This week, Marvel Comics celebrates Pride Month with Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2023) #1! Then, check out our backup review of the final issue of Captain Marvel

What did you think of this week’s fresh issues from Marvel Comics, True Believers? The Beat wants to hear what you’re thinking! Give us a shout-out, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.

Marvel's VoicesMarvel’s Voices: Pride (2023) #1

Lettering by: Ariana Maher with Travis Lanham (“Purim Spiel,” “Everywhere”)
Designer: Stacie Zucker
Main Cover: Amy Reeder

“Our Super Power: Introduction

Written by: Mary Chieffo

AVERY KAPLAN: Considering I mentioned The Beat in a article about Star Trek: Discovery, you can probably imagine how excited I was to see Chieffo had written the introduction. Qapla’!

REBECCA OLIVER KAPLAN: As a fellow DISCO fan, I was excited to see that Chieffo had penned the introduction. We’re here. We’re queer. We’re superpowered.

“Everything’s Coming Up Aces”

Marvel's Voices Pride
Gwenpool in Marvel’s Voices: Pride!

Story: Marieke Nijkamp 
Pencils & Inks: Pablo Collar
Colors: Michael Wiggam

AVERY: This story did a fantastic job of using Gwenpool’s meta perspective to break the fourth wall across the spectrum, from the fun (like the party invites having today’s date of June 14th on them) to the thoughtful (like her self-analysis of stepping into a role to a certain extent defined by representation) to amusing (like shoving a couple of bigots into a gutter filled with queer books and Marvel Comics, including the previous years’ Pride issues). Plus, the reference to the Captain America Spider-Man PSA meme? A Dazzler cameo? Jeff?! A high-energy opener that doesn’t sacrifice depth and is fun and colorful to look at, to boot.

REBECCA OLIVER: I’m asexual, and it’s exciting to have two major ace heroes (Gwen and Nadia Van Dyne) in Marvel comics now. Or is it three major heroes who are ace? Jeff the Landshark is the first member recruited into Gwen’s future Ace Force, a team that I’m dying to see get their own storyline now. Gwen is team leader, with teammates Jeff, Nadia Van Dyne, Yelena Belova, and Benjamin Thomas.

For everyone wondering why Dazzler is Marvel Comics’ ABBA, check out this article from MTV.

AVERY: I also appreciated the way the story started with a focus on a single member of part of the larger queer community (Gwen as an AroAce individual) before escalating to the all-out Pride celebration (with many different Pride flags flying). 

“What May Bloom”

Marvel's Voices
Is this a Loki mech?

Story: Stephanie Williams
Pencils: Héctor Barros
Inks: Oren Junior
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse

AVERY: I am immediately interested in any story that has an even tangential connection to Tilda Johnson. This story reminded me of those not-quite-full-length issue superhero origin stories in books like Marvel Presents, Marvel Spotlight, and Marvel Premiere

An interview with P. Craig Russell

By Angélique Roché

AVERY: This was a very cool concept for an interview, and it’s very cool that Russell (& Lovern Kindzierski) contributed a variant cover featuring Hercules! I also especially enjoyed the question about Russell’s coming out, which took place in a 1991 issue of The Comics Journal, and the one about his work on Norse Mythology with Neil Gaiman.

REBECCA OLIVER: I don’t think Russell gets mentioned enough when we talk about Marvel’s LGBTQIA+ creators, so I loved seeing his contributions highlighted in this interview.

“Purim Spiel”

Marvel's Voices
Marvel’s Voices: Pride

Story: Katherine Locke
Pencils & Inks: Joanna Estep
Colors: Manuel Puppo

AVERY: Woo Purim Spiel! I did think this story would have more noisemakers.

REBECCA OLIVER: Cooper Coen, a.k.a Web-Weaver, and Asher, a.k.a. “his cute app boy,” are two of the newest Jewish additions to Marvel. It’s always exciting to see an ever expanding cast of Jewish characters because while the diaspora is so diverse, Black and queer Jews are often left out of mainstream Jewish representation. In terms of queer rep, Coen, whose parents evicted him for being queer, is also a reminder that the Jewish community carries with it the same prejudices as other religious communities. Whereas, conservative Jewish communities are often prejudicially lambasted by outsiders in media for their sexism, reform (and slightly less conservative) Jewish communities have been portrayed as a magical safe haven for queer kids – in reality the situation is much more complicated than that, as we learn in “Purim Spiel” that Coen’s parents carried the prejudice of deep conservative Judiasim religion but not its practices (they only attended Yom Kippur services). 15/10 story.


Marvel's Voices
Marvel’s Voices: Pride

Story: Shadi Petosky
Pencils & Inks: Roberta Ingranata
Colors: Ceci De La Cruz

AVERY: This story was a wild ride filled with interesting characters who are each memorable even if they only appear for a couple pages. I’m impressed with both the scale of story that was squeezed into this small space.

This is going to blow some tiny minds, but trans people – and even more specifically, trans women – are not a monolith. I like how this story was a microcosm of that fact, as is the roster of Marvel Comics characters at large (bolstered by but not exclusive to the many trans characters who have been introduced in the Marvel’s Voices: Pride issues the past few years). Plus, I always enjoy Billy and Hulkling stories!

REBECCA OLIVER: As a millennial queer, gay liberation was a huge part of my youth. After all, it was only eight years ago, in 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges that the United States Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. And it was only three years ago that Title VII, a federal law, was amended to prohibit employment discrimination in the private sector based on sexual orientation and gender identity—except the law doesn’t apply to independent workers, who currently make up 36 percent of the American workforce. 

I still remember feeling scared to present as myself because playing straight was what we were told to do to be to be successful. Because this story takes place in Montana, which could soon become the fourth state to pass a law defining sex as strictly “male” and “female,” it opens with Teddy and Billy wondering if they need to act a certain way to be safe. Ultimately, they decide that they are superheroes and will be fine. However, by noting that they will most likely be fine because of their superpowers, it’s also a subtle reminder to allies that its a protection that doesn’t exist for IRL queers.  

And word, Avery: Lacie Lorraine is working 9 to 5! She is the trans icon I didn’t know I needed.

AVERY: This story also explored elements of the trans experience through interesting metaphorical avenues. These included the idea that Lacie’s long history and invulnerable nature underscore the fact that trans women always have been and always will be here, and I think many members of our community will see a parallel in being abandoned by another because they needed to deal with their own baggage.

“Be Gay, Do Crime”

Marvel's Voices
Bi Sky?

Story: Sarah Gailey
Pencils & Inks: Bailie Rosenlund
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg

AVERY: Seeing the TERFs get Gambit’d via a trans colors lollipop was pretty fantastic. And as for the overall storyline here… Good for Felicia. Good for Candra. And poor Spidey’s gonna be thinking about this for weeks, isn’t he?

REBECCA OLIVER: Naughty, Spider-Man. But also, Rosenland knows how to draw some sexy bisexual lady thieves, and she had me saying, “That’s hot!,” throughout the story. With the focus on two bisexual characters, Candra and Felicia Hardy, Rosenberg decided to use the colors of the bisexual flag to add an extra layer of visual delight for bisexual readers and highlighted the copious number of Pride flags throughout the issue. 

It was also exciting to see Gambit in this story. He briefly dated Candra in 1994’s Gambit #3 by Howard Mackie, Lee Weeks, Klaus Janson, Steve Buccellato, and more, which is how we that she is bisexual. In addition, writer James Asmus wanted to depict the Cajun bad boy as bisexual during his 2012 series, but the idea was nixed by Marvel’s top brass.

“The Makings of ‘Retsy’” with Tini Howard

By Roché

AVERY: I like the “unusual” features like this one that are included in the Marvel’s Voices issues. Informative and enlightening, along with a clear guide of which issues to check out if you want to know more. As someone who specifically mentioned that I wanted to become better acquainted with the Captain Britain corner of Marvel Comics back when Captain Britain #1 was released a few months ago, this feels well-tailored to my interests. I also think it’s interesting to remember that (as pointed out by Howard in the interview), the original Captain Britain was introduced in the 1980s UK series The Daredevils, which also reprinted Frank Miller‘s Daredevil.

“No Trespassing: Beware of Dog”

Marvel's Voices
Marvel’s Voices: Pride

Story: H.E. Edgmon
Pencils & Inks: Lorenzo Susi
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick

AVERY: I sort of thought this was going to be a one-and-done story, but it actually seems like the overture for something more ongoing. Whatever the case, I’m very interested in learning more about Peach, Yorkie, Muzzle, and the rest of the Commune. This story also does a great job of demonstrating why Spider-Man is always stuck in books with new characters. Spidey’s personality offers such a fun and breezy way to get introductions and exposition! I hope the Commune manages to lift their hormones from somewhere else.

REBECCA OLIVER: Throughout this Pride issue, the creativity that Maher brings to lettering shown through. Books of the number of dogs, a Spidey, and the venom character, this story gave her a chance to play with a number of different lettering conventions in particularly fun way, but it’s just one example of her killer skills. Pay letterers more. Queer liberation won’t come without capitalist liberation.

“An Interview with MR Daniel”

AVERY: Considering the high quality of the Infinity Comics — from It’s Jeff to Alligator Loki to the return of the “Super Trans” support group in X-Men Unlimited — and Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show, I was especially excited to read this interview. The interesting answers did not disappoint! And considering the specific shout-out to Muzzle in the interview, I’m hopeful we’ll see the character in an Infinity Comic soon!

REBECCA OLIVER: Here at The Beat, we can’t sing the praises of the Infinity Comics enough. For even more Pride content, check out today’s Marvel’s Voices – Ayo & Aneka and the ongoing Love Unlimited and Hulking & Wiccan series.

“Jumbo Carnation’s Ultimate Creations”

By: Stephen Byrne

AVERY: Two words: pocket bacon. I love the premise of this story, I love the full-body art of the new outfits, I loved the jokes, and loved Jumbo’s encouragement speech to Viv. This was just another all-cylinder story. Mr. Cluck forever. And if one was to refer to the final panel in Tamarian, it might sound like: “Worf, when he fell asleep on the D bridge.”

REBECCA OLIVER: Instead of being at the beck and call of the White Queen, it’s exciting to see Jumbo Carnation dress Marvel’s queer youth once again, just like he did before his untimely death during Grant Morrison‘s New X-Men run. And as Avery mentioned, Jumbo’s encouragement speech to Viv was spot on and perfect for Pride season. Every Pride, elder queers join together to remind baby queers that they are seen. 

Following up on Gwenpool’s ace pride story, it’s also great to see Shatterstar appear in Jumbo’s fashion show. Although… is he pansexual only now? 

“Today’s Lesson”

Marvel's Voices

Story: Steve Foxe
Pencils & Inks: Rosi Kämpe
Colors: Fitzpatrick

AVERY: I have to admit, I did not see the ending of this story coming. And yes, I will probably be checking out Dark X-Men now, so, marketing accomplished!

REBECCA OLIVER: My ick factor got triggered, and I just couldn’t. 

Marvel’s Voices: Pride

AVERY: This was really a banger anthology with great rep combined with unexpected, varied and exciting stories. The extra bonus material was the icing on top. I appreciate the attempt to mix up each of the three Marvel’s Voices: Pride anthologies released so far, taking slightly different approaches with each. While the Handbook pages last year were a thrilling surprise, I’m glad to see the title try different things rather than get stuck in a rut. And while I believe both 2021 and 2022 featured distinct rosters of creators, I didn’t mind having some returning players for 2023.

To pull out Captain America’s PSA chair myself, this has been one of the more challenging Pride Months in recent memory. There are a lot of people who have a lot of hate in their hearts, and their mothership is directing them to say the same three gross things to the queer community over and over again (imaginative and/or analytical, they ain’t). You may even find one or two of them in our comment section below this very article, possibly acting like it’s 1523 and making quaint and backward accusations concerning “sin.” 

I appreciate how the 94-page Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2023) #1 flips that group the bird. For one thing, two stories depict heroes dealing with in-person garden-variety harassment, which unfortunately, some readers (myself included) will have experienced in the year since Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2022) #1 was published. I especially appreciated Gwenpool’s strategy of shoving the bigots into a gutter filled with queer reading material, since ignorance is indeed at the core of their regressive worldview.

Just how this un-American demographic has convinced themselves they are “patriots” is beyond me. To paraphrase Janelle Monaé, “The queer community is not the American nightmare. We are the American dream.” Sadly for these hateful human trash pandas, whose sole passion seems to be nothing further than getting into other people’s more interesting business, I am invested in staying right where I am. I’m looking forward to celebrating again next year with Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2024) #1.

Backup Review!

Captain Marvel #50

There’s been a whole lot of fun to be had across Kelly Thompson’s time shepherding the life of Captain Marvel, and this is a great capstone to all of that. A large portion of the issue is a party, bringing in characters from across the run to celebrate the conclusion of Thompson’s long run (and, in universe, an attempt by Jessica Drew and Jennifer Takeda make Carol feel better after the death of Binary). Thompson has all of these characters nailed to a T, including the guests that pop up over the course of the issue (the iconic Jeff the Shark at the top of that list). The emotional beats throughout are strong, and capture that all consuming sense of grief Carol feels after Binary’s sacrifice in the Brood arc, as well as push her forward to a place where she feels capable and confident again.

The art team on this is superb, as Javier Pina and David Lopez pull out all the stops to make sure this issue really sings. Pina (who I think we should see a lot more of!) gets the first large piece of the book, and it’s a blast to see him jump between those quieter moments and the more bombastic, whether that’s a large crowd scene or an epic battle with Lauri-Ell to get out some pent up energy. Lopez rounds out the book with his always awesome figure work, and some truly fantastic expressions. Yen Nitro’s colors are phenomenal, keeping the book consistently exciting from Pina to Lopez. There’s this gorgeous ethereal glow to everything, and it’s tied together with these vibrant hues that make the whole issue a treat to look at. Clayton Cowles is on lettering duties, and helps to make those big moments energetic with some terrific sfx.

I popped in and out of this run over the past few years (and now I want to read the whole of it), and from what I can tell this is a great ending to a defining run for Carol Danvers, and it’ll be very interesting to see where she heads from here. — CB

Next week: Scarlet Witch Annual (2023) #1! Catch up with past entries in the Marvel Rundown archive.

The Marvel Rundown is edited by Avery Kaplan.