The Weekly Round-Up #636 With Superman: Son Of Kal-El #8, Devil’s Reign #4, Draculina #1, Star Wars: Darth Vader #20 & More Plus The Week In Music!

Columns, News, Top Story

Best Comic of the Week:

Superman: Son of Kal-El #8 – Tom Taylor puts Jon through his paces, as he has to balance saving the city from a sea monster with saving the sea monster from the Gamorran superbeings who are there to generally muck with the situation.  Taylor is giving us a great look into Jon’s head in this book, as he tries to live up to his own expectations for himself.  It’s a really good character-driven book, and one of my favourites at DC right now.  I believe Taylor is proving himself to be one of the best writers in comics at the moment.

Quick Takes:

Apache Delivery Service #2 – Ernie, the Navajo soldier who has found himself at odds with his countrymen during the Vietnam War, has been found in the jungle by an older Frenchman who now asks for his help in tracking down a large shipment of Nazi gold that was hidden in the country by a Japanese Admiral at the end of the Second World War.  Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hilary Jenkins really capture the horrors and mystery we’ve so often seen depicted as part of the Vietnam War.  This book is a little Surrealistic, and pretty creepy.  I’m used to seeing the Kindt/Jenkins collaborations printed on less glossy paper, and I do think that Boom! does a better job of presenting their work than Dark Horse does, but I like this book a lot.

Devil’s Reign #4 – The fight continues, with Daredevil having to reckon with how his actions against Wilson Fisk have once again put his friends in danger.  At the same time, Octavius works to consolidate power, and some of Fisk’s agents, as well as his own estranged son, turn against him.  I’ve been enjoying this little event quite a bit, as Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto basically expand their Daredevil run to encompass a lot more Marvel characters.  I was pleased to see that Zdarsky is going to continue writing DD’s book after this is over, as he has a good handle on the character, and a lot more left to his story.

Draculina #1 – After the Sacred Six series kind of fizzled for me, I wondered if Dynamite and Christopher Priest should really make another secondary title to Priest’s Vampirella, but this first issue is pretty great.  Katie, the teen runaway, turns into Draculina, her older vampiric self from another reality, whenever a cursed candle is lit, and neither of them are happy with this situation.  The thing is, Draculina’s doing something about it, trying to figure out a way to have Katie killed.  Stan, the shape-changing demon inhabiting the form of a rat returns with Katie, who maybe finds an ally in this first issue.  As with all Priest comics, the timeline is a little unclear in places, but the characters are firm and the writing is sharp.  I like the art, which is by Michael Sta. Maria (how would that be pronounced?).  I see good things ahead for this book.

Monster Kill Squad #4 – So was this the last Bad Idea comic?  For ages, the upstart independent publisher with the baffling business practices said they were ‘going away’, and my inbox has been surprisingly lacking any new announcements from them this week.  I figured they were going to announce that they were changing their name, and that they’d be releasing a number of comics building on the b-side backup stories that have mostly read like preludes to something else.  Anyway, this series, by Christos Gage and Tomas Giorello, comes to a good ending, although I still think this concept would have worked better as an eight- or twelve-issue series, with more space and time for character development before leading to the big fight between Pandora’s forces and the MKS.  I do think that Gage was able to fit a lot of story into the space he had, but with more room to breathe, he could have done a lot more.  This book looked great, thanks to Giorella.  I was pleased to see the backup story, Spark, featured art by the recently departed Ryan Bodenheim.  It appears to be the beginning of a story about people fleeing an alien invasion, and suggests that perhaps Bodenheim and Robert Venditti were perhaps starting work on a larger story.  If this truly is the end of Bad Idea, I won’t miss their annoying emails, their random promotional ideas, and the way they made securing their comics more difficult than necessary for comics retailers, but I will miss the innovative and new books, with work from excellent creators, and their lush production values.  It was a good ride.

Moon Knight #8 – With MK locked up as part of the Devil’s Reign event, his “brother,” Hunter’s Moon, is filling in for him.  At the same time, one of Marc’s old nemeses, Stained Glass Scarlet, has returned, after a fashion, so Badr finds himself going up against her, and debating the nature of stories.  It was an interesting issue.

New Mutants #24 – Vita Ayala uses this issue to wrap up some long-standing plotlines, as Dani and Rahne reconnect, Cosimar goes to see Masque to change her appearance, and No-Girl gets reborn.  Warpath sees the resurrected Proudstar for the first time, and Gabby reconnects with her siblings.  At the same time, Magik thinks about teaching magic to Krakoans, and keeps an eye on the newly-resurrected Madelyne Pryor.  I like how Ayala handles the characters in this book, and I like the art by Danilo Beyruth, who really gives each character their own look.  His pages with the Proudstar brothers are fantastic.  I hope he sticks around on this title.

Secret X-Men #1 – I was a little surprised to see Secret X-Men show up in the solicitations, and then was even more surprised to learn it was just a one-shot.  Tini Howard has Sunspot put together a team of people who wished they’d been elected to the X-Men, and sends them on a mission to help Deathbird and Xandra, the Shi’ar Empress (who the X-Men just saved in SWORD, making me think she needs to start doing things differently).  It’s an odd team, but it works well, and the issue blends humour with action quite well.  Like many of Howard’s comics, the plot gets a little lost in places, but the character moments are strong.  The art left me wanting to see more by Francesco Mobili, and I really liked the team uniforms that he designed.  This was a good issue, and I feel like its hintings of Shi’ar intrigue will turn up again somewhere soon.  I still have trouble buying Bobby’s interest in Deathbird, but that’s beside the point…

Star Wars: Darth Vader #20 – Sabé, who is after Vader once again, has planted a list of Crimson Dawn collaborators in the Empire.  Vader makes good use of it, and figuring out who knows what and who is playing who starts to get really complicated.  I like the way the Star Wars titles are making use of Crimson Dawn to provide them with some unity, while still being very individual.  When Rafaelle Ienco is on art, as he is this month, this is the most attractive of all the Star Wars titles.

X Deaths of Wolverine #2 – Moira continues to run from Mystique, and now this future Wolverine, who may be under the control of the Phalanx.  I like how this series picks up from Inferno, and is also oddly completely separate from the X Lives series.  I think this is the more enjoyable one.  I’ve come to realize that Jonathan Hickman’s ‘Head of X’ credit is gone from the front of the books now, so I guess this series marks the rest of the X-office setting out in their own direction.  I’m curious to see where everything goes, as I’m not sure if there will continue to be a coherent plan in place.  

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

Avengers #53

Crema TP

The Week in Music:

Mary Lattimore – Collected Pieces 2015-2020 – For a collection of random loosies, this album is pretty incredible.  Mary Lattimore plays the harp, and uses pedals and other electronics to loop things.  It sounds like it should be kind of straightforward, but these compositions are very complex, and very beautiful.  Some of the tracks on here are very relaxing, while others command your attention.  This is a great collection to lie back and empty your mind to, and I’m thankful for Ghostly for putting it out (I still regret not picking up her first collected pieces album in Tokyo – I kept going back to look at it, but was foolish).

Dessa – Ides – So I’ve been a pretty big Dessa fan for years.  I love her work with Doomtree and her earlier rap albums.  I’ve been alongside her as she’s moved into this more pop-oriented stage of her life (that coincides with writing books and hosting a psychology podcast), and I like every song on this EP, but I miss the old tough-as-nails, killer lyricist of Dessa’s rap days.  This is a decent enough project, but I want her to bar out, and to be a little more menacing.  I feel like this EP picks up a lot after the first two tracks, which are a little gentle and bizarre, respectively.  

The Weeknd – Dawn FM – I am always going to support The Weeknd (I knew Abel when he was a kid, and am immensely proud of his achievements), and I like this album, but I also feel that, like lo-fi playlists and bossa nova, ‘The Weeknd’ is kind of becoming a genre, and it is all starting to sound the same to me.  Each song is a very well-structured 80s inspired piece of precisely produced pop music, and they’re kind of indistinguishable.  That does mean that this album quickly recedes into the background, until I find myself sort of singing along.  It’s good, but I’d love to see him try something new.

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