The ’90s at Marvel weren’t just about Spider-Clones and gun-toting assassin anti-heroes with too many pouches. There were also gun-toting British assassin anti-heroes with too many pouches, as well as a whole mess of weirdness that made up the Marvel UK imprint. Marvel has brought these characters back under one roof for the crossover event Revolutionary War. That means everyone from Captain Britain to Death’s Head to Dark Angel is drawn into a new conflict involving the unholy corporation Mys-Tech and their Psycho-Wraith army. If all of that sounds like gobbledegook, don’t worry. This opening issue does a good job of summarizing everything being brought to the table.
If Arrow has proven anything in the past season-and-a-half, it’s that island flashbacks are good. Jeff Lemire has finally started delving into Ollie’s past on the island in this story arc, even as Ollie and Shado return to that same island in the present. The result is a nice, dramatic intersection of past and present. The flashbacks are just lengthy enough to complement the main thread without getting in the way. Ollie’s pain and torment are palpable, as are his forced evolution from spoiled brat to hardened killer. Lemire has stripped away so much of what made the character dull prior to his run. He’s a protagonist worth investing in again.
The first issue of Black Widow, from writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Phil Noto, is everything you could ask for in a title starring Natasha Romanov. There’s espionage, deception, moral ambiguity, rocket launchers, and the fiercest femme fatale in the Marvel universe. Edmondson and Noto do an excellent job introducing both new readers and devoted fans to Black Widow’s solo adventures. Even those unfamiliar with the character’s extensive mythology will feel comfortable slipping into her story; it’s a relatively simple story, elegant in its execution, with few moving parts to weigh down the narrative.
The book starts off with tensions running high; there’s no easing in to Black Widow #1, not that we would want to. A desperate suicide bomber has his finger on the detonator, while a disembodied voice tries to talk him down. The voice (which the reader can rightfully assume belongs to Natasha) tells a story of a broken child who becomes an assassin for hire. It’s a work of fiction, but the greatest lies are always sprinkled with just enough truth to make their falsehood believable.
As much as we all harp on the New 52 for its dearth of fun, lighthearted stories, part of me feels bad for responding so poorly to a story arc that strives for just those qualities. But however noble the intentions in Greg Pak’s sophomore arc of Batman/Superman, the execution just isn’t there. Between the pointless widescreen layouts, the constant one-liners and weird dialogue, and the complete dud of an ending, this final issue proves another disappointment.
It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Young Avengers. Over the course of fifteen issues, the creative team has made us laugh and cry alongside our intrepid young heroes, and it’s incredibly sad to see their run come to an end. Resolution Part 2 wraps up the loose ends from the previous issue’s celebratory bash, ending on a bittersweet note that acts as one final Miss-America-sized punch to the heart.
I’ve previously criticized The Movement for having a few too many moving parts. Thankfully, writer Gail Simone has trimmed down some of the plot’s extraneous fat, but it still feels like there’s too much story packed into too small a container. There are some wonderful moments in this issue, primarily those involving Vengeance Moth and Virtue, but The Movement still feels like a book that’s difficult to latch onto, largely due to its sprawling plot.