The Weekly Round-Up #469 With Die! Die! Die! #5, Heroes In Crisis #3, Daredevil #612, Star Wars: Darth Vader #24, The Warning #1 & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Die! Die! Die! #5 – Robert Kirkman’s most fun title continues to amuse, as we start to see just what the creepy old senator is up to, and as the backwoods assassin brother comes to Washington.  I love Chris Burnham’s detailed art in this title, and am amazed at how quickly new issues are coming out.

Quick Takes:

Black Panther #6 – Jen Bartel serves as guest artist for this one-off issue that has N’Jadaka, who is merged with a symbiote, the Emperor of the Intergalactic Wakandan Empire, seek counsel from his god.  We get a little more backstory on this future or alternate reality, and see that even though he’s powerful, he’s afraid of T’Challa. Ta-Nehisi Coates has made this latest iteration of the Black Panther vastly different from any that has gone before, and while I’d rather stick with the regular BP, I am enjoying this Star Wars-inspired take a great deal.  I love Bartel’s art, and wish she was the regular artist here.

Come Into Me #4 – Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler’s much-delayed Cronenbergian body horror series lurches towards its disturbing conclusion, as the science gets even more questionable, and the stakes feel ever higher.  There’s a nod to the writers’ superior The Dregs that made me laugh, and while I enjoyed this series, I do find it odd. Really, I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief that people would want to merge their minds as a commercial service.  I imagine people would rather keep their secrets…

Daredevil #612 – I don’t like the way that Charles Soule has chosen to finish is long run on Daredevil.  I don’t want to spoil the story (which is called “The Death of Daredevil”, so maybe I don’t need to worry too much), but I found that it all concluded a little too suddenly, and with a bit too much of a cop-out.  I suspect that someone at Marvel other than Soule came up with this ending, which does leave the next DD team, especially writer Chip Zdarsky, with a lot of work to do. I’m curious to check that run out, because I’ve been a fan of Zdarsky’s work for a while now, but I wish he didn’t have to immediately overcome/fix an ending like this.  It seems pointless.

Darth Vader #24 – I’ve really lost interest in this title since Vader’s turned his attention to establishing his temple on Mustafar, and has been manipulated by the Dark Side artist Momin.  There are some very cool images this issue, as the inhabitants of the planet attack Vader’s outpost, but I’m not too terribly upset that this run is ending with the next issue.

Heroes in Crisis #3 – When this series was launched, we learned that its number count was increased from eight issues to nine.  I think that this issue was just added into the mix as a way of providing some much-needed background on Sanctuary, the place that heroes go to receive mental health support.  This issue is all set in the past, looking at the time leading up to the murder spree that controversially killed off a few important DC characters, and doesn’t do much at all to advance the plot of the series.  We do get shown that Booster Gold is probably not responsible, but I’m not sure how much we can trust what happens in this issue. Lee Weeks is a good choice for the guest art, but I’m still left feeling pretty underwhelmed by this event.  Tom King can be an incredible writer, but his Booster Gold is just so irritating…

Man-Eaters #3 – I keep thinking that the story flaws in this series will keep me away, and then I keep coming back for me.  Chelsea Cain’s story is pretty charming, and I like the unusual approaches that she and Kate Niemczyk take to telling this story, even if I’m unable to get around the fact that, due to the danger of pubescent girls turning into cats when they menstruate, drinking water is full of birth control, which would therefore make it impossible for women to get pregnant.  It doesn’t quite add up. At the same time, the government agency responsible for protecting people from giant cat attacks employs battalions of corgis, and that’s pretty amusing. I think at this point, I should just accept the fact that I’m on board for this title…

Marvel 2-In-One #12 – I would much rather continue reading Chip Zdarsky’s take on the Fantastic Four than Dan Slott’s.  I’ve only read the first issue of the new FF series, and wasn’t too interested by it, whereas the early issues of this comic were pretty solid, and showed a lot of strong character work.  Now, the focus shifts to Johnny, who gets to work through his issues with how everyone around him has infantilized him, and it feels believable. The conclusion of Rachna Koul’s storyline feels rushed, but that’s what happens when on-going series have an enddate baked into them.

Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses #40 – Stray Bullets is getting more and more exciting and complicated at the same time, as Kretchmeyer is ready to kill Beth and Orson, while various other factions are ready to make their move at the same time, and Annie, of all people, might be moving to rescue her daughter.  David Lapham kills on this book as always, and I’m not sure how he is working on this and Lodger at the same time.

Uncanny X-Men #3 – The revelation of a potential threat, the Four Horsemen of Salvation, was spoiled by house ads a couple of weeks ago, and so we’re still left with a lot of questions three issues into this epic storyline.  We figure out what’s going on with Multiple Man (but not how it fits with his recently-finished miniseries), and get a bit of an idea of what’s happening with Legion. I’m still on the fence for all of this, as it’s not as polished as I’d have expected such a tentpole X-Event to be.  At the same time, I came in with high expectations, and maybe that’s not entirely fair. I do wish that the “kids” were treated more like they’ve been around for twenty years at this point – Kitty Pryde was allowed to grow up, so I’m not sure why they haven’t been.

The Warning #1 – I picked this up on a hunch, and I liked it.  Edward Laroche is telling a slightly futuristic war story that looks like it’s going to involve an alien invasion.  It reminds me a little of The Activity, and doesn’t give a lot away in this first issue, but is visually interesting, and probably worth coming back to for another chapter.

X-O Manowar #21 – This issue has some nice action sequences, and it looks like the armor takes a pretty big hit, but I’m still finding my attention wandering when I read this book.  It might be time to give up on it.

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

Amazing Spider-Man #10

Dead Man Logan #1

Fantastic Four #4

Justice League Odyssey #3

Return of Wolverine #3

Wonder Woman #59

Bargain Comics:

Mr. & Mrs. X #1&2 – Rogue and Gambit’s honeymoon looks like it’s going to be an enjoyable romp through some of the X-Men’s odder space-based foes, as the Technet and the Imperial Guard both show up.  Deadpool’s inclusion in the weirdness is more annoying than amusing, but I do like the way Kelly Thompson writes these characters.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Angel Catbird Vol. 2: To Castle Catula – Had I known how bad the first volume of this series was going to be, I wouldn’t have bothered to buy the second one.  I’m not even sure why I read this. I find that this series of short graphic novels, written by the celebrated Margaret Atwood are more cringe-inducing than straight up bad.  The story, about a human/cat/owl hybrid who is helping a bunch of human/cat hybrids to escape a human/rat hybrid who is trying to take over the world. There are awkward character introductions (like the young catboy they find in the woods who was dumped as a kitten), and awkward moments when characters who already know each other explain their origin stories for no good reason.  Johnnie Christmas is a fine artist, but a lot of his work here looks rushed. This work is very juvenile, not in its intended audience, but in its execution and scope. If Atwood loves the medium of comics as much as she says, it’s a shame she doesn’t use her considerable talents to elevate and add to the body of graphic novels.

Harrow County Vol. 4: Family Tree – I hate that each volume of Harrow County is only four issues long – it’s not a satisfying enough chunk of comics, and as this series is growing on me more and more, I want to read about it in larger doses.  This volume has Emmy meeting her “family”, other powerful beings that she shares some history with, and also expands both our understanding of Emmy’s abilities, and just what is going on in the backgrounds of Harrow County.  Tyler Crook’s art on this series is just so nice, and often kind of weird. It’s a very good book.

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