Action Comics #984
Not the definite conclusion I was expecting out of this arc but an enjoyable one nonetheless. I have to confess, I like the concept of opposing families. Now Zod has a family to match Superman’s, so there are parallel storylines in Superman’s future. This last issue of the story arc, Revenge, seemed a little too quick-ended for my tastes. I wanted a bit more, considering how much had been built up. Perhaps this is setting us up for the mysterious Mr. Oz character (who’s telegraphing a lot of Jor-El action here, but still fun, right?
Kamandi Challenge #7
What’s next for our hero in this latest cliffhanger? This is very much like “The Perils of Penelope”, for those of you that are old enough to remember that.
The first and most striking element to this month’s KAMANDI has to be the cover by legendary artist, Bill Sienkiewicz, yet I have a confession to make.
I have never been a fan of Bill Sienkiewicz’s work. Yeah, I know – I’m in the minority, but I can’t say that about the guy. Personally, he’s one hell of a nice dude, and I know because I’ve seen him be extremely nice to people when there was nothing in it for him. They say that the measure of a person’s character can be gleaned when they do the right thing when they think no-one is watching. I’ve seen this guy’s kindness and it makes me feel horribly guilty for not enjoying his work.
Yet, I can’t hold the fact that other comic-readers regard the man as a god. And in this case, what a score for DC to have him do a cover for this title.
Marguerite Bennett scripts this installment while Dan Jurgens pencils it. The renowned Klaus Jansen provides the inks and it’s like a cornucopia of A-List Talent has been assembled for this book. The joy though, is reading it to the end. I need to see just what sort of danger this crew of creators can leave for the next one! It’s not as much reading the comic that entertains me; it’s more of a cage match between writers and artists! It truly is an arena for a battle of creative wits.
If DC Comics wanted to extend the life of this comic event, they should issue a score card and ask the audience to grade each issue on a set criteria; then, at the end of the run, you’d know who really won the Kamandi Challenge!
Detective Comics #961
I love stories with religious trappings. It makes the battle between good and evil more emphatic somehow. Sure enough, we see more about Azrael as he fights to regain control over his body.
I really prefer Batman as a solitary character, with the occasional partner in a story. Having a team of Batman operatives feels a little clustered. It’s why I prefer the individual title rather than Detective Comics, but that’s just a personal preference.
But there is no doubting the quality talent on this book: Scott Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez really have upped the game for me. It’s difficult to criticize this book because of their valiant work. This story arc, titled ‘Intelligence’ explores the origins of Azrael in greater detail, which is always fun for me. I enjoy reading more about the backstories of characters. World-building begins with great characters and Tynion has really put a good deal of effort into this work. Of course, when we see what the Batman family has to deal with at the end, there’s where the worldbuilding really begins to soar.
Batman Shadow #4
This DC/Dynamite collaboration has been on my radar for the last few months. I chatted briefly about #1 when it came out, but while it has a real film noir vibe to it, as only a classic mystery man like The Shadow can emit, I feel like the fusion of the two characters is like trying to conflict two shades of grey.
It’s not bad – don’t get me wrong, not with Scott Snyder, Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo at the helm for this crossover, but I just find that it’s a bit too much. The only major discrepancy between these two men of the night is the use of firearms. As we know, the Batman is philosophically opposed to guns in his work, but the Shadow has no such compunction. Still, both millionaires and fight crime at night – it’s a little like Thing One and Thing Two for me.
Still, it’s fun, especially the fight scenes, and let’s face it: at the end of the day, that’s what comics are.
Star Trek Boldly Go #10
The team of Johnston and Shasteen ride again. This is a delightful short story that allows the audience some idea of how reconstruction of the Enterprise is coming along while dealing with an unusual alien species that has a fairly inflated opinion about themselves!
But it’s also about communication, and why it isn’t enough to simply talk to someone but get a true idea of how they live. When we meet Kevin the Teenaxian (for the second time – remember he was in the third Kelvin film?), we see an alien visitor that was hostile to the Federation at first, but after living amongst them for a while, has learned that that humans and the rest of the Federation species aren’t so bad after all. It’s sort of a feel-good story that reminds us of the Federation’s virtues and its long-term effect when trying to establish relationships with another species.
Basically, we’re the nice guys; and the reason why nice guys finish last is because we’re usually the last ones standing after the smoke and dust clears. We have patience and endurance. Fairly advanced traits for a lesser species, don’t you think?
Hook Jaw #1
There’s a story behind this one for me. Back in the carefree days of the Seventies, there was a comic sold in Britain known as Action. As British comics are traditionally anthology-styled, this particular comic featured a strip known as “Hookjaw” and, clearly inspired by the blockbuster hit “Jaws”, was about a monster shark that seemed to have the capacity for revenge, possibly inspired by the fact that it had a massive barbed spear stuck in its mouth. Hence the name, Hookjaw.
Originally created by Pat Mills, this was probably the most gruesome comic to have ever been printed at the time. However, because it was an animal, a force of nature responsible for the carnage, it seemed to escape any censor’s purview. Of course, I didn’t mind … it was bloody and I loved it.
However, while Si Spurrier and Conor Boyle have definitely unearthed all those memories for me, I have to say that this book didn’t match the deep-rooted visceral revenge and savagery that I remember from 1976. There was too much humour and perhaps because Hook Jaw had an origin story back then that seemed to be glossed over in this iteration, I didn’t seem to have the same connection. I actually remember reading the comic as a kid hoping for the shark to win.
Still, it was a fun read and the interaction among the CIA, Somalian Pirates, marijuana-inspired Green Peace activists and honest-to-God shark researchers just trying to study these eating machines definitely kept readers on their toes.
I can’t remember when I’ve such a feeling of redemptive fun in a book. If you didn’t catch #1 of this entertaining comic, then you need to go to your LCS and pick that sucker up.
When we last left our main cast members, their personas had inexplicably switched bodies. Poor Junie Blue had slipped into the body of contract killer, Cason Bennett. What I don’t fully get though is why does Cason have such an English name but his dialogue sounds completely Italian Mafia? I mean, maybe he adopted the speech mannerisms after working with La Familia for such a while, but that’s the only issue I have with this book.
Cat Staggs’ delivers a particularly deft sequence of images on pages nine and ten. There’s a parallelism between the two characters as they go through their respective responsibilities. When the house-wife is cleaning the remains of a dead body off a wall, the contract killer is busy mixing ingredients for an Italian dish to serve to her husband’s boss who’s coming for dinner. It’s a wonderful series that juxtapositions their activities, while different, with a frenzied sense of the need to succeed. It’s super talented work.
However, the overwhelming curiosity to see how each makes out in their respective other’s lives is clearly the motivating force in this story. Gail Simone makes me admire Cason as June, and seeing her get a sense of respect as Cason makes her oppressors look at her/him in a different way is so rewarding. It’s also heart-rending to see how he/she gets by as she tries to fake being a mob hitman. I’m really looking forward to Issue #3 and you should too. It’s a great book and not one to miss.
… and don’t miss it. In fact, I’m willing to back this one as the Pick of the Week. Crosswind isn’t a typical comic story in that superheroes and high-powered villains are the substance of its tale, but there definitely is a level of curiosity that keeps me riveted.
You know when you get that feeling that the end of an episode on television takes you by surprise? That’s’ the feeling I get when I read this comic. I think this definitely has to be Gail Simone’s best original work. It’s unique enough that drives your curiosity and familiar enough that you can get into the story really quickly.
I think I need to talk to Gail some more about this book. It’s got a storytelling style to it that requires a lot of parallel structure but eventually there will have to come a point where the two stories converge into one and Cason and June will have to meet up. Perhaps Gail and Cat can shed some light on that for us.
Thanks for tuning in this week!