Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn – A Review

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Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn
Art by Dalibor Talajic
Superheroes | Comic Book
Published by Marvel
Released November 14th, 2011
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars

Over the years, Marvel has done a lot of interesting comic book series that take place outside of their normal Earth-616 universe, which is the primary universe for Marvel Comics. Setting their stories outside of the main universe allows them to get away with things that they otherwise wouldn’t, such as killing off big-name characters or destroying the entire world.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe is one of those stories. Containing four issues, the series focuses on Deadpool as he tries to wipe out all of the world’s superheroes and villains while breaking the fourth wall. Like many Deadpool comics, this one is fairly meta, and it was an enjoyable story to read.

While many comic books are appropriate for all ages, I would say that this one might not be okay for children or people squeamish about blood and violence – there’s a lot of gore. It’s also rather silly though… so I guess just use your discretion.

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Dalibor Talajic did a great job with the art. The style fits well with the story, and it’s the kind of colorful, simple yet detailed art style I prefer in comics.

There are other books in the Deadpool Killogy series, as well as three other Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe volumes. I enjoyed my time with volume one, but I’m not sure if I’m going to read on. The novelty of it was enjoyable, but I have a feeling it’ll get a bit repetitive after a while.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe will never be considered one of Marvel’s great series. It’s a fun tale set in the non-dominate Marvel universe that’s enjoyable to read once but probably not over and over again. I definitely recommend it if you like Deadpool, as it’s a decent representation of his character. However, I would not recommend this short series if you’re new to Marvel’s universe or to Deadpool.




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Shuri, Vol. 1: The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor – A Review

Shuri Vol 1 cover

Shuri, Vol. 1: The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor
Illustrated by Leonardo Romero
Coloring by Jordie Bellaire
Comic Book | Science Fiction | Superheroes
Published by Marvel
Released May 7th, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars

I wanted to like this collection so badly, but it just… wasn’t good.

When I saw that Marvel’s Shuri series was going to be written by science-fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor, I added it to my TBR immediately. I’ve read Okorafor’s Binti, and although I didn’t love that novella, I was intrigued enough by her writing to want to give some of her other work a shot.

Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi Okorafor

In the Marvel comics world, Shuri was never a prominent character until quite recently. While she at one point took over the role of Black Panther from her brother and played parts in several storylines, she wasn’t ever the center of the story.

With the success of Marvel’s Black Panther film, that’s changed. Which is great! I loved the Black Panther movie and Shuri’s character was delightful. I’m always going to root for a fun, brilliant, female scientist. I wasn’t surprised to see Marvel releasing a Shuri-centric comic book series in the film’s wake.

It didn’t take long into the story to start to realize that Shuri, Vol. 1: The Search for Black Panther wasn’t going to live up to my expectations.

The very first thing I noticed was the atrocious artwork, which you can see below. The art itself was done by Leonardo Romero with the coloring being done by Jordie Bellaire. I don’t know whether to fault the artist or the colorist for this or perhaps both of them:

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It’s just bad. There’s no shading or defining of the character’s faces. It’s blocky and made up mainly of primary colors. There’s no depth to it. The artwork turned me off of this collection before the story even started. Comic books are a medium that depends on the art just as much as the story, and I was surprised to see such a lack of quality in a comic book series that has the potential of attracting new fans.

As a quick side note, the covers for this series were done by a different (and better) artist named Sam Spratt. The covers of all of these issues are gorgeous.

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One of Sam Spratt’s covers

The story takes place after T’Challa, aka Black Panther, takes off into space for an unknown mission. He’s essentially disappeared, and no one is sure how to bring him back. In the meantime, Shuri is approached by her mother and by a secret organization of African leaders and is asked to take on the role of Black Panther until her brother returns.

That’s only one part of this story. The other part is Shuri and friends trying to defeat a giant space insect who eats music and excretes black holes.

The story did absolutely nothing for me. Like the artwork, it was simplistic and one-dimensional. It also required previous knowledge of the characters, especially since Shuri is followed around by multi-dimensional beings and/or ghosts called the ancestors that sprang from a previous series. As I mentioned before, the creation of this series, at least on Marvel’s end, had to have been to attract some movie fans into the comics world, and it can be intimidating to readers when there’s so much of the backstory not explained.

Another issue I had is that there was so much nonsense going on that Shuri’s personality faded into the background. She can be a more interesting character than this series presents her as.

I’m going to give Nnedi Okorafor’s writing one more chance, mainly because I own a copy of her novel Akata Witch. However, I’m starting to think her writing just doesn’t mesh with me. Aside from that, the art in this collection is just terrible. I can’t recommend this series, but I guess if you’re a huge Shuri fan you might still want to read it. I won’t be continuing with this series.


Have you read Shuri, Vol 1? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.


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Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu – A Review

Monstress Volume 1 Marjorie M. Liu

Monstress, Volumes 1-3 by Marjorie M. Liu
Art by Sana Takeda
Fantasy | Science Fiction | Comic Book
Published by Image Comics
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars

I have no idea where I first heard of Marjorie Liu’s Monstress series, but it’s one that I’ve had on my mind for a few years. While I usually stick to Marvel or Star Trek comics (big surprise, right?), occasionally something from Image (which is a publisher that has some truly stunning titles) will catch my eye.

I was in the mood to re-read volume one and catch up the rest, so I picked up volumes 1-3 from my local library. I ended up only reading the first two, and this review will be discussing both.

To start, let’s talk about the story. There’s no way I can put it better than the official synopses:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

How perfect is that? This is exactly the kind of comic book series that I need in my life.

The art in the series, done by Sana Takeda, is gorgeous. I love the art deco vibes, and the dark color scheme fits it really well. The look and style of the characters, especially the arcanic characters, are stunning.

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Now, let’s talk about the story itself and the writing.

I read a lot of high fantasy and science fiction, most of which contain a lot of new world-building. In fact, great world-building is one of the things I look for in fiction. It’s why authors like Brandon Sanderson and Leigh Bardugo are some of my favorites. The world-building in Monstress, however, was jumbled and very often confusing. There are also places where there’s quite a bit of info-dumping, which I feel shouldn’t be necessary for a comic book series.

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Writing stories for comic books isn’t easy. The majority of issues are around 22-25 pages and mostly images, which means that the writer needs to be able to craft a compelling narrative that readers can grasp easily and quickly. This doesn’t mean that the story needs to be simple; in fact, many comic books today, even from established publishers like Marvel and DC Comics, are releasing stories that have a lot of depth to them. When I read Monstress, though, I found myself having to flip back and forth multiple times in order to figure out what was going on and to make sense of this new, very complicated world.

The story that Liu has created is absolutely entrancing, and I would love to read more of it. I just don’t feel that a comic book series was necessarily the right way to tell this story. There’s almost too much world-building and lore, especially for a medium where there’s not a lot of room to explore it.

Despite the stunning art, the story was too hard to follow and I found myself no longer enjoying it. I hate that I’m saying this because I really wanted to like this series. It should be one of my favorites, just based on the idea behind it. The execution, though, and the fact that it’s a comic book rather than a novel (which I think would have worked so much better for a story as complicated as this one) made me realize that it really isn’t the series for me.


Have you read any of the Monstress series? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!


Looking for some other great fantasy comic books to read?

The Realm | Skyward | Black Bolt | Doctor Strange: The Oath




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Fence, Volume One by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, & Joana Lafuente – A Review

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Fence, Volume One by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, & Joana Lafuente
Comic Book | Young Adult | LGBT
Published by Boom! Box
Released July 31, 2018
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars

The only thing I knew about this comic book series going into it was that it involved fencing, and that was more than enough for me. I fenced for a brief time in college and enjoyed it, although I wish I had stuck with it longer. I enjoyed the amount of skill and precision involved, even if I ended up with bruises at the end of the meetings.

I was disappointed in this series, however. It’s full of tropes, felt predictable, and I found myself having to push through it because I didn’t feel like DNF-ing something so short. I’m definitely in the minority with this rating; it’s actually a much-loved comic book series, which is evident from its Goodreads ratings (at the time of this writing, it has over 3,000 ratings with the average being 4.07.)

The art is really good and was the one aspect of the comic book that I did enjoy. The color scheme is perfect and the art is modern with clean lines and tons of differentiation between characters.

It was also nice to see a comic book series with such diverse characters in terms of sexuality, socio-economic background, race, and more. There’s a lot of great representation in this series.

Overall, though, I just found the story predictable. Nicholas is the illegitimate son of a fencing legend and is accepted into a private school. There he joins the fencing team and faces an impossible-to-beat fencer named Seiji. If you’re starting to piece together a plot involving the underdog fencer who comes into his own and overcomes everyone thinking he won’t make it – you’d be right. Of course, Nicholas and Seiji end up being roommates. Of course, Nicholas is going to have to face his illegitimate half-brother. It’s all just so predictable.

Lastly, I hated the character of Aiden, who is supposed to be the heartthrob of the school. He’s basically a sexual predator who preys on younger students, sleeps with them, and then discards them along with their confused emotions.

As I mentioned before, I’m in the minority in not liking this comic series. So many people love it, and I’m glad they enjoyed it. I just couldn’t get into it and felt bored as I read it.


Have you read Fence? What were your thoughts?

Skyward Volume 1 by Joe Henderson – A Review

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Skyward Volume 1 by Joe Henderson
Art by Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela
Comic Books | Sci-Fi
Goodreads
Published by Image Comics
Released September 25, 2018
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

I would like to preface this review by mentioning Hoopla, a website that allows you to check out all sorts of books, comics, films and television shows, and audiobooks using your library card. I use it exclusively to read non-Marvel comic books (I use Marvel Unlimited to read those), and I’ve been so impressed by their selection. I noticed this book there and the premise caught my eye.

Skyward is a comic series about Willa Fowler, a woman living on Earth after gravity has gone haywire. In volume one, we don’t learn what caused G-day to happen, just that it was caused in part by her father. We watch as Willa discovers that one of the richest men in the world, Roger Barrow, used to work with her father. She reaches out to him to try to help her father, who has become a recluse. Mr. Barrow isn’t quite what she was expecting, however, and she finds herself trying to save both her and her father’s life instead.

As I mentioned already, I really enjoyed the premise of this series, although I have many questions that I hope will get answered in future issues. Questions such as what happened to large bodies of water when gravity stopped working? How are birds doing with this change? Stuff like that.

The art was beautiful in this series and the coloring perfect. I’ve found that the color palette of a comic book has just as much power as the art itself on setting the tone of the story.

The story was well-paced and I enjoyed the number of panels that focused on the world of the people living “above.” The only gripe I had with Skyward was that some of the side characters seemed very one-dimensional and that Willa was the only one who felt fully fleshed out. Hopefully, that changes with the later issues/volume two.

I definitely recommend Skyward for people looking for a unique new comic series to get hooked on. I’m looking forward to reading volume two.