Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 07/24/2019

To review a story, you have to completely accept it. You have to throw yourself into the tale and if it’s good, you come out of it with a feeling of satisfaction. If you didn’t get that feeling after reading it, then there’s something wrong with it. That’s part of what makes a good review.

I couldn’t make SDCC this year. I know, it’s a shame, given that the announcements that came out of Hall H this time around were absolutely stupendous. As a Star Trek fan and a comic movie buff, it was truly a gargantuan haul of cool things to look forward to and I had to miss it this year. Sigh … well, I DID manage to get a kick-ass and well-deserved vacation to a tropical resort where all I did was laze in the ocean, sit on the beach and have people bring me things. That worked … and I really threw myself into it.

With that said, let’s look at the stories that are on deck for this week’s list of comics and throw ourselves into them.

DC Comics

Freedom Fighters #7

I love to lose myself in historical “what if’s” and I’m sure that Robert Venditti is having the same sort of fun creating that effect for an audience that appreciates the work.

The shame with this book is that it’s only a 12-issue series. Of course, this is a publishing decision – maximize the sales but state a limit ahead of time. To be fair, a 12-issue series is a fairly big outlay for a new title, but I guess I just don’t like limitations on what is clearly a good source of story material that’s been overlooked for a long time.

In terms of the art, Bruno Redondo’s work is crystal clear. I’m not overly familiar with his work, but I have to say that I don’t have any fault with it.

Drama is the soul of comics and this book has so much of it. I like this story; it has pathos and a sense of the underdog drama that appeals to me.

Books of Magic #10

I love this cover. It promises such richness and visual reward. It’s the book I want to get lost in.

But it’s the truncated dialogue and exposition that I have an issue with. While I love the full ramifications of the title and I’m completely sold on the extension of the history, I didn’t feel like I got enough of the written story. I want more and while the visual art of Tom Fowler is completely enjoyable, I wish that there was more text. The scripting and plotting is richly evident, but the limited amount of dialogue restricts the full enjoyment of the story to the awesome milieu of this book.

I want to lose myself in this story; not just watch it pass me by.

Image Comics

Lazarus Risen #2

Just my favorite Image title right now. I’m so glad to see the return of Forever Carlyle but I’d be crazy not to ask about the creation process behind the delay of this amazing character. There’s just so much faux background that goes in to the support of the story behind this book, including the simulated press, the additional fiction, etc. It really is a totally value-added book, but I doubt that people will get that unless they commit themselves to it.

Greg Rucka has given us so much depth in this book; it really is the height of worldbuilding. Not only has he given us a level of science fiction that is fully believable but he’s described an entirely new world society based on foreseeable future that is entirely plausible, given the state of current world affairs.

Michael Lark’s work is simply stunning to behold. I enjoy his representation of Forever, graphically depicted as a powerful warrior, physically statuesque in every way, but Lark gives her such compassionate expressions that the reader realizes that her true strength isn’t in her biologically enhanced physique or regenerative powers, it’s her heart.

I love to lose myself in this world. This is a book that I pause over the pages and search for detail. Television screens in the background, photographs of family members and I enjoy mining the pages for as much information about this world as possible.

Marvel Comics

Star Wars #69

“Rebels and Rogues”, Part Two and we are back in another world that one can always enjoy getting lost in. I have to state that Greg Pak and Phil Noto have successfully picked up the Star Wars gauntlet from Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca as well as the other creators who went before them.

In this issue, the Star Warriors are all separated in different missions to secure the Rebellion’s evasion of the Empire’s probes scouring the galaxy for them. While Leia and Han attempt to break a crime syndicate by convincing the Empire they have ties to the Rebels, Luke tries to protect a Rebel refueling station and C3P0 and Chewbacca try to destroy what they thought was an uninhabited planet in an attempt to take out a nearby bunch of Star Destroyers.

It’s the variety of subplots that keep my interest in this book. Much like in the same spirit of the original films, the pace is frantic and that works so well for fantasies because you’re too distracted by the story to even care if it is feasible or not! That’s great storytelling and Pak and Noto definitely have my approval.

Jane Foster: Valkyrie #1

I like this incarnation of Jane Foster better than her Thor one. I know it’ll probably sound unpopular, but I always felt that she needed her own identity rather than trying to usurp the one of Thor’s. It was a notion that smacked of sensationalism instead of being a unique idea in its own right.

But this works for her. Unlike Thor, the spirit of the Valkyrie isn’t limited to just one person. In Marvel Norse mythology, the Valkyrie has been a number of characters.

Jason Aaron has a history with Thor, to say the least. This is his arena. With Al Ewing’s help, I think this will be a new frontier for Jane and I’m definitely curious to see where it takes her.

IDW Publishing

Star Trek: The Q-Conflict #6

Another Terrific Tiptons’ tale of Trek. I missed seeing these guys at SDCC this year, sad to say. They’re real fans but they serve their fandoms well with the level of quality storytelling they provide.

In this issue, help has arrived for our beleaguered Captains and Crews in the form of Wesley, the Traveler and Amanda – the former human-turned-Q. It’s the time to strike back at Q and it results in a glorious donnybrook in which the crews are armed with weapons that can affect the Q and the Starfleet crews take the battle to Q’s own home turf.

It’s a fantastic ending that even fixes a couple of TNG plotlines, giving Scott and David Tipton and David Messina allowance to add to the entertainment gestalt that Star Trek has become.

Canto #2

I love how the hero in this breath-takingly sweet story from David Booher and Drew Zucker is a fantasy creature who dreams of being a hero but not because of glory, or honour or reward … but because he has to be.

That’s the right reason to want to be a hero.

In the land of Arcana, Canto is an automaton slave, as are the rest of his people. Their hearts have been replaced by mechanical clocks which keeps them in thrall to the brutish slavers who have forbidden them names, or even to love each other. When the clock of Canto’s love is damaged beyond repair, he starts out on a quest to recover her real one.

There’s a degree of inspiration in this elegant fairy tale. I hate to simply label it as a fairy tale, but the romantic elements are unmistakable and undeniable. It’s a structure that contains a very-much needed message in this day and age: to have the courage to envision your dreams and to pursue them, regardless of the fear that evokes.

People can be so prone to the fear of success. Think about it: what happens if we accomplish our goals? There’s an awesome amount of responsibility involved in maintaining those goals and being worthy of them. Sometimes it’s easy to write off the dream in view of the effort it will take, but that is when you need to ask yourself: is it worth it?

If the answer is yes, then you simply make it happen by throwing yourself into your dream.

That’s the draw for me for this book. Not only am I immersing myself in this story, as I read it, but I am also losing myself in Canto’s dream. Canto is a model for the desire to go out and achieve your goals not simply because you want external rewards or appreciation but because it is who you have to be. To have the courage to face the opposition that defies your potential and identity is the arguably one of greatest struggles people can face when determining their own self-worth. This is a quest that I not only want to go on, but a hero I can completely relate to.

That’s why it’s the pick of the week for this week’s run. An excellent example of the power of comic storytelling, I am fully satisfied with this book and that’s the way you have to feel after reading a story. There is no conceit in this tale; simply speaking, it’s one that endears the reader to it through the belief and value in following one’s dream for the right reasons.

It’s a beautiful story with art that is irresistibly charming. It’s amazing how much expression Zucker can evoke with just eyes. Both he and Booher clearly have an excellent storytelling partnership and I look forward to reading more of this story in the upcoming months.

Until next week, don’t be afraid to lose yourself in your own dreams.

Pick of the Week: Canto #2

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.