Kamala Khan, the new and current Ms. Marvel has been through a lot in the last few months. First she got caught in a Terrigenesis cloud that brought out her Inhuman genes and gave her her shapeshifting morphing powers. Then she went up against a bunch of villains, normal and eccentric alike, and even got to team up with none other than Wolverine, one of the greatest X-Men ever. And now she finds herself the proud (temporary) owner of Lockjaw, a loyal follower of the Inhumans’ Queen Medusa who has taken an interest in Kamala on Wolverine’s suggestion.
Recently we saw that Kamala’s powers were on the fritz and that it happened at the worst time possible, when her enemy The Inventor sent a giant murderous robot after her, which tracked her to her school and started laying waste to everything in sight. In Ms. Marvel #9 we see what happens after that, how Kamala’s powers come back and even how she meets Medusa for the first time, a meeting that has been building up for a good while now, especially once loyal and faithful Lockjaw entered the story. G. Willow Wilson knocks this out of the park once again with artist Adrian Alphona and it was a really fun issue to read.
In the latter half of Agents of SHIELD‘s first season, we learned that the premier spy organization in the world had been deeply infiltrated by HYDRA, and that as a result, the US Government had declared all existing SHIELD operatives traitors to be brought in for… questioning. The bulk of official operations against the near-defunct SHIELD was led by General Talbot, and part of the new season has been to reconcile Talbot’s objectives with taking down the real enemy, HYDRA. I love the character of course, and in the new season he really seems to be becoming a major challenger to Team Coulson.
“Face My Enemy” is this week’s episode and it sees Coulson and May going undercover to appropriate a 500-year old religious painting that has found itself in the middle of what many are calling a miracle. It features some great moments, such as the two SHIELD senior agents enjoying a rare moment of levity mixed with nostalgia and May fighting May. Directed by showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen’s brother Kevin, the episode is certainly a good one, especially the dance sequence with Coulson and May, and everything else really, prving that the second season is indeed going to be much better than season 1.
The last five months have seen some big changes happening to one of Marvel’s longest-running titles. Following on from the end of Dan Slott’s game-changing Superior Spider-Man, the flagship Spidey title The Amazing Spider-Man was relaunched with the return of Peter Parker and we’ve seen the hero go through some major stuff of late, whether it is fighting an Elektro and Black Cat team-up or finding out that someone else got bit by the same spider as he did, and in stepped new female superhero Silk, who is a match for Peter in almost every way, and also a major problem too. It has been a fun five-and-a-half months, and things look to be getting even better with the ongoing Spider-Verse crossover.
The latest issue of The Amazing Spider-Man brings in one of Marvel’s biggest successes of the year, Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan, as a guest star and also deals with what has been happening in various realities around the omniverse with the villain Morlun and others killing various Spidey-heroes left and right. Both stories are great fun, as they should be since writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage have worked on them, and the Spider-Verse story in particular seems to have some interesting callbacks to more classic stories and the same vibe as well. And the artwork with Giuseppe Camuncoli is also great, just as I expected it to be.
In a stark contrast to season one, the second season of Agents of SHIELD has gotten off to a really good start in almost all respects and has been chugging along on a good pace. So far this season we’ve seen some new villains and also a few new mysteries. One of my mos anticipated “mystery-to-be-explored” this season was Skye’s past and who/what she is exactly, and the second season addressed exactly that in its cliffhanger of last week’s episode. But more than that, the episode also saw some good developments for the future of Coulson’s SHIELD, and that was a great thing.
The episodes this season, given what I’m seeing on the show’s Wikipedia page, are really odd and long, not exactly rolling off the tongue. This week’s episode, “Making Friends and Influencing People” sees the return in-the-flesh of Agent Jemma Simmons, whom we last saw in last week’s episode three teaser as being an agent of HYDRA now. So the episode delves into that in detail, and explores how Simmons has changed, and what kind of an impact her absence has had on Fitz, who himself learns some dark secrets about the new SHIELD. This was an interesting episode for sure, but also a bit numbing since nothing BIG actually happened. A by-the-numbers, solid episode that is better than most of the first half of the first season.
After half-frustrating/half-exciting first season, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returned with a second season last week and the premiere established a strong sense of improvement and progression in the meta-story. Now that there aren’t any more Marvel movies scheduled till the middle of next year (there’ll be 2, maybe 3 episodes after the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron), and the big reveal has been had, the show can boldly move forward and go places it was meant to go in the first place. And with new cast members, the show was also looking great with potential, which is to be expected when you have Lucy Lawless on a show, any show.
This week’s episode sees the return of an old enemy of Team Coulson, someone they’ve run into before several times and who has caused the team a lot of grief as well. While this enemy weaves a new web around Coulson and the others, we also get to see them go up against Carl Creel aka the Absorbing Man a second time and come out on top finally. This week’s episode featured some great action, some great stuff with Glenn Talbot and also lots of mysteries. However, if there is one thing that has bothered me this week, it is the fate of Isabelle Hartley, the new character played by Lucy Lawless.
Marvel’s first all-out attempt at television took off last year with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, a spin-off of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and featuring prominent characters like Agent Coulson, Maria Hill and Nick Fury among others. While the latter two only had the occasional cameo at best, Coulso was the star of the show and his resurrection from the dead (as seen in Avengers) was an important plotline for the first season, among others. The show had a rocky start and a shakyprogress track but in the final few episodes, it showed strong signs of coming together and ended on a decent enough high, I guess.
Last night, the second season of the show debuted, and the season premiere had an uphill battle to fight. The revelation in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that SHIELD had been infiltrated by HYDRA and that many SHIELD agents were in reality HYDRA agents was something that the show had been hobbled by until that point since the stories never really gained any momentum and the show had to wait for the movie’s release before things could go forward. And now, we see that Director Coulson and his team have been hard at work rebuilding SHIELD since the disappearances of Maria Hill and Nick Fury, and that HYDRA is now an even bigger threat than before. It was a solid premiere, much better than the one for season one, and I find myself quite excited about the show once again.
Marvel’s Original Sin event is now over, and with it are the tie-in mini-series Iron Man vs Hulk and Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm. Of the two, I enjoyed the latter far more, right out of the gate, and it showed a lot of promise as well. That was compounded when it was revealed that next month the current Thor would no longer be Thor and that there would be a new Thor, a woman this time. So that was something I expected to unfold in this series, and the setup was definitely there. But then, the series started to falter a bit, though it was still a fun read and the finale was something I was looking forward to .
Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 is quite possible one of the most disappointing comics of this year, almost on par with how Batman: Zero Year ended up after such a great start. With the cliffhanger of the last issue, I expected things to go really big, really epic, but nothing of the sort happened. Odd character moments and a weak script combined with art that failed to live up to the promise, and I was just saddened by the time the issue ended. Nothing exciting happened here and the pacing was all over the place. Sad, sad example of promising mini-series turning to dust.
Last month both Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel closed out on their first major arcs, establishing a great story and direction for both titles. Amazingly, both titles have found strong readership with their respective reboots, and of the two Ms. Marvel has been the most successful with the debut of teenager Kamala Khan, daughter of Pakistani immigrants. In spirit, both titles are strongly linked and I think it is great that they were both relaunched at the same time (roughly) and that the quality on both titles, especially Ms. Marvel, has been so high. That is extremely gratifying.
This week, in Captain Marvel #7 we see the beginning of a new arc as writer Kelly Sue DeConnick brings back Rocket of the Guardians of the Galaxy for some madcap adventures with Carol, Tic and the former’s cat Chewie. The cat is quite the star of this new arc it seems, and I had fun reading the new issue, though I thought that it was a bit too gratuitously silly and funny. The art however, with new artist Marcio Takara, was as good as it was with David Lopez in the last issues, so that helped balance things out. With Ms. Marvel #8, we see a new arc once again as the Inhuman Queen Medusa sends her trusted companion Lockjaw to keep an eye out for Kamala, following Wolverine’s tip to Captain Marvel about the young hero. It is a damn good new story arc here and Adrian Alphona is back again, so the art too is awesome.
Marvel’s Original Sin event is coming to a close imminently, with the final issue of the main event series landing tomorrow I believe. Or next week at the latest. This has been a most fun event, especially once you delve into many of the tie-ins and the crossovers that have resulted, such as the story arcs in Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, among others. Part of this event was the launch of the Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm mini-series which saw Thor learn about his long-lost and believed-dead sister and then set out on a quest to bring her back. The first issue back in early July was a promising read, and I expected that to continue, for the title to get better.
Being on a holiday, I wasn’t able to review the previous two issues of the mini-series, but with the 4th issue landing this past week, I thought it was a good time to get down to it. What Jason Aaron and Al Ewing started in the first issue continued on in the second through fourth issues, with each providing a new and unexpected turn of events the likes of which I just couldn’t imagine. Whether it is Thor and Loki breaking down Odin’s realm-locks to the Tenth Realm, or Loki turning on Thor to side with the Angels of Heven, or Thor’s sister Angela beating him down or even more, this story has been one of the best “short” stories from Marvel I’ve read in a while. The artists also turned in a great effort, though I got confused between all the different pencillers put on the project.
Being on holiday the last week of July and the first week of August meant that I missed out on quite a few comics and that even the next week after that was mostly trying to stay ahead of all the great comics coming out, which didn’t work out as well as I wanted it to since I missed some pretty big comics, such as last week’s Captain Marvel #6. With Captain Marvel being one of my favourite new books from Marvel, that had to be corrected soon as I realized my oversight and since Ms. Marvel #7 came out this week, I thought it would be fun to do a joint review for these two titles, which are linked together in far too many ways to count.
Captain Marvel #6 brings to a successful close the first arc of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s rebooted Captain Marvel. Last we were with Carol Danvers, she had decided to take on Json’s invasion fleet single-handed. She proved her heroism in that moment, and Kelly Sue set the stage for a really emotional and heroic ending. This time, we see how all of that plays out and how Carol does end up beating J’son at his own game. And the artwork is pretty good too, in keeping with the rest of the series.
Ms. Marvel #7 on the other hand is all about continuing the team-up of Kamala Khan and Wolverine as the two of them taken on The Inventor and his crazy meta-alligators. Wolverine was the first special guest-star on the series in the previous issue, in the flesh that is, and the pairing was a great idea because as Wilson said in an interview, Wolverine struggles without his healing factor while Kamala has it. In this issue, we see their pairing come to an end for the moment, though there are more avenues open now, with a great ending and the artwork by Jacob Wyatt and Ian Herring is even more gorgeous than before, though the final three pages are not so good.
This is it. We are in the final phase of Original Sin and the event is now wrapping itself up. Lots of secrets have been revealed in the pages of Hulk vs Iron Man, Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm, The Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil among others. Marvel’s superheroes have all faced up to some incredible revelations till now and there is no stopping the flood, especially not when the man they trusted above all others has turned against them it seems. Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato have had a great run till now, but still, I think they are kind of tapping out on the steam.
The previous issue of the event series was packed with a hell of a lot of action and the heroes finally faced up to the big manipulator of Nick Fury himself, a Nick Fury who has been around for far longer than any of them thought or could have imagined. And things are moving into gear as Dr. Midas, Exterminatrix and The Orb lay down their own final plan and begin to face up to the heroes once more. Story-wise this issue was somewhat weak and uninteresting but the art still looks good thankfully, despite the fact that sometimes Deodato goes too small-scale in his panels.