Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 3/15/17

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 Captain America Sam Wilson 20, Daredevil 18, Mighty Thor 17, Ms. Marvel and Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat 16. Also, we’re discussing Amazing Spider-Man 25 today and we’ll be discussing Deadpool The Duck 5 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Best of 2016: Best Issues

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Episodic storytelling is the name of the game in monthly comics. Month- or even multi-year-long arcs are fine, but a series lives and dies by its individual chapters. From self-contained one-offs to issues that recontextualize their respective series, this year had a ton of great issues. Whittling down those issues to a list was no easy task (and we look forward to hearing how your lists differ in the comments), but we would gladly recommend any (and all) of these issues without hesitation. These are our top 10 issues of 2016. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 7

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Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Ms. Marvel 7, originally released May 25th, 2016.

Patrick: Y’know, for being one of them-there “Inhumans,” Kamala Kahn is not particularly well-suited for large-scale comic book crossovers. Her problems tend to be grounded in something so much more closely resembling reality than someone like Carol Danvers or Tony Stark or even Peter Parker. She’s not going into space, and if she is fighting some kind of superpowered evil, it’s more of a strain on her maxed-out high school schedule than it is a threat to her life. So I was a little taken aback when I saw that this issue was designated a “The Road to Civil War II” story, with all that self-serious branding on the cover. Luckily — and obviously, when you take a second to think about it — G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona understand what works about Ms. Marvel. Instead of delivering twenty pages of set-up, they craft a narrative that plays out — and subverts — the themes of Civil War in a friendly, emotionally honest way that’s true to their characters. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 19

Alternating Currents: Ms. Marvel 19, Ryan and DrewToday, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Ms. Marvel 19, originally released October 14th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check out our Marvel Round-Up.

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Ryan: As you may already know, Ms. Marvel is a delight to read. I, personally, have not had so much fun reading a comic since Vaughn’s Runaways, with all of its silly and earnest characterizations. The comic being discussed today features the same amount of oddball quirk and spirited dialogues, but also does not shy away from the heavier side of human emotions, making Ms. Marvel 19 a joyful kick to the gut. Though it may seem a little odd reading a Secret Wars tie-in dealing with the Incursion about five months since Hickman took us to Battleworld, the this issue offers a completely fresh, focused perspective on the cataclysmic event, wherein our titular character does not even don her tights. Instead of sweeping battle scenes, Wilson and Alphona treat audiences to a pay-off of inter-personal relationships and redemption in the face of confusion and helplessness. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 18

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Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Ms. Marvel 18, originally released September 9th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check back Tuesday for our Secret Wars Round-Up.

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Taylor: The old axiom says there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While I have my doubts that every person experiences grief in the exact same way as this, I do believe that most people go through something akin to this before arriving at the final stage of acceptance. When something truly traumatic happens it takes awhile for our brains to shift to the new reality of things. However, I think given time we all come to accept whatever bad thing it is that’s happened to us. Ms. Marvel 18 delves into this last stage of coping with grief and shows us that for everyone who undergoes it, it looks a little different.

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Ms. Marvel 16

ms marvel 16 swToday, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Ms. Marvel 16, originally released June 17th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, click here.

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Spencer: Being a teenager comes with a skewed sense of priorities. Every setback you face feels like the end of the world, even something as simple as failing a test or embarrassing yourself in front of your crush. As the superheroic Ms. Marvel, Kamala Kahn’s problems are often much more severe than the typical teenager’s, but even she sometimes needs a lesson in priorities — it’s just a shame that Kamala’s reminder takes the shape of the literal end of the world. If that sounds depressing, don’t worry — despite the heavier subject matter, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona never let Ms. Marvel 16 feel gloomy or depressing, instead focusing on the same mix of humor, heart, and adventure that’s made this title such a delight from the very start. Continue reading

Best of 2014: Best Series Part 2

Best of 2014: Best TitleWe all love a good one-off or anthology, but it’s the thrill of a series that keeps us coming back to our comic shop week-in, week-out. Whether it’s a decades-spanning ongoing or a short-run miniseries, serialized storytelling allows for bigger casts, bigger worlds, and bigger adventures. Indeed, we’re so enamored of serialization that we decided to split our favorite series list into two installments. Here’s part 2 our top 14 series of 2014 (click here for part 1).
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Ms. Marvel 10

ms marvel 10Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Ms. Marvel 10, originally released December 17th, 2014.
slim-bannerSpencer: Ms. Marvel is a revolutionary book in many ways. A title starring a Muslim young woman — and written by a Muslim woman as well — is remarkable enough in its own right, but it’s also notable how writer G. Willow Wilson has used the book, and the character of Kamala Khan, to address issues of identity in a way that any reader could relate to. That said, over the past few issues we here at Retcon Punch have often felt like Kamala’s primary foe, the Inventor, has been strangely unrelated to the themes that seem most important to the book. Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona fix that minor problem in Ms. Marvel 10 by positioning the Inventor as a stand-in for adults who prey on children or make them feel worthless, giving Kamala a new role as a defender of youth culture in the process. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 9

ms marvel 9Today, Suzanne and Taylor are discussing Ms. Marvel 9, originally released October 15, 2014.

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Suzanne: Ms. Marvel 9 introduces the subject of having a heritage that you don’t necessarily connect to. Who hasn’t gone through that at some point as a teenager? We’ve all been there, usually in less dramatic fashion than Kamala’s trip to New Attilan. For some teens, it looks like telling your dad you don’t want to go to med school like he did. For Kamala, this essentially expands on her feelings of difference and being an outsider as a Pakistani American. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 4

ms marvel 4Today, Suzanne and Drew are discussing Ms. Marvel 4, originally released May 28th, 2014.

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“What’s Ms. Marvel supposed to look like?”

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Suzanne: It’s easy to get wrapped into other people’s expectations of you. Subtle messages and feedback from friends and strangers can inadvertently contribute to your sense of self. I’m reminded of this every time I walk into a comic book shop with my husband. The (male) store clerks start up a conversation with him and barely acknowledge my presence. Little do they know that he’s just keeping me company and doesn’t even read comics. So what is a comic book nerd supposed to look like? Would most people even consider women a part of the general readership? Stereotypes like the balding, Caucasian comic shop owner and socially awkward fans like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory are still common in pop culture. Continue reading