Steve Rogers: Captain America #13
Rogers only appears in flashback in this issue, asking for forgiveness as he narrates over the day that Helmut’s father was killed by the Invaders during WWII. In the present, Helmut gathers some people to help him bring Steve’s plan to fruition.
Like many issues of Spencer’s sometimes over-complicated game what he’s made of this series, this one feels like he’s continuing to rearrange pieces on the board. The context to Rogers’ flashback isn’t given – and thus doesn’t inform the plot at all – until literally the final page of the issue, meaning even if you find it more entertaining than I did, it serves no real greater purpose to the story. Meanwhile, Helmut’s plotline is an extended montage of him approaching a number of supervillains, eventually to gather them all in a room together. His scene where he has a conversation with a man he seemingly kidnapped and tied to chair about the importance of family is cute in one of those affable-evil kind of ways, but is maybe too cute considering how easy it is to figure out where that conversation ends up.
Power Man and Iron Fist #14
PM, IF, and Senor Magico have been busy cleaning the streets of people infected by a new drug being peddled by Alex Wilder, whom adds demonic magic to his list of abilities, and is using it to produce said drug.
What I find most impressive about this issue is how it tells its part of a plot through two different perspectives: Wilder producing the drugs, and PM and IF trying to discover what the drug is made of; without repeating any information. The story flows from one perspective to the next and back again, not having to reestablish what we learn in one scene because it trusts us to know that whatever we know is already known to the other characters. Stuff like that gives the issue an economy of space that allows it to get through a lot of in-story time at a nice clip without having to resort to montage.
This issue, and the series overall, has also been really good about slowly introducing the audience, and PM and IF to the concepts of street-magic, largely through smart use of characters like Senor Magico and, in this issue, Doctor Voodoo. And just as PM, IF, and we seem to get an understanding of the stakes, and Wilder’s plans, the ever shifting nature of street-magic makes itself known again and raises those stakes to something that makes our heroes (Cage especially) even more uncomfortable.
Morris tries to recover his body from the ruins of the Brand tower, but his plans are interrupted by Lockjaw. He proceeds to possess the inhuman dog (or dog-shaped inhuman), and soon enough finds himself in New Attilan, surrounded by other inhumans.
If the first arc was about Morris losing his old life and finding himself, then this one seems to be starting at Morris finding a new family in the inhumans. Morris possessing Lockjaw provides a handful of very fun pages, as he never quite gets a handle on the mind and abilities of the indestructible teleporting dog, and is a slave to the pup’s instincts. But once he’s in New Attilan, things finally start to look up for Morris. He is taken in by Medusa and given his new name – Mosaic, should he choose to accept it. Johnny Storm also helps him figure out how to manifest a physical form once more. It’s a shame that Medusa doesn’t waste any time wrapping her new cousin up in a war…but that’s coming next issue.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #18
Squirrel Girl shows off her new flying-squirrel suit to Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi, and invites them to Melissa Morbeck’s house to get flying-suits of their own. Nancy comes along, too, and it doesn’t take her long to become suspicious that Melissa isn’t entirely the generous benefactor Doreen took her for.
The highlight of the issue for me the double-page, 24 panel spread of Nancy’s interrogation of Melissa where Doreen slowly comes to the conclusion that she’s a bad-guy; but the whole issue is exactly as strong as the series always is, starting with Squirrel Girl taking down a thug by dropping acorns on them, and ending with every animal breaking out of the Manhattan Zoo.
I feel like my reviews of this series might as well be “You know it’s good, as you should already be reading it,” because it’s just consistently that good.
Green Valley #6
With Bertwald gone, Ralphus and Gulliver retreat back to Green Valley, prepared to give Cyril the Wizard anything he asks of them in exchange for their lives and the lives of the villagers. Meanwhile, Bertwald appears in the year 2035, where a pair of…I wanna say Time-Cops…informs him that Cyril is in fact a time-travelling criminal, and that because of his reckless use of his time machine distorting the time-stream, they can’t go back to capture them himself, so it’s up to the Knights of Kelodia.
The first half of this issue is great at showing Ralphus and Gulliver at their lowest points, utterly defeated, with Gulliver drowning his sorrows while Ralph lashes out at the villagers and wishes that Cyril would take him out of his misery. The second half is where all the exposition comes in, and I really enjoy how well it establishes that Cyril isn’t some sort of mad genius, he’s just an idiot with a time-machine. And him being just an idiot is exactly what the series needed to provide a way for the knights to beat him. Bertwald returns to the past knowing that he’s not going up against a wizard, but just some dick with a fancy weapon.