March 13th, 2024

Rob's Picks:

Ultimate Black Panther #2 - The forces of Ra and Khonshu have struck Wakanda, rocking the once-isolated nation to its core. For T’Challa, facing the Moon Knights' soldiers on the battlefield proves easier than rooting out their spies. As if the burdens of the crown weren’t enough, Imala of the Vodu-khan comes bearing a cryptic prophecy. Writer Bryan Hill turns up the suspense in this issue as our hero searches for Wakanda's betrayers. The stakes and players for this arc are still coming into focus, but while this one leaves us with more questions than answers, Hill closes on a major reveal that gives our first hint at how this title may connect to the other Ultimates series. The Ultimate titles released so far have had their fair share of superpowered thrills; these early issues have taken the time to let readers get to know and like the protagonists, giving us a chance to rediscover what we love about them.

Fall of the House of X #3 - On Earth and Mars, mutant-kind rallies and begins to turn the tide in the battle against Orchis. Between the Hellfire Gala massacre and the Trial of Cyclops, the X-Men have taken a lot of losses and been scattered far and wide. The unstoppable Juggernaut fights to protect the last remaining piece of Krakoa; Cyclops attempts to escape from Orchis with his new ally, Dr. Gregor; Apocalypse marshals the forces of Mars; Emma Frost hunts for the variant Nathaniel Essex known as Doctor Stasis. Gerry Duggan does some great work fitting all these plot threads into a single issue and giving each their due. Keeping track of all the moving parts has been a challenge in this massive event, but Duggan distills months of story down to its essence before drawing it all together. There are sure to be more surprises and revelations ahead of us, but this seems to mark the final turn for the end of the Krakoan age.

Avengers: Twilight #4 - Last issue saw Cap reunited with his shield, the god of thunder, and Tony Stark (or what’s left of him.) With the addition of Captain Marvel, the Avengers have reassembled, but they may already be too late. James Stark, having finally accepted the mantle of Iron Man, rages at his defeat on the Raft and prepares his armor for the next battle. The team makes a trip to their former headquarters in the Avengers mansion and uncover the secrets of their government-appointed replacements, and find that the sinister Kyle Jarvis is not planning on ruling from the shadows much longer. This alternate future series has been topping itself from issue to issue and it’s sad to think we’re already past the halfway point. Only two issues remain, but assuming Zdarsky finishes as strong as he started, Avengers: Twilight is likely to go down as one of Marvel’s most satisfying stand-alone stories in years.

Solomon's Picks:

Black Widow and Hawkeye #1 - Presented to us by Stephanie Phillips, Paolo Villanelli, Mattia Iacono, and Joe Sabino is Black Widow & Hawkeye! Natasha has a sweet new symbiote suit that only upgrades her already deadly arsenal, and she’s using it to track down Clint, who’s been on the run from several government-backed assassins for several days for the murder of the Russian Prime Minister. Natasha spends much of her time in this issue interrogating or questioning whoever she can by any means necessary, getting a chance to showcase a really interesting ability in the first couple of pages. A complete contrast to Clint, who does little talking, and is fighting assassins back with absolutely no time to heal any broken bones or deep wounds. With jaw-droppingly gorgeous art, a quick pace, and intriguing setup, I’m pretty excited to follow this mini-series as it releases.

Ultimate Black Panther #2 - Ultimate Black Panther is back and this issue was definitely worth the wait! T’Challa, following the death of his father, has begun locking up his own citizens in order to find whatever traitor is lurking among them. This infuriates Okoye, who confronts him on this only to be met with a defensive T’Challa. He then consults the Vodu-Khan, desperate for answers, who gives him an interesting prophecy about his family and future heir. The tone has been amazing these first two issues, doing a wonderful job at quickly immersing you into the story and I hope this intense energy continues to the end. That being said, the art is hands down my favorite part of this issue, specifically the expressions that the characters are given (Especially Shuri’s). This issue ended with a bang, showing a face-to-face between two characters that you won’t want to miss, so make sure you grab a copy now!

Mace Windu #2 - This issue of Mace Windu was thrilling! Azita and Mace are still on the run when they stumble into a frozen cave. Much to their surprise, the cave is filled with Bore Worms and Blue Lava, only adding an extra layer of stress for the two. The dynamic between the two is definitely the best part of this issue in my opinion, with their differing personalities and clashing ideologies making a surprisingly good combo. Dialogue feels natural and enjoyable, making this book all the more enjoyable. Mace’s personal usage of the force is demonstrated once again, though this time we see how, though he is an “untraditional” Jedi in many cases, he still has respect for the Jedi Code and values his master taught him. Absolutely loving this run and can’t wait for more!