Best Comic of the Week:
That Texas Blood #19 – Lu, the secretary at the police station, is being pursued by the Red Queen Killer, a serial killer who has been moving around Texas for months, in the middle of a snow storm. It’s a very effective issue, as the Sheriff rushes through the storm to save her, and it all feels very tense. I do wish we’d gotten some explanation as to why the RQK was doing all of this, but I also feel like it was a clear decision by Chris Condon to keep his motives obscure. I love this book, and how Jacob Phillips can draw such dread out of a snowstorm (and a masked serial killer).
Batman #129 – Chip Zdarsky has impressed me with his Batman run. Instead of leaning into the detective side of the character, which is kind of what I was expecting, he’s instead gone with a big screen action movie approach, pitting Batman against Failsafe, a robot his unconscious mind built to take him out if he ever crossed the line. Failsafe holds all the cards, but Bruce has one last desperate plan, involving the Justice League’s Watchtower on the moon. This run is pretty entertaining, as is the backup story featuring the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
Behold, Behemoth #1 – I picked up this first issue as an impulse buy, because the writer, Tate Brombal was signing issues at my favourite comics store. Brombal wrote the Barbalien miniseries with Jeff Lemire, which I enjoyed. In this comic, which has gorgeous art by Nick Robles, a young social worker is dealing with bad headaches and nightmares. He’s just had to bury his brother, who kept him safe throughout a difficult childhood, and now he feels unmoored. There’s some demonic stuff, and it looks like the guy is maybe responsible for some very bad deeds, but it’s not clear. The last page shifts everything upside down though, and really caught my interest. I’ll be back for the second issue for sure.
Black Panther #11 – A secretive group takes over the world’s three largest internet data centres, making no demands other than that people live peacefully. The Avengers are unable to defeat the ‘terrorists’ that have taken these places, and later, their leader asks to see T’Challa. This story looks to be a culmination of some of the threads that John Ridley started playing with in his first issue, but it feels like it’s relying too much on coincidence for me. I’m curious about where he’s going with this, and I do like the look of T’Challa’s new adversary. This book stays interesting, but never actually manages to impress me.
Gotham City: Year One #2 – Slam Bradley’s found himself in the middle of the abduction of the Wayne family’s baby in the 20s or 30s. Tom King paints a picture of a clean, pure Gotham, but we know that there’s more going on in the background than any of the characters are admitting. The occasional owl image in the background gives me an idea of where this is headed, and it’s pretty entertaining to sit back and read a traditional private eye story, knowing that it’s heading somewhere else, eventually. Phil Hester is the right person to draw this book.
Little Monsters #7 – Now that some of the child vampires in the group have tasted people for the first time (or the first time in hundreds of years), they start to turn on one another. Central to this book is the fact that the kids were told to stay in the city and to stay away from people, and they followed those rules for centuries, but now half the group is questioning if they should reject this. Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen are building this story slowly, and they’ve made it more interesting because now we’ve had time to get to know the characters a lot better. This book is gorgeous.
Predator #4 – I’m really enjoying Ed Brisson and Kev Walker’s work on Predator. This issue has our hero facing two Predator ships, in her busted up old colony ship. The thing is, she’s gotten very good at hunting creatures who are not used to their prey putting up such a big fight. It’s another solid issue, and because Brisson has set it so far into the future, he has the freedom to worldbuild a lot. I’m not sure if Marvel’s Predator and Alien series share a universe or not, and that’s one of the things I’m curious to learn, as we get a closer look at the Astra corporation next issue.
Star Wars #29 – Holdo’s got Leia, Luke, Chewie, and Lando on a mission to secure fuel for the Rebellion, but it’s also a vacation in disguise. I like that Charles Soule is giving these characters a bit of a break, although they’re quickly involved in a heist that has unintended consequences. This series has been really good this year, and while I’m glad to see the main characters back in the spotlight, I’ve liked how Soule has expanded the cast too.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #28 – The group’s security mission for the Pike’s has gone all wrong, and now the bounty hunters have to fight their way out of a nightclub satellite perched at the edge of a black hole. At the same time, Vader gives Valance a mission that will likely have him crossing paths with his costars soon. This book just keeps shuffling along on auto-pilot. There’s just enough to like, without it ever really grabbing me.
X-Men Red #8 – Cable puts together a team to go after Abigail Brand, now that he knows what her plans really were all about. At the same time, Brand makes her move when representatives of the Shi’ar and Kree/Skrull Alliance come together to resolve an issue between them. It feels like a lot of the things that Al Ewing has been working towards for a while now (at least since his SWORD run) are coming to a head, and I’m here for it. This book is smart, and makes good use of a shifting cast to tell a variety of stories. I like the art by Madibek Musibekov, who is new to me. This is one of my favourite Krakoan comics, even though each issue is so different in focus.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
Earthdivers Kill Columbus #2
Orc Island #1
The Week in Music:
Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey Featuring Tennishu and R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND – Butcher Brown is always a fun band to listen to, but on this album, they are joined by a big band, exploring a New Orleans approach. There’s rapping on almost every track, something that’s still new for these guys, and it all works very well. This is an enjoyable album to listen to, and great if you want to nod your head or get up and dance a bit.
Blue Note Re:imagined II – I enjoyed the first volume in this series a lot, and was happy to see they put out a new one. Blue Note has a number of UK artists reinterpret and play with some of their catalogue, and this time have opened the vault to such great artists as Yazz Ahmed, Swindle, Nubiyan Twist, Ego Ella May, Oscar Jerome, Daniel Casimir, Theon Cross, Venna & Marko, Binker Golding, and many others (these are the ones that I actively follow). It’s always cool to hear old favourites and standards in a new style, and this collection is sequenced very well.
Vieux Farka Touré et Khruangbin – Ali – I love that Khruangbin, the Texas-based (mostly) instrumental band keeps collaborating with people who have very different styles than they do. For this album, they’ve joined Vieux Farka Touré, who plays in the Malian guitar tradition. This is very much his music, with accompaniment by Khruangbin, and it works very well.