War of the Realms: Week Eleven

What I probably should be doing is talking about the incredible Silver Surfer: Black by Donny Cates and Tradd Moore. Or at the very least, my initial impressions of DC’s Event Leviathan by Bendis and Maleev. But instead I’m rolling ahead with more quick hits on everything remotely related to Marvel’s War of the Realms. After perusing this list of crossovers and tie-ins, however, my hope is that the casual fan will forego all this tangential crap and read one of the two aforementioned books instead. I’m getting ready to bury the hammer, Marvel. Let’s wrap this shit up, yeah?

There are six different books bearing the WotR trade dress this week, and, to be honest, the only one I really think anyone should read is Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45 by Ryan North & Derek Charm. And that’s not even based on my prior screeds regarding the comprehensibility of superhero event books being dependent on chasing down all the key tie-ins and crossovers either. I’m labeling Squirrel Girl #45 recommended because it’s just funny as hell.

But I’ve got a feeling about Champions, as well. Not that this particular WotR crossover arc is all that compelling, mind you, but I’m recommending issue #6 of this series because I’m pretty impressed with what Jim Zub has been building since taking over the title.

This is the last issue of the tie-in story, as Kamala and her compatriots make a stand in Brazil, part of the territory granted to Amora and the Nifflheim armies of the Nifflheim. But you can easily tune in to the main book, or read the fantastic Captain Marvel arc if you’re solely interested in finding out what happens in South America. I vote for getting on the Champions train because, as I’m discovering, Zub can flat-out script a team book, and that’s no easy feat. He’s taking characters no one gives a crap about (save for a couple recognizable faces) and is weaving an ensemble story with distinct personalities, intriguing sub-plots, and surprising pathos.

Come for the zombie battle, but stick around for the Ms. Marvel mic drop.

I’m super happy that this WotR crossover arc in Venom is over. Issue #15 is the last fill-in by Cullen Bunn before Donny Cates comes back on the title. Again, for the record, part of my disdain for this book comes from a real dislike of the character, but some of the blame has to fall on the creative team for wasting our time with a dumb concept and sloppy art. I say skip this book unless you’re somehow hopelessly curious as to what’s going on with Venom’s host Eddie Brock now that Malekith has showcased the symbiote as a leashed pet.

Another three-issue crossover that I’m happy to be free of is War of the Realms: Giant-Man. Issue #3 is just as ad hoc and rough as the prior two issues and, again, apart from a fun nugget of an idea (giant-sized superhumans masquerading as frost giants to infiltrate Florida on an assassination mission), there isn’t much to recommend here. Skip unless you read the first two and are somewhat interested in the ultimate fate of Ymir, the ancient primal progenitor of the frost giant race.

War of the Realms: Spider-Man & The League of Realms #2 will likely elicit more questions than answers for the casual fan. Chief among them is, why is Spider-Man leading this team? (Quick answer: sales) But as it’s one of the only books that deals with the Realm of Heven’s conquest of Africa, I recommend it as a means of broadening the scope of the overall event. Plus, the story is decent and the art is pretty. And even if the angels and the light elf and the Vanaheim wizard all seem fantastically confusing, there’s enough heart in this tale to make it worthwhile. Plus, if you’re not a casual fan, and have followed Aaron’s Asgardian opus from the start, there are nice story pieces involving Kurse that bear seeing through.

Two lousy Cullen Bunn crossover books in one week? Must be my lucky day. Asgardians of The Galaxy #10 is actually the last issue of this series, and I’m glad to see it off the shelves. I love these characters (well, most of them), and the tedious scripts combined with rushed art has been an embarrassment. As much as I love Brunnhilde (and it still hurts), having Jason Aaron off her in the main book might have been the best thing to happen to the character. Now Bunn can go off and do what he does best, which is write horror comics, and when they’re ready to bring back everyone’s favorite Valkyrie, some other creative team will be hungry and ready to do her justice. Skip, unless you are curious as to what may or may not be the final say regarding the Realm of Heven.

Ryan North and Derek Charm have just one more story left to tell after this WotR tie-in tale is over, and that’s a shame. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45 isn’t just a fun continuation of Colleen and Ratatoskr’s efforts to combat the frost giants in Canada, it’s absolutely one of the most clever comics on the stands. (And I’m going to say it again, because I deserve the derision, but I never should have fell off with this title. And now the final issue is on the horizon… snf.) As mentioned at the top of the post, recommended for as long as these cats are cranking out comics.

June 5 | Weekly Buzz | June 19