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
These batch of issues focuses in a central theme of how perception impair judgement but also how actions one cannot see defines the trajectory of certain stories.
Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 Unlike the previous issue which was played in more of a standard straight-on battle, the idea here is about approach and consequence. Q, in trying to provoke as many people as possible takes aim at another opponent in the prophets that inhabit the wormhole near Deep Space Nine. Each of the ships take a different approach depending which DS9 crew member is on board. What is the most telling is when Kirk and his Enterprise actually enter the wormhole and the people he sees are in the form of Edith from “Shore Leave” and Gary Lockwood from “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. It is an interesting personal inflection as on that Worf makes in real life with Commander Dax. The story becomes about how you see the world versus those that define you.
Star Trek TNG: Terra Incognita #6 Unlike the previous issue in this series which had more of a stand alone episodic structure to it, this one is more fueled by the overall storyline of the mirror universe Picard looking to steal more technology. The art also is not as dynamic as the previous issue with more skewed lines and color palette which makes the characters seem more blocky. the texture of the characters’ motivation also are not as crisp.
Star Wars Adventures #21 This issue has Han, Luke & Chewie, likely between “Hope” and “Empire”, doing a supply run or Leia on an outer world. Han has a price on his head but seems more reckless than in “Hope”. The more brazen qualities apparent in “Solo” seem to come through which is almost refreshing since Chewie knows he is capable of it. Luke does have to finagle behind the scenes so ultimately there is not any true effect on canon. Another Wild Tales bookends this issue with the story of a small creature named Kabe in Mos Eisley who is able to accomplish a small mission in terms of infiltration versus something that a small army could not. It shows the thematic structure of simple solutions.
Star Trek: Waypoint Special 2019 The stories within this issue traverse the entire structure of the Star Trek Universe in different ways, two from notions of communication perspective and the other two from approaching the essence of relationships from logical versus emotional perspectives. On the communication side, Tasha Yar and Dr. Crusher head to a ship where everyone has disappeared but no one remembers them actually being there. The essence of different realities using technology plays upon this idea as does a voyage when Janeway isan earlier ship with Tuvok as a Lt. The planet they are visiting is shifting through different dimensions. The other side of the coin functions in a TOS tale first. It follows the fact that McCoy falls in love per se with a Vulcan female scientist and he can’t get through to her. Spock’s advice: “Don’t even try” which is said without emotion. The flip story involves Worf post DS9 and TNG running away from his feelings when he was still in love with the alien Dax who changed bodies on him. All the stories create an inherent bridge between the crews and universes more than some of the other crossovers.
By Tim Wassberg
Looking at a new adaptation of the classic film “The Empire Strikes Back” [Alessandrio Ferrari/IDW/84pgs] in many ways in an interesting exercise in what is kept in in terms of dialogue and what parts are removed for elements of pacing and space. In this instance while some aspects work, certain others of nuance are lost. Point in fact, on Dagobah, Luke’s initial ignorance of Yoda because of his arrogance is a very specific notion as is the cave where he sees the reflective image of his father. These are small scenes but also at times the most telling and mythic although with comic adaptations, the main story points need to be adopted and compacted. Also some of the smallest character moments for Han & Leia happen in the quiet moments on the asteroid. Now granted the main point in the carbonite scene is the most telling but some scenes need to breathe. That said the fluid nature of the characters especially Leia give them a more modern edge (much like the “Solo” graphic novel adaptation) placing it somewhere between the original concept and the arena of “The Clone Wars” TV series. Either way, always great to see another conception of a cultural touchstone most people have seen or have a perspective on.
By Tim Wassberg