superheroes


Collects Silk issues 1-6 and Amazing Spider-Man 1.

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Stacey Lee, Tana Ford, Veronica Fish

Cindy Moon’s life has changed quite a bit after the events in Secret Wars. For one thing, she’s now a criminal and working with the Black Cat! The Cat’s goon squad is fighting the Goblin King’s army (Goblin Nation) and stealing high-tech gear. Of course, it’s a front: Silk is actually undercover working for Mockingbird and S.H.I.E.L.D. But in order to infiltrate the Cat’s organization, Silk has to smear her own reputation – and during the day, she has to work at her day job, where people are wondering what is up with New York’s newest heroine. Also, Peter Parker shows up! Cameos by Mockingbird and Spider-Woman.

Killer Shrike is Cat’s right hand and he doesn’t trust or like Silk which causes her some problems. Also, Cindy is seeing a therapist to work out her issues and trying to help her brother recover. Her brother is apparently a former member of the Goblin Nation and he’s recovering from a brain injury. She’s still looking for her parents.

This was a good continuation to volume 0. Silk’s starting to be her own kind of hero instead of just a female Spider-Man. On the other hand, a weird guy with electricity powers has to safe her a couple of times. But Silk is new and she’s still learning. Black Cat’s return to villainhood is still a very strange idea to me, but it seems that Silk and the Cat are in danger of bonding, so that will no doubt lead to more interesting (in the Chinese sense) times for her.

I’m not a fan of the changing artists.

Collects Silk issues 1-7 (2015).

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Stacey Lee

Cindy Moon was bitten by the same radioactive spider as Peter Parker but instead of becoming a superhero then, she had to go in isolation to protect her family and everyone else from the Inheritors. But now she’s out of the bunker and a superhero Silk. Only, after ten years of isolation, it’s not easy to try to blend into the modern world. Also, her family seems to have disappeared. She has almost the same powers as Peter except that she generates webbing from her fingertips.

Cindy is interning with the legendary J. Jonah Jameson at Fact Channel and looking for her family. At night, she’s Silk and fighting Black Cat’s gang of goons. Clearly, Cindy starts as a female Spider-Man. Her miniseries is fun and fast-paced but she also deals with some heavier issues and she thinks about her family a lot. Spider-Man (Peter) and Fantastic Four guest-star. The final issue ends when the Secret Wars begin.

I think the series is aimed at a younger crowd, but I liked it. I used to read the Finnish edition of Spider-Man for many years, including Spider-Man 2099 and Ultimate, until Marvel’s decision to just do away with Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage finally alienated me from Spidey. I think that Silk is a fine addition to the Spidey-family. But if you’re looking for a unique hero, Silk is probably not for you.
The art is more simplified than usual for superhero comics but it fit the story well.

Collects Mockingbird: S.H.I.E.L.D 50th anniversary 1, Mockingbird issues 1-5

Writer: Chelsea Cain
Artist: Joëlle Jones, Kate Niemczyk

I was somewhat familiar with Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse) from her days as a member of the Avengers, when she was married to Hawkeye. When she joined the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was happy because Marvel can’t have too many awesome action heroines.

However, I didn’t really know what to expect from her own comic. Happily, it turned out to be good, with a mix of humor and action.

Bobbi is a scientist, a biochemist. She’s also a spy and a superhero because of super-soldier formula. So, she doesn’t have She-Hulk or Captain Marvel type powers. Instead, she’s faster, stronger, and more durable than usual humans. Which is good, because we need all types of heroines. Now, it’s easy to compare her to the Black Widow who is also a spy and superheroine but Bobbi is more a scientist and has a better sense of humor. Also, her super-power formula makes her paranoid and insomniac. That’s why the S.H.I.E.L.D. is monitoring her health constantly and she has to go to checkups every week.

In the 50th anniversary issue Bobbi finds out that her mentor has been killed and solves her murder. In her own series, she saves a teenaged girl who has weird new powers from police snipers, rescues her current boyfriend Lance Hunter from the Hellfire Club, her former husband Hawkeye from T.I.M. (former A.I.M.) ‘s underwater lab, and she also finds out what lurks in the S.H.I.E.L.D. medical facility. And she does it with style and sarcasm.

I enjoyed this collection a lot and I’m definitely continuing with the series. Please don’t cancel it, Marvel!

Collects Nightcrawler issues 7-12.


Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Todd Nauck

First up, is the aftermath to Wolverine’s death. Logan and Kurt have been friends for a long time and Kurt mourns for him.

Then the Crimson Pirates return. Bloody Bess contacts Kurt telepathically, asking for help, and Kurt teleports to her. The Pirates have unleashed an old X-Man enemy who has taken over them, except Bess. She’s had a change of heart and now is attracted to Kurt. It’s Bess and Kurt against the Pirates! Then the X-Men (Beast, Storm, Colossus, Rachel Grey, Iceman, Psylocke) follow and it’s the telepathically enslaved X-Men against Kurt! I rather enjoyed this story, except for the rather abrupt ending and Bess’ strange and inexplicable change of heart.

In the aftermath, the Pirates kidnap Kurt’s new sidekicks, Rico and Ziggy. In the last two issues, Kurt and Bloody Bess follow the students to another dimension and take the fight to the Pirate’s boss, Tullamore Voge. Kurt also has to decide if he will just rescue the two youngsters or attempt a far more difficult operation and free all the children taken to the slavers’ block.

This is classic Claremont and aimed at people who enjoyed the X-Men during his long run on the series. The X-Men are (again) significant secondary characters and by the end of the series, Kurt has three new sidekicks. I really enjoyed these stories; high adventure, despicable villains and noble heroes.

Collects Nightcrawler issues 1-6.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Jamie McKelvie, Todd Nauck

Nightcrawler is back from the dead and he’s (mostly) happy about it. In these stories he returns to his roots, to Amanda Sefton, who was his adopted sister and later girlfriend, and their mother Margali of the Winding ways. Both Amanda and Margali are witches. Margali is a very quirky character; you can never really know what she’s up to and on whose side she’s on. However, Kurt is disposed to think the best of her because she’s, well, the woman who raised him. However, she’s rarely used by other writers.

Kurt and Amanda’s reunion is cut short by an armored intruder who tries to kidnap Amanda and wrecks her apartment. The trail takes them to Germany and to the same circus where they both grew up. After a brief misunderstanding, Kurt brings Margali and Amanda to the Jean Grey school where the true endgame begins.

We get some introspective scenes about Kurt’s childhood together with Amanda, his return to life, and his earlier years with the X-Men and Excalibur, but the first four issues are mostly fast-paced fun. Amanda also several times says that she doesn’t require rescuing, given her own magical powers, but sadly, the storyline makes her a liar and I didn’t care for the ending.

I enjoyed these stories but I don’t know how accessible they are to people who haven’t read Claremont’s long run on the X-Men. Nostalgia is very much part of these issues. I think that Amanda is a very much underused character and her mother even more so. However, after this story, Margali’s allegiances are pretty clear. The X-Men are, of course, significant secondary characters as are the students at the school. Kurt is trying to find his own place at the school as a teacher. The truly new features are Kurt’s bamfs, diminutive blue Kurts whom he can direct. They increase his maximum teleport range significantly. I’m not entirely sure I like them but they’re handy in a fight and provide comic relief, too. The fifth and sixth issues introduce two new sidekicks to Kurt: Rico who is a student who looks like a scorpion, and Ziggy Kart, a new recruit who is a teenaged genius.

In the final issue, the Crimson Pirates return, aiming to kidnap Ziggy for their slaver boss.

Collects Amazing X-Men issues 13-19, Annual 1.

Writers: James Tynion IV, Chris Yost, Monty Nero
Artists: Jorge Jiménez, Carlo Barberi, Iban Coello, Walden Wong, Jorge Fornes, Kris Anka, Salvator Larroca

The first issue is a one-shot where one of the students at the Jean Grey school is missing. He’s gone on a date for the first time but chickened out. Then he runs into Lady Mastermind who uses his insecurities against him. Nightcrawler and Northstar investigate and perhaps get to know each other a little better.

Next up is an Axis crossover, where good guys are bad and bad guys are good. In this case, Nightcrawler has gone to Germany and he’s after the blood of the priest who taught fear and hate to his parish and therefore is partly responsible for the attitudes of the men who first tried to kill Kurt when he was a child. Mystique is going after Kurt, to stop him from murdering anyone. This was a nice flip.

Then the five-part Juggernaut story starts. The gem which gives the Juggernaut his (or her) power has returned to Earth. It calls for specific strong and violent people but also the former hosts can hear the call. One of them is Colossus who is now at the Jean Grey school. He sees a dream about the gem and tells about it to Storm. He expects to be part of the team which will go after the gem. Instead, he’s told that he can’t be trusted and he needs to stay put. Storm, Nightcrawler, Firestar, Marvel girl, Rockslide, and Iceman go after the gem… and find a large, angry demon guarding it. Some other people are coming for the gem, too, and they’re not nice. Several fights break out, of course. Colossus persuades Pixie to teleport him there, too, and the X-Men might need him against the demon, Man-Killer, Crossbones, and Jinn.

This story arch has surprisingly lot of humor, especially near the end. I still don’t care for the bickering much but I liked the way the X-Men didn’t just rush off into a fight. I particularly don’t like the way that they constantly put down Rockslide – feels like bullying to me and coming from people who are supposed to be very inclusive it’s very distasteful. However, it was great that Firestar got to shine, again. She might be new to the X-Men but she’s an Avenger and pretty experienced one, too. In this story, we get to know Colossus a bit better. The poor guy has gone through a lot of changes and he seems to be regretting some of them. Apparently, he’s sleeping with Domino, now. When did that happen?? Cain Marko also gets a little bit of character development and then it, apparently, goes away.

The annual is a one-shot exploring Ororo’s past. It turns out that she still has family: cousins and aunts. One of them has been kidnapped by a new supervillain who has murdered other people. Storm, Wolverine, Firestar, the Beast, and Nightcrawler fly to Africa to investigate. The story is about revenge and it’s pretty forgettable except that we get to see Storm in full fury which is always awesome.

Collects Amazing X-Men issues 7-12.

Writers: Kathryn Immonen, Craig Kyle, Christ Yost
Artists: Kris Anka, Juan Vlansco, Ed McGuinness. Mark Farmer, Carlo Barberi, Iban Costello, Walden Wong, Marc Deering

The first issue is a one-shot where Iceman and Firestar meet up unexpectedly with Spider-Man who has an alien baby with him. At first, Angelica and Bobby don’t know it’s an alien and try to defend it from Spidey. It’s supposed to be funny but didn’t really work for me and the plot doesn’t really make sense, either.

The Wendigo storyline takes the rest of the collection. Apparently, Wolverine has lost his healing factor and that’s why Storm has ordered him to stay at the school. However, when he wants to go to Canada, he goes to Canada. Unfortunately for him, a human body is ground into food and that starts a Wendigo curse which spreads over Canada because the Wendigos infect people with their touch!

Mac (Guardian of Alpha Flight) has gone missing and Heather and Logan are looking for him – going right into the small town where almost everyone has been turned into a Wendigo. The X-Men (Storm, Northstar, Nightcrawler, Marvel Girl, Colossus, Firestar, Iceman, and Rockslide) follow but not before the Wendigos have spread into several towns and now there are thousands of them. One of the X-Men turns into a Wendigo! Then Alpha Flight comes to help.

This was pretty intense storyline, even though I didn’t believe for a moment that the scratched X-Man would stay a Wendigo. Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America are glimpsed fighting the Wendigos at the USA/Canada border, trying to save the Canadians who have turned and protect other people from them. Meanwhile, the magic users who should be able to turn the monsters back to humans are shown to be incapacitated so the heroes need another way to stop the curse.

We don’t get much in the way of character development. In fact, while this could be a fun adventure, it’s pretty forgettable. Northstar doesn’t appear happy to see his sister and former teammates, but he did mellow out a little because of a little girl he saved several times. Then again, he and Aurora snipped at each other previously, too, so I guess it’s in character

On the other hand, I didn’t really care for the humor; the characters mostly bickered like teenagers. Also, it was really strange how Rockslide just suddenly popped up from Blackbird’s toilet during the third issue. It felt like the writers suddenly realized that they needed him and just yanked him there. Weird, because he didn’t do much until near the end. For such a supposedly epic storyline (and epic ending!) I’m pretty sure none of the characters will ever refer to it again.

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