The notion of identity and what it truly means is wrapped in the different personifications in these collections of issues. Whether it be Tony Stark losing control of his consciousness or Samurai Jack and Captain Kirk questioning who they really are, the ideal is based in the notions of self worth versus the ever bearing consequence of ego.
Marvel Action Avengers New Danger Vol. 1 The act of New Danger overcoming the most specifically focused member of the Avengers team in Tony Stark using the aspect of mind control is not a new contradiction since the fragile ego that motivates the character is well known. The aspect that is more mysterious is the idea of what a new villain would look like. The writers bring up a couple different teams, who, if one is completely familiar with all mythology, might work well but instead here feels more like filler. The only Avenger who truly comes through besides Tony in the opening dinner scene is Thor who is always looking, like Tony, for signs of acceptance or praise. Ultimately Tony’s force of will wins out but it seems like a foregone conclusion instead of one comprised of stakes.
Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary – The Real Ghostbusters This ode to the aspect what makes this version of the team more elevated than possibly new advances in the modern era seems more of a cautionary tale. A new trio of spook hunters have some insane new gadgets that really up the ante and makes the update seem quite motivated and pertinent….until the veneer is pulled back with a dimensional perspective and ultimately a realization of what makes these Real Ghostbusters unique. There is a play to an underground network of warlocks that has some legs but it’s possibility is never truly explored.
Star Trek: Year Five #1 This new element of story is a great transition into a more stakes-filled vision but also one that ties in with canon in a very specific way. An aspect of the Tholions with an interesting political strategy seems to be motivating the underpinings of the story. What works interestingly is seemingly the worry on Kirk’s face both when reflecting back on a decision he needed to make but also a promotion that might be coming his way. Unlike many of the Star Trek comics releases sometimes, with the exception of some like “Waypoint”, this progression feels undeniably grounded in the lore.
Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1 The essence of Samurai Jack and also the irony is that his life and journey has been made into the aspects primarily of lore and mythology. The aspect of what he truly believes in whether it be himself or those he defends becomes muddled. What this story progression seems to do with an interesting doppelgänger is question who Jack is but what he means to his followers who have banded together to follow his very philosophy. It is this ideal of hero worship that is an interesting diametric that can be observed like what Obi Wan really did for all those years on Tatooine. Jack himself both resurrected and old is not sure he can live up to that standard.
Clue: Candlestick #1 The structure of the story of this specific board game has such possibility depending on how the world is expanded. What is interesting to follow is how rigid the ideas at least in this inkling are maintained. Firstly the art is not very dynamic in a story that has utter possibilities in both noir and modern in every which way. The juxtaposition in certain ways of Mrs. White and Mr. Boddy seems shoddy at best while trying to drop clues that, while they might be pertinent later, seem to not to have impact like they should in an overall context. The motivations of the characters have not been transitioned in a certain way to the perceptions of a new time.
By Tim Wassberg
The aspect of choice but also the rule of command permeates the essence of many of the stories in collection between the essence of morality but also practical application.
The Q Conflict #3 The continuing structure of the omnipresent beings staging a gladiator competition of sorts combining the different crews across the pantheon (except Discovery) is a bit more clean and concise in this issue simply because there is a little more explanation of the interpersonal struggles at play. Q’s moral ineptitude but gray area of perspective continues to personify the complicity. Trelane integrates a notion of galactic capture-the-flag which is interesting especially when he ups the stakes with a planet killer. The stakes, as one of the characters points out, keep the situation from becoming too dire.
Star Wars Adventures #20 This tome has Anakin and Master Yoda on a planet where they discover an old friend with the power of invisibility. The thematic of realizing that which you cannot see but what can be perceived resounds in the story especially when Anakin uses a very simple problem solving tactical maneuver that really helps to continue to define the kind of Jedi he might have become. The secondary story in this issue tells a similar progression in that of Wild Space using a story of Padewan Barriss in a similar way by showing a quest/journey to recover a book for her master is not for the end result but what is learned along the way.
Star Trek: Terra Incognita #5 Like the Animated series episode “The Infinite Vulcan”, this story continues to examine the notion about messing with genetic code and the idea of what is better for a society in terms of progress or nostalgia. The crew of the Enterprise uses practical deduction to make their work easier but the dynamic between the command presence of Dr. Crusher versus Worf is an interesting dynamic that was never brought to a head per se during the series. While it doesn’t get too heated, the balance of the warrior mindset versus the medical mindset rests in the passive aggressive which is an interesting path. The mirror structure underneath continues to coalesce but with no true progression in this issue.
Star Wars – Flight Of The Falcon One Shot Hondo as a character has always been an interesting comic bright spot in the Star Wars universe and hopefully with get a tinge of live action impression at some point. This story follows Hondo having holed up on Baatu with the Falcon while Chewbacca is away. Mahko is a flyer and an all-around sharp flyer who, like Han Solo, has her emotions and priorities in both worlds. She is perhaps a little naive, wears her heart too much on her sleeve and trusts even though it will not turn out well. Hondo agrees to a race with the Falcon for some extra money and almost gets it stolen from him with a chicken tug-of-war with a tractor beam. It is a little childish on Hondo’s part especially when he tries to talk Chewie into letting him do it on a results basis. That said, this one shot really has a sense of character work that comes off both effortless but also organic.
By Tim Wassberg
Lessons of choice and morality usually paint a picture within comics although with certain one like “From Hell”, it is about the lack thereof. The collection of comics below shows the division of story structure in the approach of different franchises. The Marvel elements tend to bathe more in textures of large spectacles where it is the smaller moments that are plyed best if allowed to breathe. Star Wars works in the reverse allow the small moments to bring more impact to the larger battles being played.
Star Wars Adventures Vol. 5 The essence of small stories is to give perspective in an otherwise large structure mileau. The first essence in this collection comes down to C3PO who mentioned Captain Antilles once in “A New Hope” thereby opening the door to the Antilles story. Why he ended up working with him is not quite explained but it shows how 3PO learned to deal with Han Solo. One of the more interesting little stories in the volume involves Anakin and Padme going off world to see an opera singer who happens to have a hidden agenda for the separatists and a hate for Padme. There is a little too much similarity at times to the plot within “The Fifth Element” in reverse. Other stories reflected include one with Max Rebo from Jabba’s Band and his thieving brother and Mace Windu saving a lost girl on a planet because she is meant for bigger things. The one aspect of these small Star Wars stories is that they always speak of hope.
Star Wars Adventures #19 Again with this treme set against the Clone Wars, Obi Wan Kenobi comes to the help of Rex, the clone trooper who sets him aside in his actions. A Separatist droid has a malfunction or perhaps simply finally understands the light of the Republic per se. It creates an interesting dynamic and sets up the play for a larger story which is not yet explored. The 2nd story in the issue tells a paradoxical story against that as one of the lessons told to Emil within the context of “Tales Of Wild Space”. In this tome, a Separatist droid (which is not malfunctioning) is lost from his unit and survives numerous pratfalls on a wayward planet before he is picked up again without anyone really caring he is gone. Again this story offers life lessons presented through a prism.
Marvel Action: Avengers #3 Like sometimes with the Transformers comics, Avengers tries to have too much going on with too many people at once but it fares better since it stays with the textures most of the time of the mythic mixed with a bit of humor. In this story, AIM, which seems to be a sentient artificial life form, apparently takes over Tony Stark and his suit for his own agenda. Black Widow, as always, despite really not having superpowers per se, saves the day always seemingly having to work twice as hard. Captain Marvel is there but her influence is non-impactful as is Thor who only seems to want people to call him a God (of course in sarcasm). What is interesting is that despite most of the characters having their own visual style, Stark is the only one that really looks like Downey Jr’s portrayal. The interplay is fun but ultimately doesn’t define or separate the story from any others.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #2 Taking a key from the Spiderverse incarnation with the multiple web slingers, this story continues the pursuit of Miles to find out that he is not alone. The same thing applies to Peter Parker but his progression to enlightenment has more to do with confidence. Again the aspect of evolution is key, especially when a third webslinger comes into play. This construct has of course opened up the ideal for different permutations of motivation. Though the aspect of the multiverse however seems to be established as a given which might be of confusion to first time readers.
From Hell: Master Edition #3 The angle of this world is one that is always somewhere between the macabre and the generally weird. Despite the ideal of John Merrick (i.e. The Elephant Man being benevolent), these tales take it in a slightly different different mostly in the gauge of Jack The Ripper and also the psychotropic tendencies of the ritualistic elements that are portrayed within. The essence of language and action as diametric parallels seem to give a good sense of imbalance which propels the story. This aspect of perception is made even more defined when some of the original script is included as a reflection of the comic book process. In it the eventual discovery of the multilateral body in question told from a distance is particular telling in terms of story structure.
By Tim Wassberg