This week in Heroes and Villains our selection of new Marvel Comics includes a grounded space hero, a legacy hero with a familiar name, new origins for an old hero, and one of my absolute favorite super-heroines who is one of Marvel’s oldest. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Star-Lord #3, Invincible Iron Man #4, Daredevil #17, and Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #15…
Last week I asked where the other Guardians were in the Gamora story in Guardians of the Galaxy #17, and this week I get part of my answer. Everyone has been stranded on Earth since the events of Civil War II, and Star-Lord has had a falling out with his team. More than a falling out, he’s been arrested for brawling and deprived of his guns for the rest of his time on Earth. What’s a guy to do? Well, tend bar of course.
That’s where the story here starts, with Star-Lord, looking very much like his dad with a beard, tending bar at the infamous super-villain Bar with No Name. The story’s title even incorporates the first line of the theme song to Cheers to set the tone. And that may be the problem here, it’s all set up.
Don’t get me wrong, I like this comic, and I dig the story that writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Kris Anka are telling, and any super-villain bar scenario provides a great opportunity to play with little-used characters, but by the time we get to the stinger on the last page, and I closed the book, I realized it was the third issue. Three issues of set-up? I also had to wonder if Star-Lord was even the star of the comic, as it seems almost any character could have been shoehorned into this scenario. Change the dialogue, and a few background in a few places, and this could have been Luke Cage for instance.
I did enjoy this comic, and will be back to read more, but it wasn’t perfect. I loved the cliffhanger, I liked the new characters, I want more. I didn’t care for the editorial note that was more needling the writer than helping the reader. But either way, I want in on the next issue, this is a definite buy.
Invincible Iron Man
Is it just me, or is writer Brian Michael Bendis devolving? As I paged through Invincible Iron Man #4 I was getting a very real sense of déjà vu, that I had read this kind of stuff before, and I had. Nonsensical dialogue, long action sequences where nothing substantial happens, and ninjas. This is classic Bendis New Avengers. We are dropped in the middle of a situation with no explanation, and he tries to build up a character, in this case Pepper Potts, by having another character Riri Williams tell us how cool she is.
It is sixteen pages in before we get any point of reference to what is going on. There’s nothing wrong with a little in media res, but when it can be remedied with an economy of words, why not do that for us? As these ninjas seemed to be as much a threat as those in the long ago New Avengers, I had no real fear of them, and seemingly neither did Pepper or Riri – then why were they there? This was a very frustrating comic, but pretty thanks to Stefano Caselli, but I won’t be buying it.
With writer Charles Soule at the helm and a return to New York, this was the beginning of a new chapter for Daredevil. With artist Ron Garney bringing the gritty noir, we open on Matt Murdock in a confessional, so familiar territory, and telling the tale of his and his ladylove’s move to New York from San Francisco.
From this comic, it’s hard apparently, DC TV shows aside, to not have a secret identity. The comic reads like a primer, and a very intelligent one, on why it’s important to have a secret identity, especially for Matt Murdock and Daredevil to be two separate individuals. A very good case is made, all the while displaying elements of the kind of Daredevil story Soule wants to tell, and how important the woman Matt loves is. Again, set-up with intriguing cliffhanger, but very well done, well worth checking out, and a great starting point for new readers.
I love Patsy Walker, and not just because we share a last name. She’s one of Marvel’s oldest characters publishes, and her eponymous comic was one of the first to have the Marvel banner on it. I’ve known her since she forced her way in to the Avengers in the 1970s, followed her adventures as Hellcat afterward, and have collected and enjoyed her adventures before then. Patsy rocks, and continues to do so in this most recent series under the creative forces of Kate Leth and Brittney L. Williams, despite the longish title.
In Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #15, Patsy has a cold from Hell, literally, and her sneezes cause random magical stuff to happen. Among them, a stuff animal from her childhood comes back to terrorize the gang, and Mister Sniffles is not happy. This comic is so much fun, I read it several times, grinning the whole time. Highly recommended, but with a proviso, if you like the Punisher, this comic is not for you.