In a smidge of a hurry today, so I haven’t had time to look at what’s out next week yet.
Ms. Marvel #10
The bits that work are typically brilliant – the “nine years earlier” intro in particular is charming. But Wilson can tend towards a somewhat subtlety-free didacticism on its own, which works fine when she’s picking interesting topics like gentrification, but is a rough mix with the already crass didacticism of Civil War II. Add in yet another “Captain Marvel shows up to be blatantly and transparently wrong” scene and a desperately unsubtle bit with Becky and you get an issue that’s just not very good. Also, opening with four pages of Adrian Alphona art serves to make the rest look lackluster, which is terribly unfair to the quite talented Takeshi Miyazawa, whose only flaw is to not be flattered by the comparison.
One strongly suspects Grant Morrison is writing the scripts for these in an afternoon and then collecting the paycheck. I’m sure it’s a very nice paycheck, and I don’t begrudge him this one bit, but it’s still Grant Morrison at his most “here are the standard issue Grant Morrison tropes put in an equally standard issue order.” If it were the mid-90s this would be refreshing. Instead it’s just got some pretty art in places.
A solid issue. The Bombshell conversation in the middle is grotesquely contrived in that way that talking about the plot of Civil War II almost has to be, but the narrow focus on Miles and Miles trying to figure out what being a hero means to him along with the basic satisfaction of the Jessica Jones plot keeps this one in the “Bendis showing why he’s actually good” category instead of the “for fuck’s sake Bendis I know they say style is the stuff you keep doing wrong, but could you have a little less of it” category.
An above-average issue that maintains a simmering tension throughout. There’s a lot to wonder what’s going to happen about, which is always a good place for a book like this to be. There’s still an entire plotline I couldn’t tell you what the hell was going on in, which is a frustration (the recap page for this book never comes close to doing enough). But it’s good, compelling sci-fi espionage, which is what i look for out of this book, and the “Forever finally learns the truth but from Johanna of all people” twist is a smart one.
4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1-2
Couple weeks old, but came recommended. If Stranger Things were a heist film, basically. There’s a sort of willful sloppiness in places, which is kind of a thing with Black Mask, I find, but the entire premise of “four kids get themselves involved in a bank robbery” is sufficiently ludicrous that the moments of “what are you actually trying to do here” seem more like charming embellishments than carelessness. I’m not as in love with it as some are – I think there’s a real failure to develop a lot of the main cast adequately – but it’s smart and funny and trying interesting things, and I’m probably in for the back three issues of it to see if it pays off cleverly.
James Bond #9
The quality of this book is almost directly related to how much of it is an action sequence versus how much of it is Warren Ellis getting his Sandbaggers on. In this case it’s a pretty good split, and, more to the point, the office-based stuff is particularly delightful, with a great scene for Birdwhistle and a charming goth-punk security expert to boot. This is clearly destined for minor work status in the Ellis canon, but when it charms it charms utterly, and this is a strong issue for it.