Marvel Comics isn’t known for its YA books, but they sure do a good job packaging them. Recently they’ve been releasing new digest sized books featuring Miles Morales’ origin as well as other age-appropriate digest sized books featuring other heroes like the Wasp. Marvel Rising is coming out in comic shops this week and it follows in the same footsteps as it collects the five issue run of this super-team of younger heroes.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
With the powers of Girl and the powers of Squirrel on their side, Kamala Khan and Doreen Green are an unbeatable team! But that title is about to be seriously challenged – because New Jersey has been invaded by a swarm of knights in shining…suits?! When Morgan Le Fay invades New Jersey, she turns it into New Camelot – and that calls for a heroic Round Table! Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel need allies to help protect their home turf – and they know just who to call. When Miles Morales, the Inhuman Inferno and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Daisy Johnson rise to the challenge, they’re sure to have Morgan on the ropes. Unless, of course, she sends a giant horde of monsters after them! Don’t miss the return of the titanic team-up that’s got everyone talking!
Why does this matter?
The all-ages format is a tried and true method to bring in younger readers, but it’s also a good entertainment starter for older readers. This series is all about a villain with a medieval theme who just wants to put her stamp on villainy.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Nilah Magruder does a good job with the characters at hand, focusing more on Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl early on and then stretching out to feature America prominently too. Each character has a moment to shine. Early on the captions put you inside Ms. Marvel’s head, who has the distinct problem many younger people have: She doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Ms. Marvel is the leader of sorts and you see her ability to lead prominently in late in the series as she attempts to reason with Morgan Le Fey. From the villain to the heroes Magruder captures the age of these characters well.
Set during a school tour guided by Squirrel Girl, all the characters seem to have an idea of what they want to study. Ms. Marvel is a bit in the dark with that which is ironic since she’s got her superhero life pretty well understood. That gives the story a strong A-plot while cars seem to be coming alive for the B-plot. Magruder opens the book with a flash-forward delivering action up front and then character drama at the middle, keeping your interest all the way through.
The art by Roberto Di Salvo and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg suit the characters nicely. It’s a bubbly, fun color palette with a lot of pink skies and bright splashy backgrounds. Squirrel Girl has the most unencumbered face which is well rendered and expressive (and sometimes comically so). Georges Duarte joins Di Salvo for issues #3 through #5 and the art never changes too drastically to notice the collaboration.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Pacing and plotting can be quite janky. The story opens with a flash-forward, the story catches up to that moment, and then the ending feels tacked on. Events sometimes happen off page that would allow for satisfying closure in certain fight scenes as well. There is also an odd slowdown in the fourth issue that seems to be pushing the notion you should use your words instead of fists, but it doesn’t quite come off well as the pace slows to a halt and then speeds up again.
Is it good?
A good book to introduce some of Marvel’s youngest heroes to a younger audience. It’s not without its pacing issues, but overall the voice of each character is true.