This week Marvel begins a new initiative for its line of titles focused on younger heroes with the Outlawed one-shot! The issue sets up a new status quo for the Champions and other teams of young heroes around the Marvel Universe. Does it make the case for or against itself?
Then, Jessica Drew takes to the pages of her own ongoing series once again with an all-new Spider-Woman #1! Not only that, but she’s got a new costume and a new mission to boot. Did this first issue successfully spin its way into our reviewer’s heart?
We’ve got discussion and reviews of those titles, plus a Rapid Rundown of other new releases for the week, all ahead in the latest installment of The Marvel Rundown!
Written by Eve L. Ewing
Illustrated by Kim Jacinto
Colored by Espen Grundetjern
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover by Pepe Larraz & David Curiel
Joe Grunenwald: Marvel’s laying out a new direction for its young heroes with this week’s Outlawed one-shot! Team, what did you all think of this story and what it means for the Marvel U?
George Carmona 3rd: Well first, I’ve missed Eve Ewing’s voice. She has a great way with dialog, especially with the younger characters. As for this book being Civil War Lite, it seems like an interesting premise, but how is Marvel going to get out of this one?
Chloe Maveal: I’m of the same mind that this didn’t really get much of a reaction from me either way. And while I also normally like Eve Ewing’s penchant for dialog, this felt so fast paced that I lost track once or twice. As a book clearly aimed at younger readers, this felt a bit too jumbled for me.
Grunenwald: There’s a lot going on here, and a lot of characters to keep track of, to the point that I definitely lost track a few times of who was saying and doing what. The comparisons to Civil War are inevitable, too, and I think they’re ones that Ewing recognizes and plays into (the sole line of dialogue from
PenanceSpeedball towards the end tips that off). I was a big fan of Jim Zub‘s Champions run, and I really like Miles, Kamala, and Riri, so this issue checked a few boxes for me in that respect.
Where I find myself having an issue is with the idea of the events of this issue being the tipping point for outlawing all young heroes. We’re supposed to understand this law against teen heroes has been in the works for a while (though we’ve only heard about it, to my knowledge, in the Incoming! one-shot before now). So why is what felt to me like a fairly typical superhero adventure the thing that finally pushes this over the edge?
Maveal: I guess I hadn’t thought about it from that angle, but it does make for a weird idea. Even if this is something that’s been around a while, it IS sort of weird that one major crisis was the boiling point. There’s a sense of crisis that feels…flat. But to be frank, the comic is moving so quickly and has SO much dialogue that it’s really easy to just pass over.
Grunenwald: I actually really liked the pace of this book. The speed of everything felt really frantic and almost uncontrollable, which I think worked for the story being told.
Carmona: Yeah, as I don’t read a lot of the other books outside of Miles, this law did come out of left field. Bigger questions: how does this impact other characters in the Marvel Universe like Franklin and Valerie Richards or the other young Mutants?
Grunenwald: I think we get a tease for some of that at the end of the issue, but I absolutely agree with you that I want to see how this law affects all corners of the Marvel U. Presumably it wouldn’t touch young mutants, as they’re citizens of Krakoa now, but the Richards children would for sure fall under its purview. You’re getting at a great point, though: this issue is the setup. It’s the jumping-off point for a new status quo. So I think asking those questions is sort of the desired effect.
Maveal: If nothing else, I’m excited to see how this goes for the Richards kids. The idea of something — anything — breaking through the Krakoan monopoly throughout every character’s story right now feels like a big breath of fresh air. If that’s where this is going I am absolutely sold.
Carmona: But that still leads to a bigger question of, how long can they sustain this? I’m sure at some point our young heroes will have to face off against their mentors and then they beat the Avengers?
Grunenwald: You have to also consider that not all the adult heroes will be super-thrilled by this, either. They might see it as a slippery slope to the return of the Superhuman Registration Act. Again we get a bit of a preview of that in the opening pages of the one-shot. Putting aside all of those questions, did you find this to be an effective introduction to this new status quo? Was it an entertaining comic?
Maveal: I really…don’t know. The more I think about it and the more I consider with this discussion, sure it sets things up pretty well. But the initial reading of it feels like a bit of a stretch even for an initial setup. As for the entertainment value, I’m not the target audience as I’d be just as happy to sit down and read Civil War if I want a Civil War-esque story. But I can see younger readers getting a kick out of it and buying into the tropes, and that’s significantly more important.
Carmona: I did like the book. It was a solid read, and it definitely left me with questions, but as I’m not truly invested in the characters I’d only be getting this on the strength of Ewing’s writing and Kim Jacinto’s art, which is very reminiscent of Humberto Ramos — high energy with that slightly skewed anatomy. And you know at some point there’s going to be a story titled C.R.A.D.L.E. to the Grave! So I might get that issue.
Grunenwald: Jacinto’s art was a big selling point for me. I agree that it’s very Ramos-esque, which seems appropriate given he helped relaunch the Champions a few years back. I just really liked the energy and the momentum of this issue, and Jacinto’s art played a huge role in that, from the way he draws figures and movement to his page layouts.
Maveal: Oh jeez. I feel like the odd man out all over the place this week then. I won’t say that I outright didn’t like Jacinto’s art because I am always here for bizarre body proportions, but it skewed a little too action genre manga for me in a lot of ways, and I’ve always had a hard time getting into stories with those sort of facial expressions and movements. I’m here to be the grump and I’ll stand by it very reluctantly, haha.
Grunenwald: Hey, you know what you like, and it sounds like this ain’t it. Does anyone else have anything they want to add on Outlawed, or are we ready to deliver verdicts?
Maveal: I think that’s really about it. I’d give this a BROWSE. You’re either gonna love it or feel fairly ambivalent to it. I am hoping that kids and teens will dig it though.
Grunenwald: Yeah, this is a STRONG BROWSE for me. I enjoyed this issue, and I’m interested in the stories that are going to come out of this one, but it really doesn’t feel like an essential read to me.
Carmona: As someone who’s always had an issue with teenage superheroes, with the exception of really smart ones, which this book is loaded with, this was a STRONG BROWSE again off of the creative team’s talent.
Final Verdict: It’s a split-browse decision! Joe and George give Outlawed #1 a STRONG BROWSE, while Chloe gives it a regular-variety BROWSE!
Written by Karla Pacheco
Pencilled by Pere Pérez and Paulo Siqueira
Inked by Pere Pérez and Oren Junior
Colored by Frank D’Armata
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover by Junggeun Yoon
Reviewed by Joe Grunenwald
Spider-Woman has had numerous status quos over the years. I was a big fan of Jessica Drew, Private Eye from the character’s last ongoing series, so I was interested to see what this new series would do with where that series ended. Based on this first issue, while the new Spider-Woman title is taking Jess in a new direction, it does so without jettisoning anything of what’s made the character’s past runs great.
This debut issue is made up of two stories, both written by Karla Pacheco. This series marks her first ongoing work for Marvel, and the two tales in this issue display Pacheco’s deft ear for dialogue and a skill for characterization. Jess narrates both stories, and newcomers to the character will really get a sense of who she is as a result. The first story is nearly all action, while the second is more dialogue-heavy and character-driven, and Pacheco’s scripting on both of them is clever and solidly entertaining.
The visuals in this issue are equally strong. Pere Pérez illustrates the opening, more action-oriented tale, and he does so wonderfully. His action is dynamic and easy to follow, and his facial expressions are also spot-on, driving home the humor and the intensity of Pacheco’s script. The issue’s second story, illustrated by Paulo Siqueira and Oren Junior, is just as well-done, with clean lines and interesting page layouts keeping the dialogue-heavier story visually interesting. Colors by Frank D’Armata unify both stories, and he noticeably adjusts his work to match each artist/art team to great effect. The result is a visually-cohesive package that’s a pleasure to take in.
In a sense, Spider-Woman #1 is two issues in one. The opening tale takes place after the second story, and wisely kicks the issue off with the action and Jessica’s new status quo already underway. It also raises some questions that are answered (sort of) after reading the second story. It’s an interesting way to structure the issue, and a smart way to get to the exciting stuff right away before stepping back and bringing readers up-to-speed on how they got there.
Spider-Woman #1 is an engaging and entertaining debut issue for the series. It raises several questions I’m interested in getting answers for, and it sets up Jessica Drew’s new goings-on in a way that’s clever, and that enhances the reading experience. This is worth checking out.
Final Verdict: BUY this book if you like solid writing and art that tells an intriguing story with a fan-favorite character.
- Captain Marvel #16
- “The Last Avenger” concludes with a long-simmering brawl between Carol and Vox Supreme. This arc has been action-packed from the beginning, and Kelly Thompson, Lee Garbett, and Tamra Bonvillain don’t let up here. Thompson’s run has been great from the beginning, but in particular this arc feels like an all-timer for the character. Really great stuff. —JG
- Conan the Barbarian #14
- And thus, the story becomes much more interesting. Jim Zub and Roge Antonio’s story veers into an unexpected path, one where the trial the characters are facing has something up its sleeve that will turn them against each other. It’s better to read it than to see it spoiled here, but Zub is getting into a groove here that I think is worth checking out. —HW
- Guardians of the Galaxy #3
- Three separate, but connected, short stories focus on Gamora, Drax, and Groot as they react to the events of the last issue. There’s heavy stuff going on in this issue, and Al Ewing and the team of artists do a masterful job of capturing that weight, while still incorporating moments of levity to keep it from feeling like a slog. The opening story, told from Groot’s perspective, is particularly affecting, and a fantastic showcase for artist Nina Vakueva. It’s not too late to catch up on this series, and you’ll be glad you did. —JG
- Star Wars #4
- Charles Soule and Jesús Saiz continue on filling the gaps between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In the last issue, our heroes returned to Cloud City on personal missions, with Luke looking to recover his Lightsaber, Leia in need of information on carbon-freezing and Lando hoping to free his friend and number 2, Lobot. What I’m really enjoying about this series, and this issue in particular, is the building of the well-oiled team that saves Han Solo in Jedi, and getting to see the transformation of Lando from hustler to Rebel leader and Luke from apprentice to Jedi Knight. —GC
- The last issue’s cliffhanger soured me greatly, but I’m happy to report things pick up steam quickly and we get a great resolution to the gang’s trip to Cloud City. Even though this is the fourth issue of the series, this is a springboard to some clearly big things coming down the trail when it comes to Luke’s journey. I’m pretty excited to read more. —HW
Next week: Hellions!