The Weekly Round-Up #481 With East Of West #41, Incursion #1, Seven To Eternity #13, The Complete Suiciders: The Big Shake & More!

Best Comic of the Week:

East of West #41 – With each issue that comes out lately (as rarely as that happens), I keep commenting on how much more intense things are getting in this series.  That happens again as John makes an escape from the Kingdom of New Orleans, and reunites with his “brother”, while Archibald gets ready to make his move. This is a terrific series, and it’s always exciting to see Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta move their pieces around on the chessboard.

Quick Takes:

Black Badge #7 – We are getting deeper into the conspiracy involving the various coloured badge groups, as our troop work to win the Jamboree, and discover as much as they can about their potential enemies.  Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins have a truly unique book on their hands here, and it’s a lot of fun to read.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 – Well, I think I’m hooked on this new title.  As various groups of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains try to figure out where and in whom Thanos is going to be resurrected, we see a fractured Peter Quill, and badly damaged Starfox, a traitorous Cosmic Ghost Rider, and best of all, Wraith, from the old Annihilation series.  It looks like Donny Cates has been given the opportunity to redefine Marvel’s cosmic characters some, and that he has a pretty all-encompassing plan for this book. It’s really just what I’ve been in the mood for.

Incursion #1 – I was wary of Incursion, a new Valiant event mini written by Andy Diggle and Alex Paknadel and drawn by Doug Braithwaite, mainly because I hate anything to do with the Deadside.  Still, I admire Paknadel’s writing and am a fan of the Eternal Warrior and Geomancer, who this series is centred on, so I gave it a shot. It turns out that the villain is the Valiant Universe’s answer to Galactus, an ancient being who travels around draining the life energy of worlds.  It’s an effective first issue, introducing the scope of the threat, and making the reader care about what is going to happen. The Deadside stuff wasn’t too heavy-handed, either, which is nice to see.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #3 – I think that Miles is very safe in the hands of Saladin Ahmed.  We learn who is behind the missing children, and it turns out the guy is a walking alt-right message board.  Captain America and the Rhino are on hand, and both are handled really well, with Cap and Miles bonding over shared knowledge of Brooklyn.  There’s even an appearance by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (I mean Marisol Hurtado-Montes, Cap’s congresswoman)! This is a fun issue, with great art by Javier Garrón.

Seven to Eternity #13 – I really admire the scope of this series, and the amount of worldbuilding Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña have done, but the fact that I really don’t like the main character, Adam Osidis, does interfere with my enjoyment of the book at times.  This is a pretty big issue, story-wise, as Adam once again does some pretty questionable stuff in pursuit of what we can only hope are noble ends.

Uncanny X-Men #12 – I figured that when Matthew Rosenberg became the sole writer on Uncanny, he’d use it to address some of the plot points he’s been introducing in his various other x-series, like New Mutants, Multiple Man, and Astonishing X-Men.  It all comes together when Cyclops and Wolverine make an attack on the ONE, and find some of their fellow mutants held captive there. We might be rushing a little too quickly to reforming the X-Men team – I kind of liked the idea of it just being Scott and Logan for a while, especially since they are both so different from how I remember them.  Anyway, it’s a solid issue, with decent Salvador Larroca art. I read recently that Greg Land was going to be drawing an arc soon; that’s a shame.

X-O Manowar #24 – I was getting ready to drop this title, as I was finding it getting a little too tired, but then I heard that Matt Kindt was going to wrap up his run, and the completist in me decided I should stick around for that.  This issue is mostly a big battle between Aric and the alien bounty hunters, and it didn’t do much for me.

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

Avengers #15

Avengers: No Road Home #2

Batman #65

Black Order #4

Catwoman #8

Doctor Strange #11

Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man #3

Hulkverines #1

Return of Wolverine #5

The Wild Storm #20

Bargain Comics:

Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1, Wakanda Forever: X-Men #1, & Wakanda Forever: Avengers #1 – I was a little disappointed by this series focusing on the Dora Milaje.  First, I was excited to see the return of Nakia, aka Malice, as this directly referenced Christopher Priest’s Black Panther run, which gets overlooked too often. Nnedi Okorafor’s writing was sharp, but the forced inclusion of too many Marvel characters made the story too creaky and hard to make believable.  I guess the thinking was a story focusing just on the Dora wouldn’t have sold, but I’m not sure this was the way to go.

Domino #7 – This is a fun series.  It’s a shame that it’s already been cancelled, and replaced with a miniseries.  I miss regular Gail Simone in my life.

Shuri #1&2 – I’ve never been a big fan of Shuri, linked as she is to Reginald Hudlin’s terrible Black Panther run.  I did like it when Ta-Nehisi Coates took the character into new territory, linking her to Wakanda’s ancestors, and giving her a variety of strange new powers.  Now, though, in the wake of the Black Panther movie and its delightful portrayal of Shuri as a technological wunderkind, writer Nnedi Okorafor has been tasked with merging the 616 and the MCU Shuri into one character.  The first two issues of this book are completely tied to T’Challa’s disappearance (proving that’s actually him in Coates’s science fiction story in the Panther’s book), her feelings for Manifold (who she never calls by his first name), and her mother’s desire to get her to adopt the Panther habit once again.  Storm shows up, as does a former flame of T’Challa’s who I’ve never heard of, and who is a mystic in an area without technology. I’m not sure that this book would pass the Bechdel Test, as barely a page goes by the Shuri is not trying to find her brother or pining for Manifold. It’s disappointing, as I had hoped that this might be the comic that makes me like this character more.

Spider-Force #1&2 – It should come as no surprise that my favourite part of Spider-Geddon is the side miniseries being written by Christopher Priest.  Kaine leads a team to the radioactive world to stop one of the Inheritors, and along the way we meet a few new spider-characters. My favourite is Spider-Kid, who I would gladly read a series about, as Priest makes him a little dark and mysterious, but also mouthy and refreshing.  It’s also nice to see Jessica Drew getting used effectively again; I’ve missed her since her series ended.

Über Invasion #14-17 – Kieron Gillen’s very complicated superhuman WWII epic must be winding down, as more fronts in the war are taken care of, and we learn the fates of a few more primary characters.  Every time I dip back into this series, I’m impressed by the sheer weight and scope of Gillen’s story. It’s a pretty noteworthy book that also hits some impressive emotional notes.

What If? X-Men #1 – I hate the way Marvel has rebranded their What If? stuff into a bunch of random Elseworlds style one-shots.  I don’t normally bother with them, but this one is written by Bryan Hill, who I like, and partly drawn by Giannis Milonogiannis, whose art I really admire.  It’s a weird Matrix pastiche starring Cable and Domino though, and it did next to nothing for me. I should have skipped it.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

The Complete Suiciders: The Big Shake – I read the first of Lee Bermejo’s two Suiciders series, not realizing that the second one, which I skipped when Vertigo raised their prices, was a prequel to the first.  Bermejo (who only wrote what became the first story in this volume, Alessandro Vitti and Gerardo Zaffino drew those issues) created an interesting world where, after a large earthquake, a corporation took over central Los Angeles and walled it off from the poorer neighbourhoods.  At the same time, everyone went crazy for gladiatorial matches. The premise is interesting, but over the two series, Bermejo could have explored it a lot more. The two stories don’t feel all that connected, but each is a good read, with nice art.

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