Comics Reviews (August 5th, 2015)
From worst to best of what I bought, although I should probably buy fewer comics.
Guardians of Knowhere #2
Bendis’s run on Guardians has been a touch hit and miss for me, and that’s translating poorly to the Secret Warsified Guardians. The crux of the problem here is that this book is about the nature/identity of Yotat, a new character, and his relationship to Knowhere, the Celestial head acting as Battleworld’s moon. The answer appears to be that he’s a Peter Quill alternate, but I couldn’t articulate a reason I’m supposed to care. It’s the sort of sloppy book that includes numerous mentions of a character called Mantis, and even dialogue addressed towards Mantis, but that by the end of I couldn’t tell you who Mantis is. She (I think) appears on a couple of panels but gets no facetime, and is I think killed at the end? Maybe?
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3
I think I’m just kinda bored and done with Slott on Spider-Man.
Ultimate End #4
Apparently the Ultimate Universe has one issue until it’s over. I assume the premise of this book will be clear by then. This issue does not turn out to include a barely surviving Miles Morales atop a pile of dead heroes. Or, in fact, a pile of dead heroes. Or, in fact, Miles, except in one panel. Although he’s apparently important, for reasons that might be explained along with the premise of this book. There’s even a real chance that it will be a satisfying issue when all is said and done. But this series is a hot mess.
Ellis has really been fond of backloading his series recently, establishing the premise late in the books. Charitably, this means they read better in trade, but in this case the premise just feels like Ellis-by-numbers for this particular period in his career – a horror version of what he did in Supreme: Blue Rose without any of the conceptual grandeur that made that book’s half-revealing tone sing. Here’s the big explanation, next issue is the big fight, and the previous four issues were… the big tease? I dunno. Charitably, a minor work in Ellis’s career.
Darth Vader #8
Fun; Aphra has some great bits, Vader’s in an interesting bind, and I’m still buying a Star Wars comic for no reason other than enjoying watching the way the writer’s mind works, which is a silly reason to buy a comic, but then, at the end of the day spending $3.99 for most comics is silly.
The Wicked & The Divine #13
Man, this is a tough one to review, because it’s a well-executed and very on-point comic about real issues, and any criticism of the book thus feels like a criticism of doing good work about those issues. It’s a skilled done-in-one. But… I dunno. Ultimately, I’ve followed the story of online abuse and particularly harassment of women pretty closely for a few years now, and a well-done but ultimately straightforward story about it doesn’t do a ton for me. And that’s entirely me, because shit, it’s an important topic. I mean, plenty of people in the comics community are sending female creators abuse that is dead-on like that shown in the book. It’s real, it’s important, it needs to be looked at, and this is an effective look. I have no criticisms of this comic and nothing but respect for it. It’s much more of a classic for the ages than any of the three silly Marvel books I’m about to put ahead of it. But I had its number before I got to the staples.
Ms. Marvel #17
I appreciate how this series is just going to September and then relaunching calmly and clearly with many of its plots intact. It does the Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel team-up well and with good character work. “For a while I just kind of felt weird and gross. Now I feel weird and awesome!” is one of the best lines in ages. It’s a teen superhero comic and working in all the moral platitudes that implies, but it delivers them with a big grin and an unapologetic love for them, and, perhaps more interestingly, a sense of perspective about them. The that would have been really awkward for both of us” gag at the start is indicative of the book. Good stuff.
Infinity Gauntlet #3
There’s an interesting sense of dread hanging over this book, which is a good tone for the mayfly iterations that Secret Wars tie-ins are trading on. But perhaps more to the point, this book is doing what a Secret Wars tie-in has to do to succeed, which is to make it feel like the highlights reel of a fantastic five year run on a premise. I love the Nova family. I love the way in which things like Groot are revealed within the story. It’s the best take on Marvel’s cosmic characters in years.
Nextwave as a tragedy indeed. Gillen, like Wilson and Weaver/Duggan, cracks the code on how to do Secret Wars with its tagline: “to waste their lives saving people who just don’t care? It’s the only thing they’ve ever wanted.” Perfect. The mayfly nature of the characters is baked solidly into the premise, and it becomes an opportunity for Gillen to do all his Marvel riffs like there’s no tomorrow, since there isn’t. And it’s absolutely crammed with easter eggs for sad obsessives who have actually read all of Gillen’s Marvel comics. Followed by a grim pun of an ending that somehow nobody’s done since Alan Moore came up with the character in the 80s. Gillen’s throwing a glorious Marvel party, and it’s ALL ON FUCKING FIRE.
August 6, 2015 @ 3:16 pm
Ahhh Nextwave. I wish they'd done another run of it, post Dirk Anger. Plenty of fun fun potential there.
August 7, 2015 @ 6:49 pm
FYI: Mantis was a third-tier Avengers character in the mid-70's. Famous for somehow saving the world by marrying the reanimated corpse of the Swordsman who had been possessed by a talking alien tree. Or some such rubbish. Oh, and IIRC, her backplot was that she was a Vietnamese hooker who knew martial arts and had antennae for some reason. She came back in the early 90s and was a cosmic character who dated the Silver Surfer during Englehart's run. Then, she died. And then got better. She was a part of the Star-Lord led Guardians of the Galaxy but didn't make it into the movie. Probably because of the incoherent backplot I just described.
Also, I haven't read it yet, but I am reliably informed that the best line in Ms. Marvel #17 is, in fact, when she exclaims to Capt. Marvel: "Everything sucks but you!" I want that on a t-shirt.
August 10, 2015 @ 12:35 pm
Just poking my head in here to say thanks for the Ms. Marvel reviews. I hadn't read the series, but based on positive reviews here, I thought I'd check it out. I caught up over the last few days and really enjoyed the book. it's excellent.