Friday, June 22, 2018

Marvel Fanfare #2

I got this last summer from a dealer at NJ Gamer Con.

Title: Marvel Fanfare
Issue: 2
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: May, 1982
Writer: Chris Claremont, Michael Golden, Roger McKenzie
Artist: Michael Golden, Trevor Von Eeden, Armando Gil
Colorist: Michael Golden, Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen, D. Albers
Editor: Al Milgrom

Marvel's (mostly) out-of-continuity anthology series from the 1980s had some real gems. The main feature here is a Spider-Man/Kar-Zar/Angel team-up set in the Savage Land by the team of Claremont and Golden. This was the second part of the story, and it had Angel and Spider-Man "devolved" into monsters as Kar-Zar tried to free them from the control of a group of Savage Land mutants. This had a very 1980s X-Men vibe to it, and it featured a decent amount of plot twists and left an opening for continuing the story.

The backup story is a Fantastic Four story done in the style of their early adventures in the 1960s when Reed Richards was trying to find a way to cure Ben Grimm of being The Thing. There's a recap of the FF's origin here, and solo battle between Reed and Annihilus. This was fun for the nostalgic feel.

Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 1: Squirrel Power

I bought this at a book fair at my school in Shanghai.

Title: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Issue: Volume 1: Squirrel Power
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: 2015
Writer: Ryan North, Steve Ditko, Will Murray
Artist: Erica Henderson, Steve Ditko
Colorist: Rico Renzi, Christie Scheele
Letterer: VC's Clayton Crowles, Brad K. Joyce
Cover: Erica Henderson
Editor: Jon Moisan, Jake Thomas, Wil Moss

Trade paperback collecting the first four issues of Squirrel Girl's first solo series, plus her debut appearance from Marvel-Super Heroes #8 in 1990.

Doreen Green, who has all the powers of a squirrel along with all the powers of a girl, is moving into her college campus in New York City. She's dealing with the usual issues: Annoying administrators who mess up schedules, a new roommate, Kraven the Hunter, Whiplash, and, um, Gaslactus.

This was amusing from start to finish, with Doreen's roommate, Nancy, almost completely stealing the show. There was also an awesome discussion about non-gendered pronouns between Doreen and Galactus,

The art is a perfect fit for the story and pacing, and Doreen's common-sense approach to dealing with villains is a winning formula.

The backup story is Doreen's debut appearance from 1990 where she takes on Doctor Doom. It does not go well for the Monarch of Latveria.

Rating: 8.5/10

Monday, June 4, 2018

Darth Vader #1

The Kiddo picked this one out last summer at one of the Newbury Comics stores.

Title: Darth Vader
Issue: 1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: July 2016
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover: Jim Cheung, Matthew Wilson
Editor: Jordan D. White, Heather Antos

This picks up directly from where Revenge of the Sith left off, showing us a newly-armored Vader who is still very much the young, angry man who was brought over to the dark side by Emperor Palpatine.

His initial quest is to gain a lightsaber of his own, and this apparently has to be done to old-fashioned way: by killing someone for it. Of course, with Order 66 already in the books, finding a Jedi may be harder than actually defeating one. As is usual at this stage in the saga, it's all pretty much a win/win for Palpatine.

There was a fun little callback (call-forward, really) to the climactic moment of Return of the Jedi, and the characters and setting look excellent. I didn't find myself all that invested in Vader as a lead character. He's still the whiny Annakin of the prequels here, and it looks like it's going to be a bit of a tall order for this solo (see what I did there?) series to make much of a change in that.

Rating: 5.5/10