Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 05/10/2017

I can’t get enough of comic conventions and in fact, I’ll be moderating a few panels at MegaCon in Orlando at the end of this month.

There’ll be the usual mix of celebrities and comic creators, but for me, meeting the comic people is the thrill. Why? It’s because of the legacy that comics has left for the related sci-fi and superhero television shows they were either inspired by or have some relationship. Even my favourite fandom – Star Trek, has found new life in the pages of comics put out by IDW. To me, comics are and will always be at the root of these conventions and the foundation of geek-culture.

This past weekend also saw “Free Comic Book Day” at every local comic shop in your area. For the purposes of this review, it’s hard to ignore when people give you free comics to read, so select issues from the Saturday event will also be included in this week’s listings.

… And trust me, there are a number of doozies on that list that you don’t to miss. So, let’s get to the list and take a look, shall we?

DC Comics

Detective Comics #956

A mildly disappointing conclusion to the epic confrontation between Shiva and Orphan. It just seemed to me that there was a gap that made the ending a bit specious. I really don’t understand what made Batman leap to the conclusion. I don’t want to go into specifics without giving away too much of the storyline. Also, if you look at where the heroes were last issues, it just seems a bit unbelievable that they should overcome Shiva so readily.

Cassandra is a broken kid. While she has grown more resolute in the last issue, I had a problem with her “Rocky-like” comeback. Plus, I have an issue with Batman’s relative passivity in this story. Easily defeated and clearly not the focus, making this a team book is a bit out of the scope of the character arc. It worked briefly with Batman and the Outsiders but I just think that the powers-that-be should make it a team book with its own title rather than Detective Comics. I want to see Batman exercise his sleuthing and forensic skills in this title. Call me a traditionalist, but that’s the way I’ve always seen this title.

Action Comics #979

This book has a hell of a cover. It’s a real nostalgic treat to see the Superman Revenge Squad back in action after all this time and there has been a really good development towards this plotline.

It’s a real sinister development too where Superman knows what’s going to happen and yet is unable to halt it as events have already gone beyond the limit. It’s an excellent example of setting the stage for the future and Dan Jurgens has really done a great job with this month’s story.

What I really enjoyed was the counter-balance between the relative peace of Lois and Clark’s domestic life in the first half of the book and the comparative discord in the last half. It’s admirable structure work and this was a great book to read. I still cant believe that I’m reading Superman and Action again, but hey: a good story’s a good story.

All-Star Batman #10

The thing I admire about Scott Snyder’s writing is the level of detail he manages to deftly insert into his stories. While there is a great deal of exposition, I find that I enjoy exposition more than dialogue as it sets a scene, provides internal monologue (which, in turn, reveals motivation) and then makes for a richer piece of fiction.

That’s what you’ll find in this issue. The first in an arc titled “The First Ally”, this story revolves around Alfred and reveals the deep love that Alfred has for Bruce Wayne. In fact, Alfred refers to Wayne as “his son” and I don’t know about you, but that really plucks my heart-strings and provides a new lens to view the Dark Knight.

I’m not a big fan of Rafael Albuquerque’s art. Not to say that it’s bad or anything but I just find that I like my comic art more polished, complete with clean lines. His style is a bit rough around the edges. It’s probably my lack of artistic appreciation but I just know what I like to look at.

Image Comics

The Fix #9

Nick Spencer’s tale of Hollywood corruption in the L.A. Police Department has to be one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Not only are the main characters bumbling and chaotic, but for some reason that makes them also endearing. This could probably be the basis for a great 30-minute episodic sitcom and if it ever gets optioned, I’d love to watch it.

What makes me howl with laughter is the diverse ways that Roy and Mac manage to go from a bad situation to a worse one. Somehow, they overcome but through none of their own works and still manage not to have learned anything from the experience. Ah, humanity … to err is thy frailty.

Marvel Comics

Secret Empire #0

I, like a good deal of other fans, am having a hard time with this premise. It’s just … not … right that Captain America should be the ultimate sleeper agent for HYDRA after all these years. I mean, HYDRA may have been revealed to be a centuries-old illuminati, but at the same time, Captain America is an untouchable, unassailable symbol of American decency.

Oh well, I guess the office of the President used to be as well.

See what I did there?

Still, as much as I am nervous about this premise, I’m prepared to give it a go. I mean, freedom of expression and toleration are American literary values as well as political ones, right? So, why not? Don’t screw this up, Nick Spencer; I just said such nice things about you earlier. 😉

IDW Publishing

Star Trek: Green Lantern – Stranger Worlds #6

Well, I was expecting a battle royale and by Green Lantern’s light, I got one.

You know, sometimes a good fight is enough of a good story for me. That’s what you get from this conclusion issue of the mini-series crossover from DC Comics and IDW. Even though I’m not much of a non-traditionalist, it was a lot of fun to see Captain Kirk (the Chris Pine version) go toe-to-toe with Khan with power rings. Even though the outcome was expected, Mike Johnson and Angel Hernandez kept us guessing to the very end. I have to admit that even though Star Sapphire’s solution to her ring’s lack of charge a little was a little corny, I found the little DC “in-jokes” pretty amusing and enough of a seed for another crossover in the future.

Maybe the Federation will encounter something with a big red “S” on it?

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken #0 (of six)

Now this is the main event, and for this listing, it surely is the comic Pick of the Week!

You see, back in 1968, Jerome Bixby created the concept of the Mirror Universe in the Star Trek Original Series episode, “Mirror, Mirror”. It was a fan favourite, to be sure. But the writers of Star Trek: The Net Generation never picked this storyline up for some reason. Perhaps they didn’t want to run the risk of having the series too closely aligned with its 1960’s predecessor for fear of being unimaginative – I don’t know.

However, what I do know is that the concept was re-visited in future iterations of Star Trek, namely Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise. It had a great deal of value and it has a special place in the hearts of most Star Trek fans. I know it’s one of my favourite episodes of all time.

Master Trek fans and brilliant creators, Scott and David Tipton, along with my favourite Trek painter, J.K. Woodward have teamed up again to bring us this re-imagining of the Mirror Universe in the TNG milieu. Not only is this an amazing re-visit to this darkly exciting universe, but it’s presented to the readers with such a fine attention to detail and perfectly extrapolates what the inverted characters of TNG would be like.

Picard, for example, is an erudite bastard. Clearly educated yet corrupt in the manner of a perverted aristocratic tyrant. His sense of humour about casually killing off threats to his command, or creating webs of intricacy in an attempt to create a crew that is loyal to him alone is a frightening twist on the Jean-Luc Picard we know in the regular universe.

Other characters that we are also introduced to in Issue #0 (another Free Comic Book Day teaser) of this six-issue series is Reginald Barclay – a cowardly schemer who, unlike his counterpart, is far bolder in seizing upon opportunities for advancement. Data is a combination of technologies, mashed together by his own doing in an attempt to find technological perfection and Counselor Deanna Troi is a sinister femme fatale who wields the dual weapons of her empathic awareness and sexuality. She is probably the most striking character change in this alternate universe and by far the most enjoyable one.

J.K. Woodward’s art is simply unreal. Gifted at likenesses and expression, this talented creator is definitely at the top of the creators’ list when it comes to Star Trek comics. An amazingly talented artist, he ranks up there as one of my personal favourites. He and the Tiptons are the perfect choices for this comic and my only hope is that perhaps we’ll get more out of this view into the other universe than just six issues.

In my humble opinion, this is probably one of the finest Star Trek comics that IDW has ever created. And to think – there are six more on the way!

I hung out with J.K. Woodward at Toronto’s Comic Con back in March. He was an absolute delight to host and to moderate. Yet, the love this guy has for Star Trek also fills me with great confidence. If there is anything this artist will do in his work is be faithful and respectful to the franchise.

I learned that at a comic convention. Imagine what else I’ll learn this month?

Pick of the Week:

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken #0

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.