Marvel Pick Of The Week – July 15, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

Captain Britain And The Mighty Defenders 1, by Al Ewing and Alan Davis

Secret Wars has been a blessing to readers this summer. Within a smart structure (Doom saved a bunch of variant realities from destruction and has set them up in an uneasy coexistence), dozens of tie-in books have brought light to beloved older storylines or fan-favorite characters. After ten weeks, it has become evident that if all you want to read is the main Secret Wars title, you’re fine. Tie-ins have also been pretty self-contained for the most part, and that’s meant some great stories and an opportunity to select a la carte for the things that look good (and Bam Smack Pow’s Battle Reports and single-issue reviews can help with that). Some of the books have pushed a little harder, sending their characters to talk to Doom or check out the kingdom next door. This new book seems to be the tie-in most invested in a playful exploration of the potential of this crossover.

The salvaged reality diverts from the Iron Man origin story – instead of Dr. Yinsen helping Tony Stark survive the bad guys, Tony sacrifices himself, and the good doctor uses the armor in peaceful ways to promote accord and green energy. As a result, he gets to the Baron for the kingdom, and Doom keeps the warlike Mondo City walled away from Yinsen City. Every kingdom is assigned a watchdog from the Thors, but these guys get She-Hulk, a member so relaxed that instead of a hammer, she just has a little wooden gavel on her waist. It’s a peaceful existence, and all the superheroes are pretty bored. But when Captain Britain (the Muslim woman who took on the responsibility in Captain Britain And MI:13 a few years ago) flaunts Doom’s laws by busting down his barriers between kingdoms, Doom punishes the little Eden by blending them with the Punisher state next door.

This comic is sweet without being a humor comic or losing the gravity of the story – Doom’s judgment has been shown with captivating brutality in A-Force and Secret Wars, and it’s still scary here, but Alan Davis’s classic artwork goes a long way toward emphasizing the adventure and heroism over the gritty battle scene. The team lineup has the same casual diversity seen in Ewing’s Mighty Defenders series – people are black, green, Hispanic, British, Muslim, Asian, but never token. The story takes off from a classic Marvel What If? scenario; putting a dead character from an origin story into the survivor role can give a good writer like Ewing the platform to say what matters about the hero. Ewing’s characters are noble without being flat – Yinsen has the least texture, but he’s set up as a sweetly bland figurehead, so this fits.

This is not a book to change the face of Battleworld. But it’s a great example of what it’s like to live on Battleworld without groaning and gnashing teeth, and it’s the most enjoyable book I read this week.

Honorable Mentions:

Captain Marvel And The Carol Corps 2, because this page between Carol Danvers and her evil boss is one of the scariest scenes published this week.

Where Monsters Dwell 3, because Clemmie is rapidly becoming my favorite lesbian character in Marvel comics.

Ant-Man Annual 1, because one time, Hank Pym made really supportive android versions of the 80’s Avengers to cheer him up, which is creepy and adorable.

Hawkeye 22, because even though this book was not good enough to justify the absurd delays, these three glimpses of Kate Bishop as an undeniable badass come close.

Catch up on previous Picks here!

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