The Weekly Round-Up #363 With Kill Or Be Killed #4, Invincible #131, Reborn #2, Ether #1 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Kill or Be Killed #4 – Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s excellent new series about obsession and demon-driven executions really takes a look at the unlikelihood of vigilantism this issue, as Dylan tries to reconcile his new secret life with his secret affair with his best friend (who is also his roommate’s girlfriend), all while trying to maintain the illusion that by killing people he is actually helping the world.  Dylan’s life is getting pretty complicated, and it does not look like things will ease up anytime soon.  This is a fascinating book, as Brubaker and Phillips really dig into this poor character.

Quick Takes:

Batman #11 – Tom King continues to impress on the I Am Suicide arc, as Batman’s plans to invade Bane’s domain to retrieve the Psycho-Pirate don’t work out as expected, thanks to one of his number being a little unpredictable.  Mikel Janin is making some very cool art for this arc, and while I question just where and when the ‘before’ scene between Batman and Catwoman took place, continuity-wise, I am enjoying this story a great deal.  This is the best Batman I’ve read in some time.

Black Hammer #5 – This issue puts the spotlight on Col. Weird, the time-lost and confused member of the superhero team that’s been exiled to a quiet farm life.  I find this to be one of the most entertaining new series of this year, as Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston continue to build on these characters.  This issue was not as funny as the last, but it adds a few more pieces to the puzzle.

Black Panther #8 – Ta-Nehisi Coates uses this issue to address the whole Shuri situation, as T’Challa and Eden travel through some metaphysical time dimension to rescue her, and we gain more insight into both characters.  This is a fine issue; I especially like the early scenes that have the Panther interacting with the different heroes who came to his aid in the last issue.

BPRD Hell on Earth #147 – This is a huge issue, as Johan embraces his new abilities and uses them to take care of the largest of the gigantic creatures that have been making everything “hell on Earth” for the last few years.  Mike Mignola and John Arcudi are really working to close this title, and as much as I’ve enjoyed it, I do think it’s time to give this property some rest.  I like that it’s going out in such a terrific fashion.

Briggs Land #4 – How prescient is Brian Wood and this comic.  What felt like a rare look into secessionist, prepper culture a few months ago now feels, in the wake of Trump’s election, like a schematic to the new America, as Caleb, the White Power son of the Briggs clan decides he wants to buy out the family-run hardware store he’s been using for money laundering, and spouts a torrent of racial and conservative invective while doing it.  Wood’s visions of America in series like DMV always felt like dystopian science fiction, but now I feel like he’s been simply sharing glimpses into a crystal ball, and that’s kind of terrifying.  It’s also very compelling storytelling though.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #15 – Even a non-wrestling fan like me can get a lot of enjoyment out of this issue, which has Dennis Dunphy returning to the ring for a charity event that continues Nick Spencer’s long love letter to the best elements of Mark Gruenwald’s classic Captain America run.  While the Steve Rogers title is repetitive and depressing, this one is an absolute delight.  

Doctor Strange #14 – I’ve been enjoying Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s take on the Doctor, but I didn’t much like this issue.  Satana has taken Strange prisoner, and is going about making him into the star attraction at her new boutique hell, through an odd plan that involves his eating demonic bacon.  It’s kind of silly and gross, but also beneath the level of quality I’ve gotten used to here.  It’s also a very strange choice for the issue that came out right after the movie debuted.  

Ether #1 – I’m always down for a new Matt Kindt project, although this one was a bit of a surprise, in that it is the most ‘young adult’ and gentle piece I’ve seen him work on.  This title, with artist David Rubin, is about the world of Ether, a magical world that intersects with the Earth in Venice.  Boone Dias is a scientist who has been researching that other world for some time, and who often gets called upon to solve mysteries there using his deductive abilities.  This time around he gets wrapped up in the investigation of the murder of the Ether’s greatest hero.  Kindt always puts a lot of effort and planning into his worlds, and this one is no different.  Rubin, whose art is fantastic, has a lot of fun designing different magical creatures and touches that make each page a delight.  There are elements of this story that remind me of some of Brandon Graham’s work on Multiple Warheads or King City.

Horizon #5 – I picked up the first issue of this title as an impulse, and have kept coming back for more, as I’ve watched Brendan Thomas and Juan Gedeon work to establish story and character.  Now, with this issue, I know that I’m in for the long haul, and am going to add this to my pull file list.  Horizon is a very exciting book about a group of aliens who have come to a failing Earth to make sure that mankind does not try to conquer their world.  It’s an interesting take on some science fiction tropes, and it is very well paced.

Invincible #131 – I think there’s something a little odd about the fact that this book has fallen so far behind schedule, yet almost every panel in this issue, which mostly shows a fight between Mark and a young Viltrumite in the sky above his new home, completely lacks backgrounds.  It’s a very effective issue, as Mark has to fight and protect his young daughter at the same time, but I feel like it would have taken a little less time to draw than the average issue.  I’m not really complaining; with only about thirteen issues left in this title, I don’t really care how long they take to come out.  I plan to enjoy them regardless.

Jessica Jones #2 – Reading this title is like returning home again, and I love seeing the caustic and difficult Jessica of the Alias days, but the part of me that cares about continuity is having a very hard time with the fact that Brian Michael Bendis’s writing here does not match at all with other recent appearances of Jessica and Luke Cage in the Marvel Universe.  I want to know when this story is supposed to be taking place, as its references to Jess spending time in prison, and her estrangement from Luke are unexpected and interesting.  

Micronauts #7 – So it seems that somewhere in the Revolution story, our heroes have come to Earth and been captured by the government.  They are tiny, as they were in the original Marvel series.  Now they are determined to escape, and are assisted by a scientist hired to vivisect them who doesn’t agree with that.  It’s too bad that so many key events in this storyline have taken place elsewhere; I think IDW has made a lot of mistakes by choosing to tie this title into the other Hasbro comics before it really became established himself.  Still, this is an enjoyable book, and Cullen Bunn is doing a fine job with it.

Moonshine #2 – Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s latest series continues to build on itself, as our mobster main character continues to try to secure a line on hooch for his New York boss, but instead finds himself plotting to betray the bootlegger he wants to work with.  We get a better glimpse of the werewolf-like creature populating the woods, and see that it’s closely connected to the hooch industry somehow.  This title is dark, atmospheric, and all kinds of cool.

Old Man Logan #13 – As much as I love Andrea Sorrentino’s art on this series, I’ve been disappointed by the slow pace of it.  This issue has a fair deal happening, as Logan finishes his confrontation with the Silent Order.  I’m hoping that the next arc is quicker moving.

Reborn #2 – This is feel-good Mark Millar, as Bonnie explores the strange afterworld wherein she finds her father and old friends, and is a prophesied great warrior who will save the people from evil.  It’s a lovely book, and much better suited to Greg Capullo than Batman was.

Southern Cross #9 – I think it’s interesting that one of the characters I liked the least from the first arc is becoming a favourite in the second one, as Kyril and Hazel work to get to a second artifact that they learn is still on Romulus.  Andy Belanger’s art on this comic is incredible, and I find myself poring over fine details, like the look of drug-laced tears.  This is one impressive series.

Spider-Man #9 – It’s interesting that Miles doesn’t really appear in this issue, which focuses on almost everyone else in his life trying to find him after the revelations of Civil War II.  I like this book so much more than Brian Michael Bendis’s other titles, and can never figure out what it is about this one that he clearly puts so much more effort into it than he does most of his other Marvel books.  I am looking forward to CWII being done and this book going back to normal, although it looks like there’s one more tie-in to go.

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

All-New Wolverine #14

Amazing Spider-Man #21

Britannia #3

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #2

Cinema Purgatorio #7

Dark Horse Presents #28

Doctor Fate #18

Harbinger Renegades #1

Infamous Iron Man #2

Silk #14

Squadron Supreme #14

Superman #11

Thanos #1

Uncanny Inhumans #15

Uncanny X-Men Annual #1

Bargain Comics:

All-New Wolverine Annual #1 – This is a fun story about body switching involving Laura and Spider-Gwen (who sure finds a lot of reasons to come to the 616).  There’s not much more than that to say though.

Batman and Robin Eternal #25 & 26 – I’m glad to finally finish this title off, as it did so much to inform what is now happening in Detective Comics.  This whole weekly series was alright, but I think it was too long and a little more complicated than it needed to be.  I am a little surprised by the depth to which poor Harper Row was used as a story foil throughout Scott Snyder’s tenure on Batman.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Dead Letters Vol. 1 – I have to say that some cover quotes can really oversell a comic.  Matt Fraction calls this book “the next Preacher”, and I really don’t get that at all.  The main character wakes up in a strange afterlife, and is put to work solving the mystery of a woman’s disappearance, while negotiating the complicated rivalry between two crime bosses.  Christopher Sebela’s writing is never very clear, and Chris Visions’s art, while frequently exciting, does not help clarify anything.

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