- #7 Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #4 By Larry Hama and Dave Wachter
This issue kind of finalizes the feeling of exclusion I had from the beginning of this mini. Larry Hama is apparently doing a great job of pulling characters and relationships from older Iron Fist lore as well as successfully integrating them with some of the newer inclusions into the mythos like Bride of the Nine Spiders and Fat Cobra. I am not uninitiated in the ways of the Iron Fist and yet I still find myself wondering who certain characters are or what their place in the story is. This mini may very well work better once collected in trade but as it stands, the issues don’t provide enough punch to seamlessly recapture you from issue to issue. It consists of a lot of jumping back and forth between battles just like last issue as the team tries to protect dragons and their hearts. Okoye of Wakanda seems to play an important part now in this series and with only one issue left I wonder if it’s a plot line worth opening up and having to close by the very next one. The art is striking all throughout but I just feel like i’m leaving this series wanting more and it’s not even done yet.
- #6 Iron Man #8 By Christopher Cantwell and Angel Unzueta
If this isn’t a filler issue it dances incredibly close to the line of being one. The major focus of this issue of Iron Man is Patsy Walker and her journey to strengthen her psychic abilities with the help of her old mentor Moon Dragon in hopes of turning the tide against Korvac. This series was steadily building up to its climax and was softly derailed around issue 6 which leaves me wondering how long Cantwell plans to drag out this current arc. The Hellcat character development isn’t bad by any stretch of the word but when reading an Iron Man book it just leaves one a little confused to have so much focus put on a multitude of characters that aren’t Tony Stark. He is in fact still missing after the events of #7 and i’m sure we’ll see him again by #9. For now it appears that Hellcat has completed her training and is now primed to assist the team in wrapping up this arc hopefully! The regular artist Cafu seems to have taken a break from the book and is replaced by Angel Unzueta who does a fine job transitioning but is still clearly a different artist. Good work all around but there’s room for greatness in this run that I hope to see soon.
- #5 Non Stop Spider-Man #2 By Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo
It looks like Kelly and Bachalo really hit a stride with this book. After the first issue I was slightly concerned with messiness in relation to not only art but direction of plot but all of those worries dissipated with this issue. The work by Bachalo is much cleaner and coherent than in the first issue and it brilliantly showcases exactly what makes him the unique artist that he receives so much acclaim for. His take on Spider-Man is always incredibly filled with energy and agility that translates electrically through the page, Kelly has found a groove in a sort of high octane detective noir story that truly doesn’t let up. The minor twist in this book sounds almost too silly to type out with the discovery of a pill that siphons brain power from people to make the user more intelligent. Hilariously enough, A plot of this caliber is quite tame when discussing superhero comics. There was temporarily a strange and uncomfortable direction with the antagonists beginning to lean on some white supremacist themes but is then shown to be working with a villanous pair of Mexican brothers which throw an entire monkey wrench into the machine. This confuses Spider-Man as much as the reader which I do appreciate and keeps the gears turning to get to the bottom of the mystery before the next issue. So far Non-Stop Spider-Man is delivering exactly what is promised and I’m looking forward to more!
- #4 Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk By Various Writers and Artists
An unfortunately lesser known hero by the name of Darkhawk celebrates his 30th anniversary with Marvel this week. Darkhawk, created by legendary writer Tom DeFalco, premiered in 1991 and was a true product of his time. His suit design screams edge and his name strikes fear into the hearts of many. I’ve only become aware of the hero in the last 5 years or so and found the character to be incredibly charming and unique. Chris Powell discovers an ancient cosmic amulet in an abandoned amusement park and is imbued with the powers and memories of a dead race of soldiers called Raptors. Powell uses these abilities for good and is constantly learning more about the origin of his source of power. This anniversary one shot consists of 3 stories that gives us a sense of the characters past present and potential future. The first story is a genuine silver age romp written by Danny Fingeroth and Mike Manley. The second is a much more modern tale helmed by Dan Abnett and Andrea Di Vito. The last story is what has caused concern in many Darkhawk fans throughout the internet. It depicts Powell at the edge of the galaxy and on the verge of death reminiscing about his life and duties as a hero and ends with what appears to be him taken off the map and sending off the source of his power to find another host to carry the mantle. To celebrate a hero by possibly killing him off and immediately hinting at a replacement is jarring and disrespectful to say the least. The book ends with the promise of more Darkhawk to come but if it continues without the presence of Chris Powell then I think Marvel is in for a big surprise with sales numbers.
- #3 Thor #14 By Donny Cates and Nic Klein
The finale of “Prey” has finally come and what an ending it was. In classic Cates fashion all of the players come out for a final battle on the Bifrost bridge. A majority of the issue centers on Thor (who is now piloting the Destroyer armor) as he beats the ever loving spit out of Donald Blake. There are some great moments with Odin as well as some legit hype around Beta Ray Bill but ultimately Thor reenters our plane of existence and delivers the final blow to Blake. His fate has left many comic readers a little confused. Thor refuses to let Odin kill Blake as he seems to be a more merciful king than that. The book however, ends with Loki taking control of Blakes punishment and seating him on the throne of Lies which was his old seat, to be tortured for just about eternity. This very well can be a set up for a future ragnarok story which would fall neatly in line with Norse mythology or it could be a way of Loki taking pity on Blake and setting him on the same path of redemption he found himself on. Most definitely a complicated and layered conclusion which leaves a lot of room for interpretation but still delivers on the arc. Overall Cates is still doing gangbusters on Thor and I hope to see many more stories like this going forward.
- #2 Daredevil #29 By Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto
Daredevil continues to bring heat as is consistent with this fantastic run thus far. The in depth characterization of Matt continues to solidify him as one of the most layered and dynamic characters in Marvel. The art by Checchetto is nothing short of incredible. I honestly felt like there were certain pages and panels that I wanted to print and frame which is not something you come across very often reading comics. The side story regarding Elektra and her new ward is really interesting and obviously a pleasure to just look at. There’s a side story with the now real Mike Murdock (See Daredevil Annual #1 2020) and Wilson Fisk’s son that I imagine will blow up big as we reach the end of this run. There’s also hints at Bullseye making an interesting new comeback. With all of these dramatic pawns in play it’s difficult to imagine a world where this run doesn’t end up in the best Daredevil stories of all time. One thing is for sure though, I will be picking up issue 30 the day it drops and so should you.
- #1 Spider-Man: The Spiders Shadow #1 By Chip Zdarsky and Pasqual Ferry
Chip Zdarsky seems to be making it to the top of my rankings every time he has a book out. This week is no different with The Spiders Shadow. This book seems to be a relaunch of Marvels classic and coveted “What If?” series where alternate and unique realities are explored without the constraints of pesky things like continuity. There is a fantastic feeling of suspense with books like these that you won’t find in main line canon stories. The hero is not always safe, the status quo does not have to be kept. Anything can happen and that’s terrifying. Spiders Shadow tackles the not so unique concept of “what if Spider-Man kept the symbiote” all the way back in the 80’s just after Secret Wars. This concept has never really been explored in a definitive way and Zdarsky seems to be aiming to change that. It’s never easy watching Peter suffer through trauma or go down a dark path losing those close to him but it helps us as the reader get even closer to the character. Zdarsky pulls no punches as we see anger and fear envelop Peter slowly and give way to the symbiote who doesn’t seem to be as evil as it was originally portrayed to be. Exploring the actually symbiotic relationship between “parasite” and host is important in this run, especially after Donny Cates set a precedent for the life form in his recent Venom run. The art is ominous if not outright unsettling which leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness that you can’t quite put your finger on. Overall an incredible read filled with dread as we see a beacon of hope slowly become lost to emotions that plague us all and we struggle against every day. Where this 4 part series takes us is anyone’s guess but we can only hope we don’t leave it with tears.
- #2 Joker #2 By James Tynion IV and Sam Johns
The first issue of this book really took me by surprise with it’s unexpected focus on Jim Gordon and the noir like direction. This issue continues those exact vibes while we dive deeper into the psyche of Gordon and alludes to how capable he’s always been. Watching Gordon narrating his mental chess game against the Batman himself is a delight to watch. We often see Batman think circles around his opposition but seeing it play out the other way is something I never knew I needed. There are some high stakes reveals spread throughout the book and it looks like readers of this series are in it for the long haul. Tynion has revealed that he has a 3 year plan for Joker and the ongoing Batman that will end with the 2 books crossing over. This is honestly a fantastic idea since DC can’t seem to keep Joker dead for too long and having him deeply involved with every Batman run would only end up being a detriment to the character. By giving Joker his own story with Gordon keeps these characters busy and allows Batman to occupy himself with other and possibly new characters. Overall a great book with some important new reveals which I refuse to spoil here!
- #1 Rorschach #7 By Tom King and Jorge Fornes
Hands down one of my favorite books of the week was Rorschach. Every subsequent installment ramps up a level of uneasiness as the lead detective continues to pursue the case of Wil Myerson and Laura “The Kidd”. This particular issue was slightly unsettling as the main guest of the issue was none other than comic legend Frank Miller. According to certain sources the events that take place in this book are loosely based in reality. Frank Miller apparently wrote his own dialogue in this issue and goes on to describe a seance that he attended with the real life american science fiction author Otto Binder. Tom King is one of the most intelligent writers in the business right now and I would pay heavy attention to anything that he writes. Alan Moore would likely disagree heavily but King achieves something within the Watchmen lore that none have achieved since the release of the original series which is to critique the medium, while using the medium, and to go a step farther, with the very words of one of the most prolific creators in the medium. There are incredibly poignant themes within this issue that only a comic reader can resonate with and I would love for all of you to check it out for yourselves.
- #1 Mighty Morphin #6 By Ryan Parrot and Marco Renna
Parrot strikes again with another great issue of Mighty Morphin. In this issue there is less of a focus on action and a heavier focus on team dynamics as the Angel Grove squad grow antsy and impatient in light of being stuck outside of Zedds barrier making them feel powerless. Rocky the red ranger gets some heartfelt development and it really helps create a sense of camaraderie within the team that we don’t often see outside of battle. It’s important to showcase disputes and hardships to make the moments of teamwork all the more significant. There is also a developing flashback with Zordon and his time as a guardian of Eltar 10,000 years ago with a set up to his potential first interactions with Rita Repulsa. There are many factors in play during this series that can’t blow up fast enough. The beautiful and vibrant art by Marco Renna helps make this a page turner that ends far too soon and leave you wanting more. This issue ends with an unexpected twist within the borders of Angel Grove that set up the rangers to fight a new evil green ranger alongside Goldar and human troops. There are many questions that can only be answered by picking up the next issue which I hope you are all present for!