Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 05/05/2021

When I was a very young kid growing up in the United Kingdom, my parents owned a convenience store. Every week, comics would arrive on our doorstep and on those mornings, I would put on my bathrobe and slippers and separate the comics from the newspapers. It was my supposed to be my job.

I would set aside one copy of each comic for myself, and after a decent breakfast and change of clothes I would set about reading those comics in a little, unseen nook in the front of the shop. I’d sit there all morning, lost in a world all to myself.

This week, I’m looking for the most exciting world of escape I can find. Let’s get to the list!

Image Comics

Nocterra #3 (Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel)

Another great new world to visit … but definitely don’t want to stay!

The apocalypse in this story is certainly a novel one. When a strange darkness (know as the Big PM) envelopes the planet mutating all life it touches into strange caricatures of what they once were and who can’t stand the light, the world is now a danger and the day only a brief respite.

I like the structure of this issue. We get a little bit of backstory into Em and Val’s life before the apocalypse. We see the loss of their parents to the mutation and then immediately transition to the present in the middle of a chase sequence. It’s simple but extremely effective. Lots of action, high stakes and a reminder of what was lost to reinforce the importance of those stakes. It’s a powerful issue and with the combined storytelling power of Snyder and Daniel behind it, this world not only becomes believable but dynamically frightening as well.

IDW Publishing

Judge Dredd: False Witness #1 (Brandon Easton, Kei Zama, Silvia Califano, Eva De La Cruz)

Remember those comics I’d collect in Britain I mentioned at the beginning? Judge Dredd was one of the figures from that world that, thanks to IDW and other previous American publishers in the past, have managed to be imported and be a fixture in North American comic culture. Dredd has the distinction of being my first favourite super-hero, and this book is an example of two worlds co-existing.

I like the maturity Brandon Easton brings to Dredd’s perspective in this story. He is more than just a fascist cop with an unrelenting adherence to the law.

However, I can’t say that I like the spotlight on another character who isn’t Dredd. Dredd is the focal point of the story – it’s his world and bringing in another protagonist to take the focus of the story away from the title character. Mathias Lincoln has a right to be a supporting character, but this first part of the story seems to include him as an alternate main character who the story revolves around and Dredd has been relegated to a supporting one.

I’m familiar with Califano’s style, but I suppose the collaboration with Zama has changed it somewhat. While it definitely lends to the pace of the story, it also manages to render the world of Mega City One. I’d like to see more detail though, like the names of different city blocks, more vehicles (like the roaming Mo-Pads in the background) and other characteristics of Mega City One.

I also couldn’t help but notice the different spelling of Silvia’s name in the credits.

Still, it’s very reassuring to re-visit the world of Mega City One. It’s always a great place to escape to.

Marvel Comics

The Union #5 (Paul Grist, Andrea de Vito)

I don’t feel like this book got enough of a due chance. Five issues in and it’s over? I’m not sure. The story arc seems over for sure, but this takes me back to when Marvel introduced Captain Britain and being a British ex-pat living in North America, I was excited to see a hero from my past world intersect with my current one. I feel the same way about this group.

I love de Vito’s art and Paul Grist had a real shot at creating a viable non-American super-team for the 21st century. I know Great Britain has changed from when I lived there, but not by much. I’d still like to see more of my old world represented in comics.

Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #1 – Alpha (Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Laura Martin)

Did you ever wonder what transporting a carbonite-encased Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt was like for Boba Fett? I knew you did.

Titled “Precious Cargo”, this envisioning of the intermittent moments between films is definitely a real mother lode of stories for Marvel. Writers like Charles Soule have taken to the challenge of building more into this world of fantasy that fans of the original series can appreciate. More stories set within the time of the Rebellion to the time of the New Republic are definitely hot with fans right now, on the heels of successful shows like The Mandalorian have shown. Stories that add more substance to the world that fans love resonate with me as well, as I search for that world to lose myself in.

Steve McNiven is a gifted talent to add to this book. As someone who owns some of McNiven’s original art, I take a certain pride in seeing his work in a book about a story that I love. Actually, make that more like ownership. I think fans of this franchise and of these two creators will feel the same way.

This is a cross-series event. This story is the inaugural event that starts off the event from a place that loyal fans all know and love. The moment when Boba Fett’s Slave 1 leaves the Bespin City Landing Pad in The Empire Strikes Back was a heartbreaking one that will always resonate with fans.

Soule and McNiven manage to capture that mood with this book. Of course, more stories about Boba Fett can’t hurt either!

It’s appropriate that the day after “May the Fourth Be With You” the choice for this review’s pick of the week has to go to this book.

When I was in Disney’s Star Wars exhibit, to be honest, I didn’t want to leave that world. In fact, it’s safe to safe that none of my family wanted to. We were completely immersed in the event and to be frank, the success of that immersion is built on the thousands of creators over the last forty years who contributed their own concepts and imagination to the construction of this world.

Comics are an extremely important part of contributing to that legacy. Soule, McNiven and Martin have lent their talents to this … heh, enterprise (no pun intended) and that creative effort needs to be recognized for just telling a story, but building one bigger than the story in this book.

This is an exciting world and for this week, one I want to stay in.

Until next week … and the next world.

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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.