Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 05/30/2018

You know, I’ve always been fascinated by betrayal.

Okay – it’s not like I’m actively looking to screw someone over, but the whole concept of disavowing a friend, stabbing an acquaintance in the back or even just talking crap about someone in order to minimalize their position and maximize yours – what IS the mindset in that sort of an individual? Well, that’s the them we are looking at for this week, and hopefully, fiction will teach us more than fact! Let’s get to the list for this week and see what we can learn!

IDW Publishing

Star Trek: Discovery: The Light of Kahless #4

To be honest, not the Trek comic I was looking to read first. Not meant as a criticism, but this is a retrospective look at T’Kuvma (a character we knew for about two episodes) and in the light of the end of the first season of Discovery, is this really the character we should be entertained by?

It’s a retrospective – I get that. But we are nearing the start of the second season of the new series, and as a die-hard Trekkie, I want to look forward. The problem, of course, is that there is so much back-story that CBS needs to explain to justify their decisions to edit the appearance of the Klingons, the ships and even the appearance of the Federation.

To that end, IDW has Mike Johnson and Kirsten Beyer working on this series. Johnson is an IDW comics veteran who has tons of Star Trek comics credit under his belt. Beyer is one of the lead writers on Discovery – this should be enough to sell to any Trekkie. However, and I want to make this perfectly clear, my issue is the publishing cycle; it’s taken too long for this story to get out. that do the comic-reading percentage of Star Trek fans have an interest in this back story any more?

Fortunately, it brings us up to the point of the first episode and in time that we now have a greater understanding of the background machinations that led up to that episode. I love Tony Shasteen’s work and it’s great to see his art, but I found that the betrayal at the end of this story wasn’t enough to make this book totally “Star Trek-kable” – if that makes any sense? I was looking for a larger-than-life ending and instead, I got a betrayal that may have greater consequences for the show later on, but for me, I have to say I was underwhelmed.

Star Trek TNG Through the Mirror #5

Now this is the climax I was waiting for. Written by David and Scott Tipton and the first of the two stories drawn by Debora Carita, this is the Star Trek book I was looking forward to reading. After all, you get two stories set in one of the most successful Star Trek franchises and you have the talent of J.K. Woodward in the second story as well.

There’s a sense of inherent betrayal in this storyline when you meet a duplicate of yourself who has the same memories, albeit in a twisted, negative manner. As the Picard from the regular universe states, “it’s like some sort of horrifying carnival reflection … distorted and twisted.”

However, you have to love the inevitable confrontation in this story, complete with a true-to-form piece of moralizing from “our” Captain Picard at the end.

DC Comics

The Man of Steel #1

I was genuinely intrigued by this book. I mean, it’s Brian Bendis’s first real official entry into DC Comics after the “Great Defection”, which is sort of a betrayal, though that may be too strong a word for it. Still, it’s a big coup for DC, isn’t it?

Do they really need a new Superman title? I mean, you have Superman and Action Comics already; why this title? I’m concerned about oversaturation of the title just to lure a high-profile writer to the DC stables. However, despite the “overkill” nature of the book, let’s consider the story.

It’s a good story. I can’t say I’m overwhelmed, but Bendis has planted the seeds for a possible romantic challenge to Superman’s marriage with the presence of Deputy Fire Chief, Melody Moore. Notice the alliterative name? Also, I like that he is also tarnishing the reputation of Krypton and making it less of an enlightened bastion of civilization. You’ll see what I mean when you read it. Plus, with they art of Joe Prado and Ivan Reis, it’s a beautiful book.

Doomsday Clock #5

I’m fascinated … but dazzled. It’s difficult to take this book in when there is so much information bombarding your senses. Geoff Johns has created a truly complicated story that drags the reader kicking and screaming into a world that has betrayed its heroes. When the heroes from the world of the Watchmen intersect with ours and discover how unappreciated those metahumans are, they sense a kinship and a similar sense of foreboding as they recognize the signs that led to their own world’s destruction.

Gary Frank’s art is not only enjoyable but familiar. It’s very similar to Dave Gibbons’ work which imparts a connection to the original Watchmen.

I find though, that it takes too long for this book to come out. The cycle is too long and the wait is unbearable. I’m eager to find out what’s happening but I find I forget details that lead up to the latest issue. I think I need to read this as a full-on hardcover collection in order to fully appreciate it. At any rate, that’s how I felt about The Watchmen.

Batman: Prelude to the Wedding #1 – Robin vs. Ra’s Al Ghul

Ra’s Al Ghul was always one of my favourite villains. But the story that Tim Seeley and Brad Walker have created is really a bit misdirecting. It’s not actually about the Master of Assassins, it’s really about Damian coming to grips with welcoming Catwoman into the family. He’s wrestling with his own sense of fragile trust about Selina Kyle taking the role of his step-mother.

The story starts in an odd way though, with the existence of a new super-villain, who challenges Robin to a fight for the mantle of the Bat. Then Damian faces his grandfather and then ends up having a quiet meeting of the minds with Selina. In the end, I came away with a good feeling. So, I suppose this means I enjoyed reading it.

Image Comics

Lazarus #28

Jonah Carlyle, now Jonas Ker, has now settled into the poor fisherman’s life in the Bittner Territories. He speaks Danish, has fallen in love and now has a small family.

Jonah is happy. He has left the Carlyles all behind and has even named his son after his new father-in-law.

But the Conclave War has spoiled all that. As Hock has released one of its special weapons into the town of Agga and other small, fishing towns, the entire population feels its power and Jonah is no longer happy.

I hate to give away too much – I really do. But this issue; this is the heart of betrayal. But let’s recap the story until this point: We all remember that Jonah was the family laughing stock of the Carlyles and he thought he could betray his family and realized his mistake at the last moment. At that point, his own father wanted nothing to do with him and he was ordered to be killed by Forever. However, Forever spared his life and simply threw him into the sea where he was eventually rescued and picked up by his new family.

Losing this family is the worst cut of all for poor hapless Jonah, who seems to have developed a lot more maturity as well as a clear immunity to Hock’s weapons of choice during his time with Hock. However, it is a second loss and Bittner’s response to those afflicted by Hock’s biological warfare is to simply burn the town to the ground and execute all those still alive.

This is a turning point for Jonah and his infant son. How will he survive and where will he go? Unfortunately, it will take until September to find these answers out. I honestly don’t know if I can wait that long.

Betrayal is a cruel experience. It wounds, scars and even cripples the strongest of us because no-one expects this sort of emotional attack. Usually it comes from those we trust implicitly which adds to the pain of the assault. It’s rare if someone can even recover from it, but if one can, then it will make that person stronger and more resolute in ensuring that it never happens again.

That’s the sort of emotion in this powerfully emotional story from Greg Rucka and Michael Lark and it speaks specifically to the theme I’ve chosen for this week’s round-up. Cast out and isolated from the world you thought had accepted you is a harsh path to walk. But if it takes you to another world where you have been accepted and loved, only to lose that world is an even worse tragedy. As much as Jonah Carlyle was selfish and petty, this storyline shows us Jonah Ker who has found redemption and maturity at the cost of these betrayals.

It’s a powerful book. Pick it up.

Marvel Comics

Star Wars: Lando #1


Rodney Barnes – writer and Paolo Villanelli provides the art on this book about the penultimate con-artist and man whose very second nature breathes betrayal, but for a good cause, a fast buck and on a really minor level.

Not having seen “Solo” yet (my friends hate me), it’s difficult for me to apply a sense of how much the Lando in this comic represents Donald Glover’s representation of him in the film. Still, I have a feeling that Rodney Barnes’ interpretation of the Sabacc player and captain of the Millennium Falcon nailed it.

Daredevil #603

Another term for betrayal is making a deal with the devil, and in this issue of Daredevil, Charles Soule writes us a story in which Matt Murdoch, as Deputy Mayor of New York, does exactly that.

With New York under siege by the Beast, and the entire police force dismantled by both the Hand and the Beast, it’s a war zone and the only thing for it is drastic measures. As Murdoch is now standing in for Mayor Fisk, he calls for a highly unusual response to the crisis by effectively letting the wolves into the hen house to kill the foxes.

I don’t want to give any more away than that, but suffice it to say, that this is one of my favourite Marvel comics for the week and it’s definitely worth adding to your pull list.

The Amazing Spider-Man #800

Marvel was holding the conclusion to “Go Down Swinging” under wraps but it was well worth the wait. There’s a lot of art talent in this book: Stuart Immomen, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Humberto Ramos, Nick Bradshaw and Marcos Martin. With the book divided into five different episodes, not only do you get a lot of story, but a hell of a lot of great art.

I talked about betrayal as the theme for this week’s round-up, but this book, while fundamentally based on good number of Peter Parker’s betrayers, just showed me that I can’t forget the healing power of redemption.

So many of Parker’s friends and enemies rally around him to help him protect friends, family and the city that he loves. Norman Osborne represents that ultimate betrayer and in the face of such evil, we are reminded of just how good Peter Parker is that he can inspire even those of lesser character to his cause. I used to joke with former friends: what would Peter Parker do? It’s a maxim that has served me well and in some cases, I don’t even measure up.

But that’s what comic heroes are for. We can never live up to the standards of a comic book character, but isn’t it nice to try?

I am moved beyond belief at the level of struggle in this story. It’s the ultimate confrontation as Spider-Man confronts the Red Goblin in the last battle. It’s an epic thrill ride as Slott pays homage to so many of Spider-Man’s greatest moments and spins a story that not only reminds us of why he is one of the greatest heroes in comics but also creates many different possibilities for where this character can go for future writers.

If I’m not mistaken, this is Dan’s last ride with Spider-Man. But it’s a magnum opus and he should be proud of what he has accomplished with this story. It’s a great farewell and he should be proud of it. Thanks for sharing your talent with us, Dan.

The Amazing Spider-Man #800 is the pick of the week. It’s reminded me that I should be looking for chances for redemption rather than remembering moments of betrayal. Go get it right now.

Trust me.

Pick of the Week: The Amazing Spider-Man #800

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.