The Weekly Round-Up #434 With Days Of Hate #3, Black Magick #11, Saga #50, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #18 & More

 Best Comic of the Week:

Days of Hate #3 – Ales Kot’s latest series is really holding my interest.  This issue continues to focus on two groups – a pair of terrorists who have been targeting fascists in a near-future America, and a government agent interrogating the female terrorist’s ex-wife.  Both women end up telling the same story to the other person they’re with in this issue, but the story has a different outcome in each telling, and it’s left to the reader to try to figure out who is lying, and for what reasons.  It’s a slow-moving comic, but every sentence and panel seems to carry importance. I’m always going to appreciate a book drawn by Danijel Zelzelj, but this one is working on every level for me, especially as it carries the warning that, with the 2020 mid-term elections looming, things might not be getting better anytime soon.

Quick Takes:

Black Magick #11 – This series is beautifully drawn and always interesting, but it’s moving a little too slowly for me lately.  Apparently this is the end of the second arc, but it doesn’t really feel like much of an ending. At least we finally have a good idea of what Rowan is facing, and who her allies are likely to be, but I’m still grasping at the actual larger plot.

Black Panther #171 – The fight with Klaw and his allies comes to its conclusion, but it turns out that there was an even bigger threat hiding in the background.  It looks like Ta-Nehisi Coates is preparing for the end of this run, before the book gets unnecessarily relaunched in a few months. I was happy to see that Kaspar Cole, last seen at the end of the short-lived World of Wakanda series, gets a shot at some action this issue; he’s a great character, although barely used here.  

Daredevil #600 – I kind of expected the Mayor Fisk storyline to end with this oversized issue (because comic book mayoralties are always of weird term lengths), but didn’t expect that Charles Soule would switch up the story quite the way he has.  DD’s plan to entrap Fisk doesn’t really work the way he hoped, and when some other old enemies come to town, things get pretty chaotic. Ron Garney drew the whole main story, but his work feels very rushed and a little sloppy in places. I found that the scenes with Muse and Blindfold held my attention more than the Fisk storyline, but overall I really enjoyed this issue (the back-up was kind of unnecessary).  

Detective Comics #977 – Tim Drake is getting manipulated, as James Tynion IV positions the various factions of this book’s cast to have a big fight with one another.  I’ve liked the way he’s plotted his run, which is unfortunately coming to an end soon, forcing him to wrap up all remaining plotlines. I’d rather see him continue, but that’s how it goes with Bat-books – nothing is forever.

Doctor Aphra #18 – Aphra is such a delightful character – she shows that when planning a heist, there is no one more devious or unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean she’s fully prepared for some of the craziness coming her way.  This was a really fun issue, and I like that it is featuring Hera from the Rebels TV show. The Marvel Star Wars line is getting a lot more interconnected these days.

Justice League of America #27 – The team is facing Chronos, but that once again leads to them having to deal with a cosmic-level threat and event.  This series was supposed to be about a more street-level Justice League, and it’s annoying how often it’s become the exact opposite of that. Now that we’ve finished stories about cosmic judges and faerie queens, it’s time for the god of superheroes.  I’m not upset that this title is ending soon (but I do wish Priest’s Justice League was going to run for another year or two).

Manifest Destiny #34 – Lewis and Clark have had to put up with a lot of craziness on their expedition so far, and now it’s time to put down a mutiny when some of their company turn on them.  It’s another solid issue in an excellent series.

Saga #50 – Saga reaches a milestone number and celebrates with an issue that doesn’t really stand out in its history (except, perhaps, for being the first comic I’ve read that celebrates female ejaculation in quite the way it does here).  Past that memorable opening, we just check in with most of the main characters and their story. It’s a good issue, as they all are.

The Terrifics #2 – Okay, I’m really not sure what Jeff Lemire and Ivan Reis are going for with this book.  We learn a lot more about Phantom Girl and how she came to be stuck in the “dark multiverse” (although not why a being from another planet speaks English), as the heroes escape the somehow animated corpse they are hanging out on, and are given a reason to become a team.  These “New Age of Heroes” are supposed to be written in the classic Marvel-style, but really, it seems like Reis might be drawing off the thinnest of plans, leaving Jeff Lemire to try to use text to explain why things are happening that are not very clear, such as Linnya’s causing damage to things around her.  I think I’m going to take this book off my pre-order list, as I’m not sure I want to stick with it much longer. I was hoping for something more impressive.

X-O Manowar #13 – Aric’s time on the alien planet comes to an end as he deals with the Hunters who have been sent after him, and faces some truths about his relationship with Schon.  It’s another decent issue of a decent run – I like Ryan Bodenheim’s art for Aric’s story. The armor seems to have some new dimensions added to it that I hope to see explored more.

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

Avengers #686

Champions #18

Invincible Iron Man #598

Jessica Jones #18

Moon Knight #193

Old Man Logan #37

Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #302

X-Men Blue #24

Bargain Comics:

Weapon X #13 – There are just too many Marvel comics that are decent, but not actually good or memorable.  This is one of them. Greg Pak has a killer team line-up, but isn’t really doing a whole lot of character work with them, so instead we just get them fighting a massive number of soldiers that look and act like Nuke.  It could be better than this.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

The Last Broadcast – This graphic novel, by André Sirangelo and Gabriel Iumazark looked like it would be exactly my type of thing – it’s about urban explorers, underground bunkers, items hidden by a magician in the 1930s, and conspiracy theories – and much of it is very cool, but at the same time, it never quite clicked for me.  The main character – a stage magician researching and writing a book about his hero, a magician called Blackhall – comes across a group of explorers that have just discovered Blackhall’s bunker, and they become the targets of a secret society that have been trying to complete his last, greatest work. It’s an interesting story, but too many of the sequences become confusing (I had a hard time keeping track of the secondary characters), and the art, while very atmospheric, is often not very clear, in terms of storytelling.  There was a lot of potential here, but not quite enough editing done.

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