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'Marvel's Voices: Pride (2023) #1' offers empowering messages and new characters
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2023) #1’ offers empowering messages and new characters

Eight stories and excellent interviews.

The third annual Marvel’s Voices: Pride is out this week, featuring queer characters who don’t usually get the spotlight crafted by queer creators. It’s a celebration of superheroes and Pride Month while featuring extras like interviews and more. Running 91 pages long, this edition features eight stories focusing on Black Cat, Gwenpool, Jumbo, and more.

Kicking things off is an introduction by Mary Chieffo. A queer actor who you might know from Star Trek: Discovery, she stresses why comics like this are so important while sharing about her own life growing up and the importance of queer representation. I was impressed with this introduction with great insight and understanding of the landscape queer people live in now and how things are changed. As Chieffo puts it, “it is clear we are entering an era where queer subtext is transformed to simply text.”

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The first story is by Marieke Njkamp and Pablo Collar featuring Gwenpool. The story, where the character explains how she’s asexual and aromantic, is tightly written. She wants to find people to team up with because “one person can’t represent a whole spectrum.” Empowering and informative, this is a great start to the collection, reminding readers you should be proud of who you are, no matter what.

The second story, titled “What May Bloom,” features the hero Nightshade. Stephanie Williams writes with Hector Barros on pencils, detailing select moments in her life jumping around in time. Jumping around helps us understand who she is and what she faces, be it self-doubt or rich dudes in super suits. We get a taste of her powers, and it’s a hopeful story that’ll interest fans in seeing more.

Next up is an interview with comics legend P. Craig Russell, who you may know from his recent work Norse Mythology. Working in the industry for decades, he was the first publicly out gay creator in comics. Angelique Roche deftly interviews Russell, going through his time at Marvel, why he moved on to creator-owned projects, and tackling the interview, he revealed that he was gay. It’s an interesting interview, especially if you’ve admired Russell’s work as much as I have.

Web-Weaver is the next hero in focus in a story by Katherine Locke and Joanna Estep. He’s rushing to get to a date but notices someone running off after robbing a place. Estep gets to show off the cool yellow costume with some web-slinging action, but most of the story features the character out of costume doing some detective work. The story is a little too cute for its own good, with Web-Weaver letting the perpetrator go given his circumstances. I think the best part of this tale is how confident Web-Weaver is in his own skin, which many will find empowering.

Marvel's Voices Pride 2023

Lacie rules.
Credit: Marvel

My favorite story is next by Shadi Petosky and Roberta Ingranata, titled “Everywhere.” The story features a centuries-old trans woman that Wiccan and Hulkling run into on their second honeymoon. It’s a story within a story, which I’m a sucker for, and it takes us from ancient Greece to space with interesting characters all along the way. The story takes place in the middle of nowhere, and it’s interesting to think there are amazing characters in the most boring places. We just have to look out for them. Given Lacie Lorraine’s powers and history, I can’t wait to see her pop up again soon.

Black Cat and Gambit get a team-up of sorts in the next tale titled “Be Gay, Do Crime.” Written by Sarah Gailey with art by Bailie Rosenlund, the story has Black Cat using her skills to get a jewel and have a run-in with Candra. This story juggles the complicated love life of Black Cat well, with repeated reminders Spider-Man and Black Cat are a thing. In fact, the story ends with a wonderful Spidey moment as they both look on at a Pride parade.

Next up is a nice retrospective on Betsy Braddock, with Tini Howard chiming in. It’s two pages and has interesting insights and content.

H.E. Edgmon and Lorenzo Susi craft the next story featuring a gang robbing a place called The Commune. Unfortunately for them, Spider-Man shows up, but he soon learns they’re robbing for a good reason. The story heavily features a character called Muzzle, who I wasn’t familiar with. Their story is revealed in a flashback, and the creators seem to be setting them up for a future appearance. I really dig how Susi draws Spidey with a cartoony sensibility.

Stephen Byrne shows us a day in the life of Jumbo in the second to last story. You’ve come to the right place if you like Hellfire Gala looks. The costuming is great, and seeing Jumbo sweat as he’s rushing to get fashion hits off in time is a delight. Byrne’s art is fabulous, and X-Men fans won’t want to miss this.

Steve Foxe writes the last story with art by Rosi Kampe. This story is a prelude to Dark X-Men, featuring a few of the members of that team before the team forms. Given the pieces in play, like Bishop and the Limbo embassy, this story feels like a must-read if you’re interested in the upcoming miniseries. (More on that in X-Men Monday.) This story has a more conventional superhero feel than the other tails, with villains fighting heroes and a cool costume reveal, too.

All in all, I was happy with this year’s Marvel’s Voices: Pride. Some stories had deeply meaningful messages, while others remind us of the rich tapestry of queer characters Marvel has fostered, added, or grown in recent years. Pair these tales with insightful interviews and it’s a must-buy for anyone interested in queer representation and good stories.

'Marvel's Voices: Pride (2023) #1' offers empowering messages and new characters
‘Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2023) #1’ offers empowering messages and new characters
Marvel's Voices: Pride 2023 #1
All in all, I was happy with this year's Marvel's Voices: Pride. Some stories had deeply meaningful messages, while others remind us of the rich tapestry of queer characters Marvel has fostered, added, or grown in recent years. Pair these tales with insightful interviews and it's a must-buy for anyone interested in queer representation and good stories. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.8
Introduces new characters while lifting up some of the best queer characters Marvel's got
Nice balance of inspirational stories and superhero ones
Great interviews from cover to cover
Some tales felt a little lost in their point or the plot
8.5
Great
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