My own summer reading list is in many ways a …
Ms. Marvel #1 is a delightful smorgasbord of superhero action, sweet romance, bright art, and has a strong, yet fantastical connection to real world issues. G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazwa, and Adrian Alphona craft a first issue that is both exciting and heart wrenching as Kamala Khan starts to take steps into being a more responsible and mature superhero and human being in both her actions and interpersonal relationships.
All throughout the issue, readers are granted a great example of colors from Richard Isanove, and how they blend to make each character look distinct. Every member of the Team has colors that render them dynamic and lets them exude a personality all on their own. If this issue is anything to go by, the Uncanny Avengers will be in good hands under Gerry Duggan’s dialogue, character portrayals as well Ryan Stegman and the rest of the art team making the Unity Squad a team to look out for.
Civil War was a massive Marvel crossover event running from 2006 to 2007 and tied into virtually every Marvel comic including cosmic ones, like Nova, and quirky teen ones, like Runaways. The comic begins with the New Warriors (a team of perpetually C-Listers) fighting a group of supervillains to garner better ratings for their reality TV show, which leads to the villain Nitro blowing up a school in Stamford, Connecticut leading to many civilian casualties. This leads to Tony Stark, Reed Richards, the Avengers, and SHIELD supporting the Superhuman Registration Act, which bans secret identities, implements mandatory training for young heroes, and makes superheroes agents of SHIELD. This is opposed by Captain America, who doesn’t want to hunt down his fellow heroes, and the conflict begins as all the heroes of the Marvel Universe must either choose the Pro-Reg or Anti-Reg side.
Avengers #55 marks the first real appearance of Avengers arch-villain, but the Avengers lineup he faces is quite odd. It’s a truly kooky quartet of the recently introduced Black Panther, Hawkeye, Wasp, and Goliath, which is one of Hank Pym’s dozen or so codenames. They open the issue as prisoners of a new, mostly filled with second stringers Masters of Evil, including “sultan of sound” Klaw, Radioactive Man, Whirlwind, and the “mysterious” Melter. Their strings are being pulled by the Crimson Cowl, a truly mysterious figure, who was revealed to be the Avengers’ butler Edwin Jarvis. However, writer Roy Thomas subverts the overused “the butler did it” cliche and throws in an even crazier plot twist that the robot Ultron-5 is behind the Avengers’ capture and infiltration of their HQ.
For the most part, Hickman and Ribic keep Secret Wars #1 from being too bloated with timely reaction close-ups of characters, and little jokes or insights into them, like Thanos being disgusted with humanity’s fear of death or the aforementioned Rocket joke. Esad Ribic’s storytelling makes this comic work as a pure work of superhero action with cutting panels for his sharp fight scenes. He also uses well-placed montages as the stakes continue to get higher as the comic progresses. Secret Wars #1 is a true superhero epic with wide-screen action, the occasional character insight, and real consequences even if it may be a little too expansive at times.