A weekly column in which Jake gives short blurbs about the comics he’s picked up that week. Reviewed in the order read, which varies but generally by increasing anticipation. Disclaimer: he knows very little about art, at least not enough to considerably honor such tremendous undertakings, so…yeh, there’s that.
New Avengers #4
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Color Artist: Dono Sanchez Almara
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
The New Avengers assemble to deal with their second threat in twice that many issues while Hulkling fights a Space Wizard to be King of Space. That might be a bit glib, but it’s a reflection of the issue. Ewing keeps the tone fairly light, which is odd when you have an eldritch tentacle monster with a terrifying transformation sequence. The threat, shocking though it might be, never feels legitimate, perhaps because there’s nothing for us as an audience to hold onto in the face of potential loss. In spite of the excellent dialogue, the characters are little more than quippy mouthpieces at this point. Ewing’s Mighty Avengers, through its ups and downs, always had you feeling and emoting with the characters, rather than just being entertained by them. That’s lost in New Avengers, likely thanks to the brevity of story arcs so far. The story feels like it has no room to breathe at this point and shows no signs of slowing down. While the pace would certainly work for a single hero’s book (a la Moon Knight), a team with eight members (not including supporting cast) would appear to need a bit more space (heh). Unlike last issue, the art feels quite appropriate for the story. Sandoval handles the scenes with Moridun amazingly, and if there’s ever a book where the hero routinely punches Cthulhu in the face, he’s your man. Almara’s colors enhance these scenes, shrouding Moridun in murky darkness that clashes with the Avengers’ brighter costumes. While there’s some interesting points set up in this issue, the rapid-fire storytelling continues to detract from the enjoyment of this team book.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson
Color Artist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Better late than never! (It’s funny because the book is currently dealing with time-travel). Nancy tries to help Squirrel Girl escape the past but ends up running into one of Doreen’s oldest and most fearsome foes, Doctor Doom. In an incredible balancing act, North milks the Doom-humor (guy still wears a mini-skirt, c’mon) for all its worth (which is a lot), while still making him extremely threatening when the time (heh) comes. There’s also a handful of excellent cameos and easter eggs galore in the issue, continuing the trend of the series being nothing but fun. Henderson and Renzi get a lot to play with in the issue, thanks to Doom’s typical rampage. Though, it’s likely that the strongest scene is SG’s dressing down of her fellow time-trapped compatriots. With another issue stronger than ever, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl continues to be awesomely funny and funnily awesome.
Angela: Queen of Hel #3
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Kim Jacinto (Stephanie Hans)
Color Artist: Israel Silva
Letterier: Travis Lanham
Angela faces her second trial in Hel and demons from her past return to haunt her. Bennett uses the rigors of Hel as narrative devices to expose more of Sera and Angela’s past more ably than prior in the series. Some of the dialogue is a bit cheesy, and while it’s always been Sera’s penchant to drop references and break the fourth wall, when Tyr and Balder make an allusion to Game of Thrones, one has to believe that that was a darling that should have been killed. Despite this, Bennett does move the plot along rather nicely and introduces some new characters that should be fun to have around. Meanwhile, on art, Jacinto’s art finally starts to excel as there are some glorious splash pages and panel transitions littered throughout the issue. While Hans’s substory is at its usual grandeur, the amount of effort Jacinto and Silva put into the main story finally makes the book’s art seem equal in terms of footing. Despite some snags in the joke department, Angela: Queen of Hel charges ahead to what should be a fun showdown next issue.
Ms. Marvel #2
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Takeshi Miyazawa
Color Art: Ian Herring
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Ms. Marvel tries to get to the bottom of the seemingly sinister Hope Yards real estate development as her personal life continues to flounder in the wake of her heightened superhero status. Wilson continues to craft an excellent young superhero story, one that is sincere and earnest, to a fault sometimes. It’s still interesting to see the emotional turmoil firmly on Kamala’s side of the story, rather than Bruno’s, and the more personal scenes with Kamala and her brother are lovely and charming. Miyazawa continues the trend of excellent storytellers on the art side of things. The sight gags with Bruno’s hamster (?) and the level of detail in his room art fantastic, as is the character’s emotions and fight choreography. While new developments might seem like something of a thematic retread from last volume, there’s enough promise to make Ms. Marvel’s next battle seem like something completely new, with an amazingly competent level of storytelling to back it up
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciller and Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Pregnant Jessica Drew versus a squad of warrior Skrulls on the march; the bad guys don’t stand a chance. Held hostage by the aforementioned bad guys, Spider-Woman is forced to fight smart, something that Hopeless is an expert at showing us as evidenced by this issue. Jessica’s deliberation and planning is a treat on all fronts and her speech to the other mothers in the ward is wise and measured. If Javier Rodriguez isn’t nominated for some kind of award for this book, there is no justice in the universe. Everything, from the excellently choreographed and shot fight scenes to the incredible designs of the various pregnant aliens in the background, is perfect, no other word for it. Lopez’s inks compliment his style wonderfully, making this a clinic in terms of art in comics. Even if you disagree with the new direction, you can’t ignore the fact that Spider-Woman is just plain fantastic comics.
So what did you pick up this week? Agree or disagree with anything said here? Let us know in the comments.