I'm excited to see DeMarcus Cousins in New Orleans. It's always been a question of whether he'd be less of a dysfunctional presence if he were in a competently-run franchise, rather than the clown car crashing into the radioactive waste dump that is the Sacramento Kings. The Pelicans aren't a huge step up, still a team that seems to run around like the proverbial headless chicken, but they are a step up. Anyway, you probably aren't here for my lukewarm basketball takes, so comics!
Empowered and the Soldier of Love #1, by Adam Warren (writer), Karla Diaz (artist), Nate Piekos (letterer) - That is quite the outfit, with the beret, the e-cig, and the floating pangolin. She reminds me a little of the cover to GrimJack #1, except even less happy.
Empowered figures out there's a sudden rash of various superheroes hooking up with each other, which is cutting into their effectiveness at dealing with threats. On the other hand, it also seems to be cutting down on the amount of hero against hero violence, so maybe a net positive. Though Emp hasn't figured out the cause yet, which would be the "Soldato del Amor" on the cover, said character has noticed Emp is investigating, and also has some bigger plans.
The Soldato del Amor is kind of interesting. I don't know if Diaz or Warren are responsible for the design, but I like it. It's the anime magical girl look crossed with a Stallone movie or something. And she's so bitter and disgusted with her work. Of course, being responsible for making everyone else feel lovey-dovey all the time could get nauseating pretty fast. I gotta wonder if there's going to be an explanation for her power like it only convinces the targets to act on feelings they already had, because otherwise there's some consent issues. I feel as though Dan Slott tried treading over this same issue with Starfox in his She-Hulk, with mixed results at best. I could see Warren deciding to broach that topic, and I'd trust him more than Slott, but still not sure how it's going to play out.
Diaz handles penciling, inking, and coloring of the art, and it works pretty well. Although it's always a little strange to me seeing Empowered in color, since Warren works in black and white. Everything is very bright, shiny, and slick, but that seems appropriate, and like I said above, I really like the design for Soldato. Diaz' style has enough manga influence that Magical Girl look doesn't seem out of place, and points for using a pangolin. I wonder how grammatically correct the Spanish is, though. There's not always translations offered, but it's pretty clear what's being driven at.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1, by Ryan North (writer), Erica Henderson (artist), Chris Schweizer (artist, Vulture and Sandman panels), Rico Renzi (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer) - I actually really like that costume, and her being a gliding squirrel does make sense.
Doreen attends a non-mandatory guest lecture for some reason, and meets with a highly successful older woman who just so happens to be able to speak with all animals, and also has a designed a flying squirrel suit for Doreen. Who uses it in corralling the Rhino (who must be having an off day if Squirrel Girl can shove him hard enough to break his grip). But Melissa is actually up to no good, hoping to isolate Squirrel Girl and gain an ally, or destroy a threat. Dunh, Dunh, Duuuuun!
I can't believe Doreen ragged on Spider-Man twitter feed on the recap page. That line about blocking wealth and fame was fantastic. And she follows the Hulk! His grammar is appalling! On other notes, Nancy changed her hairstyle again, which is one of her traits I like. I don't know many people who do that, but I know there are people like that, and it's nice to see a character who does. Have to question what they convinced Doreen to wear to "high tea", though. Just awful. Nice to see Mary remaining a member of the supporting cast. Her flexible morality adds a nice friction to the book. In a humorous way, although I guess we can't rule out her becoming a villain some day. maybe Melissa should have targeted her as an ally/protege.
"Everyone is mean to Rhino. Rhino is mean to everyone. Law of the jungle. Rhinos live in grassland, not the jungle. You know my intent.' That was pretty funny. North continues to have a knack for clever exchanges. Also, the idea of siccing a chicken on poor Sandman is both clever, and awful. You'd consign him to being stuck in the crop of a chicken, used to grind up food? That's as awful as that time Absorbing Man snorted coke, turned into coke, then was dispersed with giant fans, gathered up, and sold to people as super-special drugs. And I really wish I didn't remember that story existed. When I'm 80, if I live that long, and don't even remember my name, I'll probably still remember Reggie Hudlin wrote that comic.
As always, there are a lot of bits and pieces here and there that I enjoy. But I'm intrigued as to how this story is going to play out. Can Doreen talk down a dedicated, intelligent career woman Doreen is probably going to look up to? Will she keep the flying squirrel suit? Will Mary have Catthor and DogHulk make up and be friends?