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Supergirl Gets Sentimental in S2E13 “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzpltk”

Supergirl -- "Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk" -- SPG213a_0018.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara and Peter Gadiot as Mr. Mxyzptlk -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

A week after the fact Valentine’s themed episode, Supergirl kicks it Silver Age style when the 5th dimension imp and classic Superman villain, Mxyzptlk, rolls into town. In a meta-casting twist, he is played by Peter Gadiot, who played a genie in ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and wants to marry Supergirl because he thought she was beautiful while traveling between dimensions. Writers Sterling Gates and Jessica Queller definitely go for broke on the goofy side with Mxyzptlk’s havoc culminating in an homage to Hamilton, but the real meat of “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” is in the romantic relationship depart where Maggie and Alex spend their first Valentine’s together, Winn takes a chance at love with the alien Lyra, and the ball is dropped yet again in the Mon-El/Kara department.

Mxyzptlk is a fantastic villain of the week, and Gadiot plays him with unbridled energy while director Stefan Pleszczynski shoots some inventive set pieces featuring him. However, the solution to beat him is pretty low budget and word for word faithful from the comics showing Mort Weisinger zaniness can co-exist with real human feelings. It’s a nice change to have a villain that is an intellectual challenge for Supergirl and not one that she can defeat by punching, using heat vision, or the DEO armory/MacGuffin closet. She defeats Mxyzptlk in a sly way not unlike the covers of the Weisinger-era Superman comics that involved him being more of a trickster than a Big Blue Boy Scout to drive sales. Kara also fights Mxyzptlk on her terms, her turf (The Fortress of Solitude.), and without Mon-El or anyone’s help driving home her agency as a character.

James gets the week off as both Guardian and in his day job at Catco, but Gates and Queller give Winn a solo subplot of his own and an adorable, yet sexy bond with Lyra, an alien whose martial arts skills help save him at the Alien Bar. In an episode where men are trying to do “rescuing” some way, Winn’s lack of toxic masculinity is refreshing. Winn is a fan of the literature of Lyra’s home planet, Starhaven, and he immediately falls for her forward approach to romance, including asking him out and kissing him first. Except their bond isn’t just physical, and they share a nice scene where Winn talks about the pain of heartbreak and getting hurt in a romantic relationship that is relatable to anyone in the dating scene. Their storyline didn’t have much to do with the main plot, but presented some nice counterprogramming to the machismo and posturing of Mxyzptlk and Mon-El, who fight over Kara like she’s not even in the room.

Exactly how I feel about Kara/Mon-El.

Exactly how I feel about Kara/Mon-El.

I think the writers of Supergirl, including Gates and Queller, are going for an aggressive bickering leads to romance kind of vibe, like Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in Empire Strikes Back or Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally… Except those couples had chemistry (Or at least great dialogue from Larry Kasdan and Nora Ephron respectively.), and Kara and Mon-El don’t have that even though Melissa Benoist are charming actors. Mon-El reaches new levels of ridiculousness in “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” by treating Kara, who taught him to be a superhero, like a damsel in distress and being patronizing towards her. Also, he’s jealous of an imp from another dimension, who has major issues with boundaries and thinks that Mxyzptlk will “take” him away from her. Most of the episode is spent by Kara rescuing Mon-El from his own stupidity when he tries to go mano a mano with Mxyzptlk and lecturing him about forcing the issue in their relationship. But they still end up smooching at the end of the episode after Kara basically walks back everything she said over the past episode as not wanting to lose her “cover” when pretending to marry Mxyzptlk. It’s the silliest thing in an episode that features a teleporting, reality warping Aaron Burr cosplayer.

The message of “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” is simple and true. Romantic relationships should be organic and selfless with both parties caring about each other instead of doing ridiculous things to impress the other person, like Mxyzptlk and to a lesser extent, Mon-El. Except Gates and Queller walk that idea back by having Kara instantly being okay with Mon-El as a romantic partner even after she has constantly said that they aren’t good for each other, and that she is tired of his rescues and stunts on her behalf. The extended make-out between Kara and Mon-El is tacked onto the verbal equivalent “I’m sorry” as the product of all the non-existent sexual tension between them. It will be interesting to see their relationship develop in a car running a red light on a busy intersection and getting majorly totaled kind of way.

maggieprom

But, on a happier note, Gates and Queller spend a little time with Maggie and Alex, who are celebrating their first Valentine’s together. There is a big, sad emotional beat when Maggie reveals that she was outed to her parents as a lesbian by a girl that she had a crush on in high school on Valentine’s Day. They didn’t respond well, and she had to live with relatives. From personal experience, being outed against your will is a painful, trust destroying, and agency removing experience. Maggie’s first reaction is to be alone, but she runs into Kara, who tells Maggie about how much Valentine’s means to her because this is her first one as a couple. And the ending is beautifully romantic and slightly cheesy as Maggie and Alex dance like they’re at prom together. Maggie and Alex’s relationship is pretty emotionally volatile, but through Floriana Lima and Chyler Leigh’s long glances and soft tones to each other, they truly care about each other and are Supergirl”s best romantic coupling so far in two seasons.

“Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” has a plot and villain that indulges in some true Silver Age silliness as Sterling Gates, Jessica Queller, and Stefan Plesczynski embraces Superman and Supergirl’s past canon with open arms while still having some insightful things to say about the nature of relationships. The Mon-El subplot continues to be an eyesore, but this episode of Supergirl is filled with romance, whimsy, and a touch of truth.

Rating: 8.0

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The Adventures of Supergirl Gets a Print Edition, Twice Monthly

2E449F00-4058-416F-B4C7-F62F6DDC5011[7]Due to popular demand, DC Entertainment will now be offering The Adventures of Supergirl as a limited-run six-issue periodical, prior to the collected edition release this fall.The Adventures of Supergirl will now ship twice monthly for three months, beginning with The Adventures of Supergirl #1 (collecting Digital First chapters 1-3) on May 11th, 2016.

The Adventures of Supergirl is a Digital First comic book series that launched online in January 2016, inspired by the CBS hit TV series Supergirl. Critically acclaimed series writer Sterling Gates is joined by a cast of rotating artists including Bengal, Jonboy Meyers, Pop Mhan, Emanuela Lupacchino, Carmen Carnero, Cat Staggs and Emma Vieceli.

Paralleling but not duplicating storylines from the Monday night TV show, The Adventures of Supergirl introduces fans to Kara Zor-El, who is determined to grow into the super-hero her powers promise. But are dark forces pushing her to improve faster than is safe? As Supergirl faces classic DCU villains like Rampage, Vril Dox and Psi, she’s got no reason to suspect that their attacks have been coordinated, but when the final battle comes to a head, she’ll need to use all of her training, her DEO contacts, her friends’ talents and her sister’s love and support to get through it all!

Check out the first four covers by Cat Staggs, two of which make their debut, with two more to come! Look for The Adventures of Supergirl both online now and soon in your local comic book shop.

The Adventures of Supergirl digital chapters are available for download bi-weekly on Monday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

Review: The Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 3

adventures of supergirl chapter 3Rampage is about to take her revenge on Kara Danvers-but can Supergirl count on her sister to save the day? The first story arc wraps up with Supergirl captured by Rampage and her sister missing!

The issue is an interesting ending to the story and really frames the first three chapters in a fantastic way with Kara reflecting on how she’s similar and also differs with Rampage.

A lot of the issue focuses on Rampage’s origin and does that without breaking stride of the plot in the present. It’s actually a really solid way to wrap up the issue in that it really shifts the point of the first arc away from just taking on some alien, and instead using that to discuss Kara/Supergirl’s history and origin. Writer Sterling Gates has done an excellent job of giving us much more than a capture an alien/punch the bad guy story, and that becomes very apparent here.

Artist Bengal has really improved with each chapter and is hitting his stride here. There’s a lot I like, and some of my gripes from the first chapter have gone away over the second and this one. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here as he gets a better feel for it all.

Each chapter is good, but the story as a whole is stronger when read together. That’s where the big picture becomes apparent and a simple story of capturing an alien becomes so much more.

Story: Sterling Gates Art: Bengal
Story: 8 Art: 7.6 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 2

adventures of supergirl #2 coverSupergirl is desperate to save her sister Alex from certain disaster, but can she stop a helicopter from falling out of the sky while ALSO protecting the humans endangered by an alien the DEO calls Rampage?

I thought the first chapter of this new digital series based on the television show was entertaining, but it’s Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 2 where things really begin to take off.

Continuing from the previous issue, Supergirl and the DEO are still dealing with Rampage, but first Supergirl must stop a crashing helicopter. Through the action Gates adds tons of depth to the character mixing in some “alien” humor to which just adds to the Supergirl character.

Sterling Gates‘ use of voice over is fantastic in it gives us a great idea as to what’s going on in Supergirl’s head, what she’s thinking. It’s a touch that really adds a lot to the story and the character as it makes clear how she thinks, what she’s planning, and the issues she’s facing. It both overcomes limits of a television series as well as the limits of a comic. Where in the television series it might be clearer she’s struggling, the voice over makes it clear she is. At the same time, what she’s thinking in her struggle adds a lot to the character itself and gives more of an idea about her alien nature.

Bengal too is improved in the second chapter. His art was good in the first one, but a bit inconsistent. In this second one, the characters are much more consistent and he’s developing a style and look for the comic that feels very distinct. There’s some pages and panels I really dug and it’ll be interesting to see as the series progresses how his style will get more settled.

For $0.99 the comic is worth it for fans of the Supergirl television show. Though short, it adds a bunch to the character and continues the fun positive messaging of its small screen counterpart. The first chapter was a good start, bit it’s here where it’s starting to fly.

Story: Sterling Gates Art: Bengal
Story: 7.8 Art: 7.6 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 1

ADVOSG_01_D_SFCover-FNLBetter late than never, DC Comics kicks off a new digital first series Adventures of Supergirl which takes place in the same universe as CBS‘ hit show Supergirl. Written by Sterling Gates with art by Bengal and a cover by Cat Staggs, the new all ages series follows Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, “the Girl of Steel.”

When an escaped prisoner from Fort Rozz interrupts a football game, Supergirl is on the scene to take her down. But Rampage is mad about more important things than a sporting event-and no pesky superhero can stop her quest for revenge!

The comic is an interesting start. It’s audience I’d guess is primarily folks who are already fans of the television series, but Gates recaps Kara’s origin for those that are new. It feels like an intro chapter, and it makes the comic friendly for fans of the television show, and those who have never seen it.

The story itself has Supergirl fighting Rampage, and there’s that transition to the origin, but it’s done in a smooth way. What’s really solid is the comic adds a bit of depth you might not otherwise get in a television show. Gates uses thought bubbles/voice overs to give us a better idea of what’s going on in Supergirl’s head and some of her core beliefs and experiences that have shaped her.

Bengal’s art is decent, though doesn’t quite blow me away. There’s some fun design and action, but some of the characters are a bit inconsistent with their look. Still, the style is very friendly to new readers, which if DC is smart, they’ll aim this comic at through ads to those interested in the television show.

I do really like the cover by Cat Staggs which captures the aesthetic of the television series and has a joyful look for the heroine. It captures the joy she has to feel while flying.

At only $0.99 the comic is short but a nice addition for fans of the television series. It may be read better as print issues, and my reading as a PDF might not have been optimal, so your experience with it as a digital comic may be different than mine. Still, as a fan of the television series I was surprised to find it adds to the character and was enough that I might have found the first digital first series I’ll make sure to read.

Story: Sterling Gates Art: Bengal Cover: Cat Staggs
Story: 7.4 Art: 7.2 Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Sterling Gates’ The Posthuman Project Gets Distribution

the-posthuman-projectReckless Abandonment Pictures has announced worldwide video-on-demand distribution for the award-winning independent film The Posthuman Project, a superhero teen drama written by comic book writer Sterling Gates and The Oklahoman journalist Matthew Price and directed by Kyle Roberts, making his debut as a feature film director. The Posthuman Project will be available on all major video-on-demand platforms for a May 1, 2015 release and is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.

In The Posthuman Project, five friends on the verge of graduating high school accidentally receive superpowers during a rock-climbing trip. The genetic boost changes everything and they are faced with the first decisions of their adult lives. Will they give up these powers and continue to live as normal teenagers? Or will embrace their newfound powers and become posthuman? The film stars Kyle Whalen, Collin Place, Lindsay Sawyer, Alexandra Harris, Josh Bonzie and Rett Terrell. The film’s producers include Vahid Farzaneh, Wendy Parker, Sha’ree Green, Matthew Price and Sterling Gates, with John Scamehorn and Kyle Roberts executive producing.

The ninety-minute feature was shot on location in Oklahoma with an all-local cast and crew and has played across the United States, Europe and South America to sold-out crowds as part of the festival circuit, winning ten awards overall, including Best Feature at five festivals.

Preview – Kirby: Genesis – Captain Victory Vol. 1 TP

KIRBY: GENESIS – CAPTAIN VICTORY VOL. 1 TP

144+ pages FC • $19.99 • Teen + 
Written by STERLING GATES
Art by WAGNER REIS, STEVE SCOTT, DENNIS CALERO, JOE ST PIERRE
Cover by ALEX ROSS

The universe is vast and dark…and dangerous.

The only thing standing between the civilized races and the forces that would destroy them are the Galactic Rangers. From war-torn wastes to exotic Edens, the Galactic Rangers do all they can to stop the spread of the malevolent and malicious Shadow Empire. Leading this charge is the crew of the Dreadnaught Tiger, flagship of the Rangers. The head of this ship, Captain Victory, has made it his personal vendetta to eradicate the Shadow Empire and its followers. Unbeknownst to his own people, Victory has a personal connection to the Empire, and will stop at nothing to ensure the demise of its leader, the ancient fear-god Blackmass!Captain Victory Volume 1 features six stories of the Tiger’s greatest crew members as they navigate the cosmos’ worst threats. Can they survive or will they fall to the shadows?

COLLECTION FEATURES:

  • Issues 1 through 6 of the hit series by Sterling Gates, Wagner Reis, Steve Scott, Dennis Calero & Joe St. Pierre
  • All of the covers by Alex Ross, Michael Avon Oeming, Sean Chen and Wagner Reis

VictoryV1TP-Cov

10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Sterling Gates

We continue our interview series with members of The Gathering and GrayHaven Comics. We’ve put out the same questions to numerous individuals and can compare their responses. A hopefully intriguing interview series.

Check out our previous interviews.

George Amaru Victor Gischler Cassandra James James O’Callaghan
Elena Andrews Ray Goldfield Nathan Lee James Chris Page
Arcadio Bolaños Andrew Goletz Sean Leonard Amanda Rachels
John M. Coker Doug Hahner William Levert Jason Snyder
Marc Deschamps Erica J. Heflin Marc Lombardi Sam Tung
Donal DeLay Gary Hogan Glenn Matchett Leigh Walls
Nick Francis Travis M. Holyfield Brad Nelson

Up next is writer Sterling Gates.

Graphic Policy: How did you get started in the comic book industry?

Sterling Gates: It’s an extremely long story. The short version is that I spent a few years working as Geoff Johns’ assistant, and through that connection I met DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza. Through Geoff’s help, I was able to sell my first story to DC in 2007, “Fear is a Baby’s Cry.”

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

SG: Absolutely. My parents owned a comic book store in Tulsa when I was a kid, so comics have been a part of my life for, well, as long as I can remember. My Dad was a huge Silver Age Marvel collector, so I’d spend hours looking at the covers of his runs of Amazing Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. I didn’t take ‘em out of the bags, though. Just read the reprints! [laughs]

GP: Do you read comics now? If so, what are some of your current picks?

SG: A lot of DC books, Avengers Academy, Daredevil, Saga, Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, Batman, Aquaman. And that’s just looking at what’s on my desk right now. I’m a huge fan of what Mark Waid is doing on Daredevil, though. It’s no mistake that book won so many Eisner awards this year. It’s fun, exciting, pitch-perfect superheroism. Marks’s got such a nice handle on Matt’s voice, it’s…well, I’d think Mark were a blind lawyer if I didn’t know any better. Aquaman has a quality to it that I can’t describe. Geoff has made Aquaman cooler than cool (Editor’s note: that’s ice cold!), and for the first time in my life, I consider myself an Aquaman fan.

GP:  How did you get involved with The Gathering?

SG: It was all Gail Simone’s fault. Gail was talking about the anthology on Twitter, and I asked how she got involved and she put me in contact with Drew.

GP: Each issue of The Gathering has a theme, how did that factor into the comic creation?

SG: Well, I’m focusing mostly on horror genre work with The Gathering. I cowrote a story for the Western issue with my friend Cody Cundiff, but I’ve mostly been working on horror stories for the anthology. Usually, I write a lot of superhero fiction, so I’m thankful that Drew has let me go outside my usual zones to play in genre I really love. If you’ve ever spent any time reading my Twitter feed, you’ll know that the horror genre is one of my personal favorites, and it’s nice to get to tell some stories with a horror bent.

GP: What advice would you give to independent creators just breaking into the business?

SG: Read a lot, write a lot, draw a lot.

GP: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your experiences?

SG: That I don’t read enough, I don’t write enough, and I don’t draw enough.

GP: Do you think it’s easier today for creators to get published?

SG: Yes. And there are some huge success stories in the self-publishing world, too. Look at 50 Shades of Grey, for example. It was a self-published ebook series, and now book one is the fastest selling novel of all time. Of all time! Incredible.

GP: How do you think technology like social networking or crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter are impacting comic book publishing?

SG: It’s diversifying the comic landscape, which is wonderful. We need new stories, new types of stories out there. The other day, I wondered out loud to my friends if a romance-style comic book could find an audience online, or be published through someone’s Kickstarter efforts. Romance and Western comics were huge from the 1940s through the 60s, but publishers discovered they could make more money with the superhero books and those genres died out. With crowdfunding around, could you do modern soap opera-style romance comics? Would people want to read those kinda stories?

GP: What can we expect from you next?

SG: Besides my ongoing horror stories in The Gathering: Tales From The Abyss? I have a couple projects in the works right now (including one outside of comics), but unfortunately I can’t really talk about them until they’re formally announced. Sorry!

GrayHaven Comics: Phase Two Announced

For nearly three years The Gathering anthology has afforded nearly 200 comic creators the opportunity to have their work published for the first time. GrayHaven Comics has been dedicated to giving aspiring creators their big break and through fourteen issues of The Gathering have done just that. Along with newcomers to publishing, The Gathering has also featured the works of pros like Sterling Gates, John Jackson Miller, Mike Lapinski, Brent Peeples, Gail Simone and Len Wallace with many more to come.

Two and a half years. Fourteen issues. And 200 creators getting a chance to have their work published for the first time alongside some of the best pros in the business. So what’s next for the upstart publisher?

GrayHaven Comics has begun to tease their “Phase Two.” Beginning with this week’s launch of the mini series Mothers and Sons, GrayHaven Comics will be aggressively expanding their publishing line. New one shots, mini series and ongoings will begin to roll out over the next few months through New York Comic Con and into 2013. Works will include print collections/continuations of popular webcomics, self contained mini series, an adaptation of a novel, an ongoing and a project featuring a major pro talent novelist/comic writer. With more of GrayHaven’s newcomers becoming seasoned vets and more pro talent looking at GHC as a viable alternative for their publishing needs, 2013 is just the beginning.

To order Mothers and Sons or any of The Gathering issues go to http://www.grayhavencomics.com/comics/.

Preview – Kirby: Genesis – Captain Victory #2

KIRBY: GENESIS –  CAPTAIN VICTORY #2

32 pages FC  • $3.99  •  Teen +

Plot by ALEX ROSS, STERLING GATES
Script by STERLING GATES
Art by WAGNER REIS
Covers by ALEX ROSS (main), MICHAEL AVON OEMING (1-in-10)
“Negative Effect Art” Retailer Incentive cover by ALEX ROSS
“Black & White” Retailer Incentive cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMING
“Virgin Art” Retailer Incentive cover by ALEX ROSS

Jack Kirby’s epic space opera continues! Last issue, Captain Victory was forced to make a terrible choice in order to stop the malicious Batteron. Now that decision comes back to haunt him as several members of his crew plot mutiny.  As tempers flare, however, the ship is attacked by the Eye of Blackmass, punching a hole in the ship’s hull that threatens to kill everyone aboard! Is it still mutiny if Captain Victory is dead? Plus, the secret origin of everyone’s favorite lion-man, Tarin!

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