Monday, February 22, 2016

What I Bought 2/12/2016 - Part 3

It figures. I typed up that Foucault's Pendulum review the weekend before, but then it goes up, and Umberto Eco dies a day or two later, and now I look like a jerk, ragging on the guy's book right when he croaks.

Ms. Marvel #4, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Nico Leon (artist), Ian Herring (color artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - News flash! Ms. Marvel was able to prevent the Midtown bus from crashing into her logo this afternoon! Local protests emerged, demanding to know why she was impairing traffic.

Kamala's trying to keep too much in the air. Her grades are slipping, she's not making time for friends, she's exhausted and off her superhero game, the Avengers are doubting her (we'll come back to that), and now she's been drafted into heavy service for her brother's wedding. But Bruno's been fooling around with trying to replicate Loki's golems with his polymers and the 3-D printer, and Kamala gets the idea for him to make her some extra Kamalas, to cover for her in school or during wedding prep. An army of (extremely) low-rent Superman robots, essentially. Bruno has misgivings, but goes along with it, because it's Kamala, and things rapidly spiral out of control.

I have a bit of trouble with Sam Wilson being so quick to dismiss Kamala as "not being ready" because she had one bad night. I expect it from Stark - this is a man convinced of his own infallibility despite all evidence to the contrary - but I expected Sam would recognize that losing one fight doesn't mean someone can't hack it. Even Steve Rogers got beat down occasionally, or even just needed a hand. That's why he had partners like, gasp, Sam Wilson! So I don't entirely buy that side of this whole thing. That Kamala would be getting stretched thin, be getting tired, and that it would start to impair her ability to fight crime or do well in school, that all makes sense. I do question why her mother, knowing about Kamala being Ms. Marvel, isn't stepping in to try and at least lessen some of the burden with the wedding stuff.

So a couple of issues with the writing, in terms of how Wilson is trying to crank up the pressure on Kamala, but nothing too serious. I wasn't familiar with Nico Leon, but he's not a bad artist for the book. His faces and style remind me a bit of Alphona's, which isn't a bad thing. I was about to say "not as much background detail", but I noticed there's a raccoon with an ice cream cone hanging out on the docks during Kamala's less-than-successful mission there, so maybe I'm wrong. Also, the look on that one goons face when Kamala uses the stretchy leg kick was pretty good. Ian Herring's colors help to maintain the feel of the book with the artist shift. The pink glow he uses for the early day scenes at school, and the oranges for the afternoon are pretty consistent for this title, so that, combined with Leon using similar clothes designs for the characters to the other artists, so Herring can use similar colors there, helps keep the familiar feel. I don't think that's really giving Herring enough credit, but it's the best way of describing it I've got, that's there are certain tones and colors I associate with this book I my head, and those are due to Herring.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4, by Ryan North (writer), Erica Henderson (artist), Rico Renzi (color artist), Clayton Cowles (letterer) - Have the squirrels form a giant ball to imprison your enemies? Another brilliant strategy! Unless, do they all just lay flat on the ground so Doreen can roll one down a hill, and they gradually collect into the ball and then smush the enemy?

In the present, Doom rules (and renames) all. In the 1960s, Doreen and the CS students try to stop Doom from winning in their time. While the CS kids try to cobble together some EMP generators, because Mary is sure she remembers how to build one, Doreen and Tippy try to find Doom's new hideout to steal his time machine. Both plans fail, the first because Doom builds his arm to be shielded from EMPs (unlike that dope Tony Stark), and the second because he also set his time machine to basically not function without a code sequence. Doreen futilely tries fighting him while convincing him to change his ways, which does eventually get him to stop whooping her butt and explain how awesome his way of doing things is. Then he resumes trying to kill her, only to be interrupted by that one guy we keep seeing back in the present, and an old Doreen in one of Doom's suits, on Doom's time machine.

So, how many squirrels did Old Lady Doreen stash inside that armor before traveling back in time? She did think to bring a squirrel army, right?

The whole bit where Doom calmly explains his thought process to Doreen was well done. Offhand it's like, "Oh that sort of makes sense, I see what he's saying about," then you see him taking it to an absolute extremity and it's like, "Yes, but it's also terrifying." Besides, I always enjoy scenes were Doom is cordial and willing to chat pleasantly. I love the yelling his name and swearing vengeance too, don't get me wrong. But those scenes where he turns on the charm, and you can see why some of his citizens legitimately love the guy, and why he's such an implacable enemy. That absolute conviction he's right, so that he doesn't even need to consider the viewpoints of others, and he just needs to keep moving forward to achieve his goals and everyone will see how much better off they are. It's hard to deal with someone like that. I can't see Doreen being able to redirect him with a nice speech. The panel of him holding out his hand to help Doreen up, then leading her around the room by it was a nice touch. Plays up Doom's ability to be civil, or adhere to his own ideas of courtesy or whatever.

I'm just gonna ask, was Doreen wearing a Vietcong Army outfit when she infiltrated Doom's new lair? Maybe it was supposed to reference something else - a martial arts movie I'm not thinking of? - but the all-black pajama look, that's what comes to mind for me. Kind of an interesting choice, if so, given Doom as the seemingly overwhelming technological power, and Squirrel Girl as the resistance to his attempts to dominate having to try and fight on her terms, not his.

One of you is going to tell me what the outfit was actually referencing in the comments, and I'm going to feel like a dope, I'm almost sure of it.


SallyP said...

These are two of my favorite books right now. It was nice to get a little more silliness in Ms Marvel since it has been a bit serious lately.

CalvinPitt said...

Yeah, I'm looking forward to some hijinks.