Home / Comics / Captain Kirk’s Pick of the Pulls: Mercenary Sea #4

Captain Kirk’s Pick of the Pulls: Mercenary Sea #4

(Image Comics)
(Image Comics)

Come closer… I got a shameful secret to share. Shhh… it’s between you and me:

…I didn’t read comics for about ten years or so.

Yeah, it’s true. It’s sad, but it’s true. You see, I had to give up comics. I was in my third year of university studies and I had to work three jobs to pay tuition and sadly, comics were an expense that I just couldn’t handle on top of my financial obligations to my alma mater. In fact, I had to sell my prized Uncanny X-Men collection for a prize far below their value to someone who didn’t appreciate them. So after that, it was really hard to get back into collecting. I vowed never to return. I think I must have missed most of the 90’s and the early 2000’s.

Then, years later, and after the birth of my first child, I made a friend – another dad whose wife was friends with mine, and he got me back into comics. Why? Because I was reminded about how much I missed the grandiosity and epic nature of comic stories. They can reach heights and ranges that cinematic and televised tales can’t go and they are more visually freeing than novels and conventional literature (and I say that even as English teacher). Comics can go anywhere and I missed going to those places with them.

Now, I’ve replaced my missing Uncanny X-Men issues, created a dedicated office in my basement where I read and store my comics and write about them in posts like this one; and I’m able to convey that sense of storytelling appreciation to my students in my regular job.

DC has the lion’s share this week, and there is some amazing action happening this week in the DC universe. It’s a bit untimely and a little jumbled, but given the quality of the storytelling and the ramifications to the overall universe, we can afford to be a little forgiving – thank the comic gods. Marvel is a little light on my list this week, but we’ll take a look at the second issue of Original Sin and see how that’s shaping up.

But it’s Image Comics that has really caught my eye this week – again. Like a 1-2 punch, Mercenary Sea #4 by Kel Symons and Mathew Reynolds and Jonathan Hickman’s East of West #12 have come out of their respective corners and literally knocked me on my comic-lovin’ kiester.

As much as I love continuity, I also respect what DC has done in recreating their universe. It makes jumping back into comics a heck of a lot easier and I’m sure there are people out there like me. So this week’s pick of the pulls is dedicated to those folks who have made their way back to the fold! Welcome back brothers and sisters – let’s enjoy the comic splendor and get right to the list!

Image Comics

The Mercenary Sea #4

East of West #12

Dynamite Comics

Flash Gordon #2

DC Comics

Batman Eternal #7

Future’s End #3

Forever Evil #7 (of 7)

Justice League #30

Justice League of America #14

Sinestro #2

Marvel Comics

Original Sin #2

Uncanny X-Men #21

The Mercenary Sea #4

TheMercenarySea_04-1

 

If you’re not reading this comic: what is wrong with you?

Seriously, this has to be one of the best stories out there right now. It is an original concept with a completely acceptable premise based in an alternative historical scenario. This is the type of comic story that Alan Moore needs to see when he starts complaining about there not being anything new and innovative in the world of comics. Reynolds and Symons have done it.

East of West #12

eastofwest12

 

This comic is truly cosmic. It’s a world-building concept of epic proportions and cosmic is what Hickman does best. It’s a staggering comic that can be a little hard to take it all in piecemeal. This will be an awesome hardcover and I think the story will be better appreciated when it is combined in a complete volume. It’s truly mind-blowing.

Flash Gordon #2

flash_gordon_2_

 

Okay – I have to confess that I’m not too crazy with the presentation of Flash. He’s a well-built clown who does the right thing. But there’s too much of an emphasis on the oafishness and I find that a little distracting. I’m a major classic comic fan though and Flash Gordon was one of the earliest sci-fi action heroes. Also, Jeff Parker does a great job of jumping right into the action and I think I’m going to stick with this one. It’s fast and I think this is one to keep an eye on.

Batman Eternal #7

btmneternal7

 

It’s worth it to keep up with this; though this issue isn’t the best representative of the series. Since this is a weekly series the pace is going to be horrendous. Sure enough, I’m not crazy about the art in this one. Drawn by Emanuel Simeoni, the art is a little too anime for my tastes. Maybe I’ve gotten used to Capullo or Jim Lee, but it just doesn’t seem to fit.

Future’s End #3

FUTEND_Cv3

 

I’m kind of digging this series. I was a little wary of it at first, but it’s growing on me. Mr. Terrific has definitely been successfully re-imagined for the New 52 in the right way. You know – take a chance. It’s a good way to appreciate Batman Beyond at the very least.

Forever Evil #7 (of 7)

Justice League #30

Forever_Evil_Vol_1_7

JUSTICELEAGUE_30-LUTHOR

 

I’m going to include these two titles as a package deal. Finally, Forever Evil is finished. It’s been a little bit of a wait but at least it ended on an acceptable, if somewhat rushed ending. A lot of the characters (namely Sinestro, Black Adam and others) were barely used to any degree of significant effect.

However, what’s really interesting is the change in Lex Luthor’s character. There’s a definite sense of character development that could have only happened in the New 52. This segues really well into Justice League #30 and the ramifications of Luthor’s change in character are certainly going to be an interesting twist for the League. I have to say I’m curious in seeing what develops in the future.

Justice League of America #14

Justice_League_of_America_Vol_3-14_

 

Why this is a significant issue – even though it is out of sequence – is that it sets the scene for Justice League United. So we finally understand where the Martian Manhunter was between Forever Evil and Justice League United. So, like I said, it’s a little out of sequence, but at least it fills in some continuity holes.

 Sinestro #2

Sinestro_Vol_1-2

 

Two words: Dale Eaglesham. Dale’s art is amazing; this alone is worth the price for me. The revision of Sinestro and his corps as a force for order in the universe through the application of fear makes Sinestro a far more realistic and believable character. It’s a pretty good story and looking at an old character in a new way has always good promise.

Original Sin #2

origsin2

 

How could they kill the Watcher? Sorry, but this isn’t a spoiler; Marvel’s been hyping this up, so anyone in tune with the comic world knows what’s going on with this comic and anyone who isn’t, doesn’t know who the Watcher is.  But my problem with this comic is that it just doesn’t seem like this is something we should care about.

The Watcher is a meta-character; he was initially there for the edification of the reader and in guest appearances, never got involved in the story in a significant way, always repeating his responsibility to “simply watch”. I would say that the heroes would feel some sense of curiosity and some sense of loss, but not enough to warrant an entire book. I’m just having difficulty buying this story and the fact that there seem to be an endless cavalcade of characters parading through the pages. It’s like there was a decision to create a story with as many Marvel characters as possible, including some pretty esoteric and forgotten villains, like the Orb. Who remembers him?

Nice to see the original Nick Fury again though.

Uncanny X-Men #21

xmen21

Yeah. I’m an X-whore. I admit it. But I just can’t stop myself. I don’t like Bachalo’s art either, yet even that won’t stop me from picking up an issue. Sigh … but there are some nifty things that happening in this issue. Dazzler has been found, Mystique’s cover is in jeopardy and now S.H.I.E.L.D. is in trouble. At least there is something finally happening in this storyline.

But it’s not too late for you. You don’t have to pick this book up – only if you’re like me, and can’t resist not knowing about what’s happening to your favourite super-heroes.

So that’s the list. My pick for the week?

The Mercenary Sea #4

This one had it all. It had action, it had more glimpses into Jack’s back-story, the introduction to a couple of new and interesting allies and the big reveal to a cliffhanger from the last issue. This was a complete comic and I loved every turn of the page. What’s really cool is the colouring in this book – it has a Chaykin-like style combined with an art-deco atmosphere. Great book, guys! Keep it up.

That’s it for this week. There was a lot of quality in this selection – and a lot of room for folks to jump back into the comics pool if they’ve been out of it for a while.

… And if you’ve been out of comics for a while, don’t worry – I can keep a secret.

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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.