The storylines reflected in this series speaks to the element of choices made whether it be Professor X moving towards the aspect of mutant oversight or Blade deciding what might be better for lesser Avengers. The perspective of what might be right for one might not be right for the other and the thematics and well as the actions of the characters in these tales bely this.
Power Of X #5 The undeniable structure of Professor X and his present mind moves in circles of thought and looks, like Dr. Strange, at every possible outcome. The bigger picture that he and Magneto continue to personify is the aspect of a segregated mutant population. This is distinctly grown by what X wants Cerebro to do in this issue which is inherently back up every mutant’s brain which can itself create sentience. In this issue, the reader is shown the jumps in evolution which seems both visionary and esoteric at the same time. The allusion to the Titans and the essence of black holes being the next stage of being in creating a singularity is a thought process partially brought to bear in “Interstellar”. The main quandary is an almost closed minded view in terms of humanity which motivates X in the first place. The progression is almost existential which is an interesting story construct but it depends where it ends up.
Thanos #6 Gamora’s relationship with her adopted father Thanos has always been skewed in many different ways. It is alluded to in certain ways in the films but in this small series, Gamora has brought her father to the edge of space as a child in an attempt to kill him. In her mind, she knows that nothing she will ever do will allow that to happen. In fact it is more of a power play that reflects in Magus as a harbinger of death. Thanos has a control of will over his daughter so much so at he says that Gamora will kill Magus when it is the right time. Whether that is to maintain her innocence or instill a sense of patience or fate is to be discussed. The resolution of how she interacts with a reborn Magus as an adult gives a truer perception into the psychology she battles with in current time.
Strike Force #1 Mistaken identity especially with shape shifters provides the basis of this race-against-time starring lesser Avenger partners. Heroes like Spider Woman and Winter Soldier are framed for a crime they didn’t commit but are seemingly caught red handed by the real Avengers. In a plot twist which might be reminiscent of a similar structure on an episode of “Stargate SG1”, the participants start to figure out that they aren’t quite who they think they are. Blade, as a requisite outsider anyway, plays both sides and offers wisdom but with a slight bruise of indifference. One never quite knows if his ideals are specific or sound, simply that they might be for the greater good. The narrative thrust of the story can be derivative but it depends what this storyline’s ultimate goal is.
Punisher – Kill Krew #3 While the essence of Punisher is mostly earthbound, the KIll Krew storyline feels like something that could be torn out of “Heavy Metal” in a good way. Frank plays the ideal of almost an intergalactic revenge seeker with less weirdness than say Lobo as a comparative. The balance is reflected in the human as well as some of the purely stellar imagery as he fights his foes especially the blue giants who look like cousins of the genie from Aladdin. The storyline works and the pace is swift because of the volley between a human Foggy Nelson, a friend of Daredevil who just happens to be caught up in this mess and becomes the perpetuate of the viewer. Juggernaut, who is brute force, adds a layer of would be Hulkness reflective of Ragnarok which really plays well. The aspect of Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) having his van pulled by a ram that uses a genie to fly across galaxies is so out there it is cool. We also get a neat view of the chilling avengers the way the really are in off hours, hanging out and shooting the breeze.
By Tim Wassberg
The structure of the threats that intentionally inform the Star Wars Universe sometimes rest on those smaller that give credence to large ideas. The progression of Kylo Ren is the most pertinent here simply because it informs the psychology of a current villain while the other two tales speak to both the challenge and, at times, weaknesses of those involved in the never-ending proceedings of the struggle for power.
Star Wars – Age Of Resistance – Kylo Ren The continuing mythology of Kylo Ren is an interesting structure to behold as “Rise Of Skywalker” approaches. The events that make him or continue to make him are structured inside the small details of canon which are reflected in issues like this. While this battle is a small time perspective, it reassures the idea that Kylo is trying to emulate and beat his grandfather’s accomplishments. This also informs his inferiority complex around Luke. A Greek chorus in the visage of an old soldier from the first battle Vader made on this certain planet gives a center of credence but the inference of “Your God is dead” which is envisioned in the final moments is quite telling.
Star Wars: Target Vader #3 In comparative, the texture of “Target Vader” is about finding a weakness in the Dark Lord. A paradoxical progression is that the bounty hunter assigned to try to take Vader down in part cyborg. One gets the feeling that this man must have been deep inside the Empire either with the Emperor or perhaps served on the periphery of Anakin back in the day since he seems to know things about the Empire’s greatest weapon. Physically and especially in the face, Valance, the hunter looks a lot like Bruce Campbell in a grizzled form which is a great piece of casting if it integrates at any point into the Disney+ Universe. There is also the omen of a Tuscan Raider who is part of Valance’s crew. The person underneath the disguise is not a Tuscan but seems to admit he is from Tatooine and has a knowledge of the force which points to a certain person. The key with Valance is drawing Vader into a trap with the knowledge that Vader will always sense a trap.
Jedi Fallen Order Dark Temple #2 The idea of a Jedi Temple left alone without an essence of its original owners seems like an unique travail of the Star Wars Universe. As evidenced in certain stories of “Rebels”, it seems to ingrain itself on various planets that either have a divide or strong connection, of course, to the Force. Cere as a Padewan separated from her master is placed in what seems a prison. But like all students still finding her way, she makes wrong assumptions and makes rash judgements that get her into trouble. But like many heroes, they continue to fight when all hope seems lost. In a planet that seems to be one the Outer Rim it just matters how long it is until help arrives.
By Tim Wassberg
The texture of a cop lost in the brutal paragon of what is right and wrong has always been a style of thriller since the early 70s. From Serpico to Dirty Harry, the reflectivity of what determines conscience is based on what the goal is to get it. The lead character here in “Stiletto Vol. 1” [Palle Schmidt/Lion Forge/144pgs] who is unassuming in the best Barney Miller tradition continues through his life like he just doesn’t care. The wife is looking for beach houses. His daughter is lost in her own little world. He seems to just keep his head about water. The art of this graphic novel is washed out in an almost melting kind of perspective while still keeping a sense of grittiness. The gunshots are frozen in time. The melancholy of the lead character is played well as a misdirect but it is based almost in the fact that he is basically a nihilist backed into a corner making decisions simply because that is the only option. It is the idea of the greater good or simply a sociopathic intent that really walks the line. Stiletto, as he is ultimately known, is at the beck and call of nasty people but at a certain point he thinks he is himself unredeemable and therefore commits acts that even if you were on the take seem a little severe. The funnel through which is life is purveyed gets smaller and smaller despite the f act that evil begets evil. Ultimately “Stiletto” effectively is on the point that once the knife is in, might as well turn the blade. “Stiletto” is a disciple to its own genre but plays it very well.
By Tim Wassberg