Greetings from the Marvel Lake House. I know it’s been a bit, but things have been a bit hectic here. After Tax Season (it appears that being temporally and spatially displaced is a bit of a red flag) and with the boys taking a bit of time off on your end, the lake house has been piling up with books, so here’s a smattering (I’ve always wanted to use that word) of some quick reviews to get us caught up.
Ms. Marvel #18
Published: May 10, 2017
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Penciler: Pierfrancesco Gaston
Cover Artist: Nelson Blake
Your Solicit: A VERY BRUNO ADVENTURE! Attending a prestigious science school has always been one of Bruno Carrelli’s dreams–he just never thought he’d have to lose his best friend (and use of his left hand) to get there. And as much as he loves Wakanda, Bruno can’t help but feel bitter toward Kamala (who’s secretly a superhero) for the super shenanigans that forced him to leave home. But it seems that even when he’s thousands of miles away from Ms. Marvel, adventure’s never far behind this Jersey boy…
This book stood out to me for a number of reasons. The most significant of which was the use of Wakanda. For so long in the Marvel U, Wakanda has been a MacGuffin of sorts. We’ve heard of its reputation, its past. We know it gave us Black Panther. It has often been a plot point in Black Panther stories. But here, it’s just a setting for another kind of story. Honestly, this story could’ve been told in Latveria, Los Angeles, or the Sotomayor University. But they chose to tell it in Wakanda and the story is all the better for it. What Wilson has done here is take the setting put forth by Coates and Stelfreeze and used it to greatest potential as a backdrop in the Marvel U. By basing the story around Bruno (instead of the title character) they’ve made the setting magnify the story rather than detract from it. It simultaneously answers old questions, provides status on current characters and sets up stories we’ll want to read in the future. Buy it
Mighty Thor (2015) #19
Published: May 17, 2017
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Russell Dauterman, Valerio Schiti
Cover Artist: Russell Dauterman
Your Solicit: THE “ASGARD/SHI’AR WAR” COMES TO A FIERY CONCLUSION! The gods of the Shi’ar make their final play against Thor and her allies! With the Phoenix Force unleashed, it’s up to Quentin Quire to quell its destructive power…if he feels like it. Odinson has returned — but what awaits him in the war-torn Asgardia?
I don’t think I’m giving any earth-shattering opinions in agreeing that Aaron’s run on Thor has been nothing short of magnificent. However, I wanted to highlight this issue (and to a lesser degree its predecessor) as I feel that Aaron has pulled yet another rabbit out of his hat. What Aaron has accomplished in this story is to make not only a ‘C’ list mutant, and a highly polarizing one at that, interesting and useful to the continuity. Quentin Quire is an absolute delight to read here. And his function in the story is simultaneously heroic and tragic at the same time as his function for being in the fight is to effectively live up to a destiny he seems to have no control over escaping. Dauterman’s art makes the Phoenix force, an entity in the Marvel U that could be considered played out and old hat, new and vibrant again. And to see Jane and Odinson team up is what everyone’s been really hoping for since Jane picked up the Hammer. This circumstance allows them to do so without the standard relationship awkwardness that would usually accompany such a trope. Excellent work! BUY IT
Quick Hits and Mutant Stuff:
Between transdimensional IRS Audits and Holiday Downtime, I was able to get caught up on a series of books as well as dive back into the Mutant side of the MU: here are some quick hits and (mostly misses).
Jessica Jones #1-7: Classic Bendis and Gaydos. Great family drama and spy story with real stakes. Buy all of it.
Punisher #1-12: This is what Punisher should be. Cloonan and Dillon (and others) make Frank a force of nature. The highlight of this story is the different points of view it’s told from and never from Frank’s. Buy all of it.
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #1: I want to believe that David and Bagley were just stuck backing the wrong editorial horse. As I usually like their work but here, they’re just giving us a derivative Deadpool with web shooters. Leave it with extreme prejudice…
Jean Grey #1-2: Hopeless and Ibanez are off to a good start. Again with the Phoenix, and Quentin Quire. Good hook for a solo book. Skim it.
X-Men Blue #4: I was on board with Bunn and Velarde for the first 3 issues. I was feeling the book. Digging the younger team lead by Jean Grey and the Magneto twist… and then they lost me. Yet another Wolverine… Leave it.
Generation X #1: A creative team that I’ve never heard of such as Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think I might have liked Strain’s story. However, rarely does art turn me off of a book, but here, I just couldn’t get past it. Leave it.
Jeffrey Ketcham is a writer of imaginative fiction in comics and prose. Otherwise, he’s been a professional musician, barista, bartender, and musical instrument repairman. He’s an unabashed geek and aficionado of all things comic books, dogs, genre fiction, good coffee, and Irish whiskey.