Welcome to this week’s edition of The Marvel Rundown! In our lead book review, Bloodline: Daughter of Blade #1, you can expect a gushing torrent of SPOILERS! If you’re looking for some spoiler-lite fare, consider scrolling down to the Rapid Rundown for blurbs of Scarlet Witch (2023) #2 and Silver Surfer: Ghost Light #1.
What did you think of this week’s fresh Marvel Comics issues? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, right here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.
Bloodline: Daughter of Blade #1
Writer: Danny Lore
Artist: Karen S. Darboe
Color Artist: Cris Peter
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Ryan Stegman & Rachelle Rosenberg; Darboe & Peter
Marvel Comics needs more comics like this across its line. It’s been a long time since I’ve been sad an issue was over, and I eagerly await the next issue. But here I am. And I am hungry for more… NOW!
Daughter of Blade
The highly anticipated solo series Bloodline: Daughter of Blade is not the first outing for the daughter of the notorious daywalker, but it certainly is her longest. First introduced in Free Comic Book Day 2022: Avengers/X-Men, Brielle Brooks is the teenage, half-vampire daughter of Blade, who took her second official outing as a Marvel Comics character in the story “Neither Big Nor Bad” in 2022’s Crypt of Shadows #1 by Lore and Darboe.
While many of Daughter of Blade‘s supporting characters were introduced by name in Crypt in Shadows, here, we meet them in person for the first time in this issue. For example, we meet Bri’s besties, Reb (short for Rebecca, woot woot) and Jayden, who appear to be the daughter of Blade’s Scooby Gang — except this ATL Scooby Gang fight vamps, toxic masculinity, and systemic racism (and the fact that an arsehole didn’t create this SG makes the team THAT much better).
In some of the opening scenes of the issue, we see Bri being subject to academic discipline. It’s implied that she has acted out of line by raising her voice, but mercifully, her mother knows her well enough to know that if she did raise her voice, it was a reasonable reaction to the treatment she’d been receiving at the school. Besides, her mother is right: it is a reasonable reaction to the treatment she receives at school because, at one point, we see a white teacher confuse Bri with another Black student and learn that the school guidance counselor is more likely to report behavioral changes if a student is Black.
These scenes are used to establish that Bri has a strong relationship with her mother, Safran, which is the backbone of this issue. It is refreshing to see a positive depiction of single Black motherhood (and hell, it seems like Blade may not be the wayward farther that people expect).
I enjoyed this issue’s artwork by Darboe, which mainly focused on the characters and their expressions. This is well suited to a series that is so focused on the relationships between its main characters. And complementing Darboe’s art well is Peter’s skills as a colorist. The muted tones and purple, red, and black color palettes are arresting and draw the reader into the world of Bri and ATL’s vamps.
I feel like a broken record, but Marvel NEEDS more books like this across its line. Once again, Lore, Darboe, and Peters demonstrate why diversity matters in comics and what it adds to storytelling. Unlike most of what’s being published by Marvel Comics these days, books like this make me excited to keep reading. I look forward to continuing to amplify these outstanding books from trans, women, and non-binary creators in future Marvel Rundown columns.
PS – As an aside, a line of dialogue in this issue mentions a “Smash livestream,” presumably referring to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch. This game was also mentioned during the first season of Ms. Marvel on Disney+, implying it exists across the Marvel Comics multiverse. When will we get a one-shot that reveals everyone’s mains? Inquiring minds want to know!
- Scarlet Witch (2023) #2
- In this sophomore issue by Steve Orlando, Sara Pichelli, Elisabetta D’Amico, Matthew Wilson, Cory Petit, and Russell Dauterman, the already-intriguing setup from Scarlet Witch #1 gets further developed with assistance from Viv Vision, Wanda’s “daughter” (or is that “niece”), who is attempting to emotionally process the events of 2015’s The Vision #1-12. Building on the framework established in 2022’s Darkhold: Omega #1, this story shows how the Scarlet Witch uses her hard-won growth, both to provide a guiding light for Viv and to overcome her antagonist (Dreamqueen, who might have inspired the lyrics to Doja Cat’s “Juicy” with this incarnation of her costume). All this is set to art that includes some lovely details (like Viv’s leg phasing through the seat of an Emporium chair), some fantastic dreamscapes, and excellent renditions of this comic’s great-looking wardrobe. This wholly satisfying entry moves forward Wanda’s story, as well as the stories of Darcy and Viv. In the backup story, “An Unlikely Forecast” by Stephanie Williams, Chris Allen, Dee Cunniffe, and Petit, Wanda and Ororo go on a girls’ trip! In addition to underscoring Storm’s latent magical ability, this story includes some very insightful dialogue concerning the Scarlet Witch’s complex relationship with Magneto. This all culminates in a breathtaking panel depicting the combined force of Wanda and Ororo’s magic. Both of these stories are excellent on their own, and together, they make for one incredible issue. This is the Scarlet Witch series of which I’ve been dreaming! — AJK
- Silver Surfer: Ghost Light #1
- Only a comic book historian like writer John Jennings could resurrect an obscure character from decades ago and create a story that has relevance to today. If you didn’t know, Al Harper was a scientist who helped the Surfer in one issue of the Silver Surfer, #5, back in 1969. He dies helping to save the day and the Surfer leaves a cosmic flame over his grave. Flashforward to the current day and Harper’s family has taken ownership of his home where his niece and nephew discover his secret high-tech lab. For most of the book the two title heavies are absent, but the kids more than makeup for it with their warmth and charm. Artist Valentine De Landro and colorist Matt Milla craft a textbook example of moody environments filled with vibrant characters, and powerful introductions of our new hero and the Surfer. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, this issue is a great start for a new mystery and the return of a lost opportunity with Harper. — GC3
Next week brings Storm and the Brotherhood of Mutants #1, Red Goblin #1, and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #3! See ya then!