Comic Book Reviews (Week June 23, 2021): Harley Quinn Issue 4, S.W.O.R.D. Issue 6, and More!

harley quinn issue 4 review
Harley Quinn Issue 4 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (June 23, 2021). I will be covering Harley Quinn Issue 4, S.W.O.R.D. Issue 6, Reptil Issue 2, and more!

I’ll open by reviewing Harley Quinn issue 4 by writer Stephanie Phillips. After having a conversation with Solomon Grundy, we got to see Harley feeling encouraged to save Kevin and the others from Hugo Strange (who is basically Huge Strange because of the art style!).

Harley Quinn issue 4 is a fun little installment focusing on Harley’s thought process. Even though she’s become connected to the BatFamily (and what a journey that has been!), she’s still her own character and it’s no use for her trying to act more like Batman (unless it benefits her, of course). The scene where she pulled a neat little trick by impersonating the Caped Crusader made me laugh. More people should do that. Also, Harley dragging Batman’s voice and his constant need to display ownership of Gotham City. Applause!

harley quinn issue 4 review
Harley Quinn Issue 4 (Image: DC Comics)

With Harley breaking into the facility and finding herself in a lab with creepy stuff, I guess Hugo Strange’s planning something else other than just trying to reboot Joker’s followers? I’m not sure. But I’m excited to know more.

Also, seeing Hugo’s minions trying to take Harley down made me roll my eyes. Every minion in Gotham should know she will beat them up. I would have walked the other way.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Captain Marvel Issue 29 review
Captain Marvel Issue 29 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Captain Marvel Issue 29

The current arc in writer Kelly Thompson’s Captain Marvel solo series definitely has me intrigued. Is Carol really going to be able to learn magic? I ask because it seems as if no one is willing to teach her even a simple spell. I knew something bad was going to happen when Carol decided to ask the Enchantress for help, and it sure did.

Thompson’s way of handling Carol’s internal struggle is interesting. Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to avoid a horrible future? But then again, considering the fluid nature of time, I think Carol should also realize that what will be will be. Her wanting to interfere in future events could very well lead to what causes said future events to occur.

Her trying to stop a disaster in the future made me remember her stance during the Civil War 2 era where she was all about arresting people because there was a chance they might commit a crime down the line (even if said people didn’t even know it yet). Frankly, a number of fans didn’t like Carol making such decisions in Civil War 2. So, I’m interested in seeing what lesson Thompson will have Carol learn by the end of this arc.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up

Reptil issue 2 review
Reptil Issue 2 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Reptil Issue 2

While Carol’s having trouble learning magic, things are different for Eva. Apparently, she was able to self-study magic to shoot energy blasts and open portals. Carol should try calling her? Ha!

While I’m enjoying writer Terry Blas developing Humberto Ramos as a character, in my opinion, I think the overall story definitely skews a lot younger. Reptil issue 2 gave us information about the current villain and his connection to Humberto. The story even took us to the Dinosaur World to explain Humberto’s powers. Julian and Eva do act as good supporting characters. I like seeing the two accompany Humberto on his latest adventure. With Humberto having trouble trying to remain in control when transforming into a dinosaur, I’m excited to see what will happen next when his losing control could mean hurting Julian and Eva in the process.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up.  

guardians of the galaxy issue 15 review
Guardians of the Galaxy Issue 15 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Guardians of the Galaxy Issue 15

I don’t want to spoil stuff, but the latest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy had writer Al Ewing revealing the galactic threat our heroes have to face. Everything has been set for an all-out war and I’m ready!

Coming to the other storyline in this issue, Nova attacking Magneto at the S.W.O.R.D. space station felt unnecessary. We all knew the fight wouldn’t be allowed to continue, so why even bother? The panels felt like a waste because I think they could have been used to showcase something else.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Marvel Voices Pride issue 1 review
Marvel Voices: Pride Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Marvel’s Voices: Pride Issue 1

Containing a number of short stories from various creative teams, Marvel’s Voices: Pride issue 1 was a fun read as it celebrated important queer-centric milestones in Marvel Comics history while offering some enjoyable moments featuring a range of queer characters. The current issue also introduced us to a new character named Somnus, a mutant with the ability to control dreams. He grew up in a time where he couldn’t live openly as a queer person. So, it made sense for Daken to have Somnus be resurrected as his young self in a comparatively better world in the present timeline.

I also really enjoyed reading “The Grey Ladies” by Tini Howard and Samantha Dodge. It just went to show that Mystique and Destiny would do anything for each other and Professor X and Magneto better stop playing around with Mystique because she will burn Krakoa to the ground if they don’t resurrect her wife soon.

“Early Thaw” by writer Anthony Oliveira and Javier Garron focused on Iceman’s feeling confused about his sexuality as a young member of the original X-Men team. I was not expecting Magneto to offer his support to Bobby. The entire thing was quite cute.

Now, frankly, there were some stories that didn’t do it for me. “Colossus” felt like a lesson in what’s meant by bisexuality instead of an actual conversation between Prodigy and Speed. But then again, maybe other readers would enjoy it?

Here’s hoping Marvel decides to do an ongoing anthology series that contains 2 to 3 issue long stories featuring different queer characters instead of having to make fans wait for an entire year to release another Pride issue. I know queer creatives have numerous stories to tell. Marvel Comics just needs to allow them to do so.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP

Phantom of the Scan issue 3 review
Phantom of the Scan Issue 3 (Image: Aftershock Comics)

Phantom of the Scan Issue 3

From writer Cullen Bunn, Phantom of the Scan issue 3 saw our core group lose another member. At this point, is anyone going to survive their current ordeal? The story seems to be rushing toward the finale, and I don’t know if I want it to end just yet.

The art by Mark Torres does give this book a very unique vibe. After a while, you too will begin to feel depressed and tired like these fictional characters. Even when they’re doing something cool, there’s still an air of melancholy around everything, which is understandable because this group of superpowered people is scared, confused, and don’t have all the answers about what’s actually happening. But they do know their lives are in danger.

I loved seeing how the different telepathic powers worked across our cast. I too would like to have the power to browse the internet by making my mind dive into the digital world. However, there’s a risk associated with our cast using their powers and that really helps amp up the tension.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up

Power Rangers Issue 8 review
Power Rangers Issue 8 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Power Rangers Issue 8

I sound like a broken record at this point whenever I’m talking about the Power Rangers series by writer Ryan Parrott. Power Ranger issue 8 was another stellar installment as it showed the Omega Rangers trying to save a planet from the wrath of an Empyreal. Our heroes knew they were going to lose. But being a hero means fighting unwinnable battles to protect others and that’s exactly what our trio did.

Parrott has made it obvious he’s using this story to explore what it means to be a hero. For a younger demographic, being a good guy means always doing the right thing and defeating the bad guys. However, as you grow older, you begin to realize there’s a difference between doing the right thing and being a good guy. Sometimes a tough decision has to be made because it’s the right thing to do (at that moment) even if it’s not necessarily a heroic move.

I loved the moment where Zack made an important decision about a person’s life. Drakkon’s having fun seeing the Omega Rangers experience moral dilemmas and I think he’s waiting for the right time to peck at their vulnerabilities. In a sense, Drakkon’s a mentor our trio didn’t know they needed to prepare them for what’s to come.

Also, that major reveal at the end. Wow!

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Something is Killing the Children issue 17
Something Is Killing The Children Issue 17 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Something is Killing the Children Issue 17

Going back into the past to explore Erica’s backstory could have backfired. But writer James Tynion IV has been weaving such an impressively engrossing thread exploring young Erica’s origins and the Order of St. George, I kind of don’t want to go back to the present. At least, not for another handful of issues. I can’t wait to see how Erica will fare in her test to become an unconventional monster slayer.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

SWORD Issue 6 review
S.W.O.R.D. Issue 6 (Image: Marvel Comics)

S.W.O.R.D. Issue 6

My Twitter timeline was very chirpy on Tuesday talking about how something big was going to happen for Storm in S.W.O.R.D. issue 6 by writer Al Ewing. So, I decided to borrow a friend’s copy to read said issue (I wasn’t comfortable giving the X-Office my money yet).

The issue focused on Abigail Brand talking about making Planet Arakko THE major planet in the solar system. The mutants even had a new currency to help sway things in their favor. I liked how the representatives of other planets and cosmic communities figured out Abigail’s gift was a bribe. Hulkling, the Queer King of Space, would definitely be keeping a close eye on Karakoa’s intentions. Wakanda refused to accept Abigail’s gift because the community didn’t need “mutant metal”. Frankly, that was expected.

Things didn’t get really interesting for me until Dr. Doom decided to crash the party (he always feels left out. Ha!) and inquire about who would speak for Planet Arakko on a galactic stage. The planet must have some kind of ruler, right? And as a familiar hand came out of Manifold’s portal to answer Dr. Doom’s question, I yelled! (I really should have thought to record my reaction while reading this issue.)

SWORD Issue 6 review
S.W.O.R.D. Issue 6 (Image: Marvel Comics)

In a stunning spread, Ewing showed why Storm’s more than worthy of being the Regent of Mars/Arakko and the voice of Sol. The way she addressed Dr. Doom by his first name, Victor, was such a power move. The two share history together. He’s aware of who she is and what she’s capable of, even having made him fear for his life. Victor (like many others) pretends to be a god, but Storm is one.

storm vs doom uncanny x-men
Uncanny X-Men Issue 147 (Image: Marvel Comics)

I loved how Ewing brought together all of Ororo’s identities to cumulate into her current role. Seeing the words Hadari Yao (linking to Coates’ Black Panther run) in one of the main X-Men books made my day. Storm’s someone who is known across galaxies. I can’t wait to see more of Ororo and Victor’s interactions. I want Victor to try her so she could remind him of his rightful place. Ha!

Also, did Arakko get to vote on giving Storm such a position? I smell some drama brewing!

So, yeah, turns out, those big plans the X-Office has been teasing for Storm for years now, they were finally revealed in this week’s issue of S.W.O.R.D. Storm fans waited a long time for Ororo to get her due. And I’m glad the moment has arrived. Let’s see what Ewing has planned for the Omega-Level Mutant Goddess. While I might not be buying the rest of the X-Men books yet, I will definitely be picking up the next issue of S.W.O.R.D.

As for the side story, Wanda decided to finally meet with Magneto. I enjoyed the two reconnect. She might not be her biological child, but she’s still his daughter. With Wanda and Magneto working on their relationship, I hope Wiccan and Speed get involved, too.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Snow Angels season 2 issue 1 review
Snow Angels Season 2 Issue 1 (Image: ComiXology Originals)

Snow Angels Season 2 Issue 1

I was provided with a free digital copy of Snow Angels Season 2 Issue 1 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

From writer Jeff Lemire and artist Jock, Snow Angels season 2 issue 1 showed young sisters Milliken and Mae Mae trying to brave the cold as they traveled away from their home. I enjoyed seeing Milliken offering her support to Mae Mae. I need them both to survive. Jock’s pencils and colors will make you feel cold while reading this series.

Similar to the first season, Lemire continued to add surprising twists and turns while fleshing out the severely cold world he’s created. While I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan out there, I’m starting to enjoy the way Lemire’s using sci-fi to tell a compelling mystery. I was quite surprised by the way girls found help. And with a cliffhanger ending, I’m looking forward to reading the next issue. I have a hunch about who the girls might end up meeting in the group of new arrivals.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

You can read Jessica’s review of Robin Issue 3 here.

What did you think of Harley Quinn issue 4? Are you excited about Storm’s future?

Feel free to share your thoughts.

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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