Best Comic of the Week:
What’s the Furthest Place From Here? #9 – Continuing with the series of prequel issues, this one, drawn by Sweeney Boo, focuses on the first of the Academy family to become an adult, and have to go make his own way in the world. I was hoping we’d learn more about what happens to these new adults, or learn more about the structure of the strange society that underpins this series, but Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss continue to keep things close to their chest. I really enjoy this very strange series, but would like to see some answers to things soon. Mostly, though, I’m just happy to see this returning to its schedule and actually coming out kind of regularly again.
Alien #4 – The Steel Team, a group of artificial people, has been betrayed by its new allies, and now faces off against an Alien queen, while the survivors on a ruined planet try to use the team’s shuttle to escape. Phillip Kennedy Johnson has added a lot of layers to the standard Alien storyline with this arc, and I’m enjoying it.
Batman Vs. Robin #4 – I think, had I known that this series would end up launching a mini-event in its middle, I might not have bothered starting to read it. I’ve enjoyed Mark Waid’s continuation of Joshua Williamson’s excellent Robin series, that has father against son after a bit of demonic influence tore them apart. This issue has Batman getting through to Damian, and them working together against Nezha, although the plot demanded that all of reality get changed before this story can finish? I might skip the Lazarus Planet stuff and just catch the last issue of this series.
Black Panther #12 – I saw some discussion that John Ridley’s Panther run is coming to an end soon, and I’m not sad about that. I’ve enjoyed some of the ideas that Ridley has played with here, but I think he does not have a good understanding of what makes T’Challa work, and he’s misjudged or misrepresented his relationship with his sister, the Avengers, and with many other established Wakandan characters. The plot has moved too quickly, as T’Challa has once again lost his throne and found himself on the outs with everyone who knows him. Now, he discovers who has been behind all of his problems in this run, and has to put together a team of characters that were introduced in this run to help him. It’s fine, but it’s doesn’t fit well with what’s been established about the character. German Peralta’s art is very nice, so at least it has that going for it.
Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 – I want to declare a twenty year moratorium on the use of the word ‘Crisis’ in the naming or structuring of any DC event. It looks like the original Multiverse is back, alongside the more recent Multiverse, and I have no idea how that is supposed to work going forward. I don’t know what the current state of the DCU is in terms of its continuity, but now I guess there are infinite versions of characters that can be written about, as Joshua Williamson and DC editorial further erase the classic work done by Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, and everyone else who followed them. I don’t know that I ever really understood this series, that centred legacy heroes while also making them unnecessary, and which built up to the disappearance of Green Arrow in an off-panel way. Is Nightwing now the most important person in every world? Is Dr. Light kind of the Monitor now? Maybe I need to reread this series again (and clearly should have been reading the ancillary one-shots where important things happened), but I don’t think I understood it. There were some nice moments around some big-screen events, but this made less sense than I would have liked, and I worry about what its implications will be for other titles (although maybe it helps explain why I don’t understand what’s happening in the new Justice Society title either, as it might be set in a different universe).
Flash #789 – Wally faces off against the new Mayor, who has employed the Rogue’s as cops, and discovers who (or what?) is behind his apparent powers. I thought this storyline would take longer to play out, given how long Jeremy Adams has been building towards it, but I guess Flash plotlines should move faster than other books? I’m enjoying this book, but my consistent dislike of the Rogues did impact my enjoyment some.
Legion of X #8 – This newest arc is a little confusing, again, mostly because Si Spurrier has many plotlines running, and it’s not clear if they are connected or not. There’s something causing some mutants to appear monstrous, and this story involves the new Black Knight (I knew I should have read Spurrier’s miniseries a couple years ago). There’s the ongoing conflict between Legion and his father, which leads Blindfold to pay Charles a visit. There’s also some stuff going on with Cypher and Warlock. This book is a little all over the place, but Spurrier makes everything very interesting, so it’s all good.
Nightwing #99 – Now that Blockbuster has been removed from Blüdhaven, things should be getting back to normal, but the sudden appearance of Tony Zucco could cause some big problems for Dick and Melinda. Dick discovers a secretive safety deposit bank with ties to the city’s earliest days as a whaling town, and that gives Bruno Redondo the opportunity to draw another fantastic double-page spread of Dick fighting and chasing someone through a complicated set. This book is really good at that. I continue to enjoy this series a lot, and am looking forward to seeing what Tom Taylor has set up for the big issue one hundred.
Wolverine #28 – Hank McCoy’s heel turn continues, as his simple-minded, controlled Wolverine makes a mistake in assassinating a General (whose name is Norad, unbelievably) and gets recorded on film, causing Beast some problems. This is a very strange arc of this series, and I find it doesn’t fit great with what’s happening in X-Force, which is also written by Benjamin Percy. I hate that Logan’s character never gets to develop at all these days. I am enjoying Juan José Ryp’s artwork though.
X-Men Annual #1 – My main complaint about the way the X-Men core team has been juggling its lineup every year since the advent of the Hellfyre Galas, is that it never gives the book enough time to depict thoughtful character arcs. Gerry Duggan makes this Annual all about Firestar, who is struggling a little to fit in as an X-Men after being on the Avengers and New Warriors for so long. It works, but it is odd that the rest of the X-Men team, other than Angelica and Cyclops, manage to take out four major threats in the time that it takes our main characters to fight Whirlwind. We need more character-driven X-Men stories.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
Fantastic Four Life Story TP
Flash Vol. 17 Eclipsed TP
The Week in Music:
Medicine Singers – Medicine Singers – I’ve never been able to make up my mind about this Medicine Singers album. It’s basically a collaboration between guitarist Yonatan Gat and the Eastern Medicine Singers, who are an Algonquin drum group. I saw them perform together a few years ago, and I thought that the collision between Gat’s double-necked electric guitar and the Indigenous music was interesting. This album digs further though, and features appearances by some other musicians I admire. jaimie branch plays her trumpet on some tracks (and she contributed the painting on the album cover), and the brilliant Ryan Olson has co-producer credits throughout. This is not exactly my usual thing, but there’s something very alluring to this album, and I want to understand it better.
Devron Douglas – Atalaya – International Anthem is one of the best record labels in the business right now, and 2022 was an incredible year for them. They put out this release by bassist Dezron Douglas, and it’s a warm and beautiful body of work. Douglas composed more traditional jazz songs for this album, and while I prefer more of a nu-jazz approach, this does work very well.