Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 05/17/2018

Commitment is such a chore.

That’s what we’re looking at this time around. Why? Well, a lot of reasons. First, it’s the driving force behind super-heroes. Second, without commitment, how would we learn responsibility? Finally, it’s also getting close to the end of the school year and with the improving weather and lack of air-conditioning in the classroom, the kids are going squirrely! Save me comics, save me! Let’s get to the list for this week!

IDW Publishing

Star Trek TNG: Through the Mirror #3

You know, the problem with this is that it’s the other side that is supposed to lack commitment, replaced by self-service and ambition. Not so … it takes a great deal of commitment to improve one’s own station in life, and there’s none more self-serving than the captain and crew of the ISS Enterprise-D.

In this issue, we are treated to two stories: both continue the present infiltration of the Mirror Crew into the regular universe as well as the lead-up to the infiltration. The former story is drawn by Josh Hood and the latter is painted by J.K. Woodward. Both are written by Scott and David Tipton. The objective in the first story? Supplies.

In Story A, Mirror Barclay and Inquisitor Troi are meticulously planning their excursion into the other universe, where they hope to lure the USS Enterprise into a place where they can, ostensibly, disable it and use it to provision the ISS Enterprise, which has been extremely successful in raiding materials not only for themselves but for the Imperial Fleet as well. You want to see commitment? The rehearsal for this operation is not only an exercise in character presentation but poses for a wonderful opportunity for interaction when the alternate selves meet, shall we say, significant others.

Story B sees Data’s dogged attempts to locate the Emperor Spock, who, in exile and hiding, is presumably the source of information for the relentless android and Captain Picard about the alternate universe. Both always end abruptly, which is why it’s great that these books are coming out weekly!

If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll love this escape back into the Mirror Universe featuring the crew of TNG. It’s definitely a story to pick up.

Marvel Comics

Punisher #224

Is there a greater motivation than revenge? Despite the ruthlessness of the Punisher’s one-man crusade, I’ve always admired his commitment to enact vengeance on the underworld for the deaths of his family. Frank Castle not only is possessed of great drive, but also resourcefulness. But, I always felt, that despite the most advanced military technology he can acquire, he was always underpowered.

Not in this issue.

Matthew Rosenberg writes this story about the Punisher being given the War Machine armour. Originally, it was supposed to be for just one mission, under the auspices of SHIELD. But when Frank Castle refused to stand down and return the armour, he became a global terrorist and the target of every major hero in New York.

In this issue, Rosenberg pits the souped-up Punisher against Captain Marvel herself. Instead of backing down from one of the premiere super-heroes in the Marvel Universe, Castle goes toe-to-toe with the hero and even manages to hold his own. There are some really zippy comedic moments in this story that manages to provide a wonderful contrasting flavour to the bitter theme of retribution. It’s a fight story, but a great fight story that really portrays the sense of accountability that Castle has towards his mission. Stefano Landini provides the dark and moody art for this issue and it really hits the tone of the book.

X-Men: The Wedding Special #1

There are three stories in this special title. Titled: “The Dream Before” by Chris Claremont and Todd Nauck; “Boys’ Night Out” by Marc Guggenheim and Greg Land and finally, “Something Old” by Kelly Thompson and Marika Cresta.

First off, anything to do with Kitty Pryde, you need Claremont. Honestly, this is literally one of her parents. If Kitty Pryde is going to get married, I want Claremont in the wedding party. His partnership with Todd Nauck is tested. He and Claremont worked together on the short-lived Nightcrawler series, which was a great deal of fun and I was sad to see its demise. I’ve met both of these gentlemen and interviewed and moderated Chris three times. Anything they do together is golden.

This is a trip down Memory Lane. It summarizes all of Kitty’s background and places it all into a retrospective that brings a fan up to speed with her life. It’s touching and nostalgic and reminds me why I had a crush on this imaginary character when I was young.

I’ve said about Marc Guggenheim that he is a worthy successor to the X-Men legacy. He understands the crucial dynamics of the original crew and quite frankly, that’s all anybody is really interested in reading when it comes to the X-Men.

A bachelor party is the traditional rite of passage for a single man to say good-bye to his solitary life. But this night doesn’t go so well for young Peter Rasputin. After all, they’re in Las Vegas in a casino run by demons – I mean, what can go wrong for Peter Pureheart? Still, it’s a great chance to blow off some steam, X-Men fashion.

Finally, Kelly Thompson’s “Something Old, drawn by Marika Crest, was really eye-catching. Great art and a story about a dire warning to Kitty from one of her old nemeses who wants to ensure that she doesn’t break Peter’s heart. It’s great when the ex comes back to keep her former love safe. But this was true X-Men dynamic and I enjoyed all of these stories more than I thought I would.

I’m a cynic, you see.

There’s a solid note of commitment in this special issue. After all, the wedding that everyone has wanted to see ever since the days of X-Men #129 when Kitty made her first appearance, is not one to rush into or take lightly.

DC Comics

Batman #47

Booster Gold has really screwed up, yet the drive within this frequently irresponsible super-hero to make things right, regardless of the cost show me that people actually do believe that basic nature of mankind is … good.

I don’t know if Tom King believes that; maybe he believes we’re all just naturally screwed up in the head and that perhaps if we had some sort of shared commitment to something, we’ll be okay. But in this story, wonderfully drawn by Tony Daniel, we see that even the best intentions can have negative repercussions on the welfare of those we love.

Booster goes back in time to save Bruce Wayne’s parents from being killed, as a wedding present. However, this reduces Gotham to the status of an even bigger cesspool of crime. However, while Bruce Wayne grows up with his parents, Booster unwittingly unleashes the psychotic Catwoman on the Wayne family, still killing Thomas and Martha Wayne.

After being held in chains, his body ravaged by hunger and privation, Booster’s mind is broken and he is imprisoned by Wayne for n undisclosed amount of time while he tries to figure out Skeets and hopefully repair the damage to the timestream.

Despite his insanity, Booster is committed to being the best hero he can be, but his underlying insecurity gets in the way. From this story, is this a permanent change to the Booster Gold character? I don’t know if that’s what King had in mind, but it’s definitely on mine after reading this story.

Image Comics

Kick-Ass #4

You know, this whole re-invention of the Kick-Ass mantle was borne out of family commitment. Patience, the new Kick-Ass, is a single mother, a veteran of the Middle-East, and is just trying to use whatever skills she has to keep home and family together. She’s a working mum just trying to make ends meet and to me, that’s the greatest commitment someone could have.

So what if she dons a costume and employs her military trained combat skills against criminals to steal their ill-gotten gains for the benefit of her kids and her community?

It’s an expression of pent-up anger. This woman served her country, bravely, putting herself in the line of fire, and what does she get in return? A faithless husband, a rack of debt and the eyes of expectant kids who look up at her every day for fulfillment. Yeah, if I were her, I’d be looking for a target for all that repressed rage.

Which is why this version of Kick-Ass appeals to me more than the previous one, and that’s why it’s the Pick of the Week for this week’s selection of books. This is more than just a high school kid’s fantasy – this is a desperate attempt for stability and in America right now, the only way to get stability is to play all of your cards and fight for it.

I think Patience is my Kick-Ass, more than Dave was. As much as I liked the older series, I think this one resonates more with me because who can’t relate to a mother literally battling for her kids’ welfare? There’s a lesson in this – not that we should adopt super-hero costumes and go total vigilante on the underworld – but that there is an inherent demand for us to be creative in the way that we seize opportunity in this life.

In this issue, Mark Millar tells us a story of her capture and torture at the hands of her captors in her attempted rescue of a police officer. Faced with simply taking money and running, Patience also has a sense of honour in that she can’t abandon this police officer to criminals who want his life. So, this veteran once more, puts her life in harm’s way for the sake of another. She’s an accidental hero, but in the face of overwhelming odds, she manages to use her talents and brains and finds a way. She’s a hero – an accidental one, but still a hero when the moment arises.

My kid is my hero. She survived cancer and it took five years for her to be all clear. Now, at the age of 12, she has he own website, her own Facebook page and has met with more members of our government – including our own Prime Minister – than I ever could hope to. Why? Because she is committed to making changes in our country’s health system that will save her friends’ lives. She has lost so many of them already that to her, it’s life and death, and she doesn’t want to see any more deaths.

That’s Patience. There’s a real similarity to the way these two look at solutions and that’s to be direct. Stand up in the face of opposition and don’t take no for an answer. Patience goes for the throat, realizing that the criminals she steals from aren’t deserving of illicit gain, but her family are, and their need is great. Like a mother wolf, she will savage her prey to provide for those who are close to her.

Yet, this issue also foretells more trouble ahead for Patience. She will have family repercussions and issues to deal with if she keeps up this way of life. But as she needs to provide for her family, how can she stop?

John Romita, Jr. has the art responsibilities on this book, and it’s always a pleasure to see him in action. Meeting both him and his father was a great moment of excitement in my life and I even have an original sketch of Wolverine from him. I’d love for him to finish it one day. Fierce characters are his forte, and his work on this book is definitely appreciated.

So yeah, commitment is a chore, but it’s one that is necessary and means more than our happiness: our survival depends on it. But that’s it for another week. Make sure you keep an eye on your own commitments!

Pick of the Week: Kick-Ass #4

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.