Astro City #23
Meet Sticks. He’s from a secret civilization of intelligent gorillas hidden in Antarctica. This is his first time in the big city, and he’s got his heart set on being a drummer in a rock band. Gorilla Mountain isn’t a very cool place — they’re obsessed with the purity of their culture, and the only job is serving in the military. Some of the younger gorillas have managed to pick up radio signals and discovered music. After getting busted several times for playing his own homemade drum kit, Sticks managed to fake a jet-pack malfunction and made his way to Astro City. But there’s this funny thing about being a talking, military-trained gorilla in Astro City — everyone either wants to kidnap you to turn you into a drone in their criminal organization, or they want to induct you into their superteam. Can’t a gorilla rock out with his pals without everyone wanting him to be a super-soldier?
Verdict: Thumbs up. Absolutely colossal fun. Sticks is a fantastic character — the type of guy who could easily carry his own graphic novel, not just a two-issue storyarc. But if there’s one thing “Astro City” does exceptionally well, it’s giving us amazing characters we wish we could see way more often.
Ms. Marvel #15
Well, the charade is over — Kamran may be cute and lovable and an Inhuman like Kamala, but he’s also allied himself with a bunch of supervillain Inhumans instead of the good guys. She manages to signal Bruno with her cell phone, and he tears off to try to get to New Attilan. Meanwhile, Kamala is doing everything she can to escape from the bad guys and periodically drop a little smackdown on them. Can she escape from Kamran and the other villains?
Verdict: Thumbs up. A wonderful issue — a little fighting, a little running, a little betrayal, a lot of standing-up-for-yourself, and a nice dose of minor cliffhanger toward the end. Does Kamala know another Inhuman?
Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #8
So apparently, the multiverse is being destroyed. I know, that’s usually DC’s deal, but this time, Marvel is doing it. Essentially, everytime two alternate earth’s collide, both of those universes wink out of existence. (This is all leading into the new “Secret Wars” crossovers.)
At the beginning of the issue, Steve Rogers reveals to the Mighty Avengers that Earth-616 has just 178 days left before it’s destroyed. And beyond a little exposition about the Illuminati, the rest of the issue is a slow countdown as the world comes to terms with the looming end of everything, and the Mighty Avengers help Rogers work to defeat the Illuminati’s plans and figure out a better solution.
Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice demonstration of the tension of knowing that the end of the world is months or weeks away. We already know this is the next-to-the-last issue of this series — I hope they get a good send-off. And I hope we get to see all of these characters a bit more often and a bit more prominently.