The Weekly Round-Up #755 w/ Blood Hunt #2, Fall of the House of X #5, White Boat #1, Doom #1, and more

Columns, Top Story

I’m a lot closer to being caught up with my weekly reading; there are only four issues that came out this week that I haven’t read yet, but I had to get this column done and didn’t have time to just push through.


The Forged #8 – This magazine-sized science fiction adventure from Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, and Mike Henderson is one of my absolute favourite comics. This issue has the Forged team mourning the loss of their leader, Victory, while receiving grief from the other Forged teams. The Empress seems to be up to something, and we start to learn a tiny bit more about the Phobes, the supposed enemies of the Empire. This book is so sweeping and grand in its scale, but is also so good at portraying the different members of the team as very complete characters. It is just so impressive.

Action Comics #1065 – Lobo’s people catch up to him and Superman in space, and things don’t really go the way Kal-El expected. At the same time, Supergirl and Superboy break out of Brianiac’s confines, but struggle with both their size and lack of powers. Joshua Williamson has given this story a real sense of scale that I am enjoying, without having to overthink it much.


Alan Scott: Green Lantern #6 – Tim Sheridan has used this book to try to reconcile a lot in Alan Scott’s history, retconning the existence of the Soviet Red Lantern (not terribly smoothly integrated with Geoff John’s barely published Justice Society of America series), while also addressing questions around Alan’s sexuality. I like how this story ends with him having a serious conversation with Obsidian about how he’s changed and evolved over his life. The main story is fine, but it’s the character work that I like the most.

Batman And Robin #9 – We learn Shush’s backstory this issue, as Damian confronts his school’s principal, who he believes is his former teacher. At the same time, Man-Bat makes his move to take over Gotham or something. This series is very fine, but doesn’t reflect what is happening in any other Bat-title, and that is starting to bother me.

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Blood Hunt #2 – If all you’re looking for is summer blockbuster vibes, this is pretty decent. The remaining Avengers connect with Blade’s daughter and Dracula (although no one comments on the fact that he’s there), while Spider-Man (Miles) connects with Tigra and Hunter’s Moon before they all join up with Doctor Strange. The last page features a big change for a main character that doesn’t make a lot of sense, yet, and I’m wondering if every issue of this series is going to end more or less the same way. Still, it’s fun, and Pepe Larraz’s art is great.

Blow Away #2 – I’m enjoying this mystery story set on Baffin Island, in the Canadian Arctic. Zac Thompson has come up with an interesting scenario (two climbers were observed fighting and then maybe pushing one another off a mountain by a nature photographer), and I like how Nicola Izzo portrays this environment. The story is unspooling slowly, as our photographer is learning more, and seems to be in conflict with the local sheriff. It’s a cool series.


Captain Marvel #8 – Carol and her extended family continue to fight against the Undone, who is a pretty difficult villain to beat. I think I’m getting tired of this now, but am still finding the story entertaining. I hope that the next issue has more forward momentum in the story.

Crocodile Black #1 – I’ve become a big fan of Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s writing, but have really only engaged with his Marvel and DC work so far. When I saw he had a new Boom! series coming out with the artist Som, I figured it would be wise to preorder it. The story is set during the pandemic, and focuses on Danny, a young man with some OCD tendencies, and perhaps some psychoses. The series begins with a murder, which is somehow connected to Danny, as the killer wears a pair of black crocodile boots that Danny discovered, a month earlier, on the body of a man he’d attempted to deliver groceries to. Johnson establishes a sense of foreboding in this comic from the first pages, and hints at various things about Danny, but nothing is too clear yet. Som is a capable artist (they are new to me), employing some interesting tricks to make us wonder what exactly is real in Danny’s world. I’m into this.

Daredevil #9 – I’m so happy to see Juann Cabal on this book, and hope he’s going to stick around for a while (although I’m also happy if Aaron Kuder stays). Matt and Elektra are surprised to learn that the Kingpin is behind the gang they’ve been trying to stop, and end up fighting Bullseye at the gang’s big meeting for a few cool looking pages. Matt’s confused as to why Fisk would be returning to this stage in his life, and ends up finding the courage to visit Foggy and tell him he’s still alive. It’s interesting that this issue doesn’t mention the demons that have been plaguing Matt; it feels more and more like Saladin Ahmed is setting in for a long run on this title, and I’m happy with that.


The Displaced #4 – Ed Brisson is writing one of the stranger comics I’ve read in a while. The town of Oshawa has disappeared and everyone who lives there has been forgotten by the world (this will never not be funny to me). There are a few people who remember it all, but if they separate from one another, they just disappear, or so they’ve been told. Life has become ever harder for these people, and most of them are not dealing with it well. In this issue, Brisson and artist Luca Casalanguida show how things are starting to fall apart. It’s a really interesting concept that is being handled remarkably well. This is a good book.

Doom #1 – I loved this one-shot by Sanford Greene (with some help from Jonathan Hickman). Set some time in the future, this chunky book has Valeria Richards rescuing Doom after a failed attempt to fight Galactus. It seems the world devourer is working to end all of reality, and Earth’s heroes were not up to the job of stopping him. Greene’s art is fantastic, a mix of cartoonish exaggeration and cosmic wonder. The book opens with an MF DOOM reference (this is like catnip to me!) and features multiple cameos. My only complaint is that it is a one-shot, and not a miniseries. I hope to see more work from Greene soon; I’d kind of forgotten just how good he is.


Fall of the House of X #5 – I hadn’t realized how close we were getting to the end of the Krakoan era, but with this title ending, it feels more real. The various X-Men finish their fight with Nimrod and the AI side of Orchis, but of course the Enigma stuff still needs to be resolved in Rise of the Powers of X. At the end of this series, Gerry Duggan leans into the big event stuff, and it does have some satisfying moments, but it doesn’t challenge my thinking in any real way. I think I’ll need some distance before I figure out how I feel about the rise and fall of the Krakoan nation; I do think that I can’t handle another story about the X-Men being angry with Charles Xavier, and I’m hoping he just goes away for a good long time.

Fantastic Four #20 – Now that the family has fallen on hard times, Ben and Johnny have decided to get jobs, but their natural inclination to one-up one another turns it into a big competition. Sometimes Ryan North writes this book like it’s a sitcom, and while I would normally hate something like that, that’s not the case here. I find this to be a lot of fun and pretty amusing. It will be weird next month when this book ties in to Blood Hunt, which is very much not a sitcom kind of situation.


Fishflies #6 – Surprisingly, Jeff Lemire is joined by artist Shawn Kuruneru on this issue (despite his not getting credited on the cover), which gives us some of the history of Belleriver, and explains the provenance of the symbols we’ve seen in the forests. So far, this series has been a little opaque, in that we haven’t understood why the killer was turned into a giant insect, or what the older people in town know about it, but Lemire reveals a lot in this issue. Kuruneru’s art complements Lemire’s nicely, and I especially like the panels they collaborated on. This is a cool series, and this issue was effective in moving it forward while mostly looking backwards.

Green Lantern #11 – Things have really clicked for this book now, and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I did at the beginning. Hal and some of the others decide to confront the head of the United Planets directly and expose what he’s doing, while Carol and her husband decide to get married, although she’s clearly having second thoughts. This is a very solid issue, and the backup story featuring Kevin Maguire art is decent (although probably not all that essential for the House of Brainiac storyline). I’m glad I stuck it out with this book; I really like Jeremy Adams’s writing.


Green Lantern War Journal #9 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson is very good at mapping sweeping fantasy stories onto superhero structures. Like with his excellent Warworld storyline in Action Comics, he’s tossed John Stewart into a big story about the original Darkstars that owes as much to Lord of the Rings as it does the Green Lantern Corps. I’m really enjoying his and Montos’s work on this book.

Holy Roller #6 – Rick Remender and his co-writers are clearly having fun with this series, as this issue leans into the unlikely buddy comedy space. Levi gets some help from an unlikely new ally, and we learn just what the bad guy has planned for the small town this story is taking place in. It’s silly, but amusing.

The Immortal Thor #11 – I’m still struggling to enjoy this book. Thor brings together all of his siblings, and there are a lot that I am not sure we’ve met before. I got the feeling that Al Ewing is trying to turn them into a Marvel version of the Endless, but it didn’t really work for me. The story dovetails with some of the things happening in GODS, which makes sense since that story appears to be getting abandoned by Jonathan Hickman (as he does), so needs to be continued somewhere. I don’t know, I usually love everything that Ewing writes, so this is odd to me.

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Miles Morales: Spider-Man #20 – I’ve been saying for a while that this series needs to give Miles a breather, so I was happy to see that most of this issue was about Miles and Shift taking Billie to an ‘art walk’ in Brooklyn with some friends. Of course, it’s not long before a D-list villain messes things up, but it gives Cody Ziglar time and space to work on these characters before the next issue ties into Blood Hunt. This was a good issue.

Napalm Lullaby #3 – With each issue of this series, Rick Remender and Bengal has introduced new ideas, and worked to refine the targets of their satire. Our heroes have infiltrated the church that they believe is responsible for the ruination of the Earth, and we know that they have some sort of goal, but it’s not all that clear what it is. I like how Remender takes some jabs at organized religions and the people who follow them, while also building this story. Bengal’s art is very nice, and I’m left wanting to read more.

Nightwing #114 – I’m sad that this is the start of the last arc being made by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo. It seems that Taylor is wrapping up all of his extant plotlines, as Heartless makes moves to establish himself in Gotham and to mess with the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation. Taylor writes Dick so well, and Redondo’s inventive layouts and strong expressive work make him perfect for this book. It’s been so good for a while now.


Outsiders #7 – Last issue we learned the truth of Drummer’s identity, and this issue digs into her history (it’s hard to talk about this without spoiling things). Basically, Drummer once existed in another world (and series that I really enjoyed), but when that version of the multiverse ended, she was the only survivor. Since then, she’s become a constant, jumping through various versions of the DC Universe, while keeping her memories of previous incarnations. Writers Jackson and Kelly are playing in Warren Ellis’s world in a few ways, and are more or less making it work, although it’s hard to see where they are headed with all of this. Robert Carey’s art is terrific, and I predict he’s going to be getting a higher profile book some time soon. I’m definitely happy I picked this series up.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #46 – Vader invades Exegol, the planet where the Emperor keeps his minions, and it results in a pretty interesting sequence. This series is so variable in terms of quality, but this was a good issue. 

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Superman #14 – Things really heat up in this chapter of House of Brainiac, as Brainiac acquires Superman and uses him and his family to make the next step in his project work; the creation of his queen. This storyline is a little strange, in that Superman doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do here, but I love that Vril Dox makes an appearance.

Transformers #8 – Daniel Warren Johnson is using this current arc to establish the relationships within the Autobot and Decepticon camps, as they struggle to repair themselves and their comrades, and to secure more energon. I like how this series portrays the various Transformers as struggling to meet their needs and to secure a sense of safety while on Earth. It’s different from the powerhouses we’ve seen before, and helps to make them more human and identifiable as characters. I do like Jorge Corona’s art in this book, and am starting to be less upset about Johnson not continuing to draw it.

Ultimate Black Panther #4 – I’m still struggling to get into this title. I like Bryan Hill’s writing, but ultimately don’t see this as different enough from the 616 Black Panther to find it all that interesting. This does not carry the same energy and creativity of the other Ultimate books I’ve been reading. Since T’Challa doesn’t have a 616 title right now (I’m skipping the Blood Hunt tie-in series), it does fill a hole in my pull-file though.


White Boat #1 – I’ve been loving everything that DSTLRY has been publishing, but when I saw that they had Francisco Francavilla drawing a book, the thought of his art on those oversized pages got me really excited. He’s working with Scott Snyder, who I run hot and cold on, but this is Snyder at his best, marrying strong character development with a bizarre and implausible horror plot. Lee is a bit of a wreck; more than twenty years ago an accident at sea cost him his twin brother, and he’s struggled since then. He’s worked in the Florida Keys, writing about boats, and nurses an interest in the almost mythical White Boat. Then, one day, he’s invited aboard this multi-billion dollar yacht, and finds some very strange things. Snyder doesn’t explain a lot, but Francavilla does an incredible job of constructing this impossible vessel. I’m not sure I fully understand what’s happening, but the story and art are carrying me forward nicely and keeping me very interested.

Wonder Woman #9 – It’s odd that while I fully recognize that Tom King and Daniel Sampere are delivering a master class in formalist storytelling, I’m also not fully enjoying it. This issue is great – Wonder Woman has been captured by the Sovereign and has been placed for weeks in solitary confinement, during which time she imagines conversations with Steve Trevor to keep herself sane. The art is beautiful, the character dissection is sharp and clever. But it’s not really exciting, and I found my mind wandering more than Diana’s. I am more than sick of the backup stories featuring Lizzie too. I like this book, but am struggling to get excited about it.

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X-Men Forever #4 – I’d forgotten that it was Kieron Gillen who spent the most time writing Hope when she first came on the scene, and who wrote the Generation Hope series back in the day. It’s fitting then that he would be given the opportunity to maybe bring her story to a close (I’m not entirely sure what all happened in this issue) as Hope and Jean try to use the Phoenix to deal with Enigma. Jean has a good moment with Hope’s mother, somehow, and Destiny finally has the reunion with Kurt that he has been craving. I am really going to miss Gillen’s writing these characters, and am glad that we got this odd little miniseries taking place during Rise of the Powers of X to give him more time with them.

Music 2

Alice Coltrane – The Carnegie Hall Concert – I can’t really imagine what it would have been like to attend this concert in Carnegie Hall in February of 1971. Alice Coltrane was accompanied by Pharaoh Sanders, Archie Shepp, Jimmy Garrison, Cecil McBee, Ed Blackwell, Clifford Jarvis, Kumar Kramer, and someone named Tulsi on this special night that has been captured so well. The concert, spread over two CDs, contains some of her longest and best-known compositions – Journey in Satchidananda, and a twenty-eight minute long version of Africa. It feels pretty avant-garde today, and I’m sure that parts of this concert would have been challenging for the Carnegie Hall audience, but there are so many thrilling and beautiful moments that I’m sure would have stuck with the audience. I’m glad this got released by Impulse and that I had the chance to experience it in some form.

Amaro Freitas – Y’Y – Brazilian jazz pianist Amaro Freitas really impresses with this new album. Freitas spent time in the Amazon, and captures the feelings he felt there on the first half of the album, which explores Indigenous wisdom and sensibilities, as translated through his piano. As the album continues, he transitions into less minimalist forms of jazz, and the music becomes warmer. Freitas collaborates with such incredible artists as Shabaka Hutchings, Brandee Younger, and Jeff Parker on this album. It’s a very intellectual piece of work, and while there are parts that are challenging, overall it’s a beautiful piece of work.

Music 3

Jeremy Pelt – Tomorrow’s Another Day – I was drawn to this jazz album by trumpeter Jeremy Pelt because I learned that a few tracks were produced by the drummer Deantoni Parks, whose work I always find interesting. The whole album is a good example of contemporary jazz; Pelt runs a quintet on most songs, including Jalen Baker on vibraphone (one of my favourite instruments). The three tracks that Parks drums on really stand out, but I enjoy the whole project.

Alina Bzhezhinska & Tony Kofi – Altera Vita – I was not familiar with either of these musicians, but I read a description on an email newsletter that led me to want to check this album out. Bzhezhinska plays the harp, and Kofi the saxophone. Together, they create some very restful and beautiful jazz that is dedicated to the great Pharaoh Sanders. I love making discoveries like this.

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