Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 03/03/2021

I have come to realize in my years of existence on this planet that bravery is not a consistent state of being, but rather a state of mind that one can achieve when the moment is upon us.

When beset upon by all sides, when your back is against the wall – and whatever other aphorisms one wants to employ when describing feeling all the forces of the world are assailed against you – you learn what your breaking points are and what strengths you can delve from your own self to resist these forces. God, how you yearn for relief.

Being brave is understanding that regardless of the odds, you need to stand, fight, resist or at least somehow maintain your own sense of integrity, or else what you have built, what you have earned and those who depend upon you are in jeopardy. It takes energy, strength … and whatever you can pull to bring yourself together because, deep down, you need it.

Know your strength. Find what you need to reinforce your spine. Fight with everything you have because there is no-one else you can depend on.

Yeah – that’s kind of the spirit I’m feeling this week. Let’s get to the comics that resonated with me.

IDW Publishing

Dungeons & Dragons: At the Spine of the World #4 (Aimee Garcia, AJ Mendez, Martin Coccolo, Katrina Mae Hao, Neil Uyetake)

It’s strangely appropriate that I should start by looking at a book that has the word “spine” in the title; obviously a trigger-word for me, but this taps into that idea of a group of stalwart adventurers who are overpowered, outnumbered and with no-one else but themselves to rely on. It’s definitely a book that got my attention this week.

It’s funny, but whenever I imagine playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons, I always see the action in an illustrated fashion in my mind. I think a story always plays itself in a comic format so reading a D&D comic always seems to make a lot of sense to me. Whenever a creature narrowly misses an attack on my character, I see it in the same way that a character avoids a blade wielded by the frost giants in the first page.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the character’s name. A pre-amble and frequent reminders would be really handy in this book, given its short run span and fringe nature. If you’re going to write a D&D story, you need to showcase the characters. I like that the comic will include character sheets as a part of the intro to the story and for my part, as a D&D player, sure – always include those. More mention of their names in the story would be useful. Still, it’s Dungeons & Dragons and the visualization of any of these stories is always a lot of fun. The art really worked with the type of visualization I tend to entertain myself with when I play an adventure, so to be frank, you can never go wrong with a D&D story. They write and visualize themselves and to read a story like that is like being part of the adventure.

The last in this series, I always like learning more about characters and their backstories. Maybe we will see more?

Image Comics

Nocterra #1 (Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel. Tomeu Morey)

Talking about the world is set against you, this is definitely a book that speaks to that mentality. I’ve read this at least three times, and to be frank, it gets better with every re-reading.

I don’t know what the inspiration was for this story by the immensely talented Scott Snyder, but |I can tell you, it definitely hit my mood this week.

Of course, I’ve always been a sucker for a post-apocalyptic story and in this pandemic, I think that type of story vibe is pretty prevalent, but it’s still a winning type of story approach and who am I to argue with what works, am I right?

However, this is a unique type of apocalypse. Civilization is ruined by the unexplained event of the removal of the sun and the replacement of a shaded type of atmosphere that causes intense mutations in living things. Humans, animals – in this issue, life has been warped and twisted.

Sometimes, that’s how people feel. Life around them has become threatening and dangerous, regardless of what they do. It is inexplicably dangerous and sometimes it’s just best to stay in your home with the blankets huddled around you, warding off danger in its myriad of forms.

Being afraid of the dark is one of the primal fears in our youth that taught us that the unknown is the greatest fear of all, and the darkness is all around us.

I have to say, the fact that the end of the world happens to stem from the overwhelming amount of the unknown, in the form of darkness, is an end that I not only would have foreseen but completely can accept.

I find that family – adopted or otherwise – is the key behind characters. I know Scott Snyder had a recent family emergent issue. I can relate. My oldest daughter had five years of leukemia to battle through and not only did she survive, but she also became a champion for the cause of increasing funding and awareness of childhood cancers in our country. I think having children, whether they were borne to you or were lovingly brought into your family makes a person acutely aware of the state of the world.

I’ve always been a fan of Snyder. Not only has he a track record of sterling work, but you know he’s a guy who appreciates your appreciation.

I have always been a fan of Tony S. Daniel’s work. I have an abundance of his book in my collection of hardcover copies. I have always wanted to meet him because I think his art has the type of intensity that I can absorb. It’s not overwhelming but is dynamic enough to allow the reader to relate to the story. It’s dynamic within the right amount of measure that doesn’t distract from the story. Tony’s art can tell a story in itself and in this case, he knows how to dra one and will be a favorite artist of mine.

Nocterra #1 is a work that takes a post-apocalyptic story and makes the heroism personally relevant.

The family bonds are at the root character motivation of this comic. If there is something that can make you close ranks and shore up defences because of the overwhelming nature of opposition that you can feel pounding against your doors, it’s the need to defend your family.

My family makes me brave.

It’s so odd … but if someone was to insult me, short me or in any other case, discommode me in some way, I’d pretty much either let it go. It’s about me, and my sense of integrity is enough to weather the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune aimed at me because of whatever reason. However, when there is a threat of some sorts issued against my children, then it’s easier to be brave because the natural parental instinct kicks in.

I think the first part of this story triggers my parental instinct. I want to protect the adopted siblings who grew up in a good family, suffered handicaps, achieved a loving family only to have to inherit a damaged world with the shadowed sun (even though we don’t know the full story yet) and have to find their way.

Man … talk about overwhelming odds.

This is my pick of the week. It’s a startling, dynamic book that uses the practiced theme of a post-apocalyptic society that includes the need to protect a family integral to the succession of the thrust of the story … well, this week, this is a story I can get behind. It’s got powerful writing chops as well as emotional art that makes it really easy to like and get behind.

Nocterra #1 is the pick of the week for this review. I have to believe that a well-minded hero with the best of intentions can survive and succeed, because if we don’t have stories like this, how will we ever et the inspiration that we can do the same?

Thanks for reading. The moment is always upon us. Let’s be brave and I’ll look forward to you reading next week.

Facebook Comments
Support Pop Mythology on Patreon

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.