It’s a beautiful summer night; the evening weather is inviting and, of course, that makes it a perfect night to sit back with a cold one and escape into the world of comics.
What are we reading tonight? Well, it’s a short list this week, which is not surprising. After all, with a tendency to slow down during the summer – despite a major publishing event for Marvel Comics, there are only a few that are going to catch my eye.
Marvel Zombies #2
Uncanny X-Men #35
Kanan: The Last Padawan #
Let’s take it away!
I was really hesitant with this title. I’m a little tired of the forced intrusion of this Teen Titans character into the JLA. I mean, after all, he was pretty second-string when it came to his involvement in the Teen Titans back in the 80’s; he was the muscle. Despite his scientific abilities, Vic Stone always rejected his academics to focus on his athletics, much to the chagrin of his scientist father, who was responsible for turning him into the walking, talking cybernetic collection of prosthetic parts.
Cyborg was basically a half-man, half-robot back in the glory days of the Titans. But in the 21st century, he’s also a walking, talking internet interface with hacker abilities supreme. He’s more computer than robot, but he has some pretty kick-ass combat abilities too. So it’s no surprise that he resonates more with the younger audience of today and why DC would be keen to fit him into a solo book.
The issue I have is with the character. David Walker has taken a legacy character form the 80’s and completely re-invented him for today’s audience. Vic Stone not only has taken on a totally different level of mysterious cybernetic abilities, but even his “girlfriend” is different. She isn’t a support worker who works with kids with prostheses any more, Sarah now works at S.T.A.R. labs and she’s a different race.
I miss continuity. Sometimes things don’t have to change, but with the advance in computing form the 1980’s it’s not like Vic Stone should have the same level of computing as a VIC-20. Still, it would be good to see some resemblance to the original character other than the estrangement to his father.
Ivan Reis is a talent powerhouse though. He captures the sleek new cyberneticism of Victor and makes a dynamic new realization of this 21st century definition of the character. However, the extra-galactic side plot as well as the unknown reason for the protestors outside S.T. A.R. Labs just seemed to fragment this story too much for even Reis’s talent to cover it up. I couldn’t really get into this book.
Marvel Zombies #2
I remember I was holding judgement on this Battleworld story. I used to be a Marvel Zombies fan prior to the Secret Wars re-invention but I grew tired of them after they ingested Galactus. It began to lose its charm. Also, the recent Arthur Suydam exploits at the Montreal Comic Con a few weeks back just left a bad taste in my mouth even though his work doesn’t feature in this edition. As he was prominently associated with the previous incarnation of the Zombies, I still have an association with him and Marvel’s stinky undead.
Still, I wasn’t completely sold in this recent re-invention of the concept for the Secret Wars 2015. Simon Spurrier and Kevin Walker make up the writer/artist combo on this book and I hate the dialogue. Not to say that Spurrier isn’t any good, but the dialogue is too intrinsic to the character of Elsa Bloodstone who is too obscure to begin with to establish any decent relationship. While Spurrier makes an attempt to develop a relationship between the reader and Bloodstone by making an attempt to illustrate her backstory (her relationship with her father, Ulysses Bloodstone), there is an unacceptable degree of latitude in ascertaining the abilities of one of the zombie characters (well, two, actually) that makes this a difficult story to swallow. Read it and see what you think. Comments are more than welcome.
The art is dynamite though. Kev Walker’s work is perfectly solid – inspired a bit by Simonson, I would say. It’s great to look at and with his art, and the fact that Spurrier could go into some explanation about his latitude, I’ll give this a third issue and see how it goes.
Uncanny X-Men #35
Yeah … I’m an X-whore. I’ve said it before and I’ll admit to it again. It’s like picking a scab.
But, to be fair, this was a really concise and detailed re-visit to the original racist hate against mutants that made Chris Claremont and John Byrne X-Men gods. Brian Bendis delivers an incredibly poignant reminder of those heydays which is why the X-Men were legendary in the 80’s. This was a return to those days.
I loved this book. It was definitely worth some scab picking.
Kanan: The Last Padawan #4
Unabashedly my favourite book out of this week’s reading list and it’s my pick for the lot. I’m not a Star Wars prequel fan – and I’m pretty confident I’m in the majority of that division of Star Wars fans – but this book makes it somehow okay. Greg Weisman and Pepe Larraz have delivered an amazing story of the last of the Jedi who is adapting to the after-effects of General Order 66.
It’s action-packed, dynamic and readers can identify with Caleb Dume as he doffs his Jedi identity and adapts to the new world of the Empire – while trying to eke out a living for himself as a smuggler and thief. It’s a great story and one that can really find itself a home with the real fans of this franchise who are constantly looking for what makes it so enjoyable: a decent backstory. I even find myself liking Kasmir as a precursor to Han Solo.
So that’s it for this week. It’s a short one, but it’s summer; while a beer and a batch of comics may be great for some, it’s not for all. But go out – enjoy the lovely weather while you can. However, for me, every week is a new opportunity to sit in the back yard with another pile and another lovely cold brew to enjoy!