Best Comic of the Week:
Once & Future #30 – It’s wild how when this book started, I kept considering dropping it for almost a year, but as it came to its conclusion with this issue, I legitimately wanted it to keep going. Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora originally set out to create a light-hearted action series about an older lady and her grandson keeping a terrible version of King Arthur from returning to rule modern day England, but as the book became more about stories and how they help to construct reality, I got more and more interested. And as Gillen developed his characters, I found myself more and more invested in the story. This final issue is a study in how to close off a story, while leaving the door open a crack for a possible continuation. It’s a really good issue.
AXE: Death to the Mutants #3 – This feels like an essential part of the AXE: Judgment Day story, but it’s been relegated to this secondary book. As the Progenitor tries to destroy the machine that is the Earth, Phastos enters the machine to keep that from happening. There are other scenes from the main book expanded on here, but that’s the part of the book that’s going to stick with me. I wonder if the Eternals series will be returning after the event is over, or if this is maybe the last issue of it.
AXE: Eternals #1 – Of all the Eternals, Ajak is the one that I’m least familiar with. I had to do a Google search to make sure the character even existed in the Jack Kirby days. Since the movie was released, Ajak was made into a woman and a priest, and this issue has her facing the Progenitor for judgment. I’m getting bored with these judgment-driven issues, and seeing as this one features a character I don’t care about at all, this issue left me cold. I hate the way Marvel changes their comics to try to reflect their films, like there is some chance that anyone watched that Eternals movie and thought about how much more they’d care about this obscure group of characters if they looked more like their film counterparts. I’m glad it gave us Kieron Gillen’s excellent Eternals series, but some of the cosmetic changes brought nothing to the table.
Batman Incorporated #1 – I’m down for a new team book built around Batman lore, but not actually featuring him. Someone is tracking down and killing the people who trained Batman and Ghost-Hunter, and many of their surviving teachers believe that it’s Ghost-Hunter who is responsible. Writer Ed Brisson has a lot to do with this issue – he establishes this new case, but also takes time to give various characters some strong moments of their own, establishing friendships and rivalries. John Timms’s art works for this series, and the various playful looks that the characters have. I hope this series lasts for more than an arc, although lately every DC book I like has been getting the chop, so I’m not sure what to expect.
Batman Vs. Robin #2 – We get a better window on what’s going on in this series, as Batman learns who he’s up against after visits to some DC horror comics properties. I’m still a little bitter that Joshua Williamson’s excellent Robin series was canceled to turn into this series, but I can’t deny that it’s a good comic.
Black Panther #10 – This John Ridley Panther series is getting stranger all the time. An alien calling itself ‘The Colonialist’ has arrived and wants to use the Earth as a pasture for his demonic cattle, and has based his whole shtick on British colonialism. The Panther might have the solution to this, but he’s in the middle of a fight with some guy calling himself the Buffalo Soldier, which leads to T’Challa researching and then teaching him about Earth’s buffalo soldiers. It feels forced (there’s an alien race called the Mugabees, which I think might be a reference to Robert Mugabe?) and a little awkward. I’m hoping that, now that T’Challa has been more or less exiled from Wakanda (again), he’s going to find some new sort of purpose that will get things properly underway. I just can’t see what Ridley is building to with this story.
Daredevil #4 – After months of buildup, Daredevil and Elektra finally start assembling the Fist on the remote island south of Russia that Elektra’s purchased. Matt’s not too happy to see Stick there, and I was surprised to see a certain hairy green character that we haven’t seen since Immortal Hulk ended. Chip Zdarsky’s been planning this coming story for a while, and I think it might be as epic as Frank Miller’s classic run.
E-Ratic: Recharged #2 – I love how casual Kaare Andrews has made this series. It’s not trying too hard (except for the kids’ slang, which feels very weird to me), and is just a straight-up reluctant teen hero comic, like a modernized Peter Parker. Andrews’s artwork is always a treat, even when he’s playing it pretty straight.
Immortal X-Men #7 – It’s curious that Kieron Gillen focuses this issue on Nightcrawler, given that Legion of X is basically his book, but he does it so well that I would never complain. Kurt is the glue holding Krakoa together through this whole AXE event, and we see that clearly in this issue. It helps explain away what I thought was an error in the main event book, and helps to flesh out a lot of what’s going on, while also building on one of my favourite X-Men’s character. It’s another very good issue.
Legion of X #6 – It’s Legion’s turn to meet the Progenitor, and he uses it as an opportunity to dissect his fight with Uranos. Simon Spurrier is such a good writer, and he’s playing with some odd concepts in this series. I love it, even though I’m bored of this Progenitor setup.
Love Everlasting #3 – Tom King and Elsa Charretier again play with the standard romance comic, making it part of a larger and darker narrative. This time around, young Joan is torn between staying in her small town and with her high school boyfriend or escapting for a life of education and opportunity. She draws insight from the local librarian who has a strange connection to her family. How does this build towards another confrontation with the cowboy who has been hunting Joan across many scenarios? It surprised me. This is a cool series, and I really like how different it is from other Tom King comics.
Starhenge: Book One: The Dragon and the Boar #4 – Liam Sharp’s sprawling time traveling story about alien battles, ancient kings, and teen love is a little confusing, but is also absolutely gorgeous. At the start of this issue, Amber and Daryl are attacked by an alien that looks a lot like Death’s Head II, and the art switches from its usual painted style to a more traditional and zip-tone coloured few pages meant to represent Amber’s own art. It’s a very effective way of moving the story forward before giving us another big information dump about Uther Pendragon. I stayed on the fence about this series for a quite a long time, but have decided to add it to my pull-file. I think it’s a flawed work, with big pacing issues, but the art and the amount of investment Sharp has put into this story impresses me, and leaves me wanting to know more.
Star Wars #28 – Luke heads to Coruscant to rescue the two Imperial defectors and their children, and his mission goes by pretty quickly. I’ve really been liking this series lately, but I’m starting to wonder how the Rebels had news of the new Death Star so early, compared to when they attempt their mission in Return of the Jedi. Also, I thought that Mon Mothma learned of the new Death Star from Bothan spies, not Luke. This pulled me out of the story.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #16 – This Kal-El Returns crossover is running a little out of order, as this probably should have been the first chapter, showing the reunion between Jon and Clark. I’m sad to hear that this series is ending (and is being replaced by a miniseries featuring Jon). Tom Taylor and his various artists have done a fine job on this book, making Jon into the DC equivalent of Miles Morales (a young hero who is just so likeable). I do like how emotional this issue is.
Wolverine #25 – Logan and Solem are lost in the Arctic, trying to survive the Judgment Day experience, while the Hellbride they angered back in the Swords of X event hunts them, sort of. The main story in this issue was a little disappointing, as it didn’t really add to the Judgment Day storyline. There is a backup story as well, which looks at Logan’s favourite bars over the years, and features art by a whole bunch of artists. It wasn’t bad, but really, this series needs some serious direction.
X-Force #32 – Kraven makes use of the chaos caused by the AXE event to access Krakoa and start killing mutants, looking for one that will be a true challenge to him. This series continues to lurch all over the place, and continues to lack a central focus. That said, it’s entertaining, but just doesn’t stand on its own.
Comics I Would Have Bought If Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
Dark Spaces: Wildfire #4
The Week in Music:
Bluu Edwards – All We Need Is Kill – I picked up this album at the billy woods show this week, having never listened to it. Bluu Edwards are Curly Castro (who rocked that show as half of ShrapKnel) and Small Professor, and I don’t know how this album wasn’t on my radar before this. It’s kind of standard stuff – good beats and good raps. There’s always a place for this in the world, and in my collection.