The Weekly Round-Up #312 With Outcast #13, Jupiter’s Circle #1, Ivar, Timewalker #11, Black Magick #2, Star Wars: Darth Vader #12, The Omega Men #6 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta #13Robert Kirkman is known for writing some pretty brutal comics in his day.  Many issues of Invincible have been bloodbaths, and The Walking Dead excels at shocking readers with a particularly brutal death from time to time.  That said, this is a very disturbingly brutal comic.  Kyle’s ‘sister’ has been possessed, and as he and his friend fight to get the spirit out of her, they do some pretty serious damage to everyone in the cast.  The scenes with Kyle are chilling, but not as chilling as the last page.  This is a very good series; people should get on to this before the TV series begins.

Quick Takes:

Black Magick #2 – We get to know Rowan a lot better this issue, as she has to deal with the bureaucracy that comes from being a cop involved in a person’s death.  We also see just how deeply she hides her connection to the occult, creating more of a mystery for readers to enjoy.  This is a very good series.  Greg Rucka is writing this character very well, and Nicola Scott’s art is gorgeous.  I especially like the decision to keep the comic in grey tones.

Blood Feud #2 – It’s weird just how much the American South is coming to life in comics these days.  This series has a couple of good old boys dealing with a family of Draculas (that’s not a mistake), and this calls in to question just how strange their small town really is.  Good work by Cullen Bunn and Drew Moss here.

Chew #52We finally learn the secret of the alien skywriting as Tony and Colby go to Yamapalu to track down a lost operative, after the Pope converts to the Immaculate Ova church.  This title is always so much fun to read, although I can’t shake the knowledge that we’re down to eight issues after this one, and that makes me very sad.  John Layman and Rob Guillory have done consistently incredible work on this comic.

Darth Vader #13 – The Vader Down event is working very well.  This issue, written by Kieron Gillen, has the Rebels massing their forces to try to take down a vulnerable Darth Vader, while Han wants to go looking for Luke, and Aphra wants to get in and either rescue her boss, or capture Luke for him, so it doesn’t look like she betrayed him.  Gillen does good work here, as does Salvador Larroca, and the story moves along nicely.

The Fade Out #11 – This penultimate chapter of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s masterpiece is a big, big issue, as Charlie and Gil put a desperate plan into action, only to find that they’ve been over their heads from the beginning.  I love the way Brubaker and Phillips have structured this excellent series about dirty doings around a Hollywood film lot in the early fifties.  This book is very character driven, and completely full of surprises this month.  I’m going to be very sad to see this title end, but I’m also looking forward to whatever this team decides to do next, as I always love their work together (with the amazing colourist Bettie Breitweiser).

The Fuse #16 – I love the Perihelion arc of this series.  This title is a police procedural set on a space station, and where the first arcs all dealt with a single case, this one is showing us a crazy “day in the life of” story, as our two heroes deal with a new possible murder, enforced rest, and a hospital hostage situation during the station’s largest holiday, which is most similar to Mardi Gras in the craziness it engenders.  This is a very busy, very entertaining comic, and it is one of my favourites in Antony Johnston’s oeuvre.

Grayson #14What I liked best about the earlier issues of Grayson was the way in which each stand-alone issue built up a larger story about Spyral and its duplicity and evil.  Now, writers Tim Seeley and Tom King are more focused on bringing all of the story elements they seeded together into a larger story, and it’s causing me to lose interest a little.  I am still impressed with this book, but it’s just not as engaging as it was before.  Also, the next issue or two tie in with this whole Robin War thing, which I wasn’t going to bother with.  I’m a little annoyed with myself for not dropping this title before that whole thing happens, so I guess I’m stuck with the Grayson chapters.  I do like that Stephen Mooney drew this issue; he’s great.

Hail Hydra #4 – It looks like Rick Remender’s tenure at Marvel is ending rather ignobly, and ambiguously, as we are left wondering whether we are ever going to see Ian, Captain America’s son, again.  I liked the way Remender had him keep his knowledge of the 616, yet the fact that he hasn’t been mentioned in the new Captain America series makes me wonder if this is the end of him.  Anyway, this miniseries, like most of the Secret Wars tie-ins, was really just okay.

Hellboy and the BPRD 1953 – The Witch Tree & Rawhead and Bloody Bones – This was a nice collection of two short stories featuring the young Hellboy as he and Professor Bruttenholm travel England, dealing with an ancient witch, and a haunted pub.  These are the kind of Hellboy stories I like best; they are to the point, and wonderfully illustrated by Ben Stenbeck.  Good stuff.

Invisible Republic #7I’ve been a big fan of this science fiction political thriller series since it started, and continue to enjoy it a great deal.  We’re right in the middle of a pretty complex arc, so it’s hard to discuss this issue without explaining a lot of other stuff.  I will say that it’s interesting to see how the revolution, and Arthur’s place in it is developing in the flashback sections, just as I’m finding the events in the present, as a former noble on the planet of Maidstone returns to take back her former position violently.  Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman have put a lot of work into developing this series, and it’s paying off nicely.

Ivar, Timewalker #11 – We are getting closer to the end of this series, and as such, Fred Van Lente is having many story elements circle back on themselves, in that way that always works well with time travel stories.  This has been a delightful series, and while it’s really just moving forward on its own momentum now, it remains very good.

Jupiter’s Circle #1 – Mark Millar and Wilfredo Torres return to the 1950s, as they give us a new story featuring the characters from Jupiter’s Legacy in their heyday.  We contrast two women this month – Lady Liberty, who is very lonely, with Sheldon’s wife, who is completely fulfilled, despite not having powers of her own.  I’ve really liked this title (this is the second volume, needlessly relaunched because everyone else is doing the same thing), and Millar’s way of portraying what is usually seen as a simple time, through a more complicated and mature lens.

Kaptara #5Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod pack a lot into this issue, which finishes off the first story arc.  Our heroes have to rescue one of their friends from insect justice, and then make their way to Earth to stop Skullthor’s invasion, but nothing works out right for these characters, and hilarity ensues.  Anyone enjoying Zdarsky’s Howard the Duck should check this series out, as it’s a lot funnier, but doesn’t cross half the boundaries that his Sex Criminals does.  This is a very enjoyable series, and I hope the hiatus before the next arc isn’t too long.

The Omega Men #6 – Once again, Tom King gives us a confusing yet compelling issue, as the captured Omega Men are interrogated by the Citadel, while two of their comrades effect a desperate plan to free them.  We know that everything in this series hinges on Kyle Rayner, but he still doesn’t know what role he is supposed to play, and so when he sees the chance to escape, he doesn’t know the consequences that can have.  King is doing great work with this series, as is artist Barnaby Bagenda.  This continues to be my favourite DC series right now, although there are only six issues remaining before it’s done (I’m just glad that DC decided to give King his promised twelve issue run, instead of having to wrap this up with the next issue).

Project Superpowers: Blackcross #6 – This series really ended up being a disappointment.  I thought that Warren Ellis might do something cool with the Project Superpowers characters, a group of public domain Golden Age heroes, but much like his recent Supreme series, he just piddles around with the idea of alternate realities, without investing much in the actual heart of the comic.  This is a huge letdown when compared to his work at Image on Trees and Injection.  I think my new rule is that I’m only going to be getting creator-owned Ellis, with the exception of Karnak, which already seems to be slipping in its schedule.  

Providence #6I have not loved Alan Moore’s Providence, but with this issue, I feel like the series is getting to be a lot more interesting.  Where the previous issues have mostly focused on Robert travelling around and learning about American mystics, and often missing some very obviously strange things, this issue has him become an unwilling participant in some deep weirdness.  It’s nice to see that Moore is starting to get to his point, as it’s been a long buildup, but my interest in this title is growing rapidly.

Rumble #9 – Our heroes head out on a rescue mission in the follow-up to what I thought was a one-off Hallowe’en issue last month.  It’s nice to see John Arcudi and James Harren step out of the Mignolaverse and do their own thing, especially when it leads to a comic that is as unusual and entertaining as Rumble.

Saga #31 – Saga is back!  That’s always great news, isn’t it?  This new issue starts off the newest arc, and we check in with Hazel, who has been detained for a few years in a prison for enemy non-combatants, after she and her grandmother were captured by the Robot Kingdom.  Brian K. Vaughan shows us how Hazel has developed as a person during this time, and introduces a kind kindergarten teacher.  I love the way Fiona Staples has aged Hazel in this arc, making her feel more like a real person than ever before.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of this book’s regular cast in the next issues.  I’ve missed this book.

X-O Manowar #42Aric is stuck between the American army and some very angry Vine, and feels loyal to both.  This issue really showcases nicely how much Aric has grown as a character under Robert Venditti’s guidance, and is a very well-written comic.  I like what Valiant has done with this character.

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

American Vampire Second Cycle #11

Art Ops #2

Batman and Robin Eternal #8

Chewbacca #4

Crossed Badlands #90

Dark Knight III The Master Race #1

Guardians of the Galaxy #2

Robin Son of Batman #6

SHIELD #12

Sons of the Devil Vol. 1

Stringers #4

We Are Robin #6

Short column this week, because things have been busy!

 

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