This week, Marvel’s second Netflix series has proved to be yet another hit – and Marvel began their first Star Wars crossover!
This week in Marvel Comics:
Star Wars is every bit the goose that laid the golden egg for Marvel, and – with Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming out in December – it’s time for Marvel to get their A-game in play. Specifically, this week saw the release of Star Wars: Vader Down #1, the first issue bookending an event in which the Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, is stranded upon a rebel world. With the armed might of the Rebellion pursuing him, Vader must survive against his foes – including Luke Skywalker, also downed upon the planet.
The opening issue promises a fun series, with Vader and Luke in relentless pursuit of one another, and rebel forces sweeping in. But there are some fun wrinkles; the planet they’re on is rich in the Force (site of an ancient Jedi Temple) – and, because Luke’s involved in this, Vader doesn’t want to call the Empire’s might down. It has all the bearings of a classic.
Some major first issues: Ms. Marvel #1 and The Mighty Thor #1
With both Ms. Marvel and The Mighty Thor relaunching this week, Marvel can be confident that they’ve got some classics on the stands! The sheer humanity of these two characters is taking the comic book world by storm, and both are getting off to strong (re)starts. For Jane Foster, we learn the price she pays every time she becomes Thor – and no doubt her willingness to pay that price is why she’s worthy in the first place.
Marvel aren’t afraid of playing to our emotions, that much is for sure. Over in his weekly interview with CBR, Axel Alonso said this:
And it just gets down to the core of what makes Marvel heroes so beloved — for all their power and larger-than-life adventures, at their core they’re very human and have problems that everyone can relate to. So without losing an iota of the Asgardian grandeur that’s in the title’s DNA, Jason and Russell Dauterman have brought in an element that so many people can relate to — whether it be cancer specifically, or just a debilitating illness. So Thor is a god, yes, but now we know she’s also very mortal, very human.
By the way, over the summer a reader contacted Russell to express her excitement about the revelation that Jane is Thor, saying that Jane’s courage reminded her of her late mother’s own battle with cancer. So, with the blessing of that reader and her family, we named the cancer center that Jane is receiving treatment at in “The Mighty Thor” #1 after the reader’s mother, Maria Wheelock. It’s a small way of not only honoring Maria, but also acknowledging all the other real people out there who are battling or have battled this illness.
But that’s only one element of Jason Aaron’s script. As well as playing on this beautiful and poignant element, Aaron is kicking the drama into high gear with Odin in seclusion – and war brewing between the Nine Realms…
As for Kamala Khan, she’s learning the hard way that life goes on – but not always in the direction she expects. G. Willow Wilson is zoning in on the idea that ‘fame’ brings both good and bad, and she’s facing a teenager with a world in which she’s become an Avenger. It’s a tremendous read, full of pathos and emotion, with poor Kamala having blinked and missed a lot of what’s going on around her. This new Ms. Marvel run is sure to be as popular as the last, and it’s great having so many young and popular superheroes on the scene.
The Truth Behind”Secret Wars”!
Secret Wars Too – a tongue-in-cheek mickey-take of this year’s event – shows that Marvel still have the ability to laugh at themselves. Perhaps the scariest thing, though, is that the laughs sound to carry more than a hint of the truth…
Other major books this week included the second issue of Extraordinary X-Men – truthfully, not so extraordinary, with the best scenes already revealed in the solicits – and an Uncanny Avengers annual that, weirdly enough, is actually setup for the Scarlet Witch series. Marvel seem committed to giving both Scarlet Witch and Vision a push – the latter was featured in the Avengers #0 one-shot – but I’m not entirely convinced this is going to pay off.