Friday, 3 August 2012

Comics: Some Mini Reviews

Some reviews for my latest comics haul!

Astonishing X-Men #51

Or, The One With The Gay Wedding.

First things first: Yay, a same sex wedding in a superhero comic!

Other than that, I don't have all that much to say about this issue. It was sweet. The artwork wasn't anything special, but it was nice. I don't know enough about Northstar or the current Astonishing X-Men arc to comment on the story, but I liked what I saw. Beast had some good moments, and X-23 had a funny line. And I liked the moment where Rogue was wondering if her two mothers (Mystique and Destiny) would have gotten married. It was a nice nod to another canon GLBT relationship.

Captain Marvel #1

This is Marvel's only solo female title (I know, it's pathetic, right? I'm not a DC girl but in this department they have Marvel beat, no question), so even though I'm not a huge Carol Danvers fan, there was no way I wasn't going to buy this one and thus vote with my wallet. See, Marvel? People want to read stories about women! GIVE US MORE. I'LL GIVE YOU MY MONEY.

Aside from that, this is good. I mean really good. The artwork is stunning, and quite unusual for a comic. I liked the acknowledgement that yes, Ms Marvel outranks Captain America.  Spider Man has a funny moment. And Carol herself is excellent. She's not naked in every second panel and she isn't drawn in rediculous poses. There's a nice moment at the end where she gets to meet her childhood hero, a female air force pilot.

On the plot front, this is mainly set up. The story focuses on Carol deciding to assume the Captain Marvel role, and more or less ends there. But it's a good set up, and a promising start.

Captain America and Hawkeye #631

This is about Captain America and Hawkeye fighting mutant dinosaurs.

'Nuff said.

Avengers Assemble #5

With a cover like that, do you think I care about anything else in this comic?

This comic contained Black Widow/Hawkeye smooches, which upset a lot of people online, apparently. I wasn't one of them, and I think people who are going "STOP SINKING MY SHIP!" are overreacting. It's not clear where exactly Avengers Assemble fits in with main Marvel continuity (as much as the 616 verse can have a coherent continuity...), since it seems to be following the movies more. And it's not clear where Winter Soldier fits in either. And if it does follow the main continuity, it's one kiss. I doubt it's going to be the start of an affair or anything. If normal comics relationships are anything to go by, it probably won't even be mentioned again. Remember that Wolverine/Rogue kiss? No? Neither do they. So Natasha/Bucky shippers, chill out, okay?

Winter Soldier #6-8

This is a damn good comic. The dialogue is above average for a superhero comic (since, let's face it, dialogue in comics can get pretty cheesy sometimes) and the artwork is stunning. That said, I have some thoughts about the current arc, which is that Natasha has been captured and it looks like she's been brainwashed again, and Bucky needs to save her.


I don't want to say Natasha's been shoved in a fridge just yet, but Brubaker needs to tread very carefully if he wants to avoid it. So far Bucky has a few manpain!moments and it looks like the villain is brainwashing Natasha to get back at Bucky, which is a massive DO NOT WANT. That said, this is only Bucky's speculation at this point. Let's hope Bucky is wrong.

Depending on where they go with it, this could be a very important arc for Natasha. Being brainwashed again would be a huge blow to her and it would be interesting to see how she deals with it afterwards.

Or it could be all about the man smashing things and angsting about HOW DARE THEY HURT HIS WOMAN. At this point it could go either way. Right now it's walking a very fine line. Obviously I'm hoping that this isn't yet another case of Women in Fridges, but I might be giving the genre too much credit.

By the look of one of the future covers it also looks like Hawkeye is going to feature in the story somehow, probably assisting Bucky. Depending on how the rest of the arc pans out, I'm cautiously optimistic about this. I don't want a love triangle, but I can dream that my hoped for Clint/Natasha/Bucky threesome might actually happen. :P I mean, if Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver can have sex in canon...

Black Widow: The Name of the Rose

Oh, Marvel. Marvel, Marvel. You really shot yourself in the foot by not continuing with this.

This may be the best comic I've ever read. It's certainly my favourite. When people say superhero comics are stupid, this is one of the comics I can provide as evidence for the contrary. It's smart. It's well written. The art is some of the best I've seen in a comic. It features an awesome woman who is never slut shamed despite being sexual, is respected by the men around her, does not hate other women and actually breaks out of a fridge. 

Did I mention it's also written by a woman?

Seriously, there's a scene where Natasha has been captured and is tied to a chair in a walk in refridgerator. And then she breaks out of that same fridge. Given that Women In Fridges is such a well known trope, I doubt Marjorie Liu wrote this as a coincidence. Take note, Brubaker.

As much as I love this, I can't help but be saddened by how unique Name of the Rose is. Because here is an amazing example of what comics can be, what women in comics can be, and there's only five issues. What's more, there are no plans to give Natasha another solo comic, and I highly doubt we're going to get that movie. And this is despite the masses of female fans The Avengers, and more importantly Black Widow, have gained. Black Widow was immensely popular with movie goers, and yet Marvel refuses to acknowledge that said fans exist, which aside from being sexist is also bloody stupid. Fans have money, fans want to spend money. Name of the Rose is difficult to find and if you're a movie fan who wants to read comics about Natasha, there aren't a lot of options, especially not if you want to read comics where she isn't demoted to just being somebody's girlfriend, as she is in Winter Soldier. And then people wonder why comic sales are dwindling.

You have the potential for something great here, Marvel. Name of the Rose is proof you can do it.

Instead you're making Ant Man.