Will Calvin be in a more positive mood about his books today than he was last week? Possibly. I mean, anything can happen. But seriously, yes, I mostly will be.
Black Widow #3, by Chris Samnee (writer, artist), Mark Waid (writer), Matthew Wilson (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Samnee's been bringing strong game on these covers so far.
Natasha's sent to Russia, to retrieve a file from the place where she was trained as a child. But the Lion's plans aren't as secret as you might expect, because there are people waiting, not for the Black Widow necessarily, but they know the Weeping Lion is looking for something there. About the time she finds it, she's found by a young girl, who promptly stabs Natasha in the gut with a knife Natasha hid after a mission a long time ago.
I can't decide where all this is going. Seems like more than a coincidence to send Natasha to steal something from a place with such personal significance. Maybe he just wanted to use someone familiar with the place, but it seems unlikely that's all there is to it. The allusion to Natasha's time as a ballerina during the brief fight scene was interesting. I forget that's part of her backstory, though keeping track of her timeline these days is kind of a mess. Did she still meet Logan and Captain America when she was a child during World War 2? Anyway, it's a nice touch to just touch on these different parts of her past as they go along. This whole thing is happening because of some ugliness in her past she wants to keep buried, so showing us different pieces of it keeps us guessing at what the ugliness is. Assuming this is about her at all. It occurs to me that Natasha could have been set up as a test for the kid, since we were shown flashbacks to a young Natasha's having killed some guy. That was also relevant to who Natasha is, but it could be a mistake to figure everything is about her.
I like the leather jacket she was wearing at the start of the issue. It's a good look for her, if you're going for the more practical costume approach. Could have all sorts of armor woven into it, stuff hidden in pockets, whatever. Not so sure about her get-up in the airport. Seems like it's screaming, "Look at me! I'm trying to remain unnoticed!" Do people still do the big hat with the sunglasses and the scarf thing? Did like how her eyes seemed to get narrower as each of the Weeping Lion's agents passed along the next bit of the message. I don't know if she's processing faces in case she seems them again, or just annoyed he's going to such a stupid extent to pass along a message, or if she didn't appreciate that admonition to not screw up.
It took three issues, but I feel like the book is really starting to get somewhere, and if this leisurely start helps keeps it out of Civil War II, that's fine by me.
Ms. Marvel #6, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Nico Leon (artist), Ian Herring (color art), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - I went with the variant again. Because it was cheaper. Hey, if Marvel wants to reduce cost to their books, I'll stick to basing my cover choices on which I like better, but until then, money's a factor.
Things have gone completely beyond Kamala's control, and she's finally admitted it. So she calls in Carol Danvers, who basically deals with the problem with orbital lasers, which is just about the best way to deal with problems. Loki had shown up by then, not because Bruno's attempted invoking of him worked, just because he checked in and found everything screwed up. He seems less friendly. Also less capable of growing decent facial hair. If that patchy scruff is the best you can do, just stay clean-shaven. Then Iron Man shows up, because I guess he noticed orbital lasers going off. Carol's already talked to Kamala about not taking on too much, she and Tony snipe at each other a bit, but Tony agrees that Kamala should put Avengers stuff aside to focus on important family stuff. So Kamala makes it to her brother's wedding, and everything goes great. Hooray! Just in time for everything to go horribly next issue. Boo!
I am surprisingly uncomfortable with the idea of Iron Man hugging people. It's hard for me to picture, because I see Stark as being very bad at genuine expressions of emotion. It's weird to me Iron Man is somehow the supportive veteran Avengers, and Sam Wilson is apparently Total Jerk Captain America. Man, we already had U.S. Agent for that! I saw someone on Scans Daily joke after this issue come out that Civil War II was really about a custody battle between Tony and Carol over Kamala. Which would be better than the actual story will be, I'm sure.
I'll be curious to see if we'll actually see Kamala begging off Avengers stuff because of school, and if there'll be fallout from that. Will she become a reserve Avengers? Will the team suffer a big loss without her? Will she just feel bad she's missing out on cool adventures to do the responsible thing and pass whatever math she's taking?
But at the end of the day, this story gave us that lovely page of Loki on a pink cloud, ordering his golems to help a blue T. rex attack a bunch of goofy clones of Kamala, which was practically worth the price of the comic itself. That's one of the things I like about superhero comics, that you can do completely bizarre stuff like that, and it doesn't seem out of place. They're strange universes, and sometimes multiple kinds of strangeness come together all at once, and it's fantastic. Although I did feel some of the relative sizes of things were off. Mostly the T. rex in relation to everyone else. Like how big its foot is compared to how big its mouth must be to have that many Kamalites doing the Wave inside it. I know, nitpicky, but I noticed it.