The Weekly Round-Up #154 with Punk Rock Jesus, The Walking Dead, Death of the Family Batman & More

The comic store where I shop was shorted on their issues of Saga this week, which is both utterly disappointing, and gives me something to look forward to next week.

Best Comic of the Week:

Punk Rock Jesus #5

by Sean Murphy

With this issue, young Chris, the fifteen-year-old clone of Jesus Christ, really lives up to the series’s name.  Chris has become the lead singer for the Flak Jackets, America’s last punk band, and also the de facto leader of the Punk Army, a group of young atheists determined to put a stop to the deathgrip that fundamentalist Christianity has on the near-future America this story is set in.

Sean Murphy has done a terrific job of telling this story, as we have followed young Chris from conception to this point, where he is now poised to go to war with the world’s three major religions, the culmination of his age at how he was raised, and the state that the world has found itself in.  Touring the country, with his long-time security guard Thomas back at his side, Chris is open to continued attacks by the NAC (the New American Christians), the fundamentalist group that has protested, and perversely, through the magic of the ratings system, sustained Chris through his time on J2, the world’s most successful reality show.

I love the scenes where Chris espouses his beliefs (mostly because they echo mine), but I also appreciate the subtlety with which Murphy has developed Chris and the other characters around him over the course of this book.  There is a scene where Chris visits with his childhood friend Rebekah, and her mother, who is the scientist that helped ‘create’ him.  It is clear that these people love each other, but each is constrained by the boundaries of their beliefs, contractual obligations, and conflicting desires to save the world.

This is a powerful comic.  My fear is that people who haven’t read it can easily pass it off as a shock-value piece; there is a lot more to it than that.  In a lot of ways, I’m reading this as the last gasp of the dying Vertigo imprint – it’s the type of edgy and potentially controversial stuff they published when they got their start.  It’s also very attractive.

Other Notable Comics:

Conan the Barbarian #10

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Declan Shalvey

Having not been a Conan reader before Brian Wood came along to take his turn with the character, I have no way of knowing if his actions in this book, which spends most of its time depicting the barbarian in the company of Belit, the pirate queen of the south seas, are in character or not.  I do know that I’ve questioned if such a land-based creation as a barbarian would be happy with the sea-faring life, but I’ve simply taken it as a given.

This month, Wood and artist Declan Shalvey take the time to portray the everyday life that Conan has been experiencing with Belit and her people, and they are careful to show both the monotony and the appeal of the pirate’s life.  Much of this first issue of ‘The Death’, the new arc, is given over to Conan’s daily life in this environment.  Belit herself worries that her bed and her chosen lifestyle will be enough to keep Conan interested, and so has the old soothsayer who accompanies her enter a trance to search for answers; disturbingly, the man spends many hours chanting the words, “The death.”

Not long after that, the crew come across a derelict ship with a single, weakened passenger.  Anyone with a passing knowledge of plagues (or has just read Wood’s Northlanders) can see where this is going, but it’s still a very effective issue.

Shalvey is an artist I’ve come to associate mostly with Marvel’s Thunderbolts, where he drew a number of colourful characters in colourful situations.  I like how he slows down the pace here and draws a story that is more contemplative and uneventful; he is a very talented artist.

If you’ve been on the fence about Wood’s Conan, this is a good issue to start reading his run with.  It’s new-reader friendly, and filled with a sense of the characters and the place of Robert E. Howard’s epic stories.

The Massive #6

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Garry Brown

With each issue, I find that The Massive is becoming a more and more essential comic.  The first arc grabbed my attention, but each issue contained so much information about the state of the world after ‘The Collapse’ that it was hard to get a sense of the characters and the story.

With the ‘Black Pacific’ arc, writer Brian Wood has given each of the series’s main three characters their own issue, and has therefore humanized this series a great deal.

This month, the focus falls on Mag Nagendra, the one member of the Ninth Wave environmental direct action group that has the hardest time sticking to the non-violent ethos espoused by their leader, Callum Israel.  Mag grew up as a child soldier in the Tamil Eelam, and eventually ended up working with Callum at Blackbell, the military contractors modelled on Blackwater.

This issue has Mag and his companion Georg infiltrate a British-owned cargo vessel that the crew of the Kapital find crawling across the ocean towards America.  He is looking for food for the group, but is wise and worldly enough to know that the ship is not going to be empty.  He and Georg go packing weapons, even though that goes against Israel’s beliefs.  We also see a few scenes from Mag’s life, including the mission that finally convinced him to leave Blackbell and join Israel in his new life.

I really like the way that Wood is structuring this comic, with a mixture of flashbacks and current action.  He has really thought through the extent to which environmental collapse would affect the world’s economy and social structures.  The text pieces at the back of the book help fill in a number of gaps, and I find that I am now looking forward to each new issue more than I did Wood’s other books like DMZ and Northlanders (which was really quite a bit).

Mind MGMT #0

by Matt Kindt

I live in such ignorance of digital comics that I had no idea that Matt Kindt had posted the three stories, collected in this zero issue, on-line before (or around the time) Mind MGMT started.  Thankfully, Dark Horse recognizes how many of us dinosaurs there are out there happily buying paper comics, and so they still collect this digital material into real comic books.  (This is probably a good place to point out that, with the cheaper newsprint used in this comic, this issue smells really, really good – like a comic book is supposed to.  I feel old right now).

Anyway, the three stories here cover different moments in the history of the Mind Management organization.  The first one has Meru, the investigative true crime writer and hero of the series, interviewing a woman who knows about the company, having been involved with a Russian sleeper agent who works for that country’s counterpart to Mind Management.

The second story concerns Meru’s first book, wherein she tracked down and exposed one of the world’s most successful serial killers.  He too has a connection to the shadowy organization that drives this comic (and the world?).

The final story has Meru interviewing another man, who claims to be over 140 years old, and who was, for many years, an agent of…  (I’m sure you can guess it).

Taken as a whole, these stories do provide a little more insight into what this group really does, and it also gives Kindt the opportunity to entice a new reader to come on-board what has become one of my favourite new series of 2012.  Mind MGMT is a great read for anyone who loves spy comics, or just likes solving complex puzzles.  Kindt is working on many levels with this comic, and also filling it with his lovely, unique art.

Great Pacific #1

Written by Joe Harris
Art by Martín Morazzo

Image Comics does it again, with a strong debut for new series Great Pacific.  This comic stars Chas Worthington, the scion of a gigantic American energy company.  In the period after his father’s death, young Chas has little interest in running the company as either his father or his grandfather before him did.  Instead, Chas wants to make his mark on the world, and has devoted his attention to fixing the issue of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Chas is shown as the typical American trustifarian.  He’s jetting and helicoptering around the world, helping some Maasai irrigate their village, juggling multiple girlfriends, and trying to convince his company of the soundness of his process to break down hydrocarbons into water, in an attempt to help clean up oil spills.  Chas is clearly a bit of a flake, but with his heart in the right place.

We learn quickly that the board of directors at Worthington Enterprises have no love for him, to the extent that when he gets attacked in his home and subsequently disappears, it’s not easy to believe that the company was involved.  What we, the reader, learns though is that Chas has some very big plans for the floating mass of garbage the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific.

I am pleased to see that this issue is being given increased prominence in various forms of entertainment (watch Ramin Bahrani’s excellent short film The Plastic Bag).  It’s an important one, but it seems most of the public is still unaware of it.  I do wonder at the solidity of the garbage patch as it’s shown here – I don’t believe it’s something that someone could actually walk around on, and is more like a plastic soup.  I also wonder at the dichotomy of Chas flying everywhere, releasing a large volume of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but then driving a car that runs on biodiesel.

Joe Harris, who has previously caught my attention with the excellentSpontaneous and Ghost Projekt, does a great job of establishing this story and catching my interest.  I’m not familiar with Martín Morazzo, the artist, but I do like his work.  His characters remind me a touch of Frank Quitely.  I’m not sure how many issues this series is set to run for, but I know I’ll be sticking around.

Saucer Country #10

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Ryan Kelly
The last issue of Saucer Country ended with a masked gunman approaching Presidential candidate Governor Arcadia Alvarado outside a campaign appearance.  This issue, we learn that the gunman has missed, but his actions have had an effect on the entire Alvarado campaign, as these things are wont to do.

This issue focuses a lot more on the actual politics of the series, as Arcadia meets with her chief rival, and plots her way forward with her campaign team.  The UFO-hunting side of this comic is relegated to Professor Kidd, who has received a tip about the identities of ‘Mork and Mindy’, the Men in Black-like figures who visited an alleged abductee.I love this aspect of the comic.  Cornell has been examining any number of legends about UFOs in America, and has been stringing them together in some pretty creative ways.  His reasoning behind the Men in Black visits is both plausible and humorous, and fits nicely with what has been happening in this comic.

This series works very well, as a blend of politics, conspiracy, and strong characterization.  The identity of Arcadia’s attacker is pretty surprising, even though Cornell started telegraphing it last issue.  I look forward to seeing the consequences of his next attack next month.

Thief of Thieves #10

Written by Robert Kirkman and James Asmus
Art by Shawn Martinbrough

It’s a little strange how what started as an excellent crime series has slowly morphed itself into more of a family drama, but it’s done it very well.

Redmond is getting drawn into his son’s problems again, as young Augustus’s screw ups have led to a situation where he has to either provide his father for a drug cartel’s uses, or recognize that his girlfriend, who is being held hostage, is going to be killed.  Augustus being Augustus first tries to set up some scores of his own, using some of his father’s people, but he gets a rather forceful reminder from the cartel that this isn’t good enough.

Redmond, meanwhile, seems determined to burn his bridges with Oscar, his financier and protector for all these years.  One thing that Robert Kirkman and his co-writers have not made clear yet is just why Redmond is so determined to retire from his criminal life.  He hasn’t been shown as having other interests or desires in play, and that makes me wonder if he isn’t actually playing some form of long-con.

This book continues to be an enjoyable read.

The Walking Dead #104

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

Over the last one hundred issues, long-time readers of The Walking Dead have come to recognize Rick Grimes as one of the most bad-ass leads in comics.  He’s lost most of his family, his world, a hand, and many of the people who have chosen to follow him, including many very close friends, yet he continues to work to protect his community.

I think though, that Rick is not half as bad-ass (or impulsive) as his son Carl.  Carl has been through just as much as Rick (although instead of losing a hand, he’s been shot in the head), and has had to grow up quickly in Robert Kirkman’s harsh new world.  Still, knowing all of this, I was pretty surprised to see just what Carl gets himself up to this issue.

Rick and the rest of the Community where they live have had no choice but to bow down to the demands of Negan, the leader of the Saviours, a group that have now taken over ‘protection’ of the Community, and have made off with much of their goods and supplies.  What they don’t know is that Carl has hitched a ride in one of the trucks, intent to take Negan down.

While they are travelling, Jesus, the scout who lives at the Hilltop, has been tracking Dwight, the man that Rick let go free after the Savior’s original attack on the Community.  He gets caught, and is also taken towards the Savior’s home base.

We learn a little more about Negan and his people this issue, and we get to see where they live, and the rather creative security system they’ve developed for themselves.  Charlie Adlard specializes in the types of drawings like the one that shows the approach to Negan’s compound; it is a very creepy scene.

The easiest way to get me caught up in this comic is to have bad things happen to Carl (who is one of the few original characters left these days), and so it is with great anticipation that I await the next issue.

Where is Jake Ellis?

Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Tonci Zonjic

Who Is Jake Ellis? was a very cool mini-series about Jon Moore, a former CIA agent who was tortured in a facility, and managed to escape after he discovered that another man, Jake Ellis, had taken up residence in his head, and could provide him with an unparalleled level of situational awareness.  The series was about Jon’s quest to figure out what was done to him, and in the process, he discovered who Jake was.

This sequel opens with the two men successfully separated.  Jon is living in hiding in Thailand, although it’s not long into this issue when men with guns come looking for him again, and he finds himself on the run.

Jake, meanwhile, has been kept in a hospital, with no knowledge of what has been happening with his family.  After he’s finally given the chance to call his wife, people come after him too, and he flees the hospital.

It’s clear that the two men are still connected in some way, although a new wrinkle is added at the very end of the issue.  Nathan Edmondson works best on stories like this, where characters are on the run and have to rely on their own wits.  Tonci Zonjic is an amazing artist, and his work here looks terrific.

The first series was a very exciting read, and this one looks to be just as good.

Quick Takes:

Archer & Armstrong #4 – I had expected the race with the Sect to gather all of the pieces of ‘The Boon’, the device that gave Armstrong his immortality, would have taken a lot longer to finish, but instead, Fred Van Lente wraps it all up here, with the end of his first arc.  Archer has to take on his family and some Nazi Lamas at a temple, and the Geomancers are reintroduced to the new Valiant universe.  This is a very good comic, although aside from what happened to the Geomancer, lacking in the humour that made the first two issues so wonderful.

Batman #14 – The Joker continues to act out his strange and twisted plan, abducting Alfred, and attacking Commissioner Gordon so he can position Batman for a big confrontation.  There is a solid sense of momentum and excitement in Scott Snyder’s story, and there were only a few pages (like the one with all the drowned people) where I had a hard time figuring out just what Greg Capullo was trying to show us.  I don’t know if I love the Death of the Family story as much as everyone else on this site seems to, but I am enjoying it.  I just can’t stop myself from reading it as a cross-over driven, as opposed to story-driven event.

Batman and Robin #14 – I’m surprised that this issue wasn’t marketed as a ‘Death of the Family’ tie-in, as the Joker’s influence is felt throughout.  This series is kind of turning in to a mess again – there are zombie-like people running around kidnapping folk, Batman spends a lot of time yelling at the blood analysis machine on his dashboard, and Damian de-ages by about seven years in one page, as pinch-hit artist Tomas Giorello turns the book back to Patrick Gleason part-way through.  The art inconsistencies really hurt this title – Gleason is a pretty individual artist, and finding someone with a completely opposite style makes much of this book look terrible.  Once again, the only good scenes in this comic are the ones where Bruce and Damian are interacting with each other.

The Creep #3 – John Arcudi’s unconventional private investigator series continues to impress me.  This issue has Oxel more or less abandoning his investigation into the suicides of two young men and instead going on the hunt for the missing grandfather of one of the boys.  Oxel feels responsible, because he thinks that it is his questions that spun out the mentally ill old man.  Much of this issue is given over to dream imagery or Oxel’s imaginings of the boys’ past, and while that looks great visually (Jonathan Case changes his style for these sequences), it also makes it feel a little like this issue is being padded out so the series can run for a fourth.

Demon Knights #14 – I’d been feeling that the pace of this series was getting a little rushed, after having been more languorous for a while now, but seeing as how writer Paul Cornell will be leaving the book within a couple of issues, I can understand why he may be hurrying to finish off his story.  The Knights make their way towards each other, and out of Hell a little easily, only to learn that all sorts of plot-lines are colliding in their new destination.  Next issues promises a gigantic fight, which should be interesting to see.  Among all the chaos, Cornell has the Shining Knight explain his or her unique place in the world, which was a little unexpected.  Good stuff.

Elephantmen #44 – There are so many plot-lines running through this book right now that each new issue can barely manage to check in on many of them.  Hip Flask and his friends attend the funeral of two fellow agents, and this leads to some discussion concerning the strange dreams that the law enforcement Elephantmen have been experiencing (all of which have been drawn by Dave Sim).  We also see a little of Miki’s budding relationship with Apostrophe, learn who the Silencer’s next hit will be, and see what the religious right thinks of Obadiah Horn and Sahara’s pregnancy.  This is always a good comic, but it’s starting to feel the weight of all of the stories it’s trying to tell – it needs to sort some of this stuff out.

Fantastic Four #1 – There are only two times when I’ve been a fan of the Fantastic Four.  This book was never better than it was while Jonathan Hickman has been writing it over the last few years.  Before that, the book was at its best under John Byrne’s long tenure as writer/artist (I will admit that Chris Claremont’s run became a bit of guilty pleasure, and I never read Mark Waid’s run).  Beyond that, I’ve always found this book a little boring or uninspiring.  When the news that Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley were taking over hit, my reaction was lukewarm at best.  While I know he’s hugely popular, I’ve never been a fan of Bagley’s work (and especially his character design).  Fraction is an immensely talented writer, and while I love Casanova and Iron Fist, and have really enjoyed his Iron Man, I found I couldn’t read his Thor, and found his Defenders rather bland.  Things didn’t look good for this book, but I figured I should give it a try anyway.  The result is better than I expected, as he sets up the family to travel into space for a year.  There is a hidden reason behind Reed’s new plan (because portraying Reed as secretive and manipulative is a new idea?), but there is also lots of promise for interesting stories.  The news that they are taking the whole Future Foundation with them keeps me more interested, as I’ve come to really like some of those characters (I’m still looking forward to the DC/Marvel Bentley/Damian Wayne cross-over that will probably never happen), but I hated the portrayal of Franklin as a whiny baby in this issue, and don’t understand how the premise of the FF book (which will feature the replacements for the Four while they are away, and will have Mike Allred art!) is going to work when the family intends to return right after they’ve left, thanks to their space/time ship.  Anyway, this was good enough that I’ll give the second issue a shot, but I’m not signing on yet.

Invincible #97 – I’m kind of at a loss for words here.  The first part of this issue is taken up with Zandale, the hero formerly known as Bulletproof, who has been posing as Invincible since Mark was injured, reveals the secret about his brother’s death to his parents.  It’s a nice, emotional scene, and then Kirkman has it take a turn to the bloody, which I felt was gratuitous and out of character.  Then, he has Phillip Schaff, the fictional creator of Science Dog, talk about how hard it is to keep an independent book fresh for 100 issues, especially when corporate masters don’t stay your hand.  It’s a funny meta moment, which continues as Mark complains about how Science Dog #100 had too many covers (a play on what happened with The Walking Dead).  It’s a great scene, which shows how aware Kirkman is of his place in the independent comics firmament.  I do still think the scene with Zandale’s parents was over the top though.  The rest of this issue was great, as we check in with the rest of Mark’s family, and Kirkman sets up the upcoming arc, which promises even more deaths and mayhem.

Point of Impact #2 – I am enjoying Jay Faerber’s new noir series, which has a reporter investigating his wife’s murder, while her lover, who we know didn’t kill her, evades the police.  A new element is introduced to the series, as we start to get a sense of who it was that ordered her death in the first place.  This is an interesting book.

Ultimate Comics Ultimates #18 – I continue to be unimpressed with where Sam Humphries is taking this book, but since this issue wraps up the United We Stand pseudo-cross-over, I will give him a couple more issues to change my mind.  The problem is that Humphries is trying to write the wide-screened adventure epics this title was originally known for under Mark Millar, but instead seems to be giving us stories that rush through plot points without having the necessary level of character work to make us care.  Luke Ross is also a problem, which continues to surprise me, as I used to love his art.

Wolverine and the X-Men #20 – I’m not feeling this issue.  Jason Aaron has positioned the new, flaky version of Angel as the New Mutant outreach coordinator for the Jean Grey School, and he flies off to Brazil to try to recruit a girl who can turn into a wereshark.  Mystique and the new Silver Samurai are also on hand, and there is fighting.  Here’s the thing – with so many new mutants showing up, it doesn’t make sense that the School doesn’t have a plan to track them down and welcome them.  Also, within just a few weeks of ‘No more no more mutants’ (or is that just ‘more mutants’?), we’ve already been given a few of the stupid mutants that caused Joe Quesada to launch his moratorium in the first place.  Unless you feel that the world needs Eye Boy, Wereshark, and Mudbug as anything more than cannon fodder. I do like the Steve Sanders artwork, which makes me wish that his and Kieron Gillen’s excellent SWORD series had lasted longer.

X-Men Legacy #1 – I was rather surprised to learn that as part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch, this title was going to be given to David Haller (Legion), Professor X’s insane mutant son.  Legion has always been a difficult character to write well – his hundreds of multiple personalities aside, he’s kind of a one-trick character.  This issue opens bizarrely, with David studying at a monastery for people with psychic abilities.  He’s learned to keep his other personalities caged, and to only extract their abilities when needed, but, as things often do, his situation changes with the news of his father’s death.  Writer Simon Spurrier spends more time developing the Guru’s character than he does David’s (or is that Davids’?), which may be a mistake, as he doesn’t appear to be someone who will be sticking around with the title.  I’m not too sure where this book is headed, and I’m not sure how interested I am.  I do think this issue was good enough to warrant picking up the second one though, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

The Zaucer of Zilk #2 – Like any Brendan McCarthy comic, this science-fiction fantasy epic is a psychedelic swirl of sugary sweet comics goodness that doesn’t really stick with you for long after you’ve finished reading it.  It’s damn pretty though.

Comics I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4:

All-New X-Men #1

Amazing Spider-Man #697

Avengers Assemble #9

Bloodshot #5

New Avengers #33

Thor God of Thunder #1

Bargain Comics:

Astonishing X-Men #50-54 – I thought it was time to get caught up with Marjorie Liu’s run on one of the tertiary X-titles.  This run will forever be remembered for hosting Northstar’s big gay wedding, and I have to admit, that whole thing feels like it’s been forced on to Liu’s story, which is about yet another villain taking over Karma’s mind, and implanting people with exploding nano-bombs, for reasons I’m not all that clear on.  Everything feels a little slapped together, but the character moments are nice, aside from the constant statements about how important Kyle is to Northstar (like everyone’s busy trying to convince themselves).  Mike Perkins’s art is always nice, even if it feels a little condensed, like reading a French comic that’s been resized for North American paper dimensions, and I like the Gabriel Hernandez Walta flashbacks.  Liu gets Karma, a character that has been difficult to write effectively, and has some fun with Warbird.  The biggest appeal to this book is the quirky cast (I love Cecilia Reyes!), but the plot is weak as hell (ie., if Iceman turns his entire body to ice, wouldn’t that destroy the nanobombs?).

Avenging Spider-Man #10 & 11 – Remember when this was going to be a monthly book by Zeb Wells and Joe Madueira?  Does anyone believe Marvel’s press releases anymore?  Anyway, these are two decent issues.  The tenth issue is the conclusion to the two-part Captain Marvel story by Kelly Sue DeConnick and the Dodsons, while issue eleven is a nice little done in one featuring Peter and Aunt May chatting at Uncle Ben’s grave.  It is by Wells, which was a surprise, and Steve Dillon, who I always find an odd choice for books with any super-heroing.  This is a decent, if wildly inconsistent series, but it is definitely not worth $4, so I’ll keep buying it out of the bargain bins…

Punisher #14 & 15 – The almost last-two issues of this series have the Punisher and his new assistant finally taking on the Exchange, the criminal organization they’ve spent this whole run trying to stop.  Greg Rucka has done some really good work with this series, and I kind of regret having never added it to my pull-file…

Untold Tales of the Punisher MAX #3 & 5 – These ‘untold tales’ are very decent one-offs that encompass some of the things I like best about reading good crime comics, but at the same time, they are a little predictable and everyday.  The Punisher helps a young woman get revenge on the man who killed her sister, and also deals with a kid who wants revenge on him for killing his father.  Not bad, but not too memorable.

Worlds’ Finest #5 – This felt like a fill-in issue, complete with guest artists (Jerry Ordway and Wes Craig, both people I’m always happy to see work from) and solo stories featuring the two heroes of this series.  It’s good, but not particularly special, and I feel like this series is moving a little slowly.  If the entire point of this book is to get the two women home, how long should that take?

The Week in Manga:

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 8

Written by Eiji Otsuka
Art by Housui Yamazaki

Eight volumes in, it’s hard to describe how much I love The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service in a new way, but my affection for this book remains undiminished.

In this issue, the crew, who usually busy themselves delivering deceased bodies to where they want to go, address a couple of social issues in modern-day Japan.  The first story is a pretty simple one about the group trying to recruit new members so they can maintain their status as a school club.

After that, though, they become embroiled in a story about ‘afterlife weddings’ – marriages conducted between two people who are deceased, as a way of placating their souls.  Things turn a little weird though, when a company that offers this service start marrying the dead to the living, with the end result being that both bride and groom end up dead.

The next story has to do with the practice of ‘baby drop boxes’ at Japanese hospitals – a way for women to safely deposit unwanted newborns without facing criminal charges or public shame.  Of course, this being Kurosagi CDS, the babies keep turning up dead, and there is a supernatural explanation.

This series always blends humour and horror perfectly, and I find that I like the characters more with each new volume I read.  There’s not a lot of individual development in this volume, aside from the introduction of a possible love interest for Karatsu, but this is still a very enjoyable read.

Album of the Week:

The Weeknd – Trilogy – The Weeknd made a name for himself by mysteriously dropping three free albums without giving any interviews or promoting them.  His unique form of moody, minimalist R&B attracted quite a following, and now he’s released those same three albums, with three new tracks, in this beautifully packaged triple-disc boxed set.  The Weeknd sings about the aftereffects of nights of wild abandon, and does so in a way that is utterly convincing.  He’s a local boy who’s made a huge name for himself, and while three straight discs can be a little monotonous, this is one for the ages.

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