It’s the middle of June already! Warmer weather, kids getting out of school, and summer movies are upon us. And it’s the perfect time to indulge in some pure entertainment in comic book form as well, such as these titles.
Star Wars #6
The Star Wars comic I’ve always wanted to exist continues! For those of you that haven’t read about this before, it’s set between episode IV (A New Hope) and V (The Empire Strikes Back), with all the classic characters.
This issue mostly focuses on a close escape by Leia’s reconnaissance crew, having been discovered by Imperial forces and on the run from some Star Destroyers, which are still a feared warship. Fortunately, Luke manages to come to the rescue, with some jury rigging and guts, and they escape by the skin of their teeth.
Meanwhile, Han and Chewie are still trapped on Coruscant and being hunted themselves. We only get a taste of this for now to keep the plot alive, but I look forward to the next issue being Han Solo centric.
The art is great, and the writing is strong. It reminds me why I used to love this franchise so much. Setting it in the early days, when the rebellion was seriously outclassed and not used to winning, is a fantastic thing. Even though I know the main characters will survive, somehow there’s a real sense of threat from the Empire, something that gets lost later on in the franchise. This is Star Wars at its best.
Ultimate Comics X-Men #27
In the Ultimate Universe, the mutant forces, lead by Kitty Pryde, have settled in a small patch of desert in the US Southwest, ceded to them by the American Government. Over the last several issues, we’ve seen that forces are resenting this, and are going to try and take it back. That all comes to a head this issue.
Despite good intentions on both sides, things quickly escalate. A few key orders not followed, a need to display some machismo, and things are set in motion. What we learn throughout the issue is, there’s someone manipulating all of this, in order to bring the whole thing down.
And that someone is Psylocke, badass telepath. Who meets up with Jean Grey, badass telepath. Jean also has a hidden agenda, but hers requires Utopia to survive, so their battle also ensues.
Lots of comics are good with setup, and this has been being set up for a while now. What is rarer is good payoff. This issue, things start to payoff in spades. We’re not going back to the status quo after the end of the arc. One thing that’s nice about the Ultimate universe, overhyped though it was by Marvel, is that they’re not tied to holding up a mirror to our world, and real structural changes are possible. We’re heading to another of those, and it’s unclear exactly who is going to win this fight. And that’s what I like.
Fans of Christopher Nolan’s vision of Batman will feel right at home here. This younger Batman is not tied into the larger superhero universe, and is still finding his place. But he’s driven, fresh off of his extended period of training, and returned to a Gotham under siege by the Red Hood gang.
Bruce Wayne also hasn’t found his place yet. His uncle, Philip Kane, tries to entreat him to come back to the head of Wayne Industries, but Bruce is having none of it. His cover identity is clearly not a concern to him yet. And Alfred is, while doing everything he can to support Bruce, not sold on the whole Batman thing either.
And then we get the reveal that Kane is working with a bright but deranged man named Edward Nygma. Who longtime Batman fans know is The Riddler eventually. (E. Nygma == Enigma == Riddle, get it?) I’m looking forward to what a mature, gritty version of the Batman mythos will do with one of the villains who often gets the campiest treatment.
If you’re looking for some Dark Knight fix, look no further!