Comic Book Reviews (Week March 24, 2021): Black Panther Issue 24, Elle(S) Issue 1 & More!

Black Panther issue 24
Black Panther issue 24 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (March 24, 2021). I was only able to read a couple of titles. I will be covering Black Panther issue 24, Savage Avengers issue 19, Harley Quinn issue 1, and Elle(S) issue 1.

Of course, I’ll begin by talking about Black Panther issue 24 by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. The penultimate issue showed Black superheroes from across Marvel coming together to fight as one against Killmonger’s massive army. I liked the queer mutant named Prodigy playing a major role as we watched superheroes create combo attacks to take down their enemies. Now, could Storm have handled the entire battlefield on her own without needing to be too close to the actual battle? Yes. But, in my opinion, Coates wanted to show that even though certain heroes were more than capable of handling tough situations on their own, they don’t always have to go about it solo.

If allowing Monica, in her energy-form, to enter Storm’s body for a devastating lightning attack was an efficient move that also didn’t consume a portion of Ororo’s own energy, why not opt for such a combo attack? It reminded me of how Iceman and Storm used their powers together to create a giant iceberg in the Marauders comic book series. Even in Marauders, Bobby and Ororo could have made an iceberg on their own, but if you have a teammate with compatible powers, why not work as a duo?

As far as the main narrative is concerned, I have no idea how and even if Coates will be able to bring everything to a satisfying close in the final issue. I need more content about the Elder Gods and their connection to the Originators as well as the Gods of Wakanda and how Storm, being an Omega-level mutant Goddess, fits into it all. With Coates’s run on Black Panther is coming to an end, let’s see what Marvel plans to do with her.

For those wondering about the art in its issue, my relationship with artist Acuna is… complicated. It’s not like I can’t feel the energy emanating from his panels during the action sequences. It’s just not for me.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

savage avengers issue 19 review
Savage Avengers Issue 19 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Savage Avengers Issue 19

Serving as a tie-in to the King in Black event and taking place before KiB issue 4, writer Gerry Duggan had Conan, Deadpool, and Nightflyer get hired by Bishop, Calisto, and Iceman to help rescue Cyclops and Storm from Knull’s influence. I have no idea how regular readers of the Savage Avengers series felt about this issue. I picked it up because it had Ororo in there.

As a fan of Storm, I think Savage Avengers issue 19 gave us a very cool moment via a panel that had Knull say that she’s the most powerful of his new avatars. If you have been keeping up with the KiB story, you would know that at this point, Knull’s captured a number of superpowered beings. So, having him say such a thing about Storm is just amazing!

savage avengers issue 19 review storm
Storm in Savage Avengers issue 19 (Image: Marvel Comics)

I know how powerful she is as an Omega-level mutant Goddess. But still, having someone like Knull say that during a major comic book event involving the entire Marvel Comic Universe is nice to see.

Now, would it have been fun to see Knull use a possessed Storm to do something other than throw lightning bolts? Yes. But oh well. What’s done is done. Seeing certain writers only have Storm throw lightning and ignore the other dangerous stuff she can do is an ongoing problem in recent comic book stories. I hope that changes soon.

Talking about Omega-level mutants, I liked Bobby going all out against Knull’s forces. Conan kept saying that Bobby had the blood of Frost Giants in him. I don’t know if it’s because Conan’s confused about the concept of mutants with cryokinesis or if his dialogue is sowing the seeds for potentially exploring Iceman’s connection with ice-centric beings across dimensions.

Coming back to what the X-office plans to do with Storm, here’s a tweet from Duggan.

savage avengers issue 19 review storm
Image via Twitter @GerryDuggan

Back in September of 2019, I mentioned Duggan talking about something big brewing for Storm. And yet, it’s March of 2021, and I still haven’t received anything substantial about her upcoming arc in Marvel Comics. Similar to Duggan’s tweet, I have continued to see a number of other writers continuing to talk about something big in-store for Ororo.

planet size x-men issue 1
Planet-Size X-Men (Image: Marvel Comics)

Right now, the Storm fandom has been theorizing about her heading to the S.W.O.R.D comic book series and doing something spectacular in the upcoming Planet-Size X-Men.

Recommendation: Up to you.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

harley quinn issue 1 review
Harley Quinn Issue 1 (Image: DC Comics)

Harley Quinn Issue 1

Having read the debut issue, I think this solo run from writer Stephanie Phillips is likely going to be the first Harley Quinn story I won’t drop after the second or third issue. Similar to Philips’s take on Harley during the ‘Future State’ event, the latest series is ready to bring Harley’s experience as a psychiatrist to the forefront.

Having done a lot of bad stuff in her past and losing Ivy has set Harley on a path to make amends. Will she be successful? We don’t know yet. But it’s clear it’s going to be fun seeing her try and accomplish her goal. As Batman mentioned, the list of people Harley has to set things right for is a long one. And the fact residents of Gotham aren’t too accepting of anyone or anything clown-related after the Joker War isn’t making it easier for her.

After the reveal involving who the main villain is going to be for Harley during the current arc, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Also, shoutout to the moment Harley decided to ask Batman for an allowance. I would have done the same thing.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

 

Elle(S) Issue 1 review
Make sure to zoom into her eyes! – Elle(S) Issue 1 (Image: Europe Comics)

Elle(S) Issue 1

I have no idea why I decided to read Elle(S), but I’m glad I did. From writer Kid Toussaint, it’s not the most groundbreaking idea out there. However, it’s quite charming and the characters will make you feel invested in them. The premise deals with a new girl at school named Elle. She comes across as a normal high school student with a handful of friends. But it’s clear there’s something strange going on with her. Turns out, there are five different versions of Elle.

At first, I thought the narrative was going to use disassociative identity disorder or DID to tell yet another cliched story. But having read the first issue, that’s not the route being taken. Think of it as how Raven (from DC Comics’ Teen Titans) has to keep her different personalities in check and ensure the most dangerous one doesn’t take over. With Elle and her friends trying to find more about Elle’s past, I’m looking forward to reading what will happen next.

On a surprising note, one of Elle’s friends is named… Farid. Yes, I know! He’s also queer and can be messy when joking about high school crush-level relationships. Has someone been spying on me? Ha!

Elle(S) issue 1 review
Elle(S) Issue 1 (Image: Europe Comics)

The artwork by Aveline Stokart is just gorgeous. The characters have distinct looks and there’s a lot of color for you to take in. I recommend spending some time on a number of panels to really appreciate the details. The visuals will remind you of a Pixar movie.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.  

Which comic books did you read this week? What did you think of Black Panther issue 24?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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