Herald Angels

Heralds #1

I originally missed this one, until I heard several different recommendations and figured I’d better check it out. It’s a five-issue miniseries, with a new issue coming out every week. There are a couple of different focuses — one is Frances, a young woman working the night shift at a small roadside diner. The other focus starts out on Scott Summers and Emma Frost — it’s Emma’s birthday, and Scott has actually managed to get her a surprise birthday party in Las Vegas. The big winning image of the comic is the party guests — She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Hellcat, and Monica Rambeau — all wearing fake cowboy mustaches. S.W.O.R.D. agent Abigail Brand is there, too, but she skips the mustache. And when there’s suddenly some sort of energy surge from outer space, there’s a mass escape of cloned dinosaurs and scientists at a S.W.O.R.D. facility, and both Emma and Frances have some sort of psychic freak-out. Emma just wrecks a hotel suite, but Frances injures a coworker at the diner and stabs a customer in the stomach. While the heroes bust up the clones, Frances meets someone she thinks is her father — and then explodes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you loved Tonci Zonjic’s art in “Marvel Divas” — well, you’re also going to love his work here. Wonderful character work with Frances and the other folks in the diner. Lots of funny stuff from our superheroes, too — not just the mustaches, which are plenty fun. But also Hellcat’s love for beating up cloned Einsteins and Oppenheimers, and the great dialogue between Emma and Cyclops. Not real sure I like She-Hulk with short hair, though…

Heralds #2

After the heroes get the clones subdued, S.W.O.R.D. concocts a cover story that it was all a publicity stunt by… Cirque du Soleil? Okay, whatever gets the heat off. Monica remembers zapping a clone of Phineas T. Horton, the creator of the Golden Age Human Torch — and the news reports that someone matching Horton’s description was found dead in the desert. Oh, yeah, and that guy was also the one who Frances thought was her father at the end of the last issue. Where’s Frances? Crashing into the desert from a few hundred feet up — and surviving just fine. The heroines break into the morgue to get some more information about the dead Phineas T. Horton, then take a trip into the desert so Emma can psionically track the explosion — and Frances, who is a dead ringer for Frankie Raye, one of Galactus’s old heralds. And meanwhile, in New York City, someone who looks a lot like Frankie Ray pays a visit to Johnny Storm.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I will say that the art suffers in this issue — while Zonjic does a lot of the art, James Harren does about half the issue, and his work isn’t nearly as good as Zonjic’s. The writing by Kathryn Immonen remains wonderful, however — lots of mysteries, lots of funny stuff, lots of great personality work.

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