Happy Halloween, geeks and geekettes! Sure, there’s a few more days to go, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit of fun a bit early, eh?! And to help us out, we’ve got the Big Two — DC and Marvel — helping us out with some great titles! Not scary per se…but still worth reading! Or ARE they?! Find out what you think, and whether it’d be ghoulish to be missing out!
Over the past couple of months there’s been a lot of praise heaped on Jonathan Hickman’s new take on the X-Men and rightly so. In terms of big ideas, progressive storytelling, and overall sense of elevated stakes Hickman’s run is already pushing Morrisonian and Claremontian levels. Chris Claremont‘s run specifically, however, had a sense of adventure to it that Hickman’s doesn’t seem to have time for given all the huge stuff going on and if that’s something you’re missing, then Marauders #1 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli and Gederico Blee is the book for you.
This book is all about Kate Pryde, no longer Kitty, in a way becoming a pirate captain, sailing around the world, drinking, and getting into amazing fights with militant mutant oppressors while helping the cause of mutantkind. Kate also gets her own team, which includes at least one of the all-time greatest X-Men. The story is great, Lolli’s art is expressive and dynamic, and Blee’s coloring elevates that art to another level. This all leads to a massive amount of fun, and while there’s certainly a mystery and the potential for some heavy storytelling down the road, for now this book serves as a counter to the weight and scale of Hickman’s work and compliments it beautifully. 4.75/5 Mutant Pirate Bibles.
To be perfectly blunt, I’m not really following DC’s whole “Year Of The Villain” story arc. I know what is going on, but I feel like this would be better as an anthology series rather than a series of one-shots. The one-shot has become overused and overplayed. It seems more and more that the one-shot or one-off is just a way to try and get an extra $4.99 out of you and to be fair, if the price of a comic was $1.99 this book might have received a higher score. On top of that, this is a one-shot within a one shot, seeing as how this is both a “year of the villain” tie in AND an “infected” showdown, since Black Adam is facing off against a Batman-Who-Laughs-infected Shazam. That all being said, I do like how Paul Jenkins turns this story on it’s head.
Black Adam, at his core, is at best an anti-hero and at his worst, a dictatorial tyrant. He will protect Kahndaq with all his might, but much like Dr. Doom, if you oppose him he will crush you. Paul Jenkins flips the narrative on its head by starting off how much of a tyrant Black Adam is, but also shows how much he cares for his country and its people. And by the end, we see just how much the people really care for him. I think the best thing about this issue is the art by Inaki Miranda with the colors by HI-FI. They do an amazing job on this book, and would be really great to see them take on another series (Shazam maybe?).
That all being said, like I said earlier, if this had been part of an anthology or maybe in the back of a book, a la Geoff John’s Shazam that was included in the back of the New 52 Justice League, I might have rated it higher, but as a stand alone issue it just isn’t worth the price of admission, as much as I hate to say that. 2.5/5 Infected Heroic Bibles.