Captain Kirk’s pick of the pulls: ‘Rat Queens’ #6

(Image Comics)

Here’s the list for this week, folks. I want to preface the pull list this week by pointing out how many number one editions there are.

Thinking back to the comic-collecting days of my youth, the advent of a new title was always exciting. There was a sense of anticipation associated with a new release, not just from a collection-building point of view, but also from a sense of discovery. How would this new title fit into the existing universe? If there were new characters, would they add value or tension to the shared world? It was a very exciting thing and a comic’s survival depended primarily on what it could contribute to others, despite the artistic merit. If it made significant contributions to the shared universe and it was well-crafted, that pretty much insured its success as well as its survival.

These days, a number one edition of a new title in one of the “Big Two” publishers is a sales booster, plain and simple. In very few cases are there actual opportunities for that same degree of excitement. I think the only exception that recently comes to mind from Marvel, for example, is Moon Knight. Generally speaking, the firsts in series that I get excited about are mostly in the other publishers like Image or Dark Horse. Why? Because these are usually separate titles that don’t have to fit into a shared universe and represent independent, creator-owned efforts.

These are exciting. They don’t have the baggage that the shared universes of the “Big Two” have, they don’t run into continuity problems and offer chances to new talent in the comic industry. Also, in the last few years, these have been the comics that I’ve enjoyed the most compared to the big publishing events from Marvel or DC.

But … Future’s End might be an exception to the rule. Let’s stick a pin in that one and come back to it.

Anyway, let’s get to the list.

Dynamite Comics

Chaos #1

Image Comics

Rat Queens #6

Marvel Comics

Moon Knight #3

Cyclops #1

Miracleman #5

Original Sin #1

DC Comics

Batman Eternal #4

Future’s End #1

DC – Vertigo

Wake #8

Chaos #1

(Dynamite Comics)

Well … the art’s really good. Nothing like demon babes in bikinis on the cover to insure a decent selling issue.

Vampires, Ragnarok and other Norse elements, oh my. I think there’s some voodoo in there as well. I hate it when different cultural mythologies are arbitrarily mixed together without any conceivable explanation why. Yeah, I know the comic is titled Chaos, but there has to be a shred of structure for me to attach a sense of willing disbelief. It’s just lazy world-building.  I actually feel bad that I bought this comic.

Rat Queens #6

(Image Comics)

I wait on this book.

It’s a hell of a romp. You know those folks that you love to hear stories about their wild and crazy parties? Well, add a few D&D-style epic adventures thrown in for good measure and you have Rat Queens. One of the funniest genre-comics I’ve ever read. I love the dialogue, the relationships between the characters and the parody of fantasy role-playing in this comic. It’s so worth buying and anything that Wiebe and Upchurch do with this leaves me laughing and entertained.

I would LOVE to play a classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure, DM’d by Wiebe and my character sketched by Upchurch. I’m just putting that out there for the Universe to do with as it sees fit.

That’s a hint, if that wasn’t made clear.

Moon Knight #3

(Marvel Comics)

Oh wow … this story completely taps into the fabric of Marc Spector’s relationship with Khonshu. How is a street-level hero supposed to fight spirits? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the development of this story. So worth the read, and definitely what Moon Knight is supposed to be about. A great short vignette of a story – please pick this series up.

Cyclops #1

(Marvel Comics)

I’m not a big fan of the recent events involving the young X-Men brought forward in time, but I am a fan of the Starjammers. This comic is about the 16 year-old Scott Summers and his decision to live with his pirate-Father, Corsair and crew, to explore a swashbuckling life out and amongst the stars. I didn’t have high expectations of this story, but Greg Rucka delivers. The basic element of a boy and his father discovering each other is heart-warming, and maybe I’m a bit of a sentimentalist, but that appealed to me.

Miracleman #5

(Marvel Comics)

Filler. Reprint. Move along. Just get it for the sake of filling a collection hole.

Original Sin #1 (of 8)

(Marvel Comics)

Massive book with a tremendous amount going on. The murder of the Watcher? Is such a thing possible? I’m very happy to see Mike Deodato’s work any time and also good to see the original Nick Fury back in action, but there’s a lot going on in this book. I think it needs to be read a few times just to everything settle, but it’s definitely one to keep an eye on – no pun intended.

… If you read it, you’ll get the joke.

Batman Eternal #5

(DC Comics)

Last week, I really didn’t give this more than a brief mention. The strained relationship between Batman and Batgirl over Jim Gordon’s incarceration has ramped up into more of a story than I gave it credit. I have to say that I’m enjoying it more than I originally thought I would. It’s a visually appealing story and Snyder’s focus on Batman has definitely borne fruit for DC.

Now we’re on to another storyline. There’s a lot riding on this. It’s proving to be really enjoyable. This will be an amazing hardcover but for now, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Future’s End #1

(DC Comics)

I confess, my curiousity was piqued by this title. I mean, I’ve never been a fan of Batman: Beyond, but this seems a more viable way of integrating it into the New 52. Issue #0 (given out at Free Comic Book day) starts out set thirty-five years in the future of the New 52 universe and then moves to a time five years from the present.

That blew a lot of things up … including my mind.

I’m not crazy about the heroes of Stormwatch … using them as an opener was interesting though, and I have to say, they were used correctly. Patrick Zircher on art would not be my choice; maybe it was the inking, but I would have suggested someone with cleaner lines, like Dale Eaglesham, to tackle this project to give the action more depiction.  The writing talent on this offers a lot of promise for this new series: Azzarello, Lemire, Jurgens and Giffen – that’s a lot of heavy firepower. I enjoyed number one.

The Wake #8 (of 10)

(DC Vertigo)

Post-apocalyptic goodness. Snyder acquits himself well in this dark tale of Earth’s aquatic dystopia. My biggest concern is how is this story supposed to wrap itself up in only two more issues? Half of it was devoted to setting up the conditions for the watery apocalypse to occur. It’s so rich in detail and texture that it seems that trying to finish it in two more books might run the risk of an abrupt ending.

Please don’t scare me, Mr. Snyder. Make this an ending worthy of the storytelling effort you’ve already invested so far.

Okay, so as my pick of the pulls this week I’m picking…

Rat Queens #6

I have to. I mean, this is just an enjoyable twist on a pop-culture phenom that a good proportion of the comic audience in my demographic can appreciate. Moreover, it’s presented in such a modern way that others can also get into it. Comics are supposed to entertain as well as demonstrate decent graphic storytelling and art. It’s such a pure joy that it can’t be overlooked. The characters are completely entertaining, the story advances in such a believable and well-paced rate … this is a comic for the 21st century.

It’s also kind of cool that a friend of mine got a letter published in the letters column, mentioning our gaming group. That’s the sort of thing that brings this comic to a relatable, personal level of enjoyment for me.

As for an honourable mention … Future’s End #1 would be my choice for this week. Just on a sheer consideration of scale. This is an epic proportioned storyline that has major implications for DC’s New 52. It also seems to me that the depth of talent DC is drawing upon makes this a tale too significant to ignore. But, I also can’t ignore the character development this promises. I think this is going to be a very entertaining story and a major comic event to stay aware of.

So there are a couple of number ones that can restore my faith in comic publishing after all, I’m pleased to say. It’s been a good week. Hopefully, some of these might make your own pull list. Have fun reading!

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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