Reviews in Brief (7/16 to 7/30 – 2014)

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 | All-New Ghost Rider #5 | Hawkeye #19
Ms. Marvel #6She-Hulk #6Storm #1 | The Wicked + The Divine #2

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (released October 1964)
Amazing_Spider-Man_Annual_Vol_1_1The first appearance of the Sinister Six is something of a disappointment. The issue feels hastily written and is crammed with pointless cameos of other Marvel heroes as an excuse to advertise their books. The individual encounters with the six classic super-villains are hurried and not very memorable (except perhaps for Dr. Octopus trapping Spidey in a giant fishbowl in order to fight him “like a real Octopus would!”) and a couple (like the Sandman encounter), don’t even make sense! On the other hand, the issue has a lot of one-off gags that are great (like JJJ talking to a spider), and features the first meeting of the amorous Doc Ock and Aunt May, who immediately take a shine for each other.

Ditko’s art is serviceable, but hurried in places and not demonstrative of his real skill.

All-New Ghost Rider #5 (released July 30, 2014)
All-New-GH-5This series is cretinous. Awful. A stereotypical uber-violent representation of barrio life in East L.A. that is not quite as offensive as it is uninspired. How about instead of gang-banging cholos who shoot up neighborhoods with machine guns and sell drugs, an occult-inspired supernatural superhero story in a Chicano community? How about taking a page from Xaime Hernandez’s Locas and adding a demonic superhero flourish, instead of copying every shitty movie about these communities? It’s bullshit and the art is wack.

Hawkeye #19 (released July 30, 2014)
Hawkeye19This series has lost much of the spark of its early one-and-done stories. The momentum has been lost in the elongation of a multi-part story that is exacerbated by its spotty printing schedule. I was really confused a to what was going on in this issue b/c it had been so long since #18. Visually this comic is still fantastic, and whether it is the amazingly talented Aja or Wu doing the penciling, Hollingsworth’s colors are really what makes it have a visual continuity that shines.

Ms. Marvel Vol 3, #6 (released July 16, 2014)
msmarvel6And then Wolverine arrives, destroying my abiity to maintain the illusion that this series exists in a pocket ancillary to the Marvel Universe. It just feels too early for a team-up, even if the meta-discussion regarding fanfic and role-playing games is a nice touch. It is just that it is goddamn Wolverine – that guy is everywhere. A near-religious vision of the Avengers is one thing, but running around in the sewers with Logan is another.

Still, even with Wolverine being there, the comic was still fun and mostly focused on her teenaged conflicts with her family and community. I like it.

There is a fill-in artist for this issue, who did a good job, but I hope we get Alphona back soon, as his art has the right ambiance.

She-Hulk Vol 3, #6 (released July 16, 2014)
shehulk6I like the story. I like the inclusion of b and c-list heroes like Nightwatch, Hellcat and Tigra. I just don’t like Wimberly’s art for this title (as much as I usually like it). I find it very distracting and a little too unfamiliar for these characters. Please please please, let’s get Pulido back

Storm #1 (released July 23, 2014)
stormThe art felt like a mixed bag. The establishing shots were nice, but something felt off about some of the faces and figures – though others did a good job of humanizing the “regular ole island folk.” As for the story, a good first step in exploring race and community in the X-Universe and Storm’s engagement with them, and I appreciate the one and done kind of story – though the resolution of the anti-mutant island govt felt like a cop-out – would love to see this comic tackle the intersectionality of identity politics.

The Wicked + The Divine #2 (released July 16, 2014)
TheWickedAndDivine_02-1I picked the particular variant cover of TWTD #2 because the woman on the cover looks like old school Dazzler, and I love old school disco Dazzler. Issue #2 felt like a lot of talking heads and a lot of padding (something that was an occasional problem with Gillen & McKelvie’s Young Avengers), like the whole issue was really the first half of a real issue. Four pages of a thin column of white text on black background over the image of a tunne may convey the “underground-ness” of the setting, but mostly seems lazy.  Then again, this comic is about its titular wicked and divine characters and I am interested in knowing more about them, what they’ve done, what they’re doing, the connection (if any) between their incarnations separated by 90 years. I am interested in this very authentic feeling cult of personality around them. I am less interested in Gillen’s textual self-admitted wank off appendices about music. I’ll keep buying this title for now.

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