The Weekly Round-Up #660 With Deadly Class #54, Star Wars: Obi-Wan #3, Deathstroke Inc. #11, Public Domain #2, Captain America: Symbol Of Truth #3 & More Plus The Week In Music!

Columns, News, Top Story

Best Comic of the Week:

Deadly Class #54 – The story jumps up to 2015 with this issue, and Marcus sells his book to a TV network, and begins working as showrunner.  It’s hard to not look at this issue as a meta commentary on writer Rick Remender’s own experiences with the Deadly Class TV show, which was sadly canceled after one season.  Being in a position that brings with it a lot of compromise and publicity is very hard for Marcus, especially when he’s forced to cruise the streets of San Francisco for a Honda commercial, talking about his time there as a youth.  As always, this is a very well-executed issue, and I like how Wes Craig makes the characters look so much older yet still themselves.  This last arc is kind of depressing, as we see Marcus and the others grow older and more beaten down, and we are all reminded that the same thing is happening to us.  It’s really got me wanting to go back and read the earlier issues again, which practically vibrated with youthful energy.  There are only two issues left in this series, and I’m preparing myself to say goodbye.

Quick Takes:

Action Comics #1045 – We’re getting close to the end of the Warworld storyline, so Clark has to split his forces to achieve some different goals at the same time.  I continue to be impressed with the way that Phillip Kennedy Johnson has plotted this story, and finds some quiet moments among the chaos to remind people just what it is that makes Clark so special.  I’m also really happy that David Lapham has been drawing the backup stories – it’s so rare to see him working on traditional superhero stuff.

Aquamen #6 – This issue is one of the first of DC’s line that has acknowledged what’s going on in Dark Crisis (aside from Flash, which is a direct tie-in).  The people of Atlantis are recovering from the recent madness that impacted them, especially the Curry family, while on the surface, world leaders debate retaliating.  This is a good issue, with lots of character work that makes it clear that the writers are looking to use the whole family to a greater capacity, especially after the news of what happened in Justice League #75 breaks.  I did have an issue with the art, drawn by guest artist Max Raynor, who seems to keep forgetting that many of these scenes are happening underwater.  Black Manta takes off his helmet to have a conversation, and when he breaks the facemask of one of his men, the guy seems fine, despite having lost his breathing apparatus.  I know that this stuff is not a huge deal but it throws me out of the story.

Captain America: Symbol of Truth #3 – Sam continues to look into vibranium smuggling, but gets no help from either Dr. Doom on the Latverian angle, or Shuri and the new Prime Minister of Wakanda on the Wakandan front.  Joaquim, on his own, continues to investigate the abduction of his cousin, and that leads him into Mexico.  This series is interesting, with Tochi Onyebuchi’s story becoming a little clearer (there’s still a lot of noise to it though, like the appearance of Deadpool for no good reason).  RB Silva’s art is very nice, and adds a lot to the book.

Deathstroke Inc. #11 – We continue with this Year One story, and see the first time Deathstroke put on a version of his uniform.  He and Wintergreen have a good plan to catch the man who “created” Slade, but it leads to his first costumed battle, with a character that I guess I should have expected, given what city this is set in.  This was a solid issue; Ed Brisson is working from various source materials and combining it all in a way that makes sense.  Dexter Soy’s art is nice.  I know this title has to spin its wheels until the end of Dark Crisis, but they’ve figured out a way to do it appropriately and make it interesting.

Detective Comics #1062 – I like what Ram V has been doing with The Swamp Thing, and haven’t seen Rafael Albuquerque’s art in a long time, so I thought I’d pick up their first issue of their new run on Detective.  It’s a lovely looking, and the story is interesting.  I feel like Talia shows up way too often these days, and didn’t fully understand who this family that’s moving into Gotham is, but the ideas behind this have caught my eye.  The James Gordon backup, by Simon Spurrier and Dani is fantastic though, and is swaying my decision to be sure I pick up the next issue.

Public Domain #2 – Chip Zdarsky’s latest creator-owned book is all about ownership.  It’s about the guy who co-created The Domain, a popular superhero and focus of movies and toy store aisles everywhere, and his family.  They’ve just discovered that the dad actually owns the rights to the character, which is news to everyone, but there’s going to be a legal fight before anything can happen.  This series is really digging into the family dynamics, as the potential legal fight becomes a proxy for how everyone feels about their lives.  It’s a smart and insightful family drama that also says a lot about the comics industry.  I love that Zdarsky, who is one of the biggest writers in the business at the moment (he’s writing both Batman and Daredevil) is throwing shade at the industry.  This is really good stuff.

A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance #10 – I didn’t realize that there was only one more issue remaining in this series.  Predictably, after the peace of the last issue, things go all to hell as a squad attempts to kill Sonny, Xavier, and Sonny’s mother in their home in Mexico.  It’s hard to discuss this issue without spoilers, so I’ll simply say that it’s as propulsive and intense as the rest of this series.  Rick Remender and André Lima Araújo have put together a modern classic.

Robin #16 – Damian is more or less building a Krakoa for killers (Kill-koa?) but that’s interrupted by news that Flatline might have gone mad in Japan.  He and Hawke go looking for her, which leads to a team-up with Hiro, the Batman of Japan.  I’m really enjoying this title, and am worried that it’s on the chopping block, as I haven’t seen new issues solicited in the last two Previews.  I’m hoping it’s taking a break (there’s a Robin/Batman series by Mark Waid on the way, that I have less interest in reading). 

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #22 – The Spark, the piece of Ascendent tech that Aphra and Sana have been looking for, has taken over Aphra’s body and mind, and now the two of them are in conversation with one another.  With this issue, I finally feel like Alyssa Wong is writing Aphra like Kieron Gillen did when he created her, and by going back to her earliest appearances, I think that Aphra is setting the Spark up for some interesting interactions next issue, as two character that have been missed in this book look like they’re coming back.  This Ascendent storyline has been pretty good from the start, but I think it’s really clicking now.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan #3 – Obi-Wan remembers a terrible day from the Clone Wars, and thinks about the Jedi’s role in war, and how strange it was to be made a General in the army.  I have a fondness for war comics, even if they’re fantastical, so I’m always going to be here for a comic like this.  Alessandro Miracolo is a new artist to me, and I’d gladly read more of their work.

The Swamp Thing #15 – Ram V has been playing with some big ideas in this series, and with this penultimate issue, he sets them up to collide, along with all of the characters.  Levi has had his powers taken from him by the Parliament of Trees, and given to his angry brother, but with a gassing up from a Green Lantern, he’s able to insert himself between his brother and the Parliament of Gears, hoping to get both sides to listen to reason.  Mike Perkins is doing some of the best work I’ve ever seen from him here, and I look forward to seeing how he and V wrap things up.

Vampirella: Year One #1 – The end of the Vampirella/Dracula miniseries revealed that Vampirella is pregnant.  Now, she’s hanging out in the Virgin Islands and recording her memoirs for her unborn child.  We see how Vampirella, who was known as Snoop as a child, had to go on the run after her mother was deposed violently.  This is a very linear issue, especially given that writer Priest rarely tells his stories in a straight line, and it fills in some gaps in my knowledge of this character.  I’m really happy to see that Ergün Gündüz is back on the art chores, as his work is excellent (Giovanni Timpano is handling the framing sequence, which also looks great).  I’m glad that Priest has stayed with this character, as without his involvement, I would not be buying this book.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #12 – The memories of Malik Georges have been recovered by an artificial intelligence named Thierry-9, and the plan is for him to replicate Malik’s journey, in the hopes of learning how he became a god (and died).  The thing is, in all the years since the last story arc, the galaxy has changed quite a bit, and there are only two political camps in control of most of space.  Al Ewing is telling such a large and sprawling story here, introducing characters with complex backstory, and moving across generations.  I love it.

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

Ant-Man #1

Variants #2

The Week in Graphic Novels:

The All-Nighter Vol. 1 – I’m a big fan of both Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo, so it makes sense that I grabbed a copy of their second collaboration when I saw Loo at TCAF the other month.  The All-Nighter is about four vampires who run an all-night diner as their way to blend into society and have a steady supply of animal blood.  The problem is that one of them, a young man, is bored of this lifestyle, and soon starts suiting up and going out to work as a vigilante.  Soon, the young girl in the group is joining in, even though this type of thing puts the whole family in danger of drawing the attention of ‘The Takers’.  Unexpectedly, other folklore creatures see this as their chance to do the same kind of thing, and when a pair of bridge trolls decide to start rampaging in costume, things all start falling apart.  This book has a lot of strong characterizations and very good art.  One thing I love most about Loo’s work is when I can see glimpses of our shared city.  This comes with a nice little surprise at the end, and has me interested in getting the next volume (I’m pretty sure this is continuing on Comixology, so there’s likely to be another volume planned).  I do wish that this book would include the issue breaks, as it sometimes felt a little awkward when making transitions.

The Week in Music:

Jasmine Myra – Horizons – This is a new artist to the Gondwana Records stable, who plays saxophone and leads her band through a warm album.  There are some breakbeat moments, and it’s clear to me that Myra is heavily influenced by electronic music, but keeps things feeling very organic.  I’m always happy with whatever Gondwana releases, and I’m looking forward to future work by this promising artist.

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