Comic Book Reviews (Week September 1, 2021): The Last Annihilation – Wiccan and Hulkling Issue 1, Dark Ages Issue 1 & More!

Midnighter 2021 Annual Issue 1 review
Midnighter 2021 Annual Issue 1 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book review round-up for the week of September 1, 2021. I talk about The Last Annihilation: Wiccan and Hulkling Issue 1, Midnighter 2021 Annual Issue 1, Dark Ages Issue 1, and more!

I’m going to begin by talking about the Midnighter 2021 Annual issue 1 by writer Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad. If you’re a fan of the Midnighter and Apollo romantic pairing, I think you will greatly enjoy the moments between them in this story. There’s a whole lot of action and time-traveling complications involved, but the core of the narrative focuses on exploring Midnighter’s emotions and how he decides to deal with a version of the villainous Andrej Trojan living inside Midnighter’s supercomputer brain. While the story links to what Midnighter was up to during the ‘Future State’ event, you can still enjoy this issue without having read any of the ‘Future State’ stuff.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Dark Ages Issue 1 review
Dark Ages Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Dark Ages Issue 1

I have a feeling I won’t continue reading the new Dark Ages comic book series by writer Tom Taylor. The first issue, set in a different timeline, showed our heroes having to face an ancient threat that’s all about destroying everything. To stop such a foe, our heroes were required to travel underground and produce an electromagnetic burst.

Considering a powerful electromagnetic burst is needed, you would assume the Omega-level mutant Goddess Storm would be part of the heroic team to face such an opponent. But, alas, she isn’t even mentioned. Instead, we got to see Doctor Strange summon an electromagnetic pulse from another realm which led to the entire planet losing electrical power and forcing everyone to adapt to a new lifestyle.

Even though I enjoyed reading the DCeased series by Taylor, I wondered where an OP character like Raven had disappeared to. And now, after reading the debut issue of Dark Ages, I’m left wondering about Storm’s whereabouts. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it looks like Taylor deliberately doesn’t mention certain beings. I understand why keeping certain characters off the board makes sense to keep the narrative going, but at least give me a proper explanation. What the heck was Storm busy with that she couldn’t lend a hand during Dark Ages issue 1 to stop the destruction of the solar system? Anyway, unless she appears in the upcoming issues, Dark Ages isn’t for me. 

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Up to you.

The Last Annihilation Wiccan and Hulkling Issue 1 review
The Last Annihilation: Wiccan and Hulkling Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

The Last Annihilation: Wiccan and Hulkling Issue 1

Writer Anthony Oliveira did it again! I continue to be a fan of how Oliveira handles Billy and Teddy’s relationship. A one-shot set during the current ‘The Last Annihilation’ event, this comic book showed Wiccan and Teddy defending two planets while strengthening the love existing between them as soulmates. The way neither of them spoke a word to each other in the present timeline but knew they were connected through space and time hit me right in the feels.

With the iconic comic book queer couple battling two different threats in the present, Oliveira also took us back to the past to show Billy and Teddy getting to know each other in high school. I can’t thank Oliveira enough for giving fans such scenes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we have never before had scenes exploring that aspect of Billy and Teddy’s relationship. They were already a couple when they got recruited to form the Young Avengers team.

The flashbacks had Billy and Teddy bonding over their love of comic books and other geeky stuff. Teddy invited Billy to a school game where Billy got to meet Teddy’s adoptive mother as they both cheered him on. The two also stood up to a pair of bullies. And then accepted each other’s true natures by showing each other their unique powerset. Billy wondering if Teddy’s ‘human’ or ‘Hulkling’ form was his true nature and Teddy replying that all of it was his true self was handled quite well. The queer subtext linking superhero secret identities and being queer is strong in this one (in my opinion). There’s also a very impactful scene involving Teddy and Billy’s marriage that I think Jewish queer folk will appreciate.

While I enjoyed the numerous flashbacks, the stuff happening in the present was okay. Both main characters realized what needed to be done to defeat two threats simultaneously. There’s a nice tidbit about the history behind their wedding rings. In a sense, they can always rely on each other to handle problems their significant other can’t solve.

The bond between Wiccan and Hulkling continues to be stronger than ever and I can’t wait to see what happens next, especially because it is just a matter of time before Billy learns about Wanda dying (that particular storyline is being told in the X-Men: The Trial of Magneto miniseries).

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Lucky Devil Issue 2 review
Lucky Devil Issue 2 (Image: Dark Horse Comics)

Lucky Devil Issue 2

From writer Cullen Bunn, Lucky Devil issue 2 had Stanley embracing his demonic powers and starting a cult that attracts Satan worshipers. However, with Stanley messing up the balance of things, there are other demons who want him gone. The second issue set things up for the battles to come and I’m looking forward to seeing how Stanley will fare.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Basilisk Issue 4 review
Basilisk Issue 4 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Basilisk Issue 4

Another series by writer Cullen Bunn, Basilisk issue 4 showed Hannah finally getting to battle the Chimera and actually putting up a very good fight. She’s able to stop their powers from working on her by restricting their access to her five senses. I was even okay with Regan coming in to lend a hand because Hannah had already proven herself to be a strategic fighter and someone capable of giving our villainous group a tough time.

Without giving spoilers, I was surprised to see Hannah pull the trigger on a certain someone. It’s obvious she’s serious about taking the entire group down. There’s some kind of prophecy involved. So, let’s see how that pans out.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Phantom on the Scan issue 5 review
Phantom on the Scan Issue 5 (Image: AfterShock Comics)

Phantom on the Scan Issue 5

Yes, yet another book from writer Cullen Bunn, Phantom on the Scan issue 5 offered a more or less predictable yet satisfying finale while opening the door for future chapters. I would have loved for a more supernatural narrative than an extraterrestrial one, but oh well.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Which comic books did you read this week? What are your thoughts about The Last Annihilation: Wiccan and Hulkling one-shot?

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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