This week on the GeekNation Pull List: another look into the DC Universe’s future reveals a very different Superman, Namor the Sub-Mariner’s multiversal genocide spins out of control, and the crew of the Enterprise confronts their most dangerous enemy yet — the Dominion?! Check out this week’s comic book reviews below!
From DC: Superman: Future’s End #1 by Dan Jurgens (Script) and Lee Weeks (Art)
As September winds down, the final Future’s End one-shots have made their way into comic shops. Likely one of the most eye-catching designs for a “future” hero was that of Superman, whose capeless, black-tinged costume and full helmet definitely stands in stark contrast to the traditional look of the Man of Steel. By this point five years in the future, Superman has vanished, but a new character seemingly with all of the original’s abilities has arrived to protect the people of Metropolis. There’s definitely something different about this Superman, though, besides his garb. He’s not exactly “Mr. Nice Guy,” as he brazenly mouths off to emergency responders at a burning building after saving everyone inside. All that aside, though, the actions speak louder than words, and this hero definitely seems keen on shouldering the world’s need for a Superman.
Reading through this issue, the mystery surrounding the hero’s identity doesn’t stay a mystery for long. In fact, it was apparently revealed in the 17th issue of the Future’s End weekly series as a character that most DC Comics fans — and likely soon some movie fans — will find familiar. We’re given a decent understanding of what exactly motivates this new Superman to do what he does in the way that he does it, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it boils down to the real Superman. His new character feels that a debt to the original Man of Steel hasn’t been properly paid by either himself or even the rest of the world, so he takes it upon himself to do right by the ‘S,’ one of the most powerful symbols of good in the DC Universe (and probably our universe, too).
Writer Dan Jurgens and artist Lee Weeks take over for this done-in-one from the regular series team of Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr., and the result is a very satisfying read overall. Sometimes Jurgens’ dialogue can fall a little flat, coming from a bit of an older storytelling sensibility that’s forgivable considering when he came up in the business (this is one of the creators that killed Superman back in the early ’90s). One of the absolute best parts of this issue, though, is the artwork of Lee Weeks. He helps connect the reader to the emotion and allows for a great understanding of why the new Superman does the things that he does, and helps render this character’s true identity with devotion to his own iconography.
At the end of the day, this isn’t actually a Superman comic book, but that was kind of one of the nice surprises about it. It was a book more about the legacy of Superman and its importance, even when embodied by another DC Universe hero. It’s nice to see that legacy is still an important part of the DCU even during the uncertainty of a story like Future’s End. 8/10
Honorable Mentions from DC This Week: Aquaman and the Others: Future’s End #1, The Flash: Future’s End #1
From Marvel: New Avengers #24 by Jonathan Hickman (Script) and Valerio Schiti (Art)
One of the things I have to say right up front about the latest issue of Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers: this is definitely the most violent Marvel comic book that I’ve read in a long time, even including the sometimes shocking events of the recently concluded Original Sin. Granted, the violence seems appropriate given the overriding multiversal stakes that Hickman has been building since he took this book over two years ago, but wow…this is actually pretty intense. It’s one thing for a group of vicious anti-heroes and villains to come together and say “we must destroy a thousand planet Earths to save infinite more,” and another thing entirely to actually see what the murder of an entire planet looks like — especially with the death-worshiping Thanos leading the charge. This 34-page behemoth of a comic book is absolutely unrelenting in the opening pages in depicting how these characters accomplish their goal, which Namor firmly believes will see the end justify the horribly brutal means.
It doesn’t quite start there, though. The issue begins rather unexpectedly in a massive dining hall at Castle Doom in Latveria, where Namor and Doctor Doom share a lavish meal which leads to a very interesting philosophical conversation between the King of Atlantis and the unquestioned ruler of the Latverian people. This leads to Namor basically doing the closest thing he can possibly do to beg for Doom’s help, since the Cabal he has assembled to carry out his very violent purposes is doing something that he didn’t count on, but that he likely should have: relishing in creating death and destruction across different Earths. A particularly striking scene between one of the Earths’ Professor Xaviers and Thanos makes for a truly unnerving reading experience, especially considering how quickly the X-Men of this world have fallen to the might of the Cabal.
A massive issue like this includes a lot more, though. The issue checks in with Black Panther and his sister, and their last-ditch efforts to protect the land that they both love. On top of all this though is an end which will have very interesting implications for the future. Hickman’s writing continues to provide very human perspectives on massive, universe-shattering occurrences, but he’s also not afraid to shy away from absolutely mammoth events. Artist Valerio Schiti’s work is absolutely gorgeous for depicting so much ugliness, giving wonderful overall perspective to the stakes and means with which the Cabal operates. Overall, New Avengers is still one of Marvel’s best titles, and looks to be building to a massive crescendo as Hickman nears the end of his run with the biggest teams in the Marvel Universe. 8.5/10
Honorable Mentions from Marvel This Week: Amazing Spider-Man #1.5, Guardians of the Galaxy #19
From IDW: Star Trek Ongoing #37 by Mike Johnson (Script) and Tony Shasteen (Art)
“The Q Gambit” continues in the pages of IDW’s Star Trek Ongoing series, which normally tells us about the adventures the new crew of the Starship Enterprise gets up to in between movies. This time, though, instead of diving into the machinations of the Star Trek universe’s “alternate reality,” we get to see exactly what it’s like for these characters to interact with others that are all too familiar with Trek fans. The omnipotent Q has thrown the Enterprise forward in time, in essence creating an alternate alternate reality where they disappeared. This has apparently led to the collapse of the Federation, with Earth now serving as a Klingon colony, where the overarching Klingon Empire is locked in a brutal war for galactic supremacy with the Dominion — the namesake of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”‘s Dominion War — making for a very different Earth than the one Captain Kirk and company are used to.
The absolute coolest element of this story is seeing these newly-imagined 23rd century “Original Series” characters interact with the beloved characters of “DS9.” Kirk and Sisko seem to get along pretty well as the natural leaders of their respective sides, Dr. McCoy’s irascibility doesn’t seem to mix very well with the sternness of the Jem’Hadar and the Vorta, and Spock’s natural curiosity seems a natural fit in the dynamic of these characters we’ve met before, but haven’t seen on screen since 1999.
Of course, this joy would be entirely absent if these characters were written by someone who didn’t have a command of their respective voices, and thankfully writer Mike Johnson is more than up to the task. It’s a particular joy to see him write Q so well, whose exuberance and devil-may-care attitude only serves to make the unfolding events just the right amount of confusing and disorienting. In many of his best appearances, in the end there was always a rather clear method to Q’s apparent madness, it’s just difficult for us “mere mortals” to see what those are since we don’t have the elements of space and time at our disposal the way that he does.
The story in this issue also had a very classic sense of threat in regards to the Dominion that I haven’t felt since watching the Dominion War unfold in episodes of “DS9.” Since the later spinoff didn’t reach the heights of mainstream popularity in the same way as “The Original Series” and “The Next Generation,” the Dominion and the Founders are often overlooked as some of the best villains the franchise has ever produced, it’s nice to see Johnson fully grasp exactly which toys he’s playing with and exactly what they can do. Tony Shasteen’s artwork again recreates the likenesses of each of the various actors with wonderful precision, though his more original creation of Q disguised as a Cardassian was a little more muddled than many of the other faces. Overall, it’s very solid artwork for a very solid series, and the sheer fun of this unfolding story easily makes this issue the GeekNation Pull List’s Pick of the Week. 9/10
Honorable Mentions from Independents This Week: Chew #43, Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective #5
That does it this week for the Pull List, but feel free to leave any questions, concerns, or suggestions in the comments below! We’ll see you in seven days with an entirely new batch of fresh ink to review, so in the meantime, take care!
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