Best Comic of the Week:
The Rush #1 – I picked this up as an impulse buy, and it ended up being the best book I read this week. I’m not sure how I didn’t know this comic was coming, as I always read Vault’s solicitations in Previews (although they aren’t the clearest). Anyway, the always-excellent Si Spurrier has set this horror comic in the waning days of the Yukon gold rush. A woman is determined to track down her son, who at sixteen was abandoned by his father in Dawson. The woman travels north, hiring an old prospector to be her guardian and companion. She gets put on his trail pretty quickly, but isn’t aware that the small town where he’s relocated is at the mercy of a demon of some sort. Spurrier captures the period very well, and makes the woman a compelling character in a short span. The artist, Nathan Gooden, portrays the roughness of the time period very well in the craggy faces of the prospectors, and gives the series a real sense of creepiness. This issue is oversized and a good meaty read. I’m on board for the rest of it, and am looking forward to the next issue.
Fire Power #17 – The snakes have brought Master Shaw back to life, and it looks like Owen and Kellie are the only people who can stand against him, assuming they can get out of the temple alive. It’s another action-filled issue with fantastic Chris Samnee art. This series never slows down.
The Human Target #1 – Tom King picks another obscure DC character to give his usual treatment to. This time around, Christopher Chance, the Human Target, gets poisoned while doing a job for Lex Luthor, and now has only days to live. It looks like King is mining the late 80s DCU, with an appearance from Doctor Mid-Nite and the promise of the Justice League International (including G’nort) in future issues. Greg Smallwood draws the hell out of this comic, and washes it in interesting colour choices. I liked Peter Milligan’s take on the Target decades ago, and am curious to see where King is going to take him as he tries to solve the mystery of who killed him. This should be good.
Newburn #1 – Chip Zdarsky is someone I usually associate with humour comics, but he’s been branching out, as seen in his horror book Stillwater. Newburn, his new book with the excellent Jacob Phillips (who is also drawing That Texas Blood, somehow), focuses on a former cop who has been hired by all the crime families of New York to investigate issues that arise between them. It’s an interesting new take on the standard private eye story, and I’m into it. Phillips’s art reminds me a lot of his fathers, around the Sleeper era, and Zdarsky shows a talent for constructing puzzle boxes in his plotlines. This should be an interesting title.
Orphan and the Five Beasts #3 – I’d almost given up hope on another issue of James Stokoe’s kung fu homage series, kind of like how I’ve given up on ever seeing the end of Orc Stain, but then this issue came along. Stokoe’s art is always wonderful, and the story is kind of fun, as the “Orphan” leads her new army to a town where a single restaurant is doing amazing business. B-movie schlock and insane graphics fill this comic, and make it a lot of fun.
The Silver Coin #6 – Michael Walsh’s series about a cursed demonic coin returns for a second season with a new stable of writers. Joshua Williamson has this story, set in an arcade in a mall in the early 90s (I’d have thought it would be earlier, but for the Spawn cameo), and uses it to reference one of the earlier issues. The horror belongs in the slasher camp this time around, and is a little run of the mill, but is still effective. There’s also a short backup story by Chris Hampton and Gavin Fullerton that encapsulates the first five issues of this book very well. This is a cool concept, and I’m happy to see that it was successful enough to continue.
Star Wars #18 – The War of the Bounty Hunters (which didn’t have all that many bounty hunters in it) wraps up with a meeting between Leia and Q’ira, in which they discuss Han, and how Crimson Dawn can help the Rebellion. I admire the way Charles Soule is incorporating some of the more recent films into the Star Wars universe proper, as we find reasons to not immediately dive into the Return of the Jedi era, now that Jabba has Han on his wall. It’s a good issue.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #17 – Beilert attempts to escape Vader’s flagship, but things end very unexpectedly in this issue, as he lands himself a new job. This series has long struggled to feel like its own thing, and as the status quo shifts again, I’m hopeful that it might carve out a stronger identity for itself.
The Swamp Thing #9 – Ram V is getting ready to end this series (although apparently a second season is on the way) with Levi, the Swamp Thing, confronting his brother who also has plant or animal powers at the place where he used to work, and got manipulated into becoming the Swamp Thing. I like how V has placed Levi in a longer tradition of Swamp Things, making him fit nicely in DC’s continuity. I love Mike Perkins’s art in this series, and really hope he’s the person who will be drawing the next run.
Teen Titans Academy #7 – This book has been hella late, so it’s nice to see it finally arrive. It wraps up the summer vacation story, with Gorilla Gregg falling in with his famous uncle for a bit of mind control and domination, causing some of the kids to work against him. It’s a good enough issue that shines the spotlight on more of the students that we haven’t seen a lot of.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
Amazing Fantasy #4
Batman Superman Authority Special #1
Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #6
The Week in Music:
Theo Croker – BLK2Life – A Future Past – Theo Croker’s latest album is an expansive exploration of Afrofuturism through spiritual jazz. It’s a really incredible album, as Croker’s trumpet leads listeners on this journey. This is an easy recommendation to fans of Kamasi Washington or some of the Black liberation music of the 70s. Croker works with a gifted group of musicians (including Kassa Overall) to put this together, but the vision throughout is consistent and strong. It’s very beautiful.
Hania Rani & Dobrawa Czocher – Inner Symphonies – Hania Rani’s piano and Dobrawa Czocher’s cello go together so beautifully on this album of contemporary classical pieces. I’ve been a fan of Rani’s for a while now, and like that I get to see a different side of her on this album. It’s very pretty, and my only complaint is that I wish many of the compositions were longer. It feels like it goes by very quickly.
Milo – A Toothpaste Suburb – I first discovered Milo on Busdriver’s Thumbs EP, and then listened to this 2014 album a whole lot. I’ve never had a physical copy of it, but recently Milo (who now goes by R.A.P. Ferreira) made a bunch of CD copies available on his webstore. A Toothpaste Suburb is Milo’s second album, and it really showcases his early style. He’s a surrealistic rapper, quick to work in multiple references to literature and obscure philosophers, while also delivering humor and a strong sense of whimsy. He’s gotten progressively better and better, and also a lot stranger, but it’s cool to see the youthful promise and strong control of the microphone he’s always displayed. This fills a significant gap in my physical music collection.