Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 4/27/16

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega 1, All-New Wolverine 7, Amazing Spider-Man 11, Daredevil 6, Ms. Marvel 6, Old Man Logan 5, Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat 5, Spider-Woman 6, Ultimates 6, and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 7.

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Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega 1

Avengers Standoff Assault On Pleasant Hill Omega 1Patrick: There’s a weird parallel between the impossibly powerful little girl, Kobik, and the creative Powers That Be throughout the Standoff storyline, but it’s never quite so frustrating as it is in his final issue. Nick Spencer’s script does a great job of knocking down all the dominoes set up by previous issues of Uncanny Avengers and Sam Wilson: Captain America, but it’s a strange tick of the medium that forces the same installment to address the battle and the fallout therefrom.

Spencer is in his element writing this mega-ensemble has they save Pleasant Hill from Baron Zemo. I love the way he zeroes in on individual personalities and even on the personalities of little sub-groups under the greater “Avengers” banner. It shows a stunning command of character voices and perspectives and delivers some of the most earned and genuine character comedy beats you’re likely to read in comics. Artists Daniel Acuna and Angel Unzueta keep up with Spencer’s character-specific comedy during the rescue portion of this mission, which plays out in my favorite sequence in the whole issue.

avengers resuce the citizens of Pleasant Hill

It’s a beautiful set of panels that trades on our knowledge of these characters, graphically depicting their powers without explaining any of it with text. In fact, the text here is intentionally distracting us from the wordless action in the background as Quicksilver, Vision and Doctor Voodoo all save people in their own, very specific ways.

But then comes the grand re-shuffling of characters, and the establishment of the new status quo. Perhaps “statuses quo” would be more accurate, as the last dozen or so pages address new normals for the office of Captain America, Maria Hill’s role in S.H.I.E.L.D., Quasar, Winter Soldier, and Red Skull. It’s clean-up that just goes on too long to be meaningful, and turns what starts off as a sleek fun volume into something of a supermess.

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All-New Wolverine 7

All-New Wolverine 7Drew: What kind of expectations do you have of All-New Wolverine? After six issues of slick badassery, I was ready to pin down the specific tone of this series — I hesitate to call it “pigeonholing,” mostly because I was actually quite fond of that tone, but I had definitely narrowed my expectations of what I presumed the series to be. Issue 7 upsets those expectations in the best way possible, demonstrating a heart and a sense of humor I didn’t know this series — or its titular character — had.

The humor mostly comes by way of this issue’s guest star: the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, who arrives to force Laura to repair some squirrel-related collateral damage from issue 3. Squirrel Girl is the perfect character for irreverent team-up issues, but writer Tom Taylor manages to find a staggering amount of thematic resonance in the most unexpected places. Much of that — the heart I mentioned — comes from Laura’s relationship to Gabby: Laura leaving Gabby behind evokes memories of Logan leaving Laura behind; a captured squirrel in a box evokes memories of Laura being kept in a cage; and a pep-talk from SG reminds Laura of the importance of family. By the end of the issue, Laura has resolved to taking on Gabby as a partner of sorts — a meaningful change of attitude that springs from a story about rescuing a squirrel from a shoebox.

Much of the tonal range in this issue is owed to artist Marcio Takara, who seems just as comfortable with humor as emotional truth.

Memories

Takara’s style is undoubtedly looser than David Lopez’s prior work on the series, but that looseness seems to benefit both ends of the tonal spectrum here. The back of the issue teases that “the road to Civil War II begins with All-New Wolverine 8” — a prospect that might normally fill me with dread. After an issue like this, though, I’m confident that this series will remain true to Laura, no matter who or what crosses over into the story.

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Amazing Spider-Man 11

Amazing Spider-Man 11Spencer: Comic fans aren’t exactly known for their patience; spoilers are such a big problem in the comics community because we so often seem more interested in finding out what happens than in digging into how those events play out and what they mean. A few of the more aggressive fans even seek to use this knowledge of future stories as a weapon, either to ruin other readers’ experiences or to lord their “superior knowledge” over others.

I couldn’t help but think of these “fans” while reading Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Amazing Spider-Man 11. Scorpio’s ultimate goal is finally revealed, and it turns out he’s been trying to unlock a power source that will give him knowledge of the upcoming year. While this source is implied to fill Scorpio in on everything that will happen for an entire year, though, Slott focuses solely on upcoming events that will affect Spider-Man’s life (or, more importantly, on events that will affect upcoming issues of Amazing Spider-Man).

the future

Slott’s ability to seed plots sometimes years in advance has always been one of his greatest strengths as a writer, so it’s no surprise that he takes this opportunity to wet fans’ appetites for the next year or so of issues to come. It’s important to remember the context these facts are presented in, though; in the hands of Scorpio, they’re dangerous, not exciting. Slott seems to be saying that the future can be an exciting thing, but that we’re best off taking it as it comes; trying to see the future (whether in the form of visions or spoilers) just creates an opportunity to ruin things for everyone. It’s an interesting message to base this finale around, albeit not entirely unsurprising (Slott’s hatred for spoilers and previews — and blood-feud with Bleeding Cool — is well documented); if nothing else, it provides an unique hook to hang this somewhat standard, if still incredibly entertaining, issue upon.

slim-banner4Daredevil 6

Daredevil 6Michael: Seasoned comic book readers such as ourselves know that reboots, reversals and of course retcons are a common practice for the Big Two – the quality of those changes lies in the execution. Charles Soule has brought Daredevil back to his New York roots and put the genie back in the bottle as far as Matt Murdock’s secret identity is concerned. While past issues have given hints and mentions of Matt’s “mind altering,” Daredevil 6 is the first issue to make that a prominent part of the plot.

What I’m enjoying is that Soule is not giving us a full exposition-dump reveal of how Matt managed to make everyone forget his identity; not yet at least. Instead we get to live in the moment with Matt as he meets with Elektra as both Matt Murdock and Daredevil – unsure if she remembers his identity or not. The ever-mysterious Elektra is the perfect character to throw at Matt for this kind of test. Soule explores Elektra’s calculated charms and mystique through the analytical “gaze” of Matt’s sensory observations. It’s a cool moment that explains the appeal of Elektra as a character while in a way arguing that the she can only ever be a character – not a real person.

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I’d say that Matteo Buffagni’s art is a little more traditionally “comic booky” than predecessor Ron Garney’s, but it’s not necessarily a jarring transition as Buffagni carries on the color palette aesthetic that this series has had. I haven’t gotten to say this on record yet, but I really dig Daredevil’s black duds with a touch of red here and there. It’s DAMN COOL. Buffagni also seems to zero in on the visuals of Daredevil’s perception of the action of the fight with radar pinging from the various points of contact. Daredevil 6 reveals that Elektra believes that Daredevil has kidnapped her daughter – if she actually has a daughter, or how old said daughter is, I cannot say. What I can assure you of is that Elektra is probably not a great mother.

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Ms. Marvel 6Ryan M.: The reason that Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ is a staple of  middle school syllabi is that it’s an accessible expression of an universal experience. Life is a series of choices, and you can’t take all the roads at once. There is literally not enough time to fulfill all the possibilities. People love to complain about being busy and stressed out, but most of that stress is a direct result of chosen priorities. In the latest arc of Ms. Marvel, Kamala’s decision to not make those choices results in a Dinosaur vs Giant Clone showdown. Ms. Marvel 6 closes the arc with an action and cameo filled climax. Captain Marvel and Iron Man come to Jersey City to help with Kamala’s mess and offer some helpful advice. In my favorite moment of the arc, Iron Man gives Kamala a metal embrace.

thanks iron man

While there is a clear moral to this arc, G. Willow Wilson elevates the ending beyond a facile “state your lesson” format. Wilson lets both Captain Marvel and Iron Man function as empathetic and supportive mentors who enable Kamala to define her priorities. In addition to the awkwardness of Iron Man’s hug, Nico Leon adds a sense of levity to the entire issue. The issue ends with Aamir’s wedding and the sweet joy of the scene was a pleasure. I guess all you need to get your mess of a life straightened out is Google Calendars and a hug from Iron Man. <The More You Know!>

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Old Man Logan 5Drew: I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife or any of the Twilight books, but both completely ick me out over the notion of a grown man meeting his wife as a young child. Maybe it’s possible to play that in a non-lecherous way, but even the hint of “one day, I’m going to marry this toddler” is too much for me. Which is exactly where Old Man Logan 5 loses me.

The issue opens with Logan opting to take a break from the X-Men for decidedly vague reasons. It’s easy enough to chalk up his decision as loner wanderlust until we realize why he actually made a point of coming to this remote Canadian town: to meet and protect the young girl who would eventually become his wife. It’s clear enough that he’s not intending to marry her in this timeline, but he’s still taking on an active role in her life because of his love for her. That is, the love for who is now a child. Paternalism is a characteristic that has come to be an important part of Logan over the years, but it’s super gross when applied to a person you know only as your wife.

But maybe my discomfort with this material is clouding my judgement. As I mention, there’s no hint of romance in Logan’s interactions with young Maureen, but intercutting her introduction with their meet-cute in his timeline makes enough of a connection to make me squirm. There’s no doubt that protecting Maureen gives Logan a motivation he hasn’t had since his family was killed, but it also opens up a can of worms that might have been better left on the shelf.

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Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat 5Shelby: I’ve been playing an obscene amount of Dragon Age lately. The underlying political situation of the game is mages versus templars; the mages are all considered dangerous because their magic attracts demons, so they’re forced to submit to the will of the templars, there to keep them under control. It’s an interesting conflict, because both sides have valid points, but the part that came to mind as I read the latest issue of Patsy Walker… was that the mages are assumed guilty, regardless if they’re actually guilty, innocent, or otherwise. Patsy obviously doesn’t subscribe to that mentality; remember how she met her roommate when she busted him for robbing an armored car?

As Jen tries to placate Hedy, she gets word of Patsy’s predicament via Ian and Tom. Meanwhile, Casiolena tries to taunt Patsy and Valkyrie with visions of her minions wrecking the city, but it’s short-lived; She-Hulk and crew bust in, and Poppo reveals he called them in. Turns out, he’s not a bad guy, he just works for one, and is more than a little sick of it. They take out Casiolena fairly easily; her team of disenfranchised millenials was already handled by She-Hulk en route.

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Jeez, this book is charming. Patsy’s faith in those around her inspiring. Casiolena is an old-fashioned villain, with a black and white view of the world; there’s good guys and bad guys, and you’re either one or the other. Patsy knows there are people who are just plain evil, but she also knows there are a lot more people who are just…people. They mostly do good, but sometimes they make mistakes, and they deserve a chance to redeem themselves. In Patsy’s eyes, even when people are technically guilty, they don’t deserve to be treated poorly for it. It fits in perfectly with her desire to open a superpowered temp agency; she’s not looking for A Team of Heroes to Save the World, she’s looking for people who just want to continue being people; it’s a refreshingly hopeful outlook that’s seen all too rarely lately.

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Spider-Woman 6

Spider-Woman 6Patrick: With last week’s exploration of Cindy Moon’s alternate life on Earth-65 and this week’s Spider-Woman 6, Spider-Women has turned into something of a hall of mirrors for our non-Gwen characters. We get to see their own values reflected back to them in strange, distorted ways and then we can see how they react to those distortions. Jessica Drew turns on the superspy to get to the bottom of how her Earth-65 counterpart might be involved in her own interdimensional misplacement. Dennis Hopeless writes Jessica as almost unflappable – she’s not thrown by meeting the woman at her own house that doesn’t look anything like her, and see seems even less thrown to discover that this version of her is a man – Jesse Drew. She processes with a quick “His. Bingo.” All of her problem solving from that point forward is frighteningly competent and efficient. She knows that Jesse’s a spy, she knows how to access his gun study, etc. But it’s not until the Drew kids come home from school that Jessica recognizes something else: for whatever other differences she can spot, there’s the constant of parenthood that binds these two families. It’s sort of astounding that Hopeless is able to steer this issue back to the series’ own pet themes while advancing the over all story of Spider-Women, but he does and it’s both graceful and emotionally honest.

The issue ends with our Women back on… are we still calling it Earth 616? Let’s say it is. Jessica taps out of the adventure so she can connect with her baby after being gone for three days, leaving Cindy and Gwen to investigate this side of the dimensional portal. But that “To be continued in Spider-Gwen #8″ at the end of the issue does tease the idea that maybe it’s time to explore Gwen’s alternate universe life. It’s a what-if story in reverse! I’m obviously getting ahead of myself – we’ll discuss Gwen next time.

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Ultimates 6

Ultimates 6Spencer: In yesterday’s discussion of Batman 51, Drew mentioned that the issue seemed custom-written for Retcon Punch. I feel the same way about Al Ewing and Christian Ward’s The Ultimates 6; it’s an issue rife with subtext and metatext, and that’s about as “Retcon Punch” as an issue can get.

On paper, The Ultimates 6 is about the very elemental forces of the universe themselves seeking to revert Galactus back to his planet-eating ways (instead of his new life-bringing persona the Ultimates helped him take on), but this conflict also serves as commentary on the state of change and progress at Marvel and DC comics. After all, the Lords of Chaos and Order’s complaints against Galactus sound awfully familiar to the complaints many make about comics attempting to become more inclusive and progressive.

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status quo

Master Order takes this change in Galactus as a threat to the status quo instead of what it is: a chance to improve it. Sure, he claims that “one day” it will be the time for change, but he gives no hints as to when that time will actually be, and likely would do everything in his power to make sure that day never comes. This echoes complaints from comic fans and creators alike about books that attempt to do something different, be it through the diversity of their cast or by resisting traditional superhero tropes and techniques.

With so much pushback, sometimes the task of trying to bring about change, or trying to do something new, can seem absolutely Sisyphusian. But Molecule Man argues that, no matter how impossible change seems, that no matter how many unique ideas seem to immediately revert back to the status quo at the first possible opportunity, that change is not a lost cause. The rock may roll back to the bottom, but that’s ultimately not where it’s meant to be, and someday, we’ll get that rock up that mountain if we just try hard enough.

Change is hard, no matter whether you’re a reformed planet-eater or a concerned creator trying to elevate your favorite medium, but it’s not impossible, and it’s always worth pursuing.

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 7

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 7Taylor: One of my favorite memories of grade school was when the Scholastic book fair came to town. Those steel cases full of books aimed at my age group promised an endless amount of entertainment and since they were books, usually my parents were happy to oblige my desire to binge. Much to my parents chagrin, however, I often bought “Choose Your Own Adventure” books rather than anything resembling traditional “literature” Their educational merit aside, I really enjoyed these and you get the idea that Ryan North did too in issue 7 of Squirrel Girl. 

The choose-your-own-adventure of this issue  takes place during a normal day for Doreen. Out at the farmer’s market while taking a break from her studies, Doreen soon enters into a battle with Swarm, a villain made entirely out of bees. Throughout the issue, the reader gets to choose what Doreen does to try and defeat Swarm and most end in typically funny ways. In particular, my favorite way the issue ends is with Doreen simply going back to her studies and forgetting to eat and dying. Just as when I was a kid, when my adventure prematurely came to end I would backtrack and make different choices earlier in the issue until I got the outcome I desired. At the end of one story strand, North is there to head me off at the pass.

I think I've seen this page before.

Knowing that of course I’ll go back to try out a different story strand North assures me he won’t tell. It’s a funny acknowledgment of something nearly every kid growing up in the 90s recognizes. That I get the since North has been there too makes the joke all the more welcoming. Ultimately I think that’s why this issue works where it could have easily fallen flat as a gimmick. It’s clear that North loves the premise of a choose-your-own-adventure book (he is also authoring a version Romeo and Juliet with the same premise) so this issue never feels like a shallow attempt at humor. Instead it comes across as a genuine devotion to a book genre that is as goofy as it is actually fun.

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The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?

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18 comments on “Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 4/27/16

    • Last weekend i had the chance to play Dragon Age:Inquisition after a year almost, and just like the last time i played the time dissapeared doing only sidequests and exploring, to the point that i almost forgot to eat,it was unbelievable.
      Why the experience?, because that lose of time as a way to qualify art is as good as any i think,just like with Vision or Ms Marvel, for totally different reasons you don´t want leave their world behind,you always feel there is more to do,details you didn´t see the 1st time,new meanings to get or, plain and simple you want to relive the feelings again.

      • That’s why the ‘Turn your brain off’ crowd is so stupid. Because great art is all about totally engaging you brain to the point where you are utterly engaged with the Vision’s suburban nightmare, or with Ms Marvel’s quirky New Jersey, or the grand lands of Thedas or a hundred other worlds.

        And Dragon Age Inquisition is great. Recently, I got round to playing the DLC for Inquisition, which reminded me just how great exploring the world was. I especially loved the Descent, with its amazing vistas and this sense of continuously going downwards, deeper and deeper into the unknown

        • which brings a point: to trap me that way you have to create characters i´m interested in,be to explore a rich world or to tell a great story,or,ideally, both. Hilariously enough, i discovered that recently watching Saint Seiya´s 3d animated movie,because i´m a huge fan of the anime but HATED with passion the movie,not because the script cut so much that stop making sense(the series didn´t either) but because these version of Seiya and co. were horrible,and when i stopped caring the action and nice effects stopped being enjoyable to become a chore.
          It´s the same with any Dragon Age,all Mass Effect, Final Fantasy IX,comics,movies,whatever,the story could be cheesy or dump,but give me a world i want to explore and people i want to be with and i will go through hell for you.
          Of course, characters could be vehicles for a good story/experience like in horror,but they mostly feel hollow or tiresome later,like GTA or TES or,sadly,most movies today

        • I feel you are being a bit too harsh on movies today, as we are currently in a fantastic time for movies. You just need to pay attention. Things like Snowpiercer, Gone Girl, Ex Machina, Mad Max, Nightcrawler, Grand Budapest Hotel, Carol, the Big Short and so many other stuff is being made, and so much of it is really good. Yeah, if you focus on the biggest titles, you end up watching Transformers, Amazing Spiderman and Batman v Superman, but there are so many more really great movies that are available if you go deeper than just the big blockbusters.

          Some of my most anticipated movies at the moment include the VVitch, High Rise, the Nice Guys, and so many other smaller stuff that often get ignored.

          But that’s the thing. The most important thing is engaging us and transporting us into their stories. That is what makes art great

        • Apparently my fiance and I were the only two people on the planet that liked Batman v Superman.

          And Gone Girl was without doubt one of the worst movies of the 21st century and it’s not even worth debating. One of the few movies that I laughed at and through constantly for it’s terribly writing, acting, and plot. I will give it credit for one thing: It went from ‘holy shit this is boring’ to ‘holy shit this is stupid’ faster than any movie I can recall.

          Mad Max was Avatar in the desert. I couldn’t wait for it to end, either. Stunningly boring for all the visual splendor. It should have been a silent film because the words were just bad. But it was pretty. I couldn’t believe people actually liked it.

          I did like Ex Machina and Grand Budapest Hotel quite a bit, though. I was actually excited for the Ex Machina folks that they won an Oscar.

        • You are so, so wrong about Gone Girl. So utterly wrong, it isn’t worth debating. Horror movie/supervillain origin disguised as something much more ordinary, that constantly feels filthy like you are infected for watching it, constantly inverts your sympathies of the characters while never forgetting just how bad the characters are and perfectly shows the simple story of a relationship just eroding even as it reaches operatic heights that the best superhero stories would be jealous of. Rosamund Pike makes one of the all time great female villains, and Ben Affleck finds the balance between charm and actual unlikableness that is needed. Neil Patrick Harris manages to be creepy with even the most intentionally banal lines. The soundtrack is amazing, creepy as hell but with this oceanic quality that seems to draw you into the filth of the movie. An act of tonal mastery and I love it.

          And Mad Max Fury Road is also amazing. a story told almost entirely through action. Every character is developed, even those who would could easily have been living MacGuffins, and endlessly cinematic. Full of thematic strength and ideas even with its madcap imagination, and I can’t think of a movie it is more different to than Avatar. Where Avatar is utterly generic in every way (even its beauty is undercut with utterly terrible cinematography choices designed to make things look unimpressive), Fury Road is inventive, with something it truly wants to say and a wish to thrill you unlike any other movie. Mad Max is Pure Cinema, the sort of thing that rightfully becomes an instant classis. There is a reason why literally everyone else loved it

          Ex Machina deserved more recognition that what it got. Awesome that it got Best Special Effects (and best actress, because trust me when I say people did not vote for Vikander because of her performance in the Danish Girl), but a really great film. And Grand Bupapest Hotel is a wonderful ode to the importance of quirk and fun, even in a dark world.

        • We must have watched different Gone Girls. Watching Neil Patrick Harris in that movie was like watching Tobey Maguire strut his evil black suit walk in Spider-Man 3. NPH has a good life, but for the time he was on the screen, I actually felt bad for him.

          It had to have been different movies.

        • In all honesty, I would be interested in kaif’s actual reasoning. I was just repeating him for effect, but would love to hear actual reasons and debate it. I that kaif didn’t respond to the fact that many character’s acting was designed to make them feel off (because the characters are supposed to feel superficially ordinary even as they hide nasty interiors) and he obviously didn’t respond to the twist (though ultimately, I can’t see what other answer you could expect. The way the story was told, that was the only possible satisfying answer). If he’d give explained reasons, I would lvoe the chance to discuss it further

        • I really believe there is no point in discussing Gone Girl for the following reason:

          It was from long enough ago that I don’t remember scenes with enough specificity to discuss coherently and I hated it enough that I will never watch a second of it again, as I’d rather watch things I like. Every now and then if someone says it was good, I’ll say, “No, it sucked,” and drop it, but lots of people liked it and I honestly didn’t know how and, in spite others’ desire to discuss it, it’s not worth it because nobody who liked it could explain it to me to make me like it or appreciate it and the other way around as well.

          It was the only movie I’ve watched in a couple years that I found myself ridiculing during the theater. Before this thread, I had no idea that ANYONE liked it.

          Glad you liked it.

  1. All New Wolverine: Damn, this was good. The best thing is that despite Squirrel Girl turning up to force Laura to save a squirrel, the book never felt like Squirrel Girl story taking over. It felt like a natural Wolverine comic.

    And it is a beautiful little story about Laura learning from her father’s mistakes. A key theme about this book has always been that Laura is a better Wolverine than Logan. When Laura faces the same problems that Logan does, she chooses the better way. Back in issue one, it was exploring Laura as a hero, but with this issue, it is expandin the scope, to show how Laura is trying to be the best person possible. Whatever her past, and this issue makes clear that it is a horrible past, Laura wishes not to let it consume her, like it did her father. Instead, she will be better than what happened to her.

    This book continues to be something that should not be ignored. A hidden gem hiding some of the deepest character work under traditional storytelling

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    Ms Marvel: With the exception of the fact that the Loki stuff was meaningless (which is a shame, as hipster summoning circle was incredible), this issue was a fantastic conclusion to an arc I really didn’t enjoy. Throwing in a giant T-Rex was exactly the sort of insanity that fixed the sheer genericness of the story ideas before, and ‘Ms Marvel summons a Deus Ex Machina’ is actually the most mature conclusion to the story possible. Especially considering the clever idea to basically start Civil War early, framed as a custody battle.

    Captain Marvel is the perfect person to have save the day, as ultimately it fits the fact that Ms Marvel is ashamed of her inability to be the Avenger she wishes she was. And Captain Marvel then calling out Iron man for making her feel this way, and Iron man actually doing the thing he should have done at the start and simply explain that if Ms Marvel is ever too busy, all she has to do is say so, is perfect. In fact, as a guy who has complained again and again about Ms Marvel being an Avenger and how it doesn’t fit right and how the book is struggling with addressing her Avenger reality in any real way, it is amazing how perfect this is. Her existence as an Avenger doesn’t feel tacked on, but essential, and Willow gracefully deals with the character dynamics and spots the incredible potential of the fact that Captain Marvel isn’t an Avenger.

    And then it ends with the wedding, which is perfect. One of the amazing thigns abotu Ms Marvel is that it proves just how relatable you can make the events of cultures outside the norm. We get just how meaningful it is that both the bride and the groom dressed up in each other’s customs, and their wedding is more meaningful than so many other because of how culture has been used to truly show love.

    By far my favourite issue of the week, despite the fact I have had such issues with this book recently and the fact that an issue of Injection was released. Damn I loved this

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    Patsy Walker: Is it just me, or does Jessica Jones look off-model here? There are two very different models for Jessica Jones, between the original Alias comics and the show, but I feel that the fashion of this Jessica Jones matches neither. The final page cliffhanger doesn’t work right because the model doesn’t seem to match any Jessica Jones I’m familiar with. On the other hand, mentions about how well Jessica does against twitter trolls is perfect, considering some of the stuff that happens on the Jessica Jones twitter account.

    On the issue itself, I love how the superhero stuff resolves. There is probably something really clever to be said comparing it to Nick Spencer’s work, who often does a ‘superhero as a job’ thing. Building the superhero stuff round jobs, unemployment adn credit scores is fantastic, especially as it leads into the great moment where She-Hulk saves the day by offering Financial Aid.

    I feel the Hedy subplot seems to suffer from a weirdness around how they are treated Patsy’s identity. She isn’t exactly someone who is hiding the fact that she is Hellcat, so it feels like this story would be wildly different if She-Hulk said ‘Patsy was dead between dates X and Y. Among her rights as a resurrected person include Z, and therefore…’. Considering her death is a big reason for all of these issues, and considering Patsy isn’t trying to hide her life as Hellcat, the Hedy stuff feels like it is ignoring a big part of the story in the hopes of things not going off the rails.

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    Spiderwoman: Kill Bill style opening is much more to my taste than the Silk stuff last week, but that was a taste issue, and not a fatal flaw of the story. And honestly, even ignoring taste, ripping off Kill Bill is just a great idea. There is enough differences in the story (especially the fact that Ellen isn’t a badass) to have more to it than just Kill Bill, while using the structure of that sequence amazingly. Rising action interrupted by appearance of children is not only a strong sequence, but perfect for the themes of Spiderwomen.

    After we leave the Drew household, and that fantastic sequence, the story is basically just trying to move everyone back to 616 for the next half, but it does it well. I really enjoy the character dynamics of the three spiderwomen. Cindy as Gwen’s ‘friend she doesn’t actually like’, Jessica’s ‘I’m over 30, you’re all kids’ and Cindy’s immaturity around Jessica’s breast milk creates a fantastic relationship between everyone. And Jessica’s hero speech to Cindy was perfect. Effortlessly explores Cindy’s central conflict between her family and her life as a superhero without condescendingly suggesting Cindy needs to learn about being a superhero.

    And one last thing. Not only is the fashion of the characters, great, with all three spiderwomen wearing distinct looks that fit each of them and help provide personality, I love how they are drawn. Effort is placed not just on the clothes, but how they are worn. In particular, how Jessica’s jacket hangs on her is a highlight. This is a really good crossover.

    • Also Jess’ hero speech just being a diversion until the portal closed was a great gag – perfectly plays to my expectations of the genre and subverts them.

      It’s funny; I normally push back against a story where the protagonist isn’t invested in the central problem. Like, I need my hero to care about saving the world, or what’s the point? But Jessica DOES care about something, it’s just not what the other characters are worked up about. The spywork she does is incidental to her goal of “get back to baby.” I won’t suggest that Hopeless isn’t interested in participating in the Spider-Women crossover (because, come on, they’re all great books and it’s important that they’re all good), but I do like how strongly he snaps back to the themes unique to his own series.

      • Yeah. a great gag, but also one that works effortlessly as a thematic point and treating the character with respect.

        On the idea of the character needing to be invested in the central problem, I think the important thing is that they are invested in something, and that they need a strong motivation to do what they do. That’s where the problem usually is, but also why Jessica is so good here. She does have a really strong motivation for everything, and the joy is how it conflicts with the more traditional motivations of the other two

    • Spider-Woman is one of the best crossovers in recent memory. I’m half surprised/half not surprised, as I completely can’t get into the Spider-Gwen thing, Silk has been a pleasant surprise, but Spider-Woman is one of the comics of the year. And this mash-up has created maybe the best Spider-Story so far this year

      I’m not sure where it’s at in popularity overall, but I’m glad I’ve stuck with Spider-Jess and Spider-Cindy.

  2. reading this reminds that,beyond Civil War II,the mediatic noise of the MCU and the ridiculous number of series, Marvel is publishing,very quitely,a ton of great “middle class” books with up and coming teams, like ANW that immediately got my attention and hasn´t done anything more than improve since then, or the Spider-Women event that,aside an iffy 1st issue´s art,has been really great for all 3 series which were at least fun to begin with(Spider-Woman being much more than that),it´s been a cool surprise now that i´m getting into comics

    • Yeah, the creator-personality-driven titles have really been great and editorial seems to be giving creators a lot of room to tell their weird little stories however they want to tell them. I grumble a little bit above about the Standoff at Pleasant Hill for towing some editorial mandates, but like 90% of these books succeed or fail based on the strength of their own stories. I know they were both around before Secret Wars, but it really feels like Howard the Duck and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl are leading this charge – and it’s just so damn charming that any desire I have for bigger, universe-based storytelling goes away pretty quickly.

      And, if you want those kinds of interlocking stories, I guess there are still a bunch of options to choose from: we stopped reading most Avengers and X-Men titles, but we’re still hooked on Uncanny and All-New Inhumans (which is still so so weird, despite its deliberate world-building).

      But it’s cool to hear about your experience getting to comics! Happy to read your thoughts and your experiences!

      • I think Hawkeye is the point that really led the charge, and as time went on and on, more and more of the Marvel books have been allowed to follow in its path and blaze new and interesting trails. This stuff started long before Howard the Duck and Squirrel Girl, and Secret Wars just provided a great border between old and new Marvel. And new Marvel is really good, crappy Avengers titles aside (though I am tempted to give New Avengers another shot,)

        Also, I have to say I’m looking forward to Civil War II. I think the concept was a good one the first time, still is a good one, and therefore am willing to give it a chance. They messed it up big time last time, but I think that a properly done Civil War is something that should be attempted by the comics. Superhero stories are, at the end of the day, soap operas with punching, and so Civil War is the ultimate version of that. So let’s give Marvel the benefit of the doubt, and hope that this time they pull it off

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