The Weekly Round-Up #445 With Mister Miracle #9, Bloodshot Salvation #10, Hawkeye #16, Oblivion Song #4, Proxima Centauri #1, Star Wars Darth Vader #17 & More

 Best Comic of the Week:

Mister Miracle #9 – Scott and Kalibak have entered into peace negotiations, and the five days of high level meetings, arguments, pee breaks, and time Scott gets to spend with Barda in his childhood home are pretty fascinating.  I couldn’t help but think, as the two gods and their associates bicker and jockey for position, about the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un this week; I’m not sure which is more far-fetched. I have absolutely loved this series from day one – Tom King and Mitch Gerads are doing such great work on this comic, giving each issue a unique structure and framing, and then using it to dig into Scott’s personality and sense of himself.  Darkseid, who hasn’t really been a physical presence in this book yet, really gives things a turn at the end of the issue, and I’m already excited to see what happens next.

Quick Takes:

Ballad of Sang #4 – Sang is being held prisoner by a bunch of hipster dandies, but the roller derby women decide that it’s time to help him and to try to get the gangster that wants him dead off his back.  It’s more crazy action from Ed Brisson and Alessandro Micelli, and it’s fun, if not very memorable.

Bloodshot Salvation #10 – Ray is in the far future, wandering around trying to complete his mission for Baron Samedi, while in the present, Omen goes after Ray’s daughter, and GATE is not going to be able to help.  Jeff Lemire’s story is kicking into high gear (which makes sense, seeing as we know that this title, and his run, is due to end with a new creative team relaunching it soon). Doug Braithwaite is a good artistic choice for this book.

Copperhead #19 – Copperhead’s original artist, Scott Godlewski, is back, and now has a co-writing credit.  Things are moving forward, as Clara gets back to being sheriff, and the planet’s indigenous population, which hasn’t been near the city in a century, is starting to show up.  There’s also a big find in the mine, and some new stuff happening involving some artificial workers. This science fiction western series was a great surprise when it debuted, and it seems like Godlewski and Jay Faerber are going to continue telling fresh stories in their rich and detailed world.  This makes me happy.

Darth Vader #17 – I’ve enjoyed the way this arc set in the early years of the Empire kind of crosses over with what’s going on in Star Wars, as they stories look at different moments in the conquest and rule of Mon Cala by the Imperials.  This issue brings the Empire’s wrath down around the King, and I kind of wish I’d read it before his appearance in the post-New Hope era; it would have given his statement to his people more strength. Either way, this has been a great arc, ending with Vader confronting one of the few remaining Jedi, and with Tarkin showing us why his reputation is what it is.  

The Fix #12 – The surprises keep coming in this book as Roy struggles with the idea of exposing Josh, the gangster who he’s been working for, and who is responsible for the death of his partner and only real friend.  As with every issue of The Fix, this one is quite funny, as Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber continue their stellar (if incredibly sporadic) partnership.

Mage: The Hero Denied #9 – Kevin continues to search for his wife and son, while they try to figure out how they are going to survive their captivity.  As usual, solid work from Matt Wagner.

Marvel 2-In-One Annual #1 – Doom, working with Ben Grimm on yet another alternate world, comes across the newest version of the Council of Reeds, and we learn some things about his change of heart and new approach to life.  This is a good issue, with very nice Declan Shalvey art, that for once looks at Victor’s relationship with his father instead of his mother. I’ve been liking Chip Zdarsky’s work with all of these characters, but can’t help but think this book is going to disappear soon after the Fantastic Four series, which I’m not interested in, debuts.

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #24 – Gene Luen Yang wraps up his two-year run with a book featuring the Chinese versions of DC’s biggest heroes.  It’s pretty cool that this book lasted this long, and that Kenan’s character changed so completely over the course of the series. It’s also nice to see superhero books set in parts of the world other than America, and that look (however briefly) at superheroing from a different cultural perspective.  I feel like some things have been left unresolved – Kenan’s love triangle with his girlfriend and Flash, his relationship with his parents, and the team’s status with the Chinese government – but Yang really accomplished a lot, and wrapped up the main story well. To be honest, I got a little bored with this issue, but that always happens to me with final issues…

Oblivion Song #4 – I’m starting to view this series as one of my new favourites.  Nathan heads back to the other dimension to look for his brother on the tenth anniversary of the city of Philadelphia transferring there, and gets closer than ever before to finding him.  We also get to meet some of the people who have been surviving all this time, while we also get to see the psychological effects of his time there have affected one of Nathan’s closest friends.  Robert Kirkman has laid the groundwork for a long, interesting story with these first issues, and I’m really appreciating Lorenzo DeFelici’s art. All good stuff…

Port of Earth #6 – I continue to enjoy the way that writer Zack Kaplan is mixing politics with action in this series, as our two ESA heroes go after the alien assassin that has been plaguing them since the first issue.  It looks like we might actually get to see into the alien port off the coast of San Francisco in the next issue, which should be cool.

Proxima Centauri #1 – I feel like I have a strange relationship with Farel Dalrymple’s work.  Generally, I love his art, but find his stories to be very hit-or-miss for me. Some of his work, like The Wrenchies, is focused and tells a great story, but some of his other stuff, like Pop Gun War (the original and its recent follow-up in Island) can be pretty messy to read.  I think Proxima Centauri is going to be one of the latter. Sherwood is on a distant planet or space station, and wants to get back to Earth to find his brother Orson. There’s a Scientist who is kind of guiding him, and he travels to some other world or dimension or something to look around and get shot at.  I’m not all that clear on what’s going on, but the art is very cool. I’ve committed to this series, so I’ll stick around for all six issues, but I hope Dalrymple clarifies things a little soon.

Punisher #226 – Castle takes the War Machine armor to chase after Baron Zemo, who has prepared for him.  There are a number of cool guest stars in this issue, and an interesting new partnership emerges for Frank.  I like how this week we see two comics (this one and Marvel 2-In-One) that acknowledge relatively recent events (Secret Empire and Secret Wars) – that’s not something that happens very often in Big Two comics these days – they are always more interested in the next big thing.  

Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #3 – Harry’s discovered that he’s not the only alien on Earth, or at least he wasn’t, as he finds a friend of the mysterious street artist from another planet and starts to learn his story.  This series never fails to fascinate, as Peter Hogan tells a slice of life story with a unique twist to it. I’d kind of expected that Harry would have to deal with the government agents that are getting closer to figuring out his existence in this arc, but we’ve seen no sign of them so far.  That’s good, because it tells me that another series will follow this one, which ends next month.

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

Domino #3

Exiles #4

Hunt For Wolverine Adamantium Agenda #2

It Will All Hurt TP

New Mutants Dead Souls #4

Old Man Logan #41

Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #305

Quicksilver No Surrender #2

SHIELD #6

Thor #1

Weeknd Presents Starboy #1

X-Men Blue #29

Bargain Comics:

BPRD: The Devil You Know #4&5 – I very reluctantly dropped BPRD, because this latest series just seemed to be lacking in direction (and most of the characters I liked best).  Checking these two issues, the pacing is just terrible and all over the place, but I do realize that I miss this world. I think that John Arcudi leaving was the worst thing that could have happened to the book, as we can see how he helped structure Mike Mignola’s story.  Scott Allie doesn’t seem to be up to the job (which is why I dropped Abe Sapien after a while too). The Hellboy universe really is not what it used to be…

Hawkeye #16 – Kelly Thompson’s Hawkeye was a fun series.  I’m a little intrigued to see what she does with Kate and the rest of the West Coast Avengers, and might be checking that title out.

Incredible Hulk #709&710 – I’ve always liked Greg Pak’s writing, and loved his original Planet Hulk storyline, but this return to that world with Amadeus Cho being the lead really didn’t work for me.  A lot of the blame can be placed on Greg Land’s cold artwork, but also on the fact that the world of Sakaar, which was so vibrant in the original storyline, is not developed very well. There are new characters, but we don’t really get to know or care about them, and it’s hard to understand why Amadeus does.  Really, this feels like an attempt to line up with the third Thor movie more than to tell a good story. Disappointing…

Silk #19 – Robbie Thompson’s Silk series was a true delight.  It’s a shame that it didn’t catch on more, and that the character appears to be relegated to Marvel’s young adult-ish series.  This final issue (which is now more than a year old) did a great job of wrapping up the title, although I’m still left wanting more Cindy.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Throwaways Vol. 1 – I’d been intrigued by the covers to the single issues I’ve seen of Throwaways, an Image series by Caitlin Kittredge and Steven Sanders.  I found this first volume, which collects the first four issues, to be pretty disappointing. The central idea is a cool one – that two people were tampered with in a secret government facility, unlocking one’s mental abilities, and turning the other, a soldier, into an extremely capable killer – but the story is executed in a very confusing way.  Dean, the telekinetic, is the son of an imprisoned domestic terrorist, but when the father, who is broken out of prison by someone who is either trying to help Dean, or use him, is reunited with his son, it’s handled so casually at first that you’d think he’d been gone for just a day. Likewise, there are many times when characters turn up in strange places that don’t work for story reasons, and no one notices.  Items change hands unseen (one moment the weird all-white girl has a data stick, the next someone who wasn’t shown even touching her has it), and things are generally very difficult to follow in many places. I can’t tell if the problems are down to Kittredge’s writing, Sanders’s storytelling chops, or a combination of the two. I loved Sanders’s work on SWORD, and Our Love is Real, and so expected better from him here.  Anyway, as I got to the end of the volume, things were picking up a little, but not enough to make me want to read the second volume.

X-23 Vol. 1: The Killing Dream – I’ve heard good things about Marjorie Liu’s run with Laura, but this volume didn’t do much for me.  I’ve never been a big fan of the character, until Tom Taylor finally started to take her in new directions, and this volume reminds me of why that is more than anything.  Laura fights a demon and then gets involved in a weird Ms. Sinister story that seems to need Gambit in a rescuer role. It was fine so far as tertiary X-titles from the Utopia era goes, but that’s not saying much, is it?

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