U.S. AVENGERS / DEADPOOL the DUCK / ROCKET RACCOON / THE ATOM REBIRTH / UNSTOPPABLE WASP / HULK [Reviews]: Getting Back Down to Size!
Happy 2017, fellow geeks! It’s the first full week of the year, and after all the celebrating, we’re back to doing what we do best: reviewing the newest comics. After all the eggnog and ham, we’ve got to burn some calories by doing some reading. This week’s Sunday Stash will see us looking at a bizarre mishmash of comic (the “haha” kind) characters, and we’ll be shrinking down and visiting the Microverse not once, but twice!
Let’s get to it.
As we say good bye to 2016 and say hello to 2017, MARVEL gives a whole new set of Avengers and, my God, I love this group. The past year saw this country devolve into some backwoods mindset and some of those in power felt that the best way to win elections was to turn us against each other, and Al Ewing (Ultimates) and Paco Medina (New X-Men) are here to tell you that that is not how Americans, true Americans, should act.
We have an Avengers squad that is led by Roberto da Costa (Sunspot/Citizen V), General Robert Maverick (Red Hulk, cool because he can only become the Hulk for an hour a day), Sam Guthrie (Cannonball), Doreen Green (Squirrel Girl), Dr. Toni Ho (Iron Patriot), and Danielle Cage (a Cap from an alternate future because what would the Avengers be without some time displacement). U.S. Avengers #1 is what comics should be – good versus evil, right versus wrong, standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
Ewing gives us Avengers that are the social warriors needed in comics. Now, I’ve always been a fan of Medina’s crisp, clear and expressive art (check out this ish’s flying squirrels!), I want to see more. We don’t see nearly enough Red Hulk in action, either, and what we do see of Cannonball isn’t a lot of action, despite all the fantastic dialogue from the new team. I hope this book has a great run ahead of it. 4/5 Bibles.
Sure, Deadpool is just as overexposed as Wolverine and there is absolutely NO reason that Deadpool the Duck should even exist, but it sorta works.
The premise is flimsy (i.e. another wisecracking Marvel character has been infected with space rabies) and the pacing seems a little bit off, but Stuart Moore (EGOs) has the character’s personalities down pat.
Jacopo Camagni’s (Hawkeye vs. Deadpool) art is realistic and the final character design for the combined titular character is adorable (yes, I realize that neither Wade nor Howard would like to be referred to as such, but it was, dammit!). Wade’s spirit animal was good for a few laughs, but the comic didn’t deliver as many jokes as expected. 2.75/5 Bibles.
2016 ended on a great note with Marvel releasing several new Number Ones, including this–a story with Rocket stranded on Earth in a time where the Guardians have disbanded. Of course, Rocket spends most of his time doing what he does best: causing a ton of trouble! Without spoiling too much (because this is a comic worthy of a read), let’s just say he sure is adjusting to Earth life well!
Enter: Johnny “Human Torch” Storm coming to save Rocket from his inevitable life behind bars, with the usual-caring Raccoon wanting nothing to do with this cruddy planet. That very plotline from Matthew Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home) goes set a perfect pace, one not as rushed as past Rocket comics have felt. Alas, Jorge Coelho‘s (John Flood) grungy art style adds a darkened feel to this well-crafted story, a cliffhanger ending and many unanswered questions. 4/5 Raccoons Agree.
Big man on campus! The first of 4 one-shots reintroducing the newest members of the New Justice League of America sees Ryan Choi– The Atom ! Steve (Midnighter & Apollo, Supergirl, JLA) Orlando handles this Rebirth’ing extremely well.
This issue quickly reestablishes Ryan as a young college student who’s new to Ivy College straight from Hong Kong. He’s an introverted, book smart genius who quickly becomes friends with his Scientific Idol, Professor Ray Palmer. They become fast friends; Palmer is established–skip ahead, skip ahead–Ray goes missing into the Microverse… and Orlando washes away all the bad taste left in our mouths and minds of all that happened to Cho after his original series ended. Rebirth, indeed. The art by Andy (Teen Titans: Earth One, vol 2) Macdonald is a fun, cartoony style that is reminiscent of Mike ‘Ringo and Humberto Ramos with a dash of Seth Fisher. With strong backgrounds and solid body language, a lot of class room scenes and science discussions, nothing here came across as boring nor tedious. Welcome back Mr. Choi! 4/5 Bibles.
Since the launch of Marvel NOW!, Marvel Comics has tried to bring more diversity into their universe and, especially so, when it comes to their female heroines. Plenty of their classic ladies have received the relaunch treatment: Squirrel Girl, Captain Marvel, Hellcat, Hulk, Mockingbird. With their latest attempt they’ve given us a new twist on the classic Wasp, starring Nadia Pym, the teenage, estranged daughter of Hank Pym!
Before there was the Janet Van Dyne (the original size-changing Wasp) and Hank Pym romance, Hank was briefly involved with a Hungarian geneticist who was killed but not before giving birth to Nadia, who would later become a self-proclaimed “happy scientist” . Nadia proves in this first issue that she is obviously a Pym, as she is incredibly smart. But unlike her father Nadia is a welcomed ray of sunshine carried by optimism and fan-fucking-tastic attitude. Not only that, there’s a sense of practicality in her science and engineering. We’re introduced to her personality by her actions, what she does and what she’s into, and not a bunch of narration or exposition. We get her just being her.
It’s really quite adorable to see her interact with Dazzler and Ms. Marvel; writer Jeremy Whitley (Champions #1.1) introduces Wasp with the perfect classic Marvel heroines. This girl has spunk, and she kicks ass and fights crime with a smile on her face while wearing the latest incarnation of the Wasp suit, which is easily my new favorite redesign. Elsa Charretier‘s artwork, although lacking here and there, plays along in pastel colors and clean lines while really bringing together the whole package of a fresh faced, eager to help teenager, who is ready to take on the world. 4/5 Bibles.
New York. The land of opportunity, taxis and psychotic green women. She-Hulk is back after her latest breakdown. The issue starts off with Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk, now just.. Hulk) going about her normal day: eating breakfast, getting ready for work, talking to her raging subconscious, etc. When she gets to the office, she is greeted by her coworkers with open arms. Telling her how great it is to see her doing better. One coworker mentions that they expected to see her “more green”. This of course didn’t sit right with Jen, but she was not going to let that ruin her first day back. With that premise, Mariko Tamaki‘s goes onto to tell a very fluent story, with an even better cliffhanger ending. Nico Leon‘s art fills the void with a dark, urban setting– full of moody tension. 4/5 Hulk Smashes.