When I found out Monstress #3 was coming out today, I rushed to the comic store after work and picked it up along with the rest of my pulls for this month. Finally got caught up on Black Canary in time for this latest issue—none of my pulls this month disappointed; I adore all the comics I’m following. Seven reviews below:
Black Canary #5, written by Brenden Fletcher, cover art by Annie Wu, interior art by Pia Guerra, Sandy Jarrell, and Lee Loughridge, lettering by Steve Wands. DC Comics, October 2015. $2.99.
Oh man, I’m such a sucker for Battle of the Bands type stuff, and this issue takes Black Canary right into that territory. I love the camaraderie that Dinah has with her bandmates; I’m so intrigued by all the tiny hints Fletcher is dropping about the true purpose of Black Canary. I love Jarrell’s artwork on pages 18 and 19—Maeve’s expressions are great—and both Guerra and Jarrell are great at rendering motion fluidly.
Black Canary #6, written by Brenden Fletcher, cover art by Annie Wu, interior art by Annie Wu and Lee Loughridge, lettering by Steve Wands. DC Comics, December 2015. $2.99.
What a phenomenal issue. I’m so impressed by the pages that showed Bo Maeve’s band fighting against Black Canary—Wu’s paneling and Loughridge’s colors bring the “head-to-head” part of the battle into vivid relief; the orange and blue create a fantastic clash that works so beautifully in this medium. I’m really not sure if the visuals of this issue would be able to translate properly into any other medium; the panel showing punches overlaid on guitar frets in particular is so unique. I’ve grown so attached to these characters, and I’m dying to find out more about Ditto and the band.
Black Canary #7, written by Brenden Fletcher, cover art by Annie Wu, interior art by Annie Wu and Lee Loughridge, lettering by Steve Wands. DC Comics, January 2016. $2.99.
Eee, that first page! The layout is deceptively simple—a 4 × 4 grid of panels, all the same size—yet the imagery in each panel and the movement in the gutter spaces convey such a sense of gravity in addition to the text. And the way the last page mirrors it… this whole issue is brilliant in structure and craft; the battle scene laid out on a musical staff was a fun touch. There’s something to be said about the level of skill it takes to create sequential art that reads fluidly without text; Wu packs so much into the extended battle scene, and the beats of the battle were well-paced so that the ending felt earned to me. This issue takes a couple of sharp narrative turns, but they’re ones that feel fresh and keep me hanging on to find out more.
Monstress #3, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda, lettering by Rus Wooton. Image Comics, January 2016. $3.99.
Gorgeous artwork by Sana Takeda, as always. This issue moves more slowly than the previous two—it’s clear that Liu and Takeda are laying down building blocks for the world here, with hints of exposition between moments of action. The last two pages are haunting, both in imagery and implication.
Beyond the comic itself, I appreciated Marjorie Liu’s response in the letters column to a fan who critiqued the “Asian” ambiance in the story, saying that words like “Constantine” and “Cumae” felt more Roman/European. In her response, Liu discusses the hybridity of Asia and the expansiveness of the term “Orient,” which covered so much more than just modern Asia. I’m looking forward to seeing how the worldbuilding and story play out. I typically don’t go for slow stories, but Monstress is clearly an epic fantasy in scope, and I’m willing to be more patient.
Ms. Marvel #3, written by G. Willow Wilson, cover art by Cliff Chiang, interior art by Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring, lettering by Joe Caramagna. Marvel Comics, January 2016. $3.99.
Once again Miyazawa’s lineart is such a delight, and Herring’s color palettes throughout do such a great job of setting different scenes and moods. I absolutely love love love that Kamala came to an understanding of Mike in this issue, and that they got to bond and team up—yes to more stories about girls being friends instead of hating on each other over a love interest! A great conclusion to this three-issue arc; I’m looking forward to the next arc.
Red Wolf #2, written by Nathan Edmonson, cover art by Jeffrey Veregge, interior art by Dalibor Talajić, José Marzan, Jr., and Miroslav Mrva, lettering by Cory Petit. Marvel Comics, January 2016. $3.99.
The artwork is expressive, with clean lines that don’t feel stiff at all. Jeffrey Veregge’s covers stand out so much from the rest of the cover art at Marvel; the designs are bold and stylized. I’m disappointed that the credits page doesn’t include Veregge’s name; the signature on the cover art is legible, but there should still be a byline included. As for the story itself, this issue is less fast-paced than issue 1; it’s mostly setting the groundwork for getting Red Wolf from the time jump into the modern day setting. Interested to see where this story goes.
I didn’t like Tana Ford’s art at first—it’s such a contrast to Stacey Lee’s artwork, which I loved—but Ford’s art is really starting to grow on me; I’m finding in particular that the looser lines do a great job of mirroring Cindy’s mental and emotional states. I adore that this run of Silk is delving into Cindy’s mental health, and that she returns to see her therapist despite struggling to acknowledge her feelings and experiences. The trauma she’s been through rings the truest through the stories and the representation has been fantastic so far; it’s been so great to see, given that Asian-American communities in real life deal with a lot of invisibility and stigma when it comes to diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. I have high hopes that Thompson will continue to handle Cindy’s story sensitively.