If you’ve been wanting to read the adventures of a new superhero in a world filled with said hero’s idols and what not, then Ms. Marvel absolutely has to be the book you should be reading. If you want to read a book about a teenage superhero struggling with the first steps in a world of heroics and the resultant headaches, Ms. Marvel is the book for you. If you want to read a book about a female teen superhero, Ms. Marvel has to be your first stop. And if you want to read a book about a female teen superhero of colour AND a faith not Christian or atheist or whatever, then Ms. Marvel has to be at the top of you reading pile.
In their first two issues, the creative team of G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring have done something incredible. They’ve managed to write a female teen superhero, who is Muslim and the daughter of first-generation Pakistani immigrants, without any grandiosity or pomposity. This is a book that connects with the average reader and gives them something unique and yet familiar. The new issue, out yesterday, is the best issue yet and it solidifies what kind of a character Kamala Khan is going to be and how she is going to tackle her superhero identity of Ms. Marvel.
Another great week this time. Lots of fun new tiles and old ones returning for new installments. The highlight of the week had to be the upcoming graphic novel by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones Jr. for which I managed to get a review copy. Long live NetGalley! And the graphic novel definitely delivered on its promise too, although there were a few things that I didn’t like so much.
With all the new series coming out, its definitely a good time to be in comics, and most of all if you have been a fan of certain series like Daredevil and Unity. I’m still behind on certain series though and there are a lot of comics that I am behind on, as I was painfully made aware this past week. And the pile is mounting every week. Just too many things to stay current with.
Last week we saw how Marvel’s latest cinematic release, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, affected the status of the characters on Agents of SHIELD. The movie initiated some very, very big changes and that in turn meant that the show has done a complete about turn. The tensions have ratcheted up significantly and loyalties have really been redefined. It goes without saying that some characters have turned out to be not who we believed they were, and that was kind of like a gut-punch in the last episode. Very surprising.
Since last week’s episode, I’ve read a fair few reactions to the episode and to the movie of course, and supposedly the showrunners have known from the start that this change would happen and that they constructed the show around that. Well, it certainly never felt like that, but as this episode shows, things have indeed been in development around it. This is an episode that has me really conflicted because I’m not sure whether or not I like it. It had some really good parts, but it also had parts that I’m not a hundred percent about.
Note: Because of the nature of this episode and its tie-in to the new movie, this review contains spoilers about what happens in this episode, the new Captain America movie and last week’s episode as well.
Marvel began its relaunch of Secret Avengers on quite a high last month. While I didn’t read the previous series due to a lack of interest, I picked up the new #1 as part of my read-through of all the new series being launched as part of All-New Marvel NOW! Bringing together Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Maria Hill, Modok, Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, this new series seems to be one of the most exciting of all those that Marvel has launched in the last three and a half months. The creative team and the cast are both solid, and that’s what I expected from the sequel issue.
Secret Avengers #2 picks right up from where the first issue left off and it includes some truly awesome moments that make you jump up and down with glee. You don’t really expect some kind of big flashy heroics from these guys, at least I don’t. I think of all of them as more subtle than that, much more… mature even. Writer Ales Kot wrapped up this short opening arc very well, giving a great taste of all the characters involved and the art team delivered on the goods as well.
It has been barely a year since I read my first Daredevil comic, the first arc of Mark Waid’s series on the title that recently ended and was relaunched for All-New Marvel NOW!. I read it for an online course on gender in comics that I did last year and it proved to be quite a bit of fun. I’m familiar with the character through some of his animated appearances, and the Ben Affleck-starrer movie of course, but I still don’t know a whole lot about him. He’s a very interesting character though, one of the very first disabled superhero characters I believe (I could be wrong on this), and that’s a big part of his charm as well.
Daredevil #1.50 is an anniversary issue commemorating 50 years of the Man Without Fear. It seems like a lot of characters are celebrating anniversaries recently, and just as with all the others, Marvel has done something special. Although this issue is extremely oddly numbered (in keeping up with Marvel’s trend of other such weird numberings of late), the stories inside are truly something else. The first one is a Matt Murdock of the future, another features Mike Murdock, and then we have a tease for the upcoming Elektra. The art in all of them is pretty damn good, and so are the stories.
Last month Marvel relaunched its Captain Marvel series following the cancellation of the previous series and it marked an important change in direction for Carol Danvers, who had left her identity as Ms. Marvel behind to step into the shoes of the alien hero she had taken her name from, Captain Marvel. While the series enjoyed great success among fans, sales weren’t up to the mark and Marvel had to axe the series. But relaunch it soon after they did, and now the series is here, and it is here to stay I think.
The first issue last month proved to be quite a good read, and I was certainly impressed, given that I had not enjoyed Kelly Sue DeConnick’s first arc on the series when it was launched as part of Marvel Now back in 2012. It offered up some nice characterisation of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers and it told a really interesting story as well, which was all fine with me. And the art was up to the mark as well, which was a relief, although it was problematic. The new issue takes things even further and now since Captain Marvel is an Avenger-in-space, things are really heating up, and in a good way.
For the previous four episodes, the show has been on a high and low streak, with one episode being good and the other being not-so good. But still, the show kept me engaged on some level and kept me coming back week after week to watch and see what would happen to these characters who often fluctuate between boring and exciting at the same time. Two weeks prior, the latest Marvel Studios movie Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier was released and it changed the status quo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a very big way, something on a level where everything that follows is going to suffer through some big changes, especially Agents of SHIELD.
This week’s episode, “Turn, Turn, Turn” is set concurrent to the movie, in that it starts at the midpoint of the movie’s plot and ends where the movie ends. In that regard, this is the biggest crossover of the show with the MCU, but as a viewer I am left dissatisfied and even a bit disappointed since this was an absolute jumble of plots and subplots with an ending that served to only confuse, much as the last episode did. The show really needs to get better with its endings.
Note: Because of the nature of this episode and its tie-in to the new movie, this review contains spoilers about what happens in this episode, and that consequently includes spoilers about the movie as well.
Last year Marvel launched Amazing X-Men, which brought back Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler back to life from years of being dead. The first arc of the new series pretty much dealt with the blue elf coming back to the world of the living after fighting with his demonic father Azazel, and now the character is back again and starring in another series. Nightcrawler has been among my favourite X-Men for a long time and it was great to see him get to star in Amazing X-Men, and now with his own title, I think it is a great time to be a Nightcrawler fan.
The new series is written by X-Men veteran Chris Claremont, who has written some stellar X-Men stories over the years and has a long, long history with these characters and with the entire franchise as well. His return to writing X-Men comics is off to a really good start I’d say, as he begins to acclimate Kurt to being alive again and returning to the Xavier school as a teacher this time, on Ororo’s recommendation. Todd Nauck, who does the pencils, turns in a fairly good as well, although there were some aspects of it that I didn’t quite like.
In contrast to the previous week, I didn’t get to read as many comics as I wanted to because my iPad wasn’t working properly and I had to resort to reading comics on my computer, which didn’t work out so well. Especially when I have to travel, and I was rather counting on getting through at least 3-4 more comics.
Still, I did manage to read a fair few, and I am now done with my read-through of Forever Evil: Blight which proved to be a very interesting event indeed, far better than the main event or two of the tie-ins ARGUS and Arkham War and just on par with Rogues Rebellion. The ending was definitely unexpected and awesome too, I think, so that is something there. No other graphic novels, which is a shame, but since I’m landlocked for the next two weeks, I’m hoping to move through a few, so we shall see.
Dealing with the loss of a superhero is something that superhero comics have always touched upon, in the wake of the event itself. We’ve seen it again and again, but we haven’t seen how the characters deal with it years after the event. In 2012, Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli gave us Spider-Men, a 5-issue series that crossed the Marvel-616 Peter Parker/Spider-Man with the Ultimate Spider-Man/Miles Morales and dealt with the former character being dead in the Ultimate universe and Miles being his successor to the title. It was a very heartfelt series with some great emotional scenes.
Brian and an army of artists continue that with the landmark Ultimate Spider-Man #200, an issue that acknowledges the second anniversary of Peter’s death and brings together some of his closest teenage friends for a night of commemoration, to celebrate the kind of hero he was and what he meant to each of them. I’ve never read the arc in which Ultimate Peter died, but looking at it through the eyes of other characters here and in Spider-Men definitely makes me want to do so. Brian writes a fairly good story and the army of artists all turn in a really good-looking book, bringing together, I believe, all the pencillers who’ve worked on Ultimate Spider-Man over the years in all its incarnations.
Last year Marvel launched one of its biggest events of 2013 (well, there were like three huge events and they pretty much followed each other), Infinity. The Builders went insane or something and sent out their armies to cleanse the galaxy. Thanos took advantage of the situation to lay siege to Earth and his forces went up against Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans. The end result was that although the Mad Titan was defeated, Black Bolt was forced to destroy his city and this in turn let loose the Terrigen Mists on Earth. Out of this spins Marvel’s latest event, Inhumanity.
Inhuman #1 has had a bit of a troubled history. Matt Fraction was originally the writer but then it was revealed that he and editorial didn’t agree on what direction to take so his scripts were scrapped and Charles Soule, the crazy mad-man of comics was brought in. Crazy mad-man as in he sunlights as a lawyer and moonlights as a comics writer on like a dozen titles. Which is helluva scary. Either way, the first issue of this new event series arrived yesterday and it proved to be better than expected as far as the writing is concerned, since I didn’t like the art so much, being a bit too T&A for my tastes.