Women of Marvel is a new anthology from Marvel Comics that celebrates some of the most important female heroes in the Marvel universe (and some not-so-famous ones too). Collected here are eleven stories — some only a page long — with a fair amount of characters getting focused on like She-Hulk, Jean Grey, and Gamora to name a few. This book comes in a similar package to Marvel’s Voices, right down to the back-matter that gives readers tips on what to read to get more from the characters depicted in the issue.
This book opens with an introduction by Louise Simonson that helps define the history of women who have worked in Marvel’s offices. It helps to understand real progress has been made over the decades, and applauds the important people who helped normalize women writing and drawing comics at Marvel.
Of the eleven stories, five are one-page tales that are cute, funny, or clever. Really, they’re all fabulous, and a reminder that anthologies allow for different story lengths you just don’t get anywhere else in comics. These tales are all written by Mariko Tamaki and act as great mini-stories before diving into slightly lengthier tales. The first focuses on Lady Deathstrike getting a manicure (art by Peach Momoko), Emma Frost using her powers in a creative way for fashion (art by Nina Vakueva), Medusa having a bad hair day (art by Rachel Stott and Rachelle Rosenberg), Jean Grey working with a testy plant (art by Marika Cresta and Rachelle Rosenberg), and in the final one-pager, Hela just wants to get comfy (art by June Brigman, Roy Richardson, and Rachelle Rosenberg).
The remaining six stories range from Elseworlds tales, like the time Peggy Carter became Captain America, to fight scenes with a twist, like when She-Hulk fights Rhino. In general, it’s a good mix of different types of stories. Props to Sarah Brunstad for curating a solid anthology.
Some of my favorite stories are “Date Night” by Zoraida Córdova, Maria Fröhlich, and Rachelle Rosenberg, “Give a Cat a Bon…” by Sophie Campbell, Eleonora Carlini, and Tríona Farrell, and “Cretaceous Flirtatious” by Natasha Alterici, Joanna Estep, and Irma Kniivila.
“Date Night” has Gamora go on an adventure that puts her into an intergalactic Bachelor-like TV show, only the bachelor is a scummy villain. It’s a nice issue thanks to the bond between Gamora and Rocket, but also how it weaves in a familiar thing like The Bachelor.
“Give a Cat a Bon…” is a great example of utilizing lesser-used characters to great effect. Marrow is trying to live her life, but is interrupted by Feral, who has been recently resurrected. It’s a clever way to use the new Krokoan world and these two characters. There’s a lot of energy in Carlini’s lines and Farrell’s colors are warm in a way that enhances the action. The layouts are cool too, exploring the space and filling the page with a lot of art.
“Cretaceous Flirtatious” utilizes Rogue and Mystique back when Mystique was the leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Outside of the funny nod to a specific blockbuster film, this issue shows the difficult trials of recruiting worthy evil mutants. Estep and Kniivila bring a fun vibe to the story that suits the more comedic bend to the tale.
For six bucks, Women of Marvel is a fun anthology well worth reading. Its use of X-Men characters gives it a more immediate draw since most of these characters are on the front lines of what Marvel’s biggest series. This book is also well-curated, with great one-page stories written by Mariko Tamaki that mix up the pace of reading and deliver a delightful cutaway to something entirely different.
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