Brief reviews of comics that came out between November 4 and November 18, 2015, with a handful of outliers from before this range of dates.
All-New All Different Avengers (released11/11)
Writing: Mark Waid
Art: Adam Kubert; w/colors by Sonia Oback
meh. I gave this a chance because it was well-reviewed and Mark Waid is writing it, and because I want to see Miles Morales and Kamala Khan fighting bad guys together, but Nova is kind of an annoying character, and Tony Stark’s schtick is old. It feels kind of like a teen book, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but maybe it is just not for me. I’ll flip through the next issue before I decide if I should drop it. If the cover price stays at $4.99 then I will definitely drop it.
Ms. Marvel vol. 4, #1 (released 11/18)
Writing: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Takashi Miyazawa (pg 1-21), Adrian Alphona (pg 21-30); colors by Ian Herring.
Kamala is back and while I am leery of her being too wrapped up in greater Marvel universe stuff, like being an Avenger, Jersey City and her specific community seems to still be the focus of her own series. Her latest foe is gentrification itself! Well, if gentrifiers had electric batons and robot wasps that attack suspected loiterers. Ms. Marvel is also dealing with her new-found fame and her inability to control her public image, and her normal teenage drama. Very Spider-Man for the new century. I love it. I do have a stronger preference for Alphona’s art, but Miyazawa does a decent job filling in the gaps when Alphona is not around, and Herring’s excellent coloring gives the different art a sense of continuity
Paper Girls #1 (released 10/7)
Writing: Brian K. Vaughan
Art:Cliff Chiang, w/ Matt Wilson on colors.
Yes! At this point Brian K. Vaughan is my go-to non-Big Two comics writer. From Y the Last Man to SAGA to Private Eye, and even Ex Machina (though I found its political nihilism depressing) I love just about everything he writes (Pride of Baghdad, I just don’t get the appeal of). And he always teams up with top notch art talent. Paper Girls is no exception. I was drawn into its world of suburban paper delivery girls in the 80s right away. It reminds of me of a gender-swapped 80s Spielberg or that rash of films like The Goonies or Voyagers, that tried to cash in on that E.T. kid/early teen money, but with a foul mouth (so maybe more akin to J.J, Abrams throwback,Super 8) and a sense of the peril of being a girl in a world of entitled men and boys, and apparently also alien dudes from the future. Chiang’s art is clean and cinematic, and Matt Wilson’s colors are perfect. This might be my new favorite. We’ll see.
Sam Wilson: Captain America #3 (released 11/18)
Writing: Nick Spencer
Art: Daniel Acuña w/Mke Choi
First of all, if you haven’t you should read “The Captain White America Needs” about Sam Wilson: Captain America #1 and #2. Issue three is a departure from those first two issues in that chasing down the lead from the fake Sons of the Serpent brings Sam to a Dr. Malus who has Spider-Man symbiote-like powers after having been eaten and then excreted out of Carnage. I know, but I swear I am not making this shit up (no pun intended). However, the main thing about him is he likes turning people into anthropomorphic animals, and thus Sam ends up as “Cap-Wolf,” a throwback to a story line from Captain America #402 in 1992. This issue is mostly about laughs, and some 90s nostalgia (I can’t believe that’s a thing) and ends on a note that hearkens back to the 80s and the only other time I checked out a Captain America comic with any regularity. I am willing to give Spencer the benefit of some patience and stick with this title for now, but as much as I don’t like superhero comics that take themselves too seriously, I do think this title is best served by restraining Spenser’s humorous chops to make those funny moments ring out. The art in this issue was also disappointing. I am not sure if it is a result of shared duties, or the fact that the issue came out twice last month, but it looks rushed and dark, and not Acuña’s regular sharp and clean lines and perfect mix of bright colors and shadow.
Spider-Woman vol. 6, #1 (released 11/18)
Writing: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Javier Rodriguez, w/ Alvaro Lopez on inks
This great series returns, its arc beginning 8 months after the last arc ended, and now Jessica Drew is mysteriously pregnant. This was very much a set-up issue, establishing the new status quo: Porcupine as the muscle, Ben Urich as the source, investigator, and Jessica beginning her maternity leave, temporarily giving up superheroing for the sake of her baby’s protection. Too bad Skrulls attack the interdimensional hospital she visits for a check-up! The writing remains snappy and the art is as great as it was in the last series.
Star Wars vol. 2, #11 & 12 (released 11/4 and 11/18)
Writing: Jason Aaron
Art: Stuart Immonen, w/ Alvaro Lopez on inks
I am still loving this series. The switch to Immonen’s art was seamless, and he does a perfect job of capturing the well-known characters’ likenesses without succumbing to the static feel of photo-realism. These comics are paced to feel like a (good) Star Wars movie – so like Empire, but with happy endings for now. The adventure on the smuggler’s moon brings all the individual characters together from their individual plotlines towards a dramatic conclusion of the second arc. It is like Aaron has found a way to transmit the energy of the film serials that Star Wars emulates (with a hefty scoop of Kurosawa) back into a serialized form, this time, comics. Unfortunately, however, the amazing momentum the series has built is about to be lost by a stupid crossover event – a story called “Vader Down” which will run across both the Star Wars and Darth Vader titles, meaning I won’t be picking up #13 and #14 as they are parts 3 and 5 of the event.
The Mighty Thor vol. 2, #1 (released 11/18)
Writing: Jason Aaron
Art: Russel Dauterman, w/ Matthew Wilson on colors.
Fantastic start to the rebooted-rebooted series. Chemotherapy, dark elves, giants, weather satellites, Heimdall, and Volstagg. The best part is that the former Thor, “Odin-son,” is gone (for now at least), allowing the narrative to focus on Jane Foster as Thor. Dauterman’s art remains amazing, and Wilson’s colors compliment the line-work perfectly. The issue even has a phenomenal wrap-around gatefold cover! This book came back strong after the Thors series I chose to skip because of its Secret Wars/Battleworld affiliation.
Vision vol. 3, #1 (released 11/4)
Writing: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta, w/ Jordie Bellaire on colors.
Weird. Good and weird. I don’t quite know how Vision got to where he is. Nor do I know why it is okay for him to create his own wife and children (should his “wife” have a say in who she is and what she does?), but the off-kilter and creepy emulation of a simulacra of suburban life works. The body trauma depicted occurring to the Vision’s daughter at the point of the Grim Reaper’s scythe was a little over the top, but it did punctuate the slow-burning dread of the pages that preceded it. Get it. Once upon a time Marvel would not have risked a book like this, so let’s encourage them to take some chances.
All-New Wolverine #1 (released 11/11)
Writing: Tom Taylor
Art: David Lopez & David Navarrot; Nathan Fairbairn on colors.
I can’t believe I am going to be getting a Wolverine comic on the regular, but this first issue won me over. I love the art style, the in media res story telling and while X-23, the teen-aged girl Wolverine clone has never been a character that remotely interested me, suddenly seeing her taking up the mantle of Wolverine feels fresh and interesting. Essentially, despite being around since 2004 (wow, 11 years!), she is a totally new character to me, and I dig it. Also Angel has wings made of fire now for some reason and is kind of her boyfriend – not grown up Angel who became one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse, but time-displaced Silver Age X-Men Angel. Weird shit, I know – but the need for an understanding of X-Men convolution leads to the pleasure of Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, so it is all worth it.