Marvel has a pretty good track record of taking lesser known characters and doing something awesome with them and Chelsea Cain & Kate Niemczyk’s Mockingbird is no exception, in fact it’s one of the best debut issues I’ve seen in a while. Everything about this book is great. Cain’s script is snappy and fills in as much of Bobbi’s personality and back story as you need in a pretty graceful way. Her Mockingbird is squarely in the tradition of the modern female superhero- snarky, blasé, and determined while hiding some deep emotional pain, but everything else about this book feels positively fresh and fun. The star here isn’t Bobbie Morse though, it’s artist Kate Niemczyk. This book is truly fun to read thanks to her combination of great linework and adventurous layouts that really sell the Prisoner vibe of the story. If you like comic books- like, at all -this is an absolute must buy.
Opening with a Shakespeare quote is one of the most tired, obvious ways to punch the audience in the face with the themes you’re trying to get across. So of course Tom King’s Vision can do it and absolutely nail it as a quote from Shylock in Merchant of Venice resonates through the issue. Gabriel Hernandez Walta continues to do a tremendous job on this book, creating the absolute perfect tone for King’s script. From body language and facial expressions to the way he chooses to frame the shots, everything about the art serves to drive home the themes of the story. It’s a wonderful example of two creators being absolutely in sync in their storytelling and it’s a true joy to watch.
If you haven’t checked out Doctor Strange yet, this week’s issue makes a great case for why you should hop on. Magic has been dying across the Marvel Universe and it all comes to a head as the Empirikul and his forces begin a full assault on the 616 (excuse me, the ‘Prime Earth’. Ugh.) It’s brutal and intense and a great excuse for Chris Bachalo to go absolutely nuts in one of the prettiest issues so far (that also takes advantage of the fact that they can reference Disney properties now. Yay synergy!)
Weirdworld takes a bit of breather as Becca and Goleta head to Candy Town, which is obviously much more sinister than its name would imply. For once, Del Mundo’s art doesn’t completely blow away the script, as both of our heroes are tempted by dreams of their past. It’s emotionally brutal to watch both Becca and Goleta face the things they’re actually running from and lends a nice amount of weight to a story that’s been mostly propped up by the art so far. That’s of course not to say that the quality of art has in any way dipped. This is still hands down one of the most gorgeous books on the shelf and is worth buying for that alone, honestly.
Red Wolf looks to be headed towards the chopping block and that’s a real bummer, as its been a lot of fun. So far, it’s mostly eschewed any fantastical trappings to tell a tight, neo-western cops and outlaws story. Its avoided all of the pitfalls it could have stumbled on- the fish out of water humor is subtle and deployed well, there hasn’t been an attempt to force Red Wolf into the larger universe, and the pacing has been perfect.
Mars Attacks was one of those movies that really struck a chord with me when I was a kid though I haven’t kept up with much of it since. Luckily, IDW just launched a new title from Chew creator John Layman to fill that gap in my life. Mars Attacks: Occupation picks up with the Martians having subjugated earth and that setting is familiar enough for any genre fan to hop into despite it technically being a sequel. The story mainly follows Ruby Johnson, who is unhappily surviving in work camps before getting caught up in larger events. Like I said, Layman is working the genre tropes at full speed which can sometimes feel a little generic, but overall it works to help new readers jump into the story. The main story is interspersed with context-building flashbacks to Ruby’s father, a washed up boxer who’s pretty similar to Jim Brown’s character in the film, as he leads a group during trying to survive the initial invasion. Overall, this is fun book that provides a great point to jump back into one of the most fun properties around.