Princess Leia #2
Leia and Evaan head to Naboo in their search for any surviving Alderaanians. I loved the flashbacks to Leia’s childhood, where she learns to be a strong and thoughtful leader. I’ve always wanted to see more from Bail Organa, and I felt like he was criminally underused in the prequel movies. The brief moment when Leia sees a picture of Queen Amidala was also a nice touch.
The rest of the plot is way too predictable for my tastes. It’s really obvious that Lord Junn is going to betray Leia to the Imperials, and I have no idea why she would trust him to give her a ship after he betrayed her. I guess Leia is great at fighting, but really bad at intrigue.
There are too many threads going on in Wolverines, but I’m intrigued enough to keep reading so far. The last two issues included ham-handed lessons for Daken (Wolverine’s son), and Sabretooth, but this time Fang just hangs out with X-23 (female clone of Wolverine) and tussles a little bit with her in a bar. I find X-23 to be really interesting, and she’s set to become more prominent in the All-New, All-Different Marvel coming out in a few months (plus 6 on MU), but this issue did not make good use of her at all.
Meanwhile, we do get some insight into what is going on with Lady Deathstrike and Shogun. Basically the spirit of Ogun, currently trapped in Shogun’s mind, is plotting with Lady Deathstrike to take over his body. Just explaining it destroyed my small bit of interest in this storyline. Shogun was a pretty interesting character in the Logan Legacy: The Weapon X Project, but now none of those characters are doing anything interesting.
Really the best part of the issue was when Fantomelle and Culpepper stole some guy’s dog tags. That reminded me that Wolverine’s brother Dog hasn’t appeared in this series, which is kind of a surprise.
Captain America & Mighty Avengers #6
I’m really just reading this series to keep up with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and honestly it hasn’t been grabbing me too much otherwise. It’s a bit too dominated by crossover events, and remaining stories haven’t been all that exciting either. There are too many characters all having their own adventures, and too few character-building moments.
Despite all that, though, the evil German scientists in the beginning were hilarious. I can always appreciate a good Big Lebowski reference.
Then we learn that evil CEO Jason Quantrell is actually the head of Beyond Corp, a company I didn’t recognize until the end of the issue, when Monica Rambeau reminds us that Beyond Corp was the company behind Nextwave. Nextwave was a crazy mini-series written by superstar Warren Ellis that was almost immediately placed outside of continuity. It featured a bunch of minor characters teaming up to fight various threats while insulting each other. In between, just about the entire team is turned into purple monsters, but that’s way less interesting than the Nextwave stuff.
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention Spider-man’s little call-out to Secret Wars II when he wonders if Beyond Corp is related to the Beyonder. Secret Wars II was a terrible debacle and more of a metaphor for editors run amok. It actually included Spider-man teaching the Beyonder how to use a toilet. Bad times. An entire race of Beyonders are likely behind the Incursions going on in Avengers and New Avengers, but who knows if Mighty Avengers will tie into that.
With Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist all members of this team, and each of them getting a TV show on Netflix, I think there’s a good chance that he and his friends will get another comic after Secret Wars, and that it’ll be called The Defenders.
Squirrel Girl #3
Sometimes Ryan North delights me, as he did in Squirrel Girl #1 and his Choose Your Own Adventure version of Hamlet. Other times his writing style falls flat and just annoys me, like his last arc in Adventure Time, and in this issue of Squirrel Girl. Seriously, this was such a pointless issue. Squirrel Girl is supposed to go fight Galactus in a stolen Iron Man suit, but first she stops to fight Whiplash, and then delays again to foil a bank robbery. Finally she makes it to the moon to confront Galactus, and then the issue is over.
Squirrel Girl started off as part of the joke-team Great Lake Avengers, but quickly gained a fan following. She’s defeated several of the Marvel Universe’s strongest villains, including Thanos and Doctor Doom. She also did a stint as a babysitter for Danielle Cage, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter, so there’s a vague possibility she could show up in the Netflix shows at some point.
Black Widow #16
Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s run on Black Widow has been stunning. I’ll confess I’d never heard of Black Widow before the Avengers movie, so this is my first serious encounter with Natasha. Scarlett Johansson is great, but much like Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye, Edmondson and Noto imbue Black Widow with a thoughtful, melancholy air that makes you really empathize with her. She’s still diving and shooting, but she also spends a lot of time coping with the consequences of her dark past. While I could never expect Jeremy Renner to do justice to Fraction’s version of Hawkeye, this book could easily serve as a template for a Black Widow solo film. We can only hope.
Most of this issue is spent on a flashback to Natasha as a girl, before she began her assassin training. She idolizes a ballerina, then attacks the ballerina’s abusive gangster boyfriend. One of the boyfriend’s thugs chases Natasha into an alley, where she shoots him with a gun left on the street.
In the present, Black widow has finally met the leader of Chaos, a shadowy organization that has been plaguing her this arc. The leader turns out to be a quiet man who talks about the future and wants to recruit Natasha to his cause. Will she accept? Tune in next time!
Silk is a new Spider-character, though she hasn’t had a chance to really shine until now. Cindy Moon was bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker, but due to those multiverse-hopping vampire antagonists from Spider-Verse, she was living in a bunker for the past 10 years. Now she’s out and trying to put her life back together, tracking down her missing family members, fighting crime, and working as an intern at a local tv station.
I’d forgotten how great Stacey Lee’s art is in Silk. It’s got a slightly cartoony vibe, which gives everything a softness and approachability that I don’t usually see in Marvel’s typical art. In terms of story, we get a heart-wrenching flashback to when Cindy broke up with her boyfriend just before going to live in that bunker, then we meet him and his new fiancee in the present. Much like Peter Parker, Cindy just can’t catch a break, but she doesn’t let that stop her from beating up rampaging robots.
Loki: Agent of Asgard #12
This issue is a bit of a clip show, with evil King Loki reminiscing about all the adventures that Loki has been on in the past few years. Despite all his efforts to change, present-day Loki just can’t shrug off being the God of Lies and becoming King Loki in the distant future. Evil future King Loki literally has present-day Loki bound and gagged in his apartment while he summarizes the last 8 years of comics, and then in the end, future Loki sets present Loki on fire.
I think this issue is pretty dependent on the last 8 years Thor and Loki continuity and all the twists and turns that Loki has been through, but I’ll give you a brief rundown. Loki died in the Siege event, and was reincarnated as a young boy, known as Kid Loki. That boy went on a bunch of adventures, primarily scheming behind the scenes to help Thor in his various epic battles. Along the way Kid Loki found an echo of his former self and was eventually manipulated into allowing his old self to take over his body. Instead of reverting to the original evil Loki, this new version still wanted to be a good guy, and would frequently be haunted by the spirit of Kid Loki. Later on, Jason Aaron took over writing for Thor and introduced King Thor and King Loki, versions of those characters from the end of time who occasionally interact with the present day via various time shenanigans. Kid Loki was able to use magic to age up to his twenties, and then took on odd jobs from the All-Mother in an attempt to atone for his past. Most recently, King Loki has revealed to everyone what happened to Kid Loki, and everyone has rejected present-day Loki.
Hopefully all that makes sense. Basically Loki wants to change his ways, but can’t. Future King Loki is a little bitter about it, but has embraced evil. Next issue is the stunning climax before we get a Secret Wars tie-in.
I’ve actually really enjoyed all the Loki stuff I’ve read. Some of Marvel’s best writers have contributed to the character. I’m hoping we get a satisfying conclusion to this arc, but I’m also hoping we can continue to see Loki and his companions after Secret Wars is over.
Moon Knight #13
Moon Knight is an odd, interesting character. Marc Spector died under the statue of an ancient Egyptian deity, and returned to life as a “protector of night travelers.” Also, he has multiple personalities. I actually think he’d be a great fit for the Netflix TV shows, even though I doubt he’ll appear any time soon. He’s got a cool all-white thing going on, a stark contrast to most shadowy night vigilantes.
Recently he’s had some interesting arcs written first by Warren Ellis, then by Brian Wood, and now Cullen Bunn takes the reins. Warren Ellis went into some psychedelic stuff and great panel usage, while Brian Wood tackled a story involving African warlords and vengeance. This story starts off with Moon Knight going after some unscrupulous ghost harvesters. Most of the issue is taken up by some great action sequences, then Moon Knight looks awkwardly at all the ghosts he just saved, and walks away. I’m looking forward to more in this new arc.