As I’m a fan of both Samurai Jack and countless heist films Samurai Jack #17 delivers its share of fun right in my wheelhouse. Teaming up with “the Thief” (we have still yet to learn his real name), Jack and his new partner spend most of the issue breaking into the Master of Time’s highly-guarded compound. This includes guards, alarms, death traps, laser grids, and the need for a good deal of stealth from both characters (and when that fails swift legs and forceful fisticuffs).
As last month’s issue foreshadowed when Jack first attempted to seek an audience, the Master of Time isn’t exactly all he’s cracked-up to be leaving me to wonder where next month’s issue might take the arc. Despite the ending, which is more problematic for next issue than this one, this month provides plenty of fun team-up actions between Jack and the Thief as the pair struggle to work together to survive the countless obstacles put in their way in order to find the one man who the samurai believes may be able to transport him back home and finally undo the future that is Aku. Worth a look.
The Turtles battle to stop the Technodrome while their plan to thin the ranks of The Foot is successful. Sadly its not a compelete success as the island itself is terraformed into a Dimension X environment and the one Turtle left behind must deal with the enraged Rocksteady and Bebop. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 is a game-changing issue as IDW certainly sets out to break new ground after the fallout of this issue. Caution: Major Spoilers below!
The issue wraps up most of the ongoing storylines while opening the door for this version of Karai to become a more interesting character in the coming months. Issue #44 also gives us the return of Alopex and Angel along with the defeat of General Krang. Sadly it also marks the death of a Donatello whose loss will likely be felt in every single panel of the series from this point on. It’s a bold move likely to enrage its share of fans but it also allows the series to break with tradition and take the remaining three Turtles on a different journey than we’ve ever seen before. Worth a look.
After faking the death of Zorro to protect Don Diego’s identity while he is out of town helping to build a new mission, Lady Zorro and Lady Rawhide discover a town full of kidnapped girls and agree to continue working together to return the young women home safely before they are turned into slaves and whores by those responsible for their abduction.
The first issue of the new Dynamite Entertainment four-issue mini-series sets the stage for what’s to come. I took a look at the first issue out of curiosity more than anything else. A mix of sex and surprisingly brutal action Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro #1 isn’t the kind of series I’m likely to stick with.
I have no connection to or knowledge of the ludicrously-garbed Lady Rawhide and her motivations, and Dynamite still hasn’t sold me on Lady Zorro as anything more than a somewhat ridiculous supporting character. Fans of either, or both, of these women are likely to enjoy the issue more than I did. Pass.
[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]
Aside from being unclear as to why there is a Jokerized mob terrorizing all of Gotham I enjoyed Batgirl: Endgame #1 featuring Batgirl striving to save as many people as possible from the infected including using charades to help one little girl who nearly gets left behind before the bridge is blown.
The issue includes no dialogue (other than a single deep exhale of relief from our heroine on the finale page) meaning those (like me) not following the events of Batman: Endgame may be lost going in as there’s no preamble, discussion, or narration to get us up to speed. Thankfully Batgirl’s role in the issue is straightforward even if questions are left unanswered.
I’m still very much on the fence about the New 52’s version of Black Canary, or her new title as the lead singer of a touring band, but at least Batgirl: Endgame #1 makes Dinah less of the vacuous bitch than she’s been in the last few issues of Batgirl and allows the former besties to finally bury a hatchet whose very existence was perplexing to begin with. Worth a look.
The afterglow of Buffy and Spike‘s romantic night together is short-lived as the vampire seeks out the help of Xander, and eventually Giles and Willow, when his nightmare about killing appears to be true. With the magic users seeking for any control of the vampire Xander keeps Buffy away by inviting her along for a long overdue conversation with Andrew.
Buffy artists come and go over the course of a season but I have to admit I absolutely adore Megan Levens work in this issue capturing a cool look and feel for each character, particularly Buffy. Here’s hoping we see much, much more of her work on Season Ten and beyond.
As to the story, Spike’s pro-active nature in investigating the mystery bodes well for his future with Buffy (and produces a humorous reaction from his roommate). As to the cause of Spike’s bad dreams I wonder if we may look back to a First Season episode of Angel for a possible explanation as new trouble from William the Bloody’s past may have recently arrived in town. The Andrew subplot, while really not much more than filler, is a well-handled look at someone finally coming to terms with their sexuality with the support of their friends. Worth a look.
[Dark Horse, $3.50]
Originally written as a French comic under the title Red Skin, Xavier Dorison and Terry Dodson’s spy-thriller opens in 1977 during the Cold War when the Soviet Union’s best agent is tasked with her latest assignment: work undercover in America to become the country’s greatest super-hero.
Most of the unusual tale takes place before Vera Yelnikov begins her assignment in America giving us glimpses of her Russian family, her flippant attitude to her superiors, and her undeniable physical abilities, warm nature, and sexual presence. The comic also introduces the character of the Carpenter, a new right-wing American vigilante whose popularity could cause trouble for the Soviets if left unchecked.
The first issue of Xavier Dorison and Terry Dodson’s certainly has fun with the character of Vera and the reaction of various men to her. I’m more interested in the character and the process of how she is transformed into a super-hero than the the inevitable conflict with the Carpenter (or the questionable undercurrent that anyone who isn’t a rabid right wing Republican is actively helping the Soviet agenda). For fans.
Taking place before the events of Arrow‘s Third Season Arrow 2.5 has dealt predominantly with the fallout of Season Two and a new villain taking on the role of Brother Blood. Arrow 2.5 #6 shifts away from that storyline to focus on the ongoing back-up story involving a madman in Kahndaq who has come to the attention of Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S.
With Lyla pregnant Diggle agrees to lead the Suicide Squad into Kahndaq, rescue a group of schoolgirl hostages, and bring Khem-Adam to justice. Diggle’s team includes Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, and former Kahndaq terrorist leader Ravan. However they aren’t the only ones seeking an audience with a terrorist who believed he has been resurrected and empowered by old gods to save his nation. Nyssa and Sara want a word as well.
The shared Arrow/The Flash hasn’t made a decision about where it comes down on magic. Arrow 2.5 #6 teases us with the possibility of Black Adam without making any firm decisions about how powerful the madman has become or what Ra’s al Ghul wants from him. For fans.
Star Wars #3 continues the opening arc of Marvel’s new main Star Wars comic as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids attempt to make it out alive where their plan to cripple an Imperial weapons factory blows up in the face thanks to the timely arrival of reinforcements and Darth Vader.
Mostly action (and multiple nods to the classic trilogy including C-3PO getting blown apart, Leia joking about the Falcon‘s condition, and Luke on a speeder bike), the third issue of the series does end on an interesting note suggesting that Obi-Wan Kenobi had left something for Luke in his hovel on Tatooine that will likely become important in the series somewhere down the line.
The storyline also explores Luke’s need to prove himself worthy of a father’s legacy and Kenobi’s teaching while still not understanding how to grow into the Jedi is destined to become which leads him to taking dangerous risks to protect his friends and complete their mission despite the Dark Lord of the Sith standing in his way. For fans.
Set on an alternate Earth where Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider, I felt a bit lost reading the first issue of the series that, other than the look of Gwen as this world’s Spider-Woman, did little to sell me on the concept. The second issue, which picks up following our heroine getting her ass kicked by the Vulture, is a little more entertaining thanks in large part to the appearance of Spider-Ham as a delusional sidekick only the heavily-concussed Spider-Gwen can see and hear.
The rest of the comic continues the storyline from the first issue as Gwen puts off dealing with both her father and the Mary Janes, each interested in finding Gwen for different reasons. We also learn George Stacy has been replaced on the Spider-Woman case by this world’s Frank Castle who appears only moderately more reasonable than the regular Marvel Universe version.
Other than Gwen (and the hallucinatory pig) the only variation of a well-known character that has caught my eye is that of crime lawyer Matt Murdock who is going to have to be given a much larger role to keep my interest (especially if the end of Gwen’s concussion means farewell to Spider-Ham). For fans.
Set 30 years in the future Rocket Raccoon #9 offers a glimpse at a possible dark future for Rocket and Groot. Long after their collective adventures have ended, and Groot has decided to stay on Earth without his friend (helping its heroes unlock the secret to his regenerative properties), a monster-sized Groot is terrorizing the planet destroying everything in sight. Who’s Tony Stark gonna call? Gundam-style Rocket Raccoon, that’s who!
Dark future stories of heroes are hardly anything new but writer Skootie Young still finds a way to infuse the comic’s zaniness and fun without getting lost in the grim future.
The twist near the end of the comic lessens the impact of the story a bit as it’s revealed we’re only seeing a simulation of one possible future of the pair. What makes the story work is Young flipping the idea that Groot keeps Rocket in line and that the raccoon’s loving friend might become something far more dark and dangerous without his questionable influence. Yeah, looks like Rocket Raccoon is a good influence after all (at least for a living tree turned Kaiju monster). Worth a look.