The Ultimates #12
Well, they solve the artist-swapping problem that’s been killing this book, but the solution – getting Christian Ward in to do the final issue – is an odd one. Ward’s great, but he’s great at weird cosmic psychedelia, and this is an issue pretty heavy on people sitting in hallways and offices of government buildings. With a ton of plot information offloaded to, basically, “see other comics.” And a setup to The Ultimates2, which I admit I’m not immediately excited by. The result is one of those very comicsy things, a final issue that fails utterly to bring anything to a satisfying conclusion. Still, the Ms. America stuff was nice, as it always is.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe
Finally got to check this out. Good, and at times delightful (the “draw Squirrel Girl” activity pages were brilliant), but I definitely came out of it feeling like an OGN was more Squirrel Girl than I necessarily wanted in a single dose. By the end it’s just not sparkling anymore, and the laughs felt fewer and further between than they did at the start. Not because the book isn’t still good, but because I just don’t think the Squirrel Girl style is suited to that sort of longform. This felt like a flabby and overlong issue as opposed to an OGN. Still good, but definitely not $20 of good.
New Avengers #17
Apparently this is a Civil War II tie-in? This isn’t even a red skies crossover. This is just an issue of New Avengers. Of course, since Civil War II is a car crash and I’m kinda less than impressed with Bendis’s “let’s tell the female writer who’s being harassed off Twitter that it isn’t comics fault” schtick today not actually being a tie-in as advertised in the cover fails to lose this book any points. Which means it gets to stand on the strength of its gonzo Al Ewing plotting, which is a perfectly good thing to rely upon. Nice emphatic twists that point towards an exciting resolution for the story Ewing’s been telling for more than a year here, and that presumably sets up U.S.Avengers whenever that starts.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #12
A delightful wrap-up to the second arc, which maybe on the whole feels like it went on longer than it needed to (the first one did too, actually – six issues is a rough length for a superhero book). There’s really nothing but good things to say about a comic that involves a rampaging lego triceratops. But as it happens there’s top notch character work and some of the funniest responses to a profession of love in comics to boot.
Ms. Marvel #12
A tight and charming done-in-one with a shockingly good guest artist in Mirka Andolfo. Kamala goes to visit family in Pakistan and, inevitably, ends up fighting crime. Good character beats, a delightful opportunity to see a superhero story in an unusual setting and dealing with different issues. I could have read a whole arc of this, but seeing it condensed to a ruthlessly efficient single issue is a pleasure of its own.
This was the best superhero comic of 2016. You probably missed it. You should feel bad about that. Angry and stylish and transgressive and a book that could have done all sorts of amazing things. Hell, that did all sorts of amazing things in the course of one arc. I wish we lived in a better world where things like this survived and stupid crossovers that drag down the entire fucking line stop happening. We don’t, but I still recommend checking out the back issues of this when they hit Marvel Unlimited or whatever.