Comics Reviews (October 14th, 2015)


You know the drill.

The Uncanny Avengers #1

Man, this was a disappointment; I decided I'd pick it up on the strength of the preview story in Avengers #0 and how much I liked the last two things Duggan wrote. But this hide-the-ball nonsesnse is just tedious, especially when we get down to the obvious "nobody is really explaining the mutant status quo post-Secret Wars" problem. The first half of the book is a reasonably fun team fight, but it loses momentum at the halfway point, and the couple pages at the end introducing the nominal threat of the arc just fail to take root. Very meh.

A-Force #5

Dragged down by the weight of Secret Wars at this point, this is a perfectly fun issue with some great individual moments that nevertheless ends as a tease for an ongoing series with a still hazily defined premise. I liked it well enough, but I'm hard-pressed to see why launching this during Secret Wars was a good idea. Also finding it hard to be that invested in the character we're apparently calling Singularity.

Spider-Gwen #1

Another one sandbagged a bit by Secret Wars, the abrupt stop and restart of this book did no favors for its momentum and drive. It picks up pretty well, but I'm finding it hard to invest in its alternate reality; the supporting cast just doesn't really pop for me. Fun, and I'll stick with it a bit longer, but no real passion for this.

The New Avengers #1

A fun debut; this is a solidly engaging team book that picks up one of the more promising and less developed themes in Hickman's Avengers run and takes it in the sort of oddball and grandiose direction only Al Ewing can. Squirrel Girl and White Tiger end up having the most idiosyncratically wonderful double act in recent memory, and the mix of comedy and weird horror this book stirkes is properly delightful. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1

This does a good job of picking up where it left off before Secret Wars, changing just enough to be interesting and making a reasonable explanation of all of its changes up front. Kitty Pryde as the new Star Lord is as delightful as you'd hope, the Thing is an excellent addition to the book, and this cheerily gets on with the business of being Bendis's Guardians of the Galaxy, a take I basically like. Right.

The Wicked and the Divine #15

An odd issue; Gillen talks in the backmatter about it starting a new mini-arc within the larger Commercial Suicide arc, and there's definitely quite a tone shift, but it's not quite clear where we're going yet, and this issue sort of wanders off as it goes on. The Amaterasu/Urdr throwdown is quite good, and I love what Gillen is doing with Cassandra's strange mix of being right and wrong; the back cover quote of "you're doing this wrong" is so very, very projectiony of her, but then the ending of the book just sort of rushes up out of nowhere, and the one-page backup ends up being more interesting in its implications than the main story. Lovely, lovely Stephanie Hans art, though; she manages to capture McKelvie's distinctive facial structures so that all the characters still feel like McKelvie designs, but Hans's take makes them weird shadow versions of the normal ones. 

Ms. Marvel #19

One of the last books of Old Old Marvel, and man, it's strange to be buying books from three separate Marvel universes in a single week. Strange and probably the wrong call, line-wise. It says nothing good that my favorite of the lot is the one that's the oldest version of the Marvel Universe, but it's not like I don't think the relaunched Ms. Marvel is going to be brilliant. This handles the Last Days premise well, with some great character moments throughout. Love the final rooftop scene, and Kamala and her mother at the outset.

Sex Criminals #13

One of those issues that's mostly flashback introducing another character; and I'll admit the overall cast of this book is getting a bit unwieldy for me. But I quite like this character, and it's satisfying to see an asexual character get integrated successfully into Sex Criminals. It feels like an important moment, both in terms of representation and in terms of the book's overall worldview. 

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #3

This really kicks into higher gear here. I love the grimoire section at the beginning, unsurprisingly, and I'd forgotten the wonderful oddness of Indie Dave as a character. Phonogram has always been about the big critical statement as an aesthetic object, and this is really feeling like its most definitive version, with the two Emilies being a terribly good way to talk about that ambivalence and ambiguity. The backup feature is also a proper hoot. 


William McCormick 5 years, 3 months ago

What do you think about the treatment of cultural Appropriation in this month's Wic/Div? Udyr's critique seemed to lack real teeth. I suppose it might be a case that I was expecting more from this issue, but I really expected it to be taken head on in a more direct way.

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Yossarianduck 5 years, 3 months ago

In many ways, the fight scene felt like a Tumblr-stye argument writ-large, yelling ideas and concepts at each other, and neither Urdr or Amaterasu come off as particularly sympathetic until the smoke clears and they're lying in the field, getting back to the human aspect, as they discuss their lives before godhood. There's no clear cut answer to the probem,but when you get to the point of 'Arificial sun over Hiroshima', any chance of a measured answer goes out the window.

Interestingly, for all her problematic-ness, Ammy is the only god so far who's trying to engage with previous incarnations and the larger context of her role.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 5 years, 3 months ago

As I said, I think a big part of the point is that Urdr is right, but also oblivious to the degree to which the critique applies to herself.

Also the "artificial sun over Hiroshima" line was the most bleakly funny thing of the week.

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Eric Gimlin 5 years, 3 months ago

It so happens that I actually wound up getting 3 books via digital this week, so somewhat better placed than usual to discuss them. (Different reason for going digital on all 3, oddly: One I'll start getting floppies after the renumbering starts, one my shop missed on ordering, and one I can't stand to wait the extra 3 days to read.)

WicDiv: This was an odd one. For all that it's a semi-standalone issue like all of Commercial Suicide, it feels like it's more about setting stuff up. Looks amazing, though... for all the practical reason of getting other artists rather than going on hold for Phonogram, this is one of the only times I can recall a book getting what can be legitimately called guest artists rather than fill-in artists for something like this.

Ms. Marvel: I think this book might have been better served allowing to just run out and restart like Squirrel Girl, all else being equal. But I think they used it well, allowing a couple of real game-changers in the status quo of the title to come in under the excuse of "the world is ending".

Phonogram: I love the craft on this book. But I have some trouble engaging with it and the other Phonogram series on some level. I think it's that every single person in the book (and that includes the creators) has a more profound reaction to any number of pieces of disposable pop music than I have ever had to any piece of music. (Maybe not quite true, but my moments like that can probably be counted on my fingers, and mostly at concerts.) Mind you, I envy them all that ability.

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