Hey! I felt well enough to pick up my comics, and even read a few today! Today the Marvel stuff goes up, and tomorrow I’ll start on the DC and Image stuff. In the meantime, I rest.
Doctor Strange #7
This issue begins with an origin story for the leader of the Empirikul. His parents were scientists in a realm where magic was law, science was blasphemy, and the monks of Shuma-Gorath were the authorities. Demanding they sacrifice him, his parents instead sacrifice themselves to help the future Imperator escape on the last space-ship off their world. It’s very Superman, and I can only imagine that’s deliberate.
In the present, a bound Strange and the Imperator exchange final words about who is the real abomination before the Imperator continues eliminating all magic everywhere. After some interference by another magician, Strange and the last remaining magic users have one last chance to gather the final little nooks and crannies of magic and defeat the Empirikul.
At this point in the story it feels super hammered in that the Empirikul are supposed to be an unstoppable menace, and it really does feel like a bleak book. Adding to that is the lack of color from the magic-drained world, thanks to the Empirikul. However, there are still some neat panel layouts in this book, including one early on that “spins the camera” around a central point over a spread.
The beginning of a new arc, and thankfully, a new artist. The comic has the same color scheme, but now the art is a lot more high-contrast, allowing reds and whites to really pop out from the blacks and blues, and giving everything more defined outlines.
In this issue, Elektra returns to Hell’s Kitchen, and like everyone else, has forgotten that Matt Murdock and Daredevil are one in the same. That Matt made everyone forget, by the way, is once again discussed, but the how is not revealed. Also, for reasons revealed at the end of the issue, Elektra wants to kill Daredevil, again.
Matt’s inner monologue is one of the more interesting parts of this issue, even during the scenes where he’s out of costume with Elektra, thinking to himself about both how seductive, and how dangerous he is. That isn’t to say the extended fight scene running through this issue doesn’t carry its weight as an action scene, but it feels hampered by not revealing the reasons for why these characters are fighting.
Ms. Marvel #6
Ms. Marvel is overwhelmed trying to stop an army of mindless clones of herself, including one giant one, from destroying the city, and Bruno accidently made things worse by creating a giant T-Rex to help her with the clones, that is now also rampaging through the city. And then Loki and Captain Marvel get involved.
This book is insane, and insanely fun. The solution to the issue’s overwhelming problem could be seen as a deus ex machina, but really serves to help Kamala learn important hero/life balance lessons, and even manages to give a knowing wink to the approaching Civil War II. Funny, Action-packed, and heartfelt; Ms. Marvel is of the best books Marvel still has on-going, and still one of the freshest.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #6
After her first long night out with Devil Dinosaur, Lunella has to adjust to trying to be normal again for school. That is, until her mother finds out about her late night escapade, and the Killer-Folk come looking for a sacrifice. With nothing left to hide, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur finally go after the Killer-Folk and the omni-wave projector.
We’ve finally reached the last part of this first arc, and it ends on some touching, exciting, and even sad notes. The cliffhanger for the next arc packs an emotional punch and legitimately makes you question the future of these characters.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is big fun, touching, and a perfect book for readers of all ages.
Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #5
Hellcat and Valkyrie have to escape from Casiolena’s trap before she something something evil plan; and also She-Hulk is trying to fight Patsy’s case for the rights to her mother’s books about her.
The way this one resolves will be familiar to readers of this series or stuff like Squirrel Girl, but still manages to throw some funny little wrinkles into the mix. Patsy and the supporting cast continue to be as charming as they’ve ever been, and same goes for the cute and colorful art. The entire book is light and fluffy, which I enjoy; but I can’t imagine anyone who needs real stakes in their books would feel the same way.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7
One of the more charming twitter based catch-up pages begins one of the most inventive issues of Squirrel Girl yet. Just as he’s already done with Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, Ryan North has turned Squirrel Girl into a choose-your-own-adventure story. And, considering this is still a normal sized single-issue, that he managed to do this at all, much less do such a great job with it, is a feat of comic storytelling in itself.
This choose-your-own-adventure story bounces between Squirrel Girl, and a special partner, as they work together to take down Swarm, the villain made entirely of bees. It manages to squeeze half-a-dozen endings, computer facts, bee facts, and fish facts, plus all the usual Squirrel Girl humor readers have come to expect all in a novel and really well executed construction.
You don’t have to read this book to appreciate its structure, and the skill needed to pull it off, but you’d be missing out on a hella good book if that’s the path you choose.
Pete’s life flashes before his eyes as he falls from a great height, and he wishes it didn’t suck so much. He’s still picked on at school, the press still hates Spider-Man, and Gwen Stacy is falling for the bully, Flash Thompson. Even getting hired by Norman Osborn to tutor his son, Harry, doesn’t help when he’s attacked by the Green Goblin, who seems to finally have outmaneuvered Spider-Man.
Spidey continues to be a great one-and-done series, catching Spider-Man at his platonic ideal. Peter is put-upon, but endlessly quippy and witty as Spider-Man. The art is colorful and dynamic. Spidey manages to nutshell 60-something years of Spider-Man into a single issue month after month.
The Amazing Spider-Man #11
Peter’s team around the world has worked out how to stop Scorpio and The Zodiac, but because Fury and Spidey destroyed all those satellites a few issues ago, they have no way of telling Spider-Man. And Scorpio is primed to unleash his final masterstroke to gain control of the future.
Like many of Dan Slott’s Spider-Man arcs, this one ends with everything tied up in a nice tidy bow, leaving just enough stuff to carry us into the next story. The villain gets really close to winning, Spider-Man makes some puns, and everything ends up relatively hunky-dory. ASM is nothing if not consistently funny and action-packed, a perfectly perfect Superhero book month in month out.
A Year of Marvels #1
I told myself I’d stop picking up these limited series, but this issue has Ryan North writing Spider-Man, so I couldn’t help myself.
The first story takes place on Valentine’s Day, and Peter Parker has a date. Then the ol’ Parker luck strikes and Spider-Man has to bring down the Vulture. This is an extended chase scene, with a joke per panel, most of them about the Vulture’s age. It’s a cute little story with a cute little ending, and feels like half an issue of Spidey. North doesn’t try anything out of the box, but he nails the basics of a short, fun Spider-Man story.
The second story has Scott Lang trying to steal back a phone for a girl who lost it to some rich bros over spring break. It’s an ok tale, with a predictable twist, but it feels like it might be missing a page that would tie up a couple loose ends. The weaker half of the book, but not bad if you just consider it a bonus to the first half.
But because this single issue is $4.99, I can’t just consider it a book-with-a-bonus, and unless they get another great writer-character pair-up in the future, I probably won’t be picking the rest of these up.