Welcome back to Comicphiles! This week we’re drowning in new Marvel titles, read on to see if they sink or swim!
Red Wolf was met with raised eye-brows and a little cautious optimism when it was announced in October. On one hand, the addition of a solo-title led by a Native American character was a welcome new stroke of diversity in Marvel’s very white line-up. On the other hand, the creative team is every bit as white as that line-up themselves. The assurance that cover artist Jeffrey Veregge, who is a member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state and of Suquamish and Duwamish descent would be a consultant on the comic generally helped to ease some of the worry but writer Nathan Edmonson’s controversial career brought eyebrows up just a little higher.
Fans were faced with a decision, supporting Marvel’s first Native American leading man, and in turn their strides towards inclusiveness came as a bundle deal with the much less appealing support for a writer surrounded by some awful allegations. It was with all of this in mind that I read Red Wolf #1.
The art is elegant and subtle, neat line-work and smooth colouring make it easy on the eyes but it can be a little dull and lacking in details. Red Wolf himself is an instantly likeable character. Noble, wise and brave with a softness and kindness his surroundings don’t deserve and a talent for kicking ass when needed. The main problem is with the writing, instead of leaning on a strong lead character, an interesting setting or even some good old action it props itself up on weak tropes and ultimately falls flat on it’s face. Most of the supporting cast of characters merge into one big white lump of racism and ignorance with no real characterisation or purpose other than to make us slightly uncomfortable and show that it’s totally fine guys the creative team totally know racism is a thing don’t you worry. Overall it’s dull and a little boring. Red Wolf is an interesting character with potential far beyond stereotypes, over-used tropes and lame stabs at progressiveness. The last page adds a twist that might bring you back for the second issue, but only if you can reach the end of this one.
Will I Continue Reading? Nope, which is a real pity.
Another Spider-Man book might not be super high on the stuff-we-need list but Spidey, a new all-ages back-to-basics title is still a welcome addition. Instead of another origin story, teenage Peter Parker’s story-so-far is all laid out on the very first page and then we’re off, full throttle into his life of balancing (or attempting to balance) high school with super-heroism and everything else that comes with being a genius teenager who can shoot webs and crawl walls.
It’s everything you would expect of a young Spidey book. It’s light-hearted and fun, packed with familiar faces and fan favourites. The art is bright and lively, busy in a way that makes your eyes hungry for all of the little details. The done-in-one style is ideal for kids just getting into comics and makes for a high energy story with strong characterisation and something for everyone. The creative team have added some much needed diversity into Peter’s life and I’m looking forward to seeing where these stories go. A major highlight is Gwen Stacy, already endlessly cool she takes it to the next level in Spidey #1, kicking butt and being an assertive, confident character. While it does look like she’ll slip into the usual love-interest role it’s nice to see her getting her moments and being a strong character in her own right.
It might not be the highlight of the month but Spidey is definitely a good stepping stone for younger readers and a sweet, nostalgic trip for the rest of us.
Will I Continue Reading? I’ll probably pick up the trade!
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Lunella is stuck, she’s too smart for her school but not super enough for Future Foundations. Her parents want her to make friends but the kids in her class are too busy making fun of her and she’s too busy studying kree technology and being a tween-prodigy to care about them. In this first issue we get to know Lunella and get a glimpse of what her life is like before a gigantic dinosaur marches into it. She’s a pretty perfect protagonist: charming, relatable, layered and likeable. She’s also an interesting mirror image of another popular young Marvel character, Kamala Khan. Kamala’s inhuman powers coming to light made her dreams come true, but Lunella’s fear of her latent inhuman self is the exact opposite. She terrified of becoming something else and working tirelessly to find a way to avoid that future. This gives the book a surprisingly dark link into the bigger Marvel continuity which is refreshing in an all-ages book, it’s sweet and funny with eye-candy art and bright pops of colour but our young main character is dealing with some tough stuff and fighting for a life she’s happy with. She has goals and aspirations, her own opinions and a strong sense of self. She’s an incredible character to introduce young readers to and a wonderful addition to the Marvel Universe. It’s also pretty great to see another mainstream comic led by a character of colour, especially a young girl!
The art is gorgeous, fun and full of energy and momentum. The writing is smart and fluid, it’s an easy gliding read that leaves you hungry for more. Plus, it has a giant red dinosaur!
Will I Continue Reading? Definitely!
Did you pick up any of these comics? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!