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
Re-imagining or filling in the blanks of canon is always a tricky element but creativity takes a stride within certain aspects. The issues reviewed below takes this into account with both old and new IP though the take of New Visions places the visual one perception farther and, in doing so, becomes the most daring.
Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary Prime The original 4 plus Janine take on another interesting ghost but this one plays a little more linear. Ray is led to an artifact that has a very high PKE reading. When water is dropped on it, it takes control of Egon. The reveal connects it to Atlantic. After saving Egon, the showdown happens in Battery Park and the eventual reveal which involves a nice visual and verbal quip with Ray speaks to the exact right tone that Ghostbusters needs that hasn’t been really captured on screen since the 1st one.
Star Trek: New Visions #18 Optimizing stills from a series to create new stories has just become more possible with Photoshop and other programs so pieces like this are possible and make them more genuine at times and keyed into stories than some of the crossover attempts. The main story here: “What Pain It Is To Drown” keys into a civilization that precipitates on water pushing large bubbles into space and leading the Enterprise to a planet that eventually tries to pull the ship and one of its shuttles into the vortex. Spock and McCoy confront the being controlling it who simply wants to die and make a spectacle doing it. A mind meld ensues but almost causes trauma to Spock according to Bones. The story line is effective and to the point. The beginning of the next take “The Hunger” seems to be a little more basic but at least Chekov has moved up in rank.
The Q Conflict #2 This continuation of an almost all-star games where Q and his fellow omniscients like Tremaine and some others from the TOS use the captains and ships from the 4 series (except Enterprise and Discovery) in a series of tests seems uneven. While interesting, many of the personalities sometimes don’t work and the art is slightly off. This adventure involves finding portal gateways like those provided by the Traveler but from a long dead race called the Iconians. While most of it is by the book, the aspect of Riker using command codes to outmaneuver Picard shows a dexterity of will and competition
Captain Saru Set between the 1st and 2nd seasons of “Discovery” when the ship is in space dock for repairs (not unlike the beginning of “Wrath Of Khan”), the Discovery is called out to deal with a starship that has gone missing in a nebula where many of the navigation systems don’t work (again like “Khan”). As there is no set Captain, Saru is given a task to go figure out what is wrong. He takes a skeleton crew only to be ambushed by Orions (in what would have been a good regular episode but alas wouldn’t fit in the timeline of the 2nd season mythology). While Tilly and Michael play into the story, this is more completely about the strategy of Saru and actually plays more in tune with his transformation later in Season 2. Nonetheless, it is a good representation of a character building tale for a character with an undeniable journey set in the best Star Trek traditions.
By Tim Wassberg
The ideas in this batch of comics explores certain structures between ideology and tone, sometimes conflicting within each other through simple story risks that don’t work or moments of enlightenment that don’t truly come to fruition.
GI Joe: A Real American Hero #257 The story of GI Joe & Cobra is invariably the same except when aspects of the supernatural intrude. Like one of the reader comments brings up and an editor responds that while that may make the strikes a little bit unbelievable, it shakes up the status quo plus confuses and frustrates a character like Cobra Commander who simply wants to cause chaos. Dr. Demon is the inherent threat in this instance. Demon has gone insane as his consciousness fills that of a robot and begins to jump back and forth into different bodies. This identity crisis works well as an inherent metaphor though it is not explored as such.
Star Trek Vs. Transformers #2 Sometimes mash-ups can work like butter but other times the connections are simply too disparate despite a lot of canon elements between both. Here the crew of The Animated Series Enterprise discover the Autobots partially powered down on a planet. The Decepticons have meanwhile already made contact with the Klingons. While the matchup makes sense in certain ways, it is the tone that is off because it has to adhere both to a certain style of dialogue of one mixed with the other. The conflict for the most part is base yet it does fulfill the story requirements.
Euthanauts #4 A gang of would be superheroes in a sense based on the pursuit of death and perhaps the unsung rules of moving on definitely has potential either as an existential journey or like “Beetlejuice”, a reflective surface where the ideas of one world conflict with another. Some of these possibilities are addressed through the character of Thalia who does not know what to hold onto in life. This shell of antisocial perception gives her an interesting insight though not very engaging character features, either inwardly or outwardly. Circe by the reverse is like the Harley Quinn of a funeral home but with not enough story line within this specific comic utterance to give her breath. But, per usual, the Black Crown label does explore interesting territory.
Ghostbusters: Crossing Over #8 This conclusion to the multiple dimensional cross over story line culminates with the take down of another body but it works within that structure since said malevolence is in the specter of Medusa per se. Everything they do, she indicates makes her stronger since chaos begets chaos. Granted most things get tied up in a single bow. But like anything “Ghostbusters”, in the middle of all science is a human story. The aspect of Ray separated by the ghost Jenny whom he fell in love with speaks back to the 1st Ghostbusters and maybe some psychology within Dan Aykroyd, its creator himself. Also the evolving idea of Janine and her possibilities is also interesting but not as dynamic in terms of story structure.
By Tim Wassberg