Marvel Pick Of The Week – July 22, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

Marvel Zombies 2, by Si Spurrier and Kev Walker

Last month, one of the Picks Of The Week went to the first issue of Marvel Zombies for Si Spurrier’s deft blend of zombie horror with a complex examination of the wounded and tough Elsa Bloodstone. In that book, she was accidentally teleported deep into the zombie territory south of the Shield wall. After meeting a sweet androgynous orphan she named Shut Up, she began a long trek toward safety. This issue allows Elsa to fight putrid zombie pterodactyls called Weeping Soars (genius!) and to rip apart an undead MODOK (who protests “Cadavers aren’t consent!” because this book is not afraid of dark comedy). A version of Angel arrives to rescue her, but when Shut Up is captured by zombies, Elsa turns back toward danger and finds Mystique resting on a throne made from the body of The Kingpin.

The plot is terrific, but the strength of the book remains Spurrier’s respect for Elsa Bloodstone’s traumatic back story. Last issue set her up as a tough, pragmatic, blunt leader. She’s been shaped by her father’s emotional abuse, but she is not lashing out in the style of someone who fears her memories. This Bloodstone has had time to process her wounds, to accept them without condoning them, to incorporate them into her adult values. In the second issue, Elsa’s childhood is brought up with more force as she finds herself teaching and mentoring the orphan child. She’s irritated, but she also starts giving Shut Up piggyback rides in the guise of military formation practice, and when the child is in danger, Elsa betrays the fondness she’s developed. These scenes prompt Elsa to automatically quote her father’s cruel lessons (“Wondering is the vanity of those without a cause” and “wanting is the opiate of the weak” are two of the meaner things to say to pre-teen), showing that this character wants to be the person her father represented himself as, but also challenging whether these ideas are actually reasonable. She’s not having this deep crisis of identity, but she is starting to question how sharp her edges are.

As in the previous edition, Spurrier’s presentation of Ulysses Bloodstone is scarier than any of the zombies Kev Walker brings to rich realization on these pages. I have not forgotten the chill I felt reading, “From the moment they said ‘It’s a girl,’ you’ve demonstrated one weakness after another,” and this issue adds a scene where a stung child tells her father, “I hate you,” and he responds, “It’s the first impressive thing you’ve said all day.” As great as this team is at moving us through the scarier side of the super hero genre, I hope that their next project is a quieter psychological thriller. This work would have won the week even without the more traditional monsters.

Honorable Mentions:

Spider-Woman 9, because an amazing road trip issue gets that much better when you factor in this epic keychain. I love this book.

Punisher 20, because a Punisher with a glowing firework skull on his chest is maybe the scariest Punisher.

Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde 1, for this scene of Star-Lord and X-Factor as a lounge act singing Disney songs at the noir cabaret where Black Bolt’s Inhumans plot the overthrow of God Doom. Man, comics are the best.

Check out previous Picks here!

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