The Weekly Round-Up #414 With Mister Miracle #4, Port of Earth #1, Star Wars #38 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Mister Miracle #4 – Scott Free is on trial, with Orion serving as judge, defense, and prosecutor, in another brilliant and definitely oddball issue of this great series.  Tom King is holding back a lot of information here, and revelling in the freedom he’s been given to tell this story.  One of the things that I’ve always loved about Mister Miracle is his costume, and the expressiveness of his mask (especially when Kevin Maguire drew him in the Justice League), so the repeated panels of Scott standing trial in his living room were a delight.  I like how King is digging into the differences between truth and belief, and showing gods as very human beings.  This is a great read, even if I worry I’m missing something obvious about the story.

Quick Takes:

Daredevil #595 – While Daredevil was in China, Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, ran for and became mayor of New York City.  This issue, the first with the Legacy numbering, sets the title in an interesting new direction.  Fisk ran on an anti-superhero stance, and now wants to get rid of vigilantes, starting with Daredevil.  Who does he put in charge of building a case against him?  Matt Murdock, of course.  In the era of President 45, it’s hard to not read Fisk’s new position as commentary, and as a Canadian I can kind of revel in that.  Charles Soule has kept this book nicely grounded in the realities of New York, and that continues here.  Everyone acts in believable ways, and I’m curious to see where this all leads.  

Detective Comics #968 – The Tim Drake focused arc comes to a satisfying end as Tim faces his future self and the darker possibilities that his future could bring.  I’m not sure how much we need a fleet of Bat-planes to help solve things, but other than that bit of excess, James Tynion IV tells a very good story that maybe has some hints as to where this book is headed.  This continues to be one of the best DC books being published.

Falcon #2 – I really want to like and support this book, as I think Sam Wilson has been built up to be a pretty interesting character over the last few years.  The problem is, this title isn’t making enough use of the fertile ground Nick Spencer left it.  Instead, Sam is wrapped up in a Blackheart story involving demonic anger (although I like that it’s based in present racial inequality) and the son of Mephisto’s desire to sit at a table with beings like Thanos, the Living Tribunal, and Galactus.  The Falcon does not work on a cosmic level.  Also, the writer, Rodney Barnes, keeps peppering the book with pop culture references which feel a little forced, like he’s writing for a sitcom.  My other complaint is that Joshua Cassara’s art (or Rachelle Rosenberg’s colours) are way too dark and muddy in places.  Again, I really want to like and support this series, but fear that it’s headed down the wrong path.  Barnes is new to comics, so I’m going to give him into the second story arc to find his groove, but I’m hoping it won’t take that long.

Grass Kings #9 – I hate it in stories when people start looking into a murder or other dark deed from years past, and immediately start finding tons of clues that have been sitting around all along, just waiting for someone to notice them.  That’s what’s happening in this latest arc of this series, as the two brothers who run the Kingdom start digging into the death of a teacher that happened ages ago.  Now, Ashur and Pinball, the two millennials who live in the Kingdom start investigating on their own, and dig up all kinds of secrets.  The storyline works to further flesh out the cast of oddballs who live here, including a pair of sisters who keep everything under surveillance, but it feels a little too neat for me.  Still, I trust Matt Kindt, and Tyler Jenkins’s art remains very nice to look at, so it’s all good.

Injection #15 – It’s been a long time since the last issue of this excellent series came out, and it looks like it might be a while before we see it again, but at least the latest arc has concluded.  I really like this book, but have always felt like it would benefit from a more regular schedule and a little more story in each issue.  Still, Declan Shalvey’s art is just such a pleasure to look at…

Justice League of America #18 – I am happy to see artist Hugo Petrus paired with writer Steve Orlando again, as the art on this title has been pretty boring for a while now.  This issue is odd.  Orlando has a documentarian interview and manipulate the team, all as part of Prometheus’s plan to take the League apart.  The problem is that the manipulations are too simplistic – playing on everyone’s emotions about Batman, for example – and the stakes really don’t feel all that high at any point.  Prometheus is a very cool villain when handled properly, and a ridiculous one when not.  I’d hoped that this would be the arc where this title finally clicked, but now I’m thinking that I should just face up to the fact that maybe it’s just not for me.  This is a book that I would be happy to support, but it does just keep letting me down.

New Super-Man #17 – I was actually surprised to see issue nineteen of this series solicited in the latest Previews.  I’ve felt for a while that this book is building towards a big finish next issue, which it will be, as Kenan accesses his full range of powers and prepares to square off against the All-Yang, and am curious to see where Gene Luen Yang is going to take this title after the big storyline has ended.  This has been a solid leftfield DC book for a year and a half now – that’s impressive.

The Pitiful Human-Lizard #15 – It’s been a while since we last saw this book, and as has been the case for a while now, the new issue is a delight.  Lucas’s sister and her children visit from England in time for Lucas’s mother’s birthday, so the whole family goes out to dinner (at a restaurant I’ve been to).  That’s basically the whole issue, as Lucas worries when two of his nemeses show up at the bar, and as he has to defend his life choices to his sister.  Jason Loo has been increasingly embracing the everyday life of his hero above the actual superhero battles and drama that fill every other costumed character comic, and that’s what I love most about this title.  The Human-Lizard might put his life on the line all the time, but he also has to be a good neighbour, son, brother, and uncle.  When I first started to read this book, I got a serious early Peter Parker vibe from it, but it’s grown way beyond that phase, and become about living life while also wanting to help others.  It’s good stuff.

Port of Earth #1 – I’ve been in the mood for some more hard science fiction comics lately, so while I’ve been trying to cut back on the number of new titles I pick up, this one really caught my eye.  In this series, a large organization of aliens, called the Consortium, made contact with Earth in order to access our water, which they use as fuel.  They’ve built a spaceport off San Francisco, and began using it in total isolation, until one day when three aliens slipped into the city and started a whole bunch of problems.  Now, there is a dedicated human security force which is there to keep aliens safe, even if they are causing problems for humans.  Zack Kaplan sets up the story well, and then introduces us to two POV characters from this security force.  They are followed by camera drones to provide the media with access to their job, and are then sent on some routine calls, which turn out to be anything but.  There’s a lot to like about this book, including Andrea Mutti’s art.  The colourist, Vladimir Popov, keeps things very muted (the book almost appears to be black and white), which is an interesting choice.  I’m glad I took a chance on this book, and will be back for more.

Royal City #7 – Jeff Lemire continues his look at his characters as they were twenty-five years ago.  Tommy gets an MRI which provides a little information about where his headaches are coming from, while his father begins to explore his interest in antique radios.  Not a whole lot happens in this issue, but each page is lovely, and already knowing what is going to happen to Tommy at some point, very sad.  

Star Wars #38 – Kieron Gillen has come onto this book as the new writer, and it really feels like there’s been a big shift in tone and focus.  Our usual heroes have headed to Jedha, the place where much of the Rogue One movie happened, to try to work with Saw Gerera’s men.  At the same time, the Empire has returned to the moon, looking to extract whatever kyber crystals they can find in this Death Star-ravaged place.  With them, they’ve brought a character from Gillen’s Darth Vader title.  I like how this is working to weave the most recent film into the inter-episode timeline, and to explore some of the concepts that just flashed by in that movie.  I am more looking forward to seeing Gillen write the main characters though, which barely happens in this issue.

There’s Nothing There #5 – The conclusion to this celebrity culture ghost story feels a little rushed at the end, but stays true to its characters and is pretty entertaining.  I think this series deserves some discussion, and will probably read great in trade paperback.  I don’t know if Patrick Kindlon and Maria Llovet plan on returning to this world or not, but I’d love to read more about Judy, the housemaid who has kept a disaster bag packed since Y2K.  She’s incredible.

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

Avengers #672

Best Wishes TP

Coyotes #1

Eugenic #2

Generation X #8

Harrow County #27

Jessica Jones #14

Moon Knight #188

Ms. Marvel #24

Royals #10

Uncanny Avengers #29

X-Men Gold #15

Bargain Comics:

The Mighty Thor #16-22 – I question why I’m not reading this book regularly, as Jason Aaron has really stepped up his game here.  The book is sprawling quite a bit, bringing in Odinson and the new War Thor, while still usually giving the titular Thor some space to still be the main character.  There’s a lot of cool things happening in the book, and the art by Russel Dauterman and by Valerio Schiti is pretty awesome.  The title is a quick read though, and in some ways is taking too long to get to wherever it is it’s going.

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