This is a hugely important piece about the comics industry. You should read it.
And now, from worst to best of what I bought. Much of it by Kieron Gillen.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #5
A comic that presents itself as an argument for the merits of a married Peter Parker with an awesome superhero daughter, which is fine save for the tacit overlooking of the fact that it all gets reset at the end, and so it’s an argument for something it flatly refuses to give.
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1
Bought because of Rucka and because I figure I’ll see The Force Awakens, so this sounds neat too. Tied very tightly to the end of Return of the Jedi, however, which I haven’t seen in probably twenty years, so that kind of lost me, though through no real fault of its own.
I suspect I’m going to be much more excited about this book when it’s not in Secret Wars continuity anymore, but right now my Secret Wars fatigue is crushing this. And I’m not sure I parse the cliffhanger; the state of the Wall and the Deadlands is clearly in different places in different books right now, and I think several of the tie-ins are ahead of the main series.
Darth Vader #9
Quite like the interplay between Vader and Thanoth, which kept this a fun, entertaining read for most of it. Found the entire section with the twins a bit of a slog. Still, fun book. I bet if I cut some of the crap from my pulls I’d enjoy things like this more.
1602 Witch Hunter Angela #3
A decided uptick for this book – indeed, I think I liked Bennett’s main story more than Gillen’s substory. And the final page is a hoot. I don’t think the post-Secret Wars Angela title is currently in my pulls, but this issue makes me reconsider that a bit.
The weakest issue of this so far, plagued with an excessive quantity of hope and optimism, and the continually idiosyncratic art of Filipe Andrade. Also, what’s with the house ad gatefold in the middle of Juan Jose Ryp’s double page spread, Marvel? Ah well. I’m sure it will all turn dark and tragic for #4.
Mercury Heat #3
This picks up quite a bit – the rhythm of the investigation is finally forming, as is a bit more of a sense of character. I quite like Luiza asking for a tape of the bad guy getting her spine ripped out; that’s a wonderfully interesting and macabre character beat. And it’s a good cliffhanger too. Still looking a bit like a minor work for Gillen, but fun.
The bulk of the pieces here are finally on the board. So, basically a sort of reverse Planetary then. I won’t lie, I’m a mite disappointed by the series on the whole. It’s smart and clever, but more than just about anything I’ve seen Ellis do recently, it feels like Ellis by numbers; like the most obvious thing that Ellis could be doing at this point. Mind you, the moment when the nature of the captions becomes clear is fucking brilliant.
Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #2
An issue that’s basically a “what’s actually going on” mystery in both of its plots, which is an approach that’s just not to my taste in some key ways. But lovely McKelvie art, and I’m sure it’ll all fit together nicely later because it’s Phonogram. One small issue, though: Placebo is fucking awesome, Kieron, so shut the hell up.
Ms. Marvel #18
Fantastic Captain Marvel stuff in this one, and some equally fantastic character bits. I love the interactions between Kamala and her brother, and the final page is an expected beat but a lovely one all the same; a plot beat that basically always works. This is basically as much fun as comics get to be.
Bitch Planet #5
Man, I’m so glad this comic exists. It’s so very much written onto my Hugo ballot in pen right now, purely because it’s so wonderfully designed to piss off all of the right people. If the Weird Kitties had a mascot, I’d want it to be a punk-as-fuck cat with a non-compliant tattoo on her ass. Anyway, brilliant and cruel. Really hope it gets its scheduling hiccups squared away in the future, but really loving it.
The Wicked and the Divine #14
A formalist experiment long on fascinating plot revelations that samples Fraction and Zdarsky. There’s probably more I should want out of life than this, but there isn’t, so oh well. There goes my “the feature god dies every issue” theory. But again, so much delicious plot it’s hard to complain. And the Woden/Cassandra exchange was pure gold.