April 17, 2015

The Pull List: 15 April 2015, Part II

Marvel has been having tremendous success with its latest iteration of Thor. Thor himself has lost faith in his ability to be worthy of his own name, and as such has lost the power to hold his magical hammer Mjolnir. In his place has come a mysterious woman who's taken the hammer and started fighting the villainous Roxxon corporation, the dark elf Malekith, and even Asgard's own ruler Odin - who has not taken kindly to a woman usurping his son's role.

Issue #7, published this week, does not reveal the identity of the new Thor. It does, however, provide some excellent plot developments in other areas. The highlight is definitely a knock-down brawl between the new Thor and the Destroyer - which has been sent by Odin to retrieve Mjolnir at any cost.

There's an over-arching narrative about challenging the patriarchy going on here. It's not just that there's a woman claiming to be Thor - and doing a damn fine job of it too - there's also the ongoing issue that a revived Odin has returned to Asgard after a long absence, overthrown his much more effective wife as ruler, and is slowly going about destroying everything she worked to build up. One senses that such insanity will not stand.

Jason Aaron's a great writer, and Russell Dautermann is doing some outstanding artwork. I do wish they'd pull the pin and reveal Thor's secret identity, but for this issue at least the rest of the book was strong enough that I didn't mind too much. (4/5)

Marvel. Written by Jason Aaron. Art by Russell Dautermann. Colours by Matthew Wilson.

Under the cut: reviews of Doctor Who, Giant Days, Lumberjanes, Ms Marvel and Revival.

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor #11
Titan Comics. Written by Al Ewing. Art by Boo Cook. Colours by Hi-Fi.
There's some great stuff in this issue, where the TARDIS is splintered into multiple realities - and each reality is represented in a different colour. At the same time there's some stuff that's positively woeful: one of the Doctor's companions, Jones, was established as a loose sort of early David Bowie pastiche, but in this issue he's dressed up in Bowie's Ashes to Ashes costume while getting chased around by Jareth from Labyrinth. It's the worst kind of in-joke: a silly offhand references that the writer has indulged in far too much. It pretty much swallows the whole issue. Boo Cook's artwork really isn't doing much for me either. (2/5)

Giant Days #2
Boom Studios. Written by John Allison. Art by Lissa Tremain. Colours by Whitney Cogar.
Flu season hits the university campus, throwing our three protagonists into fever dreams and hallucinatory episodes. It's all tremendously funny stuff, and after two issues it really feels like the book's cast have been firmly established. Lissa Tremain's artwork is fantastic, and Whitney Cogar's colours enhance it in the perfect way - particularly given some of the trippier moments this issue. While this book is clearly pitched at an older readership, it really does strike me as a great companion piece to Lumberjanes. They share a similar kind of pace, which I'm really enjoying. (4/5)

Lumberjanes #13
Boom Studios. Written by Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Walters. Art by Brooke Allen. Colours by Maarta Laiho.
Original artist Brooke Allen returns for this special flashback to when the Lumberjanes all first met each other. It's predictably delightful, with each character given a suitably funny and memorable introduction. It also raises new questions, which is an excellent bit of writing: one wonders what new threads are going to be teased out over the coming months. This is a great start to Lumberjanes' second year, and as a self-contained issue it's the perfect opportunity for new readers to check the book out - particularly if they have or are kids. (4/5)

Ms Marvel #14
Marvel. Written by G. Willow Wilson. Art by Takeshi Miyazawa, Colours by Ian Herring.
Kamala meets a boy, and he's a perfect dream. On top of that he too has been transformed by the terrigen mist into an Inhuman. Perfect romantic partner, interested in her, also has super-powers... okay, so this issue isn't going to win many awards for originality, but it's written in such an engaging and humorous fashion that it's difficult not to enjoy it despite the clich├ęs. Takeshi Miyazawa returns as fill-in artist, with his now-expected charm. The book has a great cover by Jake Parker too. This book is interesting, funny, progressive and wonderfully entertaining. I can see why it's such a strong seller for Marvel, particularly in digital format. My only worry is that its rising profile will drag into all manner of tie-ins and crossovers, which could potentially kill part of what's made it so readable: it's simplicity. (4/5)

Revival #29
Image. Written by Tim Seeley. Art by Mike Norton with Daniel Warren Johnson.
Last issue brought a sudden and unexpected explanation for what caused everybody in Wausau to stop dying. You would expect this issue to follow up on those shock revelations, and either properly confirm them or in some way elaborate. Instead this issue shocks for entirely different reasons. Events that have been gradually building suddenly explode - in at least one case, quite literally - and the entire narrative of the comic has been advanced a tremendous degree. This is the sort of of stunning issue you can only produce in an ongoing, long-form narrative. It's why, despite the widespread availability of collected editions and trade paperbacks, I still prefer reading my comic books one issue at a time. The wait for issue #30 is going to be intolerable. (5/5)

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