The Weekly Round-Up #580 With SWORD #2, E-Ratic #2, Sweet Tooth: The Return #3, Star Wars: Darth Vader #9 & More Plus The Week In Music!

Best Comic of the Week:

SWORD #2 – Usually, I would think that making the second issue of a new series an event tie-in would be a bad idea, but this King in Black story (that doesn’t have any trade dress alerting readers to the fact that it’s a tie-in on the cover) works a good proof of concept for where Al Ewing is taking this book.  Apparently the Earth has been covered in symbiote goop, and the mutants on the Peak are needed to help with the mutant response.  We learn that Mentallo is on Brand’s squad, and that she has deeper plans and the ability to use this crisis to further them.  It’s a very good issue, with lots of cool character moments spotlighting under-utilized characters.  I wonder how Paibok got onto Krakoa, but beyond that, I really enjoyed this comic.

Quick Takes:

The Devil’s Red Dress #4 – As Ketsuko finally gets to face the enemy she’s been working towards killing, the rug gets pulled out from under her.  We learn that her perception of things was not always accurate, and that things are more complicated than she imagined.  And that she’s not the only person nearby who has made a deal with a devil.  This Japanese historical horror series has impressed me, and has me keeping an eye out for more work from writer Sebastian Girner.

E-Ratic #2 – Kaare Andrews is doing good work on this series, which plays with Peter Parker tropes, but modernizes them.  There’s a lot I don’t understand, having not read The Resistance, which this is a kind of spin-off of, but at the same time, the backstory is not all that important.  Andrews’s art is always a treat, and he has a good affinity for this kind of teen movie stuff.  

Immortal Hulk #42 – It wasn’t until the end of this issue that I realized that Bruce and his counterparts are barely in it.  Instead, Al Ewing focuses on the sprawling supporting cast, as Gamma Flight confront Henry Gyrich, Amanda faces unemployment, and the Leader has to face some realities he didn’t know before.  This book keeps building, and stays amazing.  There are a number of guest artists on different sequences, but things feel consistent throughout. 

Lonely Receiver #5 – I’ll admit that somewhere in the last issue, Zac Thompson lost me in terms of fully understanding the plot of this dark series about our future with technology.  I should probably read the series from start to finish again.  Regardless, it becomes clear from reading this that we are going to need to confront our technology fetishes soon, before the world he portrays comes to pass.

Marauders #17 – This really is such an odd series.  Emma Frost continues to make moves, wresting power from Sebastian Shaw and planning a big party for Hellfire’s human customers and allies, while Kate travels to pay some debts, and Callisto decides it’s time to enter the Crucible and get her powers restored.  This book has an ensemble cast that shifts focus a lot, and sometimes I wonder if there really is a plan in place, but I enjoy it.  My only complaint is that Matteo Lolli really makes the characters look too young and fresh, unless that’s a function of the resurrection process.  I always liked Callisto looking tough and battle-scarred.  

Star Wars: Darth Vader #9 – Over the holidays I watched The Rise of Skywalker again, and made the connection that Ochi, the Sith Assassin in this current arc, was mentioned in that movie.  Now, this issue further ties some of the events of that film into the comics, as Vader finds a wayfinder (presumably the one that ended up on the second Death Star).  Rafaelle Ienco continues to kill it on this book, which is gorgeous, but it’s also frustratingly decompressed.  It’s a good thing the art is so good.

Sweet Tooth: The Return #3 – We hit the halfway point, and Jeff Lemire reveals a lot of what’s been going on in this series, as Gus makes an escape and learns some truths about what Father has been up to in his underground kingdom.  It’s nice to see Lemire working on this book again, and it feels like this story really doe complement the original Sweet Tooth run.

The Week in Music:

Felt- Felt 4 U – It has taken months for me to get my hands on the most recent Felt album, but it was worth the wait.  Slug (from Atmosphere) and Murs (from Living Legends) have teamed up again, over more great Ant beats, to trade rhymes and philosophy.  I love hearing their flows go back and forth, as they approach this project with greater maturity.  Where the earlier Felt albums have tended to focus on the women they were named after (such as Lisa Bonet), this is a more personal project from each of them.  I like it a lot.  Also, comics fans, Murs shouts out Image and Skybound on one track.

Apifera – Overstand – This was a nice treat this week. I’ve been a fan of keyboardist Rejoicer for a couple of years, but never knew much about him (I thought Rejoicer was a band, not a guy). Apifera is a band made up of Rejoicer, Nitai Hershkovits, Amir Bresler, and Yonatan Albalakan. They play beat-heavy jazz. I wish this was pressed to CD, because it’s something I want to return to again and again.