Best Comic of the Week:
The Walking Dead #185/Outpost Zero #1 – It’s interesting to see how Robert Kirkman is exploring the politics of the Walking Dead at a time when just about everything is political in the real world. The Commonwealth looks fantastic on the surface, but both Rick and Dwight have started to recognize the problems in the model it’s built on – namely a command economy based on strict class roles – and are both considering how they can change the place. The difference is, Dwight learned everything he knows from Negan, while Rick wants to make everyone, including the ruling class, happier. It’s hard not to read a defence of socialism in some of Rick’s arguments, and I wonder if that is going to lead to a more interesting letter column, as I’m sure that this gun-filled comic plays well in Trumpland. I also enjoyed a very meta moment, as two characters talk about what how peaceful moments in this comic feel like prelude to eventual death and destruction. This series has evolved a great deal from where it started. No one reading this book during the early days would have predicted a time when the most emotional scene in an issue would be set in an outdoor café. It’s been a great ride, and I am always curious to see how Kirkman’s approach to things changes. I’m also sure that Charlie Adlard is happy to not have to draw dirt and rot all over everything for a change… This issue also comes with a reprint of most of the first issue of Outpost Zero, by Sean McKeever and Alexandre Tefenkgi. I found myself immediately caught up in this story set on a distant ice world where a group of humans crashed, and have been working to maintain life inside a giant dome. It’s a nice blend of teen drama and science fiction, and now I want to pick up the first trade.
Deathstroke #37 – Priest keeps things kind of confusing, as Slade continues his time at Arkham, and tries to figure out if he has been on another planet fighting aliens, or might actually be going crazy. At the same time, Joseph moves on his plans to manipulate Rose/Willow, although it looks like someone is playing him at the same time (once again). This series is often puzzling, but always a great read. I like the paper stock DC is using right now – it feels a little old school, but also very nice.
Farmhand #5 – With this issue, Rob Guillory closes off the first arc of this incredible new series. We learn a lot about Thorne and her relationship with Jedidiah, as it looks like his experimental plant-based organ farm is affecting the local eco-system, and as Andy, his daughter, goes missing. Guillory crammed a lot into this arc, and it really has me looking forward to following this series into the future. There’s some very cool stuff happening in this comic.
Green Lantern #1 – I wasn’t too sure what to expect from a new Green Lantern relaunch by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp. I’m not a fan of Hal Jordan, and have always found him to be an unlikeable character. Morrison doesn’t look to be fixing that at all, as he instead focuses on a threat that has given some other GLs a hard time before making its way to Earth. There are some typical Morrisonian flourishes (a bacterial GL, a size-changing threat laid low by physics), but nothing to really attach to. Sharp’s art is highly detailed and quite beautiful, but occasionally hard to follow, and ultimately as cold as the writing. I don’t think I’ll be back.
Iceman #3 – Finally, this title starts to feel a little more like Sina Grace’s first run, as Bobby ends up teaming up with Spider-Man and Firestar (the original Amazing Friends) when all three of their dates get messed up by a rampaging ice monster. This issue recaptures a lot of the charm that Grace worked into his first run, but the Mister Sinister plotline still feels very forced.
Seven to Eternity #12 – Rick Remender’s very complex fantasy saga continues with more people trying to convince Adam to work in their interest while also making clear that he cannot be trusted. I enjoy this book, but I’m starting to feel the need to reread it from the beginning, as I’m finding it hard to keep everything (such as the significance of the last page) straight in my head. This is easily Remender’s most challenging work, but perhaps also his most rewarding. Jerome Opeña might be the only artist who can pull this book, with its strange and fantastical settings, off.
Star Wars #56 – The central characters are separated from the Rebellion after the events of the last arc, and are trying to find their way home with the help of Sana Starros. There is a desperation to this new arc that makes it interesting, and the new artist Andrea Broccardo does a fine job. Kieron Gillen continues to make this book a success, and writes a terrific Han Solo.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
Adventures of the Super Sons #4
Death of the Inhumans #5
Death Orb #2
Doctor Strange #7
Immortal Hulk #8
Infinity Wars #5
Outpost Zero Vol. 1 TP
Star Wars Han Solo Imperial Cadet #1
Street Angel Vs. Ninja Tech HC
Weapon X #25
Amazing Spider-Man #1 – Nick Spencer’s Superior Foes of the Spider-Man was, for a while, my favourite Marvel comic. I’ve been a fan of Ryan Ottley for years, eagerly following every issue of Invincible. The two working together on a new Spider-Man should be a dream, but I found myself actually getting pretty bored while reading this debut issue. There’s a lot of set-up taking place, as Spencer has to maneuver Peter Parker into a new status quo, and I found it a little dull. I do fully intend to check out some of the subsequent issues though, as these creators are too good to underwhelm for long.
Fantastic Four #1 – It’s weird that I’ve been reading Marvel 2-In-One and not this title, which doesn’t do a terrific job of lining up, storywise. Most of this issue made it feel like Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli were stalling and taking up space before letting us know that the team will be getting back together, presumably in the second issue. I hate that Slott is returning Doctor Doom to his typical dictator self, instead of continuing to build on the work that Bendis and Zdarsky have done on him (I know that Bendis reset him, but still). This feels a little bland, but I’m willing to check out a few more issues.
Hunt for Wolverine: The Adamantium Agenda #2-4 – Tom Taylor does an admirable job of pulling some sort of random characters together to have them face Mister Sinister, who is being hella overused these days. I was surprised to see him drop a bit of a bombshell about Wolverine/X-23 in this book after his run with her ended, and I wonder if it’s something anyone is going to follow up on. I think this was a lot more coherent than the Madripoor mini, but it still lacked something (I mean, other than heroes finding Wolverine).
Tags: The Weekly Round-Up