Monday, 30 November 2015

November Comics Round-Up (2)

Spider-Gwen #2 (Marvel) I'm enjoying the glimpses at parallel universe versions of favourite characters, particularly the backstory sketched in for the female Captain America who faces up against Gwen before becoming a tenuous ally. However, there's only so long this idea can hold the attention for, and this series is starting to feel like it's on autopilot. I'll probably drop this and come back to it later to see if anything new is happening.

Web Warriors #1 (Marvel) The ongoing adventures of multiple Spideys, continuing the fun begun in the Spider-Verse event. There's still some fun to be had with the concept, particularly the use of the 60s cartoon universe as a safe training ground for the Warriors (with appropriate nods to the notorious Spidey memes). It follows on from the Ultimate Spider-Man series' take on Spider-Verse by having multiple versions of the same villain - in this case, Electro. Fun, but I feel like this idea might soon have run its course.

All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 (Marvel) I like the racial politics in this, especially since people are actually making a big deal of the ethnic layout of a fictional team of superheroes in the real world. The romance building up between Ms. Marvel and Nova is pretty cute. Overall, though, this isn't especially grabbing me, which is a shame. Between the New, All-New All-Different and Uncanny, there's probably material for a really decent Avengers team and title.

Ultimates #1 (Marvel) The final "Avengers" group, taking on the mantle of the Ultimate universe team, but doing it completely differently (i.e. not shit). The new Ultimates are the great problem-solving team of the universe, facing cosmic weirdness and analysing it to find solutions. Sure, there's ass-kicking - Ms. America is on the team, after all - but this team focuses on solving issues, not destroying them. Their first case: meet Galactus, solve his hunger. It's an ingenious set-up, and on the strength of the first issue, worth carrying on with. Also notable is the colour of the main cast - Captain Marvel is the only white face so far in a team that includes Spectrum, the Blue Marvel, the Black Panther and Ms. America. Plus, a moment to actually ponder the philosophical repurcussions of Marvel's great multiversal reset. Very good indeed.

The Wicked + The Divine #16 (Image) This issue is the weakest in a long time. It's purely an origin story for the Morrigan, and a pretty cliched, uninteresting one at that. I don't think we really need to see each of the gods get their moment of ascension. I enjoyed the, ah, ketchupomancy though.

Ms. Marvel #1 (Marvel) I'm not sure why I ever dropped this. Money, probably. Anyway, this is just a great as it ever was, although now Kamala is part of the Avengers. It works better here, seeing the effects of this on her life, than it does actually in All New, All Different. There's a fine balance between her superheroics and her personal life, adorable artwork, and the phrase "giant weaponized amphibian." I am somewhat baffled as to why Marvel and her fellow New Jersey citizens remember the world sort-of ending while characters in other titles don't. Or do they? I can't follow everything.

Spider-Woman #1 (Marvel) Giving a female hero a pregnancy sounds, on the one hand, like the most stereotypical bad idea ever, but on the other... well, what's the point in having female-driven comics if you can't use them to explore the stories and issues women face? And, in practice, this, the story of Jessica Drew beginning her maternity leave before settling into life as a single mother, is really very good. Particularly as she's been training up the Porcupine to take over the crime-fighting duties while she's off. Jessica's fiercely independent nature makes her an interesting choice for this unexpected development, with everyone running around trying to help out and take care of her. This comic works. The bets bit is Spider-Man's Spidey-sense going off because Iron Man is about to ask who the father is.

The Mighty Thor #1 (Marvel) Spider-Woman isn't the only hero facing life-changing issues. Giving a character a life-threatening illness can be a cheap shot, but this is handled well. The pain of going through chemotherapy is a real one for many people, and I've seen enough of this in real life to call this comic out if it felt cheap. This is written with respect. While Jane Foster can never benefit from her therapy since each transformation into Thor burns the poisons from her system, the cancer remains, killing her. This is set against a sci-fi/fantasy backdrop of corporate greed and cosmic warfare, with some spectacular imagery. Classic Sandman fans could do worse than trying this.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 (Marvel) Just a lovely start to this new title. Jack Kirby's old characters, Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy, are brought back, alongside the absolutely wonderful new kid, hyperintelligent ten-year-old Lunella Lafayette. She's the most adorable, likeable new character since Kamala Khan (and god, that's a team-up I'd love to see some day). Like Ms. Marvel, it's tied in with the Inhumans/Terrigen mist plotline, but Lunella is deliberately avoiding any chance of being exposed. It's a slow beginning but promises to be a wonderful tale for anyone who's ever felt unappreciated - i.e. everyone. And it has a big red T. rex in it.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (Marvel) Squirrel Girl in the Sixties. Also, Doctor Doom, her first adversary, returns to cause trouble. I wish I could do more to summarise this comic other than just gush about how joyfully daffy it is.

Saga #31 (Image) Saga returns, and it's a pretty good issue, both continuing from precisely where we left Hazel, her grandmother and abductors and catching up with them in captivity months later. While it's still not at the level that Saga used to play at, this is well told and has important things to say about prisoners of war, immigration control, xenophobia and transmisogyny.

Ghostbusters Annual 2015 (IDW) I haven't had a Ghostbusters annual since, what, 1993? What a joy. OK, so this isn't a kids' annual, but a bumper-sized comics issue, but still, this is good fun. The main strip, featuring the Sandman as the villain, works very nicely, tying into the overall storyline. Following that is a bunch of shorts by various artist/writer combos, some of which work well, others not so much. Overall, though, this is a hit.

No comments:

Post a Comment