What I’m Reading Today: 11/20/2015

What’s good, people of the internet? I’m branching out a little bit today; believe it or not, there’s actually a Marvel title in here! Anyway, lots of exciting stuff to discuss this week, so let’s get started.

Image Comics

Rat Queens #13
Writer: Kurtis Wiebe
Artists: Tess Fowler, Tamra Bonvillain (colors), Ed Brisson (letters), Stjepan Sejic (cover)

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Another installment of one of my favorite titles, and the plotline of the “Demons” story arc is rapidly thickening. After the cliffhanger ending of #12, the Queens are banged up but out of imminent danger following a rather anticlimactic deus ex machina. But the party has arrived at Hannah’s alma mater, Mage U, and that of course can only mean one thing: Shenanigans.

I’ve loved seeing the introductions of each Queen’s family and seeing their backstories unfold over time, and that trend continues in this issue for both Dee and Hannah. Although Dee gets little attention in this issue, Hannah’s mysterious parentage promises to become an interesting source of plot fuel. But as much as I want to learn more about Hannah’s mother and (step?)father, Betty and Violet have stolen the show with this one, as Betty impulse-buys a steampunk rocket-sled from an artificer in the marketplace and drags Violet off to the slopes in a sequence that had me laughing out loud. My love for Tess Fowler’s art continues to grow with each passing issue, and the richly-detailed backgrounds of Mage U are the shining point of this one. Keep an eye out for some of the truly random details…just why is that man arguing with a bear, anyway?

IDW

Transformers #47
Writer: John Barber
Artists: Sara Pitre-Durocher, Josh Perez (colors), Tom B. Long (letters), cover by Andrew Griffith with colors by Josh Perez, variant cover by Casey W. Coller with colors by Joana LaFuente, variant cover by Livio Ramondelli

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What, did you really think there would be no robots in this post? Really, you all should know me better than that.

I’ll admit that I don’t have nearly as much love for this book as I do its sister title, More Than Meets The Eye. As a result, I don’t pay as much consistent, month-to-month attention to it, and as a result of that, I spent a fair bit of this issue not knowing what was going on. Oops. Clearly a review of the past few issues is in order. But as little as I care about current events on Earth and the machinations of the series’ few human characters, I had a very specific reason to pay this issue special attention. That reason’s name is Victorion.

For those who may have missed my recent post on the rapid rise of female characters in the Transformers franchise, Victorion was created by the Transformers fandom earlier this year via a series of Hasbro-run polls, a Combiner who is the fusion of six all-new lady robots known collectively as the Torchbearers. Nothing has been seen of Victorion or her component bots since their debut in July’s Combiner Hunters one-shot, and I have been thirsty for more of these characters ever since. But now, finally, the Torchbearers are back! And…apparently helping Optimus Prime resolve his identity crisis? After first spending a few pages beating him up? Sure, I’ll take it. There is still disappointingly little character development for the individual Torchbearers, but some enticing hints about their backstory and the reason for their presence on Cybertron have been dangled. I’ll apparently need to be patient and just enjoy their flagrant badassery in the meantime. Prime’s little friend Aileron is another new favorite of mine, both because she is yet another addition to the growing female cast and because she’s cute as a button. If you’re as big a fan of lady robots as I am, it may be time to start giving this title some more notice.

Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel #1
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artists: Takeshi Miyazawa (pages 1-21), Adrian Alphona (pages 21-30), Ian Herring (colors), Joe Caramagna (letters), Cliff Chiang (cover), John Tyler Christopher, Sara Pichelli, Justin Ponsor, and Jenny Frison (variant cover), cosplay variant cover featuring Soni Balestier as photographed by Judy Stephens

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I don’t know why this is a #1. I don’t understand enough of the comics business to get why the clock has been reset on this title. But I’ll take it, because it’s a super convenient jumping-on point for anyone who missed out on Kamala Khan’s first run. Which means it’s time to start promoting the hell out of this book all over again, because Ms. Marvel is one of the most important comic books on the market today. It was serendipity that this book re-launched mere days after the the
terrorist attacks in Paris, and in the midst of controversy over the emigration of Syrian refugees. Ms. Marvel is an important weapon in the battle against the prejudice, xenophobia, and outright violence faced by people in America who are Muslim and/or of Middle Eastern ancestry. Now, more than ever, the world needs to see a Muslim superhero.

Stepping off my soapbox for the time being, this is a solid book about a solid character regardless of your political leanings. I love Kamala because I am Kamala. Her awkwardness and excitement should resonate with any fangirl old enough to have survived the travails of adolescence. And now Kamala is living the dream. She’s an Avenger now! Fighting evil with the people she used to write fanfiction about! It’s epic. And epically time-consuming. It’s a nice departure from the usual “angsty teen hero” tropes to see Kamala enjoying what she does but struggling to manage too much of a good thing. In terms of art, the artist switch midway through is a little jarring, but I’m in love with Miyazawa’s work. His Kamala is especially adorable. I hope to see more from him on this title in the future.

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