Kylee was sad to see Spell on Wheels from Dark Horse Comics end this week. What do we have to do to get more of the series?! Jackson enjoyed Nightwing from DC Comics and Renee had a big week with Silk, Black Widow, and Captain America: Steve Rogers, all from Marvel Comics.
Want to hear more about what we thought about these issues? Read on – and let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Spell on Wheels #5
Author: Kate Leth
Artist: Megan Levens
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC
After discovering the culprit last issue, the girls complete the final leg of their road trip and head straight for Claire’s ex-boyfriend. Self-centered and blinded by his own greed for magic – karma dictates that, though his family has magic in the blood, he’s never even had the potential – they confront him, but quickly realize that it may have been a distraction all along. Someone extremely powerful, and connected to one of the girls, laid the trap in hopes of taking Claire’s magic-sensing compass.
The showdown is epic and resolved through teamwork. This issue especially, and throughout the entire limited-run series, has focused on female friendship and support and the ending is very fitting for that theme. Kate Leth showcases a strong ending to the series, but leaves it open with an exciting cliffhanger at the end and I’m all for begging and bribing for more Spell on Wheels.
I have greatly enjoyed Megan Levens’ art coupled with Marissa Louise’s colors that make it pop in every issue and was thankful that one final, clever spell allowed them both to give the girls a last unique outfit change. This issue especially allowed them to stretch the bright neon coloring and some very interesting panel placements because of the final threat.
Spell on Wheels had a very strong run and I suspect that it will read even better in trade format, like a spontaneous road trip with your besties. With each girl given a grounded, real personality and interests outside of magic, tackling plenty of tough issues along the way, and a humor reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the entire series is a great weekend read and I’m only sorry to see it end (for now?).
Author: Tim Seeley
Artist: Minkyu Jung
Publisher: DC Comics
More than the athleticism, fighting skills, deductive reasoning, and consistently chiseled features, Dick Grayson’s greatest superpower is friendship. From his time as Robin, to leading the Teen Titans as Nightwing, to becoming a globetrotting super spy with a web of contacts and lovers, Dick has the sort of natural charisma and willingness to find common ground with people that lets him connect with characters from every background and in every place.
It’s characterized now in his romance with Shawn Tsang, once a criminal called The Defacer, who now finds herself connected to the person who forced her from her old life. Shawn and Dick’s relationship was rushed at the beginning of the “Blüdhaven” arc but Nightwing #15 shows why, with a little space, it can feel lived-in and real.
Told over the course of two-months of the pair’s relationship, the issue shows Dick communicating his feelings with a host of his friends and former lovers as Shawn shares her feelings with her support group. It offers a strong case for just how charismatic Dick can be, as well as writer Tim Seeley’s command of the character, but offers a relatable portrait of the first few months of any budding relationship, the excitement, sex, and giddy feelings. The only real failing is in the art. While Minkyu Jung offers clean lines and richly detailed living space, colorist Chris Sotomayor’s blotchy, dreamy colors smudge up some of those characters and backgrounds in a way that ruins some of the effect. Maybe it’s purposeful, meant to keep that hazy feeling of new love but the result is messy and occasionally feels half-finished.
Still, Nightwing #15 feels like a rounded portrayal of the new relationship between two characters, still unsure of where they stand with one another. However, it’s also a testament to Dick’s ability to connect with people and a tour through his many friends, from Wally West, to Jason Todd, to Starfire, to Barbara Gordon, to Bruce Wayne. DC has done a better job in the last year of really embracing characters who have that sort of built in history and getting to see that play out is still as charming as it has ever been here. If anything, that’s a good enough reason to pick up this issue.
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Irene Strychalski
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Let me be the first to say that Cindy Moon as Silk grabbed my attention when she first debuted in 2015. I loved the idea of another Spider-Woman character who locked herself away to save her family and herself grief. The writers did a phenomenal job conveying Cindy’s emotional turmoil as she rejoins society and searches for her family. Cindy’s desire to be with her family and use of her powers also helped readers understand Cindy’s motivations to be Silk.
The Clone Conspiracy saga, however, has not been my favorite read thus far. The writers have done an excellent job showing how Cindy is having difficulty adjusting to having her family back in her life while weaving in the importance of family and the weight of grief and loss. However, the actual storyline has been a bit lackluster, which leads to this month’s issue.
Cindy finds Hector (her ghost boyfriend, also known as Spector) is now cloned in Haven, the special clone sanctuary for their experiments. Cindy finds out that Jonah wants to move there with his newly resurrected clone wife. However, a siren goes off during Jonah’s broadcast, and the clones start turning bubbly and freaking out, almost as if they were zombies. Spector begins to attack Cindy and a clone Spider-Woman, named Mattie, helps Cindy subdue Spector while they figure out what is happening.
The sickness isn’t only affecting the clones, but it is also affecting people who never received treatments and is spread through touch. Mattie, Spector, and Silk break into the broadcast room and try to stop it, but are unable to, when Spider-Man shows up, also affected by the sickness that spread. Silk goes to stop the clone-zombie people, and is almost touched by them, when Mattie saves her and dies in the process. Spider-Man stops the broadcast, and all that is left behind is the clothes and carnage of the clone-zombies. The last panel is of Silk holding a Spider-Man costume.
Overall, I was not wholly impressed with the Clone Conspiracy and was not a huge fan of this issue. Hopefully, there will be more Silk related adventures, especially adventures that involve girls’ days with the other Spider-Women.
Black Widow #11
Author: Chris Samnee, Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Natasha’s redemption story arc is beautifully drawn and written and Natasha needs a win right now. I have been rooting for her since the start of this series, hopeful that she would be able to stop being so tortured about her past, and she is slowly coming to terms with that and using her knowledge to try to help. She just needs to find the scary pre-teen mini assassins and set them straight.
Black Widow begins with SHIELD discussing their fail-safe keys and protocols when the little girls from the Red Room attack the facility. Natasha fights with the girls and saves a SHIELD worker’s life. The SHIELD worker explains the concept of the fail-safe keys and Natasha tells him to evacuate.
Natasha continues to fight the girls and makes a comment about how young they are, and she needs to fight the other six girls to get the keys. She almost kills one of the girls but is stopped when the worker reminds her to find the other six girls. Natasha goes to find them, and the girls try to ambush her in a stairwell. Natasha uses her electrical strike against them and flashes back to when she was a girl. The blast manages to knock out the girls after Natasha announces, “This is my mission, and this time, I will succeed.”
Natasha finds the last girl and tries to convince her that she is being used by the Madame. The last girl is using a SHIELD worker as a shield and taunts Natasha by saying the only way to stop her would be to shoot through the worker, and Natasha wouldn’t do that. Natasha takes the shot, which goes through the person and hits the girl. The girl turns out to be Recluse who gains the upper hand, and the last panel is of the girls using the keys to destroy SHIELD. The next issue does not bode well for Natasha, but hopefully, she has a couple tricks up her sleeve to save the day.
Captain America: Steve Rogers #11
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I just want Steve to remember who he was before Hydra brainwashed him. There have been many times where he has stayed genuine to his original backstory and this issue continued to emphasize that. However, if this series is going where I think it is, I struggle with Cap being a believable bad guy, especially when he has moments of “weakness.” Overall, I enjoyed this issue and loved that there were so many relatable moments and quotes.
This issue opens again with a flashback to 1940 as Steve is receiving his treatments from Doctor Erskine. The good Doctor attempts to set him up with the nurse, who declines. The Doctor tells Steve that it is her loss and that he should join him later. The issue brings us to the present, where Cap is attempting to explain what is happening, before flashing back to six months earlier at Jack Flag’s funeral. They still haven’t found Maria and Cap catches up with Peter Quill, who made it back in time for the funeral.
The issue flashes back to the 1940s again, where Steve meets Doctor Erskine at his home. The Doctor is good humored and ready to talk about his good old days when Steve pulls a gun on him. The issue brings us back to the present, and Cap explains that there are threats that are too enormous to keep silent any longer and then cuts back to six months ago. Cap asks him if he has talked to Carol and Peter tells him no, he hasn’t and she’s convinced that she is right. This statement is followed by Carol making a press announcement about how the interplanetary defense shield is coming along quickly and faster than they anticipated.
Present day Cap explains that these are dangerous times. Past Steve explains to Doctor Erskine that he has to kill him because those are his orders. Doctor Erskine tells Steve that there is a goodness inside him and that he is not a killer and that he needs to find that inside him. Steve holds the gun to him and says that he has to follow his orders. Ultimately, Steve is unable to pull the trigger, but Helmut does it for him. Helmut has a contraption that will read Erskine’s mind. Helmut explains that he has been looking out for him all along and that he would always look out for him. The present day Steve is now talking to present day Helmut and explaining that he needs his help. Cap explains to Helmut that there is some brainwashing that had happened. Helmut embraces Steve and asks him what he can do to help the cause.
Renee Marriott is a staff writer at Nerdophiles.