The Weekly Round-Up #497 With Gogor #2, Oblivion Song #16, Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #5 & More

The Best Comic of the Week:

Gogor #2 – I’m a big fan of Ken Garing’s work, so I’m very happy that Gogor exists in this world.  This issue has Armano, our hero, being led on a quest by Gogor, the Swamp Thing/Hulk mashup character that he awakened to help him stop the totalitarian Domus.  The thing is, Gogor wants to go somewhere else, giving us a great overview of Altara, the world of islands floating in the sky that make up the settings of this comic.  Garing’s art is lovely, and the story definitely has me interested. This is a good series.

Quick Takes:

Immortal Hulk #19 – I think I got all caught up with this series just as things start to get really weird.  The Hulk’s fight with the new Abomination continues, and Betty, much transformed, gets involved in some very shocking ways.  Al Ewing is definitely doing things with this book that no one has seen before. It’s pretty great.

Infinite Dark #7 – I continue to find this series a little confounding.  There are maybe just too many characters and too many things going on, and I often find scene changes jarring and difficult to manage.  Ryan Cady’s ideas for the series are strong ones, but I think the story needed a little more space to grow. I also find Andrea Mutti’s art a little hard to follow at time, and I keep getting confused by who some of the new characters are.

Invaders #6 – Namor’s big plan gets put into effect, and it’s kind of lame, really.  I like what Chip Zdarsky has been doing with these characters, but I’m still struggling to figure out just what Namor’s deal is.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #4 – We continue to explore Harada’s long life, including his time as the leader of a hippie commune, while in the present, the Angela Vessel makes her move, and anti-Harada forces lay waste to his post-scarcity society.  Joshua Dysart is one of my favourite comics writers, and it’s great to see him pull together and close out a story he started years ago.

Oblivion Song #16 – Nathan gets his first look at the Faceless Men, as he moves to rescue some people from Earth who they’ve captured.  At the same time, his brother goes looking for people they took from his camp too. This series has been building up the mystery of these beings for some time, and we are left with more questions after this excellent issue.  This title is never dull.

Outer Darkness #7 – My favourite satirical TV style science fiction horror series returns!  This time, John Layman plays with an old Star Trek trope as the Charon comes across a threat that has close ties to Earth history.  Layman’s character work in this series is just so good, as is Afu Chan’s art. I cannot recommend this book enough.

The Punisher #12 – Castle was pulled out of the ocean by some of the guys he helped to escape Bagalia, but it’s not long before Hydra is after him again.  Matthew Rosenberg and Szymon Kudranski have a great action movie vibe going in this book, and it really works.

Silver Surfer Black #1 – I am enjoying that Donny Cates is carving out a cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe for himself.  This new Silver Surfer miniseries spins out of his Guardians of the Galaxy title, showing us what has been happening to the Surfer since he got lost in the black hole in GotG #1.  He’s in a strange void, where he’s discovered a very powerful being, and is determined to stop it. Basically, this first issue is mostly set-up and great opportunities for artist Tradd Moore to show his stuff.  Like his recent The New World, this book is pretty lavish, with some very strange character designs. The Surfer is a difficult character to make interesting. Cates is going for more of a classic approach, diametrically opposed to Dan Slott’s recent run with the character.  I’m not sure yet which I prefer more.

Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #5 – Dennis Hopeless/Hallum has given us five stories about Vader as seen from various perspectives.  It’s been interesting, and has had some nice art, but I can’t escape the thought that this book was written to the already completed covers when writer Chuck Wendig was fired from Marvel.  The concept works, and the individual issues work, but there is no core theme running through the books that help to unify them. I think it’s time for Marvel to revisit what they want to accomplish with their Star Wars line, from an editorial standpoint.  It’s floundering.

X-Force #9 – While I’m excited to see what Jonathan Hickman has in store for Marvel’s mutants, I’m not happy that his run has necessitated the ending of Ed Brisson and Dylan Burnett’s X-Force, which has been one of the better X-books of the last decade.  In this issue, the team fights to rescue Kid Cable from Stryfe, and Rachel Summers starts to regain control of her mind and body. Next issue is the last one, which feels like a real waste of potential. I was looking forward to seeing what the team would do after this first adventure ended.

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

Amazing Spider-Man #23

Asgardians of the Galaxy #10

Batman and the Outsiders #2

Champions #6

Detective Comics #1005

Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man #7

Superior Spider-Man #7

Wonder Woman #72

Bargain Comics:

Amazing Spider-Man #12-15 – It feels like Spencer’s run is hitting its stride in these issues, as Spidey’s relationship with J Jonah Jameson gets a little more exploring, and then the set-up to a big Kraven story embroils Aunt May in unintended problems.  Ryan Ottley’s issues are very nice looking, but Chris Bachalo is just so good on Spider-Man.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Clover Honey Special Edition – I’ve been checking out more of Rich Tommaso’s early work, and nothing gets earlier than this graphic novel about a young woman who has worked her way into the family business, who learns that she has to find the guy who has been training her, even though that means he’s going to die.  I like the way Tommaso gives character precedence over plot, and makes this book so character driven that I kind of forgot what the plot was for a while. We get these highly realized portraits of people, especially the main character’s kindhearted cousin, who she has always looked down upon. Tommaso’s art is pretty rough, despite the fact that much of the book was redrawn in this “artist’s cut” edition, but it does have some clear and evocative faces.  It’s cool to look back at a creator’s earliest work and see how they’ve grown since then.