Women of Marvel returns this week for its second annual edition with a new 50-page anthology that features many stories from new and familiar women creators. Stories range from a page to eight pages and feature heroes like Black Cat, Squirrel Girl, Silver Sable, Black Widow, and more. The latest edition also features extras like what comics inspired the creators who contributed to this issue, a great interview with retired Marvel editor Bobbie Chase, and more. It’s a comic experience with mixed media and good stories too.
As a spoiler-free review, I won’t get into anything not in the preview, but I will say Gail Simone opens the issue with a great introduction. She describes her time at Marvel as well as the great wave of women and nonbinary creators followed soon after she made her mark. The introduction adds context to why this book needs to exist.
Opening the issue is part one of a five-part, one-page-per-chapter story by Preeti Chhibber focused on Black Cat. It’s a great way to give the anthology a bit of structure and a backbone to lean on. As the preview shows, Chhibber is going to walk us through a few jobs Black Cat took on that didn’t go so well. Not only does Chhibber capture Black Cat’s voice well, but each chapter shows us a clever job or twist on the narrative as Black Cat walks us through each one via captions. A bit of a spoiler, but the fact that it ends with a specific important person in Black Cat’s life is a great way to wrap up the tale.
Chhibber is joined by Eleonora Carlini, Claire Roe, Jen Bartel and Marguerite Sauvage on art. That group of artists is some of the best in the business and it’s cool to see each one bring their style and perspective on storytelling to each one-page chapter. Rachelle Rosenberg colors most of these stories save for Sauvage’s, helping add a bit of connective tissue to the visual style.
“Real Witches” is a story by Mirka Andolfo with pencils and inks by Sumeyye Kesgin. It’s a story about finding new friends and how difficult it is for introverts. This story is great at capturing community and friendship with a splash of Scarlet Witch to amp things up. The visuals are super fun, with great details in backgrounds and a bright color palette from Brittany Peer.
Zoe Thorogood and Jordie Bellaire deliver a touching story with Jessica Jones in “Showing Up.” She’s trying to connect with a man who is still reeling from a great loss. It’s a great tale as it captures how heroes don’t just punch and fight, but put the time in to help others in other meaningful ways. Thorogood’s thin, detailed line gives the story a grounded, realistic look that makes it all the more emotionally impactful.
“Comb Foot” by Charlie Jane Anders and Emma Kubert might be the longest story in the collection which focuses on Squirrel Girl. This tale features Squirrel Girl and her roommate attempting to perfect a superhero name app. It cleverly ties this app into the main narrative with Black Widow entering the tale to spice things up. It’s a fun story that suits Squirrel Girl’s kooky behavior and character. Kubert is the perfect artist for this one, giving these characters a cartoony feel with great colors by Giada Marchisio. Also, you’re going to learn a lot about actual black widow spiders and how weird it is Black Widow is missing some key, and icky, features!
Wrapping up the book is “Cry of the Jungle” by Rhianna Pratchett and Alina Erofeeva which teams up Shanna the She-Devil and Silver Sable. The jungle scenes are drawn very well with great use of color by Ruth Redmond which helps sell the eco-friendly tale. It’s also interesting to see two superheroes like Shanna and Silver Sable interact. They’re from two different worlds and it works very well.
Throw in a great editor’s roundtable offering great advice, another fabulous interview by Angélique Roché, and you have yourself a fantastic anthology. This year’s Women of Marvel is as good if not better than last year’s edition. Women of Marvel 2022 is a genuinely moving, inspirational tale of bonding, strength, and empowerment.
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