The Weekly Round-Up #694 With Black Adam #9, Dune: House Harkonnen #3, Doctor Strange #1, Star Wars: Darth Vader #32 & More Plus The Week In Music!

Columns, Top Story

Best Comic of the Week:

Black Adam #9 – It’s wild to me that we are only up to issue nine of this series, as it feels like Priest has already accomplished so much with this character, and with Malik’s character.  He’s reconciled a fair amount of Adam’s past, and made this already complex character deeper and more interesting.  This issue continues to look at Mighty Adam’s past, as the consequences of his taking over Ancient Egypt catch up to him, while in the present, Malik continues to suffer from the mysterious disease that Teth-Adam had before him.  This series is so good, and I remain hopeful that when it ends in three issues, we’ll learn that it’s relaunching, or Bolt will be getting his own book.  Either way, I want more Priest at DC…

Quick Takes:

Damn Them All #6 – I kind of expected this to be the final issue of this series, but instead, Simon Spurrier and Charlie Adlard up the stakes again.  Ellie finally learns the truth of how the demons were all released from Hell, and also has to confront some truths about herself.  This is a momentous issue in what I’m considering to be one of the better Hellblazer stories of this century (even though it’s a Boom! book and has no connection to John Constantine, it’s also a Hellblazer comic).  I’m glad to see there’s going to be more to come, and look forward to seeing where Spurrier is headed with this.

Doctor Strange #1 – I don’t usually read Doctor Strange, but I’ve been impressed enough with Jed MacKay’s writing in Moon Knight to give his work another try.  Because I haven’t read his Strange series, which featured Clea as Sorcerer Supreme after Stephen’s death, I had some catching up to do with this issue (there have been big changes in this corner of the Marvel Universe, beyond Stephen returning to life).  I found Stephen’s new approach to being available for consultations to be promising, and am intrigued by Clea’s newest role as Warlord of New York.  The conflict with the ruler of the Purple Dimension didn’t do a lot for me, but I found enough to like to want to give the first arc a chance.  Pasqual Ferry’s art has a lot to do with this for me; I’ve always been a fan of his art and things look great here.  

Dune: House Harkonnen #3 – I think I’m more engaged with this series than I was with the House Atreides series.  This book jumps around a lot, as there’s not really one unified story, but instead we keep checking in with all the prominent characters that will fill the classic Dune series, years before.  In many ways, that structure annoys me, but as someone who has lived his life reading the endless adventures of superheroes, I can get into the serial nature of this.  I’m liking Michael Shelfer’s art on this book, especially when he’s drawing Duncan Idaho’s action sequences.

The Flash #795 – I’ve been really feeling Jeremy Adams’s Flash run, and have loved the way this One Minute War arc has come together, but this issue in particular was pretty thrilling.  The remaining members of the Flash Family take the fight straight to the Fraction, and it gave me the same feelings that Mark Waid’s classic Terminal Velocity arc did back in the day.  I love that Jesse Quick put on her Liberty Belle gear for this fight (I’m rereading All-Star Squadron right now, so this felt extra special to me), and that the last page showed the characters that it did (I don’t want to spoil anything, but it looks like Adams is going to be addressing one of the most damaging Flash stories of all time).

Immortal Sergeant #3 – I kind of assumed that the entire length of this miniseries would be spent with Sarge irritating his family as he shuffles towards retirement, but Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura have more than that planned, as Sarge decides to blow off his retirement to pursue one last case, and drags his son with him.  The character interactions are what this book is all about, and Casey is just so good at it.  Niimura’s art is so simple, yet so dynamic.  

Marauders #12 – Is this the last issue of this series?  It feels like Steve Orlando has wrapped everything up, in terms of his strange puzzle box storyline, and I just realized that no new issues have been solicited for April or May.  In that case, I guess it’s time to admit that this series never really worked.  Orlando had some really ambitious ideas for this run, retconning into existence an entire mutant civilization before humanity existed, a new history for the Shi’ar race, and attempting to inject some new characters into the Krakoan cast, although I don’t see any of them becoming recognizable names.  I like when creators swing for the fences, but I never really felt connected to the characters here, and often had to work to follow the story.  I hope that Kate Pryde ends up somewhere where she’s prominent soon, because I do love the character.

Monica Rambeau: Photon #4 – As we get closer to the end of this series, Monica is finding things are getting harder and harder.  Reality keeps shifting, and she can no longer hide from the fact that she is probably the cause.  Eve Ewing retcons a big change into Monica’s past that is both interesting and maybe a little annoying.  I’d like to know more about it.  Also, I think it’s time to insist that characters Mark Bagley designed in the nineties need new costumes.  I hate the way Moonstone looks in this book – I loved her classic costume.

Nightwing #102 – It’s strange how much this series has kind of become a Titans comic lately.  Dick and the team continue to fight to protect Blockbuster’s daughter from Neron’s agent, and while I don’t mind that (I’ve preordered Tom Taylor’s upcoming Titans series), I like how he writes Dick in his own city with his own supporting cast.  I don’t love that this book got a price increase and a backup, largely because it’s not really all that good.  

Star Wars: Darth Vader #32 – I’ve gotten tired of Padmé’s handmaidens.  In this issue, Sabé decides to turn her back on her sisters, and her reasons and what she does with her new position are interesting.  I’ve said this before – Vader on his own is a boring character, and needs other characters to work as his foils.  When those other characters are Doctor Aphra, it works amazingly well, but I don’t think that Greg Pak has sold me on Sabé as being complex enough.  Ibraim Roberson’s art is lovely though, and kept me interested.

Storm & the Brotherhood of Mutants #2 – It doesn’t surprise me that Al Ewing is so good at pulling together this issue that furthers Kieron Gillen’s plans for the Sins of Sinister event, and contains more than a few elements of Star Wars (I would love to see Ewing on Star Wars) at the same time.  Storm and her people make an effort to seize Sinister’s missing lab, aided by Destiny, but this issue plays out as a mirror image of the first one, and there are once again surprises in store.  This event has been pretty pleasing so far, and I look forward to watching it wrap up next month.

Superman #2 – The second issue of Joshua Williamson’s relaunch held my interest, as Metropolis is swarmed by duplicating Parasites, and a new character, Marilyn Moonlight, makes her debut.  What I like best about the Superman titles these days is the way the larger Superman family is being employed and used as backup.  I’m not sure how I feel about Lex Luthor’s attempts to influence and support Superman from prison though – it’s so obvious that this is going to turn out to be a larger ploy, and I’m kind of tired of it already.  I wish Luthor had been able, in his more recent adventures with the Justice League, been given the space to grow as a character.  He could be DC’s Magneto, and would be so much more interesting if he were.

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

Colonel Weird and Little Andromeda HC

Dead Romans #1

Earthdivers Kill Columbus #6

Order And Outrage #1

Punisher #10

Wasp #3

The Week in Music:

Zima Stulecia – Minus 30°C – Lately I’ve become a fan of Astigmatic Records, a Polish label that is putting out some very good jazz and electronic music, almost all of which involves some guy named Latarnik.  As one half of Zima Stulecia, joined by someone named Cancer G, he gives us an album that blends jazz and electronics.  Some tracks are dancey, kind of like The Comet is Coming, but others are more contemplative and sparse.  This is an interesting album from a scene I’d like to know more about.

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