Here's Comic Book Conglomeration Round 2.
Spider-Gwen Vol. 1: Greater Power by Jason Latour
So far, I've read Vol. 0 and Vol. 1 of the Spider-Gwen comic book series. However, Vol. 0 doesn't really dive into the origin story I had hoped (apparently that's in Edge of the Spider-Verse). Still this series has made me appreciate the "spider" mantle much more than Peter Parker ever could. You see, the best thing about Spider-Gwen is that Gwen Stacy is... Gwen Stacy. She isn't "female Peter Parker." She isn't "another Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman." She is Gwen Stacy. She has her own life (read: her own universe), her own fighting style, and her own (hilarious) personality. She plays in a band, tries to avoid her dad who is a cop, and deals with the ups and downs of early adult life. (It's quite great and relateable actually.) She makes mistakes, but she doesn't give up; she keeps going because she has to. She's a great role model.
This volume in particular was much better than Vol. 0. I think the story dives deeper in Gwen's character and struggles with life and battling bad guys (as well as not-so-good vigilantes like Daredevil/Matt Murdock). There's more weight to this volume than the other one. Which also means that this volume is sadder.
The artwork in this series is brilliant and bright. It's unique. There are many characters that crossover into the story such as Matt Murdock, Frank Castle, and even a female Captain America. (Remember, Spider-Gwen hails from a different universe than where Peter Parker is Spider-Man.) The series also shows a great portrayal of a father-daughter relationship, which is important to me.
When they first introduced Spider-Gwen to the Marvel comic book world, there was some criticism that this comic book hero wouldn't be able to hold up her own series. But I think they are wrong. I think she can hold her own; she's doing just fine right now. In addition, she's hilarious: she sings while she fights, she cracks joke, and she makes perfect puns. She may not be Peter Parker, but I think she makes one heck of a "spider" hero for the world to welcome.
(Also, I would like my Netflix TV show please.)
Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson
Fun fact: I've heard G. Willow Wilson speak in person. (She spoke about why we need fantasy, and I was in love.) It's actually that encounter that prompted me to pick up the first volume of the new Ms. Marvel. And I'm so glad I did.
Kamala Khan is a 16-year-old American-Pakistani girl trying to survive high school, her parents, and troubles with love when she's hit with the Terrigen Mist and turned into an Inhuman. Thus, Carol Danvers--the original Ms. Marvel--encourages her to take up the mantle of the new Ms. Marvel. And now Kamala has one more thing to juggle: being a hero.
This is why, above all else, I love the Ms. Marvel comic book series: Kamala Khan is a regular girl dealing with regular teenage things (religion, school, parents, hormones). And she's hilarious. She's a fangirl to the max, who has a secret blog where she writes fanfiction about the Avengers. The Avengers, that in Vol. 5, she ends up joining. She also takes selfies with Wolverine during a team-up. It's perfect. I love her. Let's be friends.
Each volume of Ms. Marvel continues to get better and better. Sure, the stakes are raised as well, but this only reveals how strong and awesome Kamala is. I love watching her balance her normal life with being a hero and also trying to keep her integrity and faith intact. I think she's relateable even though I'm no longer a teenager. (Though being a fangirl definitely helps!)
A lot occurred in this volume, which spoke volumes of who Kamala Khan is as a person. She's funny, she's crazy, and she's Ms. Marvel. Now I need a sitcom TV show of her life please!
The Defenders Vol. 1 & 2 by Matt Fraction
Honestly, I added this series to my list because Matt Fraction wrote it. It was also recommended to me by a friend. However, I'm an intelligent human being that accidentally picked up Vol. 2 and read that first. (Because that has never happened to me before. Ever.) Let's just say I was confused and disappointed.
After I read Vol. 1 though, I started to see the merits of Vol. 2 and the series as a whole. While I can't recommend the series because of a stellar plot line--because honestly I was confused during most of it, and even after reading both volumes, I'm still scratching my head and wondering "What?"--I can definitely recommend this for the characters. Most of the characters--with the exception of maybe Doctor Strange or even Silver Surfer--aren't well-known faces for most Marvel fans. They simply don't have live-action adaptations about them yet or they just aren't one of the "biggies" when it comes to superheroes. Yet I liked this series because they focused on these heroes and not the big ones. It was refreshing to learn about other heroes and get to know them in a new way. (In addition, other heroes made cameo-eque appearances, which were really cool. I fangirled a lot.)
First, Red She-Hulk: she was amazing. She carries around a "big-ass sword" and doesn't taken no for an answer. She's hilarious and big and red, and she takes it all in stride. I love her already. Second, Danny Rand aka Iron Fist: he is stellar. He's one of those characters that immediately feels familiar and like we could be best friends. One of his first comments are about comic books: "The older I get, the more life seems to be the stupid, frustrating stuff that gets in the way of you and reading comics." I feel that, Danny Rand. I feel that. I'm excited to meet you soon. Third, Silver Surfer was pretty fun. His depiction in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer doesn't do justice to him. I was excited to see more of him--and what he does when he's not under Galactus' thumb. Doctor Strange's story was interesting and sad. Namor was just perfection. Literally. He's perfect, and he knows it.
While I definitely didn't enjoy this series as much as I adore the Hawkeye comics by Matt Fraction. I still think this was worth the read. The characters definitely make up for the crazy story line (which may have been shaky due to my weakness of trying to read too fast). And that ending will keep you wondering. Literally.
Have you read any of these comics? What other comics have you read lately?