Comics Reviews (May 11th, 2016)
All-New All-Different Avengers #9
Confusion over whether I had dropped this for Standoff or for good meant it was in my pulls today, so I figured why not. Answer: because this is simply a bad comic. An issue anchored by a Jarvis-level perspective in which Jarvis is a figure of cartoonish, stupid excess. The result is that all emotional resonance the book has is that Jarvis is screaming bloody murder at the newly introduced Wasp, a cipher of a character with outsized potential for a fridging or heel turn. (And is Janet dead again?) Meanwhile the larger book is all Kang and superhero neoclassicism, while the new bunch characters remain basically wasted; Waid is depressingly incapable of writing either Ms. Marvel or Miles Morales well. Add Asrar’s bland and flat art and you have a complete waste of a good book. Definitely drop for good.
Spider-Women is back on track, with an issue that actually makes a semi-compelling case for reading Silk by dovetailing nicely into what was apparently the book’s pre-crossover status quo as the Black Cat dramatically enters the plot. Meanwhile, the overall arc is elegantly poised for Jessica Drew to come back into the narrative. Really, everyone seems set to come out of the crossover on interesting and compelling terms. I’m still utterly unsold on Silk as a character, but when I hit post on this I’m going to quickly check if Robbie Thompson is writing anything else, cause he’s good.
Black Panther #2
Ta-Nehisi Coates is still awkward – he’s putting too much in every issue, and making the book a very slow burn. I suspect it might come off in trade, but as a monthly comic, this is a rough sell. Still, you can see him learning and starting to find a rhythm. There are scenes where, while he doesn’t quite soar, he at least gets some lift and the possibility implicit in the concept of him writing this book starts to shine through. This remains something that could be incredibly special. But it isn’t yet. Coates is terribly endearing in the letter column, though, and seems to have a sense of how much he has to learn, so that’s good.
The Ultimates #7
Al Ewing, meanwhile, is a confident, polished pro who elevates the brief “lead up to that barely coherent Civil War II thing we released on Free Comic Book Day” into an entertaining team book. The chess pieces are being put on the board for the crossover so elegantly you don’t even really notice, and yet Ewing is clearly laying himself a fun path to bounce off the crossover onto – one that, due to the cosmic scale of the book, feels substantial in its own right. This is the proper Avengers book right now.
Darth Vader #20
Typically sharp stuff, with Vader’s confrontation with Thanoth being climactic and surprising while remaining faithful to Thanoth’s understated demeanor. I suspect a neoreactionary influence on Thanoth’s stated worldview, and I suppose more broadly on the book as a whole, which remains very Uber For Kids. This mood continues into the welcome backup feature, which is all perverse fun at blowing things up. Well, mostly. There’s also a hilarious and welcome retcon of 0-0-0’s origin. Imperial Phase.
May 12, 2016 @ 10:19 am
Janet Van Dyne is very much alive – she teamed up with Laura Kinney on All-New Wolverine a few months back, and I don’t think she’s been killed since then.
The other problem ANAD Avengers has is that it’s so by the numbers. When Ultimates is doing awesome cosmic stuff (more Justice League than the JL comics recently), New Avengers is doing exciting things with the concept of Avengers and (now dead) Illuminati had a fascinating villain team-up, Waid’s book is just boring. Definitely his weakest book.
May 12, 2016 @ 6:28 pm
I agree with Dominick on this, ANAD Avengers seems pretty rote, that’s why it doesn’t seem to catch fire. Ewing’s work with New Avengers and Ultimates is far superior; I see him being a superstar for Marvel in the future given his past performance with The Mighty Avengers and Loki (successfully following Loki up after Gillen is no mean feat).
As for Ultimates, I’m waiting for a panel where we see Galactus put on a trenchcoat and get him giving a cosmic noir narration while investigating the mystery from the previous issue.
May 17, 2016 @ 4:19 pm
I think the new Wasp is meant as a replacement for Hank himself. He wasn’t killed off, exactly, but he’s off in space merged with Ultron and that’s about the same thing.