Philosophy and Politics Laid Bare in Ms. Marvel 20

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Every character has a set of principles by which they live their lives. These can be made clear in daily actions or revealed in moments of crisis. Sometimes, a writer can just have the character lay it out. In Ms. Marvel 20, G. Willow Wilson give several of her characters a chance to share their philosophies directly, making it more a story of ideas than super-heroes.

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History Deepens in Doctor Strange 23

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The Marvel universe is as deep as the Mariana Trench, which is to say it’s practically bottomless. After more than fifty years of continuously pumping out serialized stories, it’s fair to say that no person knows everything about the Marvel universe no matter how much they’ve read. The breadth of its history gives writers a leg up when writing their stories: when you have deep pool to draw from it’s unlikely it will run dry any time soon. Even with the vastness of this narrative landscape, Doctor Strange stands out because it always hints at an even deeper world history beyond the Marvel pages. This is something Dennis Hopeless knows and uses to his great advantage in Doctor Strange 21.

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Is the Lead Enough in Doctor Aphra 9?

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When Doctor Chelli Aphra came onto the pages of Star Wars comics, the character intrigued me. Anyone who can be Vader’s servant and still walk out alive must be a worthwhile addition to the universe, and her rivalry with Leia in the “Rebel Jail” storyline cemented her for me as one to watch. But as we move through her solo title, I’m beginning to wonder how much faith is being placed in her character to carry this series without other big name-stays in the SW canon. Continue reading

Astonishing X-Men 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson & Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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Taylor: About a month ago, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA  championship with ease. So easy was their win, in fact, that many pundits are calling them a super team that practically has the next several championships already won. It’s tempting to think that building such a dominant team is the result of careful planning and deep pockets. In actuality, what brought so many talented players together was a series of fluke accidents and coincidental timing that amount to little more than dumb luck. In much the same way, another super team is also being built, albeit this one on the pages of Astonishing X-Men. That might sound like a haphazard way to build a team — maybe it is — but it’s also a refreshing take on the typical team-up concept.  Continue reading

Making the Set Up a Joy in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 22

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When you need to get a group of characters to a strange location in order for a story to begin, the first act can be a slog. A savvy reader knows that all is not likely what it seems. Therefore, when a character gets a letter from an uncle they never met or when our heroes win a vague contest which offers a trip to a mysterious place as a prize, it can feel like a stall before the real story begins. Ryan North and Erica Henderson are able to avoid those pitfalls in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 22 by capitalizing on humanity’s love for dinosaurs. Continue reading

Killing Has Consequences in Deadpool 33

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli continue to propel Wade Wilson’s emotional journey forward in the face of all of the changes that Secret Empire has wrought. Deadpool 33 is bookended with Wade Wilson dealing with aspects of his Hydra-ruled life, but the substance of the issue comes in the form of a flashback. Continue reading

Exploring Thematic Connections to Secret Empire in Amazing Spider-Man 30

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The current arc of Amazing Spider-Man is a direct tie-in to Secret Empire, with its opening scene even taking place during the Free Comic Book Day issue and with Otto’s newfound might largely coming from Hydra resources. This story is ultimately more concerned with Peter and Otto’s battle for Parker Industries, but even there Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen are able to create spiritual and thematic connections to Secret Empire. Continue reading

Surprising Surprises in Rocket 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Rocket 3

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Any comics creator worth their salt understands that page turns are the most basic currency of comics storytelling. It’s built right into the format of the comic book — there are images that we can’t see that are suddenly revealed to us when we turn the page. There are certainly ways to surprise the reader within a page or spread, but none of those techniques are quite as inherent to the medium. Which means you can pack a lot of surprises into an issue by doing nothing other than leaning into the page turns. Page turns certainly aren’t the only technique Al Ewing and Adam Gorham rely on for surprises in Rocket 3, but they’re used so emphatically, it’s hard for those moments not to stand out. Continue reading

Jean Grey 4 Delivers a Puzzling Moral

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The best idea in Dennis Hopeless and Harvey Tolibao’s Jean Grey 4 is that the Odinson teaches via stories — quite often rambling, drunken ones. It’s an ingenius use of the character, exploiting both his greatest strengths and weaknesses, but unfortunately for an issue about teaching lessons, the moral never fully comes together. Continue reading

Jen is no Columbo in Hulk 8

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Most detective stories make sure you know just as much as the detectives. You discover clues along with them, and are with them as they figure out what it all means. Then, there is the Columbo-style of storytelling. That’s when the audience knows the “solution” to the mystery from the beginning. The pleasure of these stories is watching the detective start from zero and deduce motive, means, opportunity and identity of the criminal. In Hulk 8, Mariko Tamaki starts the reader with all of the information, but Jen’s investigation ends up feeling lifeless as a result.

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