By Courtney Ryan and Stefania Rudd. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while squeezing in a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.
Generation Zero #3
Written by Fred Van Lente.
Illustrated by Francis Portela.
Colored by Andrew Dalhouse.
Lettered by Dave Sharpe.
CR: Our ragtag team of teenage psiots are back and still on a mission to help Keisha Sherman solve the mystery behind her boyfriend’s sudden death, though it’s starting to look like the Generation Zero kids have their own vested interest in Keisha’ fate. That tragic death is somehow tied to whatever menacing power has its grip on Root, Michigan, and Keisha is beginning to wonder if the Gen Zero psiots would have been poking around her town even if she hadn’t called for their help.
Most of Generation Zero #3 takes place inside the idyllic mind of popular cheerleader Adele Poole, a Laura Palmer-type high school senior who seems to be involved in every extracurricular activity possible — as well as some pretty dark shit. It’s a fun trick; we get to see the flipside of Keisha’s gothy high school outcast experience only to realize neither life looks that pretty. And thank goodness. Despite this being a comic about supernatural delinquents, which is fun enough on its own, my favorite segments in Generation Zero have involved the cruel hierarchy at this particular Midwestern high school.
Writer Fred Van Lente keeps our rapt attention by introducing a bit of conflict within the Generation Zero ranks, and providing just enough insight into Adele’s world to know something’s not adding up. Plus, we’re learning more and more about each psiot’s skills, which, I’m sure, will certainly come in handy later. Lente’s characters trade crisp and witty barbs sprinkled with the know-it-all obnoxiousness that’s so ubiquitous in teen superhero stories. Thankfully, their high-minded explanations of how trading consciousness works, for example, are never hard to follow due to artist Francis Portela’s straightforward, nigh-cinematic style.
Generation Zero continues to be an amusing series for both fans and newcomers to Valiant Comics’ psiot mythology thanks to an insightful protagonist in Keisha and the eerie mystery in which she has found herself embroiled. With some of the background doled out in issue #3, Lente is setting us up for a major revelation in the next two issues. Though the bigger treat will be discovering how this connects to the rest of Valiant’s universe. A harbinger of things to come, perhaps.
8 out of 10
Ms. Marvel #12
Written by G. Willow Wilson.
Art by Mirka Andolfo.
Colors by Ian Herring.
Letters by Joe Caramagna.
SR: In this done-in-one issue, Ms. Marvel runs off to Karachi, Pakistan for a month to “find herself.” (After the events of Civil War II can you blame her?) For Kamala Khan, it’s her Eat, Pray, Love moment. Okay, not really.
Kamala feels as though she’s lost everything in this latest conflict, from her mentor to her best friend. What better way to hit the reset button than to steal some quality time visiting her grandmother’s house? To simply be Kamala instead of Ms. Marvel for a while, that’s what our hero needs — but really, there is no off switch for a superhero, is there?
G. Willow Wilson gives us an issue full of self-reflection and discovery after a massive, life-altering series of events, and the writer does so in a most beautiful and honest way. Here Kamala is, visiting her Pakistani family as an American citizen, and they refer to her, affectionately, as “The American.” As anyone who has family outside the States can doubtlessly relate, Kamala’s feelings of not being “American” enough while in the States comes into direct conflict with not being (insert cultural ethnicity here) enough while visiting family abroad. As she struggles to find her own identity, Kamala once again feels very out of place.
Mirka Andolfo, making her Marvel debut, does fantastically with the art, giving this issue more of that “we aren’t in Jersey City anymore” feeling. Like other Ms. Marvel artists, Andolfo has a terrific handle with expressive faces and details that make this world seem life-like. (I really loved how she rendered Kamala’s transformation of a traditional shalwar kameez into her Ms. Marvel costume.) Ian Herring’s coloring on Andolfo’s art is beautiful and it gives you a feeling of warmth and softness. It’s almost comforting in a way.
Overall, I found this issue to be very strong, with a story that very much needed to happen after the last story arc. I don’t know about you, but I teared up more than a few times this month. Maybe I’m going through my own personal transformation? Do you think Kamala’s grandmother will embrace me with a warm chai?
9.5 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.