Captain Kirk’s Pick of the Week: The Mercenary Sea #5

Heads up: the pick of the pulls for next week will be a little late. Yours truly is going camping with his family and that sort of takes precedence over reading comics…

Of course, reading comics while at camp is a totally different story. With any luck, there’ll be a nice secluded place under a tree where you can hear nothing but the gentle lapping of the water against the shoreline and the crisp turn of a page while a comic is being joyfully and blissfully read.

Sigh…  I’m there already.

Let’s get to the list for this week.

Image Comics

Mercenary Sea #5

The Fuse #5

Dark Horse Comics

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6

Dynamite Comics

Flash Gordon #3

Marvel Comics

Guardians of the Galaxy #16

DC Comics

Batman #32

Harley Quinn #0 – Director’s Cut

Batman Eternal #12

Justice League #31

Sinestro #3

Future’s End #8

The Mercenary Sea #5

TheMercenarySea-05-1-a56ee There’s a major problem with this comic: there’s never enough of it.

In all honesty, it’s a book that I never want to put down. Jack Harper is the quintessential pulp adventurer we want to see more, but don’t get enough of. There aren’t enough pages to fully explore his origins, his quest, his crew before he’s thrown into an adventure that you can’t stop reading … until you’ve reached page 22 and it’s all done until Kel Symons and Matt Reynolds can ship another issue out next month.

This issue is a great rollicking adventure in true WW2 film spirit. Breaking into a Japanese prison camp to rescue innocent villagers’ wives taken as “comfort women’ for imperial troops is a story right out of a Richard Burton-Clint Eastwood film (‘Where Eagles Dare’ – remember that one, WW2 film buffs?). It’s completely cinematic action-packed with a heroic objective. It even throws in a gripping cliff-hanger at the end to just keep the ride going … for another thirty days!

If either Symons or Reynolds manages to make their way north this summer, I plan on buying them mass quantities of beer to make them susceptible to suggestion and pry their story arcs for the next few months out of them. I just can’t wait this long.

The Fuse #5


The second hit in the one-two punch combo from Image this month. This issue begins to wrap up a mystery that introduced us to an amazing world in the future above our own. This is crime noir in outer space that includes believable technology and completely relatable characters. You don’t have to suspend disbelief too much for this science-fiction story which is a major reason for its continued success.

In this issue you get a little more history of the orbiting space station, as it ties into the current mystery. Readers are dying for more of this background, but Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood are just too damn busy crafting these amazing stories – curse their creative hides! Still, it would be great to a little more of the historical nature of the station to really immerse yourself in it. Perhaps a one-time side issue that deals exclusively with the timeline of the Fuse’s construction might be a great supplement? If this idea flies, I want credit for it.

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6


You know, the one thing that really strikes a reader of this series is how accurate the dialogue is. Zack Whedon – the other Whedon –does a startlingly good job of conveying the same speech patterns in that you can hear their voices in your head. It totally justifies the continuation of the adventures of the Firefly crew in another format.

One of the concerns I had with this issue was the complete predictability of the outcome. Without providing any spoilers, it may not have been an innovative result but it was the ending that readers would want. After the tragic deaths of Shepard and Wash, I don’t think Firefly fans would have been able to suffer the loss of another beloved character.

The other problem I had was the pacing. It seemed like the story was artificially rushed – like it had to be finished quickly for some reason. There were a lot of off-panel resolutions and implications that we had to accept in order to reach the end. While still enjoyable for the love of the characters, the story could have allowed us a chance to savour the experience.

Flash Gordon #3



While a complete fun read, I find that there seems to be a gap of information in between issues. With that said though, it’s still a great book to read. I think it might have had something to do with the initial premise: while we got a look at Dale, Doctor Z. and Flash back on Earth in the first issue, we still don’t have a clear idea why Earth is the only planet in Emperor Ming’s prospective conquests to have resisted him.

It’s not like you’ll be disappointed if you pick this up, but the absence of relevant story information is a little hard to miss.

Guardians of the Galaxy #16


I don’t know why I can’t get fully into this series. I’m trying to, for the sake of the film and the legacy of the original Guardians, but I just don’t think it’s kicking into high gear yet.

In terms of a summary, the Guardians are captured and separated in locations all over the galaxy. Somehow they have to re-unite and the much heralded appearance of Captain Marvel from last issue (remember that one? Where she was on the cover but didn’t show up?) finally happens, along with a forgotten co-star.

It just seems so haphazardly assembled that you have to ask if Marvel really cares about this comic or are they just putting in a minimal effort to keep the movie’s title fresh come release time? To be honest, in connection, it doesn’t really give me a lot of confidence for the movie. What if it flops? Then this title’s also gone – let’s face it. This might be one to drop, I hate to say it.

Batman #32


Love the story but I’m dying for this to end. Clear and simple: it’s taking too long. A good story arc should last for about five issues and this has gone on for about … what, six or seven? It may not seem much in comic issues, but that’s about seven months.

I’m getting a little bored with Batman’s inability to thwart the Riddler. It’s the Riddler … come on. He may be in charge of the city, but he’s still just a doofus once personified by Jim Carrey. Even though this is supposed to be Batman in the early stages, it’s still a little bit hard to swallow.

Harley Quinn #0 – Director’s Cut


I liked this idea. If you remember that Harley Quinn #0 was a compilation of a variety of different artists’ renditions of Harley, then this might interest you. Essentially this is the reasoning behind the renditions. It’s also great to see a cavalcade of different artists. It’s pretty interesting from a comic art point of view and if you’re interested in that, then this might be worth your while.

 Batman Eternal #12


This is basically an apology for last week’s issue.

In other words, this left Batgirl behind in Argentina and finally returned to the trial of James Gordon. It’s a good story with some better storytelling and art than Issue #11.

Justice League #31


This is one of DC’s anchor titles. The Justice League is the standard workhorse comic of their fleet, so it’s doing its job in that it’s keeping the new continuity together. There is a very interesting development between Bruce Wayne and the reformed Lex Luthor that you should check out. Additionally, the introduction of a new villain picks up a little bit of leftover evil from the Forever Evil arc. It’s pretty good and what a Justice League issue needs to be.

Sinestro #3


I’m always happy to pick up a Dale Eaglesham comic. Seriously, the guy doesn’t get enough work. But his renditioning of Sinestro is simply pure gold – yellow Lantern gold.  Cullen Bunn presents a really insightful look into the relationship of Sinestro and his daughter and provides further depth into this complicated character. I’m enjoying this comic and I definitely think you should add it to your own picks. 

Future’s End #8


The best one of the bunch so far. I’m definitely curious to see which way the wind blows with the developing relationship between Firestorm’s two halves. Still no information on the newly introduced character of “Fifty Sue” but it’s a weekly comic so the wait isn’t that long. I’m enjoying this series and I’m pretty glad I added it to my list.

Without any delay, the pick of the pulls for this week is …

The Mercenary Sea #5 

There was something about classic war film made in the 60s and 70s. They were daring without being overly dramatic; they had flair without flamboyance … in short, they were a guy’s idea of what drama should be: life and death in the ultimate conflict of nations. A sense of camaraderie existed between soldiers but there was still a sense of individual adventurism that stood out in all of the conflict and comradeship.

Symons and Reynolds have tapped into all of this and managed to produce a true adventurer’s story, wrapped in pulp glory and flavoured with military-grade heroics. It’s a fantastic, original work and demands your admiration and attention.

Put it on your pre-order list.


That’s the pulls for this week. Like I said earlier, the list for next week will be a little late. Just make sure you don’t read your comics until I’ve had a go at them first!

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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