In this week’s Rundown, we’ve got a lead review on Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1, plus: it’s a Reign-y day in the Rundown, with rapid reviews of both Crimson Reign #1 and Devil’s Reign #1!

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Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades

By: Terry Blas, Julius Ohta, Daniel José Older, German Peralta, Edgar Delgado, Amparo OrtizCaio Majado, Nico Leon, Julio Anta, Enid Balám, Claribel A. Ortega, Adriana Melo, Karla Pacheco, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Juan Ponce, Wilton Santos, Yehudi Mercado, Mauro Fodra, Leonardo Romero, Desirée Proctor, Erica Harrell, Paco Medina, Alex Segura, Alba Glez, Gustavo Duarte, David Betancourt, and Alitha E. Martinez
Art by: Francisco Herrera
Inks by: Oren Junior, Victor Nava, Sean Parsons, and José Marzan Jr.
Colors by: Erick Arciniega, Jesus Aburtov, Dono Sánchez-Almara, Felipe Sobreiro, Federico Blee, Dijjo Lima, Fernando Sifuentes, Cris Peter, and Bryan Valenza
Lettering by: Ariana Maher
Cover by: Joe Quesada & Richard Isanove

By now, you’re probably familiar with the Marvel’s Voices series: inspired by the podcast hosted by Angélique Roché (who serves as Consulting Editor on the Marvel’s Voices books), the title takes the form of comic anthologies that spotlight certain demographics – both in the panels themselves and with the creators who work on the book.

With Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades, the Latin and Latinx characters and creators of Marvel Comics get their time on the center stage. As with previous titles in the Marvel’s Voices line, this anthology features a mix of tones, art styles, and story lengths, running the gamut from a few single-cartoonist single-page stories to considerably longer tales (the anthology is 96-pages long).

The longest comic in Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades is the first one, a twelve-page story that spotlights Eva Quintero. This character was introduced in the four-issue Reptil run by Blas, Balám, Victor Olazaba, Carlos Lopez, and Joe Sabino, in which she and her brother, Julian, both helped their cousin, Humberto Ramos, better develop his dinosaur-morphing abilities… but with Eva developing her own magical abilities, it’s not hard to understand why she gets to headline a story in this anthology!

While all four issues of Reptil were outstanding, the series ended far too soon; hopefully, this short story signals that the characters and storylines will be continued – and hopefully not just in anthology comics! However, the story does a great job of continuing two of the best parts of Reptil: the sense of place (with New Orleans replacing Los Angeles) and the innovative explanations behind Eva’s magical abilities (which continue to be symbol-based).

This story ends with one of those classic “The Beginning” endings, so I’m going to continue to cross my fingers and hope we get more of the plot threads that were begun in Reptil (especially those attached to Eva and her fledgling magical abilities – and I mean, now that she has a costume made by Jules, there’s no reason to keep her away from her own solo title).

But Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades doesn’t just look forward, it also looks back. In a story set in 1970s Spanish Harlem, the White Tiger faces off against King Basura, a manifestation of the fact that the sanitation department hasn’t served the neighborhood in weeks. This story features The Young Lords, a group of revolutionaries who were inspired by the Black Panthers and organized the 1969 “Trash Offensive,” which inspired this story.

Furthermore, current events also play a role in some of these stories, as when Spider-Man and Spider-Girl take time out from conventional super heroing in order to make signs and take part in a pro-immigration rally (in a story that even foregrounds the use of “Latinx,” allowing Spider-Girl to explain to Mrs. Morales what the term is all about and leading to a full-on discussion of ever-evolving language).

Plus, food plays an important part in several of these stories as well, serving as both a point of connection with the community and a driving force for stories (plus, there’s even a recipe for tortillas).

On top of all these, there is a comic about Nina the Conjuror (a past Sorcerer Supreme), plus a story that features Robbie Reyes, white supremacists, the Los Angeles Subway, and the La Brea Tar Pits (yes, you read all that right).

In addition to the collection of short comics, this anthology also features a full-page introduction by Frederick Luis Aldama (A.K.A. Professor Latinx) that digs into the enduring appeal of the terminally “othered” Marvel superheroes, an essay on the rise of the White Tiger by Jim Beard, and an interview conducted by Tucker Markus with Roché and Assistant Editor Lauren Amaro on putting together Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades.

Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades is nearly 100 pages of comics, all of which celebrate Latin and Latinx characters, creators, and representation while serving up one entertaining comic after another. While certain characters in particular deserve to be spotlighting in their own solo titles, the Marvel’s Voices anthologies continue to be one of the most engaging ongoing titles comic out of Marvel Comics – let’s hope they continue for many years to come!

Final Verdict: BUY.

Rapid Rundown!

  • Devil’s Reign #1
    • Chip Zdarsky & Marco Checchetto‘s long-simmering Devil’s Reign kicks off as Wilson Fisk takes on not just Daredevil, but all the heroes of the Marvel Universe. The event finally pays off the full potential of Fisk becoming the mayor of New York, and builds nicely on what has come before both in Zdarsky’s Daredevil and in other Marvel books going back years. It’s also an accessible issue that doesn’t require knowledge of those events ahead of time, but that’s a richer reading experience if you have it. All event comics should be this strong. —JG
  • Star Wars #19
    • After the five-month slog that was War of the Bounty Hunters, Charles Soule finally returns to the one element of this volume that really drew me in to begin with, and that was the matter of Luke’s training and how he got to be the Jedi we see in Return of the Jedi. I’ve always preferred the Jedi stuff to the Rebel stuff, so this was right up my alley. Luke investigates a series of planets that have been flagged by the Empire to contain Jedi relics. Readers of Soule’s other Star Wars series, Darth Vader, will get a kick out of seeing a returning character. I haven’t heard of the artist, Marco Castiello, but I thought they did a great job showcasing these various planets as well as depicting the characters and designs of the story. It felt a little more grounded than what other artists on this series have brought to the table. —HW
  • Star Wars: Crimson Reign #1
    • Writer Charles Soule and artist Steven Cummings bring us further fallout from the events of the Bounty Hunters War, with the machinations of Lady Qi’ra and the criminal organization Crimson Dawn. Taking advantage of the rift between the Empire and the Hutt Clans, Qi’ra forms an alliance with several other groups in an elaborate plan to destroy the Sith. Other than saying that the Sith are bad guys, Soule crafts a compelling analogy of what the Sith are and how they operate. The strength/weakness of these interconnected stories that fill the space between the original movies is that we know how these stories should end but they are making some interesting and fun choices with how we get there. —GC3

Next week, Peach Momoko‘s Demon Days saga continues!