Happy Monday! In the first full week of new comic book releases for 2022 we got a lot of great comic books released. It felt like half of my pull list was released last week alone. Because of that I wanted to make sure to also review other titles that I didn’t get a chance to do standalone reviews for. I’ll also be changing out the format for my Review Wrap-Up to be more straight up reviews rather than the individual reviews in The Good and The Bad like our typical reviews. This week’s comics I’m spotlighting are Kelly Thompson and Rafael Pimentel’s Black Widow #13 and Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz’s X-Men #6.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Rafael T. Pimentel
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10
With the previous issue establishing that there is a mysterious villain from Black Widow’s past named the Living Blade it was only a matter of time before we got his backstory. Kelly Thompson wasted no time in giving us that backstory as Black Widow #13 is all about the Living Blade and his connection to Natasha Romanoff’s early days as Black Widow.
Kicking off this new arc, titled “Die By The Blade,” by diving into the history between Black Widow and Living Blade was made better by Rafael T. Pimentel art style and the color palette that Jordie Bellaire implemented. The artwork just got you into how Black Widow #13 was flashback that played out like a classic Marvel comic book. That includes the basic Black Widow costume that Natasha was wearing during this period of time. It was really a masterclass in storytelling of how to adapt the classic Marvel art style with modern day techniques.
The Living Blade was also made out to be a strong villain right out of the gate. While Natasha was able to hold her own against the Living Blade you could tell it took everything she had to survive the fight. Because while she held off the Living Blade it is very telling that he walked away from their first clash almost without a scratch while Natasha was bleeding from head to toe.
All of this worked to build the hype up for the next three chapters of “Die By The Blade” as we see how things go between Black Widow and Living Blade in the present. Along with their rematch we have a lot of questions around the mission Natasha and her crew are on. Add the incredible artwork by Rafael Pimentel and Jordie Bellaire to the character work done for Natasha in this flashback story Black Widow #13 is a can’t miss comic book.
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Sometimes you’ll take a risk creatively and it will not work out as you intended. X-Men #6 is an example where a risk was taken by Gerry Duggan and it just did not connect the way that he intended for the first story with Captain Krakoa. The biggest reason is that even as Duggan does not hide the fact that Captain Krakoa will be Scott Summers the way it was executed just did not work.
Now it is understandable that Scott as the leader of the X-Men and Captain of Krakoa that he would take great lengths to make sure one of Krakoa’s biggest secrets isn’t revealed to the public. Even if it means that the world must believe that Scott Summers and Cyclops are dead it is a risk someone of Scott’s status would take. The problem is that Duggan works the origins of Captain Krakoa backwards as we start X-Men #6 with Scott moving forward with the decision and its not until the end that we see him think of the impact of this choice.
The biggest miss on this aspect of X-Men #6 was that Jean Grey and the other X-Men weren’t involve with the decision. Given that this is supposed to be a team book having an entire issue dedicated to one character and the rest of the team being almost non-existent make this not hit as intended. Having the other X-Men involved with this decision rather than the Quiet Council would’ve gone a long way with getting over what this Captain Krakoa story is supposed represent.
On a more positive note Duggan continues to make the story involving Feilong and Orchis the most interesting aspect of his X-Men run. The slow build of Feilong has been done at the correct pace to build him up as a major threat when he finally faces off against the X-Men. The same goes for Orchis, who after the events of Inferno need to continue to be developed as a powerful organization. Adding them to the greater cosmic side of the Marvel Universe elevates them as a true power.
Overall, X-Men #6 was just a swing and a miss with how Captain Krakoa was presented to us in his first appearance. That does not mean that the direction with Captain Krakoa is a complete loss. There is a lot of potential to make this storyline a success. Duggan just needs to get the rest of the X-Men involved or else this isn’t the superhero team book we were sold in experiencing.
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