Best Comic of the Week:
Nobody Is In Control #1– Patrick Kindlon’s been slowly putting together an interesting and unique shelf of comics at Black Mask with There’s Nothing There and Survival Fetish, and now he’s adding Nobody Is In Control to the list. A retired talk radio jockey spots a man in a suit and carrying a briefcase rushing across his remote Georgian property, and heads out to see if the man is okay. Their conversation is dense and confusing, as the man evades pertinent questions with talk of conspiracy theories and governmental secrets – the kind of thing that fuelled the first man’s career. It’s not too clear what’s happening yet, but I’m definitely interested in learning more and seeing where this all heads. This is a thick issue, with solid art by Paul Tucker.
Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others #1 – Jill Thompson returns to Burden Hill and our favourite group of animals. A family of ghost hunters have come to Burden, and the dogs make contact with them when it looks like they are going to expose the town to danger. It’s not long before they are dealing with giant rats and other problems though. As has always been the case with this title, this comis feels pretty special, largely due to the wonderful character work done by Thompson and writer Evan Dorkin. I’m sad this is only a two-parter, as I’d love to see more of this book.
Black Hammer ‘45 #3 – The exploration of the Black Hammer world in 1945 continues to be impressive. Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes are showing us what happened to the Black Hammer Squadron on their last mission, and we see that the Second World War was not dull on this world, as German fighter pilots and Russian mechs face off. It’s been a little while since I’ve gotten regular doses of Matt Kindt’s art, which is what I’m enjoying most about this series right now. It’s good stuff.
Deathstroke #43 – The issues between Slade and Damian come to a head with this issue, as the villains in the Teen Titans’ prison make an escape, and Slade’s motives, as always, are hard to read. The end of this issue might have been more shocking had all the solicitations from the last couple of months not spoiled it. Still, I trust Priest to have a plan, so I look forward to seeing what’s going to happen next.
Fallen World #1 – Valiant’s taken way too long to return to its future and the story of Rai. It’s been a little while since New Japan fell to Earth, and Rai is running the largest surviving sector, although that doesn’t make all of his “subjects” happy. It looks like he needs to handle some threats from his past, while trying to help everyone build a better future. Dan Abnett is the right kind of writer for a book like this; he’s always been good at moving multiple parts around, and keeping a story like this moving. It’s nice to see Adam Pollina drawing again, although I wouldn’t have recognized this as his work. He does a great job on designs though. I’m glad I decided to pick this up – Valiant’s been a little quiet lately, but this proves they’ve still got some moves.
Gogor #1 – I loved Ken Garing’s two Planetoid miniseries, so I was instantly intrigued when I saw he had a new series (an ongoing one, for whatever that means these days). Gogor is a fantasy series set in a world of islands that float in the air. Armano is a young scholar whose land is invaded by the Domus, a bunch of helmeted soldiers that ride insects. Armano is given a scroll by one of his teachers, and told to flee to one particular place. Along the way he meets a few new friends, and comes to realize that he’s going to need more help to keep the land safe. Garing’s art is very nice, and this book is visually very unique. Armano rides a shrew, and all the characters we’ve seen so far are very distinctive. I’d pegged Garing as a hard sci-fi guy after Planetoid, so it’s very cool to see how versatile he is with this series. I’m definitely on board and coming back for more…
Outcast #41 – It is starting to look like Kyle and his friends have been played, as more Outcasts arrive, and that appears to have unintended consequences. This book keeps accelerating its pace and raising the stakes, and it’s all very good.
Paper Girls #28 – Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang split each page into four, as we follow each of the girls’ stories. It’s effective, especially when their stories overlap. I think this series must be getting close to ending, as things seem very momentous lately.
Punisher #11 – Between the Punisher and Baron Zemo, Bagalia City is probably never going to be the same again. This series would make a very expensive movie…
Star Wars #65 – The Rebel attack on Shu-Torun was going a little too well, so of course it’s time for it all to go to pieces, as Trios’s people begin to fight back, as the Empire arrives, and as Benthic and the Partisans turn on Luke. I’m going to miss Kieron Gillen writing this book; he’s done a very good job with both these characters and with developing complex storylines.
Uncanny X-Men #17 – As the rest of the X-Men attend the funeral of one of their own, Logan and Kwannon go after her killers. Matthew Rosenberg has shown the rivalry and animosity between Cyclops and Logan quite well in this series, up until this point. Scott’s accusations that Logan never cared about the X-Men ring false, and it makes the issue not work very well.
The Walking Dead #191 – It looks like the Commonwealth and Rick’s people are about to go to war with one another, until Rick steps up and makes another speech. I like that this series is now turning into an extended discussion of how a post-capitalist society can work, with only the occasional threat of zombies popping up to keep things fresh and exciting. Actually, at this point, the politics excites me more than the zombies do. And the ending – it’s something that I didn’t see coming, which is pretty cool. Is this the end of one of the most central characters in this book? I hope not…
DC’s Year of the Villain Special #1 – I haven’t been reading many DC books of late (the only one on my pull-list is Deathstroke), but I’m always down to check out a $0.25 comic. This has three short, apparently connected stories. In the first, Lex Luthor hatches his latest plot, which is to empower all of the world’s villains with what they need to be successful. I don’t know why. In the second, Green Arrow and Batgirl learn that Leviathan is back and is taking down rival organizations. In the third, the Justice League is in space, and a resurrected god is all about empowering Luthor. This Year of the Villain thing reminds me too much of the 90s event Underworld Unleashed, and isn’t doing a lot to interest me. This comic, with art by Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, and Farancis Manapul is lovely, but I’m not very enthused.
Free Comic Book Day Offerings:
Avengers – I’m not sure what the purpose of the first Avengers story, by Jason Aaron and Stefano Caselli really is. It references just about everything that’s happened in Aaron’s run, and has Iron Man in an unfamiliar environment, but like so many of the books below, doesn’t give me any reason to keep reading. The prelude for the new Savage Avengers, likewise, doesn’t do much for me. Wolverine is on the trail of an old friend who was kidnapped by the Hand, while Elektra is also dealing with them. I’m not a fan of Gerry Duggan’s writing – I gave him a lot of chances – so I’m going to be skipping Savage Avengers completely. This story didn’t do a thing to make me rethink that decision.
Bloodshot – I think I’m very done with Bloodshot. I had some hope that Tim Seeley might have an interesting take on the character, but based on this preview, which has him fighting some guys for some reason, I don’t think that’s the case. The Fallen World preview (which came out some days after the series began) does a better job of setting up one of the antagonists in that series, and recapping what happened in Rai’s series.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Firefly – I haven’t read Boom!’s Firefly yet, but the lead story in this comic doesn’t have much of that Whedonesque feel to it. Likewise, the Buffy story confused me – it looks like it’s set before Buffy got to know any of her friends. Is it a prequel? How much could be done with that?
Deadly Class: Killer Set – Rick Remender and Wes Craig take us back to the early days of this series, and it feels good to be hanging out with Marcus, Willie, Saya, and Maria again back when everything seemed terrible, but before it actually became terrible. Is it weird to be nostalgic for a series that is still running?
Interceptor – It seems that there are even more Donny Cates comics that I missed while he was on the comeup than I’d realized. Interceptor – a cool sci-fi vampire story – was originally published by Heavy Metal, but now is being collected by Vault Comics. This features art by Dylan Burnett, and has caught my eye. I’m going to be looking for this trade when it comes out.
Spider-Man – There are two stories in this issue. The first is a Carnage thing with more symbiote nonsense, by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, setting up some upcoming thing. The second is more charming, featuring Peter and Miles arguing over where the best pizza in New York is. It’s written by Saladin Ahmed and Tom Taylor, and is entertaining. I appreciate it more because it stands on its own instead of trying to set up something upcoming.
Stranger Things– I enjoyed the Netflix series, but don’t really need to read what amounts to a deleted scene. I picked this up for the Black Hammer story, but it doesn’t do much to entice new readers to check it out. I would think that most people would be confused by this.
Vampirella #0 – I don’t really understand who Vampirella is, or the appeal of the character, but the latest series featuring her is going to be written by Christopher Priest, my favourite superhero writer. The short preview here suggests that the story will be about how a character like Vampirella exists in the world of social media. It’s a novel approach, and Priest is incredible, so I’ll probably check it out. This issue is rounded out with a story from the 80s by Kurt Busiek and Art Adams about some bug people. I just skimmed it.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
Amazing Spider-Man #20 HU
Bone Parrish Vol. 1
Dead Man Logan #7
Domino Hotshots #3
Marvel Team-Up #4
Meet the Skrulls #4
War of the Realms #3
War of the Realms: Strikeforce – The Dark Elf Realm #1
Return of Wolverine #4&5 – I would think that something like the death, and then the return, of Wolverine would be a momentous event, but both ends of this long story came off feeling forced, and more than a little underwhelming. It’s nice to see Logan back, but I don’t feel like this whole experience said anything new about him. Maybe I’m sappy, but what I’d most like to see is Logan returning to the X-Men, but that’s where the story ends. I will say that I like it when Steve McNiven imitates Barry Windsor-Smith, but he only drew the first and last issues, leaving the rest to Declan Shalvey, whose style doesn’t match. I’d also like to understand the hot claws thing, but I guess that’s not to be. Whatever, it is nice to see Logan back in Uncanny X-Men; in three years or so, no one will even remember that Wolverine had died for a bit.