Howard the Duck #9
This issue is just plain weird. Like, Howard the Duck has been weird since even before Zdarsky was writing him…but this is the weirdest comic I’ve read since All Star Section 8.
Howard helps real-life actor Lea Thompson discover who’s been kidnapping her and erasing her memory, and the duo fall into exactly where you think a story starring the actress from the infamous Howard the Duck movie. Lea also happens to be the aunt of Spider-Man character Flash Thompson. And everybody in the book is a fan of her, including Aunt May.
This book is hilarious and weird and a must read.
Steve Rogers: Captain America #3
Now that we’ve been reassured that Steve being Hydra is part of Red Skull’s plan, we can finally move on with the plot of the Agent of Hydra arc. And already we’re starting to see the seeds of the real, heroic Steve Rogers beginning to bloom.
In a post-ops chat with Red Skull, Steve Rogers reveals what happened during the mission in Bagalia after the cliffhanger in issue one, mainly how he and SHEILD escaped after almost causing an international incident.
The payoff at the end of this issue is fantastic, one of those – not a twist exactly – but a turn in the story that helps recontextualize everything going forward and gives us insight into Steve that reassures us that even under Hydra, he’s still on the side of angels.
Black Panther #4
Black Panther continues to be a comic about big ideas over plot, and I don’t think I mind anymore. This issue is pretty much a series of dialogues between characters discussing idealism vs. practicality, the role of a leader, and whether to sacrifice philosophy for action. The whole thing more closely resembles Plato than it does Stan Lee, and it’s carving an interesting niche in my pulllist because of it. Coates is one of our smartest and most eloquent writers, and his background as an essayist clearly shines through in his dialogue; and Stelfreeze manages to kill it on art despite not much actually happening.
At this point I’m sticking with Black Panther less because it’s an amazing comic book, and more because I like reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ work. That’s worth the $3.99 a month for me.
Ms. Marvel #9
Kamala comes to terms with the facts that Captain Marvel is undoubtedly on the wrong side of Civil War II when it hits her that she and her cadets are profiling people and unjustly jailing them for crimes they did not commit.
Along the way, this issue has a number of great character moments for Kamala and many of the supporting cast. And while her realization of the problem is sudden, the book shows us how Kamala actually coming around on the issue takes a lot longer.
I still find it admirable how this creative team is turning a crossover obligation into a real moment of character growth, and a better story than Civil War II itself.
Civil War II #4
Finally, at the end of issue four (really five), the Civil War actually starts. I really can’t say much more about this. Tony Stark and Carol Danvers have the same conversation for essentially the fourth time, this time with Carol storming out. Tony steals back somebody Carol was holding captive (again). And all the heroes meet on a rooftop prepared to punch each-other. Five issues to get where we should have been at the end of issue two by the latest.
On the bright side, there is some gorgeous art in the book, from a spread of Miles watching over Times Square, to the final spread of Carol calling in her calvary. And this issue isn’t as badly written or constructed as some of the previous ones – it just feels too many issues too late.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #9 and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10 are on my pull, but were unavailable at my local comic shop. I will pick up and review them as soon as they have them in.