PICK OF THE WEEK!
Magneto 7 by Cullen Bunn, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Javier Fernandez
I was not looking forward to this series. Serious villain stories are hard to land for me. I loved watching Tony in The Sopranos, largely because I could enjoy his adventures as a family man but still felt like the series allowed me to disagree with his criminal decisions and to hope he eventually got caught. As a contrast, I gave up on Dexter in the third season because I thought the show’s tone didn’t allow me to decide for myself if I was okay with him murdering folks as long as they were BAD folks (spoiler: I am not). The comic series Superior Foes of Spider-Man works because we as readers like the villainous leads but laugh at them and keep our distance, and the run of Superior Spider-Man made it pretty clear that you were waiting for Peter Parker to get his body back, but Deadpool’s emphasis on mutilation has always overpowered the comedy and turned me off his titles.
Bunn’s Magneto delivers consistently. If you want to see Magneto as the noble defender of mutantkind, making tough decisions to exact violent, torturous revenge on those who would harm his people because of the psychic scars he earned surviving a death camp, you can do so. I prefer to see him as an overly prideful sadist trying to justify his actions, and the narration boxes do suggest that this is a man who has lost his perspective. It is very close in tone to Dexter, but Magneto’s narration doesn’t try to win us to his side. He wants to do what he wants to do, and he gives no damn what we think.
In this done-in-one issue, Magneto learns that a group in Hong Kong is pitting kidnapped mutants against a Predator X. (It’s not a spoiler if it’s on the cover, but man, how many years has it been since we’ve seen one of those? Pretty sure Hope was in diapers…) He has some feelings about whether or not this is okay, and he uses his experience with this to recommit to using whatever weakened powers he has left to defend his people. There are plenty of surprises, but the story is largely simple, as most issues of this series have been. Each issue could be a jumping-on point, but this has been one of the best and most consistent titles All-New Marvel Now has put out there, so I recommend grabbing every issue published.
Nova 19, but just for that amazing cover, a dark twist on Norman Rockwell setting a skin-crawling tone that the interior pages just can’t match. The story itself seemed more interested in the space opera than the dark realization of a son’s loss of faith in his father. The depiction of Rocket Racoon seemed to mug pretty hard for cheap laughs, but I will admit to smiling at the gleeful cartoonish violence of a walking racoon throwing a box of snakes in an elevator full of bad guys.
Silver Surfer 4, for putting such a sense of humor and whimsy into a historically sober character. I loved the Starlin stories from the Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade days, but I could not imagine his Surfer performing a perfectly-timed impression of the Tin Man. This effort also makes the three or four panels of macabre surrealism that much more frightening – in one panel, no one notices Surfer’s soup turning into a grasping claw, and in the next, it is soup again. Dan Slott has obviously read plenty of Silver Surfer, and his infusion of Dr. Who has expanded rather than overwritten the classic character.
Ms. Marvel 6, for Jacob Wyatt’s iconic establishing pose of Ms. Marvel in costume and for a very handsome depiction of Wolverine’s new costume. I miss Alphona’s Chew-style background jokes, but this art change maintains a bright tone for the book that every parent should be reading.
Elektra 4, for displaying the kind of jaw-dropping artwork that usually distracts from sloppy writing, then going for the kill by putting in some of the sharpest plot on the stands today. This is almost as good as that time she cauterized her own bleeding lip with a hot bullet casing, and you know that’s an impossible bar to clear.