BLACK WIDOW / INVADERS [Comic Reviews]: Winter Soldiers.

BLACK WIDOW #1 – Marvel Comics
“The Dean” Gene Selassie

All I’ve been hearing about since this book was announced was how much the writers in question “should have gone to a horror franchise” and “it would have been a better fit”. Well, I for one applaud the Soskas for taking on the challenge; not only of writing an espionage thriller, but for trying to bring her back to her roots. That’s not to say that she’s been written like Mary Poppins. The last few series, most notably Mark Waid’s, were all excellent. But ever since the Avengers film in 2012, the Natasha we’ve see in group or team settings has felt like a PG version. The Soskas deftly catch readers up to speed on Widow’s death and return, as well as the hand that Captain America had in it all.

This Widow comes across as competent, capable, but with a renewed bloodlust. Her sense of humor was spot on from beginning to end, with it feeling more “adult” without it being “only for mature audiences”. The Soskas will probably not get enough credit for how well they handled Cap too. Rogers’ dialogue and mannerisms ring truer than in most other books he appears in these days other than his own.

The only problems I had with the story were the sometimes heavy handed dialogue (which works in some genres, but spy thrillers really do need a bit more nuance and subtlety) and there was a jarring transition as well from the first half of the story with the terrorist attack on New Year’s Eve, to the second half of the book with Natasha heading to Madripoor to “unleash her monster”. If the two stories were interspersed and jumped back and forth, I feel it would have had a better flow.

Flaviano’s art, while dynamic and easy on the eyes, and Gandini’s colors made things pop, I don’t know how well they work for me on a book like Black Widow. The art has a Chris Bachalo type vibe for me. And that is a style that works very well for some genres, not as much for others. The panel composition during the action sequences worked for me. It’ll be seen if this more cartoony style will enhance or detract from the narrative that the Soskas are trying to tell. If they can just, not so much tone down, but ease up on the cartoony nature of the art and if the pacing and dialogue can get kicked up another notch, this will be one of Marvel’s sleeper hits of 2019. 4/5 Bibles.

-Gene Selassie

INVADERS #1 – Marvel Comics
Lance “Apostle” Paul
Instagram @The.TravelingNerd

Since Marvel launched their latest NOW wave there has been an amazing Namor storyline slowly building. This has been running through the The Avengers and The Best Defense one-shots, and continues into Invaders #1. The Invaders started during the war time precursor of Marvel, over at Timely Comics with their biggest hits; Captain America, Bucky, The Human Torch (the android not Johnny Storm), and Namor the Sub-Mariner all gather to fight Hitler.

This story may feature the other past heroes but this is 100% a Namor character building storyline. Unlike past writers who have always painted Namor as an ass, Chip Zdarsky redefines our basic ideas of the Sea King. What also establishes this story and grounds it is the amazing art by Carlos Magno and Butch Guice. This artist team brings stunning detail to even the most mundane things, such as Captain America’s scale mail. Also coloring by Alex Guimaraes perfects this overall great comic. I also love how Alex distinguishes flashbacks with simple palette differences. 5/5 Seahorses Agree!

-Lance Paul

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