The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 17 – 23, 2016

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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 7 comics last week: Black Widow #6, Poe Dameron #5, Star Trek #60, Batman #5, Nightwing #3, Superman #6 and Justice League #3.

The best comic I read last week was Star Trek #60.

Star Trek 60



This is the final issue of Star Trek from IDW. Though a Star Trek title relaunches later this fall and carries over the writer/artist team, recognizing this terrific series with its final issue seems appropriate.

Launched after the success of the JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek, this book was initially advised by the writers of that film. In fact, if the title pages are to be believe, Bob Orci, one of those writers, stayed with the book in an advisory capacity until this final issue. My guess is he will not be included in the new book but, regardless, the stories told in Star Trek have hewed very closely to the universe created – the Kelvin Timeline. They’ve been so immersed in the flavor of that universe that, more than most other Star Trek comic series (and there have been many), this one has rung very true to the filmed adventures of the crew.

Much of the credit for that has to go to Mike Johnson,  the writer of the majority of the series. His ability to work in this universe is really incredible and, as a long time Trekker and Trek comic book reader, I can say that he’s one of the best writers to ever take on the property. He has consistently managed to surprise the reader which, with a licensed property like Star Trek, has to be one of the hardest feats for a writer to achieve.

In this last two-issue arc, he did something that couldn’t be done on film: he brought together the crews of 1966 and 2016 through the vagaries of space-time warps. The manner in which this happened is not that important. The joy of the story is.

That’s what Johnson consistently captured in this title: the joy of the Star Trek universe. While we sci fi fans bury ourselves in darkness (pun intended) and dystopian futures,  Star Trek has ever been positive, ever joyful and ever a celebration of the human spirit. Johnson delivered on that promise issue-after-issue.

Tony Shasteen has been the illustrator of this title of late and, as I’ve mentioned often before, his drawings of characters readers know from their filmed adventures have been tremendously good. He has never relied solely on copying photos of the casts (though there have been a few exceptions), rather he has made the characters his own, their visages familiar but comic inspired. Adept at space battles and character moments, he’s been a terrific partner to Johnson.

I eagerly look forward to the next volume of Star Trek.



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4 responses to “The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 17 – 23, 2016

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