This week, my avoidance of Secret Empire reaches comes to its sad conclusion, Lana Lang and Cass Cain have family moments, Luke Skywalker goes on a date with his father's sidekick, and it turns out Storm is black.
Secret Warriors #1
Oh, its a Secret Empire tie-in. I'm doing my best to avoid this mess but events being events, of course Marvel are using it to launch an ongoing series that they set up in their last damn event. I get the feeling I'd actually appreciate this issue more if I had any interest in the event because otherwise this is a pretty bland “getting the team together” issue with a slathering of green Nazis on top. Its not badly written, its reasonably engaging but I have no context for half of it.
I might actually drop this until Secret Empire is over and this series has a chance to tell its own story divorced from larger context and green Nazis.
This title has been hovering on the edge of being dropped for a few issues now and I worried that whatever lay in store after Superman Reborn might be the final straw. Surprisingly, Lana losing her powers a couple of issues ago has made me appreciate the series in a whole new way. I never really got the character. Part of the problem is I'm used to so many different versions of Lana but I didn't follow the New 52 Super-books closely enough to be used to this version.
K. Perkins writes the hell out of this issue, a real character study that goes into Lana's strengths and weaknesses as a person. Also, we get a bunch of background for Natasha and John Henry Irons, again characters whose previous incarnations I'm familiar with but whose current selves escape me.
Detective Comics #956
I'm trying to think of something to say about this issue beyond “Kate looks great in a suit and bowtie”. I mean, that's a valid critical opinion but I feel, given how much I've loved the arc, I should come up with something more.
I love Batwing and Azrael as a partnership, the whole science and magic thing really works. Cass continues to be my favourite character of the whole team and her final confrontation with Shiva is a joy to read. I've heard a lot of people complain about how this series “marginalises” Batman himself but so long as it turns out stories like this I'm all for it and Batman can muddle through with his two other ongoing series.
Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel one-shot
The Star Wars/Doctor Aphra crossover I didn't know I wanted until I read this issue. The thing is that once Aphra was out from under Vader's thumb I was so much more interested in seeing her fly solo in a proper EU series with no big famous movie characters getting in the way. After this issue I'm finally convinced that having her interact with the main cast has more mileage in it. Luke and Aphra at the Star Wars equivalent of a high society party is a great hook, not just for how they boune off each other because of how artist Marco Checchetto goes to town on the drawing the guests.
Tonally, this is much more an Aphra story than a Luke story, not just because Gillen is writing and Aphra sets the story in motion but because the gloriously over-the-top setting of the Screaming Citadel itself is much more the sort of place we're used to seeing her in. I like that, I like the mad as you like vision Gillen has for the Star Wars universe and I'm really looking forward to four more issues of Luke bumbling through that side of things.
Black Panther and the Crew #2
To my utter surprise, in spite of having Captain America on the cover this issue had nothing to do with him or the bloody Secret Empire event. Instead, the love letter to Harlem continues as Storm meditates on what the place means to her: her father's birthplace, the place she should have grown up in if her parents hadn't died in Africa. Its actually interesting, after all these years, to see a series address the fact that Storm is black, I know it sounds utterly mad that for all the hundreds and hundreds of X-Men comics I've read, the fact that one of Marvel's oldest and most well-explored black heroes is black has barely come up.
The simple fact is that her being a mutant and all the allegory that entails has sort of eclipsed the fact she's black. This, more than anything else, really convinces me that this series is going to go great places. Hell, even if it doesn't, the team-up of Storm and Misty is more than interesting enough in itself. Hell, I was almost disappointed when T'Challa finally turned up.