The Weekly Round-Up #578 With X-Men #16, Vampirella #16 & More Plus The Week In Music!

Best Comic of the Week:

X-Men #16 – I’ve been waiting for a book to explore some of the ramifications of X of Swords, and that’s what this issue is all about.  The living island of Arakko comes through the External Gate, but it and Krakoa can’t see joining together again.  The Quiet Council also has to figure out what to do with the Arakkans, who vastly outnumber the Krakoans, and are steadfast in their warlike positions, as explained by Isca when she meets with Xavier and Magneto.  Also, finally, it’s time to resurrect the X-Men as an actual team, and I really like the plan that Scott and Jean have for making that happen.  Jonathan Hickman continues to take this book in new and unexpected directions, and it stays pretty odd.  I like Phil Noto’s art in this issue, and am left wondering if the solicited issue of Cable didn’t come out this month because he was working on this.

Quick Takes:

Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3 – Weird gets weirder, as he tries to maintain ‘the pattern’ he saw, while also trying to exist in different moments in time.  I love Tyler Crook’s art in this book, but am left wondering why Talky-Walky, Weird’s robot, hasn’t shown up at all.  I thought they were always together during his space adventurer days.

Lost Soldiers #5 – I’ve learned to never really expect a neat ending from an Aleš Kot comic, but I still find it surprising sometimes.  This series explores, through the story of an old and angry Vietnam vet, some of the lies that America tells about itself and its place in the world.  It’s a lot quieter (aside from the bloody scenes in the last issue) than many of Kot’s titles, and I found that to be interesting.  It’s nice to see him writing more focused titles, and this is a nice companion to his recent Days of Hate series.

Resident Alien: Your Ride’s Here #3 – The government agent surveilling Harry makes a couple of odd decisions, including possibly kidnapping a child, while Harry starts to figure out that something is going on.  We also get to attend a wedding, and further some of the B- and C-plots that have made this small town gentleman doctor alien mystery series so charming.  I really love this series, and need to check out the TV show to see if they get it right.

Vampirella #16 – Let’s face it, this book has always been a little bit confusing, as every good Priest comic should be, but since Sacred Six launched as a sister title, things are a lot harder to follow.  I sometimes suspect that a shipping problem has the books coming out at the wrong times, or in the wrong order, but it might also be intentional.  Priest launches his second big arc on the book, and takes steps to make sure he can use his usual framing device, as Vampirella leaves a session with her therapist, only to return minutes later, claiming that a year has passed.  Poor Doctor Chary, he tries so hard.  As lost as I get sometimes, I do love this title, Priest’s writing in it, and the art of Ergün Gündüz.  There really is nothing like this comic on the stands right now.

Wolverine #8 – I found this oversized issue a little disappointing.  Logan shares a beer and some war stories with his new CIA friend, and then the subject of one of those stories happens to rear his head in the rest of the book.  Ben Percy has woven this title very tightly into what’s happening in X-Force, so that it would be difficult to read this book without reading that one, which I’m doing.  I still don’t love it though.  Generally, this issue felt a little rushed or poorly put together.  Maybe I’m just not that excited about the return of either Maverick or Patch…

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

Avengers #40

Batman Annual #5 – I had no idea that James Stokoe was drawing this.  I can’t believe that DC would get an artist of that caliber on a book like this, and then not have him draw the cover!

In Memoriam: MF DOOM

This week we learned that underground rap legend MF DOOM passed away at the end of October.  Daniel Dumile has gone by many names and aliases during his music career.  He started out as Zev Love X, part of KMD, but after the death of his brother, he took on the DOOM moniker, wearing a metal mask, and identifying himself as a super villain.  He also released albums under the name Viktor Vaughn (comics folk should get the reference), King Geedorah (as part of the Monsta Island Czars), and Metal Fingaz (his producer credit).  His work was heavily influenced by Marvel comics, with tracks on Operation Doomsday sampling from the old Fantastic Four cartoon.  

Nobody rapped like DOOM.  His wordplay was incredibly intricate, with stacks of internal rhymes, clever, and very unpredictable.  He played with song structure, ending songs in unexpected places, and was wildly funny.  His flow was always remarkable, and instantly recognizable.  Often overlooked is his unique beatmaking, which was full of dusty loops.

DOOM enjoyed playing the villain.  He became notorious for sending stand-ins (Doombots?) to concerts to wear his mask and lip sync, if he didn’t feel that he was being respected enough by the promoters.  

DOOM leaves behind a pretty deep catalogue of work, mostly concentrated in the early 2000s.  He hasn’t been too prolific in the last six or seven years, but he did have a new track released as part of the Grand Theft Auto soundtrack recently.

If you don’t know his work, I suggest you sit down and listen to the album he made with Madlib as Madvillain.  Madvillainy is one of my top five albums of all time, and captures everything I loved about DOOM perfectly.

The Week in Music:

RAP Ferreira – bob’s son: R​.​A​.​P. Ferreira in the garden level cafe of the scallops hotel – RAP Ferreira (fka Milo) had the best rap album of 2020 with his Purple Moonlight Pages, and I think he might have pulled off the best rap album of 2021 too.  This was released in the first moments of the new year, and set the bar pretty damn high for anyone else.  Rory has structured this album around the life of Bob Kaufman, the homeless poet who gave the Beat Generation its name.  He employs his usual display of lyrical prowess, jumping all over a number of jazzy and unconventional, yet beautiful, beats.  I’ve only listened to this a couple of times so far, and I realize just how much there is to take in.  This is the kind of album that can keep you entertained for months, with so much to parse, understand, and research.  The link above takes you to the bandcamp page, but if you really want to experience it, go to the VR cafe that Rory set up, and listen to the album there.  

Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger – Force Majeure – During the first wave of Covid, Douglas and Younger performed these songs on livestreams from their apartment in Harlem.  Later, some brilliant person put them together, and International Anthem put them out.  These are warm and intimate, just a harp and a double-bass, with the occasional comment tossed in, and they are so beautiful.  It’s amazing that the archives of this time of such loss and anxiety will also contain this beautiful collection of covers, and the one new piece, Toilet Paper Romance.  

Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Doug Carn – Jazz Is Dead 005 – The fifth entry in the Jazz is Dead series brings with it no sign of fatigue or of slowing down.  Doug Carn plays a Hammond B3 throughout this album, which has no vocals at all.  Shaheed Muhammad and Younge accompany him on keys and guitar, and for the most part, there’s a trumpet and alto sax as well, along with some nice drums.  It’s jazzy, but also pretty quick moving.  I love this series, and that new installments have been reaching me as regularly as some comics series.