Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 02/17/2016

I’ve got a lot of stuff on my brain right now: preparing for Fan Expo Comic-Con in March, booking flight tickets for San Diego Comic Con in July and figuring out how to work two stories for Roddenberry Entertainment’s www.1701news.com. I do this on top of my responsibilities of being a dad to the most amazing little girls on the face of the planet, a husband to a woman beyond compare and my full time job of teaching English and History.

The most common question I get emailed to me is: how do you manage to fit it all in?

The answer? It’s pretty trite, and I apologize for it in advance, is: the love.

I love my family, I love the stuff I write about and I love being a teacher. My students are really entertained by my knowledge of geek-culture and by tying it into the curriculum, they see how it affects world culture as well as serving as a working model to communicate ideas and entertain thousands.

Do you think Stan Lee could have imagined the influence he would have on 20th and now 21st century cultures? What about Gene Roddenberry or George Lucas? This is the stuff I love wondering about and being entertained by it. It’s this love that I transfer to my children and to my students.

A pure passion. For example, I was able to tell my students about motifs in English class today. The idea of twin ghostly little girls was brought up and how they see that repeated concept almost everywhere in horror movies. When I informed them about the origin of that motif (Stephen King’s The Shining), they learned something.

I share knowledge and am rewarded by the joy of that sharing. My students, my friends and my children experience the passion of my love for these things as well as enlightenment.

I made an announcement about a surprise interview I’m doing in the next few months to my wife and ten-year old this evening. My daughter leapt up from the couch, hugged me fiercely and declared how proud she was of me.

All that from reading comics, and it’s a grand thing, to be sure.

Speaking of which, let’s get to the list.

DC Comics

Wonder Woman ’77 – Chapter 15

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What a great conclusion to this arc! Clayface has always been one of my favourite villains and the way Wonder Woman takes care of this classic bad guy is certainly inspired and true to the history of the amazing Amazon. Marc Andreyko has definitely captured the essence of the 70’s Lynda Carter but has also made it a part of the regular DC Continuum in this book – whatever that may shape up to be! But this is a fast, energetic and certainly entertaining story that really allows the reader to enjoy the spirit of the television episodes. In my upcoming interview piece with Andreyko, we talk about how important that was to him and how Lynda regarded the work he and Richard Ortiz, Christan Duce and Romulo Fajardo, junior have done.

Carter is a timeless beauty and her face graces the digital pages of this book and for a low price of 99 cents on Comixology, it’s definitely under-priced. This is a great piece of work and Andreyko deserves all the accolades he can get for it.

Secret Six #11

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Dale Eaglesham – those are the magic words to get me to follow a book. If you have Eaglesham as a regular artist, I’m buying it regularly. Not only is he a Canadian talent to be proud about, but he’s also a stellar artist and a really stand-up guy. This is a fella you want to succeed and I love to take the chance to herald his work whenever I can.

On another note – check out Dale Eaglesham’s website (expertly managed by his partner-in-crime, Wolfie) at www.daleeaglesham.com and see what charity work they’re up to. Dale manages to lend his talents to community benefits and the recent piece of work he is devoting to his latest cause … well, just go to the site and take a look; it’ll give you a real case of the feels. The man is a class-act.

… And this issue of the Secret Six is no less than what you would expect. Gail Simone has set up the start of a beautiful story arc for us this month. With the appearance of Bat-Girl and a backstry component from my favourite Batman story (The Court of Owls), she gives us a great tale to enjoy. Of course, with Eaglesham’s lay-outs, she’s guaranteed a winner. In fact, this has to be best Secret Six issue I’ve read to date.

Titans Hunt #5

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What’s great about picking up this issue is it’s about the same weight and thickness the New Teen Titans were back in ’85 or ’86 when DC migrated the title over to a glossy, glamour format. There’s a bit of tactile nostalgia in that.

Yeah – I’m a softy.

I’m not crazy about Siqueira’s art on this book. It seems a bit scratchy – yeah, that’s the only way to describe it. There’s nothing wrong with his lay-outs or anatomy so maybe it’s the inking. But it’s a bit fuzzy, that’s for sure.

Still, Dan Abnett does a great job of inserting a note of wistful reminiscing into this story. Remember Stephen King’s It? The kids have an adventure and then mercifully forget about it as they grow up. Then they have the extra challenge of remembering their encounter with Pennywhistle the Clown and how to defeat him in their adult years, right?

The Titans have that sort of a challenge themselves. To be honest, I wish it would hurry up a bit but Abnett is a master story-teller and you have to trust that he knows what he is doing. This is the issue where we start to see some of the mystery revealed. The main threat is Mr. Twister with a guest appearance by Mammoth (remember him, Teen Titan fans?) and this is all set against the backdrop of the Silver Age Titans. It’s actually quite a wonderful combination of eras and clearly this is designed to somehow integrate itself into the new continuum DC is promising with its upcoming Rebirth. I’m enjoying it and I’m sure you will too.

Vertigo Comics

Astro City #32

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I love Kurt Busiek’s multi-issue stories. This is a great start too – ex-super villain turned private investigator with a real spirit of redemption motivating him. The backstory, the film-noire vibe to it and even the diversity of super-powers Busiek manages to generate. It’s like he’s playing some online multi-player role playing game and generating these characters for use in his stories. The guy’s an imagination machine. With a combination of Alex Ross’s covers and Brent Anderson’s interiors, this is a dynamite money-maker for Vertigo.

Marvel Comics

Star Wars #16

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This is Marvel’s bread and butter right now, I swear. This is still where the bulk of their A-level talent is directed and has be their major cash cow. In fact, I’d love to be a fly on the wall of their accounting offices and see what their revenue numbers are for the Star Wars titles.

This issue is Part One of the Rebel Jail arc. The cover is a gorgeous one by Terry and Rachel Dodson (how does this couple manage to draw such beautiful women?) but the interior is by Leinil Yu. I have some original art by Yu in my home office; he’s definitely a talented guy and I’m really pleased to see him doing drawing duty on this book.

Still, it’s Jason Aaron who gets the applause for this book. He’s a gifted writer, but he has managed to entirely capture the attitude and bravado of Han Solo, the naiveté of Luke Skywalker and the leadership of Princess Leia. Put this all in the setting of a completely believable and appropriate setting of Sunspot One – the baddest penitentiary the Rebel Alliance has to offer and you have the ingredients of an amazing story that needs to be thoroughly enjoyed.

So, the pick of the week has got to go to:

Secret Six #11

I think they really nailed it with this one. They’ve had time to work out the bumps and really focus on the dynamics of the team. Gale Simone has really allowed Catman to mature and his meeting with Bat-Girl demonstrated this aspect of growth. Strix is a character with a lot of potential and I’m glad to see that she’s demonstrating the possibilities of this Talon. I’m still in the dark about Ralph Dibney and why he’s in the Bigshot identity rather than his former one, but I guess that’s just part of the draw for me and I have faith that with the appearance of Sue Dibney, we’ll learn more in the future. Of course, there’s Dale Eaglesham’s art (a sampling of which I also have in my office) which is simply stunning. It’s the perfect storm of comic elements and showed real growth for all the characters

It’s one to love.

I’m going to put my girls to bed now and prepare for questions from my students tomorrow.

 

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About Captain John K. Kirk

Captain John K. Kirk
John Kirk is an English and History teacher and librarian in Toronto, Canada. In addition to the traditional curriculum, John tries to teach his students to make sense of geek culture. And with the name "J. Kirk," it's hard for him to not inject "Star Trek" into his lessons. Comics, RPGs and the usual fanboy gear make up his classroom resources.