Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review – 11/28/2018

One of the hardest lessons to teach a young person is that regardless of how hard you work, how much you want something or how much time you spend to get it, you won’t always get what you want. Yet we tell our kids: work hard, do the right thing and good things will come. To an extent, that’s true and you know, most of the time it happens. But when it doesn’t, we have to make sure that our kids can be resilient.

It’s a hard lesson for adults to learn as well. I know I’ve felt the disappointment when things didn’t go my way, but I’ve learned to pack up and soldier on to the next challenge that life has to throw.

It’s harder when people actively work to sabotage you; that’s an irreparable hurt sometimes.

In any event, that’s the theme for this week. So, let’s take a look at the list of comics on this week’s list.

DC Comics

Books of Magic #2

Following the idea of kids learning they can’t always have what they want, this is a story about a kid who knows what he needs – but also has to learn how to get it.

Kat Howard gives us this powerfully poignant story of a young person’s desire to learn that conflicts with his sense of immediate gratification. To a kid, learning really isn’t a process. In their minds, learning is something they didn’t know five minutes ago. Research is often abbreviated by trying to summarize the information as fast as possible in order to actually start something.

It isn’t until there are consequences experienced when the student learns when he needs the teacher. Learning can be painful, and in studying magic, the first lesson is that magic has consequences.

I’m enjoying this book. Tim Hunter is a character that I’ve grown fond of, not just from a sorcery perspective but from a student one. It’s a dynamic that really resonates with me in my professional teaching capacity and I can see other dynamics in Tim that I see in my students every day.

Of particular note is Tom Fowler’s gift with displaying entrails that have been used to divine the future. Trust me: you’ll want to see the page; it’s an amazing spread.

Heroes in Crisis #3

I think being in a state of trauma or in a state of PTSD actually should allow you some sense of gratification. I say this with some insight because to go about your everyday life in this state makes anyone a hero. So, with the premise of this book being that even superheroes have things in their minds they need to decompress and discard, this book takes on a type of personal relevance for me and a good number of other readers, I think.

This is Tom King’s story, told with Clay Mann and Lee Week’s pencilling. I think it’s a topic that needs more discussion. In North American society, mental health is something that’s seen as a problem to fix instead of something to maintain. There’s a negative connotation associated with issues like depression, PTSD, anxiety and other clinically diagnosed conditions when they do manifest though.

There was more insight into the way that Sanctuary worked. But I’m having difficulty with Harley Quinn being the one who took down all those heroes lying in front of the farmhouse. I mean, even D-Lister superheroes in sufficient numbers should be able to defend themselves against a talented gymnast with a large sledgehammer.

Still, maybe more insight is yet to come. Sadly, there wasn’t enough information in this issue to gain a greater understanding if what actually happened at the Sanctuary facility.

I wish I got invited to the press conference at SDCC for this one. Maybe I could have learned more there.

Marvel Comics

Fantastic Four #4

Well, they’re back, that’s for sure.

I love the family angle in this book. I mean, it’s been an ever-present facet of the FF from the days of Kirby and Lee but it takes on a greater sense of meaning for me in this day and age as I not only look to raise my own children but instill within others the proper values towards work and learning they need to compete and succeed.

In particular, I was really fascinated by Reed Richards’ admonition to Valeria about her relationship with her potential boyfriend.

You see, this is how you know this is a fantasy. Instead of forbidding Valeria to see her “space prince” (which is probably what I would have started off doing until my wife would steer me right), he tells her not to hide her intellect and to never be afraid of being who she really is in front of him. He does this without any intervention from Sue Richards too. So, you know there’s a lesson, not only for the kid, but for me.

Also, the FF learn that they can’t have everything either. In the end, they’re a family first and as long as they’re together, that’s worth fame, fortune and everything else that goes with the title of being a superhero. Dan Slott really sells this idea and while the return of the FF may be subdued and lose some of the pomp and grandeur it should have for returning heroes, but it’s also the right way to do it.

The Return of Wolverine #3

With Wolverine’s return, his teammates are ecstatic over the news. But, why hasn’t he contacted them? Clearly, they don’t understand it but imagine their frustration when Wolverine isn’t behaving the way they would have expected him too.

Charles Soule provides the script while my pal, Declan Shalvey gives us the art for this issue. There’s a lot of mystery behind this story. It’s building but there are too many questions that haven’t been answered that I need. For example: why are Wolverine’s claws now able to exude extreme heat? Why are his memories compartmentalized and why can’t he remember his friends?

There’s a lot we’re being refused here, but I’m going to keep with it in order to find out the mystery. At that point I’ll have more information to go on to decide if I’m happy with the story or not.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #24

Of course, while I’m waiting, I can turn my attention to Charles Soule’s other project. This is Part VI of the arc titled “Fortress Vader”. The Dark Lord’s castle is under siege by an army of the indigenous species that call the planet Mustafar home. Yet, in the meantime, Vader also has to fend off the assault within his castle by the newly-resurrected Sith Lord, Momin who seeks to dominate Vader and take the castle Momin designed for Vader.

Yet Vader is the only character you could safely say would be able to get what he wants. His will is probably his only heroic virtue. The issue though is that with our pre-knowledge of the character, we understand that all too well. Vader can’t die in any of these stories; at best, he can only lose or draw in order for there to be conflict and resolution. But at least that underlines the remnants of Anakin Skywalker and it makes the character more accessible. We understand him better because of that.

And yeah … this guy always gets what he wants.

Dead Man Logan #1

Ed Brisson and Mike Henderson continues to up the ante with his stories about Old Man Logan who now has graduated to finally dying. With twelve months left to live, Logan has a bucket list to handle and he’s up against the calendar.

This story isn’t a case of not getting what you want – it’s a case of dealing with working with what you have. There’s no way Logan can go back and change time. He just has to accept what he’s got and do everything he can to get some sense of personal justice in his life.

And you know, sometimes, that’s the real frustration in not getting what we want. I mean, there are times when you do everything you possibly can and it doesn’t matter. Why? Because there are people out there who actively work to bring you down. At times, it’s not something you are aware of and can prepare against.

All of Logan’s family and friends from the alternate timeline are dead, and it’s on his head. But he can make things right in this timeline and hopefully prevent the other one from happening?

I don’t know. Logan’s definitely going to die; he’s literally a dead man walking as the adamantium poisoning and the ReGenix he took to defeat the Maestro are more than what his healing factor can cope with, which we knew was bound to happen. But this is a case of a man with a mission, and this is a case when he has a sort of a second opportunity to bring himself some sense of personal satisfaction.

I hope he succeeds.

I tend to side with the underdog; I think a lot of us do. But this is a case where this noble hero was denied the things he rightly deserved. I feel for him. Whatever the obstacles in our own lives, like petty jealousies, resentment, grudges or just plain obstinacy, we deserve to feel a sense of accomplishment about our achievements or just a sense of validation about ourselves. We deserve these things and Logan deserves to have at least a sense of personal wrongs righted.

It’s the pick of the week for this week. I hope all of your lives experience validation and success this week.

Until the next Comic Book Wednesday!

Pick of the Week: Dead Man Logan #1

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.