The Threshold

Spotlight Sunday 4.8.18

If I’m honest, I’m not really in the mood for this today, but I will give it the old college try, and so there are spoilers ahead for…

Mystik U #3
Writer: Alisa Kwitney
Artist: Michael Norton
Cover: Julian Totino Tedesco
Rated T+
$5.99
DC

“Higher education is so overrated.”

One of the other options I considered for the Spotlight this week was Giles #2, not because it was good, but because it was bad. Shockingly bad – though I shouldn’t have been shocked considering how bad #1 was – and somewhat distressingly bad.

Whatever his faults, as a person and as a writer, Joss Whedon can generally be counted on to deliver something that it is at least somewhat entertaining and coherent, with a strong voice and sharp dialouge.

This is not that. It’s as if someone took random dialogue from Joss Whedon, Diablo Cody, and Chris Claremont, tossed it in a blender, sprinkled it with some Neal Adams dialogue, and then just poured the results onto some paper and called it a comic book.

But! It’s not my intention with this feature to focus on the negative; this entire site, and the platform it represents, is built on the love of comics, and out of a desire to promote the medium, so I don’t want to devote a lot of time to trashing the bad, choosing instead to look for the good.

Also, I, like any sensible person, like Zatanna, and want to advocate for things that feature the backwards-speaking Mistress of Magic. Beyond that, this book shares some themes and a setting – a school, albeit a university rather than a high school – and some thematic elements with the other book I considered. Except, you know, it’s not bad.

Beyond that, it’s the final issue and that seems like as good a place as any to take stock of the mini-series.

In the first issue, we started at some point in the future when the world is threatened by some evil magical threat known as The Malevolence. The world’s magicians – including the adult Zatanna – have banded together to fight against this mysterious adversary – and lost.

As a last-ditch effort to save the future, a spell is enacted to change the past. We then move to a time before Zatanna fully came into her power, working as an assistant in her father’s stage show. After getting into an argument with her father, Zee’s powers kick in at the worst possible moment and she inadvertently sends dear old dad to hell.

Like you do.

She doesn’t get a lot of time to process this before one of Zatara’s friends whisks Zatanna away to enroll her in Mystik U, a school that was founded to provide an education to those young people gifted with magical abilities.

While the identity of The Malevolence is not known, what is known is that it’s a magic-user of Zatanna’s age cohort. The spell that changed the past retroactively founded Mystik U hundreds of years earlier, turning it into the perfect place to suss out the identity of The Malevolence, as every young magic-user ends up there.

Zee makes friends with a healer named Pia, a young June Moon – AKA The Enchantress – Sargon the Sorcerer, and, of course, the requisite brooding bad boy, a young man named Sebastian Faust, son of the evil Felix.

The group of friends later expands to include a sentient slime creature living in the school’s pipes whom they dub Plop.

With that set-up in place, the story takes the expected turns, exploring the typical misadventures of atypical college students, with parties, and romance, and the occasional faculty meeting in which the teachers attempt to figure out which one of their students is going to eventually try to take over the world.

You know, the usual.

This issue picks up with Dr. Occult – though his other half, Rose Psychic has had a more prominent role throughout – being summoned to help with a little problem. It seems that Zatanna’s attraction to bad boy Faust has taken its natural course, except that rather than contracting HPV Zatanna has ended up having the life sucked out of her body.

Pia disagrees with Dr. Occult’s assessment, and insists that Zatanna is still alive, and uses her healing power to restore her to (not quite) perfect health.

Lots of people disagree with Dr. Occult about a lot of things, including Madame Xanadu, who conspires with Rose – who has a sort of timeshare arrangement on the material plane with Occult – to take him out of the plan, trapping him in the psychic realm while Rose takes over.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Occult was right about one thing: Zatanna was dead. Faust realizes this, and that Pia is not a healer but a necromancer, and while there was enough of Zatanna remaining inside of her lifeless body that she’s almost her old self, there is still something missing, and that Pia is actually in control.

Pia rejects the idea at first, but accepts it once she realizes that, in her anger, she’s summoning an army of the dead to get Faust to shut up. She’s upset, at first, but starts to wonder if it’s really so bad…

It’s also worth mentioning that in one of their earliest misadventures, saving Zatanna from rushing an evil* sorority, the students made contact with The Malevolence, and it infected Plop, who has been busy in the background infecting the faculty and students.

Despite the efforts of Xanadu and Psychic to get Occult out of the way, before being trapped on another plane, the good(ish) doctor set a plan in motion to destroy The Malevolence: finals.

During the exam, Pia restores control of her own life back to Zatanna, and The Malevolence appears, somehow transported to the past, and revealed to be Pia.

Ultimately, The Malevolence is defeated once Pia sees what her future self is doing and resolves to never become that, and thus, the spell that created this new past serves its purpose, though not necessarily in the way that anyone intended or anticipated.

Having served its purpose is not, however, the same as having reached its end, so it appears that this new past is here to stay (presumably for the purposes of some follow-up stories, depending on how well this did in terms of sales).

“Like all endings, it’s also a beginning…”

As the school year comes to a close and most of the students go their own way for the summer – except poor Plop who got on Mr. E’s bad side…though one could argue that’s the only side he has – Zatanna and Faust hop on his bike and ride off into the…well, not so much the sunset as the sunless lands, in search of Zatanna’s father.

There’s no way around it – this is a book that travels on a well-trodden literary path and is more than a little derivative. Hell, even the idea of “Harry Potter, but with DC’s magical characters” has been done already, and was done before there even was such a thing as “Harry Potter.”

That said, much like The Unwritten, being derivative was a deliberate choice that was built into the plot, and it allowed it to take some interesting turns, as did utilizing characters who are a bit older to allow for more adult themes and the exploration of magical threats as metaphors for the travails of young adulthood, and it’s a logical progression to move to exploring those themes in a post-secondary educational institution.

Still, the book does very much have a YA vibe, and if it continues beyond this mini-series I should think that would be the target audience.

Also, it’s just fun to see some of the characters from the magical corners of the DC Universe, particularly when handled by someone like Kwitney – whom I know mainly from her work as an editor on titles in DC’s Vertigo imprint – who is intimately familiar with them.

It’s worth noting that Plop was a reference to an old, short-lived humor magazine – called PLOP! – that DC published back before the “DC Implosion” of the 1970s. I never read it, but I do remember the house ads for it in old comics.

As an amorphous blob – with one big eye – Plop is something of an amalgam of the strange creatures that were often featured on the cover of his namesake magazine.

My biggest critique is that despite being double-sized – making it, effectively, six issues – it still felt kind of rushed, and the extended gap between issues is not exactly ideal for ending an issue (as with #2) on a cliffhanger.

The art from Michael Norton is solid; simple and clean, with a great design sense and a nice storytelling flow.

I don’t know if there’s a future for Mystik U beyond this brief run, and it wouldn’t exactly be a tragedy if there isn’t, but it was a fun little book for what it was, and it’s always ecin ot ees Annataz.

Recommended Reading:

ZATANNA – Superstar writer Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series) works his magic on this fan-favorite series, with the help of Adam Beechen (BATMAN BEYOND), Jamal Igle (SUPERGIRL), Stephane Roux (BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE), Chad Hardin (HARLEY QUINN), Cliff Chiang (WONDER WOMAN) and more. Collects ZATANNA #1-16 and ZATANNA: EVERYDAY MAGIC #1.

…and it looks like most of the other, related things I was going to recommend are out of print and not readily-available for purchase.

Umm…I mentioned The Unwritten. That’s definitely something I recommend. I mean, nobody is buying any of the stuff I recommend anyway – not via the links I provide, anyway – so…I don’t know, read or don’t read whatever the hell you want, I guess.

And that does it for this week’s Spotlight. Be sure to blah blah blah and etc.

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artwork, my Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

*Consider the obvious joke as having been made.

Showcase Saturday 4.7.18

Looks like it would have been a relatively light week last week if I had picked up any comics.

Also, when pulling up the info on the comics I saw that I failed to remember to pick up The Teriffics #2 this week. But let’s take a look at what I did pick up, shall we?

From DC:

BATMAN BEYOND #18 – “The Long Payback” part five! Payback’s vengeance against Batman is almost at hand, but the Dark Knight’s allies won’t let him perish without a fight. When help does arrive, will Payback decide that killing those closest to Batman is the sweetest revenge?

THE DEMON: HELL IS EARTH #5 – After a physically and emotionally draining journey, Etrigan and his companions begin their siege on Death Valley’s dimensional tear to Hell. The bloody and epic battle against Hell’s armies! Will our heroes succeed in stopping all of Earth from being transformed? Or will a surprise addition to Hell’s forces tip the battle in evil’s favor?

MYSTIK U #3 – It’s time for finals at Mystik University, and they might just kill you! With the evil presence of the Malevolence spreading quickly across the campus, Zatanna and her friends must face tests of courage and wit beyond their wildest dreams. Do they have what it takes to stop this evil spirit? Or is school out forever?!

 

 

SUPERMAN #44 – “BOYZARRO RE-DEATH” part three! Gathered together from the cosmic recesses of the universe are the most powerful forces of bad ever assembled! Now the Super Foes face the Legion of Fun—and the only heroes who dare to stand against this intergalactic threat of the Bizarroverse are Superman and son!

 

 

WONDER WOMAN #43 – “Amazons Attacked” part three! All his life, Wonder Woman’s brother Jason has longed to meet his mother, Hippolyta, but the machinations of the gods have made it impossible. But now, with the barrier between worlds at its thinnest, could they come face to face at last? Should Wonder Woman help him return home, if it could lead to the destruction of the Amazons?

From Dark Horse:

BUFFY SEASON 11: GILES #2 – High school life is a rough go for Rupert Giles­­-as if being a grown man living inside a teenage body wasn’t hard enough. Crushing on each other, Giles and his mysterious new friend, Roux, navigate around the bullies in the hallways while they investigate the school-wide threat and missing staff and students–which they are certain is connected to some kind of demon . . .

From Dynamite:

RED SONJA #14 – Red Sonja and Wallace have faced the darkness and made their way out from Hell – or have they? They’ve crossed the River Styx, but the land of the living looks just as desolate as the land of the Dead – and it soon becomes all too clear that this is the handiwork of Kulan Gath, enraging Sonja. She didn’t travel back and forth through time and escape from Hell just to find her homelands in ruin…Kulan Gath may be more powerful than ever, but a reckoning is coming!

From Image:

SEX CRIMINALS #23 – “FIVE-FINGERED DISCOUNT,” Part Three It’s all been building to this: Alix gets hit by a bus. (She’s okay.)

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #35 – “MOTHERING INVENTION,” Part Two Once More We Return to the Once More We Return.

From Marvel:

CAPTAIN MARVEL: CAROL DANVERS – THE MS. MARVEL YEARS (TRADE PAPERBACK) – Collects Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1, Ms. Marvel (2006) #1-17, Ms. Marvel Special #1. In the “House of M” universe, Carol Danvers glimpsed the full potential of her life. Now she embarks with renewed focus in a bid to become the best she can be! With support from friends like Captain America and Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel is determined to become the greatest hero around – and stopping an alien invasion that could end life on Earth is a good start! But when Civil War erupts, whose side will Carol be on? She’s joined by fellow Avengers Wonder Man and Julia “Arachne” Carpenter, but what will their mission be – and is everyone truly on the same team? When the dust settles, a crossroads is reached, and a decision must be made that will change the course of Ms. Marvel’s life!

NEW MUTANTS: DEMON BEAR (TRADE PAPERBACK) – Collects New Mutants (1983) #18-20, X-Force (1991) #99 material from X-Force (2008) #7-10. The visionary talents of writer Chris Claremont and legendary illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz bring the Demon Bear that has haunted Danielle Moonstar’s dreams to horrifying life! It took her parents, and now it has returned for Dani — and only the combined efforts of her fellow New Mutants can stop it from finishing the job! Sink your teeth into a true classic! Then, Dani’s nightmare returns years later as San Francisco — and her new team X-Force, come under attack from a similarly unholy ursine!

THANOS: THE INFINITY SIBLINGS (HARDCOVER) – Jim Starlin and Alan Davis return in the first volume of a new trilogy! The Mad Titan has everything he ever wanted — but satisfaction is not in Thanos’ vocabulary. When a temporal distortion on Titan draws his attention, he finds the purpose he’s been searching for: saving himself! An old enemy lurks in the far future, and it will take the combined wits of Thanos, his brother Eros and time-travel master Kang the Conqueror to stop it — and save the Multiverse. But there are other players in this cosmic chess game — and Thanos may find himself outmatched! What lies ahead for the so-called Avatar of Death?

That does it for this Showcase Saturday. Come back tomorrow to see what I write about. If you want. I mean, I can’t make you. I probably can’t even convince you. But coming back for Spotlight Sunday is a thing that you’re perfectly capable of doing.

Programming Update:

The paltry number of votes are in, and the consensus is that I should write Spotlight Sunday posts for older comics in my collection, and should not limit myself to doing so only when I have nothing new – meaning that I can do so whenever I feel like it – and that I should not limit myself to writing about comics that have been featured on this site in previous Showcases or Weigh Ins. (Also, most of you still like clicking on things.)

So bear in mind that, every so often, the Showcase might be even more pointless, as I might just write about any old thing I happen to have lying around, irrespective of any new comics I picked up that week.

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

As a reminder, a lot of this nonsense could be avoided if I were free to go to the comic shop any time I felt like it, which would be possible if people, oh, I don’t know, did stuff like supporting OpenDoor Comics on Patreon?

Just something to keep in mind. (Narrator: But they would not keep it in mind.)



Spotless Sunday 4.1.18

As mentioned yesterday, the comic shop was closed when I got there, and, being lazy, I never bothered to find out if they managed to resolve their computer issues so that I could make another trip there and give buying new comics another shot.

After all, I’m not religious, but it seems like I should be allowed to have a holiday.

Still, while there won’t be a comic featured in the Spotlight today, I will at least give you an opportunity to help determine what should happen in the future, should this or a similar situation arise.

Even if I go a week without buying anything new, I still have a lot of comics from which I could choose something to write about for a Spotlight post.

Beyond that, some weeks there’s not much of anything in my stack of new books that I’m particularly interested in devoting a post to, so there’s the possibility that I could mix things up a bit and write about something other than what’s featured in the Showcase.

So the question before you is, should I?

Should I Write About Something From The Archives?

  • Yes - Whenever you feel like mixing things up a bit. (67%, 4 Votes)
  • Yes - When you have nothing new. (33%, 2 Votes)
  • No - Stick to the new stuff. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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And if you like that idea, should there be limitations put on the choices, such as keeping it strictly limited to comics that have been featured previously in either Showcase or Weigh In posts?

Should I Limit My Choices To Things That Have Been Featured Here?

  • No (100%, 6 Votes)
  • Yes (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Polls are active until midnight Eastern time on April 7th. Let me know what you think by voting, and feel free to add any additional thoughts on the subject in the comments.

(And, of course, as mentioned yesterday, one of the other options is doing stuff to make OpenDoor Comics financially viable, though I suppose I’m being an April Fool* for thinking that’s in any way possible…)

Bonus Poll:

Do You Still Like Clicking Things?

  • Yes (67%, 4 Votes)
  • No (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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*This isn't an April Fools' joke post, by the way. That's not the sort of thing I'm inclined towards doing. There is more than enough foolishness throughout the year already.



No Case Saturday 3.31.18

Upon my arrival at the comic shop today I was greeted with a sign informing me that their computer system was down.

I didn’t check to see if the sign was written in lamb’s blood, but I’m going to guess that it wasn’t.

Of course, having been raised a Lutheran, I initially likened it less to Passover and more to being like the women who found an empty tomb when they went to anoint the body of Jesus,

I assume the problem with the computer is exacerbated by most of the staff being in DC for Awesome Con.

(Why am I not there as well? Shut up, that’s why.)

In any case, this serves as a reminder that this sort of thing wouldn’t be an issue if I didn’t need to have a full-time job that limits my ability to swing by the comic shop whenever I feel like it because most of you aren’t taking advantage of the many ways in which you can support OpenDoor Comics.

For example, you could become a patron on Patreon, or make a donation via PayPal.

Maybe buy some prints and get yourself something nice(ish) in the process.

Of course, there are other ways to provide support, like visiting often (with your ad blockers off or with the site whitelisted), or creating your own site and posting your own comics, and, of course, by encouraging everyone you know to do any or all of the above.

I’m just saying. There are options.

In any case, enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate, or just generally enjoy your time if you don’t celebrate a holiday, and come back next week for what will be a larger-than-usual Showcase Saturday.



Spotlight Sunday 3.25.18

There were a lot of options to choose from this week – especially considering I picked up some things I should have picked up last week – and I could have finally had my chance to write about the always outstanding work of Brubaker and Phillips, but ultimately my decision was made for me as a result of watching an award-winning movie. There am not spoilers ahead for…

Superman #43
Writer: Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason and Joe Prado
Cover: Patrick Gleason
Rated T
$2.99
DC

“Bizarros aren’t exactly the easiest folks to talk to.”

Last night I watched The Disaster Artist, a movie based on the book of the same name by one of the stars of the cult-classic bad movie The Room, which told the behind-the-scenes story of the making of that infamous piece of American cinema, focusing in particular on the auteur behind it, writer, producer, director, financier, actor, and possible vampire, Tommy Wiseau.

If you’ve never seen The Room, well, I don’t exactly recommend it, but it tells the story of a man named Johnny who has it all – good friends, a loving girlfriend, a good job – and then loses it all when his best friend and girlfriend betray him.

Despite the odd twists and turns the story takes, there’s really not much more to it than that, but what makes it a cult classic on the midnight movie circuit and beloved by fans of terrible cinema everywhere is the combination of laughably amateurish production and performances, and the general failure at mimesis, of making the movie in any way lifelike.

The people in The Room may look like people, but they don’t really behave like people in a way that tracks with what we know about human behavior, or how the world works. They don’t talk the way we talk, using idiosyncratic expressions that nobody uses (Oh hi, Bonus section!), and they don’t react to events and revelations the way that humans do.

It is, quite frankly, bizarre.

Watching a competently-made movie about one of the most incompetently-made movies of all time – particularly during the sequence in which they played their recreations of some of the movie’s scenes side-by-side with the originals – served as an impetus to set aside all other options this week and focus on a story that features characters who, like those in The Room, don’t behave in a fashion that aligns with what might expect.

(Also, I’ve come to believe that the mysterious Tommy Wiseau – no one knows where he’s from, how old he is, or where he got the millions of dollars he used to make his movie – is actually a Bizarro. I don’t think there is any other possible explanation. It makes perfect sense. The weird way of talking, and of viewing the world. The pale, chalky skin. The overall Frankenstein’s monster vibe. The only real question is, who is Tommy a Bizarro version of?)

Bizarros have a long history as part of the Superman mythos, with the first Bizarro introduced in a Superboy story sixty years ago, with different versions – and an extended Bizarro family, and ultimately an entire Bizarro world – popping up throughout the years.

The basic idea behind Bizarro is that he is a mirror image of Superman, with all the same abilities, but without the same sensibilities, as the key thing to remember about mirror images is that they are reversed.

Of course, Bizarro is not simply a mirror image; he’s a distorted fun house mirror image. The term “imperfect duplicate” is the most common descriptor, and it fits, as, despite claiming to be the opposite of Superman, such attempts at being an antipode to the Man of Steel are performed, well, imperfectly.  Sure, Bizarros say “Hello” when they mean “Goodbye,” but they don’t say the exact opposite of every word when they speak, nor do they act with a directly opposite intent, and they tend to not be particularly malicious, irrespective of the virtuousness of whomever they may be a reflection.

The “imperfect duplicate” description is, of course, something of a narrative cop-out, given that it would be a daunting task to attempt to create exact opposites of characters, and something has to be done to make their speech and behavior at least somewhat understandable.  (Indeed, in the story in which he closed out the pre-Byrne era of Superman, Alan Moore had Bizarro realize how imperfectly he served as the antithesis of Superman and committed suicide upon deciding that his biggest failure in that regard was in being alive at all.)

In the days before “Rebirth,” the Lois and Clark with a son named Jon were not native inhabitants of the continuity of “The New 52,” being remnants of a vanished continuity, who lived on the Earth that was like, but also not like, their home in secrecy, raising their son in a small, rural area known as Hamilton County. After “Rebirth” led to the merging of timelines, they still lived in Hamilton, but had moved there not to hide, but rather to provide a quiet, safe home for their son, who had yet to develop the powers that are part of his Kryptonian heritage.

Eventually they learned that, like them, the people of Hamilton had a secret; they were actually all aliens stranded on Earth. Some time after that, the Kents decided to move back to Metropolis, despite Jon’s objections about leaving behind his friends, such as his former neighbor, Kathy.

In the last issue, while out visiting Kathy, who, being an alien disguised as a human girl, has powers and access to advanced technology, was entertaining Jon by using a portal to view other worlds. One such portal gave them a view of Htrae, the cube-shaped world that is home to the Bizarros.

On Htrae, they observed Boyzarro, the Bizarro version of Jon, who, as something of an opposite, is angry about having been forced to move to the Bizarro version of Hamilton from the Bizarro version of Metropois, and decides to not run away.

Which is to say, he decides to run away. He manages to breach the barrier in Kathy’s portal and makes his way to Jon’s bedroom in Metropolis, which is where our story this issue largely begins, as Jon works to understand and befriend his twin.

Things go awry when Superman walks in and Boyzarro mistakes him for his own father, whom he’s not mad at (is mad at), and a fight breaks out that nearly causes is a tragedy, for which Boyzarro is not sorry (…you get the idea, right), and so, satisfied that Boyzarro means no harm, Superman, and realizing that Boyzarro’s parents must not be worried sick about him, decides to help bring him back to Htrae.

Upon arriving in Kathy’s lab in Hamilton, Superman, Jon, and Boyzarro are surprised to see that another Bizarro has made his way through: Robzarro.

Robzarro – the Bizarro Robin – followed Boyzarro’s tracking signal in an effort to bring his best friend back home.

Robzarro is one of the best bits in the book; unlike Damian, he’s friendly, respectful of his elders, and is warmly affectionate with the standoffish Boyzarro.

There’s one small problem with the plan to bring Boyzarro back to Htrae: he wants to go.

I mean, he doesn’t want to go.

Still, when Jon and Superman find Boyzarro sitting next to a stream and trapping a cat in a tree, Superman manages to convince him that he needs to return to his home.

Superman: What don’t you say? Can we not give it a shot?
Boyzarro: Superman bad. Me…don’t trust.
Superman: Good.

Upon their arrival on Htrae they are greeted by Loiz (Bizarro Lois), who is not relieved to see her son, and she provides the second-best bit in the book:

Things go south when Bizarro himself shows up and is not angry about Superman putting the moves on his wife. Superman punches Bizarro all the way to the moon – which is the payoff to an earlier comment in the book – to give themselves some breathing room, and then heads off into space to attempt to reason with Bizarro.

Before he gets there, though, we see Bizarro on the moon watching his world losing its cube-shape and becoming a sphere, which is part of a plan brought about by the Super Foes-kidnapping Legion of Fun!

I have to admit that one thing that bothered me a bit in this issue is the revelation that Superman and Lois have someone stationed in Hamilton to spy on Jon when he visits, a girl who calls herself Nobody – an ally of Robin, who, like Damian, was trained to be an assassin – and is able to render herself invisible. That seems…off. I know that it comes out of concern for Jon less than out of a lack of trust, but still…it just seemed gross and out of character.

In any case, the best bit in the book happens early on, before Clark walks in on Jon and Boyzarro, as the two parents, thinking their son is asleep, are engaging in a little bit of Netflix and chill:

Lois: Superhero. Husband. Either way, you’re the same man I chose to share my life with.
Clark: You could have had anyone.
Lois: And you could’ve married Wonder Woman.
Clark: Diana doesn’t have a Pulitzer.
Lois: And don’t you forget it, mister.

It’s a little thing, but I always like to see Lois get at least some of her proper due.

This was a fun little, fast-paced diversion, with good Bizarro designs, and ultimately, while there were weightier, more substantial books I could have chosen this week, a little fun was something I needed.

Recommended Reading:

ABSOLUTE ALL STAR SUPERMAN – Witness the Man of Steel in exciting new adventures featuring Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Bizarro, and more! The Man of Steel goes toe-to-toe with Bizarro, his oddball twin, and the new character Zibarro, also from the Bizarro planet. And Superman faces the final revenge of Lex Luthor – in the form of his own death! Writer Grant Morrison teams with artist Frank Quitely on this spectacular reimagining of the Superman mythos, from The Man of Steel’s origin to his greatest foes and beyond.

SUPERMAN VOL. 1: SON OF SUPERMAN (REBIRTH) – Exploding out of DC’s blockbuster Rebirth event, SUPERMAN VOL. 1: SON OF SUPERMAN marks the beginning of a new era for the Man of Tomorrow and a great jumping-on point for new fans—brought to you by acclaimed storytellers Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke, Jorge Jimenez, Mick Gray, Jaime Mendoza, John Kalisz, Will Quintana and Alejandro Sanchez! Collects issues #1-6 and the SUPERMAN: REBIRTH one-shot.

BIZARRO – Bizarro—Superman’s backward-speaking warped doppelgänger—only wants to be a superhero. But his “help” has left nothing but destruction all through Metropolis, and now the citizens want him out!

Sounds like a job for Jimmy Olsen! He’ll lure Bizarro out of the city for good by escorting him on a road trip to “Bizarro America” (a.k.a. Canada), then return to Metropolis a hero and write a best-selling coffee table book about their journey. But to get to the border, the duo will first have to contend with chupacabras, ghosts and used car salesmen! And if they do ever reach the Great White North, will Jimmy have the heart to follow through with his scheme?

This awfullest story of two worst enemies on a terrible road trip am not written by Heath Corson (JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR) or drawn by Gustavo Duarte (Monsters! And Other Stories) with Darwyn Cooke, Francis Manapul, Kelley Jones and others. It no collects BIZARRO #1-6 or DC SNEAK PEEK: BIZARRO #1.

Bonus:

All I really have to say about Deadman #5 is that at one point, Dr. Fate says this to Etrigan:

“You can hear a rat pissing on cotton.”

Okay, my one observation is that everyone in this book is a dick to everyone else. It’s like reading something by Mark Millar, or an issue of The Avengers from the late ‘60s.

Beyond that, an invading army is descending upon Nanda Parbat, and its defenders defeat the various soulless members of the army – robots, who talk just like people whose dialogue is written by Neal Adams – and zombies, then let the ensouled invaders in through the gates, because it’s the nature of Nanda Parbat to bring forth inner peace and cause people to give up their evil ways. And then Deadman heads in to talk to Rama Kushna, whom, despite his belief to the contrary, he’s never actually met.

That am not do it for this week.

Be sure to not stop by for the next Showcase Saturday so that you can not see what I won’t be selecting from when I don’t craft the next Spotlight Sunday!

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

And support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!
(I’m not taking any chances on you misunderstanding by using Bizarro speak for this part.)



Showcase Saturday 3.24.18

It’s a week for noticing things that I missed last week, like Eternity Girl – which I’m mostly just checking out to see if I’ll be interested in picking up in the eventual trades – and Barbarella, which I’ve since added to my pull list, and things from weeks long-past, which I only noticed I’d missed because of the book I picked up this week.

It’s a safe bet that I won’t be doing a Spotlight post on any of the trades, but I will still mention them here, just so you see what I’ve been buying.

From DC:

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN #2 – Batman finds himself drawn further into a world of Celtic myth and supernatural mysteries as Wonder Woman calls on the Dark Knight Detective to investigate the murder of a once-powerful Irish god. In a world where the normal rules of investigation don’t apply and any clue can be obscured by charms and magic, the two Justice Leaguers must rely on each other to unlock a murder someone is trying to hide.

DEADMAN #5 – Sensei is down. Deadman is heading toward Nanda Parbat. Can Ra’s al Ghul be far behind? Secrets will be revealed and horrors tested, and the reader can search for Ra’s al Ghul on the cover. He is there. The plot thickens.

 

 

 

ETERNITY GIRL #1 – Caroline Sharp has been a lot of things, including both a superhero and a super-spy. But now, with those days behind her and her powers proving unreliable, Caroline finds herself stuck in a life weighed down by her depression and an inability to change. You see, Caroline is going to live forever, and there is no escape to be had. The very act of living reminds her that, to the rest of existence, she is an anomaly.

 

SUPERMAN #43 – “BOYzarro RE-DEATH” part two! What do you get when you try to fit a boy from a square planet into a round one? Boyzarro! Superboy and Kathy try to keep the lid on their Bizarro-sized can of worms as Boyzarro tears a rage-filled path of destruction from Metropolis to Hamilton and beyond! But what happens when Superman and Bizarro find out what their kids have been up to?

 

 

SUPER SONS #14 – “MOTHER’S DAY” part two! Talia al Ghul is back in Damian’s life, for better and for worse! As the world’s deadliest mom forces Robin to make the ultimate choice between his past and future, Superboy finds himself caught in the middle. But the specter of Damian’s murderous past life has shaken the bond between the Super Sons, and the body count is far from final.

WONDER WOMAN: FORGOTTEN LEGENDS – Tales of Wonder Woman in the style of the Golden Age of Comics by Trina Robbins and Kurt Busiek are collected at last! In these stories from the 1980s, Paradise Island is threatened by a mysterious Amazon known as Atomia! This title collects THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #1-4, WONDER WOMAN #318 and a story from WONDER WOMAN ANNUAL #2.

 

 

From Dynamite:

BARBARELLA #4 – Barbarella may have narrowly averted a galactic war-as only she could-but she’s still in need of a null-d regulator. Hitching a ride on a cargo transport seems like a no-brainer, but these great seas in the final frontier are rife with pirates! Plus: someone’s about to learn first-hand the dangers of emotional intimacy!

 

 

From Image:

BLACK SCIENCE, VOL. 6 TP – After years adrift in the chaotic Eververse, the McKay family finally reunites in their home dimension. But it’s far from the happy end they expected. To save all there is and ever will be, the Dimensionauts need to cut deeper into the Onion than ever before! RICK REMENDER & MATTEO SCALERA present the sixth chapter of the runaway pulp sci-fi smash hit BLACK SCIENCE! Collects BLACK SCIENCE #26-30

BLACK SCIENCE, VOL. 7: EXTINCTION IS THE RULE TP – The Eververse is collapsing under its own weight. The Dimensionauts, a ragtag collection of heroes, scientists, and anarchists from countless alternate realities, must band together and head towards the center of the Onion, the infinite-layered construct of all there is, was, and ever could be. Grant McKay created the Pillar to save the world with science, and now he must use it to save all worlds, all of creation, or doom reality itself to oblivion. Collects BLACK SCIENCE #31-34

KILL OR BE KILLED #17 – The turning-point issue of the series so far! Dylan begins to find his way clear of the demon’s curse, but he’s trapped in a mental hospital, and no one will believe him! And remember, each issue of KILL OR BE KILLED contains extra content and articles only available in the single issues.

 

 

From Marvel:

MIGHTY THOR #705 – The epic showdown years in the making finally explodes across the heavens. Thor battles the unstoppable Mangog, with the fate of all Asgardia hanging in the balance. Is Thor willing to pay the ultimate price in order to save the gods? The tragic and heroic story of Jane Foster finally reaches its heart-rending zenith. You knew it was coming. The Death of Thor is here at last.

 

 

From Titan:

FIGHTING AMERICAN VOL. 1 – Fighting American is the fantastic return of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon’s legendary super hero, originally created back in 1954. When Johnny Flagg A.K.A. FIGHTING AMERICAN and his young teenage sidekick, SPEEDBOY find themselves marooned in the 21st Century with no way to return they do the only thing they can do. They carry on regardless. Bringing some much-needed two-fisted justice and home-spun 1950s attitudes to a modern, media-obsessed cynical world as they battle a gang of villains plucked from their past and a mysterious villainess known only as Lady Chaos.

Come back tomorrow to see which of these I select for Spotlight Sunday.

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

And support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!



Spotlight Sunday 3.18.18

With death very much on my mind this week, in determining which book to feature in the Spotlight, I decided that I should focus on a story that puts life – or perhaps Anti-Life – at its center, and so there are spoilers ahead for…

Mister Miracle #7
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Cover: Nick Derington
Rated M
$3.99
DC

“I don’t know…He looks more like a…Just like a lump.”

Last week I mentioned that I often dream that my long-dead father is still alive, or is, somehow, alive again.

As is the inevitable nature of life, my mother now has the opportunity to join him in those dreams.

But just as life ends, life begins, and this issue focuses on the latter.

When last we saw Scott and Barda, Barda revealed that they were about to become parents. During the hiatus between issues – a hiatus that occurred to allow artist Mitch Gerads and his wife to experience at least some of what Scott and Barda experience in this issue – that “about” moved up a lot closer, and we open with the Barda in labor as Scott argues with the valet at the hospital.

Along the way we learn that after the events of last issue, Scott has ascended to the role of Highfather, and that the war between New Genesis and Apokolips rages on.

Despite this, the two decided that they wanted their child of two worlds to be born on a third, hence the arguing with the valet at the hospital.

Most of the action takes place in a hospital room as the expectant parents await their son’s arrival, passing the time with Scott suggesting names and Barda shooting them down, or sitting in awkward silence as they consider the manner in which their already chaotic lives are about to change, talking about the various birthing tips and techniques they read about in “the book,” Scott dealing with calls from work – “An Apokolips army of three million has just boomed into the Desert of Angels. Please advise.” – and, of course, coping with the inevitable arrival of family.

While they are enemies on the battlefield, the Female Furies had, once upon a time, been part of the Mister Miracle act, faithfully following their leader – their big sister – Barda, before ultimately returning to Apokolips and the service of Darkseid.

Still, Barda is family, and this child about to be born is family, too.

Following the recent announcement of a New Gods movie being helmed by director Ava DuVernay, there has been a lot of discussion about potential casting, and in one such conversation I had with my friend Scott (not Free) I talked a bit about Bernadeth, the sister of Darkseid’s cruel and cringing lackey DeSaad.

Scott (not Free) felt that the pun contained in Bernadeth’s name is too subtle for Kirby, particularly given that her weapon of choice is the Fahren-Knife, which can cause its victim to burn from the inside.

It was an interesting coincidence, given that said weapon figures prominently into this story, as Bernadeth explains to Scott (Free, not my friend) that mortal instruments will not be strong enough to cut Barda, should the need arise.

“This the Fahren-Kife. It kills gods. I will one day use it to kill you, Highfather. But for now, you may have it. It will cut her as she needs to be cut.”

Barda doesn’t trust Bernadeth’s motives, of course, explaining that the knife was forged from Darkseid’s own flesh, and that it doesn’t cut.

This leads to a bit of what I assume is meta-commentary on fan reaction to an earlier issue.

Still, it proves to be Chekhov’s Fahren-Knife, as, when the time comes, the baby is born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his throat, and the cord proves too tough to be cut by anything immediately available to the medical staff.

And thus, little Ironbreaker Starrazer Axeblow Thunderdeath Jacob takes his first breath.

There was not a lot of action in this issue, but, as with every issue, there was still a lot happening, with Scott’s continued listless agreeableness – saying “Okay” to pretty much everything – and the implication of his glance at the weapon forged from Darkseid’s flesh, which makes the cry from Jacob that ends the issue something of a sinister note upon which to end, even though it’s in the nature of babies to cry.

It seems particularly sinister, given that before Scott reached for the knife, we received our periodic reminder that

Darkseid is.

Something of a running theme throughout this series has been the way in which it makes you question everything you’re seeing. Was the resemblance of the lines on the heart monitor to the Omega Effect just a neat little visual Easter Egg, or something more? Was the grayish cast to Jacob’s skin an attempt at capturing the skin tone of a newborn, or something darker?

Then there’s Mad Harriet’s reaction to learning the child’s name.

“Oh sweet little Jacob! It’s finally time to wake up! Reality is about to break up!”

Even something that seems sweet – and is, really, no matter what else it might mean – can feel ominous, as Barda, in an effort to remain calm as the birth comes closer, thinks of something soothing, going to her happy place, the memory of falling in love with Scott (which also provides the name for their child). She describes the way Scott would climb Jacob’s Ladder – the only way out of the Pit in which they were raised – and would look so handsome as he waved at her and the Furies who were chasing him and said, “I can always escape.”

“And then we’d…I…Got you.”

There are those who think of marriage as a trap, and of having a child being the lock on that trap, and while that is a rather cynical take, I would remind you that “Darkseid is.” and that Scott is an escape artist, the greatest of many worlds, and yet this issue finds him confined to a hospital, free only to move from room to hallway and back again, and we find ourselves wondering, again, if he really did manage to escape from death all the way back at the beginning, or did he escape from life?

The overall composition of this issue feels intensely personal, as both King and Gerads have lived through the experience of becoming a father, of experiencing the waiting, the uncertainty, the excitement, and the boredom, and the story is filled with those little details. The ice chips. The hospital chair that turns into a bed. The “They say” and the “I read” of first-time parents. The moments of panic – “Why did it stop beeping?” The moments of relief – “It was just a positioning problem.”

And, of course, for me, as I try to move on from thoughts of death to thoughts of life, I find some comfort in the notion of the continuity of life, of the new taking the place of the old, even if that new life – that new New God – is fictional and may turn out to be something other than what it seems.

My youngest nephew is named Jacob, and as I think about the old giving way to the new, I remember his birth nearly eighteen years ago, as I was nearing the lowest point in my life. My depression never made me quite suicidal, but it made me somewhat less averse to the notion of dying, and I thought often about that idea, and there was a certain appeal. I had no plans to take any direct, immediate action to end my own life, but, I thought, with this new life in the world, it would certainly be okay for me to step aside and make room.

I didn’t, obviously, and I found that there was room in this world for both of us and eventually climbed up Jacob’s Ladder at least a couple levels from my lowest low in the Pit.

Of course, the idea isn’t really to get out of the way and make room anyway; it’s simply that life, as long as some of us are still here, at any rate, goes on, continuing its cycle.

My mom is gone, but life continues, and though as a man I’m reluctant to make any analogies involving going through labor – my mom was in labor for days with me – there is pain, awful, searing agony, and fear, but there is also joy, and promise, and hope.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that Darkseid is.

But he’s not the only one.

On the topic of joy, I’ll close this one out with something that happened on Twitter recently that is so utterly perfect that seeing it made me feel – for a moment, at least – as if I had climbed all the way up Jacob’s Ladder and escaped to the Heaven that those in the Pit believed waited for them at the top.

Note: I modified the reply from Mitch Gerads slightly so that the full image could be seen.

 

Recommended Reading:

THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON: THE DELUXE EDITION – Inspired by his real-life experiences as a CIA operations officer in Iraq, writer Tom King teams with artist Mitch Gerads–the creative team behind the critically acclaimed Mister Miracle–to deliver a wartime crime thriller like no other. The Sheriff of Babylon: The Deluxe Edition collects all 12 issues of the groundbreaking Vertigo series. This special hardcover volume also features a new introduction by King and afterword by Gerads, as well as a gallery of preliminary artwork from Gerads and cover artist John Paul Leon.

OMEGA MEN: THE END IS HERE – From one of the hottest writers in the industry, TOM KING (BATMAN, GRAYSON) and artist BARNABY BAGENDA (A1) comes the critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestseller OMEGA MEN: THE END IS HERE—a revolutionary new take on the classic DC space opera. Collects the OMEGA MEN #1-12

As one life begins, this post ends. Be sure to stop by for the next Showcase Saturday so that you can see what I’ll be selecting from when I craft the next Spotlight Sunday!

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

And support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!



Showcase Saturday 3.17.18

It’s a St. Patrick’s Day Showcase, free of any Irish affectations or appropriations. And free of a lot of options for me to choose from, for that matter. One of the drawbacks of picking up comics on Saturday is that there won’t be a lot of impulsive or incidental purchases, as the shelves are pretty well depleted by the time I get to the shop.

For example, I went in thinking of picking up Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 1 – even though the Earth One books have been more miss than hit – but it was sold out.  I did take a long look at a Harley Quinn statue, based on the work of the phenomenal Joëlle Jones, but ultimately decided that, as pretty as it is, I don’t really have room for another statue right now, and in particular, I don’t really need another Harley. (But it is very nice.)

In any case, here’s what I bought this – all-DC – week:

ACTION COMICS #999 – “The General”! Superman’s journey through time has crashed to a halt, and at the end of the line General Sam Lane stands face to face for the first time with his grandson, Jon. Buckle up, because the most awkward super-family reunion in history is about to begin!

MISTER MIRACLE #7 – Mister Miracle and Big Barda are in a panic. The war with Apokolips isn’t going well. And it’s Barda’s turn to have her past come crashing back into her present as the Female Furies appear on the scene with blood on their minds. Continuing the acclaimed miniseries that Entertainment Weekly called “by far the best comic on the stands right now.”

 

WONDER WOMAN #42 – “Amazons Attacked” part two! The power of the ancient gods has returned Darkseid to his former self, but he wants more—he wants the throne of Apokolips back! But to put down the rebellions and civil war raging on his homeworld, he’ll need an army more powerful than he’s ever had before. That sounds suspiciously like the Amazons!

Come back tomorrow to see which of these I select for Spotlight Sunday.

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

And support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!



Spotlight Sunday 3.11.18

The combination of novelty, quality, and what one might consider a sign, if one were more inclined to believe in signs, means that there are spoilers ahead for…

East of West #36
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist:  Nick Dragotta
Cover:  Nick Dragotta
Rated M
$3.99
Image

“Dying as you lived is a just end…but an end nonetheless.”

My dad has been gone for over eleven years, but I often dream of him.

Even in dreams, though, I know that as much as I want him to be there, he can’t be there, he shouldn’t be there, and so my mind creates some justification, some illusion for how this can be the case. “It was all a mistake!” “That part was the dream.” “There was some scientific breakthrough or supernatural occurrence!”

I have that sort of dream often enough that I sometimes don’t even bother with the mental handwaving. My dad is there. That’s all I need to know.

Of course, the illusion doesn’t last – typically not even all the way through the dream – but for that moment, that single moment in which I can believe that he’s really there, I believe it, unreservedly.

I had one such dream not long before reading this issue, and though this is perhaps not an ideal jumping-on point for the series, given how much has happened so far, and how much keeps happening, having such a dream before reading the latest in an arc titled “Things Fathers Do With Their Sons” felt like something of a sign, which felt like even more of a sign, given that one of the central premises of the book is built upon the receipt of signs.

It’s especially on-the-nose that the son in this case lives in a world of illusion, though one of the major differences between us is that while my father is dead, his father is Death.

To provide some background and to bring non-readers as up-to-speed as possible, East of West takes place in the future of an America whose history deviated considerably from our own during its Civil War. Their war raged on for another fifty years, and grew to involve more than the forces of a single divided nation, ending, finally – or at least moving in the direction of becoming a Cold War – in 1908 when what we refer to as the Tunguska Event happened…in Kansas.

The site of the impact became known as Armistice, and the remainder of what we know as the United States of America was divided into six separate nations:

The Union – The northern states involved in the Civil War

The Confederacy – The states that seceded from the Union

The Kingdom of New Orleans – A nation formed by freed slaves

The Endless Nation – A technologically advanced nation of indigenous peoples

The Republic of Texas – Kind of speaks for itself

The People’s Republic of America – A nation of Chinese exiles and immigrants

Simultaneous with the impact, two parts of a message made themselves known. For fifty years “the Message” remained incomplete, until Mao Zedong, leader of the People’s Republic, writes an addendum in 1958 that makes the meaning clear: the end is nigh.

Several years later, the Four Horsemen arrived at Armistice and begin killing everyone who makes a pilgrimage to the holy site and built a structure around it to prevent further intrusion, with Conquest taking the child of one slaughtered pilgrim and raising him to be the carrier of the Message. Representatives known as “The Chosen” are selected from each of the Nations to help bring about the end.

Things proceed according to plan, until Death turns his back on the apocalypse after falling in love with Mao Xiaolian, the daughter of the Premier of the PRA, and the two have a son. However, Xiaolian’s sister betrays her, and the life she tries to build with Death and their son comes to an end.

That was part of the prophecy, however, and their son is taken to Armistice to be raised to be the Beast.

Though the cause isn’t clear, at some point, as the result of some conflict, three of the Four Horsemen are killed. Death, who does not know that his wife and son are still alive, was believed to have died as well, but was saved by the intervention of Wolf and Crow, two members of the Endless Nation.

The series begins with the regeneration of the three Horsemen, and Death, who is represented as a thin, pale, Spaghetti Western, “man with no name” type, learning that his wife and son are still alive, and largely follows his quest to reunite his family.

By this issue, Xiaolian has taken control of the PRA, and Death has found their son and is in the process of bringing him home to his mother.

Elsewhere, the Union has fallen to a revolution, which makes it ripe for conquest by the Endless Nation, led by Wolf, who has not only ascended to the rank of Chief of Chiefs of the Endless Nation, but has also – by devouring the former carrier – become the carrier of the Message.

That conquest takes up the bulk of this issue, with a brief scene of the three Horsemen closing in on Death and his son, and an interlude in which Death answers some questions that his son – Babylon – has about his mother as the mother and child reunion gets closer to being only a motion away.

“To put it plain…your mother is nothin’ short of the most impressive woman I’ve ever met. But that’s not even the best part.”

“What is, dad?”

“For the first time ever, someone made me not wanna be a monster. And now, I get to do somethin’ for her. Bring you home.”

After completing the conquest of the Union – as part of his effort to “heal old wounds” – Crow steps down as Chief of Chiefs and heads to Armistice, to set about the work of his other job: bringing it all to an end.

East of West can be a difficult book to keep up with, even if you’re a regular reader. Particularly given that its erratic publication schedule makes it difficult to be a “regular reader.” Consider: this is the 36th issue, in 2018, of a “monthly” series that launched in 2013.

Beyond that, it’s complex, with a lot of questions that have yet to be answered, and a narrative approach that doesn’t lend itself to anything other than a very careful reading.

While I like the art a lot – I’m particularly fond of the use of negative space in the designs for Wolf and Crow – some of the characters aren’t quite distinctive enough to be immediately recognizable, which can lead to confusion, particularly if it’s been months since you read the last issue (#35 came out in November of last year).

I’d probably be better-served if I switched to trade-waiting on this, but at this point it seems like it’s a little too late.

That said, for as much as I forget what the hell happened in the last issue far too often, it is a series that I enjoy, and this was a strong issue.

While there was very little focus on Death and Babylon, the relationship between fathers and sons remains pivotal, in the form of the lessons that Wolf learned from his which allowed him to join the old ways (magic) and the new (technology) to allow the Endless Nation to take the opportunity that the collapse of the Union presented. While the idea of combining magic and technology is hardly novel, the particular application of that idea in this issue provided a powerful concept presented with striking imagery.

That entire approach – taking an idea that is almost cliché and reshaping it into something new – is central to East of West and the world in which it’s set. We see it in the core concept, which is, ultimately, a collection of answers to a series of “What if?” questions, and in the art, in which we see things that are familiar presented in new and interesting ways, such as the futuristic White Tower as the seat of the Union’s government, or in the robotic horses that are disturbingly reminiscent of the walking, door-opening horror shows being created right now at Boston Dynamics, or in the High Plains Drifter look of the rider of the pale (robotic) horse.

Even Babylon himself, as the presumed Great Beast, is familiar; the boy who is prophesied to one day bring about the End of All Things, but who, for right now, in many ways, is just your average ten-year-old who wants to have fun and spend time with his dad.

Of course, where it takes a decided turn is in the details; Babylon has spent his entire life living inside a virtual reality, tethered to a floating, robotic nanny he calls “Balloon,” who controls everything that he sees, capturing all visual input and translating it all into a far rosier picture of the world around him before allowing it to reach his mind.

Beyond any of the other “What if?” questions at the center of East of West is a more essential idea, as expressed by series writer Jonathan Hickman, one that, in addition to the personal connection of the dreams of my dead father, prompted me to select it for the Spotlight this week:

“The things that divide us are stronger than the things that unite us. The end times are imminent and we all hate each other too much to come together and solve our problems.”

That part, given the current, perhaps perpetual, state of things rings much more true to me than some of the scenes in the previous issue in which we saw an unconventional father and son engaging in some of the more conventional father-son activities.

I loved – and still love – my father, and I know that he loved me (and, perhaps more importantly, in some ways, he liked me), those sorts of bonding activities weren’t a big part of our relationship, in no small part due to my own lack of interest in, or aptitude for, them. The things that divided us – time, most notably – were, perhaps, stronger in some ways than the things that united us, but, to finish out the full quote from Hickman, “Our final destination is imminent, and it is the Apocalypse. And then, in the face of all that despair and gloom, somehow there is still hope.”

Recommended Reading:

EAST OF WEST VOLUME 1: THE PROMISE – This is the world. It is not the one we wanted, but it is the one we deserved. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse roam the Earth, signaling the End Times for humanity, and our best hope for life, lies in DEATH!

S.H.I.E.L.D.: ARCHITECTS OF FOREVER – Leonardo da Vinci. Galileo Galilei. Sir Isaac Newton. The titans of history, they discovered the truth of reality in mathematics and the limits of possibility in science – and pushed past those limits with their boundless imaginations. And each has weighed the same question: What is man’s destiny? For these men were also all members of the Brotherhood of the Shield, a secret organization that has been safeguarding humanity and shepherding the future for almost 5,000 years. They turned back the Brood in ancient Egypt. They kept a Celestial from destroying Earth in first-century China. They stopped Galactus the first time he visited our planet during the 16th century. And still they watch over us all. But during the late 1950s, the Brotherhood faced a test like none other: the Night Machine, a super-powered being driven to bring about the organization’s utter destruction. His vicious attack on the High Council’s Rome headquarters causes a line to be drawn between the members of the Shield, and the questions about man’s destiny will be resolved once and for all! Collecting S.H.I.E.L.D. (2010) #1-6 and material from S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 DIRECTOR’S CUT.

Just like the world, this post is coming to an end, and so we’ve reached the point at which I must deliver the Message to you:

Be sure to stop by for the next Showcase Saturday so that you can see what I’ll be selecting from when I craft the next Spotlight Sunday!

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

And support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!



Showcase Saturday 3.10.18

A fairly light week, with not a lot of choices, given that I’m unlikely to read a full trade in time to formulate anything to write about.

It’s worth noting that this is the first week in which my theory that I wouldn’t have it in me to get in my car and drive to the comic shop after spending an hour and a half on the bus on Wednesday was put to the test.

My theory was confirmed.

In any case, take a look at the books I’ll be choosing from for tomorrow’s Spotlight post.

From DC:

BATMAN AND SUPERMAN IN WORLD’S FINEST COMICS—THE SILVER AGE VOL. 2 – The adventures of the World’s Finest Heroes continue in this new collection of tales from the 1950s as Superman and Batman encounter alien gamblers, battle a space explorer turned villain, foils Lex Luthor’s attempt to conquer the bottle city of Kandor and visit an exhibit of futuristic crime-fighting inventions in Gotham City. Plus: Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk trade foes and engage in a battle of magic! Collecting stories from WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #95-116.

BATMAN BY NEAL ADAMS BOOK ONE – Neal Adams’ epic tales of the Dark Knight are presented in a newly recut collection of stories from WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #175-176 and THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #79-85. These stories include Batman’s team-up adventures with Deadman, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Arrow and the Teen Titans!

 

 

SUPERMAN #42 – “BOYzarro RE-DEATH” part one! It’s a bizarre, Boyzarro world—and we just live in it! When Superboy comes face to face with Boyzarro, the Son of Bizzaro, a strange transformation begins to take place. But that’s not all that the Kents have knocking on their door! Superman versus Bizarro round one am not just the beginning!

From Image:

EAST OF WEST #36 – “THINGS FATHERS DO WITH THEIR SONS” We catch up with Death and Babylon.

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #34 – “MOTHERING INVENTION,” Part One It’s around 6,000 years ago. It’s never happened before. Let’s talk about that.

 

 

 

 

That does it for this week’s Showcase Saturday. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what the Spotlight shines on!

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

And support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!