I’ll be the first to admit to being a little cold on some of the Marvel debuts recently, but this week is loaded with surprises. If the Marvel Universe is supposed to be the world outside your window, this week should prove why. These books feature a familiar friend introducing you to a new one and the debut of a series that proves why the United States of America is so special in the first place! There’s also a fairly unconventional Deadpool title worth a look…but we’ll get to all that.
Deadpool the Duck #1
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Jacopo Camagni
Colors: Israel Silva
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
Where do I start with this one…lately, Marvel has been combining characters with Deadpool. Deadpool the Duck is the latest result of this publishing trend. While I usually am willing to do anything possible in order to resist reading anything about Deadpool, this comic proves to be an exception, literally rocketing into high gear in its opening pages.
This is a bit of a twist, so stop now or forever be spoiled, but Deadpool the Duck does not exist in page one of this comic. It’s to be sympathetic about a comics character as ludicrous as this when the reader starts the comic without the titular hero existing. Mixing and matching this comic with Marvel Universe animals and a story stringing the whole thing together adds just the right amount of novelty to keep the series interesting.
While the middle and ending put this piece in a whole new direction, the series definitely operates too comfortably when it comes to the average Deadpool humor aspects. Deadpool’s fourth-wall breaking humor is comfortable, but not breaking new ground with the introduction of a hail marry plot device and stale joke that can be used tirelessly at the author’s leisure. The end of the series also hits an uncomfortable final beat instead of really sticking the landing, genre tropes like these used in such a cookie cutter way is exactly the reason why Deadpool has a stigma deterring long-time comics fans.
Artist Jacopo Camagni delivers some expressive character work here perfect for the funny books. The introduction of a certain duck-themed hero has an incredibly nice expression perfect for the series. While this comic is stylized with facial expressions not from this planet, it retains a high level production value throughout the issue with great anatomy and intricate page layout. This comic has some impressive letters from VC’s Joe Sabino!
The sound effects in the middle of the issue are particularly vibrant and adds a wonderful level of production value to the story. I feel that colorist Israel Silva is almost given the job to make sure that this issue feels consistent with the Deadpool line, further grounding the series into the Marvel Universe. My only complaint is that backgrounds in the issue are sparse, but with such vibrant layouts and expressions, I feel like a jerk for complaining about anything coming from the art team in this issue.
Verdict: Browse. I just assumed this concept would aggravate me, yet Deadpool the Duck made me a believer.
The Unstoppable Wasp #1
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Elsa Charretier
Colors: Megan Wilson
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Wow. Seriously. Wow.
This is a comic that in theory should not work, but writer Jeremy Whitley’s commitment to Nadia Pym’s unwavering & infectious optimism against the worst odds proves how incredibly special this character is. When writer Mark Waid and illustrator Mahmud Asrar first introduced the newest member of the Pym family in All-New, All-Different Avengers, I was taken with her charming personality, but Whitley unending commitment to Nadia’s sunny disposition is downright infectious.
Elsa Charretier’s incredible layouts and spreads adds so much substance to the vibrant personality of this comic. The guest stars in this issue contribute to Nadia’s undeniable charm, watching them playoff of her with whit, and occasional disgust add up to why this series is so enticing in the first place.
Talking about this comic without giving away who the guest stars are is an impossible task, but those familiar with this column and the current state of the Marvel Universe are not going to want to miss this debut. This series first issue is another Marvel series that seems to be blazing a new path forward at the publisher with the final pages instilling a strong, lasting theme of inclusion. The statement made about this character and the scientific aspect of Nadia’s history makes her a diverse hero standing out amongst other new legacy heroes in the Marvel Universe.
This issue goes above and beyond just having ties to the Marvel Universe, the aspects in which Nadia’s personal history intersects with other characters leaves so many plot threads of this comic wide open for further exploration. While this is unquestionably a great debut issue, the series is lacking a villain as charming or cunning as Nadia Pym, making me slightly worried that the comic won’t be able to sustain such an infectious optimism that potentially be overtaken with nonsensical or boring plotting. One final criticism about the comic is that there are a ton of series being published by Marvel fulfilling a similar itch All-New Wolverine, Hawkeye, Hulk, Patsy Walker: Hellcat! and more feature female heroes striking it own their own and at some point Marvel is going to be publishing too many of these comics in a similar vein.
You are not going to want to skip out on Nadia Pym’s Marvel Universe debut! This issue is loaded with charming guest stars, gorgeous artwork and even a nice dose of intrigue baked into Pym’s past as the series seems dedicated to exploring the Pym family at some point. While this comic is similar to many charming Marvel solo books, Pym’s personality and Charretier’s incredible illustrations will leave you intoxicated.
Verdict: Buy. Highest possible recommendation. Buy it twice.
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Letters: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
I’m going to be honest, the latest volume of New Avengers just didn’t click for me. I loved what was happening in the series with loads of obscure Marvel heroes and a big battle foreshadowed with the villainous Maker, but the series previous artist and immense level of dialogue made it too difficult for me to invest in the comic.
Up is down, right is left, the U.S.Avengers debut has a restrained Al Ewing script armed with the impossibly beautiful pencils of Paco Medina. This series unites the Contest of Champions creative team to continue to do great things. Robert Decosta is a hero armed with decades of continuity heavily influenced by recent Marvel events that make him a really dense Marvel hero, yet Ewing provides readers with a perfect entry point into the character making him a very rich but very sympathetic superhero socialite.
The process continues with talking head pieces from several characters that Ewing actually created in the previous volume of the series. The most recent volume of New Avengers was packed with lasting continuity shifts that Ewing explains with brisk exposition. This is also where Medina comes in with beautifully drawn exposition scenes. The artist picks just the right camera angle to make a talking head scene dramatic, infusing those moments with awe-inspiring layouts proving that Medina is a honed professional deserving of greater recognition from the comics community as a whole.
This cast is huge and it’s impossible to feel like any one reader is really getting handle on each new hero especially without the background of New Avengers to guide this series forward. This is a really special debut issue loaded with great characterization, but Ewing will need to stay this focused to continue welcoming new readers in the dense world of U.S.Avengers, further cementing why this impossible status quo shift was needed in the first place.
There’s not enough ground in this review to cover each character, but the intrigue utilized by Ewing at the end of the issue to debut a (seemingly) new villain for the team to go up against sells this issue. And, AS IF THAT WEREN’T ENOUGH, Ewing sticks the landing with a tease for future issues that promises endless fun in 2017 from U.S.Avengers.
Verdict: Buy. Give this one a shot, you won’t be sorry.
Whew, what great week. Next week we’re catching up with The Mighty Thor #15 for the debut of the Asgard Shi’ar War! We’ll head back to the world of Inhumans of X-Men to catch additional wartime developments and see what all the fuss is about this smooch in Spider-Man #11! I’ll see you in seven!