Catching up on my massive comics backlog! /o\ 13 issues for review this month:

Black Canary #9, written by Matthew Rosenberg, cover art by Guillem March, interior art by Moritat and Lee Loughridge, lettering by Steve Wands. DC Comics, March 2016. $2.99.

One-shot story. Black Canary plays a private show for a young girl’s birthday, only to run into some difficulties: the attendees are all villains and assassins. A cute self-contained story that makes for a fun read.

Black Canary #10, written by Brenden Fletcher, cover art by Annie Wu, interior art by Moritat, Sandy Jarrell, and Lee Loughridge, lettering by Steve Wands. DC Comics, April 2016. $2.99.

Batgirl teams up with Dinah; while Dinah continues to search for clues about her mother, the “ninja death cult” continues to pursue Dinah in search of the Five Heavens Palm technique. Standard action-adventure issue.

Black Canary #11 cover
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Black Canary #11 cover; art by Annie Wu.

Black Canary #11, written by Brenden Fletcher, cover art by Annie Wu, interior art by Sandy Jarrell, Wayne Faucher, and Lee Loughridge, lettering by Marilyn Patrizio. DC Comics, April 2016. $2.99.

Dinah reunites with the other members of Black Canary in Berlin, only to find herself facing the villain Orato in a private battle. Another standard action-adventure issue, though the ending was one that I didn’t expect—admittedly, these last couple of issues didn’t really capture my interest, and I might be dropping Black Canary after this arc concludes. The earlier issues were much stronger imo; I’m less interested in seeing yet another story about a white person guarding secret kung-fu knowledge.

Monstress #4, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda, lettering by Rus Wooten. Image Comics, March 2016. $3.99.

Gorgeous artwork from Sana Takeda as usual. This issue introduces us to more of the tensions and politics going on in the world of Monstress, as well as Maika’s very intimate struggle with the Monstrum inside her. Maika’s own fear, as well as Kippa’s terror over Maika’s uncontrolled abilities, are so palpable. A slow-moving issue that gives us fascinating glimpses into the various settings of Monstress.

Monstress #5 cover
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Monstress #5 cover; art by Sana Takeda.

Monstress #5, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda, lettering by Rus Wooten. Image Comics, April 2016. $3.99.

Every issue of Monstress feels rich and so full of worldbuilding as well as character development, and this issue is no different. Maika’s reminisces about Tuya deepen her loneliness and her need to find connection; the introduction of the Dusk Court adds another layer of intrigue to the story.

Ms. Marvel #5, written by G. Willow Wilson, cover art by David Lopez, interior art by Nico Leon and Ian Herring, lettering by Joe Caramagna. Marvel Comics, March 2016. $3.99.

I am loving Nico Leon’s artwork—it’s clean and dynamic; the results look effortless, but the scenes with crowds and multiple Kamala golems show Leon’s mastery over detail. All the characters are wonderfully expressive; G. Willow Wilson’s writing continues to be fantastic, and Kamala’s struggle to balance all her responsibilities rings with verisimilitude. I’m excited to see how this plot resolves in the next issue.

Ms. Marvel #6, written by G. Willow Wilson, cover art by David Lopez, interior art by Nico Leon and Ian Herring, lettering by Joe Caramagna. Marvel Comics, April 2016. $3.99.

What a perfect conclusion to this arc—I’m so, so glad that Ms. Marvel asked for help, and that Captain Marvel and Iron Man were both supportive with Kamala setting boundaries for herself. Wilson is so great at writing Kamala as a vulnerable teenager learning how to care for herself, and I’m so glad to see Kamala learning these lessons. Leon’s art and Herring’s colors continue to be fabulous; the wedding scene in particular sparkled with how vivid it was. A wonderful issue.

Pretty Deadly #9 cover
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Pretty Deadly #9 cover; art by Emma Ríos.

Pretty Deadly #9, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, art by Emma Ríos and Jordie Bellaire, lettering by Clayton Cowles. Image Comics, April 2016. $3.50.

As reapers duel on the battlefield, Cyrus continues to struggle against War, who wants to take him as his own. Emma Ríos’s art never fails to be stunning. Ríos shares in common with Mike del Mundo, another favorite artist of mine, the skill of telling stories through sequential art without traditional paneling—pages 12 and 13 in particular are incredible, allowing the eye to flow from scene to scene effortlessly. Bellaire’s colors are fantastic as well, especially with War and Fear being represented by different colors: the visual effect on the page is gorgeous. When it comes to Pretty Deadly, the actual events of the issue are less important to me than how they’re told. The storytelling, both in writing and in the visuals, never fails to be atmospheric and epic. Another excellent issue.

Red Wolf #4, 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, March 2016. $3.99.

Deputy Ortiz and Red Wolf pursue the people suspected of attacking Sheriff Knight with rattlesnakes. What I appreciate about Red Wolf is that it’s not just action—both Deputy Ortiz and Red Wolf have their moments of character development, and, at the end of this issue, Red Wolf demonstrates his agency by choosing to pursue those who have hurt the Deputy and the Sheriff. Talajić and Marzan are fantastic at including detail in the lineart that feels effortless, and Mrva’s colors always feel harmonious and perfectly applied, each palette tailored to the mood of the scene.

Red Wolf #5, 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, April 2016. $3.99.

While Red Wolf and Deputy Ortiz continue to pursue their suspects, Miss Haberly puts additional pressure on Mayor Babbish for more land. This issue in particular highlights the unique way Talajić, Marzan, and Mrva handle negative space in their panels; it’s a fascinating technique used to great effect that I haven’t seen others do before. The issue itself passes by quickly, building up tension to end with the reveal of a character we haven’t seen in a while. I’m enjoying Red Wolf’s development and the growth of his partnership with Deputy Ortiz, and I’m eager to see what happens in the next issue.

Silk #6, written by Robbie Thompson, cover art by Helen Chen, interior art by Tana Ford and Ian Herring, lettering by Travis Lanham. Marvel Comics, March 2016. $3.99.

Silk and Black Cat take out the Goblin Nation. I adore how much Robbie Thompson reveals about Silk’s character and her psyche, from little details like how she doesn’t like closed doors to the bigger, heavier issues like her anger. It’s rare to see a story about an Asian-American woman struggling with anger issues, so reading Silk is always a breath of fresh air. Ford is great at rendering Silk’s angry outbursts so that they feel visceral and terrifying.

Spider-Women Alpha #1, written by Robbie Thompson, cover art by Yasmine Putri, interior art by Vanesa del Rey and Jordie Bellaire, lettering by Travis Lanham. Marvel Comics, April 2016. $4.99.

Spider-women going out for brunch! I love seeing Gwen, Jessica, and Cindy team up and support each other; Vanesa del Rey’s brushed linework works wonderfully with Jordie Bellaire’s colors. I’m not sure if I’ll pull the individual issues of the Spider-Women crossover, but this issue sets up the plot nicely and leaves me curious as to what else is going to happen.

Silk #7 cover
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Silk #7 cover; art by Yasmine Putri.

Silk #7, written by Robbie Thompson, cover art by Yasmine Putri, interior art by Tana Ford and Ian Herring, lettering by Travis Lanham. Marvel Comics, April 2016. $3.99.

I adore Yasmine Putri’s cover art for this issue; it’s gorgeous! I’m reading this issue without having read Spider-Gwen #7, but the summary from the beginning is enough to catch me up to speed on the Spider-Women story. This is a fun issue, with Cindy discovering that Earth-65!Cindy has cut her family out of her life and become a super villain. I’m interested in seeing how Earth-65!Cindy diverged from Earth-616!Cindy; now I’m more tempted to pull the remaining issues of Spider-Women, or at least wait for the trade…