As Doctor Strange and Riri Williams battle vampires and hunt for the missing Avengers, Elsa Bloodstone has to face off against a lycanthropic Captain America!
Right off the bat, the characterization of Elsa Bloodstone is a huge amount of fun in this issue. She’s cocky and rude, but in a way that shows that she’s perfectly aware of how in control she is of the situation. And it’s not a one-note “badass” take on the character, either. Her coolness noticeably shifts a bit when she starts to tangle with Were-Cap, which shows that the stakes (no pun intended) have been raised.
Likewise, Cap’s dialogue is a delight in this issue. He talks like an old Hollywood hero, which is really cute, but there’s also a real sincerity to it. The two characters really play well off of each other, and it’s fun to see this team-up solidify itself.
Speaking of team-ups, it’s nice to see Strange and Riri get more to do in this issue. The book opens with a fun action sequence, and there’s a bit more problem solving from the two of them. It still feels like this wraparound story is a bit slight, but it was certainly more substantial in this issue.
The action throughout the book is another highlight. The speed lines during Elsa’s fight lend a greater sense of what she’s capable of, especially for readers who may not be as familiar with her. Elsa’s facial expressions are also a lot of fun, with Bill Underwood giving her plenty of snarling grins and cocky glances that perfectly sell the fact that she’s trying cover up how intimidated she is to face off against Cap.
Gretel Lusky also gives the scenes with Ironheart and Doctor Strange a fun fairy tale vibe, with the Doc’s impossibly long cape billowing in the wind and the pages of the cursed book fluttering about in the breeze. Nahuel Ruiz and Heather Breckel add to this vibe with their coloring choices in each section of the book. The deep purples of the night sky and sickly skin tones of the vampires pop against one another, and Ruiz especially does some fun stuff with Ironheart’s neon operating system inside her suit.
However, there was another odd bit that came with the anthology-style nature of this series: the evil book sure seems to have a lot of knowledge surrounding things it wasn’t there for. It makes some sense that the book was able to recount the encounter with Iron Man from last issue, but the hows and whys of its involvement here are a bit hazier. It’s not a huge problem and doesn’t necessarily take one out of the story, though. After all, the rest of the issue is still a fun romp through the spooky side of the Marvel Universe.
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