August 2016 Comics in Review

Captain America: Sam Wilson #12  Nick Spenser

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Today’s world is full of beliefs and opinions, and everybody feels as if their way is the right way. Captain America: Sam Wilson reflects this wonderfully, especially when it comes to politics. We all know politics in the U.S. is a hot topic at the moment, so a bit of comic book mirroring makes sense. This issue yields provocative questions with no real answers.

It doesn’t take long for the comic to remind us that Sam Wilson can be a victim of misunderstanding, and potential racism, like many other black people. It’s an uphill battle for the new Cap, but one he’s managing to face head-on while living up to Steve’s legacy. read

 

 

Black Panther #5
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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With its focus almost exclusively on T’Challa, Black Panther #5 is the strongest issue yet in the series. T’Challa’s struggle with the rebellion leads to some surprising connections to the larger Marvel Universe, from a guest spot by Manifold to foreign tyrants. Chris Sprouse is a wonderful artist in his own right, and readers will find no lapse in quality from Stelfreeze’s work on earlier issues. After previous issues stumbled a bit in their pacing, Black Panther #5 feels like the series finally got running full speed. This isn’t an issue with a heavy focus on action, but the moral complications of being a superhero and king have rarely been this riveting. read

 

 

All-New Inhumans #10

Written by James Asmus | Drawn by Stefano Caselli

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As is often the case with a series cancelled barely out of its infancy, All-New Inhumans reaches its end just as it’s starting to get better. While not an actual finale (that would be issue #11) the latest still serves as a solid wrap-up to James Asmus’ final arc, one that saw his focused attention to character finally pay off. And considering its success in building a new section of the Inhuman world, the issue also stands as a perfect representation of the challenge Asmus and Stefano Caselli faced in bringing this book to life in the first place. Without the anchor of more well known leads, the creative team more or less was left to create their fan base from the ground up. In that regard issue #10 shows the true fruit of those labors, with great characterization, real, earned relationships and some killer art. Alas, it also appears to be a case of too little, too late. –Jeff

 

POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #7

David F. Walker / Artist: Sanford Green, Flaviano

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The ways that Power Man and Iron Fist, under the vigilante eye of Walker subtlety slips into complex and important societal topics is something to witness. You wouldn’t expect this description of a comic book with a hulking man with unbreakable skin and a man with the power to punch through about anything, but this the storytelling is elegant. Danny is in jail after assaulting a police officer and Cage is on the outside, trying to figure out not only how to get his partner back, but unravel the mystery of these vigilantes hunting “assumed criminals.” There are plenty of parts that move the story forward, like Danny’s mission in jail and Cage with his team of techies trying to crack the technology the vigilantes left behind. But what will stand out to me in this issue is the tenderness of a few scenes: specifically between Misty Knight and Danny, then between Cage and Jessica. Both are handled with care and muted emotions that work well for the environment and inform about the tone of these characters than anything over the top would. The book progresses well, ending with an unexpected (for me anyway) turn back towards the Civil War conflict, that should make the next issue pretty interesting.read

 

THE ULTIMATES #10
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Kenneth Rocafort, Djibail Morissette, Dan Brown & Joe Sabino

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Tension is mounting between the Ultimates as Carol apprehends Alison Green. Adam and Monica have differing opinions, while T’Challa watches and America prepares herself. Soon, chairs are exchanged with energy blasts as a sinister presence plots to use the divisions among the team to his advantage.

This issue makes me sad, but it is incredibly well done. The Civil War II aspect ofUltimates helps to frame how Carol’s actions are affecting her friends and her team. The fallout of this issue is immense, and there are a lot of questions left to answer. This issue takes a lot of important elements from the previous ones and combines them in a way that does the overall story and the characters justice. Rather than this being a one-off issue tied to an event, it has real ramifications for the entire series, which I feel is a mark of its success and quality. read

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