X-Factor #6 – X-Factor is my other unexpected favourite X-book on the stands. Leah Williams, like Zeb Wells in Hellions, is putting a number of third-string characters front and centre, and is giving us a very character-driven book. Siryn keeps turning up dead, but is not prepared to work with X-Factor when they try to understand why. It’s an interesting mystery, but I’m just as interested in seeing Eye-Boy and Prodigy hang out. This is a very good book.
Crossover #3 – The first two issues of this book were good, but things really start to kick into gear with this issue. This series is set in a world where a ton of comic book characters turned up in Colorado, and now live under a giant bubble. This has changed the world, but like the narrator says at the beginning, not in the same ways that the giant squid at the end of Watchmen did. In this issue, writer Donny Cates revisits characters from one of his earlier comics, and then we see a character I wouldn’t have expected to see in this book. The story is working well, Geoff Shaw’s art is great, and the potential to see other prominent characters like this is too good to pass up.
Eternals #1 – I wasn’t sure what to expect from a new Eternals series by Kieron Gillen. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen an Eternals book, and I was having trouble remembering everything that happened in it. As a property, they tend to be underutilized, and maybe lacking in a lot of potential. Gillen and artist Esad Ribic give this book a bit of a House of X feel, as there are icons for different locations associated with the Eternals, and an immediate teleportation system, overseen by their AI. Ikarus, the main character Eternal (although I’d argue that Sersi has had a much greater impact on the Marvel Universe) is tasked with “freeing” Sprite, who I guess has been dead since the Neil Gaiman-written series, but is also backed up to a version from before humanity evolved. Sprite is now female, and still mischievous. While she and Ikarus trade quips with Iron Man and fight a Deviant, a murder happens in the main Eternal city, and it appears that the murderer was an Eternal. The revelation of who that is didn’t come as much of a surprise, but it does suggest that this book is going to interact a lot with the mainstream Marvel Universe, which is something I didn’t expect to see from Gillen anytime soon. I’m not convinced that this has me excited yet, but I’m down to give it a shot, as aspects of this issue were interesting. I did struggle to find a lot of connection with the characters.
Fire Power #7 – It’s another excellent issue of this series, held together by Chris Samnee’s incredible action sequences. He and Robert Kirkman are making one of the more exciting titles Image is putting out right now. There is such a sense of urgency to this book.
Guardians of the Galaxy #10 – I’m not reading the King in Black series, but it’s not all that necessary to understand what’s happening in this tie-in issue. The Guardians are being deployed to Spartax to try to hold back Knull’s genocidal rampage through the cosmos, but there’s not much they can do, until a good friend they thought was dead returns. I love the way that Al Ewing is writing this book, and hope that his tenure lasts for a good long time (I’m a little worried that we’re already moving towards another relaunch with this count-down thing happening at the end of each issue. If they are relaunching (for like the 1000th time), I really want Ewing and artist Juann Cabal, and this current cast of characters, to stick around.
Hellions #8 – I never expected to enjoy this book as much as I do. This ridiculous collection of misfits are really growing on me. In this issue, they face off against Cameron Hodge and some Smiley robots, but things aren’t exactly as they seem, once again. Zeb Wells is putting a lot of strong character work in this book, and it’s cool to get to dig into some of these characters. I’m even coming around to liking Nanny, which I never thought would happen.
Iron Man #5 – Things are stepping up in Tony’s fight with Korvac, and I mostly love the group of heroes he’s assembled to help him out here. I feel like Chris Cantwell might enjoy writing an oddball team book, like a new iteration of the Defenders. This run got off to a rocky start, but it keeps getting better. Cafu’s art is great, but his Stark looks pretty young to me.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #22 – Natacha Bustos is the guest artist (or new regular artist?), and while at the beginning of the issue, I worried that her work was too cartoonish, by the end, I was completely on board with it. This is a good in-between issue, as Miles connects with Starling (literally), and we move from the Ultimatum story towards the upcoming King in Black crossover (I’m already getting tired of this event).
Star Wars #10 – I like how this current arc is focusing on the Rebel’s efforts to put together a new code, since the Empire has cracked theirs, but I do wonder at the fact that the fleet doesn’t have more robot technicians. Charles Soule is doing some interesting things here, and it’s nice to see Lobot get a bit of prominence.
Thor #11 – Don Blake is continuing his rampage, but takes a break to go visit Jane Foster, not realizing all the changes Jane’s been through. This book has gotten pretty dark, but I’m liking where Donny Cates and Nic Klein are taking it these days.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #1
In Memoriam: Steve Lightle
We learned this week that Steve Lightle, best known as a cover artist, mostly at DC, passed away. Lightle was an incredible artist, who I always admired. I first came across his work when he was drawing the covers for The Legion of Super-Heroes, which I wrote about back in October 2019 during my year-long revisiting of the Legion. There was a cleanness to Lightle’s covers (and interiors), as well as a focus on character that I always liked. I trained myself to be able to spot a Lightle cover, and remember being excited when he took over the covers on Classic X-Men in the late 80s. I’ve been thinking about tracking down the pre-Grant Morrison issues of Doom Patrol for a while now, but I’d forgotten that Lightle was the artist on that run. Now I want to read them even more. My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. He was one of the greats.
When I added this feature to my column last week to pay my respects to MF DOOM, I did not expect that I’d have to write another one so soon. I’m hoping this is not going to be a regular feature.
The Week in Music:
Navy Blue – Song of Sage: Post Panic! – Navy Blue is an up-and-coming rapper who really arrives on this project. There’s a nice consistency to it, and features by underground luminaries Zeroh and billy woods, and most surprisingly, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def). Navy Blue holds his own in this setting. I liked this.
YUNGMORPHEUS – States of Precarity – YUNGMORPHEUS is another newer rapper who has been pretty prolific of late. I haven’t sat with this album yet (it’s been a busy week), but I really liked what I heard on it, and look forward to giving it a little more time. I only discovered him this summer through the incredible livestream series Leaving Records was putting on, and his set stood out.