The Weekly Round-Up #367 With Young Terrorists #2, Black #3, Resident Alien: The Man With No Name #4, Star Wars: Poe Dameron #9 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Young Terrorists #2 – It’s been a year and a half since this was supposed to come out, but it was worth the wait, as writer Matteo Pizzolo and artist Amancay Nahuelpan have got a winner on their hands.  This issue continues Cesar’s introduction to Sera’s organization, as he ends up going to Mexico with her (against his will), and then helps to put a stop to a particularly awful factory farm.  The idea of this book being a kind of supergroup for Black Mask properties is an odd one, since this title has a higher profile than everything that it references, but it has allowed a certain level of weirdness to creep into the story (especially with the addition of one of the characters from Godkiller).  Nahuelpan is a great artist, who continues to grow (hopefully we’ll see the next issue of his Clandestino soon), and this thick issue feels a lot stronger and more cohesive than the first.  It’s good stuff, although not for someone easily put off by nudity in their comics.

Quick Takes:

Black #3 – I love the idea behind this Black Mask series – that only black people can develop powers in this world – but often find the execution confusing.  I realize that I don’t really know who most of the characters are, and can’t quite figure out how many different factions there are fighting with one another.  As with many Black Mask titles, the potential does not exactly match what we are actually given, but I remain hopeful that things will improve.  Black Mask needs to invest in a strong editor, I think.

Daredevil #14 – The conclusion to the Muse arc comes to a pretty brutal close, as I think, might Blindspot’s career as a superhero.  I like that Charles Soule has been introducing new characters into Daredevil’s world, as so many writers these days appear to prefer to fiddle with, and improve upon, older villains instead.  This run has been impressive.

Deathstroke #8 – Slade’s fight with Superman comes to its inevitable conclusion, but not without a lot of collateral damage along the way, as Superman has to try to make a bad situation work for him, while Slade’s children confront other truths.  I love this title.  Priest’s writing here is as sharp and layered as it was in his classic Black Panther run.

Detective Comics #946 – As Batman and his team continue to confront the Victim’s Syndicate, Spoiler makes a pretty big decision.  As usual, this title continues to impress and make me happy.  It’s one of the best old-school superhero comics on the stands.

Drifter #15 – This science fiction series is often a complex and challenging read, as Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein have constructed a pretty complicated vision for the book, but it is also very rewarding.  This issue starts the final arc, which has Pollux confront Emmerich, which instead of resolving issues, just creates more.  This book is gorgeous, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things turn out at the end.

The Fuse #24 – Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood wrap up just about every plotline they began back in the first issue of this series, as Dietrich finally finds his sister, and the plot to kill the mayor is blown wide open.  I really love this science fiction police procedural, and am happy to hear that the creators are not opposed to returning to this setting and these characters one day.  I cannot recommend this title enough.

Jessica Jones #3 – Basically, exactly what I was afraid would happen with this comic has begun to happen.  Brian Michael Bendis is giving in to his worst habits and excesses, as he has Jessica captured by a bit player from Civil War II, and talked at for pretty much an entire issue.  This book confirms that this series is very much in continuity, despite the fact that it completely contradicts everything else that is happening with Jessica and Luke Cage in every other comic they appear in.  Also, Bendis’s secretive characters’ dialogue is just starting to feel very tired after so many years of it.  I think I might be letting this title go if the next issue isn’t a lot better.

Mayday #2 – Alex DeCampi and Tony Parker’s seventies spy series is a pretty bloody one, as the Russian agents work to free themselves from their FBI captors, while nursing massive day-after drug hangovers.  DeCampi is a very exciting writer, and that shows on every page of this book.  I was not prepared for just how vicious this issue would be, and I love it.

Moonshine #3 – Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are so good together, and they continue to prove it with this mysterious Prohibition-era gangster and werewolf comic.  Pirlo, who has been sent into the backwoods of Appalachia to secure a supply of hooch, has not been doing well, between his blackout drunks and getting attacked by a monster, but now he has to deal with the animosity of the guy he’s supposed to be arranging a business agreement with, and the reinforcements that have been sent to help him.  This is a rough issue, and it’s very good.

Motro #2 – The first issue of Motro, a new and very strange series by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas, really caught my attention, and this second issue is just as good, even if it upends a lot of my expectations.  Years have passed, Motro has gotten older, the little motorcycle that was his pet and/or friend is gone, and he’s now working as a gravedigger in a large army.  He discovers a magical crysteal [sic], which allows people to see the future, and this puts him in conflict with the son of his Captain, and with his own pacifistic leanings.  Farinas is a very exciting emerging cartoonist voice, and I’m completely down for the rest of this series.

Namesake #2 – Steve Orlando’s newest miniseries at Boom! is very exciting and cool.  Jordan Molossus has traveled from our world to the one that one of his fathers came from, which aligns with ours every seven years for only a week, with the purpose of burying his dead dads where they first met.  Turns out that nothing is what he expects though, as he has to fight his way to the coast through land run by a ganglord who is hunting him.  Orlando’s story is original, and Jakub Rebelka’s art is very, very nice.  Once again, a series launched with little fanfare from Boom! turns out to be one of the most intriguing on the stands.

New Super-Man #6 – We finally get to the end of the first story arc, as Kenan, his dad, and his friends in the Justice League of China, have to go up against the Great Ten and the Freedom Fighters to try to rescue China from genetically modified Starros.  It’s a very effective issue, with Gene Luen Yang setting up Kenan’s future adventures.  I’ve been liking this unique DC series a whole lot.

No Mercy #12 – I love this title by DeCampi (who has a very good week this week) and Carla Speed McNeil, whose art looks even better than normal here.  Much of this issue is given to Tiffani and DeShawn, as they are forced to accompany their revolutionary captors to a meeting with North Korean arms dealers, stopping along the way to treat DeShawn’s burst appendix.  No Mercy has a very random-feeling structure to it, yet the story keeps me sucked right in.  I also love the essays that DeCampi writes in the text pieces, this time talking about her grandmother’s first husband, who was an explorer and adventurer.

Old Man Logan #15 – I guess this two-part story featuring Dracula and the Howling Commandos, as well as Jubilee, has been kind of fun, but at the same time, it’s felt like a filler.  I’m glad that Andrea Sorrentino is coming back with the next issue.

The Pitiful Human-Lizard #11 – There are two stories again in this issue, as a chance encounter with Mother Wonder leads to us all learning her origin story, and as the Lizard Skater practices for her new crime-fighting lifestyle.  The large and growing supporting cast of Jason Loo’s series is its strength, so I enjoyed this issue.

Poe Dameron #9 – This latest arc has Poe assisting C3PO on a mission to retrieve information from a missing droid, but it coincides with Terex’s desire to restore his crimeland connections.  I find that Terex’s backstory is the most interesting part of this arc, but with the last two issues, Charles Soule finally has me somewhat interested in Dameron’s character.

Power Man & Iron Fist #11 – As the heroes continue to investigate the people who have been framing ex-criminals, Alex Wilder works to put together his New Pride.  I’m enjoying David Walker’s writing, and especially Sanford Greene’s art, but at times, I feel like this title could move a little faster.

Reborn #3 – More excitement from Mark Millar and Greg Capullo as some kind of obvious things happen, and our hero finds herself meeting her enemies sooner than she’d anticipated.  This series is very typical Millar fare – it’s good, but doesn’t really elevate itself past that.

Resident Alien: The Man With No Name #4 – As is always the case, this latest Resident Alien arc ends with an issue that returns the focus to the actual mystery of just who the homeless man who died in a drug lab fire was, and what his connection to the small town where Dr. Harry lives was.  This miniseries was more concerned with Harry’s secret (he’s an alien) than any has been since we first met him, and I liked that, as it helped build the longer story.  For that reason, it was a little weird that he barely appeared in this issue, but I like the way Peter Hogan structures these stories, and am pleased to see that another one is planned for 2017.  This is a terrific title, that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition.

Spider-Man #10 – I guess that this issue, which largely recaps the last issue of Civil War II, only from Miles’s perspective, also pretty much spoils the big ending of the next issue of CWII, which hasn’t come out yet, but which has also presumably been spoiled by the events of the Iron Man books that I’m no longer reading.  It’s really just become a gigantic mess.  I feel bad that Miles’s character and excellent title had to get sucked into it all.  I will be so happy when this event is finally finished, and hope that Marvel learns some lessons about how to tighten up their tentpole events for the next time around (I know I’m naïve, allow it  – it’s Christmas).

The Totally Awesome Hulk #13 – I don’t really know what’s going on with this issue, which is mostly about basketball player Jeremy Lin hanging out with Amadeus, before having him play in an exhibition game filled with aliens and robots.  I don’t know if Marvel is just trying to pull in a bunch of NBA fans to read the book, or if there is a larger story-driven reason for this, but it feels like it’s a giant product placement.  If some basketball fan does pick this comic up just for Lin’s appearance, I’m not sure there’s enough here to make them want to come back.

Wonder Woman #12 – I enjoy Nicola Scott’s Year One issues of this title much more than I do the odd-numbered present-day stories, and am not sure if I’m going to stick around after Scott leaves the title.  This issue is charming, as Diana and Steve spend time together, and we learn that Diana can talk to animals, which is kind of weird.  We also learn the secret behind the SEAR Group – terrorists who are up to no good, but who up to this point, have seemed very random.  This book is definitely not Greg Rucka’s best work, but it’s okay.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #14 – I think this is the last issue of this series, as Gilad and his son Kalam fight off a horde of demons to return to their family, and along the way, resolve their issues with one another.  It’s a decent ending to a strong run under Robert Venditti’s pen, but I’m sad to see it go.  I find myself buying less and less from Valiant these days…

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

All-New X-Men #16

Britannia #4

Guardians of the Galaxy #15

Hawkeye #1

Inhumans Vs. X-Men #1

Rockstars #1

Shadows on the Grave #1

Silk #15

Uncanny Avengers #17

War Stories #21

Bargain Comics:

Civil War II: X-Men #3&4 – This really ended up reading as a bit of a desperate ploy to get people to care more about the ‘war’ between the X-Men and the Inhumans, but once again, I just can’t buy that anyone would be so worked up about Ulysses and his abilities – especially the X-Men, who were fine for decades with Destiny bouncing around the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  All of this felt very forced – I couldn’t even remember who was supposed to be on which side.  Tiresome.

The Fallen #1 – I really feel like the Hulk’s death in Civil War II was poorly handled, and lacked much emotional power.  This one-shot, which focuses on the Hulk’s friends and family, does a little better job of tugging at the heartstrings (and remembers the Hulk’s son and the Warbound, which I give it props for), but still comes off feeling a little slight.  Maybe that’s just my usual reaction to Mark Bagley’s art though…

Superman: Rebirth #1 & Superman #1-11 – I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Superman (and the various other artists also involved in the title), and have a lot of respect for the Tomasi/Gleason team, so I figured that it was time to check the book out.  I’m not a huge Superman fan, but I do like what I’m seeing here.  The focus on the Kent family, and the way in which the pre-Flashpoint Superman is fitting into the New 52 world, as well as learning to be a father to a developing Superboy, really gives this a different feel from any prior times I’d dipped into the Super-Well.  I’m not a huge Superman fan, but this works very well.  Some of the storylines seem very contrived (such as when Jon’s science project sends him and his dad to the War That Time Forgot), but there’s a lot of heart here, and I like that.  Just not enough to buy the book biweekly…

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Death-Day Part One – This graphic novel by Samuel Hiti caught my eye because it reminded a little of Brandon Graham’s work on Prophet.  A group of soldiers are on a weird world, trying to stop, destroy, or gain some orbs, which are defended by monstrous many-limbed creatures.  They have some success, and then they don’t.  Their army is weird, wearing Dune-style suits, and are maybe all clones?  There’s a lot that isn’t really explained, and Hiti’s art can be a little confusing at times, but I enjoyed the weirdness of this comic.  I don’t think the second part was ever published.

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