Tuesday 20 March 2018

Powering up with four recent comic acquisitions featuring thoroughly mighty women.

Comics have changed for the better, and it's about bloomin' time. Despite the continued issues we have with fragmentation of story arcs and the general confused mess that sometimes confronts you when you show interest in a particular series, it's sometimes worth doing a bit of digging and picking up a few titles regardless.

We've been huge fans of "The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" for a long time on the blog, finally hoovering up the missing volumes and 'catching up' with this fantastic series.

Doreen Green AKA Squirrel Girl just happens to be a super-powered college student who can talk to squirrels, can pretty much duff up anyone else in the Marvel Universe - but quite often finds her foes throw in a curve ball to keep her on her tippy-toes (sorry, terrible pun there) with each and every collected issue.

Recently we've seen her taking a holiday with her room-mate to stay in a remote cabin in Canada ("NO WI FI? NO INTERNET? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TAUNT TONY STARK OVER TWITTER?") only to find the cabin sits on top of a bizarre colony of mini criminals who can break apart and reform into bigger / smaller versions of themselves at will. As they begin to slowly take over the world, it's up to Squirrel Girl, Nancy, Squirrel Girl's mum and...er...Ant Man to stop this nefarious menace.

Tons of action, loads of silly humour but a superb mighty girl feel, this series just gets better and better (as do Squirrel Girl's tweets about hanging around with superheroes / villains).

"The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Like I'm the only Squirrel in the World" (Volume 5) by Ryan North and Erica Henderson is out now, published by Marvel Comics. 

Shifting gears slightly, we also took a look at "Gwenpool" by Christopher Hastings, Gurihiru, Danilo Beyruth and Tamra Bonvillain...

If you can imagine a universe where Deadpool is somehow gene-spliced with a candy-coloured version of Gwen Stacy from Spiderman, and given the same devil-may-care uber-violent but fun-loving personality of Mr Pool, that's where you'll find yourself with this quirky but fabulous comic.

Gwenpool is finding life in an alternate universe a bit tricky to say the least (have you ever tried to get a bank account when, according to every computer on the planet, you didn't exist before 2 months ago?)

Of course, this hampers this "Ms Merc with a Mouth" in her attempts to work her way into the criminal organisation of one of Marvel's nastiest supervillains, the big-headed bad-attitude dude Modok.

Weirdly, Gwenpool somehow manages to take out Modok's chief hitman, putting herself up for the job as his replacement. There is a snag though, Gwenpool doesn't actually have any discernible superpowers aside from an affinity with things that explode.

What's a girl to do?

This is a superb series, and we dipped into it only meaning to grab the one collected issue - but now want to read the rest. If you like the smart (and quite violent) side of Deadpool but want to do without all the ickiness, this could be the series for you.

"Gwenpool" by Christopher Hastings, Gurihiru, Danilo Beyruth and Tamra Bonvillain is out now, published by Marvel Comics. 

Moving on to a series that could've been MADE for us. A super-smart girl who loves science, but just happens to be the daughter of one of Marvel's biggest (smallest) heroes? What's not to like?

"The Unstoppable Wasp" by Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier opens with the daughter of Hank Pym, Nadia, emigrating to the US. After years of growing up in the "Red Room" (the assassin academy regular Marvel fans will remember as also spawning Black Widow) Nadia is ready to embrace western culture, but also to set up a Science Academy for other superpowered girls like herself - girls who can bend science to their will in order to fight crime and injustice.

The first volume collects together issues 1-6 and sees Nadia on a recruitment drive that doesn't quite always go to plan.

We really loved this one, not least of all because of Nadia's effervescent enthusiasm for just about EVERYTHING, with some rather cool interactions early on with Ms Marvel (setting things up nicely for a complete EXPLOSION of all things Ms Marvel later on this year, watch the skies) and Moon Girl (the smartest pre-teen on the planet who also happens to be friendly with a colossal bloodthirsty dinosaur from beyond time).

It's whip-smart storytelling with glorious art, and another series we're in it for the long haul with.

"The Unstoppable Wasp" by Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier is out now, published by Marvel Comics. 

Last but not least, the return of a familiar face in a brilliant comic series that just gets better and better...

"Star Wars: Princess Leia" Mark Waid and Terry Dodson pick up right where Star Wars Episode IV left off, in fact right there in the ceremony room where Luke, Han and Chewie all get their medals for blowing up the Death Star.

But we all know that even in the extended Star Wars universe, life is never as simple as it seems and Leia is swiftly drawn into a mission that will throw her into a team-up with a shadowy rebel pilot who really doesn't seem to like royals at all.

This is a fantastic romp, almost feeling at times like those cool saturday morning serials from the dawn of cinema.

It's chock-full of the atmosphere of the first movie trilogy, yet bang up to date with its treatment of female characters who can kick ass with the best of them

"Princess Leia" by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson is out now, published by Marvel Comics. 

(All four titles self-purchased)