In the last four months Ales Kot and Michael Walsh have dazzled me with their take on this secret group of Avengers working for SHIELD. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Nick Fury Jr., Phil Coulson and Maria Hill have been stunning almost every step of the way and this has certainly been one of the most impressive of the new titles launched by Marvel this year for its All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, marking the second major launch of its titles since late 2012. The four issues thus far have been impressive sure, but I think we are entering an all-new phase that is even better..
This past week’s Secret Avengers #5 deepens the character mysteries and really tones down all the action so that the plot moves along in a very different manner. It is given however that when Maria Hill and Nick Fury Jr, are involved, especially a straight-and-narrow guy like Coulson, there is going to be a lot of friction between them over all the secrets being kept, and the biggest secret on this team is that Modok is working for SHIELD! Ales Kot, Michael Walsh, Matthew Wilson and Tradd Moore are at their best in this issue and they deliver on the goods in a handsome manner.
The newly (re)launched Ms. Marvel’s first arc (sort of) wrapped up last month on a really nice melancholic note. Writer G. Willow Wilson really went to town to create a realistic modern teenaged character with some real personal issues and she made Kamala Khan’s story resonate. That has been something that has served this series in good stead, for most of the comics right now from the Big 2 really don’t focus so much on characters like Kamala. In a lot of different ways. And the uniqueness that results has made this series one of the best on the shelves each month.
The new Ms. Marvel #6 takes some time off from Kamala’s usual heroics and interactions with her family to focus on things like her religious instructor and mentor as the two interact really well together in quite surprising ways. And also, we get to see a surprise guest star in the second half of the issue (spoilers will be below!) and that really made my day, to see Kamala meet and hang out with this superstar superhero. G. Willow Wilson’s writing in this issue was spot on and consistent, though with Jacob Wyatt stepping in for a pencil guest-spot, the art isn’t to the usual high standards.
Moving into the final phase of Original Sin, which just one more month to go before it all wraps-up, things are finally beginning to heat up for all the characters involved here. After all the startling revelations of the last two issues, everyone is in an uncertain place and I’m really loving how Jason Aaron has developed the story and how Mike Deodato and his art team have handled the artwork. The last few issues have been really good, and the title is certainly becoming one of my favourite reads of the year, and as an event comic it is certainly superb.
After the flashback-heavy content of the previous issue, Original Sin #6 moves full-steam ahead with the current story as heroes recruited by Nick Fury confront him aboard his secret satellite space station, even as the Avengers and the other heroes race against the clock to find out what the hell is going on with the “dead” Nick Fury’s body that they have and with the Watcher Uatu’s murder. Jason Aaron is absolutely superb in this issue and Mike Deodato and team don’t hold back either, making this the best issue of this series to date.
Since revamping the Captain Marvel series with Carol Danvers as once again in the titular role, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has been crafting quite an interesting story that somewhat ties into last year’s Infinity event, but also stands on its own, apart from what happened in that event. Her Carol Danvers is better than ever and it does feel like a serious revamp since the story this time around is so much better than what she did back in 2012 when she first got a chance on the title. And it helps that the artwork has been pretty stunning as well, whether we talk pencils or colours or what have you.
Captain Marvel #5 is where some of the mysteries surrounding the planet of Torfa begin to come together for a reveal. The reasoning behind J’son and the Spartax’s bid to remove the refugees on the planet and take control is finally unveiled and it is something major indeed, something worth even killing over. And more than that, we get some great political interplay between the ruling council on Torfa, with Carol herself becoming quite the figurehead. Kelly Sue knocks this one out of the part as far as the writing is concerned and the art isn’t far behind either.
Marvel’s Original Sin event is fast approaching its big showdown, with only about 5 more weeks to go before it all ends. Up until now it has been quite the spectacular event under Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato, and I have been very impressed by how it has all come together. To go with the event comics, Marvel has also started releasing some tie-ins that deal with the big moment from Original Sin #3, when the Orb unveiled one of Uatu’s eyes and the superheroes present were exposed to some pretty big secrets from their past. Last time it was a revelation between Hulk and Iron Man. Now…
Thor and Loki: The Tenth Realm is the second tie-in of this event and where the first was about an “accident”, the new issue is about a revelation about the past that was hidden from these two brothers, a revelation that shocks Thor to his core and also ends up getting All-Mother Freya extremely emotional, a state of being that I’ve never seen on her face in all the comics I’ve read with her to date. Jason Aaron and Al Ewing’s story is top-notch here with some really great moments and the art by Lee Garbet, Simone Bianchi and the others is impressive as well.
In its first two months, Marvel’s latest event series Original Sin has been all about the central mystery of who killed the Watcher Uatu, the silent witness and guardian to all the momentous events of the past, present and the future. He’s been around for all the momentous galaxy-shattering events that have taken place in the Marvel Universe and now he’s dead through person(s) unknown, as we saw at the end of Original Sin #0. The subsequent issues have done quite a marvelous job of setting up the mystery and keeping a reader like me interested in the whole thing.
Surprisingly, Original Sin #5 is largely a narrated flashback that allows us to learn more about the real Nick Fury and what he’s been upto all these years. It is a very character-oriented notable for that very fact. But the thing is that this promises to be a big speedbump in the ongoing story and that this slowdown proves to be not a good approach in any way since we still know so little by the central mystery. Still, Jason Aaron’s script is something to marvel at and the same goes for the artwork, which is gorgeous as ever.
In only a few short weeks, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel has become an absolute must-read title for me, one that I count on every time to deliver on the promise and expectation of a title that is meant to be funny and comedic, a book that features a non-traditional character in comics. Kamala Khan has quickly become one of my favourite characters to read about every month and while the title hasn’t exactly pulled in the big numbers for Marvel, it has certainly gained quite a positive reputation, one that makes me really glad and also hopeful for the future.
This week’s Ms. Marvel #5 picks up from the cliffhanger of the previous issue and it is even more melancholic than any of the previous issues for it deals with Kamala dealing with her powers and also connecting with her mother and father in a very personal way, one that is dependent on how teenagers see themselves in today’s hyper-hyped world of expectations of behaviour and comportment. G. Willow Wilson’s writing and Adrian Alphona’s art are both the best that they’ve ever been in this series, and they certainly prove their mad skills yet again.
After being “dead” for several months, Peter Parker recently returned to the land of the living, and got his new series that reboots the classic Amazing Spider-Man to coincide with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which was quite a great superhero movie. With the passing on of Doc Ock, it is time for Peter to fix all that went wrong while he was gotne and Doc Ock was in charge of his body, and he has to deal with the consequences of those months as well, such as the fact that Electro and Black Cat really, really hate his guts right now.
In the new issue from today, we see that Peter is still committed to taking on government contracts as a way to keep Parker Industries floating and also to contribute as he can to stopping criminals while remaining in his civilian guise. And on the flip-side we see how Doc Ock’s reign of terror as the Superior Spider-Man gave deep psychological scars to Black Cat and Electro, neither of whom has normalised as yet, and has only gotten worse. Dan Slott’s writing is superb as ever, though there are the usual backdraws to Humberto Ramos’ art, despite how appealing it looks.
Despite a bit of a slow start, Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato seem to have finally gotten into a good rhythm with their first event series together, and they’ve been bringing the goods for the last couple issues. As with any event story spanning so many characters and attitudes and egos and teams and situations, Original Sin has had a lot on its plate but the story has been moving forward pretty smoothly and with a bi-monthly schedule, it really seems to be moving its best foot forward. And of course there was that totally freaky cliffhanger ending to Original Sin #3.
Picking up from where the last issue left off, we see the mysteries behind the Watcher Uatu’s death deepen as many of the storylines finally converge together and we see what the fringe groups of heroes, those brought together by a mysterious patron, have discovered between themselves, and the conclusion sure isn’t pretty. Jason is definitely hitting his stride with this series and he proves in this issue that he can manage all these different characters quite well. Of course, it wouldn’t be the same without the contributions of the artists either, who all do a stellar job here once again.
Ales Kot and Michael Walsh’s Secret Avengers has quickly become one of my favourite books, even though only three issues are out (new one released last Wednesday). They have taken some of the more popular Avengers and SHIELD characters to deliver a whole new spin on them, as far as my reading experience is concerned, and they’ve made each character likable and have even injected a healthy dose of humour into the series. Plus, it just so happens that all these stories are self-contained and don’t really rely on what’s happening in the rest of the Marvel comics-verse and that’s the added attraction.
The new issue changes things around considerably as we delve mostly into what is going on with Fury and Hawkeye’s secret mission from the previous issue, which as we see here, is authorised and overseen by both MODOK and Maria Hill. The best part of this issue definitely has to be the dialogue, because Ales Kot definitely seems to nail all four of his major characters, especially Maria Hill and Hawkeye. And the art by Michael Walsh and his team is the best its been so far, which is saying something since the art on this new series has been great from the beginning.