Best Shots Rapid-Fire Reviews: ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #25, METAL #3, MS. MARVEL #23, More

The Wicked + The Divine #32
Credit: Jamie McKelvie/Matt Wilson (Image Comics)
Credit: Marvel Comics

All-New Wolverine #25 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): All-New Wolverine #25 embraces the past as Laura returns to the facility that created her only to discover a shocking new layer to Laura’s already off-kilter family dynamic. With this "Marvel Legacy" premiere, Tom Taylor creates a well-paced issue by focusing on different facets of Laura’s relationships with the inclusion of her ex-boyfriend Angel, her clone sister Gabby, her “brother” Daken, and even a flashback of her “father” Logan. By showcasing these relationships in parallel with Laura’s recollections of the facility, Taylor is able to masterfully contrast Laura’s harrowing upbringing with the agency and independence she now has as Wolverine. Juann Cabal’s pencils is the best artwork we’ve seen from All-New Wolverine to date, giving a very clean look to the series and a sleek new design to Gabby’s costume, which perfectly matches her personality. The flashbacks scenes stand out the most as Cabal and Nolan Woodard’s use of red create for some great emotional scenes as Laura remembers the disturbing events of her childhood. All New Wolverine #25 is a solid issue that successfully tells a story about the past without feeling repetitive.

Credit: DC Comics

Dark Nights: Metal #3 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Halfway in, Metal certainly playing out in the style of a Crisis, with how quickly the world has gone to hell and the Justice League are apart. This issue unfurls its story with a dream to start off with, but one that soon becomes a nightmare and then a waking one as Wonder Woman saves Superman and gives him a crash course in what’s happened while he’s been trapped inside his own head. There’s still a sense of insanity to it all, Scott Snyder knows how to ramp up mood, but it recalls Final Crisis and thus makes it apparent that he can’t cut as well as Morrison can from one big event to the next in as swift a manner as he’s attempting. So it falls to the art team to make it sing. Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion’s panels are in righteous harmony, obviously revelling in the bombastic they get to draw and owning it. FCO Plascencia brings the looming portent and some sharpness. Metal still feels too stop-and-start to really feel like a rush, but the baseline tempo is underlying and keeping it humming along.

Credit: Valerio Schiti (Marvel Comics)

Ms. Marvel #23 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Ms. Marvel #23 nicely balances Kamala’s civilian life with her adventures as Ms. Marvel as the Red Dagger arrives as a new exchange student and unexpected hero of Jersey City. After the events of last arc, Ms. Marvel is lacking confidence in herself as a hero, and G. Willow Wilson bringing Red Dagger to town forces Kamala to go back into costume, allowing Kamala a true view of how her city values her. The best aspect of this issue was the reveal of Red Dagger and Ms. Marvel’s new, fun dynamic with each other. It was great to see Kamala’s geeky side looking for Red Dagger’s secret origin story, but it was also heartening to see Kamala learn that superpowers and expensive gadgets aren’t what make s hero. Diego Olortegui on pencils aces the action sequences with this issue showcasing Ms. Marvel and Red Dagger’s differing hero moments very well, while Ian Hering’s coloring helps Olortegui’s style feel consistent with previous artists. By bringing in an unexpected new character, Ms. Marvel #23 does a good job investigating Kamala’s current anxieties.

Credit: Jamie McKelvie/Matt Wilson (Image Comics)

The Wicked + The Divine #32 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Few series are as obsessed with time as The Wicked + The Divine. Since the start, the two-year lifespan of the gods has existed as a ticking clock. This arc, entitled “Imperial Phase,” has a feeling of acceleration to it; the clock ticking ever faster for the pantheon. As Dionysus immediately gets up off the ground and goes back after Woden. As the walls continue to close in around Sakhmet. As almost everyone finds themselves wrapped up in one of these plot threads with no chance to slow down. What that is, is the building of momentum. The series has been building to these moments, despite revamping itself every eleven issues, and Kieron Gillen’s script executes each moment of the narrative with precision, saying all that needs to be said as Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson’s expert layouts and crisp panelling sell the moments in their entirety. No part of it feels truncated to squeeze another in, and where the issue leaves off is proof the band-aid has been ripped off and everything’s going to come spilling out.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Hulk #11 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Leading into "Marvel Legacy," Hulk #11 has She-Hulk return to her roots with a story that is all about breaking the fourth wall. Writer Mariko Tamaki uses this throwback writing method to create for a playful and creative storyline about Jen going to dinner with a pretentious guy she met on an online dating website. It was amusing to watch Jen replacing the typical cheesy romance monologue with her actual thoughts, which made for some dynamic lettering from Travis Lanham. Tamaki sets up for some great visual storytelling with this humorous one-shot, but Bachan’s soft pencils lacks the detail needed to fully make this an enjoyable read. This is especially prevalent in the issue’s action sequences where Jen’s Hulk looked very lanky. Hulk #11 is a good set up for She-Hulk’s journey into "Marvel Legacy," but the issue needed stronger pencils to match Tamaki’s innovative script.

Credit: DC Comics

Wonder Woman #32 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 4 out of 10): Remember how James Robinson is, possibly best, known for writing compelling family drama? Most extensively in his Starman run, but even recently with Scarlet Witch, it was a welcome hallmark to his writing because he did it so well. Yet as of the end of his second Wonder Woman issue, it just feels like he’s going through the motions attached to the theme as does his story. Diana’s now been informed about the death of Hercules and how Grail and Darkseid are related to it, which marks a slight improvement from last issue as Diana now feels like she has more of a role in her book than just a cameo, but it’s such a stark departure from the previous arcs from Greg Rucka and Shea Fontana that put Diana and her sensibilities at the forefront. From the in medias res opening that kicks off the issue to the way it concludes, there’s nothing of note to the storytelling and Sergio Davila’s is that of a typical cape comic. There’s no texture to any of it, even with Romulo Fajardo, Jr.’s colors and it’s awfully disappointing to see this stark a drop-off to what should be one of the standout Rebirth series.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #12 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Sometimes being a hero isn’t about punching the bad guy, but instead trying to understand why the villain was doing bad things in the first place. In The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #12, Annie Parker saves the day and her parents from annihilation because she was able to make a true connection with Normie Osborn. This newfound friendship causes the unlikely duo to defeat Ms. January, who is underwhelmingly revealed to be behind the controls of the giant Green Goblin robot. I’m conflicted with this story because it all feels very similar to storylines already done in Spider-Girl (a series about the teenage daughter of Spider-Man), which makes me weary about the series skipping eight years for Marvel Legacy to also make Annie a teenager. The series needs to make Annie different from Mayday, but using recycled storylines isn’t helping the series’ cause. Brian Level’s on pencils nicely replicates Ryan Stegman’s art style, which was first established at the beginning of the series. The book has some solid action, but Jesus Aburtov’s colors does tend to clash with the excessive use of purple mixed in with the issue’s fiery explosions. The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #12 is a nice story touching upon a different side of the Spider/Goblin dynamic, even if it feels similar to stories already told in the Spider mythos.

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