Best Comic of the Week:
Odinn’s Eye #1 – This is a monster of a first issue. Odinn’s Eye is a new (supposedly) weekly Bad Idea series by Joshua Dysart and Thomas Giorello. It tells the story of Selveig, a young girl in a Norse village in the 6th century who has visions of the Allfather. During her visions, her body tends to go berserk, killing anything around her, and so she is sent on something like a vision quest. It goes awry, and more things go wrong. It took me a little while to get into the story, which is strange for a Dysart book, but eventually I got wrapped up in it, and am pleased that the next issue is out next week (supposedly – I don’t have a lot of trust right now). Giorello’s art is gorgeous. He captures the beauty and roughness of this time period quite well, and just covers these pages in blood. I was disappointed to see that the b-side story was a reprint of the Pizza Detective story that Bad Idea put out as a single already. I know this book is hella rare, so I feel lucky to have secured an issue. I hope I’m able to get the rest of the series.
Amazing Spider-Man #81 – I’ve not been reading Amazing, mostly because it seems to switch writers every couple of issues, and is basically a weekly comic with it’s .BEY interstitial issues. This issue ties in with Miles Morales’s book, though, and is written by Saladin Ahmed. I guess the Beyond Corp, which is bankrolling Ben Reilly’s journey as Spider-Man, wants him to convince Miles to change his name, due to their copyright control, but that’s not what Miles wants. This was a good enough issue, but it didn’t convince me to add Amazing to my pull file.
Defenders #4 – Al Ewing has kind of lost me with this one, but I am enjoying Javier Rodríguez’s concepts and designs for the various beings that lived in the third iteration of reality (remember, the current Marvel universe is the eighth). It’s cool to get to see Ewing explore these strange ideas, but because of the delay between issues, and because of the ad hoc nature of this team, I don’t feel any kind of emotional centre in this story. I do like that Cloud narrates this issue; they are a character that never got enough play.
Eternals #8 – I did not love the first arc of this series, but now, I find that Kieron Gillen’s vision for the Eternals is much clearer, and I’m more and more interested in what he has to say about them. As Ikaris’s group tries to settle into Lemuria, Thanos consolidates his power in his new role as Prime Eternal. The characters are becoming a lot more distinct now, as they deal with all these changes. I like how Gillen is working with the notion that change is not something Eternals do, and how he explores how that plays out for all of them. Esad Ribic’s work on this book is nothing short of stunning.
Jupiter’s Legacy: Requiem #6 – The last issue of Jupiter’s Legacy had some surprises, but this one has even more, as Mark Millar goes into brutal mode, and the powered aliens from a distant planet reveal their true plans for Earth. A lot of characters get killed off in this issue, and a big secret is revealed. I liked this issue, but felt like Millar moved a little too quickly past some of the biggest moments. I also don’t like that we’ll have to wait until the spring for more issues, as I want to read what happens next.
Mazebook #4 – William has entered the maze, which is also sort of downtown Toronto, searching for the daughter he’s believed is dead for years. He’s accompanied by the talking dog of his neighbour, who serves a little as a guide to him. As this issue progresses, Jeff Lemire gets to play around with his storytelling, making the panels a bit of a maze himself. Part of me would love to lay the pages of this issue out on a big empty floor, just to see if the panels make a larger shape. This story explores loss in a poignant way, but this issue also reminds us that labyrinths were used to imprison monsters. I’m looking forward to seeing how this series ends next month.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #33 – I think the new costume is growing on me, or Michele Bandini has figured out how to draw it better. This issue follows up on the issue of Amazing Spider-Man discussed above, and sees a connection between the Assessor and the villain he fought in that issue, leading him and Shift to go investigate. It’s a decent issue.
Newburn #2 – I’m really digging this new series from Chip Zdarsky and Jacob Phillips. Newburn is a private investigator who works for all the local crime families, basically serving as an arbiter of their disputes. He’s in the process of training a new assistant, who is eager to learn just what he’s into. It’s a cool concept, and it’s executed very well. I’m also enjoying the backup story, which is telling a crime story in New York’s immigrant community.
Primordial #4 – The animals that have been lost in space try to make their way home, while the two scientists on Earth rush to make contact with them before being captured by the East German government. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino are telling an unconventional story here, and I’m down for it. I love the way Sorrentino messes with page layouts, and incorporates them into the story. I see that these two have announced three more horror series for the coming two years. I think they are best at shorter stories like this one, so I’m down for that.
Robin & Batman #2 – Robin continues to struggle to live with Batman’s demands on him, getting into a fight at school, but then getting the opportunity to travel to the Justice League satellite and meet the other kid sidekicks who would become the Teen Titans. Jeff Lemire is exploring Batman’s fitness as a parent, and I think it’s cool how Alfred defends Bruce to the school’s principal, but then tells Bruce off later. The art in this book is incredible, with Dustin Nguyen using the expanded page count to give us double-page spreads of early Teen Titans adventures. There’s part of my brain that can’t handle the way this is all out of continuity, with Firestorm and Zatanna on the League before Robin is officially out in the world, but I understand why Lemire is writing things this way.
The Rush #2 – Simon Spurrier’s Gold Rush horror comic is pretty impressive. He’s tapped in to a number of legends and lore to construct this tale of a prospecting town that is driving its inhabitants mad. The main character has come here looking for her son, and refuses to accept the news that he’s dead. Her investigations into the claim he staked, illegally because of his young age, seems to be drawing supernatural attention to her. It’s a dark and creepy story, drawn perfectly by artist Nathan Gooden. I’m really enjoying this Vault title.
Vampirella/Dracula: Unholy #1 – Priest continues his run on Vampirella with this new issue that sees her and her new husband Matty on their honeymoon in Transylvania. Matty is starting to look like a more interesting character, with suspicion falling on him that he may have killed a man in the US, and the suggestion that he might have a boyfriend, as well as potentially carrying a disease that will turn him into Dracula. As with many Priest first issues, things are a little confusing, but the issue is interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about new artist Donny Hadiwidjaja. His work reminds me of early Dexter Soy art, when it was muddy and a little hard to follow. I definitely preferred the artist on the regular Vampirella series, but am willing to give this guy a chance. I’m curious to see where Priest takes things.
X-Force #26 – So is this the end of X-Force? With Wolverine feeling bad because an attraction to a surfer woman led to some mutant babies being kidnapped? With Quentin pining for his failed relationship? Is Ben Percy writing the inevitable relaunch in a few months? I might have to think hard before committing to this title again, given that after 26 issues, the team still hasn’t dealt with Xeno, and that almost no plot threads have been resolved. This book just spins its wheels, and that’s frustrating.
Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:
Ka-zar Lord of the Savage Land #4
The Week in Music:
Tenderlonious – Still Flute – Tenderlonious has been really prolific this year. This album is pretty nice, as Tender plays his flute over a variety of funk, house, or trance beats. The first half of the album is more traditional, and it gets steadily dancier. It’s a good release at the end of a pretty solid year for this artist.
Poppy Ackroyd – Pause – As we move back into a period of increased Covid numbers, and feel the need to spend more time at home again, this album takes me right back to my lockdown 1.0 bouts of listening to beautifully repetitive solo piano music. This fits well in my collection alongside artists like Hania Rani and Olafur Arnalds, and it’s easy to get lost in this album as Ackroyd works through her own compositions.
Ben LaMar Gay – Open Arms to Open Us – Here’s another oddball genre-defying release from International Anthem. Ben LaMar Gay is a pretty free spirit on this album, which ranges from alternative pop to free jazz, and stays interesting throughout.