The Weekly Round-Up #408 With Lazarus+66 #3, Paklis #5, Saga #47, War Mother #2 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Lazarus +66 #3 – Greg Rucka and co-writer Neal Bailey take a good look at what life is like for the serf class in San Francisco, as Joe and Bobbie (Michael’s parents) continue to adjust to the new circumstances they find themselves in.  This is a strong issue, with nice art by Justin Greenwood, who has really come a long way artistically over the last few years.  I used to strongly dislike his work, and now I enjoy it.  It’s interesting and important to examine social class difference in a world ruled by the immensely rich, especially in a comic that comes out the same week that America’s government works to implement tax changes that will enrich the top one percent of earners even further.

Quick Takes:

The Black Monday Murders #7 – A lot is revealed in the latest issue of Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker’s perpetually late series about the mystical underpinnings of the global financial market.  The professor and detective travel underneath the Federal Reserve for an audience with Mammon, the god that runs the world’s markets, and we learn a great deal about how Hickman’s world works.  It’s a very solid issue; I just wish this book came out more often.

Black Panther #18 – Things deepen as the Midnight Angels work to free Queen Divine Justice (or Asira, as she is called now), and T’Challa and Shuri figure out who might actually be behind all of Wakanda’s recent troubles.  This is another good issue of this series.

Detective Comics #965 – It’s great to see Tim Drake again, even if most of this issue is given over to Tim talking about his past and how he first became Robin.  I haven’t been following the Mr. Oz stuff in Action Comics, so don’t really know what’s going on with this character, or understand why he would also have captive the characters we see at the end of the issue, but I’m happy to just hang with Tim for a little bit and enjoy his story.

Generations: Miles Morales Spider-Man & Peter Parker Spider-Man #1 – Miles finds himself in Steve Ditko era, specifically the same day that Peter Parker had to lift a collapsed building off himself.  This one-shot could have easily been a little schmaltzy, but thanks to Ramón Pérez’s wonderful artwork, which evokes that time and conveys complex emotion, it ends up being a nice story.

Generations: Sam Wilson Captain America & Steve Rogers Captain America #1 – Nick Spencer does a great job of wrapping up his time with Sam Wilson in this one-shot.  We learn that Kobik sent Sam back to the 1940s, where he served in the Second World War, and created a life for himself as a minister and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, waiting for the time when his friend Steve Rogers, who he fought with in the war, would be found by the Avengers.  Spencer has done so much with this character, who often felt like an afterthought in the Marvel Universe.  I wish he were the writer on the upcoming Falcon ongoing series, as I’ve really liked the way he’s had Sam confront real problems in the world, and react to them like a real person would.  This was a nice way to finish things.

Justice League of America #15 – Ray Palmer gets the spotlight this issue, as we read his chronicles of his time in the Microverse, and learn more about his relationship with his two companions there (although it’s still not clear to us if either should be trusted by our heroes).  Steve Orlando has a big science fiction story he wants to tell here, and it’s a little weird that he’s doing it with superheroes.  I’m quickly losing interest in this title…

Marvel Legacy #1 – Marvel has released their first big universe-spanning one-shot in a long time, and while there was a lot to like about it, I didn’t find it all that interesting.  The Avengers of one million years ago is not a concept I care for, and the threat that gathered them, and could be returning now, is a bit of a yawn.  I feel like writer Jason Aaron was trying his best to launch a Jonathan Hickman-style epic, but without the subsequent infrastructure to make it work.  The incessant one or two-page nods to various titles that are launching/relaunching/renumbering under the Legacy umbrella were distracting and not all that exciting, and the fact that Starbrand and Ghost Rider (Ghost Driver?) Robbie Reyes were so central to the book is perplexing, given that neither of them have their own titles, or are even on teams (so far as I know).  I didn’t expect to be all that interested in this book, so I guess my expectations were met.  The one thing in here that interested me the most were the fact that SHIELD is being shut down – I’d like to know where that is being explained and explored.  I am not on a Marvel-hating bandwagon like so many people who use the internet appear to be, but I would like to see it have stronger coherence without having to rely on a DC Rebirth-style one-shot to lay the groundwork of a larger story that is now going to more or less disappear for a year or two.

Paklis #5 – Dustin Weaver continues to show why he’s one of the top writer/artists working right now.  This gigantic issue starts a new serial, 1949, about a serial killer in New York and the female detective chasing him, and continues the wonderful Amnia Cycle, which is starting to get confusing as it continues to sprawl.  Unfortunately, Paklis is going on hiatus for a while, but this is not a surprise, when you look at the quality of Weaver’s art, and the size of this book which has been coming out on a monthly basis.

Rebels: These Free and Independent States #7 – Brian Wood tells us a story about a pair of enterprising orphans who discover a British ship full of gold that sank, and who want to offer that money to George Washington’s army.  It’s a good tale, if a little unbelievable.  I wish there were more historical comics like Rebels being published.

Saga #47 – We haven’t seen much of The Will lately, but he’s back now, and captive to someone looking for revenge for something he did a while ago.  This person is able to access and watch his memories, and through that, learns of Marko, Alana, and Hazel’s existence.  This is an entertaining issue, although I’d have prefered to learn what’s happening to everyone’s favourite mixed couple.

Saucer State #4 – President Alvarado and her people continue to try to figure out how to respond to the news that aliens are coming to Earth, while also managing the political reality of a deeply divided country.  There’s a little too much of Michael and his drug-fueled attempts to help, but otherwise, this is another sharp and astute issue.  Paul Cornell must be so happy that world events since he started this series as Saucer Country have made his story almost believable.

Southern Bastards #18 – I didn’t notice until the end of the issue that Jason Aaron didn’t write this one; instead, it was the series’s co-creator and usual artist, Jason Latour, with art by Chris Brunner.  I did notice that Brunner adds some excellent details to this story – Trump lawn signs, and the eyebrow hairs that stick to duct tape when it is pulled off someone’s face.  Roberta Tubb has kidnapped poor Materhead, and she is determined to make him admit that Coach Boss killed her father.  Throughout his torture/interrogation, we get to see some scenes from Roberta’s past, and get some new insights into her relationship with her father.  As always, this is an excellent issue.

War Mother #2 – Fred Van Lente’s story about a woman trying to lead her people to safety in a ruined future is interesting, not so much in its set-up, but in the way that Van Lente is exploring Ana’s character and her loyalties.  This is an interesting title, but I still wonder why Valiant has decided to put it out.

X-O Manowar #7 – Clayton Crain shows up to contribute art to this series, which is a little unfortunate.  The previous artists were much clearer storytellers than Crain is, and I found that the story got a little harder to follow (largely because a lot of the antagonists looked like they were wearing the same armor as Aric in some panels).  The fight with the monomen seemed to go a little too quickly, like Matt Kindt is in a hurry now to get Aric to a certain place, and wants to jump past the intermediary stuff.

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

Annual Vol. 1 TP

Hadrian’s Wall TP

Infamous Iron Man #12

Mighty Thor #23

Nick Fury #6

Rom #13

Thanos #11

X-Men Blue #12

Bargain Comics:

Thanos #4-8 – I wouldn’t normally think of Jeff Lemire as the right person for a strong cosmic odyssey comic, but his Thanos is surprisingly good.  I like the way Lemire gave the first arc to Starfox and other forces working against Thanos, but then after a betrayal, that same group needs to start working with him.  This is a solid series that was hurt a little by Mike Deodato’s departure (although German Peralta is more than capable).  Really, I’m just happy to see Starfox being used in a comic where he’s not simply comic relief.  I really liked Starfox back when he was an Avenger.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Nailbiter Vol. 4: Blood Lust – Joshua Williamson’s Nailbiter has really grown on me.  This volume takes the story outside of the town of Buckaroo, as we learn about a group of people who have left the town, and the stigma of being from the “serial killer town”, and moved to Atlanta, who are now being targeted and killed by a new serial killer.  It’s cool stuff, and artist Mike Henderson has a way of making people look just slightly off enough that you can believe they are killers.