Are you ready for some comics?!?!?! What, you thought I would say football? Time for new comics reviews!
Also spoiler alert on Ms. Marvel #18, just a heads up.
Starfire’s new ongoing series is a great surprise in how good it is despite being from the same creative team as the current Harley Quinn book. Now I personally love Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, they are an incredible team and talents when on their own, but I can’t stand the Harley Quinn book. That’s mainly thanks to the treatment and what feels like character regression of the absolutely amazing character since the New 52. Hearing they were taking on the Princess of Tamaran herself in her first ongoing series, I was hesitant, but they are hitting the nail on the head.
For the first time since 2011, Starfire feels like the Starfire we all know and love and not like some ADD goldfished whore. This book has done a complete 180 on her and for the better. Her dialogue, dictation, and reactions and thoughts about life on Earth feel wholly authentic to Starfire. It’s just been an incredible book that has quickly set itself apart within DC Comics since its debut. Now for the fourth issue Starfire goes head to head with the mysterious creature that’s been hanging around the book for a while, Chida. This ties into the ending events of last issue where a seemingly normal waitress revealed herself to be former Terra, Atlee. No surprise really considering Palmiotti and Conner created her years ago. Now this was nice considering I do like the character myself and much of her origin story is kept intact, with a bit of added story.
The chemistry between her and Starfire is fantastically done and makes for many laughs during the book, as does help from the already developed supporting cast which gets to shine again here. Though the book wouldn’t quite be where it is without Emanuela Lupacchino’s nicely clean and beautiful pencils to give the book a nicely wonderful and dynamic look. This book is oozing with art and its wonderful and even allows for Lupacchino and colorist Hi-Fi to work with some darker pallets.
There is some set up going on there, a couple of plot threads are getting some attention now, one that was briefly set up and another that’s just beginning, and while kinda making me want more of the vibe of this book, I believe Palmiotti and Conner can bring it all together wonderfully as they are killing it on this book for four months straight now. You need to pick this up if you are a Teen Titans or just a Starfire fan. 4.5/5
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #5
So we’re all still in agreement how One More Day is one of the absolute worst decisions ever right?
I don’t wanna spend too much time on the dumbassery of One More Day since I’ve cursed its name up and down the street for years and I’m pretty sure dissecting it once more will annoy my girlfriend into leaving me, but that’s still to this day the worst way in which to give a beloved character like Spider-Man a restart and separate the greatest marriage in fiction next to Gomez and Morticia Addams.
Fans rejoiced and then became worried about them being together in yet another Secret Wars tie-in where they have a daughter Annie. There is a crazed villain named Regent who has killed damn near every hero in the Marvel Universe its set in and harvested their powers to use for himself and rules over New York City with, presumably Danny Rand’s, iron fist on a mission to face off with Lord God Doom. He wants the powers of Spider-Man and Annie and this is the final issue of the miniseries. How does it fare?
Well the issue is fairly just that, the Parker Family vs. Regent showdown in a rather brisk finale. I knew this would need to be a centralized focus and while there is some really good characterization here done through the action and inner thoughts, I kinda wish there was a bit more. This book has actually been better for the character work, especially in seeing Peter and Mary Jane married yet again. Sure part of that could be nostalgia branded rose-tinted glasses, but it’s just so well done. Dan Slott shows he has as a deep love and connection with the pairing as much as us fans do and gives it respect. The family dynamic makes this a really good book and it’s the one thing I think truly shines in terms of the story throughout the book. The interactions of the family both living a normal life or when with the last remaining heroes of the world are excellent stuff that I couldn’t get enough of. Annie Parker has been a great addition. Yes it’s not Mayday Parker, we can’t always get what we want, but I found her a nicely welcomed addition.
The weakest thing here really is the same thing as the book itself, Regent. I just never found him to be that all a compelling character and formidable threat up until like the last couple of issues. Yes he took out damn near the entire lineup of superheroes in the Marvel Universe, but I just never truly felt him as a dangerous threat and his motivation of doing so while interesting, was not that well explored to me.
Andy Kubert’s art was always consistent. This art has been some of his best work in dynamic character expressions, smooth action, and making web-swinging look awesome. Kubert should draw more Spider-Man. I think he’s well suited for our friendly neighborhood wall crawler. Additional pencils by Scott Hanna are fine, but I don’t find it quite as standout as Kubert’s, but I would like to see him have his own book, see what I think of that on its own.
Renew Your Vows might divide people as to what they want out of a story that reunites Pete and MJ back together in holy matrimony. For my money it was a nicely done character piece set around two of the most well-recognized icons in comics and their absolute love for each other despite its weaker aspects. 4/5
Bitch Planet #5
Man it’s been a while since this book published its previous issue, but am I glad it’s back. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine de Landro’s take on campy sci-fi female exploitation stories, particularly those done as films in the 1970s. The book also works as a great commentary on misogyny within society and the different ways in which women are viewed and valued as. The book is a great read thanks to DeConnick’s fantastic scripting. Her clout from Captain Marvel has carried over well to make this book engaging, fun, and brutally serious, and man can this book get brutal. As evident when main character Kamau Kogo leads her team into a practice match of Megaton against the guards of Bitch Planet to get the team ready.
While really not focusing on the mystery of Kamau trying to find her sister, this is as big a story as that and man its pretty damn awesome. We finally get to see in action the fictional sport of the comic and this is the main centerpiece of the issue and it’s ugly in the best way. Things get real and as we discover, works into the subplot off the issue itself that will have a big play into the upcoming second story arc as the issue itself declares it the end of volume one, which will be out later this month. Now the subplot here starts vague and didn’t hold my interest, but as it kept going and it was clear what was going on, it became more interesting. DeConnick excels at scripting engaging stories with intriguing characters.
One bigger reason this book works is Landro’s art who actually changes up the look and style of the book depending on the settings of the story and really does a great job keeping readers hooked. The violent lengths the practice match gets to is bloody as all hell. This is a very dirty book and that dirtiness is what makes it shine so bright.
Bitch Planet is back after a bit of a hiatus and hopefully sticks around for a while because things are picking up on this book and I’m excited to see where it goes. 4.5/5
Deadly Class #16
Rick Remender is a very busy man over at Image Comics. Black Science, Low, today’s book, Deadly Class, and some more books like next week’s Tokyo Ghost. He’s a busy guy and it’s astounding how it really doesn’t affect his work. Now onto what I think is his best book right now, Deadly Class, a book about punk rock teens in a high school for assassins full of drugs and angst in Reagan era 1980s. Which is also the end of its current arc.
Our focus is and has strictly been lately the downslide of Marcus Lopez, main character and shit gets worse in this issue. Remender’s work on characters is remarkable at setting up very layered and interesting people, but I have to ask, was there at some point he just decided he hated Marcus? Like really just hated him because goddamn, dude. Needless to say this issue might be its best so far as it culminates to a new set up that wouldn’t be coming until December so it may get back on its production schedule. That sucks, but this issue leaves us with such a cliffhanger. UGH! NEED NEW ISSUE NOW!
Marcus discovers the answer to his solution, but as usual, and because there needs to be conflict, he has the worst timing imaginable as Master Lin calls for a very important meeting. Now I highly recommend going back and picking up the first two volumes since this is the end of the third arc, but also this book is super complicated now much like other stories involving teenagers. Its all a finely weaved, yet sometimes confusing spider-web.
I wanted to highlight this as it’s just a consistent favorite of mine among my pull list and a book I think needs to be read by more and more people. Again this is a book sprawling with characters, but it’s a book about Marcus. He’s become an immensely fascinating character.
Wes Craig’s art remains as fascinating as possible in its own right. He brings the world that Remender has created to such life and draws this book with a sense of constant chaos, which is very appropriate given the setting of an assassin high school. Also the very trippy drug trips and dream sequences. Craig flourishes and has great help from Jordan Boyd on colors.
Deadly Class #16 is just amazing and ratchets up high tension and character drama only to pull the rug out and keep up waiting until the Christmas tree has been put up. Here’s hoping its worth the wait, which it most likely will be. 5/5
Ms. Marvel #18
So spoilers for this review. Again just a heads up.
This issue handles mainly with Kamala coming to terms with a lot of things, particularly how different life is and will be now as a superhero. How normal life will be once this is all over, how things really are about over with the incursion, her brother being exposed to temporary Inhuman powers, and the fact that her own mom knows her identity. Yeah momma Khan knows her little girl is saving people.
That’s one hell of a bombshell to drop in the penultimate issue of the book. It’s a great thing to leave us on and man am I thankful I only have to wait one damn month. Really this issue is about Kamala’s mindset during everything since there’s like a million plates spinning around here, one of them being the end of the world and how its effects here. Thankfully the story with Kamran is wrapped up nicely and her ass-kicking with Carol Danvers remains as fun as it was last issue, but the personal stuff with her is what really shines here.
Kamala’s worry about her brother and how he admits and defends her with his words are great as he doesn’t even know she’s there and how it goes back to her just being kinda dickish when at the school feels natural given how Aamir is.
G. Willow Wilson’s deep and personal understanding with these characters are just utterly fascinating again and again. It’s great and makes this book standout among all the Marvel lineup. This issue might well be my favorite thanks to how much more insight we get on Kamala Khan’s life in and out of costume. I relish this character work and once again Adrian Alphona’s art perfectly feels so suited for the crazy antics this book gets into and highlight human emotion when there needs to be pure character interaction. He continues to be an amazing artist to me. Any book he’s on, I’m gonna give it a read.
Ms. Marvel #18 gets ready to say goodbye before it introduces itself again, but I am liking how its final act is going. This book is always gonna read like a delight. 5/5
I hold a strong belief that if you do a Catwoman ongoing title right, that’s almost always going to be one of the best comic books out on the shelves whenever its published. Weird I say that as I consider dropping the book from my regular rotation for now since I feel like the way that Genevieve Valentine writes the book, it’ll read for better as a trade. I held that thought during the first story arc under her and I heavily felt that during this latest issue. Though this latest issue is actually the best one of the current arc so far.
Catwoman started off great in the reboot under Judd Winick, but then Ann Nocenti came on and the book went pretty damn sideways. Amazing at Daredevil, yet can’t write Catwoman worth a damn, which is confusing since she created Typhoid Mary. But under Valentine and the reveal she’s the daughter of one of Gotham City’s most prominent gangsters, the book took a fascinating turn and now with the second arc, Selina finds herself balancing leading the Calabrese family and her duties as Catwoman while dealing with the daughter of a rival family taking the Catwoman mantle for herself.
This issue seems to answer so many questions as to Selina’s mindset and what her plans are for balancing her double life that it also addresses many concerns that I’ve heard other readers have about this book under her guidance. Where the issue goes in that itself is fascinating on a character aspect for all involved, especially the reveal that one character discovers near the end.
The crime family intrigue of the latest book has given it new life, but again I wonder if it does indeed read better in trade collection. I feel like the book would better benefit from that even though I wanna keep getting the single issues to support the book. David Messina on art is still excellent and well suited for the book in terms of pacing and tension. He gives a nice noirish look to things which works for what is essentially a crime book here.
Catwoman continues to shine, but I can’t help but feel that I need to leave it behind for a while to honestly better appreciate it. 4/5
Thanks for joining me again and I hope to see you again next week while I’m flipping through the pages.