This week saw a stunning trailer for Captain America: Civil War – with a certain webhead finally revealed! Meanwhile, as the comics gear up for this summer’s Civil War II, it’s the X-Men who draw our attention…
This week in Marvel Comics!
Classic heroes with a twist:Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and The Mighty Thor!
All of Marvel’s major superheroes take some twists this week! In Amazing Spider-Man #9, Dan Slott returns to Spider-Man’s battle with Scorpio. It’s a fun issue, one in which he uses humour to point out all the ways in which this era of Spider-Man is different to any other. There are laugh-out-loud moments, accompanied by dramatic tension and a cliffhanger in Paris that promises a showdown next issue. Giuseppe Camuncoli is back as the book’s artist, and his artistic style perfectly matches Slott’s narrative.
Jason Aaron, meanwhile, continues to bring about the end of magic itself in Doctor Strange #6. Like many of Aaron’s books, the beauty of this one is that I seriously cannot see where it’s going next; by the climax, the world itself is stripped of magic, and sorcery worldwide has been defeated. I particularly love Aaron’s use of narrative to really help you understand how intertwined magic is with reality in the Marvel Universe. It’s even implied that, with magic falling, no more babies will be born!
The issue also features a fun second story, giving us a taste of what the loss of magic means on the street-level. This is an opportunity for Aaron to relax and have fun (although the main story has lots of humour too, for all its drama). Chris Bacchalo’s art in the main story continues to fit so perfectly with the story Aaron is telling. The current run of Doctor Strange is proving to be one of the best ever.
Over in The Mighty Thor #5. Odin is reeling, Asgard is in a state of civil war, and a certain trickster god prepares to make his play. This is an issue in which events just get darker for the Ten Realms, and it’s done so very effectively. The battle between Thor and Odin is tremendous fun – Aaron has already established that Mjolnir’s power is no longer bound to Odin (otherwise he would have been able to lift the hammer). My favourite touch is the use of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter – the biggest storm in the Solar System. Yeah, that’s not the place you want to fight Thor in…
Aaron’s continuing to play the long game, finally giving us a glimpse of just where Thor Odinson is in all this. We’re clearly setting up for a world in which two Thors wield the same power – the Odinson is conveniently near to the Ultimate Thor’s hammer, which slipped through into our reality in Secret Wars #9. Russell Dauterman’s art is superb, lending an air of grandeur and majesty to the story that really makes it work. I’m loving this run.
The next generation:Spider-Gwen, Ms. Marvel, and All-New Wolverine!
There’s a strange sense in which Kamala Khan’s arcs are a modern-day retelling of classic Spider-Man comics. In Ms Marvel #5, Kamala’s learning a difficult lesson – that just because you’re a superhero, it doesn’t mean your personal life can be put on hold! She had the bright idea of using magic and a 3D printer to create golems in her image, so she could go be a superhero while the golems made it look like she was present at home and at school. Unfortunately for Kamala, it’s all gone wrong, and an army of Kamala-golems has been unleashed on Jersey! G. Willow Wilson is proving once again that she’s one of the best writers in the business, translating common tropes into a whole new context.
Moving to Spider-Gwen #6, Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez hit their stride. The book’s not felt the same since the first series was abruptly ended by “Secret Wars”, but in #6 we finally get a book that feels on-point. Everything mirrors a classic Spider-Man story – a guilt-stricken superhero must deal with the consequences of her mistake, with a Green Goblin to contend with – but Latour twists the resolution around beautifully. I consider this book unmissable.
One thing to note; the scene above, where Spider-Gwen wields Captain America’s shield, is made even more visually effective by this week’s trailer for Captain America: Civil War. I doubt that Latour will have been aware of that scene when he was writing the book – they’re usually scripted a couple of months in advance – but the timing couldn’t have been better.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s art is epic. Spider-Gwen is officially a book that’s as married to an artist as it is to a writer; this is a team that Marvel don’t want to mess around with, in my view.
All-New Wolverine #6 brings the first arc to a close, as Laura takes down the Alchemax geneticists who created her clones. It’s a satisfying end to a strong arc, pointing out some key differences between Laura and her ‘father’. The story takes a few nice twists, and features several key character moments. Tom Taylor can be proud of this issue. Meanwhile, I’m really hoping Gabby will be a permanent fixture!