After the double-shipping last month, this month we get to a regular monthly schedule for Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s excellent Black Widow. The first two issues were quite stellar, both of them one-shots designed to introduce the character and set her up before launching into something approximating a long arc, like a 5-6 issue story. The art didn’t grip me as much in the first issue, given how different Noto’s art style is, but the second issue was quite an improvement still, and now with the third issue, I’m in love with his work.
The new issue is a two-headed beast. It tells a mostly standalone story, but there is also a subplot that supposedly leads in to a slightly bigger story in the next issue. And as with the previous two issues, we continue to get a look into how Natasha thinks, what her personal mission is, and what her morals are. With an espionage twist, the book really makes her come across as a hero, and I’m all for that because she is one of the in-the-grey characters who are also heroes.
Thanks to the recent Battle of the Atom crossover event for the X-books, I’ve started reading more than Brian Wood’s X-(Wo)Men ongoing and this has been an interesting month after all that wrap-up since the books are now dealing with the fall-out of the event. Things were a bit removed in Bendis’ Uncanny Avengers #14 but Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men #38 takes a much more immediate approach to things.
We saw at the end of the event that SHIELD maintained its own stocks of Sentinel robots and Maria Hill arrives at the Jean Grey school in this issue to make some things clear to Wolverine and the other teachers at the school. Namely that the X-Men are all much more trouble than they are worth and she isn’t afraid to play some really hard ball. But that’s not all that happens as there are some new students as well and so there is a lot going on in this issue, to varying degrees of success.
After the second episode of the show, I was pretty disappointed. The pilot had been fairly strong but things took a nosedive with the second episode. Glib dialogue, stereotypical characters, predictable plot, all backframed by the Marvel universe, with roots in the Marvel movies that have been around for a while now. All in all, it was important to keep in mind that the show was still in a very early phase and that kinks would need to be worked out over time as everyone gels together and the actors all get comfortable with their roles.
Which is why I was really looking forward to this episode and in a way why I think it was a better episode than its predecessor. Problems still remain, that is undeniable and somewhat alarming to a degree as well, but I think that the show is moving in the right direction after last week’s misstep.
Here we are. The show had its second episode this Tuesday (for American viewers that is), and compared to the rankings and ratings for the pilot, the second episode fell quite a bit short, according to rumours. I haven’t seen any numbers yet, mostly because I’m not really interested, so I don’t know if that’s how it is. But, it doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is whether or not this episode was good. And for me, it certainly wasn’t.
The first episode wasn’t without its flaws, but a lot could be excused because it was a pilot and thus it just needed to be good enough to hook me for a second episode. Which it did. Quite well actually. But the second episode just threw me for a loop. It was predictable, frustrating, and inconsistent with what has happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kind of ironic considering that the show is a spin-off of the MCU.
Note: This post contains spoilers for this episode.
So it has finally happened. There were rumblings about it for a long, long time and then things finally began to click together earlier this year and peaked around San Diego Comic Con, when we started getting teasers and trailers for Marvel’s first live-action series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As someone who enjoyed The Avengers and is a big of fan of Joss Whedon’s Buffy, Angel and Firefly (and also Serenity, of course), this was really good news for me. I don’t know if Marvel has ever had a live-action series before (I seriously doubt they did), but this was clearly a big area where they were lacking when compared to DC, who’ve had several successful live-action series before, such as Smallville and the ongoing Arrow which is coming back soon for a second season.
Now, Marvel can finally lay claim to the big ticket and say that “year, we are doing it, and we are doing it good, and we are doing it no one has done before”. And I agree. The first episode of the brand-new show was fairly solid, and I think it had the right mix of everything to hook in a viewer and get them to come back for more next week.