Welcome to the latest issue of my column! It’s not really a comics review column, though I call it that for convenience. It’s actually a comics recommendation column, though. I don’t know if anyone else is doing this format or if I accidentally invented it, but I’m not here to tell you what’s good and what’s bad, I’m here to find some gems and bring them attention! So did I find some gems this week? Yes.
Young Avengers #9
Start with a beautiful cover. I don’t have any art training whatsoever, but I believe that’s what the smart people call excellent composition. Hulkling’s loneliness and despair is clearly evident, in a very clear and poignant way.
And that’s one of the most interesting plotlines going on. In short, Hulkling’s boyfriend is a powerful mage, with reality-warping powers. And he’s seriously concerned that he can’t tell the difference between falling in love, and Wiccan putting the hex on him and making him fall in love. And Wiccan’s young and untrained enough, he plausibly might not know he’s doing it. Which they both acknowledge. It’s tough being a young hero in love.
And there’s the main plotline with the Mother dimension. More reality hopping, clever plans, and our heroes escaping for the time being. It’s more fun to read than to recap!
And a lot of Leah, whom we got to know in Journey Into Mystery. If you haven’t read Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery run, I give it my highest recommendation. It’s the best thing Marvel’s published in a long time, and I’m glad that some of it is surviving into Young Avengers. It’s big Mythology with young Loki trying to be good, but still staying true to his nature as a trickster god, and it works completely. Look, two recommendations in one! I’m very clever!
Angel and Faith #25
This is the final issue of this series, which is the companion piece to Buffy Season 9. (It’s subtitled Season 9 on this too, but Angel comics have a more complicated history than Buffy comics, and Angel didn’t last 7 seasons like Buffy, and oh whatever. It’s in continuity with S9 Buffy, and their seasons are both coming to an end.) Will there be a season 10? I don’t know, and if there is it will probably not be this line-up, due to events, but I’d be happy to see Christos Gage at the helm of more Buffyverse comics.
The first half of this issue is the end of the big battle trying to reignite the spark of magic in the world, in the middle of London. I won’t talk in much detail about the resolution, but it’s the usual business of fightiness and sacrifice and stuff. Go team Angel!
The second half of the issue is aftermath and resolution. Maybe I’m weird, but I prefer the talky bits to the fighty bits in a well-written comic! Angel has saved the world, again, and created aftermath that he can be guilty and vaguely angsty about, which is exactly what he loves the most in the world. Faith, however, has actually assuaged her guilt, not possessing the Angel untapped depth for it, and is ready to get back to doing her things in her way. And Giles, yeah, he’s there too.
It’s a nice end to a nice series, which I can easily recommend as worth reading to my fellow Whedonistas.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #10
The interior is actually part 2 of the Big Mac story. The large laconic member of the Apple family is still at the Summer Wrap-Up festival, still in search of an elusive nail. Where he weaves and bobs through a vibrant Ponyville. There’s a lot of background detail that gives us, in addition to a bunch of sight gags and humor, a sense that a lot of these characters have their own lives and are having their own adventures at the festival. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish, and it creates the bustle and noise needed to make this country pony feel overwhelmed and stressed.
While Mac still only tends to speak in one-syllable ‘Yup’ and ‘Nope’, as is his gag, there’s a lot more going on inside his head in this rare look. Having grown up in a rural setting, it’s an accurate characterization. He’s just not super interested in all the to-do and the community and excitement and women throwing themselves at him and all of that. He just wants to find a nail so he can fix his gazebo and get the chore done.
People are sometimes baffled as to why My Little Pony has an adult following, but it’s not that complex. It’s well rounded characters doing interesting things, with a lot of heart. If you can write interesting characters, I don’t care if they’re moderately anthropomorphized horses, or muscular men with capes, or cyborgs and fighter pilots, or whatever. Forming an emotional connection to the story is all that matters, and MLP makes that easy.