First off, and unrelated to comics, I guested on this week’s installment of Oi! Spaceman, where I talk Moffat and feminism, Mawdryn Undead, and Vox Day. It was great fun, and you should check it out.
Also, I’ve decided to start using those free digital copies Marvel likes to give away with its print comics, by which I mean publish them for you to use. All digital edition codes can be redeemed at marvel.com/redeem, but will only work for the first person to try them.
Star Wars #14
A serviceable installment that sets up what I’m sure will be a fun conclusion. Deodato’s art is rapidly lapsing into self-parody, however, with his use of heavy shadow really starting to feel like something he wheels out when he doesn’t feel like drawing both halves of someone’s face. Combined with an issue that has an awful lot of boxes to check and you have a lackluster though by no means bad installment of this crossover.
Digital code: THMHQP1HU6Q0
Fun, although it does that irritating thing where two of the characters on the cover don’t actually appear in the book. It’s a slow start, and clearly we’re going to spend a while getting the band together, as it were, but Willow wrote that well with Ms. Marvel, and I’m sure she can do it here as well. Slightly more worried by the news that there’s another cowriter coming on board, as I felt like the Secret Wars run of this lost focus, but I’ve loved Kelly Thompson’s criticism for years, so I’m even excited for that. All told, a nice blend of “all female book” and classic Marvel team stylings.
Digital code: THM36XW9J242
Invincible Iron Man #5
In classic Bendis style, the first arc ends without strictly speaking resolving, and the cover is a complete lie. But this is a well-designed fight issue in which what’s going on remains clear throughout even to my often forgetful mind, and the revelation of what Bendis plans on doing with Mary Jane in the title is a brilliant use of the character. And I love the Tony/Stephen Strange relationship.
Digital code: THMVD1GHVPPA
The Ultimates #3
Al Ewing is good at many things, but he puts together some of the most satisfying team books on the market, coming up with interesting collections of characters who play off of each other well and in various combinations. Everyone save Black Panther gets a genuinely great moment here, and the sense of scale of this book – this time they’re trying to fix time itself – is reliably exciting. The highlight, I think, is Miss America and Blue Marvel’s relationship, in which each of them visibly considers themselves to be the senior partner. Also, a cameo from Puck.
Digital code: THMSIEX0SF6P
A slower issue that feels a bit overstuffed – like Gaiman tried to shoehorn his last collection of unused ideas for this arc into one issue. The sweet indiscipline of youth. Anyway, this has been a real joy of a six issue run, and I’m genuinely excited to see the next arc and how smooth the transition from twenty-year-old work to new work is. Also, do I gather from the backmatter that Mark Buckingham redrew Retrieval for this? Interesting. Wonder why.
Bitch Planet #6
As angry and brilliant as you want from this book. Its massive and continual delays are dismaying, and I hope they get the book on an effective schedule, but man, when this is finished it’s going to be a fucking legend of the form. This one’s one of the self-contained backstory of a character issues, and does some compelling worldbuilding; the stuff that’s set in a world that’s almost ours is wonderfully disturbing. And the backmatter is great too – an interview with Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, and a nice overview of how unconscious gender bias works from engineering professor Debbi Chachra. Great, great comic.