The Weekly Round-Up #489 With Farmhand #7, Gideon Falls #12, Incursion #3, Port Of Earth #9, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #4 & More!

Best Comic of the Week:

Farmhand #7 – I love Rob Guillory’s weird and wonderful series about a divided family, plant-based organ transplants, and the existential dangers of GMOs.  There’s a lot happening in this issue, as evidence that the seed has spread into the community doesn’t slow Jedidiah down, and as Ezekiel becomes more aware of just how weird things are in the community.  Guillory is doing great work on this completely unpredictable title.

Quick Takes:

Black Badge #9 – This is an odd issue, as half of it is given over to an earlier iteration of the Black Badge, operating in East Berlin in the 80s, and the rest has the troop we are familiar with, but in an unfamiliar situation.  Matt Kindt does keep this book feeling fresh.

Daredevil #4 – Chip Zdarsky writes a seriously badass Daredevil.  In this issue, Matt is being held by the Punisher, who hopes that DD’s recent more violent turn will lead to him becoming more like him.  Zdarsky is known for humourous and irreverent comics, but with this series, he’s really showing his range, and his understanding of the psychology of these characters.  This is a very good arc.

East of West #42 – After such a long time, we finally get to see what happened in the big fight between Death and the other Horsemen, before this series began.  This seems like a good time to think about, once again, just how incredible Nick Dragotta’s art has been on this series. This issue really stands out, visually, as we spend the entire issue looking at this brutal fight.  Very good stuff.

Gideon Falls #12 – Well, things took a real turn with this issue, as Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino leave the characters we’re used to, and show us the story of another priest who’s gone through the Black Barn and ended up in other worlds or times.  This series started out pretty focused on two stories, but now it’s starting to sprawl, and while I don’t know how I feel about that, I do trust Lemire to tell a compelling story.

Guardians of the Galaxy #4 – I am really enjoying this series.  The fact that I still haven’t read the end of Infinity Wars makes me wonder why the team is so divided, and why Groot has so much hatred for Rocket.  I also don’t really understand what’s going on between Quill and Gamora, and like that all of this stuff is secondary to Donny Cates telling a pretty exciting story.  Groot, Quill, and the other new Guardians find Gamora, hoping to warn her that Gladiator and his team are coming for her, but they don’t have much time before their foes are upon them.  It’s a very exciting issue, with terrific art by Geoff Shaw. I kind of hope that the character death at the end of the issue sticks, because I was getting pretty sick of that guy…

Incursion #3 – Gilad takes the fight to the Deadside, while Dr. Mirage tries her best to keep the Geomancer safe.  This issue should be upping the stakes, but everything in it feels kind of obligatory. It’s all good though – the concluding issue next month should be exciting.

Little Bird #2 – This second issue helps to fill in the story a lot better than the first, enhancing this kind of odd but striking series set in a future where the Vatican runs America, and is stretching its way into Canada.  Little Bird is clearly a powered individual, as she discovers when she survives being shot, and we learn a lot more about her mother, Tantoo, and her relationship with the Pope. Ian Bertram’s art makes this book very unique and cool.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #5 – Tombstone’s making a move on Brooklyn, and Miles gets in the middle of his people and the gangs he’s trying to push out, while also dealing with school and girl problems.  Saladin Ahmed is getting the balance right in his run with this character, although I find his Miles is more quippy when in the Spider-suit than he used to be. This is a pretty solid title, with very solid art by Javier Garrón.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #4 – Kieron Gillen takes Peter Cannon to another dimension this issue – one set in an early 90s indie comic, designed to look like it’s drawn by Eddie Campbell (who also shows up as a character).  When I read this book, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something essential (I should really read his issue notes), but I’m still enjoying the way he’s chosen to follow up on the Watchmen. This is an interesting book.

Port of Earth #9 – I’m so happy to see Port of Earth back on the stands.  Zack Kaplan has been writing one of the better science fiction comics with this series.  There’s a bit of a time jump from the last issue, and we see that the Consortium of aliens who run the port have stationed soldiers here.  With more aliens on the planet, people are now starting to suffer from alien diseases, and more resistance groups are forming. We do get to see what our two heroes have been up to, but the scope of this arc appears much wider than just their story.  I kept thinking about how much this all reminds me of the early days of the North American fur trade, and how the combination of increased numbers of Europeans and their pathogens laid waste to the indigenous people. This book seems to be giving us the same kind of story.

Teen Titans #29 – With the last issue, which started the crossover with Deathstroke, I complained that I didn’t know who most of the current Teen Titans are.  For this issue, it seems that writer Adam Glass decided to seize the opportunity to introduce them to new readers like me, and gave each character a moment or two in the spotlight.  Robin and Red Arrow have been running a secret prison for villains, and haven’t even told the rest of their team, but now Kid Flash knows about it, and the team is starting to buckle under the pressure of their secrets.  Of course, having Slade Wilson locked up, and messing with their heads, is only going to make things worse. This was a better issue than I expected, and has me maybe a little curious to check out more of this title.

Uncanny X-Men #16 – This book just keeps getting darker, as Cyclops decides to step down as leader of the team, just before they go into battle with Magneto and the Brotherhood.  A few unexpected, and largely forgotten, characters show up, and it looks like we have a few more deaths on our hands. I was very much on board for this series, but now I’m wondering how Matthew Rosenberg’s work can be both wrapped up before, and is serving to set up, Jonathan Hickman’s coming two series.  Is there a chance this book is going to be running concurrently? I haven’t heard anything, and would like to know a little more.

X-O Manowar #26 – This title, and Matt Kindt’s run with this character, both come to a close this month, with an issue that is kind of introspective about Aric’s character and his place in the Valiant Universe.  At the beginning, I loved Kindt’s take on the character, but after he returned to Earth from his stint fighting in an alien war, things got kind of slow. I feel like maybe this should have ended an arc or two earlier.  I’m not sure I’m all that interested in the next iteration of this series, when Dennis Hallum takes over. I’ll check it out, but Aric can be kind of boring without an interesting hook.

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

Amazing Spider-Man #19HU

Avengers No Road Home #10

Batman #69

Electric Warriors #6

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #2

Meet the Skrulls #3

Pearl #8

Thor #12

Tony Stark Iron Man #10

War of the Realms #2

West Coast Avengers #10

Bargain Comics:

Fantastic Four #5 & 6 – I am enjoying Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four, but I’m not exactly impressed.  It bugs me that Doctor Doom and Galactus have returned so quickly to their traditional form, after having been made interesting in Ultimates and in Marvel 2-In-One for a while.  The wedding issue is charming, and Aaron Kuder’s art is great, but there’s nothing that has me really invested in this series.

The Quantum Age #1-4 – I really miss the Legion of Super-Heroes (although I am not happy that they might be coming back with Brian Michael Bendis in charge), and this look at the future of the Black Hammer universe really satisfies my craving for them.  Jeff Lemire and artist Wilfredo Torres share a great story that shows what life is like after the Quantum League has been disbanded, but when a great need compels some of the surviving members to try to bring it back. This book matches the classic LSH formula, with some legacy characters and clear ties to the contemporary Black Hammer books.  Torres is very good at ensemble books (like his Jupiter’s Legacy work with Mark Millar), and the pacing of this series is perfect. I regret now that I didn’t grab it when it first came out – I felt that the Black Hammer stuff was being spread too thin, and resolved to only get the main book.

Star Wars: Han Solo – Imperial Cadet #1&2 – This series, examining the part of Han’s life that was revealed but not shown in the Solo movie, is kind of fun.  Robbie Thompson falls a little too easily into the traditional tropes of a training story – Han is poised to be the roguish prodigy that unites a group of TIE Fighter candidates into a group of friends, without really interrogating the fascism that they have signed up for, but it’s still kind of fun.

Weapon H #9 & 10 – I like this series.  There’s not a lot of meat to it, but it’s cool that Greg Pak is using characters like Man-Thing and Titania, and that someone remembers that Marvel tried to make Weirdworld a thing.  There’s some potential here (but, I think the book is canceled).

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Britannia Vol. 2: We Who Are About to Die – I didn’t love the first volume of Britannia, but I’d already bought the second, so it only made sense to read it.  This second visit to Ancient Rome, and the Empire’s first “detectioner” was better than the first, but still kind of annoyed me in how heavily it leaned on supernatural elements.  I’d like to see an honest detective story set in Rome, but found that this one, with its magic, and gladiator warrior women, was pretty distracted from the central concept. I might check out the third volume, but I’m not sure.  I still can’t understand why this is a Valiant comic, and not an Avatar one (especially with Juan Jose Ryp doing the art).

Eclipse Vol. 1 – I love Zack Kaplan’s Port of Earth (see above), and had been curious about his debut series, Eclipse.  A massive solar flare burned away the Earth’s protective layers, leaving the sunlight deadly to anyone out in the daytime.  Humanity, the survivors that is, has moved underground during the daytime, with only the Icemen moving around in protective suits, performing maintenance tasks.  Now it seems that there is someone else who can move around, and that person is looking to settle some scores, and kill a lot of people. Kaplan mixes police procedural tropes with elements of slasher and science fiction stories in a pretty effective way.  Giovanni Timpano’s art is quite detailed, and makes this world very visually interesting. I’m not sure if, after the first arc, this series is as good as Port of Earth, but I do like it.

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