The Weekly Round-Up #362 With Namesake #1, Black #2, Mother Panic #1, Star Wars: Poe Dameron #8, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #13, Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Namesake #1 – I picked up the first issue of this new miniseries by Steve Orlando and Jakub Rebelka on an impulse, and because I’ve liked just about everything Orlando has written that I’ve read.  This story is set on an Earth that every seven years becomes attached to a dimension where magic works.  The main character, an orphan fireman, has some sort of connection to that other world, and when he receives a letter from the father he always thought was dead, he has to slip into that other world, despite being a wanted man there.  Orlando’s story is interesting, and Rebelka’s slightly psychedelic art pleases me.  I’ll be back for the next issue.

Quick Takes:

Black #2 – This series, set in a world where only black people develop super powers, is getting more interesting, as we see Kareem take part in his first field mission, to help retrieve another powered individual who is about to be lynched.  I like this book, and always enjoy Jamal Igle’s art, but I’m left wondering who is funding the group of powereds, and what their ultimate goal is.  

Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 – This is one comic that made me pretty happy this week.  In the main story, Roxanne Gay and Alitha Martinez explore the relationship between the Midnight Angels, as their meeting is set in the context of the Avengers/X-Men war and the events of Namor’s attack on Wakanda.  It does a great job of building these two characters, and helps situate Ta-Nehisi Coates’s story in the parent book in the context of the Marvel universe.  The back-up story, written by Yona Harvey and Coates, and drawn by the wonderful Afua Richardson, explores Zenzi’s early days.  I think it’s a little remarkable that there are currently two Black Panther titles on the Marvel lineup, and I look forward to seeing what other facets of Wakandan culture get explored here.  As a long-time Panther fan (check out my recent retro review columns which look at Christopher Priest’s run with the character), I have a long list of things I’d like to see in this book.

Captain America: Steve Rogers #7 – I think I’m getting bored with this whole Hydra storyline.  Steve continues to plot with Doctor Selvig to take down the Red Skull, while he takes over a chunk of the nation of Sokovia, and launches a complicated plan that will actually have him lose territory on purpose.  I can appreciate what Nick Spencer is aiming for with this storyline, but I’m just not finding it all that compelling.  The Sam Wilson book is working so much better for me right now.

Casanova: Acedia #7 – I’m not at all clear on what’s going on in this book anymore, but I love Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s art, which can clearly tell the story from page to page even when Matt Fraction’s script (and the massive gap between issues) has left me completely lost.

Daredevil #13 – This is essentially a Blindspot solo issue as the new hero tries to foil Muse’s attack on a Manhattan courthouse, and ends up chasing him around the New York sewers.  Sam is given plenty of space here, and Charles Soule lets us see just what he’s made of when he has to choose between his own safety and that of a group of people Muse is hoping to make into his next deadly piece of art.  Ron Garney is doing incredible things on this book – it’s the work of his career I feel.  

Deathstroke #6 – Priest brings us back to the Rebirth issue with the return of the Red Lion, and we meet his son Joseph, who is a lot more interesting now than the old Jericho was.  Priest’s plotting of this title is getting kind of confusing, but that does not detract from my interest in things, as we learn about Joseph’s connection with Dr. Ikon, and see how Rose is dealing with the way Slade has used her.  This is a complicated, but rewarding, read.

Detective Comics #944 – Part two of the Victim Syndicate arc gives James Tynion IV lots of opportunities to further build Batman’s team, complete with the new addition of Batwing.  The villains in this arc are all people who were injured in various attacks on Batman over the years, and it’s interesting to see how this plays into his guilt surrounding Red Robin.  I continue to be very impressed with this series.

The Fuse #23 – Just about everything stands revealed, as Dietrich explains all that he’s been lying about since coming to the space station, and as Klem find herself, once again, in opposition to the various other groups of police about how to proceed.  As usual, it looks like she’s right, because there is a sniper at the mayor’s rally.  This outer space police procedural never bores me, and as this arc addresses storylines that have been in play from the series’s beginnings, it is clear just how skilled a writer Antony Johnston is.  One of Image’s best unsung titles.

Island #12 – I’m beginning to see why Brandon Graham is such a fan of Fil Barlow’s work,  because the sheer number of ideas he crams into every page of his Zooniverse story is impressive.  The other stuff in this issue is fine, but nothing is blowing me away in the manner of the first five or six issues of this anthology series.  I like that it’s exposing me to new creators, but neither Lando’s Island 3 story, nor Alex Smith and Annie Mok’s Avia story were all that clear, and both looked a little stiff and/or rushed.

 – I had little hope for this, the last of the new Young Animal titles, but ended up picking it up anyway because I like Tommy Lee Edwards’s art.  We meet someone who is basically Kate Kane, a Gotham debutante with a shady past and some familial issues, who also dresses up as a superhero sometimes and in this issue, hunts down the bodyguard of an art collector.  I don’t really know what’s going on, and I’m not very interested.  This is the second time I was unimpressed with a first issue by Jody Houser, and I wonder if I’m missing something.  Were this a $3 book instead of $4, I might give it a couple of issues based on the strength of the art alone, but it isn’t, so I’m not.

New Super-Man #5 – Kenan finally gets to understand all that’s been going on, as he learns that his father is the leader of a group of superheroes that have been fighting for democracy in China, and he has to choose between his new friends in the Justice League of China and his ties to his distant and unavailable family.  Gene Luen Yang has made this a very unique title, exploring how typical hero themes in the West would play out in China.  The strong character work he’s done makes this book a delight.

No Mercy #11 – Alex DeCampi and Carla Speed McNeil check in on a number of the main characters of this comic as they make their way through the country they were lost in, or start the process of recovering at home.  The creators use an interesting narrative structure where each character’s phone screen is used to represent the start of their chapter of the story.  This title continues to surprise me, because the narrative is really all over the place, yet I love every page of it.

Poe Dameron #8 – This issue both finally makes me start getting more interested in this series, and begins to infuriate me.  Poe is concerned that someone in his squadron is sending information to the First Order, and feels like he can’t trust his closest friends, while at the same time C-3PO talks about his droid spy network, and no one considers that maybe it’s a droid that is betraying Poe.  Anyway, we get some the background of Terex, the guy who has been hunting Poe, and set up a new arc that is going to have them facing each other again.  It’s perhaps the most dense issue of this series yet, and that’s including the last one, which was double-sized.

Power Man and Iron Fist #10 – Now that all the Civil War II nonsense can stop dragging this book down, David Walker is free to do what he wishes with the title, and that involves bringing back all of Luke Cage’s traditional foes into “Harlem Burns”.  Luke and Danny (who is somehow no longer in prison) announce to the superhero community that they are dedicating themselves to helping anyone wrongly imprisoned behind the Agnitus program, while various factions of villains make plans to take Harlem away from Tombstone.  Sanford Greene drew this whole issue, so it looks great and consistent again, and the whole package revitalizes my formerly flagging interest in the title.

Resident Alien: The Man With No Name #3 – Asta’s father reveals that he knows Harry’s secret (that he is an alien hiding in a small town in upstate Washington), and they have a good talk about Harry’s past, while he continues to search for information about the drifter who died in the fire.  This is an excellent comic, which moves at a very relaxed pace.  It’s taken years to get to the point that Harry can talk openly about himself to someone else, and while it’s nice for him, there is an undercurrent of danger involved, as the government is getting closer to tracking him down.  This is a solid title.

Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 – This was delayed because Diamond is a monopoly, but I’m pleased to see that it was well worth the wait.  Chris Roberson and George Jeanty take us back to the story of the Firefly crew, and get the tone just right.  Malcolm and his group get entwined with a resistance group, but most of the issue is given over to solid character moments and reminding me just how much I miss this TV show.

Shipwreck #2 – I don’t really understand this comic, which feels like the most early-mid Vertigo thing I’ve read in ages.  This guy has undergone some sort of phase event or something, and is now wandering around a desert.  He finds a bartender performing a sky burial, which leads him to a large bell where people come to die by having their organs liquefied by its terrible harmonics.  The woman who works as a caretaker for the bell seems to know more about him than either he or the reader does.  I can picture Warren Ellis and Phil Hester talking about making this ‘old school’, and not worrying at all about plot or purpose.  It’s weird.  It actually reads alright, but does nothing to keep my interest.

Wonder Woman #10 – Diana gets off the military base with her friends for a lovely trip to the mall (because where better to introduce her to Western society?), and ends up getting in the middle of a terrorist attack.  Nicola Scott’s art on this book is gorgeous, but I find that’s really the only thing I’m buying it for lately.  I might be jumping off this title soon; it’s just not grabbing me, and I thought that Brian Azzarello’s interpretation of the character was just so much more interesting than Greg Rucka’s is.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #13 – I’m sad that this series is going away soon, because Robert Venditti has been doing an even better job of chronicling Gilad’s adventures than he did X-O Manowar’s.  This is an exciting issue, as Gilad has to face off against a massive demon to rescue his firstborn son.  It’s very good.

Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:

All-New X-Men #15

Clone Conspiracy #2

Doom Patrol #3

Invincible Iron Man #1

Uncanny Avengers #16

Uncanny X-Men #15

The Week in Graphic Novels:

G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds – I’ve never been interested in G.I. Joe, but when I saw this trade for only $2, I thought why not.  I like the way writer Max Brooks has filled this with ten short stories spotlighting individual members of Joe and Cobra, exploring their motives for joining up.  In that sense, this could be about any specialized military or militarized terrorist group – it could easily be SHIELD and Hydra, and that makes it interesting as a character study.  

Wolverine: Blood Debt – I love Steve Skroce’s art, but his writing in this four issue arc of Wolverine from 2000 leaves a lot to be desired.  I never much cared about what was going on.

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