Fear Case #1 – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins have established that they work very well together with their excellent Black Badge and Grass Kings. Now they’re at Dark Horse, with this story about a long-unsolved case that is in the jurisdiction of the Secret Service. They appear to be investigating an urban myth – a container that has been passed around for decades, leaving misery in its wake, but with this issue, the two agents, almost at the end of their first year on the job, make a grisly discovery. I love that Kindt works in a nod to his last Dark Horse book, Bang!, and I like the change in his style that Jenkins is using here. I don’t think I ever knew that the Secret Service predated any other national investigative force in the US, and I think this is a cool and under-utilized organization in stories like this. I’m very interested in seeing where this is going.
Far Sector #10 – We’re moving into the home stretch on this title, and that means that a lot of things are finally revealed, as Jo learns who is behind the black market drug Switchoff, the meme-producing sweatshops, and the murders that opened this excellent series. NK Jemisin has kept this book fascinating, creating a very complex alien culture, and then having a Green Lantern from Earth have to make sense of it. This book has stayed relevant (there is even some election fraud in this issue), and is a clear example of the potential in science fiction to comment on modern concerns. Jamal Campbell’s art is great here, and this series already has me wanting more comics from Jemisin in the future.
Fire Power #8 – The Johnson family are heading to China to figure out just what is going on, and to protect their children by taking them closer to danger. This is a bit of a placeholder issue, making important moves for the storyline, but lacking in any big moments, except maybe for a big fight in an airplane. I am loving Chris Samnee’s art in this book, and feel like this might be the only Robert Kirkman book sticking to its schedule at the moment. I’m not sure what’s up with that.
Hellions #9 – This oddball series continues to be a compelling read, as Mastermind makes a move against Mister Sinister and ends up messing with the team. I was a bit confused in places, as I didn’t catch on too quickly what Wyngarde is up to, but that made the rest more enjoyable. It’s strange that Zeb Wells is making this book the Krakoan hybrid of classic Suicide Squad and the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League, but it’s working.
Immortal Hulk #43 – Among all the Hulk’s villains, the U-Foes are my favourite. They are a twisted version of the Fantastic Four, and their leader, Vector, has one of the most ridiculously psychedelic costumes in comics. They are in this issue, preparing to go after Hulk, while Joe Fixit tries to live on the lam, using his particular skill set, but even he is surprised to learn he has a conscience when he sees a member of the Teen Brigade getting harassed by cops for no reason. I continue to be very impressed with Al Ewing’s work on this book, and Joe Bennett’s.
King in Black: Marauders #1 – I’m mostly ignoring the whole King in Black thing, but because I’ve been enjoying Marauders, I thought I’d pick up this one-off. Kate’s team is on their way to try to rescue Cyclops and Storm (apparently Knull has turned them to his side) but along the way, they get sidetracked into rescuing a vessel at sea being attacked by symbiote dragons. This leads to them having to hastily work out Krakoa’s position on human refugees. I feel like this issue lacked some subtlety, but it was nice to see some of the team’s main characters like Pyro and Iceman again, since they’ve been largely absent from the regular book of late. So far as one-off tie-ins go, there was nothing wrong with this.
Star Wars #11 – I guess it’s cool that in this arc, Charles Soule is focusing on different characters from the main ones. I’m starting to notice the lack of Han Solo (these stories are all set between Empire and Jedi, so Han is off in carbonite. I like that Poe Dameron’s parents are getting more and more screen time in this book, and enjoyed the starfighter sequence. Still, I feel like something is kind of missing here…
Tartarus #9 – Is it possible for a pacifist society to exist for long? That is one of the things that Johnnie Christmas has been exploring in this latest arc, which now has the consequences of Surka’s actions coming back on the people that first helped her when she arrived. We see what Hisa has been up to for the last decade, as this excellent science fiction series looks to be preparing to return to Tartarus. I’m enjoying this book a great deal, and like how different this arc has been from the first.
X-Factor #7 – X-Factor is fixing to be my favourite X-book. I really like the diversity of the cast, which brings together characters that have been around forever with newer ones, but is treating all of them with new, more respectful interpretations that make some of them interesting for the first time ever. I never would have thought I’d be into a team that has Northstar leading, but I love it. This book, under Leah Williams and David Baldéon has been a very pleasant surprise.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
King in Black: Black Knight #1
King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #2
The Week in Music:
Madlib – Sound Ancestors – Madlib is one of my absolute favourite musicians and beat makers. He’s been involved in many amazing collaborative projects with the likes of J Dilla (Jaylib), MF DOOM (Madvillain), and Freddie Gibbs, and has put together an incredible body of work on his own, such as his thirteen disc Madlib Medicine Show, the Beat Konducta series, his forays into jazz with Yesterday’s New Quintet, and much, much more. He’s also been hugely influential in my musical education, as his work has led me to dig into African and Indian music, prog rock, Brazilian funk, and so much more. Now, he’s released Sound Ancestors, which is equally a survey of his musical influences and a collection of incredible instrumental tracks. This album is a collaboration with Four-Tet, in ways I don’t fully understand, and it is a delight, as Madlib journeys through all of his sound ancestors. It’s pretty amazing.