Welcome back to another comic book review round-up. This was a packed week of comic book releases. You can check out our individual reviews for Alice Never After #2, Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War – Battle Lines #1, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 30th Anniversary Special, Ultimate Invasion #3, and W0rldtr33 #5. For this week’s review round-up we are spotlighting Arcade Kings #4, Blade #2, and Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1.
Writer and Artist: Dylan Burnett
Colorists: Walter Baiamonte, Sara Antonellini, Simona Iurato, and Sharon Marino
Letterer: Andworld Design
Arcade Kings #4 continues to be one of those comic books that is just a fun, turn off your brain, series. Dylan Burnett is hitting on all the notes that I expect from a shonen battle manga. Everything is choreographed to get us to the next fight and big swerve reveal.
What particularly works well is how the fight between Ken and Joe is done as how we get the character development handled. The fighting is just a method to give us more of the drama. That makes each punch hit harder as the boys get out their emotions throughout the fight. That proves to be true as the way it ends is exactly what we see from manga like Naruto and Dragon Ball. It all leads to an ending with a another villain reveal that screams manga hook ending.
Burnett’s artwork helps all of the manga aesthetic of this series get over. The coloring team help in taking the manga-style art to have an animated look. Which particularly helps with the intensity of the big fight having the overtop nature.
Arcade Kings #4 continues the fun of this series. The series is hitting on he overtop nature of anime fighting with a retro video game setting.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Inkers: Elena Casagrande and Roberto Poggi
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Everything from the Blade’s design to how he carries himself to how he talks strikes the cool factor. That is exactly what Bryan Hill and Elena Casagrande continue to accomplish with Blade #2. Hitting that mark is what as a casual fan that I can ask for. Though not everything hits for the bigger story as Blade #2 decides to take the character on a side mission for most of this issue.
Blade going to visit his ex-girlfriend Tulip was something that initially started off as something that tide to the demon Blade unexpectedly allowed to roam free. But right after speaking on this topic things are quickly switched to a completely different story of the ongoing business Tulip has going we nor Blade know about. The way this was all handled did give a side mission feel as it was presented in a way to make us forget about what was introduced in the first issue. Instead we are now given a story that feels more personal and interesting with Tulip’s situation.
While that does hurt the story with the primordial demon I’ll give Bryan Hill credit for making Blade and Tulip have a natural chemistry that you are immediately invested in. Hill trusts the reader enough to understand where Blade and Tulip stand with each other. Because of that chemistry it does leave you wanting this story to be the main focus rather than the demon story introduced in the first issue.
Where there was a home run was Elena Casagrande’s artwork throughout Blade #2. Casagrande is arguably the best artist working for Marvel right now and this was another example of that being true. Casagrande is particularly in her bag with when action breaks out. Just look at the Blade vs helicopter fight in this issue. It is the big set piece you love seeing from a epic action movie.
Blade #2 immediately takes us on a detour for a side mission that is possibly more interesting that the main story introduced in the first issue. While that is not a good thing for the main story it does show how well Bryan Hill builds chemistry as Blade and Tulip worked well off one another. Adding in the amazing artwork by Elena Casagrande makes Blade a comic book that continues to be a hit.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Writers: Iman Vellani and Sabir Pirzada
Artists: Carlos Gomez and Adam Gorham
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1 was very much about giving Kamala Khan a reality check about what it means to be a mutant in the eyes of the world. Up to this point Kamala has only had second hand knowledge of mutants and their experience. But much like how she looked up to the Avengers, Kamala’s image of being a mutant was the X-Men as a superhero team. That is not the reality of being a mutant and its something Kamala quickly learns.
Working in Kamala’s previous obstacles like what she went through in the Outlaws storyline gave context for her mentality in Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1. In Kamala’s mind she has overcome being seen as the enemy before and has been able to return to being a celebrated hero. That was obviously a skewed view point as that has never happened for the mutants. They are constantly battling the hate others have against them in and out of being superheroes. How hard Kamala takes this reality she had zero experience with does create this investment in how she grows from this.
Helping Kamala’s story is that she is actively seeking connections with the X-Men. Having Shadowcat, Synch, and Talon in this story helped the new connection to the X-Me franchise she had. It further drove home how naïve Kamala is approaching her new status quo. Which in turn adds to the impact Kamala’s reality check had on her.
Now it’ll be interesting to see how this will work into the bigger Fall of X storyline. With this series taking place before the X-Men issue that happened after the Hellfire Gala there is only so much that can be done in this aspect. The way Orchis is at least integrated does help push them as the overarching big bad of the X-Men franchise and Ms. Marvel will now be getting a reality check of the next level villain threats she can expect to face.
Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1 did well in focusing on Kamala Khan learning about the reality of her new mutant status quo. The experience is going to be completely different from being known as an Avenger or Inhuman. Now it’ll be interesting to see what direction Kamala goes as she gains more experience of what being a mutant and X-Men is.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10