Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 06/16/2016

I’m a feature journalist; that’s different from a news journalist.

News journalists come in different varieties and have different intentions though. There are those who are investigative in nature and are focused on discovering the truth of a situation or event. Then there are those who simply try to uncover some sort of sensationalist piece of salacious gossip to keep their ratings and traffic going. These are the people that celebrities and discerning readers need to watch out for.

These are also the hacks who actively block other journalists. While some may dismiss my chosen reporting style as “fluffy”, I deride their style in return as actively aggressive and self-aggrandizing. While there are times when the truth has to come out, and there are noble journalists out there who put their safety on the line, but they know when to do it.

Sometimes these hacks hide behind a veneer of assumed nobility; convinced that their pursuit of ‘the truth’ is enough to mask the obvious grasp for ratings, traffic and reputation. They interfere with other writers with lies and rumours out of a sense of securing their own self-interests. Their cynicism hinders them in taking joy out of their own talent.

My goal? To find something good in a particular fandom and celebrate it. Do I want reputation from my writing? Sure, but I think I want one that’s trustworthy and it’s a far more nobler thing to celebrate the accomplishments of someone more talented than me than it is to enact a desperate and insecure grasp for traffic. Sometimes I include a bit of criticism in my writing, but that’s part of finding a celebratory aspect of my topic and sharing why I think it’s worthwhile with my readership. Plus, it’s the teacher in me; I can’t help but fall into assessment mode.

Sigh … enough pontificating; let’s get to the comics.

DC Comics

Titans Rebirth #1

titans rebirth #1

Right now DC’s Rebirth is looking fairly promising. There’s definitely a lot of subtext going on in this event. This comic is what I’m talking about. If you’ve been following Titans Hunt, there’s a real sense of coming together in this new iteration of the Titans. With Wally West as the central point of focus for the Rebirth story, it makes sense that the Titans would play a critical role in its development.

However, there’s a real feel-good aspect to this book that exists in many layers. The first layer is the nostalgia behind the return of a classic team that has been long-neglected, in my opinion. The second layer is the sense of reunification. Who doesn’t like a story about friends coming together? It’s a better origin story than having to face some sort of threat or danger.

Yeah – I know; that seems to be the antithesis of a superhero comic, but it’s a lot more reassuring and honest to see a team coming together out of friendship than fear. Maybe I’m getting more discerning in my old age, but that just seems right to me.

Finally, there’s a feeling that DC is on the right path to fixing its multiverse issues and Titans are a major part of it. That puts a lot of pressure on this one book but overwhelming sense of positivism emanating from it just fill one with a sense of hope. I think that this might do it.

Green Arrow Rebirth #1


The art’s a little thin but damn it, if this isn’t an angst-ridden and enriching re-introduction to the new Green Arrow!

There’s a little bit of “Court of Owls” derivativeness in this but when Oliver Queen is a billionaire as well as Bruce Wayne, there has to be a little bit of cross-over. Still, this book is a good blend between the modern revision of Green Arrow on the TV and the classic Green Arrow/Black Canary team-ups that we used to see in the days of Grell or O’Neil. Seriously Ben Percy has done a wonderful job of evoking the spirit of those wonderful days. Again: DC seeks to somehow integrate the best of the old with the allure of the new – what a wondrous alchemy.

Batman Rebirth #1


Oh my God … this week is literally a cornucopia of DC glory!

It’s a real surprise when the book where the hero is supplanted by … well, let’s not give it away, shall we? Far be it for me to deny you the fun this book can give you. Seriously good art by Finch and Tom King has killed it with the amazing Batman dialogue. It’s personal and loaded with dark, grim peaty goodness – the type you’d find in a majorly good scotch. My love went to Snyder when he took Batman but King may have just found his calling. I loved this book and wait until you get to the ending!

Nothing about Rebirth in this one, but just one hell of a good Batman story. I’m flying to SDCC in a month but trust me: I’ll be thinking of Batman on the back of the new Batplane!

Superman Rebirth #1


I’m a little confused about this one. However, though I can’t deny the strong familial flavour to this book – which really serves to reinforce Superman’s traditional squeaky-clean image – I have to confess that I’m still in the dark about the multiple Supermen and I was hoping that this book would help clear that up for me.

However, the focus isn’t on Superman or Lois – it’s on his son, Jon. So really, what is Superman all about? There really isn’t a lot of hype about this title, at least not that I can see. I’d love to talk to Peter J. Tomasi about this more and get some more context and some hints as to where the story is going.

I’ll put it in my calendar; hopefully he will too! I’d love some closure on this!

Green Lantern Rebirth #1


The stuff that Geoff Johns (Finch, Tomasi, Reis, et. al.) did with the The Sinestro Corps War, the Green Lantern Rebirth or the War of the Green Lanterns, Blackest Night – this reinvented Green Lantern in the 21st century. The events were of such heroic magnitude and great quality storytelling that I could never figure out why the implied effects upon the continuum seemed to fizzle out.

Look at Kyle Rayner – the White Lantern – the end result of all this story hyperbole and he really wasn’t a character that made too much of an impact in the DC Universe. What a shame. Thus ended the Green Lantern saga.

I have a problem with Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz and that problem is that they’re not heroes.

They represent the antithesis of the Green Lantern ethos. They fear, they demonstrate insecurity, they resent becoming Green Lanterns and they certainly seem forced as characters. They strike me as contrived and kitschy.

I love Robson Rocha’s pencilling on this book though. I think it’s talent wasted and not because there’s anything wrong with the story that Sam Humphries has come up with; it’s a good story, but these characters are flawed and incongruous with the idea of the Green Lantern Corps – I mean, what Green Lantern subordinates his authority to the local police? What Green Lantern even deigns to give warning before he goes into an encounter? As much as Humphries has tried to represent these characters as rookies, he has diminished the idea of the Green Lantern that Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and even Kyle Radner managed to perpetuate despite their diverse backgrounds.

Again, there’s no fault to Humphries; he’s only working with what he’s got. In fact, it’s a good story despite its flawed characters. But perhaps this is a book that needed a little revisionist work before going forward. Baz and Cruz just aren’t Green Lantern material, in my humble opinion.

Suicide Squad #21


What do you do when you’re tired of Rebirth? You check out the regular titles!

Good, solid pace and a heck of a fun. I have to say that I found Adam Reed a bit of a milktoast villain – but that’s what you get when you make the bad guy a Canadian. We can’t be evil – we’re too polite. It was a bit of a rushed ending but all in all, it’s the individual characters interacting in a messed up way that makes you want to like this comic.

I like the idea of villains being forced into doing good. It’s clearly a bugger to write, but Tim Seeley does a pretty fine job. I’d love to bounce ideas off him one day. I have this great escape story idea that I’d love to see the Suicide Squad try!

I love the cover on this month’s issue. Lots of character.

Image Comics

Lazarus #22


Switching over from DC,  Image deals with books that have their own continuums. No multiverses here! That’s easier on the editing of the books, but it’s a shame there can’t be any crossovers. Imagine: Forever Carlyle in a Millar universe.

Still, that doesn’t dissuade from the fact that this is a book that deserves its own unique claim. It is, as I’ve stated before, probably the best comic out there.

Jesus wept … but this book is too short. The page count needs to be more. Of course that’s part of the strategy, right: keep the fans wanting more. But there’s no disputing that the strategy works. Rucka and Lark know what they’re doing. I literally salivate over the anticipation of reading this book.

Forever is mortally wounded – there’s a new eight-year old Forever and the Carlyle Family have managed to enlist Sonja Bittner as their replacement Lazarus. There’s a real sense that Forever’s sacrifice might have turned the tide and there are a few signals to that end, but then it ENDS!

This comic has a sense of high drama that’s unmatched by other books. I think it’s the family dynamic. For a while in the earlier editions, Rucka focused on stories about serfs and the waste – the pejorative term for the millions of economically disadvantaged in this new world. It didn’t have the same impact as stories about the ruling class. Look at it this way: Forever is bound to serve a family that she loves, but doesn’t love her back. She is a tool – a possession and what is really sad is that she knows this and serves them anyway. We care about her. Genetically engineered to be the perfect warrior, she is probably the best representative of her family. This is the heart of the drama in this book and that’s what makes it compelling to read.

I have both first and second collections of this series in hardcover and that has to be the best way to read this. I love this comic but the best way to read it is in a hardcover collection. To support the hardcovers though, you have to keep buying the comic.

So here’s my suggestion: buy the comics and put ‘em away. Wait for the compilations and buy them quick. They’re amazing stories but the high sense of drama in this comic needs to be fully appreciated in total and not episodically. Grab ‘em.

Vertigo Comics

Astro City #36


Love it. I always like visiting this city. It’s a real treasury of cool and relevant stories. Apparently Busiek has a ton of them. I don’t how he is able to mass manufacture these tales, but if there’s some sort of elixir or miracle medicine – I want in on some of it.

Just a little.

Ron Randall is the guest artist on this issue. Not bad – I enjoyed his work. It seemed a little rough in places but that’s no biggie. I loved his action.

I think my big issue with this … issue, was that it seemed like it could have been a three-book story and got compacted into two. I’d have liked to see Ike develop more of a direction than just being a doctor; what about a doctor to the super-heroes? In the end, the story felt a little truncated.

But hey – like I said: Busiek has a ton of stories. There’ll be others.

Marvel Comics

Star Wars #20


Now this one’s a doozy. I love how it twists the familiar and comforting image of a wookie and turns him into a villain. I mean, wookies are pretty damn scary, but are inherently pretty good-natured, right? Now imagine an evil one. Gotta love how this story turns that concept on its head.

I also love that the artist’s name is Mayhew! Heh …

This is a prequel story that explores some of Ben Kenobi’s activities on Tatooine when the infamous Wookie bounty hunter, Black Krssantan comes looking for Obi Wan. It’s a majorly high quality story, but with Jason Aaron writing it, was there any doubt?

But it’s Mike Mayhew’s art that really shines. It’s fantastic, almost photo-realistic even. It makes young Luke Skywalker promise the stars, Owen Lars a lovable uncle and Black Krssantan a real threat to worry about for future stories. It’s an amazing one-shot story taken out of the pages of Ben Kenobi’s journal discovered by Luke. It’s achieved the status of one of my favourite recent Star Wars stories.

The Pick of the Week: Titans Rebirth #1

I’m a little tired of the partial-hero motif. Anti-heroes may be more realistic to portray in a comic (that could be optioned for a movie) but sometimes it’s good to get back to basics and feel good about your comics heroes.

I’m going with Titans Rebirth #1 for this week.

Like I said, it’s good to see a team come together out of a positive source. Their friendship keeps this team together and while it may seem hokey to some, it feels genuine and authentic to me. It’s also a return to the nostalgic days of the original Titans – and I’m sure there will be room for cameos from the George Perez/Marv Wolfman days as well. But the feeling I got from reading this book was a rewarding one that seems to mix in well for the theme for this week.

As of today, I learned that the Rebirth titles are going into second and third printings. What an amazing coup for DC. Obviously the tone of the redesign is certainly making its mark on readers.

It feels good to celebrate a reunification of this team … and that’s why I write the way I do.

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.

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