The Weekly Round-Up #748 w/Batman #146, X-Men #33, Vengeance of Moon Knight #4, thoughts on Ed Piskor and Mark Bright, and more…

Columns, Top Story


Deep Cuts #6 – I’m sad to see this incredible series ending, but am also so impressed by it and so pleased with how it ended. Each issue of Deep Cuts has given us a short story about a jazz musician in a specific era. The stories have been about passion, drive, inspiration, and how the life of a musician can be a difficult one. They’ve also been about the camaraderie amongst musicians, both the support and the rivalries. This last issue focuses on Barry Newark, a saxophone player in a fusion band that is starting to move towards the disco sound that has become so popular. Barry is deeply unhappy though – one of the musicians that inspired him has recently passed, and while he didn’t ever meet him, he is feeling the man’s loss and the dissolution of his connection to the music. As Barry and his band leave on a world tour, his synth player plans to strike out on her own, and the other members of the band are not happy with the way Barry is managing things. This issue, illustrated by Toby Cypress in his usual frenetic style, brings together threads from the whole series in a way that I found touching. Kyle Higgins and Joe Clark have created a truly memorable series here, and I really appreciated it. As a music head (in a consumer/fan way) who has been learning more and more about jazz these last years, this project spoke to me.

Antarctica #10 – I realize I should have dropped this title at the end of the first arc. This prequel-ish arc hasn’t really added much to the original story, and didn’t expand on its themes either. This is the last issue, but it seems to suggest that there are beings living in the fracture between worlds, and then promptly drops the idea. I’m guessing that Simon Birks thought he’d have two more arcs, because this was probably not the way to approach this story.


The Avengers #12 – The Avengers finally decide to respond to Orchis’s attacks on mutants and semi-takeover of America. They coordinate strikes against them, while we learn that Orchis has hired 3-D Man to be their point man on Avengers-related issues. Poor Delroy, he’s always roped into the worst organizations. I enjoyed this issue, although I don’t think I’m a big fan of Francesco Mortarino’s art; it’s a bit too cartoonish for me. It’s nice to see other Marvel books acknowledging the really big changes happening in the X-Corner of the universe.

Batman #146 – I like how this issue used its extra page count for one chapter of Chip Zdarsky’s story, instead of cramming in a backup story that upsets the flow of things. Batman continues to be replaced by Zur-En-Arrh, in the Failsafe robot body, but he starts to fight back. Zdarsky’s story is interesting, and this issue goes a long way towards explaining anything that wasn’t clear before. It’s odd how none of this stuff, including Bruce’s new robot hand, isn’t reflected anywhere else in the DCU.


Birds of Prey #8 – In a bit of a nod to the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye run, the Birds fight the unknown threat targeting Vixen while in lingerie (except for Barda, who takes some extra precautions that require the Aja-esque corner box head treatment). This series is delightful in the way that Kelly Thompson manages to balance humour with action. I really like this lineup (I hope Vixen sticks around past this arc) and think that Sin might become my favourite character. Javier Pina and David Lopez are great here, but I’m still undecided about the colouring approach being taken by Jordie Bellaire.

Doctor Strange #14 – Strange and his ‘Secret Defenders’ group continue to confront Baron Mordo in the fantasy world created by a sentient tabletop RPG. This issue feels like a bit of a filler in advance of the Blood Hunt event, which gets roped into the next issue. It’s nice to see Pasqual Ferry’s art, as always, and I do enjoy that Hunter’s Moon is in this issue.


The Immortal Thor #9 – Now that Thor understands that he needs to protect the Earth, he goes after his old foe Dario Agger, at Roxxon. This is more of a classic Thor comic, with Enchantress and the Executioner working with Agger, but at the same time, Al Ewing is playing around with story magic. We start to realize why Agger has gotten into the comics business, and it looks like Ewing has some fun Morrison-esque stuff coming our way. This series has taken way too long to get my interest, but it feels like it might be starting to pay off.

Kaya #17 – Both Jin and Kaya fight for their lives in this issue, as Kaya tries to retrieve a plant that can save her brother, who is trapped in the visions he sees. Wes Craig’s art keeps leveling up in this comic; Jin’s sequences look incredible. I really like this book, and love how it is shaping up to have a long run.


Love Everlasting #14 – I’ve been enjoying the way this arc focuses on the Cowboy who turns up at the end of each of Joan’s relationships to kill her, while trying to convince her that “love is everlasting.” This issue has him going through quite a montage of killings, and gaining the ire of Mother, the woman behind Joan’s constant respawning in different classic romance novel scenarios. There’s been a real growth of books that examine metanarratives like this (I’m thinking of The Plot Holes, parts of Black Hammer, and Subgenre), and I wonder if that has something to do with this being the era of rampant disinformation. This series has really held my interest, and I appreciate that Tom King and Elsa Charretier keep changing things up.

The One Hand #3 – Ram V and Laurence Campbell’s noir science fiction detective serial killer story has become one of my favourite books. V is writing the hell out of this series, which follows some typical tropes (Ari gets suspended this issue, for example), while also subverting the genre. He adds a Blade Runner element to things, as Ari finds the ‘cog’ (the name for the artificial people in this world) that he enjoyed visiting at the brothel before, and pursues some strange leads in the One Hand case. This book has so much atmosphere to it (thanks to Campbell’s moody art), and while the fit with its companion book, The Six Fingers, isn’t perfect (do the public know about the weird script on the walls at these killings or not?), I like how the two titles dance around one another and establish greater context to things.


The Sacrificers #7 – The consequences of the first arc start to show themselves to the fantasy world that Rick Remender and Max Fiumara have created, especially on the coast where tides run wild. We also check in on Soluna, who has survived her ordeal so far but is struggling to find safety. This book is really interesting, as the story starts to sprawl. Fiumara is doing incredible work here.

Star Wars #45 – As Lando’s trial continues, the Rebel Alliance tries to figure out what’s happened to Mon Mothma. Charles Soule, who is a lawyer, must be having fun writing this story arc.

Vengeance of the Moon Knight #4 – Tigra and Hunter’s Moon go after the new Moon Knight in his lair, and we finally get to learn who he really is. It’s a pleasant surprise for me, as I love obscure characters and have always wanted to know more about this one. There are three Jed MacKay books in this column this week, but Moon Knight continues to be his most successful book. I love the way he’s structured this series, with Marc’s former psychologist interviewing each member of the supporting cast as part of the book’s framework. 


Void Rivals #8 – This is a pretty decompressed issue that gives artist Lorenzo De Felici space to show off his action chops. Solila and Darak continue to trek through the wasteland that separates their worlds, but Proximus, the great warrior sent by Solila’s people to stop them, catches up to them. It’s a brutal issue that doesn’t advance the main plot a whole lot, but does look to introduce even more challenges for our heroes. This series is always exciting.

X-Men #33 – As the attack on Orchis continues, all of the main action is happening in Fall of the House of X, so this book is relegated to showing side stories and interpolated scenes. Shinobi Shaw heads to Madripoor to evict the Morlocks so he can establish a beachhead for himself and his father, but he takes a major Orchis player with him, and that creates a need for the X-Men to turn up. There’s nothing wrong with this issue, which has nice art by Joshua Cassara, but it reveals how much filler has been going into this book lately (the whole issue about trying to recruit Latverian mutants leads to a minimal payoff here). I’ve liked so much about the Krakoan era, but as we get to its end, you can really see where the paint is peeling.


Ed Piskor – This was a pretty tragic week, starting with the death, by his own hands, of Ed Piskor. Piskor was a very talented comics creator, who had two projects I’d like to discuss. Hip Hop Family Tree was a brilliantly researched history of hip-hop that I got a huge amount of pleasure from reading. I have the big boxed set edition, with the 90s style insert, and I loved it. I also loved his X-Men Grand Design as both a nostalgia trip and a thought exercise, as he tried to unify everything that happened in the X-Books as part of a single larger story. I didn’t read everything he made, but I appreciated his approach to comics and think his death is a huge loss for the industry. It also stands as a reminder of the consequences of internet dog-piles, and the importance of serious allegations receiving their day in court. This one hit me harder than I would have expected, and while I can’t support some of his actions (if true), I can appreciate the quality of his work and the value of his life. My condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and fans.

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Mark Bright – We also lost Mark Bright, one of the great unsung comics artists of my era. Bright was a solid artist who always put out great work in the 80s and 90s. I think the book where I first really noticed him was the excellent Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine one-shot, which made a huge impression on me as a kid (and introduced me to Christopher Priest, then Jim Owsley, who is one of my favourite writers). I didn’t buy everything Bright worked on (I stupidly missed out on the original Milestone series), but I do remember really enjoying his work with Priest on Quantum and Woody when I finally read it a few years back. I (and maybe only I) also really enjoyed his work on Valor back in the day. My condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and fans.


Mars Kumari – I Thought I Lost You – I don’t know how to describe this album by Bruiser Brigade associate (the album is executive produced by Danny Brown), Mars Kumari. It’s mostly an ambient electronic album, but also maybe one of the first ambient hip hop albums? Some tracks feature vocals or raps by the likes of Fatboi Sharif (whose aesthetic fits right in), dälek, and Big Flowers, among others. This is a dark but beautiful album that sometimes crosses into the abrasive. I feel like Kumari is an artist to keep an eye on…

Paper Tiger – All Over The Place – Man, I miss Doomtree. Since the hiphop collective more or less dissolved in 2020 or 2021, the remnants have been disappointing. Dessa has become more of a pop singer, and both Lazerbeak and now Paper Tiger have leaned into house production. This is not a terrible album, as Papes tries out some new sounds that still seemed link to the kind of beats he used to make for the crew, but something feels lacking in all of this. I would have loved to hear Sims, Stef, or Mike rap over some of these beats, and feel like this could have been a new direction for the Shredders project. I don’t really see this getting embraced by the house fans, so I’m left wondering what this is really for. I could see Paper Tiger moving into more of a Fred Again.. direction, and killing it.

Note: I’m probably going to have to miss next week’s column, so it will likely be a double for the big week #750!

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