Captain Kirk’s Log: comics are my blissful escape

Busy day today … get ready for work, take care of the kids, make supper, correct homework, take out the garbage and fix something wrong with the house.

The usual stuff.

Except today is Wednesday… and Wednesday is new comic day. Both the wife and girls know that this is Daddy’s comic time, and bless them, they leave me alone.  As soon as the domestic routine ends, my comic time begins and I hie my weary limbs to my recliner, turn on the lamp and begin to lose myself in a good two hours of escapism.

Because that’s what comics are: good escapism. Sure enough, there is a bit of nostalgia in there for me as well, but mostly it’s a chance to step out of our lives and live the life of a hero – or villain – for a short time.

Let’s see where this week’s escape takes us!


Image Comics

Bitch Planet #1

The Fuse #8


Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate

Star Trek: New Visions #4


Astro City #18

DC Comics

Justice League United #7

Marvel Comics

Uncanny X-Men Annual #1

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1

Bitch Planet #1


I didn’t like this. Right off the bat, I’m going to say that, and I know I’m immediately going to be cast in the light of an anti-feminist thinker. That’s a bit of a joke actually, if anyone knows my wife. I can’t imagine a stronger and more empowered woman in the world who I respect and love for the fact that she usually knows best.

However, to me, this comic seemed derivative and stereotypical of popular feminist-thought. If you want to create a true feminist story, then don’t present something in the typical way that feminist thought is being currently shown on cable TV. I’m referring to Orange is the New Black on HBO – which this comic completely felt like, with the broad exception that Bitch Planet  is set in space and is a systematic oppressive measure of keeping women in check.

I will say though, that the book is well-laid out. The art is fairly decent and I did enjoy some of the characters. Though I also enjoyed some of the characters in Orange is the New Black – particularly Kate Mulgrew’s.

The Fuse #8


Still great. This issue in particular seemed a lot more detailed than the previous ones, to my mind. It was like Messrs. Johnston and Greenwood slowed down the pace a little bit. To me, it seemed like they were enjoying themselves. More detail in the art was apparent, like Clem’s expression and features, and Johnston even allowed Dietrich some jokes. If Dietrich can have some fun, then does this reflect that Johnston and Greenwood are as well?

I love this book; lots of action and I have to say, the way that Johnston presents the reasoning behind the story is very detective-fiction. The reader is invited to become part of the resolution process with the protagonists, pausing the cerebral exercise for a bit of physical action. It’s pure fun and this is a comic that you should be reading.


Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #2


I am having so much of a D&Dgasm reading this comic! First off, when I played Baldur’s Gate, I always took Minsc. Not only was he a powerhouse but he had the best dialogue. His admonitions to Boo, his giant miniature space hamster to always “go for the eyes” was a great battle cry that I would listen to over and over again. It’s great to see that writer Jim Zub has kept that sense of humour in the comic.

Max Dunbar is likewise gifted. His art is clean and resolute. This is a great comic that will bring the wonder of Baldur’s Gate to a new iteration of D&D fans and comic readers.

Star Trek: New Visions #4


This one I read with absolute glee. No, not that I broke into song, but I did hear the voice of late actor Roger C. Carmel resounding throughout my head as I read the dialogue that was intended for his most well-known role – Harcourt Fenton Mudd.

John Byrne has been knocking it out of the park with his Star Trek photo-montage books. But this is a difficult one. How do you include a character in a photonovel whose image you aren’t allowed to use? Byrne deftly works around this obstacle as he creates a story about Star Trek’s most lovable rogue that doesn’t use a single picture of him.

Apparently there was an issue with using Carmel’s image for Star Trek projects. For whatever reason, the image of the actor is not allowed to be in any Star Trek projects that would use his likeness. This was an issue with the DC Star Trek comics in the 1980s that was dealt with by drawing Mudd completely differently. Of course, Byrne doesn’t have that latitude in a photnovel, but how he deals with it is something you’ll just have to check out for yourself

You really need to read this one; Harry Mudd, a return of a classic Star Trek villain and there’s even a Klingon plot afoot. This is a must read.

Astro City #18


What do super heroes do when they get old? Hell, what will I do when I get old? Will I still be reading comics?

In all seriousness, this is a great topic for a comic hero story. When heroes actually start feeling the effects of age, how do they deal with that emotionally? This was a really insightful and thought-provoking issue of Astro City and one that really resonated with me – and I’m sure, aging comic fans everywhere.

But this is a hallmark of Busiek’s Astro City: the intersection of the extreme and the mundane. Most writers would shy away from this notion as comics are escapism. But when the mundane is presented from the perspective of the extreme characters in this story, it doesn’t throw reality in the readers’ faces; it actually makes the topic relatable on another level, which becomes acceptable.

Busiek can bridge that distance. This was an enlightened and provocative story that many readers could appreciate and enjoy.

Justice League United #7


A pretty big hero mash-up that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Maybe I’m just being impatient, but I’m getting a little tired of being out in space. Get the kid, figure out the zeta beam problem and return to Earth already.

I’m also not seeing a lot of emphasis on the two characters that really made me sit up and take notice of this comic in the first place. I want to see more of Equinox and understand her character more thoroughly. I also want to see more involvement with Adam Strange. These two characters – who were a big draw – are pretty much sublimated. This story arc needs to end soon and create more of a JLU presence on Earth instead of out in space.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #1


Annuals were typically enlarged books with single stories that could exist out of the regular continuum. Of course, continuum means nothing to either of the big two companies anymore, but it’s nice to see that the tradition has returned.

This one features the beginning of the explanation of what actually happened to Eva Bell when she threw up that huge time bubble back in Uncanny X-Men #5 or #6 (?) – I honestly can`t remember. But she threw up a time bubble and disappeared, only to return moments later, seven years older.

I`m glad that Marvel went back to close off this thread. I remember this event as being one of the few that I was marginally curious about. What does bother me about this issue is the art and the fact that you have to buy The X-Men Annual  #1 to find out the rest of the story.

I can’t say I enjoyed Andrea Sorrentino’s art; it’s very abstract, disjointed and leaves too much to the imagination. I’m a solid lines kind of guy, and visually distracting art prevents me from paying attention to the story.

I enjoyed returning to this event, but I think it could have been handled in one issue. Two just seems to be a tad unnecessary for such a mildly intriguing event.


Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1


Now THIS was an annual. Not only did it manage to capture that daring, roguish humour that was present in the film, but it also had some very touching and sentimental moments that didn’t seem out of place. It was humour incarnate. A purely enjoyable book with a creative yet simple plot that kept the reader guessing until the very end.

So the book that makes my escape possible for this week is:

IDW’s Star Trek: New Visions #4

I thoroughly love seeing the Star Trek heroes of my youth come back to life in these deftly-crafted and well-imagined stories. I get to see Kirk in his youth as I remember him along with likenesses of actors like Deforest Kelly or James Doohan who have passed on. I like to think that their families would enjoy seeing them continue to represent these well-known characters even after their deaths. What an amazing way to keep their memories alive.

But this is a fantastic series. I don’t know how John Byrne finds the time to assemble these books but I’d love to be a fly on the wall and just watch him work. I promise I wouldn’t say a word, John. Just let me have a couple of washroom breaks along with some very quiet snacks and I would be content to sit in your workshop and just watch your process at work.

No… I’m serious. Call me. We’ll do a silent lunch.

That’s it for this week. I’ve finished escaping for the week and it’s time to return to domesticity.

Hmmm… I wonder if I can just catch the latest episode of Supernatural?

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.

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