Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 04/18/2018

What we have now is a result of what we did before. I, for one, appreciate what I have now.

I’m a person who appreciates hard work, sacrifice, and the significance of things that I have because of the effort that went into obtaining them. I value good relationships, things of value and take care of them because of that work.

There’s a big theme of that sort of appreciation in this week’s review of selected list of comics. Get a sense of the history behind of some of these titles as we take a closer look at them. Let’s get to the list.

DC Comics

Action Comics #1000

We have to give a lot of attention to this milestone of a comic. A thousand issues of this title have been published over Superman’s 80 years as the epitomal and defining image of a superhero. That’s a lot of work over an eighty-year period, and I’m proud to say, partially a Canadian creation as well.

Too many stories to describe, but there’s work from Jim Lee, Brian Michael Bendis, Neal Adams, Curt Swann, Tom King – and the list goes on. It’s an absolute smash of a comic that gives readers and fans alike a reminder of just exactly why we love Superman. It’s refreshing to see that so many creators all have the same appreciation for this legendary character. Eighty years …

I particularly loved seeing a story by Louise Simonson. There is a beautiful mixture of veteran creators and accomplished professionals in this book.

As much as Superman is the icon here, it’s more about the showcase of talent. After all, Superman has a rich history and we need to appreciate all the work that went into that history. This book does exactly that.

Mister Miracle #8

Scott Free and Big Barda as parents – and you know that they appreciate that status based on their own lack of childhoods.

It’s funny, but there’s a belief that you can’t appreciate what you never had, but as we are social beings, I believe the opposite. After all, when you hear of what your friends or acquaintances share with you what they had in their past, it makes you pine for what you could have had.

When it comes to parenthood, I’ve met parents who have had pretty crummy upbringings and instead of repeating the same sins upon their children, they vow to make their lives better.

That’s the type of love that only people who appreciate good parenting can give their children.

I’ve said this before, but that’s the secret of Tom King’s writing. He tags into a universal constant that we can all appreciate – and in his particular case, it’s family. I think we can all appreciate devotion, loyalty and the sense of good family-like relationships.

When it comes down to it, this ex-CIA, military-man is probably a soft cuddly teddy bear.

I love the way that Barda and Scott manage to switch off putting down a revolution back on Apokolips with raising their son. I remember being a young parent and it’s such a familiar paradigm that I instantly related to it. It’s a great story and obvious that Mitch Gerads is having a great time with the book as well that the quality of work speaks for itself.

Super Sons #15

There’s been a lot of work on the relationship between Jon Kent and Damian Wayne and I thoroughly enjoy stories of building friendships, and especially this one.

I think it’s because I appreciate good friends. In this story, Jon and Damian are attacked by Kid Amazo – with powers that outstrip their own, I just love the dynamic that each one think about the other first. When you consider how much Robin resented Superboy in the inception of this title, that’s a lot of character development and fun for us to see these kids grow.

Didn’t you want a super best friend when you were growing up?

Batman #45

Part One of the “The Gift” and a story that really snares you.

Rule One for Time Travellers and Booster Gold: don’t mess around with time travel! Who do you think breaks that rule on a more frequent basis?

Yeah, and there’s the draw for me. I don’t know why Booster Gold’s unabashed immaturity fascinates me; it must be a guilty pleasure. But the whole story revolves around the idea of Booster Gold trying to save Bruce Wayne’s parents in the past as a wedding gift for him. It’s an extremely simplistic concept but one that just guarantees a messy story to come.

That’s Tom King at the writing helm, looking at family relationships again. I swear I need to have this guy over on my porch for a few brews and compare notes.

But it’s a story that really makes you appreciate things like absent parents. I miss my mother’s influence and behind-the-scenes interference. So, is it any wonder that Booster Gold, in his infinite capacity messing things up would think that he could risk the integrity of the space-time continuum and bring Batman’s parents back?

Tony Daniel has art duty on this book and it’s just a great book. Have fun reading this.

Image Comics

Lazarus #27

When you see the state of the world that Greg Rucka has envisioned for us, it really forces the reflection of will we ever let it get this way? Good science fiction entertains; great science fiction makes us think. Based on the foundation of real science, great science fiction gives permission to the audience to dream and anticipate.

When the wealth of the 1% is actually concentrated into an even smaller number of individuals and corporations have now replaced nations as the dominant political/economic structures of the world, and wars are fought over maintaining that wealth, it’s a scary but dramatic envisioning of the world we could live in and that’s what makes this story so real.

We need to appreciate what we have right now, but more importantly, that includes the values of compassion and humanity. Ironically, it is the genetically grown Forever Carlyle who has a greater grasp on those concepts than her family. Her role as Lazarus – the eternal warrior – makes her the peak of her family’s scientific achievements, but it’s her dedication and duty to them that makes her a more endearing character.

One of my steadfast favourites. In this this issue we see her exiled brother, secretly wash up on the shores of formerly Denmark. Forever had been ordered to kill him, and instead, she gave him a chance to flee. Jonah Carlyle – now, Ker, has regained his sense of humanity through the kindness of a poor fishing family. One of my steadfast favourites, Greg Rucka forces us to remember what Humanity should value by projecting what could happen if we don’t.

Kick-Ass #3

I like Mark Millar’s writing – always have. Plus, he’s a fellow Scot and wha’s like us? Damn few, an’ they’re a’ deid. (It’s a Scottish thing.)

I like the re-invention of the Kick-Ass character; someone who actually has combat skills, first of all, and secondly, someone who wants to use them for a Robin Hood-like purpose. The original Kick-Ass, Dave, was also motivated by the desire to help people but the street tough (and street smart) Patience Lee is willing to go a step further to make sure that desperate people who need help really get the help they need in the ways they need it – i.e. money.

Issue #3 introduces a frightening villain, one seemingly more sinister than ruthless than the ones we saw in the original Kick-Ass series (and that’s saying a lot!). The stakes get higher as Patience runs into some… shall we say, family trouble.

This issue’s a lot of fun and continues to solidify this Kick-Ass relaunch as a real winner. It’s also always fun to see John Romita, Jr’s work.

IDW Publishing

Star Trek Discovery – Succession #1

The folks at IDW are definitely cashing in on the idea of continuing canonical content of the latest Star Trek franchise in comic-book form.

Whoa – that’s a lot of alliteration.

But in all seriousness, it’s a damn smart idea that forces the viewing fan-base to think more about the show by appreciating the backstory to the episodes. That’s why Kirsten Beyer is in on this action. Mike Johnson is a veteran Star Trek comic writer and Beyer is writing Discovery. Put the two together and you have a dynamic team who is well-equipped to fully explore the background of this new series detail.

But I love the Mirror Universe, regardless of the incarnation of Trek! In this issue we see the plotting and scheming that went into the attempted insurrection of the Terran Empress Georgiou. It’s a closer look at both Michael Burnham and Gabriel Lorca

This is the kind of story that fans love: an explanation and a fuller appreciation of the work that goes into the conception of the episode. It’s a bonus to the story.

Star Trek Boldly Go #18

More insight and further adventures in the Kelvin Universe from Mike Johnson. This is Part Six of I.D.I.C. and the end of this series.

It ends on a glorious note though – probably one of the best conclusions to a story arc I’ve seen from Mike Johnson. Not only do we see a resolution that is perfectly in tune with what we can expect from James T. Kirk – in any incarnation – but an ending that redresses one of my greatest resentments of the Kelvin Timeline.

Ryan Parrott lends his phenomenal talents to the art on this book. It’s sharp, dynamic and definitely adds to the enjoyment. I can fully appreciate the amount of work that went into this story.

Marvel Comics

X-Men Gold #26

I really appreciate Kitty Pryde.

I mean, I grew up with her. She was every 80’s nerd-boy’s delight: a pretty girl who knew about computers and was ninja-trained. Am I wrong? Think Ally Sheedy in War Games, people!

Not the story I was expecting.

I mean, I’m a schmaltzy guy. I appreciate the build-up towards a wedding, the romance, the trip down memory lane. It started with a nostalgic look at Kitty and Peter’s first meeting way back in The Uncanny X-Men #129, but afterwards, the pace seemed off. They quickly capture Mesmero, a villain who had the X-Men on the ropes for about three issues, and then a bachelor party that doesn’t really go all that great with the thought of the impending nuptials making Peter and Kitty feel all anxious.

Not the build-up I was hoping for. I was hoping that Marc Guggenheim could have could have been a little more appreciative of Kitty Pryde.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #26

I have a love of Star Wars but I have to confess, not for this character. If you’re given a sow’s ear, the challenge is to make a silk purse out of it, right? Well, that’s Charles Soule’s task.

It’s a story that fills in the gaps between Poe’s encounters with Finn. Its purpose is clear: create some meaningful relationships amongst Rey, Finn and Poe. It’s an attempt to mimic the same sort of dynamic amongst Han, Luke and Leia, but I don’t really think that’s possible with the films that we’ve seen after Episode VI. It’s not the greatest story, but like I said, this isn’t the greatest character.

I think I really appreciate Soule’s commitment to this book. He’s a dynamite writer whose work I have really enjoyed. His gifts with dialogue and pacing really aren’t enough to make me want to enjoy Poe Dameron though.

Iron Fist #80

There’s something that only a martial arts story can make you feel. It’s an admiration of the fight. All the great fight movies, Enter the Dragon, Rocky, even The Karate Kid teach you something of the value of fighting against overwhelming odds. Not only do you feel a rush of bravery in yourself and a belief that maybe one day, you can put yourself on the line for your friends, or whatever you are fighting for, and emerge victorious!

Danny Rand manages to make a deal with one Mephisto’s lesser demons, D’Kay, in order to save his friends and get out of the hell Mephisto has trapped them in to return to help his other friends in Vegas. If you remember correctly, this is a Damnation tie-in issue. Las Vegas has literally gone to Hell and Danny was a part of the cavalry who now has his own crisis to escape from. I don’t know Damian Couceiro’s art very well, but it definitely fits the spirit in this book.

I have to name this one the Pick of the Week. Why? Well, like I said before, I love the fight in this book, and I want to believe that people who fight for the good will always prevail. I’m clearly a hopeless romantic, but these stories inspire us in our own fights. I think this story makes you appreciate the dedication in the little guy. Ed Brisson has perfectly captured that spirit in this story and it’s definitely one to pick up.

Dedication to an ideal (and of course, how better to exemplify dedication than in the martial arts?) is something that we NEED to provide us with the inspiration in our everyday lives because that’s what’s going to pull us through when we are at our lowest. We appreciate what we have because we worked for it. What do you appreciate?

I don’t know if Ed Brisson meant to do that. If not, and this was just another story nearing its deadline, then, even better; because unintentional inspiration is like finding a fifty-dollar bill on the sidewalk.

If he did mean it, then what a great guy. We need more of his stories to appreciate.

Until next week.

Pick of the Week: IRON FIST #80

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.