The Ultimates #11
A perfectly serviceable issue marred by two very big problems. The first is, as ever, Civil War II, which is still terrible and still forcing people to give utterly dreadful monologues. The second, as if not ever at least for the last couple issues, is the art-sharing, which this time switches back and forth every couple pages between two artists with radically different styles in the most distracting way imaginable. This could be a good book, by which I mean it’s a great time, a great premise, and a great writer. I really wish Marvel would let it be instead of whacking it in the kneecaps like this.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #11
A slightly disjointed issue that relies on Moon Girl being an idiot about several things in rapid succession for reasons that don’t feel particularly motivated. A sequence in which a supportive message from Ms. Marvel gets arbitrarily destroyed so that Moon Girl doesn’t get it is particularly grating in its clumsiness, but really the whole thing is just frustratingly inelegant.
First properly disappointing issue of this – Lottie’s aggressively awful nature ends up dominating the issue to the point where investing in much of anything within it is impossible, and the late-issue revelations are not so much revelations as incomprehensibilities to be explained later. Deeply alienating characters are fine. So is “I’ll explain later.” The combination is a tough sell.
New Avengers #16
Al Ewing uses a nine-panel grid for a scene that consists almost entirely of Tippy-Toe talking to rats, with dialogue such as “neek… Neeek neek” and “chtt! Chitty chutt chtt!” As far as I’m concerned, this is Eisner-worthy, not least as the result is that the rats take militant strike action in the face of Squirrel Girl’s more socialist way of dealing with her vermin assistants. The rest of the book is good too. Only the fact that the cover contains a scene that does not happen or come close to happening disappoints.
Surgeon X #1
Karen Berger’s deservedly hyped return to comics is sharp and angry in the way that the best Vertigo work was, but falls a bit short of essential due to a tendency towards flatness. Sara Kenney’s dialogue doesn’t quite sparkle, John Watkiss’s art is capable but unremarkable, and there’s just not any moments where this kicks into high gear despite being long on potential. Adequate, in short, which is better than most comics, but not what you hope for from “edited by Karen Berger.”
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #12
Typical Squirrel Girl fun, including a pleasantly ridiculous new villain and the return of Brain Drain, which I’d call long-awaited if I’d actually remembered he was a thing that could appear in a comic book, but now that I remember he exists he’s utterly delightful in that Ryan North sort of way.
And sure enough, this is cancelled. Still brilliant though. I suppose it would be silly to jump in at #5, but this is getting a trade in January, and I really do recommend having a look at it, as it remains an absolutely essential bit of superhero comics in 2016.
Ms. Marvel #11
A proper tour de force in which multiple foundational relationships to the book are pushed to and past their breaking points, all in ways that are tragic in the most beautifully inevitable ways. The villains are loathsome, the heroes are sympathetic and flawed all at the same time, and Iron Man drops in to get some good lines. By the end, the status quo of the book is genuinely changed in the way that crossovers don’t always manage to do convincingly, but that Wilson absolutely nails. A well-earned triumph.