Battle of the Sexes?

Girl Comics #1

A somewhat misleading title on this one — you may suspect it’s all stories about female characters, but it’s actually an anthology comic produced by female comics creators. There are plenty of stories here about male characters — G. Willow Wilson and Ming Doyle have a story about Nightcrawler in a German cabaret; Trina Robbins and Stephanie Buscema have a tale of the old Golden Age heroine Venus (the actual goddess of love) trying to fit into today’s fashion scene; Valerie D’Orazio and Nikki Cook have a story about the Punisher tracking a child predator; Lucy Knisley follows Dr. Octopus around the grocery store; Robin Furth and Agnes Garbowska have an adventure with Franklin and Valeria Richards; and Devin Grayson and Emma Rios have something with Jean Gray, Cyclops, and Wolverine. There are also a couple of biography spotlights on real-life Marvel mainstays Flo Steinberg and Marie Severin, not to mention a great introduction by Colleen Coover and that awesome cover by Amanda Conner.

Verdict: I’ll give it a thumbs up. The Amanda Conner cover, the Colleen Coover intro, and the Doc Ock story by Lucy Knisley are 100% great. The bios of Steinberg and Severin are also pretty cool. The rest of it isn’t bad… but it isn’t real good either. Most of it is just… mediocre. I’m still giving it a thumbs-up ’cause I enjoy anthologies, and I’m hoping they’ll knock the next two issues of this outta the park.

The Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange #1

Speaking of anthology comics, here’s a fairly cool one — 48 pages long, all in black-and-white, and all for four bucks — with stories about Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme by Kieron Gillen and Frazier Irving, Peter Milligan and Frank Brunner, Ted McKeever, and Mike Carey and Marcos Martin. The first story is the real standout — Doc Strange having himself committed to a mental hospital to battle an unethical psychiatrist who’s selling souls to Hell to try to make the world a better place. It also features the disturbingly awesome image of Strange’s wife Clea making wildly unexpected plans to rob a bank.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a very cool project — like finding a bunch of undiscovered’70s-era Dr. Strange stories. Again, the first story is the best — a very good plot, excellent artwork, numerous mad, awesome images, and a very cool ethical/moral dilemma for Strange to puzzle out. The rest are a mixed bag — some good stories, some not-so-good stories, but on the whole, it’s more than worth the cover price. Go pick it up.

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