just flown right by! Hard to believe we've seen twelve incredible cosplayers already, and with our January 2019 Critical Blast Bombshell, it looks like there's no end to the creative people who are out there making our heroes pop out of the pages and screens and into the real world!

And every once in a while, you find a cosplayer who does a character you not only merely recognize, but whom you would swear was lifted right out of the medium and placed into the world. This month's Bombshell is definitely in that category, and one month in is already on target to be our Bombshell of the Year for 2019. (Granted, he's in a field of one right now, and we'll be adding eleven more to the competition before the year is out -- but for the next 31 days, the odds are definitely in his favor!)

So let's draw back the curtain on a new year -- and a new cosplay Bombshell feature -- as we proudly present to you, our readers, the...



Dynamite's Project: Superpowers Built on What Makes Superhero Comics Great

Project Superpowers 5 2018

P:andora has arrived on Earth, and worldwide people ask two questions: Is the combined might of Project: Superpowers enough to stop him? And how the heck do you pronounce a name with a colon in it?

Rob Williams and Sergio Davila weave an action-packed and dynamically-presented superhero yarn that pulls out all the stops and includes all the things we love about the classic comic book story. Where else can you see an 80-story giant get swatted down by The Might Samson by using a skyscraper as a baseball bat? Where else can you find an American Flag with a life of its own that seeks to bind with a human host and become an entity powerful enough to stand against evil? 


Cyko KO Third Issue Wraps Up Current Mini

Cyko 3

Rob Feldman's miniseries, CYKO KO, from Alterna Comics, finishes its three-issue arc with the titular hero facing off against the fiendish foe who killed his father -- the Devil Spider!

CYKO KO is a hero that's part Madman, part Ambush Bug, part Freakazoid, and completely all-ages friendly. The art and coloring are done in a flattened style reminescent of 1970s comics that adapted cartoons from television like SUPER FRIENDS. This actually broadens the appeal to younger readers who will fall in love with the antics and interactions of Cyko, Peachy, and Karate Bot -- and the newly introduced interdimensional uber-fan of Cyko, Blipso Facto aka Cyko Jr, a being from a dimension where everyone has modeled their lives after the adventures of Cyko KO.

Here's more of what you need to know:


DC's Super Team Fights Real Nazis in Freedom Fighters 1

Freedom Fighters 1 2018

I was a huge fan of the FREEDOM FIGHTERS comics in the late 1970s. These books featured the Quality Comics characters acquired by DC -- Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Doll Man, The Ray, The Human Bomb, and The Red Bee -- and formed them into a team of heroes, banded together to fight the Nazis on Earth X, a parallel dimension where Germany won World War II and conquered the United States.

There have been various attempts to revive the team with a more modern angle to them. This newest version from Robert Venditti and Eddy Barrows, however, succeeds by sticking the closest to its roots. The book opens in 1963 with what remains of the Freedom Fighters planning an assault on a Nazi robot-making factory. However, their plans are foiled by an infiltration of Plastic Men (or PlaSStic Men, with the SS done in the Nazi SS style), and they are captured and summarily executed. Only Uncle Sam remains, barely escaping the Plasstic Men by pulling a Jedi death.


Heroes in Crisis #3 Returns to the Scene of the Crime and Offers Clues

Heroes in Crisis 3

The schedule must be getting tight on the 20-page comic (remember when they were 22 pages?) HEROES IN CRISIS, because the former lead artist, Clay Mann, was only able to turn in the first page and the last page of this issue, which were basically the confidential confessional pages. Lee Weeks picks up the rest of the in-between, where Tom King's plot doesn't move the action forward from the previous issue (or even the issue before that).

That's because this issue is done entirely in flashback, to fill in the gaps and answer some of the questions about what Sanctuary was and how it operated.


Batman Beyond 26 Heralds Return of the Joker

Batman Beyond 26

I’ve gotta say, the Joker of the future is looking pretty spry for a (very) white guy.

The Clown Prince of Crime has been hinted to still be alive during the time of the BATMAN BEYOND comic book series, which has this reviewer questioning whether or not the animated movie BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER has any bearing on the comic book canon, which seems to be an anchor-point in actual DC Comics future history. At the end of the previous issue, he brought down a high-rise owned by Bruce Wayne, although nobody as yet knows he’s responsible. He only took credit for it when he confronted Barbara Gordon, surprising her in her office and narrowly missing her with a bullet.


Catching Up: The Flash Episode 507, "Oh Come All Ye Thankful"

Flash 507 Come All Ye Thankful

It's Thanksgiving on THE FLASH, and the parallel themes running triplicate through this plot are all about fathers and daughters, and the relationships that build between them.


Just in Time for Christmas -- DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments

100 Greatest DC Superheroine Moments

Following up on his chronicling of the Justice League's 100 Greatest Moments, comics historian and science fiction veteran Robert Greenberger manages to top himself with DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments. And while I wasn't particularly fond of the artwork selected for the packaging, finding it not particularly attractive, there's an adage about "books and covers" that comes into play.

This beautiful hardcover book isn't one that you rush through. You linger over each page and, if you're like me, you find yourself in one of two places: you're either recalling happily the first time you saw this event happen, perhaps when it was new to everyone, or you find yourself discovering something you've never known happened and now have something to seek out and add to your collection.


Christmas Comes Early with Batman: The Complete Animated Series on Blu-ray

Batman Animated Series

The year 1992 marked a turning point for animated superhero adventure. After years of shows like SUPER FRIENDS and THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN, the time was ripe for the Dark Knight to return to the screen, especially after the second coming of Batmania that followed the Tim Burton film starring Michael Keaton. Rumors began swirling on the prenatal Internet (BBSs in those days) of an animated Batman in the works, and there was even leaked a writers bible for the series written by J.M. Straczynski.  


Heroes in Crisis #2 Raises More Troubling Questions Than Just Whodunit

Heroes in Crisis

For the most part, Tom King does a fantastic job delving deeper into the mystery of HEROES IN CRISIS, leaving us with more clues but coming no closer to the truth of who massacred all the heroes (and villains) who were being treated at Sanctuary, the pscyho-therapy institute created by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman for super-people to come to deal with their post-traumatic stress.

A crucial clue to the mystery is discovered during an autopsy conducted on Commander Steel by the Trinity. Batman extracts an object (that apparently Superman couldn't detect with his x-ray vision) that would almost clearly indicate Harley Quinn commited the crime. But when they close in on her, she maintains her claim that it was actually fellow patient Booster Gold who did the deed -- and she gets away after casting serious suspicion on Batman that the other two cannot ignore.


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