Two first issues from Marvel, one of which isn't just a reboot of a series I was already buying.
Illuminati #1, by Joshua Williamson (writer), Shawn Crystal (artist), John Rauch (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - You'd think the Enchantress would shrink the Gauntlet down to fit her hand. Unless that is the one thing beyond its power.
The Hood is trying to form yet another vast army of super-villains, but to start, he wants to arm them with weapons stolen from Asgard, and for that, he's going to use a select team. Which is where Titania comes in. She's out of prison, and intends to go straight, but finds it difficult to get work. Then when she does get a job working security at a pawn shop, three goons with super-weapons show up and wreck the place, and she gets blamed as mastermind. Then she has to defend herself from Luke Cage and Iron Fist (who did not acquit themselves well here. Not a good sign with their new ongoing on the horizon), before the Hood whisks her away in front of them. Thus sealing their opinion that she was up to no good, which leaves her with no choice but to throw in with the Hood, just as he intended when he sent those goons there. So duplicity is the word of the day.
I bought this in part because I've enjoyed books about villain groups in the past, and because Shawn Crystal was drawing it, and I enjoyed the work he did on Daniel Way's Deadpool run back in the day (one of the few saving graces of that run). So we'll see. I don't know whether this is going to be the regular cast, or if Williamson intends to cycle villains in and out from one mission to the next. Hopefully there'll be at least a few cast regulars outside the Hood. Would be hard to care otherwise.
Crystal's work is smoother than I remember, but that might just be because he isn't drawing Deadpool. Wade's world kind of encourages things to look rough and weird. He and Rauch seem to be working really well together. The panels of Danny's Iron Fist, with the green swirling energy in the form of a dragon, around the skeletal outline of Danny's fist? That was really cool, as was the dragon's chagrined look when Titania effortlessly blocked it. Even if I do think that's bullcrap. I'm not saying she should have been knocked out, but her catching it like it was no big deal was nonsense. I'm pretty sure one of the best martial artists in the Marvel Universe ought to be able to land a punch on someone with no particular combat skill anytime he wants. Whether it does anything is another matter. Sorry, that just kind of irritated me. There's a lot of other good work in the issue, from the crumbling "BOOM" sound effect when the pawn store gets wrecked, to her discussion with the Hood, where one panel she's looking at him, and then the next, her gaze has drifted to the stack of cash on the desk in front of him.
So I'm in for a while, at least.
Ms. Marvel #1, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Takeshi Miyazawa (artist, pgs. 1-21), Adrian Alphona (artist, 21-30), Ian Herring (color art), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Well, Kamala's officially reached the point where she got a cover of her pulling back civilian clothes to reveal her superhero outfit. I feel like that's probably a big milestone for a solo series. Not sure if Nova ever got that, and he's had like 5 ongoings.
Kamala's busy being an Avenger, which does have the perk that Tony Stark rebuilds your school (while welshing on his promise to help with physics homework), but also leaves one a little too busy to see what's going on around her. Like the fact some evil redevelopment scheme is taking over the neighborhood and gentrifying it, while using her face as part of the campaign. And they have hovering security droids that don't like loitering! Even worse, Bruno has taken Kamala's advice and is dating a nice young lady named Mike, who saved him from a bus sent flying by a giant toad. So that's another problem Kamala's not going to be able to punch out.
Kamala should be less concerned about Tony not helping her with her physics homework, and more worried that Tony's booting her off the Avengers in three months, based on the cover for All-New Avengers. Oh well, Tony never was any good at building a roster. Also, I have to imagine all these giant animals are the work of the Inventor's creator, who was last seen arrested and bitter no one was giving him credit for making a cockatiel with the mind of Edison. But is the gentrification scheme his as well?
As for Kamala learning the downsides of being a popular public figure, we'll have to see how she's going to handle this. Although if Stark could sue Scott Lang for using him to endorse Scott's company, I see no reason Kamala can't have the Avengers sue whoever is behind this. Maybe Murdock could take five minutes off from helping Luke Cage file bullshit cease-and-desist orders against Deadpool to do something useful. As for the Bruno and Mike thing, I don't really have an opinion. They still seem in the idyllic stage, but we'll see what happens when Bruno starts trying to help Kamala out of a jam and Mike's left hanging.
Oh, I do have one opinion. Bruno looks really stupid in that sock hat. Those are to be pulled down tightly over your head and ears to keep warm, not worn cocked way back when it clearly isn't cold out. Just terrible Bruno. You deserve to get kidnapped and used as bait at least once just for that.
Other than that, Miyazawa is now the lead artist for the book, with Alphona chipping in as needed, I guess. Which is fine. I like Miyazawa's artwork plenty. I am trying to decipher the look on Nakia's face in the second-to-last panel on page 7. Kamala's kind of absently playing with the lid of her coffee while looking sad, but Nakia kind of looks stern. Is she mad at Bruno for dating someone else? She doesn't look pissed exactly, but it isn't a strictly neutral look, either. It could just be friend solidarity, but presumably she's had time to get used to the idea Bruno's not waiting. Kamala's grumpy/furious face as she runs to switch into her costume was pretty great, and I appreciate that when she clutches her hair in frustration, it doesn't just immediately assume the shape shape and form after she stops. Part of it stay frazzled and mussed, which makes sense, but I'm not sure everyone who remember that.