This week, Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 arrives. The anthology features an all-star line-up of queer comics creators, and we’re ready to dive in!
In addition to a review of that anthology, we also have a Rapid Rundown of some of the other big books arriving this week from Marvel Comics, this week in The Marvel Rundown! Spoilers (so much as an anthology can be spoiled) ahead!
Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1
Written by Luciano Vecchio, Mike O’Sullivan, Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Mariko Tamaki, Lilah Sturges, Leah Williams, Crystal Frasier, Kieron Gillen, Terry Blas, Anthony Oliveira, J.J. Kirby, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Steve Orlando, and Jacopo Camagni
Art by Marcelo Maiolo, Kris Anka, Derek Charm, Jan Bazaldua, Jethro Morales, Jen Hickman, Paulina Ganucheau, Javier Garrón, Samantha Dodge, Joanna Estep, Brittney L. Williams, and Claudia Aguirre
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain, Brittany Peer, Erick Arciniega, Rachelle Rosenberg, and David Curiel
Lettering by VC’s Ariana Maher
Cover by Vecchio
First and foremost, shout-out to the multiple trans women creators and characters featured in this issue. This means that multiple trans creators were paid for their work on this issue – which I consider to be a best-case scenario for any Pride endeavor.
It’s a genuinely unusual experience to see any competent portrayal of a trans woman character within a mainstream IP, and to have several in a single issue from Marvel Comics? In a world where discussions about our very right to exist are just considered “political talk,” the value of having an abundance of well-done trans representation in a Big 2 book cannot be overstated.
Each of the trans women characters in this issue has her own very unique perspective – we are not a monolith, and Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 demonstrates this with Doctor Charlene McGowan, Jessie Drake, and Jennifer Harris, three trans women who each have very different frames of reference (and fingers crossed that we get to see more of all three of these characters in future issues of Marvel Comics – a goal that is at least one-third accomplished thanks to Dr. McGowan’s role in Gamma Flight #1, also available this week and reviewed in the Rapid Rundown below).
Furthermore, having multiple trans women creators working on multiple trans characters gives the opportunity for unique details about our experience to be expressed through the stories, thereby accomplishing the mission statement of the Marvel’s Voices podcast hosted by Angélique Roché, which inspired this series of comic anthologies.
One of the more interesting aspects of this anthology is the fact that it does not shy away from depicting some of the challenges queer people face, either in the modern day or historically. Furthermore, the characters featured in these stories are a good mix of new characters (including Somnus, a mutant who we are meant to hear more from on Krakoa later this year) as well as established queer characters like Iceman and Nico Minoru.
Plus, many of the canonically queer-adjacent characters from over the decades, like Cloud and Xavin, are given cameos in Vecchio’s introduction (which also includes appearances by Angela, Sera, Koi Boi, and many of the other queer characters who didn’t get a chance to be featured in one of the anthology’s stories).
But in spite of including more thorny issues, there is also plenty of celebration. I laughed out loud at the punch line of several of the stories, and if you are hoping for an anthology with plenty of stories which end with “The Beginning,” then Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 has your number.
Another cool inclusion in this anthology is an interview with former Marvel associate editor Chris Cooper conducted by Roché. The two-page interview highlights Cooper’s contributions to the history of gay representation in the panels of Marvel Comics, including his work on Alpha Flight #106.
I also enjoyed the inclusion of an excerpt of Alpha Flight #106 as back matter for the anthology, especially the way Northstar’s coming out creates a circle structure for the anthology when considered with the first panel of Vecchio’s introduction (say true and say thankya).
Overall, Marvel’s Voices: Pride does a great job of looking to the past and the present of queer representation in the panels of Marvel Comics. Hopefully, we can look forward to another one-shot representing even more unique queer perspectives in 2022.
- Gamma Flight #1
- Al Ewing, Crystal Fraser, and Lan Medina’s Gamma Flight #1 feels like a natural extension of Ewing’s landmark Immortal Hulk series, dealing with the series’ trademark body horror imagery but through the lens of a more traditional superhero team-up book, which was certainly surprising but ultimately worked thanks to the chemistry between the characters. Supporting players like Charlene McGowan get a little more time to shine which is always a plus, and Medina’s artwork instantly clicked into this world of weird gamma monsters. It had a bit of a rough start but got better and better with each page. — HW
- Heroes Return #1
- As far as event finales go, this was an unexpected treat. I do loath how it yet again teases the next big thing instead of ending the story as it is, but we can always get what we want. This was a big, bombastic battle between the Squadron Supreme and the Avengers, one that I think was made ask the better because of how well Jason Aaron and his collaborators established each member of the Squadron. Seeing each of them go toe-to-toe with the Avengers was frankly very satisfying and cathartic and, for the first time in a while, I’m excited about the Avengers again. Plus, it was a treat to have an issue drawn entirely by Ed McGuinness. — HW
- S.W.O.R.D. #6
- The Mutant Nation of Krakoain has just “phone checked” the Marvel Universe, hard! Generally I tend to be as spoiler-free as possible with quick reviews, so if you haven’t read Planet-Size X-Men stop now because this will touch on the ramifications of that event. Throughout the events of the Hellfire Gala guests were told to expect fireworks for the finale and the Krakoians did not disappoint by planting their flag on Mars and terraforming it to sustain life almost instantly, leapfrogging any type of Human exploration and plans for Mars. It’s from their new world that the agents of Sword announce to the Galactic community, they are the face of the Sol system, and to ensure the cooperation of the Alien races, introduce a new element into the Marvel Universe that is on the level of Adamantium, Vibranium and possibly Urn. If collectively the past few years of the X-Books did a fantastic job of setting the next stages in the development of Mutants and their relationship with Humans, then this next chapter is looking like that on Gamma-infused steroids galactically. And with all that, there are still some big moments in this issue that need to be checked out beyond the 3-dimensional chess that the Krakoains are playing. — GC3
Next week, we meet a new, queer Cap in The United States of Captain America #1, Shang-Chi returns in Shang-Chi vs. the Marvel Universe #2, and the War of the Bounty Hunters continues in Doctor Aphra #11.