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.
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.