The Weekly Round-Up #493 With Little Bird #3, Gideon Falls #13, The Life & Death of Toyo Harada #3, Oblivion Song #15, Star Wars #66 & More!

Best Comic of the Week:

Little Bird #3 – The deeper I get into this miniseries, the more I enjoy it.  Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram are telling a pretty dark story about a future where the Catholic Church has taken over America, and is just about finished taking over Canada.  The small band of resistance fighters make some desperate moves, but a random encounter with an old associate spells disaster for them. Bertram’s art is fantastic, and the nice chunky page count (with no extra cost!) makes for very involved reading.  This is a great book.

Quick Takes:

Black Badge #10 – A lot of secrets are revealed this issue, as the Black Badge kids figure out what’s been going on and how they’ve been manipulated (and helped) by their scoutmasters.  This is a very entertaining series with great art by Tyler Jenkins. It’s only got a couple of issues left, and they promise to be cool.

Daredevil #5 – It’s kind of odd to see such a funny writer as Chip Zdarsky get so grim and gritty in his Daredevil run.  DD is going full tilt, and barely holding it together as the knowledge that he caused a man’s death just floors him. It takes a few interventions from some of his superhero colleagues to really make Matt realize what’s going on.  This is a very perceptive and dark comic; it’s pretty great.

Farmhand #8 – For a few issues now we’ve been getting hints as to what’s been happening with the people who have received transplants from Jedidiah.  Now, when a man breaks into his house and attacks him, we get a very clear idea of just how wrong things are. This is a stakes-raising kind of issue, with a much darker feel than I expected.  I do love the creativity at work by Rob Guillory in this series.

Gideon Falls #13 – This series has taken a pretty drastic shift, as it’s now about a priest chasing a man or demon he believes to be the original Norton Sinclair through some alternate realities.  I’m not sure when we’re going to get back to the characters that populated the first two arcs of this title, but with Andrea Sorrentino’s art on display, I’m good with it.

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 – This initial arc comes to a head as Gladiator’s group has taken Gamora, and they learn the truth of Thanos’s plans, while Star-Lord’s group work to find their way to rescue their former teammate.  I am really enjoying the work that Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw are doing on this book, and the way they’ve invigorated some overlooked or misused characters.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #3 – I really wish Joshua Dysart wrote more comics.  The culmination of all of his work at Valiant continues, as the Angela Vessel makes her move against Harada and his loyalists, and we get to observe a meeting Toyo took with Albert Einstein on his deathbed.  Harada is a deeply complex character, and Dysart has always made him interesting. It was a nice surprise to see Adam Pollina’s art on the flashback sequences.

Livewire #6 – I think it’s a little strange that Vita Ayala has Amanda going up against a new organization that is essentially the Harbinger Foundation 2.0, but it does lead to a good story, and a chance for artist Kano to show his stuff.  I’ve been enjoying this series, even though it’s quite different from what I’d expected of it.

Low #22 – Storylines begin to converge as Stel is freed from captivity, the domed city of Salus makes its ascent, and another city decides to attack it.  Low is a very unusual book – Greg Tocchini’s art and design make it truly unique, and often hard to follow, but it’s also incredibly gorgeous. Rick Remender has really committed to the world he’s created here, and Stel’s message of hope and optimism in the face of calamity is more important now than when the series began.  It’s getting close to its end, but with the speed at which this book comes out, that’s still probably not for a while yet.

Oblivion Song #15 – Now that this series has established itself and shifted its tone, as only Robert Kirkman comics do, it’s time to reveal the full threat of the Faceless Men, as this group of aliens attack a group from Earth.  This is a very exciting series with a great sense of design.

Port of Earth #10 – More and more, this series is reading as much as a criticism of late-stage capitalism as my earlier take on it being about colonialism.  As an alien disease spreads in America, it becomes more and more apparent that the Consortium of aliens who run the Port of Earth are using this as an opportunity to create havoc and consolidate control of the planet.  What makes this series fascinating is watching how characters react to this knowledge, knowing there’s very little they can do about it.

Star Wars #66 – I thought this would be the end of the Shu-Torun arc, but I was wrong.  It’s still going, although with the Imperials bombarding the planet from space, Queen Trios making her way to confront Leia, and with Benthic turning on Luke, things don’t look too good for anyone, except maybe for the Death Cult guys who have shown up to watch the show.  I’m really going to miss Kieron Gillen when his run is over; he’s written the best issues of this series since it launched.

Teen Titans #30 – I thought I’d pick up this epilogue to the Terminus Agenda crossover with Deathstroke, despite the fact that Priest wasn’t involved in it.  I have long liked those aftermath style issues, where the heroes stand around and get mad at one another. That’s what happens here, as writer Adam Glass proves that maybe I shouldn’t have completely written him off after his terrible New 52 Suicide Squad book.  The kids get mad at each other, and divide ranks some. It’s an effective issue, and if DC books came with digital codes still, I’d be getting the next one.

Uncanny X-Men #18 – The news came out this week that Matthew Rosenberg’s run, and this title, would be ending when Jonathan Hickman takes over, and that effectively sucks the wind out of the book.  Logan leaves, and the team finds itself in two inexplicable fights – one with the Marauders, who don’t want to fight them, and the other with Sinister, who they defeat kind of easily. Yet another X-Man dies, Havok almost phases away, and people act a little out of character.  It looks like Emma Frost might have something to do with what’s going on, but I’m starting to question whether any of these deaths or life-changing events (like Scott losing an eye) are going to last – it doesn’t seem likely, and I’m starting to think that this is going to turn out to have been yet another alternate reality thing coinciding with Age of X-Man, and we just don’t know it.  Also concerning is the way in which Marvel is relegating this book to being drawn by newcomers (who is Carlos Villa?), suggesting that they don’t care a whole lot about it either. It’s disappointing.

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

Amazing Spider-Man #21

Batman #71

Cinema Purgatorio #18

Firefly #6

Horror of Collier County HC

Outpost Zero Vol. 2 Follow It Down

Pearl #9

Star Wars: TIE Fighter #2

Sword Daughter Vol. 2 Folded Metal HC

War of the Realms #4

War of the Realms: Strikeforce War Avengers #1

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Sex Book Six: World Hunger – We’ve waited a long time for some new Sex (the series that is often as much fun to write about as it is to read), and Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski deliver!  They’ve moved this book from being a regular comic to a series of trades, which I don’t love, but I’m happy to support. Sex has been the best Batman comic I’ve read in years, and that doesn’t feel very different in this trade.  As Simon Cooke travels to Europe to be inducted into the Rothchilds, a secret cabal, the gangs in Saturn are beefing up their war, and Keenan’s girl is caught up in it. This is a pretty involved series at this point, and the long delay did make it a little difficult to re-immerse in at first, but it was all worth it.  This is a very good read, and a gorgeous comic. I hope it’s not too long before the next volume arrives.