Weekend Shorts: Fighting Bad Guys

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: “Generation Why”, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Jacob Wyatt
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2So, true story, I have owned this book for a while, but I also ordered it for my library so I was completely irrationally waiting for it to arrive so I could read the library copy instead. I’m weird, even to me. The library copy still hasn’t arrived, but I could not wait any longer to dive into part 2 of Kamala Khan’s saga.

In this volume, Kamala sets off to rescue her friend’s brother and also take down this weird bird-man enemy that was introduced at the end of the first volume. Turns out he’s totally not a bird, but a Thomas Edison clone who was accidentally spliced with bird DNA. As you do? It also turns out that The Inventor (his villain name) is using all the teens he’s been disappearing as a fuel source, as you… do… Then there’s some nonsense about millennials and their usefulness and it is heavy-handed as only this Ms. Marvel can do (because she can embiggen her hand, see, and I would presume that would make it much heavier) but I’m letting it go because WOLVERINE.

Early on in the book Ms. Marvel runs into that famous mutant, who is also investigating the weird stuff going on and who amazingly does not run in the other direction when he finds out that Kamala write fanfiction about him. Because of course she does. The amazing squee faces that the artist throws in throughout their interactions are literally the best ever. I want to squee like that. We also find out just how exactly Kamala came into her powers (spoiler: Inhumans!) and get a peek into some organization that is I guess working with the Inhumans, I don’t know, this is the only Marvel comic I read. The point is, it’s intriguing, and I can’t wait to read the next one, so it’s good that I waited this long because Volume 3 is already out!

Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth, by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch, and Stjepan Šejić
Rat Queens, Vol. 2I really liked the first volume of this largely because it was cute and weird and kind of fun, but even though this volume takes a MUCH darker turn I am still totally in.

This volume starts right after the drunken debauchery that ends the first volume, with everyone still a little hungover until Dee’s heretofore-unheard-of husband shows up. He’s not here just for his wife, though; it turns out that someone is using a very important cult relic to do very strange things with time and space, as evidenced by the very confusing storylines that follow. We jump back and forth with no warning between the various Queens’ childhoods, where we get to learn what makes these ladies tick, and the present, where the mysterious Someone is torturing the town’s Guard Captain.

I liked the leaps into the past as a fun if clichéd way to get some backstory, and I was totally intrigued by what we learn about each of the Queens. I wasn’t too sure about the frame story with the torture and the cult religion and whatnot, but I suppose we’ll see how that plays out in the next volume.

What great comics are you guys reading?

Weekend Shorts: Rat Queens and The Woods

Comics comics comics. I have lots of comics. Let’s read some!

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: “Sass and Sorcery”, by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Rat Queens, Vol. 1I had heard decent things about this comic from people I trust, but the concept — dwarves and elves and stuff going on quests — is one that I tend to like in theory more than in practice, so it wasn’t on the top of my reading list. Then I got stuck in a long line at my comic shop and this book was hanging out on the counter, and one flip through the artwork had me sold. It is super pretty, guys.

And then I read it, and the story is equally as awesome, as it is closer in tone to that Terry Pratchett style of fantasy that I find enjoyable despite myself. Rat Queens isn’t quite a parody, like Pratchett’s work, but it does play around with the source material in fun ways. To start with, our main heroes are all ladies with distinct personalities and looks (coughxmencough), and then also they’re all pretty aware of the fantasy tropes they are following, and then also they are violently and excitedly gouging out goblin eyeballs, which is super gross but fascinatingly realistic. Well, “realistic”.

In this volume our Rat Queens are one of several raiding parties who are sent out on generic goblin-killing, loot-gathering quests that quickly turn out to be ambushes. The Rat Queens survive their ambush (with goblin eyeballs to show for it!), but not everyone else can say the same, and so the Rat Queens set out to figure out who set them up and why. There’s intrigue and subterfuge (my favorite things!) and also shapeshifting and sibling rivalry and an adorably tiny kick-ass Sherlock Holmes and love and sex and mystical religions and um, when does the next volume come out?

The Woods, Vol. 1: “The Arrow”, by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas
The Woods, Vol. 1Now this one I had just seen mentioned on a blog somewhere, and I wrote down that I wanted to read it, and then by the time I got to the comic shop I had no idea why I had wanted to read it but I bought it anyway, trusting my past self even though her short-term memory is terrible. Plus, again, the artwork is awesome, so I figured it couldn’t be all bad. And… it wasn’t! Two for two!

This book is much much darker than Rat Queens, though. Here we have a bunch of teenagers and teachers in a school that somehow gets transported somewhere that is proooobably not Earth. The air is breathable but the animal population is less than friendly, and so most of the humans are content to stay inside the school. A small faction, led by a kid who has apparently spoken to a mysterious statue, go off into the woods to see what they can find there, but of course it’s super dangerous. Sadly, it is not much more dangerous than staying at the school, as an ex-military current-egomaniac sportsball coach has made himself de facto leader of the school and is installing martial law and convincing impressionable teen sportsball players to help him keep the rest of the students in line.

It is a terrifyingly appropriate metaphor for high school — damned if you follow the status quo, damned if you don’t — and you know I like those. And I am super curious about how and why the school is in its current location, and what any of these guys are going to do in a week when all the frozen pizza and chocolate milk cartons are gone. And now I am thinking about exactly what is going to happen when the chocolate milk is gone and I am very very worried for those kids. Uh-oh.

What comics are y’all reading that I should be adding to my list?