Captain Kirk’s Pick of the Week: Lazarus #9

(Image Comics)

You know what’s really good about going on vacation and missing two weeks’ worth of comics?

Coming back to read two weeks’ worth of comics.

It really does something to your perspective when you double up on your comic-reading. When the stories are somewhat larger, you get more of a scope on the integrity of the storyline, the acceptability of the characters and the enduring plausibility of the premise. Plus, it’s always good for the “little grey cells” to take a break and regain a bit of scope.

The list for this week will include some titles I missed last week as I was enjoying some wilderness and family time. I snuck a couple of hardcovers in my bag though, so I wasn’t totally without comics! Here we go:

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars #19

Image Comics

Red City #2

Lazarus #9

DC Comics

Batman Eternal #13 & #14

Future’s End #9 & #10

Justice League United #3


Royals: Masters of War #6 (of 6)

Marvel Comics

Nightcrawler #4

ICON Comics

The United States of Murder #3

Star Wars #19

(Dark Horse)

Why must this end? Why? If there’s a crime against comic-dom right now, it’s that Dark Horse will be losing the license to the title. They know what they’re doing, Disney … let ‘em keep doing it. Brian Wood has really tapped into that pre-Empire Strikes Back vein and created novel and unique stories that would make any classic Star Wars fan drool in abject pleasure. No sappy Vader, no mitichlorians or any of that other drivel that Lucas was obviously forced to create at gunpoint – this is pure and uncut Star Wars at its best. These are the characters we know and truly love and this comic is simply one of the best titles out there. If you’re not reading this, then you’re no friend of mine.

This issue begins a new story arc but also is the beginning of the end of the series. When this series comes out in hardcover format, it will have a shining place of honour in my library. Not just out of its intrinsic quality, but also because of the obvious passion and care for Star Wars that one can just fake. This is the true article, folks. Worth every penny.

 Red City #2

(Image Comics)

Ehhh … I didn’t buy into this as much as I did the first issue for some reason. Not that there wasn’t any continuation of the plot, but it’s that I have to confess there seemed to be a bit of a long gap between Issue #1 and #2 … or was that just me as I frolicked in the Canadian northlands? In any event, there wasn’t a lot of character development in this issue – just a lot of action and circumstances. We didn’t even get a decent enough introduction to a new character who showed up. It seemed like filler to me and it was just wa-a-a-a-ay too early for a filler issue in a new series.

 Lazarus #9

(Image Comics)

Talk about waiting too long … I don’t know why, but this is taking too long to hit the shelves! Of course, that’s the only complaint you can say about this series. It probably is the best one that Image has going for it right now. For me, the torment of a character who has been brought up to be resourceful, talented and yet completely subservient to an ideal is an amazing character dynamic. Forever Carlysle’s worst enemy is herself. I love it. It’s such a refreshing and subtle take on a comic story that I’m constantly searching the comic list for when it’s scheduled to come out. But, I suppose you have to wait for quality products.

Batman Eternal #13 & #14  /  Future’s End #9 and #10

(DC Comics) 

I’m going to cheat a little and group both these titles together in this review because I think they both share a lot of the same characteristics. They’re both weeklies, they show up on my list at the same times, and they’re being completed by a myriad of DC’s best talents.

There were some really significant developments in the Batman Eternal series that culminated with a very entertaining and well-thought out resolution. Amazing stuff and while I hesitate to spoil anything, I just want to say that the theme the natural order and the dominance of a younger generation had a great deal of relevance for me as I think about the new generation of comic readers. It’s hard for me to ignore some of the great stuff that DC has done with its new direction but I also feel sorry for the younger readers who will miss out on that as they grow accustomed to the new state of things in the DC universe.


(DC Comics)

Future’s End #9 and #10 seemed to slow down a little. Reading two issues back to back, you would think that developments would move along a little bit faster but very little seemed to develop from about the events that were introduced two or three issues ago. Pretty static, I’d say, which will be a problem when this will be eventually edited for a collected volume. You could eliminate an entire issue and still get on with the overall story.

 Justice League United #3

(DC Comics)

Pretty solid issue with some more examination into Equinox’s origin story. I wish it would move a little bit faster though … I’m a little puzzled as to how she will be included into the rest of the adventure. Okay, but could have been a little bit more meaningful.

The Royals: Masters of War #6 (of 6)

(DC Comics)

As saddened as I was with the ending of the story, I have to say, it couldn’t have gone any other way. Not to say I was disappointed, but the thing that people have to remember when alternative historical fictions are written is that they can’t deviate too much from what we know of the actual historical result. Otherwise, the story becomes too alien and unrelatable to the reader.

It’s still an amazing concept and one that really puts a novel spin on the idea of super-beings in a World War II setting aside from the jingoistic “Captain America” that is more a traditional perspective. It’s a very human drama nonetheless and definitely worth reading.

Nightcrawler #4

(Marvel Comics)

Just good old fashioned X-Men goodness. I don’t want to come across as a mindless Chris Claremont devotee, but in all honesty, he’s what’s been missing from the X-Men for the past umpteen years. Claremont was there at the beginning … he understands the X-Men and Nightcrawler shows this. Having Claremont back in the writer’s saddle on this title brings me back to some of those good old days in the eighties when the X-Men were a title that drew attention and was completely novel.

The problem is though, how would Claremont react to writing more titles? How would Marvel react? There are story developments that he didn’t agree with that he would have to contend with and egos would flare uncontrollably. As much as I hate to admit it, this is the only X-Men comic that will allow me to enjoy them as I remembered them. Marvel would never allow him any more involvement than that.

The United States of Murder #3

(ICON Comics)

In an earlier post a few weeks back, I speculated that Brian Bendis was spending too much time diverting his attention among different titles. I take that back. I think his real focus is on this title.

I have to give Bendis his due … this is a really well-constructed, thoughtful and enjoyable storyline. The concept is amazing and the characters are very compelling to read. I love the predicaments and scenarios in this title, but I have to say that I just can’t get past the art. Michael Avon Oeming has talent – definitely, but I just don’t think his style fits the gravitas of the concept. This is an America that has a significant portion of its territory actually ruled by the Mafia. It should be presented in a more traditional and classical style to represent the Italian Catholic culture or the crime noir elements. Oeming’s style is just too … cartoony. It’s hard to take the scene of the heads of the most powerful crime families in the country tele-conferencing together seriously. It’s an image that should be more solid and darker. Instead it looks like something from a kids’ animation show.

No disrespect intended … I just don’t think it’s the right style for this story.

So that’s pretty much it for this week. The pick for this week’s pick of the pulls is:

Lazarus #9

A close second would be Star Wars #19. I don’t want to see this series end, but it will and I have to acknowledge its superior quality in every comic aspect: art, story development, writing, – everything. But it also remains true to the original Star Wars that we all love.

However, Lazarus is a completely unique story. The post-apocalyptic setting is completely acceptable; the characters are not only compelling but also amazingly detailed. In fact, everything about this comic is fully detailed, even down to the fake product ads inside or sometimes on the exterior of the comic. It’s a true piece of art and Greg Rucka needs to really be acknowledged for his supremely good storytelling.

Michael Lark’s artwork is likewise precise and intricate; especially his technological representations. His work is so good that I sometimes find myself staring at each scene to take in its entirety. It’s an amazingly superior comic that truly deserves your attention.

… if only it would make it to the shelves more quickly.

That’s it for the Pick of the Pulls for this week. My apologies for my absence last week, but rest assured if I go on holiday again, I’ll see if I can book a substitute!

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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