So it’s confirmed that $4 Marvel comics (which means pretty much all Marvel comics) will no longer include free digital copies with them. Instead, they give you a couple older comics for free each week, and it’s the same selection no matter how many comics you pick up. The free digital copies were the only thing that kept the Marvel comics as valuable as an individual DC comic (which are mostly $3 right now). As such, I’ll be slowly moving away from Marvel for the next while and towards other companies, as each current story arc ends. I’ll still be reading and reviewing Marvel, but I’ll be significantly cutting back so that I’ll only be reading a handful of favourites. Instead of being in the range of 4-8 Marvel comics a week, it might get narrowed down to as low as 6-10 a month.
There are other reasons I’ll be slowly moving away from Marvel, but I’ll save that for another time if I feel like it. I get why smaller companies like Image, Dynamite and IDW charge $4 a comic, because they don’t have as much sales and they need the money. Marvel doesn’t need $4 a comic, not when they’re owned by a company that just became the first movie studio to earn $7 at the box office in a single year (that happened before Star Wars: Rogue One released too). It’s as simple as that.
Anyway, the comics I picked up include Inhumans vs. X-Men 4, The Unworthy Thor 4, Star Wars Doctor Aphra 4, Black Widow 11, All-New Wolverine 17, Red Sonja 2, Supergirl 6, Wonder Woman 16 and Detective Comics 950. Here are my first impressions, and links to full reviews will be added when they’re posted.
The Unworthy Thor 4 is good. It flashes back and forth between Odinson’s fight for the Ultimate Universe hammer, which turns into an all-out brawl between a bunch of different power figures in the Marvel Universe, and flashbacks to various times in his life to show his relationship with his hammer. The storytelling is very good, but the fight doesn’t quite feel as epic as it should just yet. Still, this is an easy recommendation for Thor fans.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 4 is fun. Long story short, Aphra is working with her estranged father to discover the ruins of an ancient society with ties to the Jedi Order of old. They happen to be searching on Yavin IV, which is being searched by the Empire in the extended aftermath of the first Death Star battle. This feels like an Indiana Jones series in the Star Wars Universe, starring a bunch of morally questionable characters. If that interests you, then you should be reading this series.
Black Widow 11 is intense. This is an action heavy issue that’s best left for readers to discover for themselves. Long story short, Black Widow is a great espionage series set in the Marvel Universe, and if that interests you, check it out.
Red Sonja 2 is fun. Basically, Red Sonja has somehow found herself in the modern world, and the first two issues have been her struggling to find somewhere to fit in. This issue goes much better than the first, especially after she ends up in a bar, and then finds someone else who can somehow speak her language. There’s a bit of story setup in this issue, but it’s mostly just fun. There are a couple panels that put the teen rating on the cover into serious question though.
Wonder Woman 16 is alright. Honestly I’m not entirely sure what happened in this issue.
Detective Comics 950 is great. There are three stories in this oversized issue. The main one features Orphan (Cassandra Cain), and for a relative newcomer to her character like me, it deepens her character in so many ways. It’s a brilliant piece that explores how her brain works, her struggles with communication and her emotional state. It does so while also teasing a major villain. The second story is mostly two of Batman’s allies speaking with each other, but it’s a fascinating conversation that also teases a potential story coming up. The third story flashes back to Batman and Red Robin, where Robin discovers what Batman is really up to, in a way that also teases a major story arc coming up. All three stories strike a good balance between drama, action and teasing something big while still being their own stories. If the idea of a Batman team book interests you, then you should be reading this.