Captain Kirk’s Weekly Comic Review: Jan 14, 2015


The under-estimated value of routine is something that I have a hard time convincing my colleagues of, which is odd given that we work with young people on a regular basis. Any parent will tell you that routine is a fundamental value in educating and raising adolescents.

…which is one of the reasons why I love Wednesdays.

My students know that they won’t be able to find me on Wednesday lunch periods … that’s when Mr. Kirk goes to the comic shop. They know this and they are comfortable in the knowledge that they are familiar enough with my schedule to know how to work with it. Although lately, the absence of my regular comic shop for the last eight years is sorely felt these days as I get accustomed to the new routine of visiting a new source for comics. Different times and schedules are in the process of being worked out, but sad to say, things aren’t seamless. The students sense this disturbance in the force.

However, when disruptions in our routines occur, so do great teaching opportunities. It’s important to show kids how we handle stresses and irregularities. If we show easy frustration, they emulate the same behaviour, thinking that is the right emotion to display. It is better to show a sense of calm and acceptance in dealing with these situations.

Today, for example, my lunch period disappeared with the advent of picking up new comics. Unfortunately, the new place wasn’t open – even though arrangements were made for it to be so. To make a long story short, instead of evincing a sense of anger over the lost lunch break, I was gratified to discover that the comics had been arranged to be delivered to my school, free of charge. The lesson? Don’t get angry too easily; you never know what will happen with a little bit of patience.

And speaking of patience, I’m glad I waited; this week’s pile of books is certainly worth it. Let’s get to the list:

Image Comics

The Rat Queens Special – Braga #1

The Fuse #9

Lazarus #14

Marvel Comics

Star Wars #1

S.H.I.E.L.D. #2

Amazing X-Men #15

DC Comics

Astro City#19

Justice League United #8


The Rat Queens Special: Braga #1


Drawn by Tess Fowler – after Roc Upchurch was removed from the credit list – I have to say, there was something missing from this one-shot issue. Maybe it was the back-and-forth banter between the usual cast of she-devils, or maybe it was Braga who didn’t seem to be much of a compelling character?

Whatever it was, this issue didn’t seem to have the same punch that the previous issues have had. Humour was definitely absent, and the big reveal at the end of the issue seemed to be under-delivered and telegraphed. I don’t want to spoil it, but you’ll have to judge for yourself. It was a shame any way you look at it: I love Kurt Wiebe’s work and certainly feel invested in his success so I really want Rat Queens to succeed. Maybe the next issue will be better.

The Fuse #9


Getting better and better. I think this story arc is actually more detailed and substantial than the first one. I love how we learn more and more about the artificial world in orbit around the Earth. The politics and history of this new are being gradually revealed as we delve more into this comic. The chemistry between the two main characters is also really entertaining as well. This book is a treasure trove for all sorts of story gems. The more I read, the more I like.

But the real draw to this book is the inverse idea of “as it is in heaven, so shall it be on earth”. It doesn’t matter what humanity does to escape itself, it always manages to bring its vices with it. Street racing is transformed into solar panel racing and drugs will always find a place with humanity. Good book – buy it.


Lazarus #14


Oh wow … how does this book manage to surpass itself every single month? We discover a greater depth of character to Forever Carlyle as she continues to fulfill her father’s wishes as the family Lazarus. However, there is one particular scene in this issue where Michael Lark’s art really stands out. In one panel, Forever’s expression is hard as stone – she is the quintessential soldier. But one comment from her errant brother is enough to melt the stone and in the next frame, she instantly turns into a vulnerable and wounded little sister. Her eyes widen immensely, revealing the level of the wounding words.

It’s stunning character portrayal. Despite being as far apart from the society we know today, we can still relate to the basic concepts of family: kinship, sibling loyalty and parental honour. It’s a very powerful comic book and I sincerely urge you to go out and start buying it.


Star Wars #1


Yes … yes! I have waited a long time for this. As a friend of mine said: the Marvel era of Star Wars has begun … again.

First off, the cover is absolutely spectacular. A variation on the original 1977 poster, but as you could imagine after the events of Star Wars IV and drawn by none other than John Cassaday himself. I’ve been a big fan of this guy’s art and his talent for likenesses is pretty damn accurate.

As you turn the pages, there’s even an homage to the original movie start. Titled “Book One: Skywalker Strikes”, it’s an awesome Lucasian adventure to blow up an automated munitions factory planet. It’s incredibly fast-paced, funny and even filled with loads of familiar character insights. Apparently this comic has blown the million issue mark and with good reason. Jason Aaron and John Cassaday are powerhouses – mega talented and incredibly high-profile. For a brand like Star Wars, a company needs its A-Listers, and they did not disappoint. Amazing first issue; I can’t wait to read the rest.


S.H.I.E.L.D. #2


Easier to read than to write its title; the periods get in the way, you see.

I found this to be a bit overly cutsey. I’m not too keen on reading Phil Coulson as a bit of comic relief and I think I can envision this as a book for a younger crowd. The humour is a bit juvenile and the new Ms. Marvel character is clearly aimed at that demographic. So, while I enjoyed the first issue of the series, I have to say I was a little disappointed in the second one. Not to say it was a bad book, just not to my tastes.


Amazing X-Men #15


Yes … yes, I know I have a problem. I can’t pass an X-Men comic by. I get it.

Still, this actually wasn’t a bad story: recover the returned ruby of Cyttorak and prevent anyone from becoming the Juggernaut again. I didn’t mind the diversion away from the X-schism, the death of Wolverine, etc., even if Colossus was reduced to the status of a whiny novice, this was a decent tale written by Chrisopher Yost.

Jorge Fornes’ art wasn’t to my liking. I found it a bit dull and un-dynamic, particularly in the action sequences. His still work was pretty good, but a visual narrative requires decent movement to keep to story flowing just as much as good text. I can’t say I liked it too much.


Astro City #19


I love the relatable normal-human dynamic this book brings to looking at super-heroes. Why shouldn’t super-heroes have the same emotional, life-experiencing issues that we all have? I mean, don’t they grow old; have mid-life crises and just want to be happy? This issue is the second in an arc that examines not only the origin of a hero (Quarrel) but also summarizes her life as she grows older. Her relationship with her lover (Crackerjack) comes into play as she considers what direction her life will go. It’s a very human story that really is thought-provoking.


Justice League United #8


Remarkably well-drawn by Neil Edwards, this is part four in a six-issue arc known as the Infinitus Saga. I found this to be an incredibly quick read; very little expository text and very little dialogue. I know Jeff Lemire likes a lot of internal monologue, but even still, this was a very graphic heavy story with very little emphasis on characters. I loved the inclusion of the Legion but I wish there was more than just a 22 page build-up to their entry – where we left off in Issue #7.

In short, not a bad collection of books, but I have to give the nod this week to:

Star Wars #1

I was immediately transformed into that same kid who watched Star Wars in the movie theatre in 1977. Even though the creation of this book means that all the other stories, comics, novels, etc. will no longer be considered canon (good-bye Admiral Thrawn, now Hugo Weaving will never get to play you), I have to say that this comic was good enough to make me want to see what they will come up with next. Starting the adventures at the end of the events of Episode IV was a great idea – even if Dark Horse used the same approach (sorry, Marvel, but I have to give some credit where credit is due), and it only makes sense to die-hard fans who want to enjoy the same spirit of the film to begin at the end of the second-best episode leading in to the best episode of the series.

Of course, that brings us to the end of another routine… the weekly comic review. I hate to see it go, but I know it’ll be back next week! Routine = comfort!

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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