The Weekly Round-Up #425 With Southern Bastards #19, Ninja-K #3, Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil #4, Maestros #4, Black Magick #10, Star Wars: Poe Dameron #23 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Southern Bastards #19 – Man, have I missed this title.  Jasons Aaron and Latour bring their Southern gothic title back, and give us an issue full of powerful moments.  Coach Boss decides to deal with McKlusky, his rival, in an interesting way, while the Sheriff gets something he’s wanted for a while, and in a way, so does Earl’s daughter (I’m blanking on her name, but to be fair, this book is almost a year late, and her name isn’t in this issue).  This series is wonderful, although its very sporadic schedule has been very frustrating.  I cannot wait to see what happens in the next issue, but I probably will have to wait a long time…

Quick Takes:

Black Magick #10 – A lot is going on in this issue, as the Aira meet with Rowan’s friend, and her partner’s new baby attracts some supernatural attention.  I’m not actually all that clear on what’s going on in this book all the time now, but I do continue to enjoy it.  Especially Nicola Scott’s fine artwork.

Black Panther #169 – Ta-Nehisi Coates has been criticized for being too wordy in his writing.  That’s not going to be the case here, as he gives us a mostly silent issue (thanks to Klaw) that focuses on the Midnight Angels and their capture by Klaw’s allies.  Coates really gives artist Leonard Kirk the chance to show off his action chops, and it’s a good issue, although I cannot begin to understand why there are so many other superheroes on the cover when they don’t appear inside the comic at all.  It’s misleading (and not a variant thing – weird).

Black Science #34 – For a little while there, I thought I was reading the last issue of this title, although that’s not the case.  It has a lot of last issue feel to it, as just about every character that Grant McKay and his family has had a conflict with over the course of this title shows up and throws down, as Kadir’s plans to move the Earth outside of the multiversal brane reaches fruition.  This is an exciting and fast-moving issue, and one that rewards good memories after some of the delays that have plagued the series.  This seems to be happening a lot with Rick Remender’s titles.  Where is Low?  What’s going on with Seven to Eternity?  It’s strange that everything appears to be on hiatus at the same time.  Should we read into that?  Anyway, I kind of feel like the next story arc on this title will be the last one, and look forward to see what happens.

Dept. H #22 – We are getting very close to the end of this title, and as such, Matt Kindt is starting to further winnow the cast and distractions down.  Only one person in the group has a chance of making it to the surface, so the remaining crew of the underwater science station argue before making their decision.  Always one to experiment with visuals, Kindt draws most of this issue in tight, little boxes surrounded by blackness, which really adds to the bleak and foreboding feeling of the series.  It’s pretty powerful stuff.

Detective Comics #973 – The Belfry is destroyed, and the team is in tatters as they have to try to stop Clayface’s rampage.  The First Victim’s plans come to fruition, and things don’t look too good for the team, especially at the end of the issue.  James Tynion IV has been building to this for a good long time now, and it’s a very exciting issue.  Jesus Merino does a fine job on the art, and makes the supercharged Clayface look very menacing.  I’ve really been enjoying this title, and hope that what’s happened here doesn’t upend the status quo too much.  It’s are for a Bat-team book to work as well as this one has.

Justice League of America #23 – I have a lot to say about this issue, this title, and what I see happening at DC in general.  Really, I’m not happy to see Promethea show up at the end of this issue (I figure it’s not really a spoiler for two reasons – a., it’s been discussed all over the internet this week and; b., who the hell would actually care?).  Why does DC feel the need to keep dredging up every character that Alan Moore ever worked on (while, at the same time, still not allowing Top Ten to be completed by its co-creators).  I’ve read all of Promethea, and while I don’t really remember much of the story, I remember that JH Williams III’s art was incredible.  I have absolutely no desire to read new stories featuring this character.  I also am losing any desire to read The Terrifics because it’s going to be including Tom Strong.  I am not reading Doomsday Clock, because I have no desire to read anything more featuring the Watchmen.  (I know he’s not an Alan Moore character, but Daniel’s inclusion in Metal works against that book for me too).  I love the endless soap opera quality of superhero comics, but I also know that there are certain characters that are not meant to be around forever.  A large percentage of them have been written by Alan Moore.  It’s time to leave them alone.  I don’t know what Steve Orlando is doing with this book.  I hate all this stuff with some fairy tale villain, and found that the narration in this issue was hard to pay attention to.  I’d much rather see more about Ray and Aztek (see my look through the original Aztek series here).  This book had a lot of potential, but it feels like it’s been squandered by Orlando’s strange choices (why do we not even see Vixen after she comes back to life?).  And of course, we’ve now learned that this book is going to get swallowed up in some Scott Snyder-driven weekly event soon, and I’m definitely going to stop reading it.  I wonder if Orlando is going to be able to satisfactorily wrap up his various subplots before he’s gone.  Comics can be very frustrating…

Maestros #4 – I’m finding myself getting more and more drawn into Steve Skroce’s Maestros series.  This issue has Willy looking for help in a dangerous place, and shows us just how he escaped his father’s rule in the first place.  Skroce’s art is wonderfully detailed here.

Manifest Destiny #33 – Big revelations are made in this issue, as Lewis and Clark decide to confront Madame Boniface about her constant attempts to uncover their secrets.  At the same time, the men in the fort make some changes in how they are doing things too, and that came as a surprise to me.  This is a very intelligent comic that maybe doesn’t move all that quickly, but which never disappoints in terms of telling a rich, well thought-out story.

Marvel 2-In-One #2 – Chip Zdarsky is really nailing the tone of this book.  The story, about Ben Grimm lying to Johnny Storm about the whereabouts of the Richards family to try to get him out of his funk, is both humorous and touching.  The two head to Monster Island to look for the device Reed left them to travel the multiverse, run into Mole Man and company, run into Doom, and get to spend some quality time together.  Jim Cheung is definitely the right artist for this book – his Thing is as good as John Byrne’s was back in the day.  I was on the fence about this title, as I’ve never been the biggest FF fan, but I’m liking this a lot.

Ninja-K #3 – The reasons why Ninja-C is going after anyone involved in the Ninja program are revealed in this issue, which is once again a very satisfying read.  Christos Gage has done a great job of building on what Matt Kindt established, and the combination of Tomás Giorello and Roberto Dela Torre on art works fantastically.  I’m still not sold on Ariel Olivetti’s ugly backup story though…

Phoenix Resurrection #4 – Things are finally starting to clear up for this event, as the X-Men start to figure out just what’s been going on with Jean and the different Phoenix manifestations that have been happening.  There are still way too many characters sandwiched into this title, and some questionable plot elements (like, why would the Phoenix have knowledge of every dead X-Men ever?), but it’s all starting to work a little better.  I’m curious to see how this all ends next week.

Poe Dameron #23 – We’ve reached the point in this arc where it’s all just people running or flying around fighting.  Poe tries to save the day after Malarus and Terex pulled a fast one on the Resistance.  Captain Phasma makes an appearance this month, suggesting that we might be getting closer to acknowledging events and more characters from the films of which these comics are still prequels.  I have to admit, seeing The Last Jedi kind of killed some of my enthusiasm for this series, as I have to confront the fact that I really don’t much like Poe as a character.

Regression #6 – The last issue of Cullen Bunn and Danny Luckert’s horror series really switched things up a lot, and surprised me.  Now, after a hiatus, the book is back, and it’s doing some very cool things.  Adrian has been kidnapped by some sort of cult, and his friend Molly has begun to work with Detective Graymercy to find him and figure out what’s going on.  This is an interesting book, and Bunn’s story is serviced very well by Luckert’s clean, inviting artwork.

Sex Criminals #21 – This book is back from a hiatus, but Jon and Suzie are still broken up, it’s six months later, and I’m not sure anything is better for anyone, except perhaps Undercover Dewey.  Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky pack a lot into this issue, as this book starts to move in new directions.  As always, the letters column is as good as the comic.  This title is a real treasure.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #4 – I love Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer series.  I have been less enamored with this interstitial series that has Lucy chasing after clues as to the heroes’ disappearance, which is the backbone of the main book.  We already know that Lucy ends up where they do, so this miniseries doesn’t serve any real purpose beyond expanding the world that the characters came from.  Now I see that Lemire is going to be writing another miniseries featuring another ancillary character from the main book.  I know I’m going to end up getting it, even though I don’t care all that much.  That’s the deal with this comic too – it’s decent, as Lucy finally talks to the titular Sherlock, and learns his secrets – but I could have probably lived just fine having never read it.

X-O Manowar #11 – The fact that Ryan Bodenheim is drawing this issue makes me wonder what might be going on with The Dying & The Dead, which is way behind schedule right now.  This is another solid issue under Matt Kindt’s direction, as the bounty hunters come for Aric, and he continues to learn that ruling an entire planet is not easy.

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

Amazing Spider-Man #794

Avengers #677

Inhumans: Judgement Day #1

Thanos #15

Wild Storm #11

X-Men Blue #20

X-Men Blue Annual #1

Bargain Comics:

Jessica Jones #9-14 – These comics are very Brian Michael Bendis.  The issues that focus on Maria Hill (9-12) have a lot of buildup that doesn’t really go anywhere.  The issues that focus on the return of the Purple Man really just work to recapture what was, in the original Alias run that established Jessica’s history with Killgrave, an original and creepy idea.  Here, especially after the Netflix show, it just feels like a retread.  I’m not sure that this title is accomplishing anything.  I’m curious to see who will get the book after Bendis is gone…

Old Man Logan #25-31 – I’m pretty happy with Ed Brisson’s run on this title to this point.  Even when he brings the Hulk Gang over from the Wasteland, he does it in such as way as to keep the story focused on Logan’s present.  The newest arc, featuring the Silver Samurai and the Hand, really caught my attention.  Mike Deodato is a good artistic choice for this series.  However, the recent news that regular classic Logan is returning makes me think that this title has to go away, and soon.  There are too many Wolverines running around the 616 now.  Personally, I think it’s way too soon to bring the original flavour back.