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Comics Review

Comic Book Review – The Ultimates: Omniversal Volume 1

Start with the Impossible

Creative Team:

  • Writer:  Al Ewing
  • Art:  Kenneth Rocafort
  • Colors:  Dan Brown
  • Letters:  Joe Sabino

The Ultimates had my attention from the start, by putting together a team starring heroes I love – Captain Marvel, Ms. America, Black Panther, and Monica Rambeau – and oh yeah, GALACTUS is on the cover.  Add in the Blue Marvel, and how could I not check it out?

The team assembles with one goal in mind – to deal proactively with the cosmic threats that always seem to end up threatening Earth.  And what better one to start with than Galactus, the hunger that does not cease?  And if you can cure big G of his hunger, should you?  That’s just the first impossible question the Ultimates tackle.

If there is one thing I wish were different on this, it’s that there’s a lot of set-up happening for future events, and not a ton of room for every character to shine.  But I get the feeling everyone will get a turn, and the stories in this volume focus quite a bit on Blue Marvel and his history, with a little bit of Ms. America in for good measure.  Add in an in-universe explanation for how time works in the Marvel universe, and a couch conversation between Owen Reece and Galactus, and you pretty much have me hooked.  Al Ewing does a solid job writing for all these big personalities, and the art from Rocafort and Brown is quite lovely.

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Comics Review

Comic Book Review – Black Panther #1

Creative Team:

  • Writer:  Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Art:  Brian Stelfreeze
  • Colors:  Laura Martin
  • Letters:  Joe Sabino

Over the years with my sporadic obsession with comics, I mostly missed comics featuring Black Panther.  It was the same way with a lot of important characters – I think they only exposure to Hank Pym was in his ‘Dr. Pym’ days with the West Coast Avengers.  I became a big fan of T’Challa via the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon, and have sought out comics he’s been in since then.  He had one of the better arcs during the whole Time Runs Out/Secret Wars thing with Doom and Namor, for instance.  So I was interested from the start when I heard about a new series, but when I saw Ta-Nehisi Coates was writing?  HAD to be a day one purchase.

Coates is National Correspondent for The Atlantic, an author with multiple awards, a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship.  But before all that, he was a comic book fan, and was excited to take on T’Challa’s new series.  I don’t want to spoil it, but if his literary credentials give you pause, don’t worry – this is a comic book story through and through, but with the added depth of someone who’s thought long and hard about topics of race and belonging.  But who better to flesh out and update a character that was created in the 60s by white men?  Issue 1 features a main story that picks up threads from recent Panther history, including Dr. Doom and Namor both attacking Wakanda, and a populace that begins to doubt their returned King (after the death of Shuri, his sister who had been ruling), along with an external threat capable of fanning those doubts and fears into hatred and chaos.

No comic is complete without great artists, and that’s no different here.  Brian Stelfreeze (with Laura Martin’s colors) has not just tweaked T’Challa’s look but has created a coherent design across all of Wakanda.  Real life African influences are combined with the fantastic and it sings.  I like that they did away with the cape and some of the extra bits that have come and gone on BP’s costume over time and now have a clean, muscled, panther-like look.

There’s a lot of story threads started here, but I have a feeling Coates and company will be able to balance them effectively.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.