The Weekly Round-Up #383 With Planetoid: Praxis #3, Iron Fist #2, Star Wars: Poe Dameron #12, The Walking Dead #166 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Planetoid: Praxis #3 – Ken Garing’s excellent science fiction series touches on issues of corporate colonialism and indigenous land rights, as Onica and her people meet their new neighbours, and learn that the war with the Ono Mao has been over for a while.  Garing’s art is beautiful, but I am almost more impressed with the depth of thought that he has put into structuring his story, which is filled with plenty of strong character moments.  This is a very good series.

Quick Takes:

Batman #20 – Batman’s long battle with Bane comes to its close with a recap of the entire series since Rebirth began and with narration from Batman’s dead mother.  Really.  Is Tom King really writing this book?  If so, he’s definitely not the same Tom King that has written Vision, Sheriff of Babylon, and Omega Men.  Is Batman the problem?  I was a huge fan of Scott Snyder’s writing before he began working on the title too.  Does Batman ruin writers?  This story, which was hyped and built up to for months, ends anti-climatically and unsatisfyingly.  Next up is the crossover with the Flash that is all about the Watchmen button.  Is it time to stop reading Batman?  I think it might be…

Deathstroke #16 – This issue is almost entirely given over to a fight between Deathstroke (now going by Twilight, but hopefully not for long) and Deadline.  This series continues to be my favourite DC comic, and is quite likely my favourite Big Two comic.  Priest is just killing the writing on this book, and the various artists work well with his complicated plotting.

Iron Fist #2 – This second issue sets up the larger story of Danny’s new series, as he gets roped into a series of kung fu fights on an island that envisions itself as the next K’un-Lun in return for the reestablishment of his chi.  The setup feels very familiar and not all that special, but the execution by Ed Brisson and especially Mike Perkins hits all the right notes.  I’m not terribly impressed with this issue (other than Perkins’s art), but it is exactly what most people would want from an Iron Fist comic.  I just hope that it moves somewhere a little more original soon, or I might get bored.

Nightwing #18 – Things are getting darker and darker in this series, as Dick and Damian’s confrontation with their dollotron counterparts lead them to Professor Pyg and Dick’s girlfriend, but another bat-villain is working behind the scenes.  I am definitely losing interest in this book – it’s good, but I think that the biweekly scheduling is working against it, causing me to burn out on it.

Paper Girls #13 – This series is getting pretty far from its roots, as the girls continue their misadventures in prehistory, and we really get no closer to figuring out what’s going on.  The characters are what makes this book work, and they continue to be pretty delightful here, as does Cliff Chiang’s art.  I do think that some explanations are needed soon though.

Poe Dameron #12 – With the news that Marvel is bringing back their digital code policy, I’m now starting to rethink the titles I dropped from my pullfile list.  I was really enjoying this arc of Poe Dameron, so I figured I should pick up the issue that came out a week or two ago, and stay current with the series.  C-3PO gets all the best moments in this issue, as Terex pursues Poe on the planet where he crashed.  It’s become a decent read, after a rough start.

Providence #12 – When I started reading this book, which is Alan Moore’s love letter to HP Lovecraft, it was with some trepidation.  I don’t care about Lovecraft.  I’ve been increasingly dissatisfied with Moore’s 21st century work.  Still, I thought this might be worth investing my time and money in, seeing as it was a passion project for someone who was once a great writer.  I had no idea that the last two issues of the series would be so heavily dependent on his Neonomicon, which I did read but didn’t enjoy.  Anyway, without caring enough to go into a lot of details, this is not worth tracking down in trade.  The ending doesn’t make a lot of sense, and worse of all, is exceedingly dull.

Red Sonja #0 – I’m not one to turn down a free comic, as my store gave out issues of this and Vampirella #0, both of which originally cost a quarter and are being used to launch new series.  In this one, by Amy Chu and Carlos Gomez, Sonja fights Kulan Gath and then turns up in modern day New York.  It’s an interesting, if unoriginal, concept, that might work better if I cared more about this character.

Spider-Man #15 – Finally, an issue of Spider-Man that focuses on Miles, as he and his father are forced to reveal all of their lies to his mother, who predictably takes it all very badly.  This was a solid issue, with nice (if overly repetitive and dark) art by Szymon Kudranski.  I hope that this title is left out of Secret Empire and any other events for a while, as it really needs time to just be its own thing for a while.

Star Wars #30 – I have not liked this arc very much at all.  I don’t know that a Yoda-centric arc makes much sense here, and the storyline, about a world populated with living mountains, never did much to grab me.  Luckily, from here, this title is heading into a crossover with Dr. Aphra, which I hope will do a great deal to rekindle my interest in things.  It’s worth noting that I normally hate crossovers, but as I already read both titles, and the other is written by Kieron Gillen, I’m down for it.

They’re Not Like Us #15 – Between the lengthy delays between issues, the visual similarities between many of the characters, and the odd choices that Eric Stephenson makes when pacing each issue, I’m quickly losing my interest in They’re Not Like Us, which I used to enjoy a lot.  I find it interesting that Stephenson’s own books (he also writes the Nowhere Men) don’t seem to have to follow the rules he imposes on other books at Image about timeliness and having most of an arc in the can before any issues are printed and released.

Vampirella #0 – I don’t think I’ve ever read a Vampirella comic before, but with a creative team like Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton, I’m surprised I didn’t get this when it was first released.  It’s set some thousand years into the future, where three rebels from society trek across a wasteland to try to revive the long-sleeping vampire.  There are some definite pacing issues here – the characters feel that they have to rush to wake Vampirella up, because they are being pursued, but once she wakens, she has time to sit and read a book undisturbed.  Anyway, Broxton’s art is nice, but I can’t see myself returning to this title.

The Walking Dead #166 – This is a very intense issue.  Just as Rick and his people look like they’ve handled the threat caused by the massive horde of walkers they’ve been dealing with, the Saviors decide to throw down the gauntlet.  Rick’s attempt at a peaceful discussion goes horribly wrong, and there’s an issue threatening Andrea that I’m not too happy about.  As always, I can’t ever predict where this title is heading, aside from a general sense of doom.  Great stuff.

The Woods #31 – Not unexpectedly, the FBI is not reacting too positively to Sanami’s appearance on Earth, but Dr. Robot has a plan to help her out.  James Tynion IV spends most of this issue on Earth, building Sanami’s character and showing us what her relationship with her father is actually like, and then puts Karen in a strange situation back on the planet.  This is another strong issue of a particularly good series.

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

All-New Wolverine #19

America #2

Avengers #6

Baltimore: The Red Kingdom #3

Black Cloud #1

Bullseye #3

Captain America Steve Rogers #15

Champions #7

Elephantmen #76

Green Arrow #20

Hawkeye #5

Jessica Jones #7

Nova #5

Royals #1

Superman #20

Über Invasion #5

Uncanny Avengers #22

X-Men Gold #1

Bargain Comics:

Green Arrow Rebirth #1 & Green Arrow #1-17 – I think I regret not adding Green Arrow to my pull-file from the beginning.  This title, under Benjamin Percy, has been a very good read, even if it relies too much on some familiar Green Arrow ground, borrowing heavily from Jeff Lemire’s excellent run (with Ollie losing his company, home, money, and status) and from the Arrow TV show (Malcolm Merlyn again?).  Still, this is a very capable comic, with some very nice art from the likes of Juan Ferreyra (the reason I picked up an issue in the first place) and Otto Schmidt, among others.  Unlike the other Rebirth books I’ve been reading (aside from Deathstroke and Detective), there’s a real sense that Percy has a very long story he’s telling, and that’s pretty cool.

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