Monday, February 20, 2017

POBB February 15, 2017

Pick of the Brown Bag
February 15, 2017
Ray Tate

The Pick of the Brown Bag returns with review of Aquaman, Angel, Batman, Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Deep, Green Lanterns, The Mighty Thor, Simpsons Comics, The Ultimates and Wildstorm, and hey, if you haven't time for the meatier reviews, you can check out the teensy capsules on Twitter #PickoftheBrownBag.

My experience with the Wildstorm Universe is limited.  I generally steered clear of Image books after trying them out once or twice.  The exceptions being Savage Dragon and Spawn.  Though I didn’t stick with those titles for long.  I found out that I liked Gen13 when the kids were written and illustrated well.  

Grant Morrison’s JLA/WildCATS team up was good and funny in places.  On the whole though, the Wildstorm books just weren't to my tastes.  So why am I picking up the new Wildstorm? The art by John Davis Hunt is open, realistic in a sense but also stylish.  Add that plus to writer Warren Ellis, and my rationale becomes obvious.

Wildstorm offers a clean break from the 90s groups.  The story begins with Zealot in what appears to be an interrogation gone lethal.

As you can see, though Ellis preserves the code names, he and Davis Hurt eliminate some of the costumes, opting for the superhero London Fog look that became more and more prevalent in the late nineties and early two-thousands.  This design change reflects UK writers and artists lending their talents to American comics.  Of course, these scribes and sketchers were all influenced whether they know it or not by the pop culture touchstone Doctor Who.  It’s not like he invented the look, but the Doctor is infamous for his long coats and scarves.

From Zealot, Ellis cuts to Voodoo.  Voodoo and Grifter actually resurfaced in the new 52, but you needn’t worry about either continuity.  Ellis is chalking up a clean slate and on a different earth.  Voodoo appears to be a singer/celebrity which draws upon the showbiz/exotic dancer origin.  Ellis doesn’t spotlight any of her powers.  Instead, he employs her as a messenger for the main plot and does so elegantly.

Next, Ellis in a three party scene introduces the Agency out to eliminate Jacob Marlowe the bearded Steve Jobs stand-in.  Now this isn’t apparent, and it’s not really a surprise.  There’s a certain matter of factness in Ellis’ writing.  It’s not that there aren’t any twists.

Rather, the twists are dependent on actions rather than the underlying theme of assassination.  This isn’t James Bond where Ellis gleefully has a bionic-armed woman at first seem to seduce James only to try kill him.  The tone is far different but no less compelling.  The dialogue literate rather than terse or lightly innuendoed.  Furthermore, James Bond focused on James Bond.  Wildstorm is a full cast affair, and almost all the characterization is furtive and subtle.  You should at least try Wildstorm to see if its your cup of tea.

The Ultimates helped Galactus evolve into the Lifebringer.  The Lord of Order and Chaos went nuts when the ultimate gourmand  forsook his calling.   To that effect, they promptly held him for trial, threw a temper tantrum about the not in their favor verdict and promptly killed the Living Tribunal for issuing judgement.  As an encore, they absorbed the Inbetweener, the high functioning balance keeper/minding-his-own-business Star Trek cosplayer.  The result of this blend leads to the creation of Logos.  Just as fruitcake as the former Lords.  Logos now intends to shape the reborn Marvelverse to his liking, but they haven’t counted on beings more powerful than they objecting.

According to wikipedia, this is the Queen of Nevers introduced in the most recent volume of Silver Surfer.  She is the consort to Eternity, whose imprisonment Galactus and the Ultimates currently investigate.  

The Ultimates have their own problems.  The United States government fearing the reformation of the Ultimates stalemate the team with the Troubleshooters: Jim Tensen, Terry Jessup, Dione McQuaid, Simon Rostvow and Kathy Ling.  The Troubleshooters by the way were part of the New Universe Marvel line.  I knew they sounded familiar.

The Troubleshooters is kind of like what Amanda Waller did in Justice League of America.  The difference lies in the level of paranoia and the idea that the Ultimates actually did something in the Civil War to initiate a countermeasure.  What I don’t know, but it resulted in the dissolution of friendship between Carol Danvers alias Captain Marvel and the Black Panther.  

The surprising thing about the split is that Black Panther addresses the rift with snark.  I never really thought of T’Challa as a snark bringer, but it somehow fits and grants him a bit more youthfulness in the process.  The obscurity of the Troubleshooters giving them a kind of out of the mists of time resonance; a team that’s not keen to be one and the cosmic shenanigans of the increasingly insane Logos makes for compelling reading.

The Shi’Ar Gods sent the Imperial Guard to kidnap Thor.  Thor is not so happy about the situation, and she draws upon the memories and experience of Jane Foster to underline her point.

You may argue that Jane is behaving more like a human than a god, which is what she is supposed to be, but the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Norse Gods have never looked for worshippers.  Not counting Loki.  The whole Aesir are more hands-on than your average deities.  So, Thor may be influenced by the human avatar that seems to be the cat’s paw of cruel fate, but Thor's majestic insulting is still way within the traditional milieu.  In any case, the Shi’Ar have foolishly sought out Thor to participate in a game of the gods.  

 Gladiator was a send up of Superboy.  The Imperial Guard parodied the Legion of Super-Heroes.  As Gladiator continued to appear in Marvel Comics, you pretty much got the sense that he was a real dick.  Arrogant and frequently belligerent, Gladiator is clearly Marvel’s Powers That Be poking harmless fun at the Man of Steel.  Honestly, I would guess that many a Marvel Bullpen resident got just as choked up by John Williams’ Superman theme as anybody else.  In any case, this is the first time I actually felt sorry for Gladiator.  These Shi’Ar Gods are masterpieces of catty churlishness.

However, there is still a rule of law to be followed.  The first event exemplifies the capriciousness of the Shi’Ar Gods.  Thor is having none of it.  Hercules even in his most drunken buffoonery wouldn’t stand for this kind of treatment of innocent life forms either.  So this game is really of the screwed up variety but providing the reader with a lot of entertainment.  The question?  Is there more behind the game that what the eye can see? Yes, the Shi’Ar Gods are smug sons of a bitches, but is this truly all they are, or are they setting up our favorite Thunder God?

Writer Jason Aaron possibly foreshadows the rug being pulled out from under Thor’s feet by cutting to Asgard where Sif shames the regent Cul, Norse God of Fear, into acting upon Thor’s behalf.

The idea is that Sif doesn’t trust Odin’s brother, but he sits on the throne.  Therefore, he must start acting like the King of the Gods.  Act he does, and in a hilarious cliffhanger.  As a side-note, I really would love if Marvel did an oversize collector’s edition of Russell Dauterman’s Mighty Thor.  It’s such extraordinary artwork, a combo of Mucha Art Noveau, Art Deco backgrounds and pulp science fiction illustration via Viking helmets.

Fred became Angel’s closest confidant when he rescued her from a another dimension.  That association ended when a wannabe paramour murdered her to use her corpse as the vessel for Illyria, an ancient demonic goddess, not mere demon.  

Note that Illyria was not responsible for Fred’s death.  In the final season of Angel, Illyria for numerous reasons joined forces with Angel in the final battle against the secret society of Wolfram & Hart.   

In the comics, Fred and Illyria share a single form, and Illyria appears when she wishes it.  She is still more or less friendly with Angel and company, but on her terms.  Last issue, Illyria offered to take Angel back to his past, since that time period appears to be the source of his nightmarish visions.  Unfortunately, Illyria performs a Doctor.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel sporadically referenced Doctor Who.  It’s nice to see the tradition continue in comics.   Corinna Bechko comes up with a reasonable answer to explain Illyria’s detour, but damned if the whole episode isn’t Doctorish, with Angel serving as Illyria’s companion.  He learns about her former incarnation, at first believing the worst but then discovering that she wasn’t so bad.  Illyria in turn isn’t quite so sure about the veracity of her memories.

Illyria’s compliment to Angel mirrors the persona of the Christopher Eccleston Time Lord, and the whole book benefits from this, perhaps, out of place sense of whimsy. 

Solid art by Geraldo Borges, Michelle Madsen sews up what could be a special purchase for Doctor Who and Angel fans alike. 

Ian Boothby’s comedic Simpsons Comics focuses on Bartman, Bart Simpson’s comic book alter-ego, seldom mentioned on the television series.  I guess the Powers That Be think of him as too much of a juvenile delinquent to think he’d playact a superhero.

In any case, this clever send up of superheroes and secret identities draws Lisa Simpson into the fray in a brilliant origin of Bartgirl vignette.  Batgirl's origin is frequently reworked like this.

Because of the subject matter artists Tony Rodriguez, Andrew Pepoy and Art Villanueva pull some feats of on-model art that functions in shadows and light.  Out of context, some of it would be pretty dramatic.  The entire creative team revisit some of The Simpsons actual rogues gallery.  A few quite obscure, and it all ends in a sweet moment that also fits with the superhero facade as so many episodes do.

Bane continues his attack on Batman, and we see some of Bane’s familiar henchmen from Knightfall make their new 52 debut.  As I recall, Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan gave Bane’s men a kind of pretense of importance, leading up to Batman’s ultimate defeat. After our Dark Knight restored Arkham Asylum’s and Blackgate’s populations, these lieutenants were the last individuals Batman faced before Bane crippled him.  Tom King however treats Bane's a-list like the thugs that they are and expunges any mythic significance they may have carried.  King is as usual all about the power and importance about Batman.  Realizing the history of his sons, Batman takes steps to prevent them from being hurt in a futile attempt to risk their lives.

Only Batman

King never forgets what his story is really about.  Batman formed a team to penetrate Santa Prisca and steal the Psycho Pirate from Bane.  All to save Gotham Girl.  Batman’s a hero.  This is why he went to such lengths.  He’s willing to face the blowback himself.  So long as Gotham Girl gains her freedom from fear.

As the plot gains traction, we discover Bane’s backup plans.  These result in some gruesome wins for the psychopath luchedor, but you can’t help believe Batman’s already accounted and prepared for these setbacks.

Batman’s second part team up with the Green Lanterns is a memorable one and pivotal to Simon Baz’s growth as a hero.  Last issue, Batman called in the Lanterns because he suspected the Sinestro Corps was behind a series of riots conducted by ordinary Gotham citizens.  Green Lantern Jessica Cruz pinpointed the source to an online video, and the Dark Knight found out that anybody was susceptible.  This is bad news for a certain gun-toting Green Lantern.

The story continues with Batman and the Lanterns tracing the fear inducement to a Sinestro empowered Scarecrow.  Telling you this isn’t so much a spoiler as a meaningless plot detail.  The Scarecrow’s importance to the story is only as a mirror to demonstrate how Batman thinks.

Batman rocks!

Writer Sam Humphries characterizes Batman perfectly.  He respects Jessica Cruz and spotlights Baz whose monumental decision earns a splash page from Equardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira and Blond.  

Things don’t fizzle from there either.  In a clean-up epilogue, Batman critiques all the Lanterns.  It’s a laugh out loud funny scene.

In the fourth issue of Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Scarecrow manages to capture both our title stars.  Of course, Batman doesn’t stay captured for long.

This scene exemplifies the astute writing of Matthew K. Manning and animated styled illustration of John Sommariva.  Batman becomes almost bestial when facing the Scarecrow.  He does this for three reasons.  One, to combat Crane’s fear toxin with anger-induced adrenaline and two, to scare the straw out of his nemesis, and three, because chances are innocent people or Turtles are under the influence.  When criminals threaten innocent people, Batman becomes even worse.

If you’re a Turtle fan and asking yourself why the Turtles couldn’t extricate themselves without Batman’s help, keep a few things in mind.  The Scarecrow is an unknown quantity in the Turtles’ universe.  Batman simply has more experience overall.  He’s been exposed to Scarecrow’s toxins before.  Although Batman motivates the Turtles in fighting the toxin later in the story, it’s still the Turtles that eventually overcome the fear.

While Batman, Raphael and Leonardo escape Crane, Batgirl, Robin, April, Donatello and Michelangelo attack various Jokerized menaces.  Then next face Harley and the Clown Prince of Crime themselves as well as a pair of unexpected laughing surprises resulting from Shredder technology.

During one the earlier bouts, Donatello discovers an important clue that clears their alien opponents of being solely culpable in the transport of Batman’s menaces to the Turtles’ earth.  There’s a mastermind behind the whole scheme, and it’s not the Joker as Batman originally thought.  To be continued.  Deservedly so.

Aquaman goes into full superhero mode as the subplot of Warhead becomes the main gist.  Aquaman’s attempts to bring Atlantis to the world stage serves as an underlying theme.  

This is actually a pretty good method of balancing big geopolitical science fiction with superhero antics.  The latter includes Aquaman dealing body controlled staff of the Beckman College Research Department.

Warhead doesn’t control the minds of his victims.  He instead marionettes their bodies.  They’re aware of what they’re doing but cannot stop.  It’s a nice little refresher for a rare power brought to terrifying life by Scott Eaton.  You can pretty much imagine what this feels like and it’s not pleasant.  

Warhead also possesses the power of telepathy, and he’s connecting with Aquaman, but there seems to be more going on here than mere criminal activity.  Rather it looks like there may be a cry for help and military black ops behind Warheads’ trauma.

The Nektons, a family of explorers that travel in the Jules Verne inspired submarine The Aronnax hit the shores of Greenland where monsters have been sighted.  There they gather information and encounter mother Keiko’s arch nemesis. 

Trish exemplifies bad journalism, and Keiko’s response to her is both justified and hilarious.  It’s also cool how Antaeus, the youngest of the Nektons begins a life long journey of Trish animosity.  Apart from this, the Nektons learn that earthquakes foreshadow the monster sightings.  Daughter Fontaine suggests they search for the quake first.  This results in the Nektons suiting up for an exploration in their mini-sub.

Antaeus stays behind in The Aronnax and misses out on the close up finds the Nektons spot as they descend.  The plot takes a turn for the worst but not too bad as this is all-ages fun and concludes an entertaining chapter of The Deep.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

POBB February 8, 2017

Pick of the Brown Bag
February 8, 2017
Ray Tate

The Pick of the Brown Bag returns on time, thank you very much, with reviews of All-New Wolverine, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Aquaman, Earth 2 Society, Justice League and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Red Sonja, Rom Annual 2017, Southern Cross and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  Haven’t any time for the in depth reviews? Need a comic book review right now? Check out the POBB on Twitter #PickoftheBrownBag.

Alex Braith conned her way aboard the Southern Cross, a space craft making a run to Saturn's moon, Titan.  She did this to discover the mystery behind her sister's disappearance.  Weird things happened due to exposure by an alien artifact, and the Southern Cross vanished from the star lanes.  The only survivor of the Southern Cross' disappearance Kyril crash landed on Titan.  There he discovered a work society that took its inspiration from Lord of the Flies.

This issue of Southern Cross begins on Titan.  After an internal power struggle, the evil twin of Freddie Mercury secures his position on the Romulus rig.

Upon reading his whole shtick, I was reminded of Batman Returns where the Penguin gives a motivational speech to his namesakes.  

It’s that level of crackers.  The difference is that on some level Penguin knows he doesn’t control penguins.  He’s simply desperate for a plan and resorted to fitting birds with missiles to blow up Gotham City.  Dude, you're nuttier than the Penguin.  What does that say about you?

Thorns in “Freddie’s” side, Kyril, Investigator Hazel, and the lover of the presumed deceased Alex Braith.  In addition to these obstacles, a new player with ties to Alex and Amber Braith steps onto the stage.

This individual’s presence is however the least surprising thing about the way the story plays out.  Bizarre doesn’t cover it.  Writer Becky Cloonan for example takes a page out of The Reanimator’s science text to fill in some of the missing information of the mystery.

Wait, says you.  Aren’t you spoiling a plot point? Aren’t your reviews supposed to be spoiler free?  Yeah.  Okay.  That’s fair, but honestly, the talking head that you get in gruesome Andy Bellanger detail isn’t nearly as disturbing as what occurs in the penultimate scenes approaching the cliffhanger.  Trust me.  I’m holding back.  

Annuals are funny little animals.  In the past an annual was a double-sized comic book because the excitement wouldn’t fit in a normal sixteen pager.  As time progressed, the Annual devolved into a tie-in to a Big Stupid Event, or a padded piece of nonsense with the motto “Crap, we forgot to plan out a story for the annual.”  So what to make of the IDW Rom Annual 2017?  Special or stupid?

Special actually.  Christos Gage and Chris Ryall divulge the secret origin of Rom the Space Knight.  Wait, says you.  Don’t we know the origin of Rom the Space Knight? No.  We know the origin of Marvel’s Rom the Space Knight.   This version of Rom gets a different beginning.

His planet for instance is Eloria, not Galador.  Eloria is a world diverse with alien lifeforms, all elegantly designed and displayed for your eye by David Messina, Michele Pasta and Alessandro Alexikas.   These aliens include two of Rom’s friends, his lover Livia and buddy Fy-Laa.

The Dire-Wraiths are a known invasive species.  Eloria thought itself protected, but the Wraiths’ cunning thwarted Eloria’s defenses.  In that attack, the Wraiths murder Rom’s family.

This act catalyzes Rom’s, Livia’s and Fy-Laa’s decision to join the Solstar Order.  The Order is essentially a coast guard for the planet.  It’s not really an army, nor is it a police force.  It does not possess the technology of Galador, and the Space Knights arrive in a unique and interesting fashion.

The new origin of Rom reminds me a little of the film Starship Troopers but without the camp, gratuitous nudity or political commentary.  Let me reiterate.  I support nudity in any art form including cinema.  

However, Dina Meyer’s breasts are the only things I can recommend from Starship Troopers.  There should actually be nudity in Rom since there is a shower scene.  

In Rom as you can see the cadets take a shower in uniform.  This makes zero sense.  If you wanted to keep the book PG, you could have simply gone with above-the-chest panels.

Anyway, a minor caveat.  The annual deals with Rom’s life in a linear narrative that pulls important episodes from his and his friends’ growth in the Solstar Order.  It’s a milk run that becomes the pivotal moment in Rom’s development.  Once again reflective of Starship Troopers.  So where does Rom differ? The Dire-Wraiths.  The Dire-Wraiths are an intelligent species of monster that inflict mental and physical torture.  This realistically presented threat as well as matter of fact dialogue generate a serious tone that Starship Troopers wish it had.  Or maybe not.  The people behind the film claim that it’s a send up of fascism.  I didn’t think it was funny, unwitting or purposeful.  Fair enough though.  Rom bears no military jingoism or homogeneity.  It’s very clear that the creators behind the Annual wanted to show a melting pot planet forced into a war that it never wanted.

A teleporter accident transports the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the earth of the Justice League.  Unfortunately for the Rangers, they first encounter Batman.

Writer Tom Taylor gets a lot mileage out of the running joke that Batman creeps people out.  Fortunately, it’s really funny.  Maybe not consistently laugh out loud funny but certainly uniformly amusing.  In fact, Taylor breathes a lot of fresh air into the trite trope of strangers in a strange land fighting.

Once the Rangers and the League settle in for a conversation, they realize they have a mutual stake in partnering up.  The Rangers didn’t come alone to the JLA’s earth.

For the most part, Taylor and his partner Stephen Byrne stick with a personal Justice League and Brainiac that’s close but not exact to the Bruce Timm animated Justice League.  That works in everybody’s favor.  Superman is Superman.  No need to worry about an extra alternate universe.  John Stewart provides an experienced Green Lantern, and the League have worked together for years enough to be legendary.  Brainiac is very much the Brainiac from Superman the Animated Series.  The stability of the League and its environment is therefore disrupted by the new element of the Rangers.  So you can sit back and enjoy without over analyzing things.

Sometimes you just want to see Batman beat the crap out of the Ultra-Humanite.  It’s the truth.

That’s not Bruce or Thomas Wayne.  Dick Grayson is the third earth two Batman, and he does a splendid job in the gruff and gritty art Vincente Cifuentes.  Cifuentes illustration grows brighter in the battle between the Justice Society and the mind-controlled Green Lantern.

In Aquaman, after the tribulations of NEMO, Arthur Curry relaxes by cleaning up Amnesty Bay, his hometown.  Mera, Murk and Kae also more or less volunteer.

Kae gets a nice scene and a dialogue with Aquaman that fleshes out his personality.  He’s technically a third tier character, but the spotlight speaks of writer Dan Abnett’s skill.  By adding dialogue, combined with Brad Walker’s artful expression, Abnett turns Kae into a Atlantean person and not just somebody in the background.  Naturally others earn more presence in the story.

Erika Watson is the hometown girl that watched Arthur grow up.  One of the ways Abnett makes this very quiet issue of Aquaman engrossing is giving Erika a share of the point of view.  Take away Aquaman’s Atlantean history, and this becomes a literate vignette of a friend watching another friend achieve unimaginable greatness.   Think of one of Opie’s chums watching Opie become a scientist that finds the cure for AIDS then later becomes the President of the United States.

It’s almost an insult that we have to put up with Aquaman and Mera worrying about the prophecy of the Widowhood and the juxtaposition of a new villain’s birth against the domestic portions. So well written and beautifully illustrated.

The Amazon Artemis discovers a file describing Lex Luthor's Bizarro project.  This lands both she and the Red Hood into the ethical dilemma of doing something horrible for the greater good.  

Jason thus goes to Batcave to get Alfred’s advice in a roundabout way.  Jason sees a parallel between he and Bizarro.  An unwanted monster resurrected from the dead.  Alfred assures Jason that Batman had no regrets about taking him on as a partner, and that's exactly how you expect Batman to feel.  This is especially true of the new 52 Batman.  While fans voted to kill Jason Todd, Batman would never have voted for that.  Jason however isn't only there for reinforcement.  The greater good, remember? Jason knows that Batman keeps Kryptonite in his vault, but will the former Robin use it against Bizarro?

The usual bouncy and laugh out loud funny Red Hood and the Outlaws becomes a dramatic tribute to Of Mice and Men.  In the end, Batman would be proud of Jason.

Perfect issue of Red Sonja.  Sonja quickly adapts to her environment.  Last seen in Central Park, her weaponry confiscated, she finds the hunting in these parts rife.

Poor duckies.  She then heads off to the bar where little has changed, and yes, thank Mitra she took off her coat so Carlos Gomez can once again illustrate Sonja's spectacular breasts.

I am not trying to be funny.  The female breast is not a static organ.  Drawing breasts in such an embarrassing way betrays human anatomy.  So, when Gomez shows Sonja’s breasts leaning in with her as she’s about to arm wrestle the depiction isn’t just erotic it's accurate.

Sonja becomes a hit at the bar.  In addition to her intense beauty and apparent hedonistic allergy to clothing, her warrior's strength and willingness to become just one of the gang wins her immediate viral celebrity status.

The Selfies attract attention, and Kulan Gath, cleverly introduced in an opening one page nightmare sequence for those that came in late, sends his goons to retrieve Sonja.  Trouble is that Sonja already made allies, and she’s going nowhere she does not want to go.

The short skirmish leads to a giddy scene where Sonja rides the back of a motorcycle to Officer Max’s place where a clash of customs provides mirth and amazing skin content.

Amy Chu’s Sonja isn’t conservative.  Her lack of interest in clothing indicates different social mores.  Gomez and colorist Mohan are ideal at this flesh-filled demonstration.  Neither try as they might could get nipples past the censors, but that’s all right.  I'm good with the compromise.

In All-New Wolverine writer Tom Taylor started a new arc called “Enemy of the State” where he revisited Laura Kinney’s Weapon X status.   Taylor actually prepared for this arc well in advance with the introduction of Laura Kinney’s clones in the premiere. 

He also cameoed her arch-enemy Kimura early in the series, suggesting that she wasn’t done with X-23.  Kimura trained Laura to be a killer and to that end conditioned her with a trigger pheromone.  

“Enemy of the State” opens with Kimura sending the pheromone to Laura as a warning shot across the bow.  Laura runs with Gabby, but there’s no escape.  Kimura crop dusts a town with the pheromone, and when Laura regains her sanity, the town is dead.  It’s still up in the air whether or not she killed the town.  

Taylor suggests that Laura can fight the pheromone’s affect.  So she may have held back her berserker rage.  On the other hand that much pheromone may have been too much to withstand.  Either way SHIELD does not think highly of this new development.

Kimura recaptures, Laura and now subjects her to reconditioning as well as tortures designed to unbalance her consciousness.  She wants to be certain that Laura will kill her target in Madripoor.  Tyger, Tyger.

Laura however proves to strong for Kimura.  Kimura sees Laura only as a weapon, but Laura broke free from that definition.  She became an individual and joined a group of individuals banding together to prove that humans need not fear mutants.  The X-Men.  

In this chapter, Jean Grey takes part in Wolverine’s recovery, going into Laura’s mind to help her repair what’s broken.  The problem is that there’s a physical reaction as well as a mental defense.  That’s where Gabby comes in.

Gabby doesn’t feel pain and thanks to Wolverine’s and Janet Van Dyne’s efforts in a previous issue, she now possesses the same healing factor as her sister.  

About the only criticism I can lodge against All-New Wolverine is that these last two issues of “Enemy of the State” read better together rather than apart.  It’s a slight departure from Taylor’s mostly self-contained storytelling.  The change in artwork from Nik Virella, Michael Garland to Djibril Morisette-Phan, Garland is also a little off-putting, but not that big of deal.  On the whole, All-New Wolverine hasn’t stopped being a superb read from it’s debut to the current books on the rack.

You will believe an Unbeatable Squirrel Girl can fly.  This fun development is courtesy of the brilliant Melissa Morbeck a speaker at Empire State University that has been watching and admiring Squirrel Girl from afar.

To that end, she offers to sponsor Doreen Green and her crimefighting efforts.  Decking her out in a fetching new suit designed by Erica Henderson.  This is without a doubt my favorite Squirrel Girl outfit.

Squirrel Girl soon crosses paths with the Rhino, and she defeats him via new flying abilities and old, hilarious acumen.   A strong issue for your collection.

Also on my radar this month Amazing Spider Man Renew Your Vows.  You can come into this story cold and still know what’s going on.  This is an alternate earth where Spider-Man never chucked his marriage and had a spider-powered daughter named Anna May Parker.  A psychopath named Regent took over the world by siphoning superpowers, but Spider-Man teamed up with the resistance to defeat him.  His memory lives on thanks to the nuttier than ever Mole Man.

This prompted Anna May, Mary Jane who shares Spidey’s powers thanks to his brilliant modification of Regent tech to investigate the monster spewing hole in the ground.  Things do not go smoothly.

In the end however, the Spider-Family triumphs, Anna May gets a name, writer Gerry Conway nods to the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane from the MC2 earth and makes this feel like a Spider-Man book with notable appearances by J. Jonah Jameson and other traditional Spider-Man cast members.