The Weekly Round-Up #585 With Hollow Heart #1, Abbott 1973 #2, Sacred Six #7, Family Tree #11 & More Plus The Week In Music!

Best Comic of the Week:

Hollow Heart #1 – Paul Allor and Paul Tucker caught my eye with their Tet series at IDW some years back, and Tucker has come to TCAF at least once, where I bought some of his self-published work, and so I was predisposed to like this book.  It’s about El, which is either a giant robot with a human-like pink skull, or a form of cyborg, or something.  El is kept in a high tech facility from which he keeps trying to escape.  Mateo is a tech who works on him, and starts to develop sympathy for him, hoping to help him escape.  There’s not a lot revealed in this first issue, but we get a good sense of these characters, and I’m definitely interested in reading more.  It looks like another winner coming from Vault.

Quick Takes:

Abbott 1973 #2 – Elena knows that the Umbra is back, and coming after her, as Detroit gets ready to vote for its first Black mayor.  I really like Elena’s character, and the way in which writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Sami Kivelä portray Detroit in the early 70s, as the city starts to undergo big changes.  This series is a worthy sequel to the original.

Barbalien: Red Planet #4 – As this series continues, I find myself getting more and more drawn in to it.  Mark is getting closer to Miguel, the AIDS activist, but that leaves him oblivious to the threat Boaz poses for him and the city.  This series portrays an era we don’t see much of in comics, and it feels very relevant, but also a little dated.  Gabriel Hernández Walta’s art is very nice, as always, and it’s nice to get to know Mark Markz better.

Cable #8 – Nate and Domino head to Tokyo on a whim, and find themselves on the trail of Stryfe.  This series is enjoyable – I like Young Cable much more than the old version, although he’s clearly coming back soon too.

Captain America #27 – The Red Skull puts his final plan in motion, in a scene that reads very differently since the attack on the Capitol Building.  I like what Ta-Nehisi Coates is doing with this story, but it just moves so slowly as to be very frustrating.

Excellence #10 – I’m so happy to see this comic return after a brief hiatus.  Excellence is one of my favourite comics of the last couple of years, and it keeps upping the stakes.  I felt a little lost at the start of this issue, because of the break, but got back into the swing of things, as we started to get a better sense of just how Spencer Dales’s father works with the Overseer who directs the magicians of the Tenth.  This book is about revolution, and a reimagining of a world where the most powerful people in it are not under the control of the utterly unexceptional.  It’s a very smart series, and with each new issue, it feels ever more relevant.  I’m hoping that it’s back on schedule now.

Family Tree #11 – So there’s only one more issue of this series?  I thought it was going to run longer than this, but as we finally get ready to learn everything that happened between the two timelines in this series, I can see how Jeff Lemire and Phil Hester could wrap things up soon.  This series has always been a quick, but consistently good read.

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 – While preparing to fight the Olympians, the team gathers at the site of one of the key battles in the Annihilation War.  I love how Al Ewing is giving the Guardians more space as characters than we’ve seen since the classic D’n’A run, while also laying the groundwork for some pretty big changes to the team.  This book has been pretty exciting lately, and it helps cement my opinion that Ewing is the best writer working at Marvel right now.

Iron Man #6 – Christopher Cantwell is putting Tony Stark through some big changes, as his fight with Korvac has left him in a very precarious position.  Of course, Tony isn’t the least bit interested in pausing to heal, even though so much as taking his helmet off could kill him now (despite the fact that next issue’s cover shows him doing just that).  I’m liking this book more and more, but still feel like it’s missing an emotional centre.  I’m also very confused to see a Guardsman join Korvac’s group of villains, without any explanation as to who he is.  

Marauders #18 – I thought we were moving towards this big gala that Emma Frost is throwing, but instead this issue is more focused on the conflict between the Marauders and Verendi taking place in Madripoor.  This book is usually enjoyable, but also often very inconsistent. This issue, which introduces some new Reavers, jumps around a fair bit.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #23 – Miles gets roped into the King in Black nonsense, which means this whole issue contains a fight with a symbiote dragon, and then a symbiote-covered Ms. Marvel.  That’s basically all that happens.  I hate event books…

Once & Future #16 – We learn a little more about the government agency that supports Bridget and her crew in this issue, as different characters come together.  I’m digging this series more than I did at the beginning.

Sacred Six #7 – Priest stays a little all over the place with this series, which is not as structured as his Vampirella, but I do enjoy his take on these different characters.  I find the supporting characters to be the most interesting, but cannot imagine reading this book without also reading the main title.

Stillwater #6 – The last issue of this series about a small town where no one dies or ages revealed just how divided the town is, as the judge who has taken over protecting the residents from the outside world decides the best way to resolve disagreement is by having dissenters shot.  Now, we learn that the deputy has been running his own play for a few years, and see what all he’s been up to over the decades.  Chip Zdarsky and Ramón Perez are doing such good work here, and I find it pretty fascinating.

Thor #12 – Most of this issue is given over to Throg and Valkyrie, as they face off against Don Blake.  This issue didn’t need Thor, because these are all more interesting characters, and Donny Cates and Nic Klein made this issue very exciting.  I’m enjoying this arc.

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

Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1

King in Black #4

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Redneck Vol. 4: Lone Star – At the beginning, Donny Cates’s family vampire series seemed to be small in scope, but with each trade, the series has been expanding.  Now JV and what’s left of his family find themselves in a mythical land of the dead, being hosted by an elder vampire who has history with Bartlett, and who has plans for the family.  Because I’m reading this book so sporadically, it always takes me a while to get caught up again, but once I found my bearings, I enjoyed this volume as much as I did the first two (I remember the third one fizzled a little for me).  This is a cool series.

The Week in Music:

CARM – CARM – I was intrigued by this new album on the 37d03d (aka People) label, made by horn player CJ Cameirieri.  What caught my attention was the involvement of people like Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Chris Bierden (Poliça), and producer Ryan Olson (Poliça, GAYNGS, and Marijuana Deathsquads).  I find this to be an inconsistent album – some of the tracks are just excellent, but a few feel a little more mainstream alternative rock than usually appeals to me.  But with horns, so they’re still cool.

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