The Weekly Round-Up #393 With Pitiful Human-Lizard #13, Accell #1, Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1, Star Wars #32 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Pitiful Human-Lizard #13 – I really think that Jason Loo is doing something very new with this series, which of late has become more of an ensemble book where the Human-Lizard has almost become a peripheral character.  With this issue, the focus is strongly on the H-L as, after a big alien battle, he feels awful and just wants to take the Queen Streetcar home.  As it turns out, his driver is Mother Wonder’s husband, and he spends the long ride through the downtown core looking out for our sick hero, who just wants to catch a nap on public transit.  Loo excels at this kind of slice of daily life superheroics in a way that even the most down-to-Earth Peter Parker comics never accomplished.  We see the usual spread of transit riders in this issue, as Loo continues to make Toronto as much a character in the comic as a setting.  Obviously, being a Torontonian is what initially endeared me to this book, but as I keep reading it, and as Loo gets deeper into the personalities of his characters, that is the reason why I am so pleased to see each new issue.  Also, Loo’s art just keeps getting more expressive and effective with each issue.  This is a real gem of a comic.

Quick Takes:

Accell #1 – I enjoyed the Catalyst Prime FCBD comic, which launched Lion Forge’s latest attempt at publishing a line of superhero comics.  I saw that this one, about a young speedster, is being written by Joe Casey and drawn by Damion Scott, and figured I needed to check it out.  They have some interesting approaches to how speed powers work, but at the end of the day, with Accell being attacked by a 90s style over the top assassin, who has been hired by his girlfriend’s dad, things seem a little too run of the mill.  The FCBD story laid the groundwork for an interesting universe, but I’m not sure that this series is running with any of the elements that made that book work.

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 – I’m very pleased to see that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine DeLandro are expanding on their Bitch Planet universe with this anthology series.  There are three different stories here that examine aspects of the Bitch Planet society that we don’t really get to see in the main title (as it comes out so rarely).  This is a good way to keep the title on the stands while the creators get caught up, and if the quality of the work on display is consistent with what we have here, it’s going to be a good collection.  I’m also happy to see that this book continues to include essays on feminism and race in the back.  It’s good stuff.

Black Panther & The Crew #3 – T’Challa finally comes into the mix in this book, as we learn about Ezra’s connection to Wakanda back in the day, and we discover who is behind the aggressive gentrification of Harlem (in a move that reminds me of something that happened in Ms. Marvel not too long ago).  Ta-Nehisi Coates writes this issue, and I think it’s weird that his writing alternates with Yona Harvey; that’s a strange way to plot and write a story.  There are still some continuity wrinkles with this book, and I don’t really like the way it is so determined to work the Netflix Cage series into the central Marvel Universe, such as the cameo of Pop’s Barber Shop.  Still, this is a well-executed book that finally shows some real respect for T’Challa and Ororo’s relationship, without making it feel forced.

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 – Brian Wood and Mark Chater relaunch their excellent Briggs Land with a new miniseries that focuses on Isaac, the younger of the Briggs children.  At the start of the comic, we see that this secessionist community in upstate New York is surrounded by the usual alphabet soup of American agencies, and feels like it is under siege.  Then we go back, and see that while exploring the Land’s old smuggling trails into Canada, Isaac and his nephew come across a pair of Torontonians, and decide to take them prisoner.  I’m not entirely clear on their justification for this, but it is necessary to get the plot running, as Wood once again has the Briggs family making the case for their independence.  This is an interesting title, and I’m definitely curious about the upcoming TV series that is being based on it.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #23 – While this was the best of the Captain America titles for a while, it looks like Secret Empire is diluting it, as Sam and the Avengers squad he’s been tasked with smuggling out of the country ride a New York Subway train under Montana, and get involved with the Mole Man.  I didn’t know I was probably supposed to read this before Secret Empire this week, although it didn’t make a lot of difference.  I realize that there’s not likely going to be a Sam Wilson book after SE ends, and that’s a shame, as for a good stretch there, Nick Spencer was doing some great work with this book.

Copperhead #14 – We finally learn who killed the mayor, although I found this issue to not be as full as revelations as I would have liked.  I’m still adjusting to new artist Drew Moss, and missing original artist Scott Godlewski, and while I like Moss’s work, the series feels like it’s changed a lot.

Detective Comics #958 – The focus is shifting towards Azrael and the Order of St. Dumas, which I have always hated.  Some new robotic thing is killing off the members of the Order, and it’s coming to Gotham.  On a more positive note, a certain DC hero guest stars, and that makes me want to read the next issue.

Grass Kings #4 – In a week where Brian Wood’s Briggs Land relaunches, we also get a new issue of Grass Kings.  I guess that secessionists are going to be a part of the zeitgeist now, since both Wood and Kindt have always been tapped into the way things are headed.  This issue has a confrontation between Robert, the king of the Grass Kingdom, and Humbert, the local sheriff, who is certain that Robert is hiding his wife, who has come there looking to get away from her abusive husband.  This is all prelude to what looks like a big confrontation between the Kingdom and the town’s police.  Kindt is building these characters at a good pace, and Tyler Jenkins’s watercoloured art continues to be impressive.  This is a good title.

Justice League of America #8 – I found this issue a little odd, as the team show up in a Savage Land-like place to help out Makson, a Mowgli type raised by dinosaurs, who is being targeted by an AIM-like villain group.  Batman, of course, is suspicious, while most of the rest of the team want to help the guy, who turns out to be heir to a fortune (because of course he is) adjust to the modern world.  There are a lot of things about his story that don’t add up beyond the ones that Batman and Black Canary find, such as the fact that a three year old being raised by dinosaurs is able to teach himself English by reading an airplane manual.  I feel like this story was a little ill-considered and kind of pointless.

Manifest Destiny #29 – The effects of the fog are dealt with, and I’m sorry to say that this has been my least favourite arc of the usually very impressive title.  At the same time, the ending, which features a new development for Sacagawea has caught my attention.

New Super-Man #12 – Super-Man Zero is around for the fight with a gigantic turtle spirit, which leads to a whole bunch of revelations about things – the Wonder Woman’s secret, and Kenan learns about his parents.  I enjoy this book, although I couldn’t escape the feeling that writer Gene Luen Yang is beginning to wrap some of his story up.  I hope this series is safe from cancellation for a while (have any Rebirth books been cancelled yet?).

Regression #2 – Cullen Bunn’s new horror comic about the lingering influence of past lives is getting a lot creepier, as the main character is perhaps turning into a murderer.  Danny Luckert’s clean and detailed art really ramps up the creepy factor in this book; it’s very good.

Secret Empire #4 – Things take a bit of a strange turn in this issue, as Tony Stark and his crew, while out searching for cosmic cube fragments, end up at a family dinner presided over by the new Hank Pym/Ultron amalgam.  I do like the way Nick Spencer writes these characters, but I found that this issue dragged down some of the momentum of this series, before building it back up again at the end.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen Leinil Francis Yu’s artwork, so that was nice.

Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality #2 – If you find yourself missing Gødland, or maybe even Kirby’s New Gods, you would probably love this book.  I’m not all that clear what’s going on, but Alexis Ziritt’s heavy metal artwork is a lot of fun.

Star Wars #32 – While the Screaming Citadel arc is still too ‘goth Star Wars’ for me, I am enjoying seeing Princess Leia interact with Dr. Aphra’s murder droids, even if they don’t provide the same level of critique that they do in the issues written by Kieron Gillen.  At the end of the day, though, this crossover is a little disappointing.  I wonder if Jason Aaron’s not lacking in a long-term plan for this series.

There’s Nothing There #2 – I seem to be reading more and more horror comics lately; I wonder what’s up with that.  Anyway, this one by Patrick Kindlon and Maria LLovet is grabbing my attention more for the way it is skewering celebrity culture and depicting a train wreck of a young actress than for the ghosts.

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

All-New Wolverine #21

Bug: The Adventures of Forager #2

Cinema Purgatorio #10

Defenders #1
Harrow County #24

Jimmy’s Bastards #1

Ms. Marvel #19

Old Man Logan #25

Rai: History of the Valiant Universe #1

Secret Warriors #3
Shadows on the Grave #5

Thanos #8

Uncanny Avengers #24

Weapon X #4

World Reader #3

X-Men Blue #5

Bargain Comics:

Guardians of the Galaxy #14-18 – I’m really pretty done with Brian Michael Bendis team books.  These issues are mostly solo stories featuring various Guardians in one-off tales that don’t really do a lot for the characters.  It’s like he didn’t really want to write this title, but at the same time, wanted to be on yet another high-profile book with connections to the movies.  Are we to assume that he’s going to do the same thing with the new Defenders book, which he obviously wanted to write because of the Netflix series.  It’s time for Bendis to write Miles Morales, and nothing else.  Definitely no more team books for him.

Uncanny Inhumans #17 – I’m really not surprised that this title, which it’s almost anthology like approach to spotlighting different characters, most of whom are new, never really caught on, but at the same time, Charles Soule has done some decent work there.  It just has never seemed like something that would be successful in 2017.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Johnny Red: The Hurricane – Ah, the Garth Ennis war comic.  It doesn’t matter if he’s using established characters (like Johnny Red, an older British war hero) or ones of his own making, you know that you’re going to get an interesting story that is going to look at things differently from most other war comics.  Johnny Red is an interesting character – he’s a British pilot who took his Hurricane to join up with a squadron of Soviet fighters, despite never being given permission by the higher-ups to take command.  This story involves Johnny and his girlfriend, one of the Night Witches (Ennis covered this in his Battlefields comics at Dynamite), working to rescue the rest of Johnny’s Falcons from a deeply bizarre and badly-conceived plan involving Stalin signing a peace agreement with Hitler.  This book is very well written, although I sometimes found Keith Burns’s art a little hard to follow.  It definitely held my interest throughout.

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