Sam has reached the penultimate issue of Brave Chef Brianna and is going to be mourning when the series does end. She also reached the end of an arc for Goldie Vance, also from BOOM! Studios, while Jackson is just reaching the end of his patience for X-Men: Gold and the Marvel PR machine. At least Renee is enjoying her Marvel offerings: Jessica Jones, Spider-Man, and Spider-Gwen.
Want to hear more about what we thought about these issues? Read on – and let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Brave Chef Brianna #3 (of 4)
Artist: Selina Espiritu
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
If you’ve been wondering about Brianna’s expansive family then you’re in luck – this issue gives us a little bit more insight into the Jakobssons. While we already know that Brianna is the youngest, her brother Hans is the the second youngest and apparently they have a pretty rocky relationship. That relationship comes to a head when Hans decides to literally roll into Monster City with his competing food truck.
If you think that’s kind of a jerk move, you’re right. And to make matters worse he shows up at a seriously inopportune time. Remember Madame Cron from the last issue? She’s out to get Brianna and she calls in the health inspectors. While they manage to pass the inspection, it all falls apart when Hans challenges Brianna to a cook-off in which both of them violate the city laws in numerous ways – which leads to the restaurant being shut down!
The last couple of panels in this issue are some of the most depressing panels I’ve seen in a book in a long time. Brianna’s anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it practically consumes her. Hans beats himself up for doing something so awful to his sister. It’s so sad because it looks like everything is falling apart. But there’s only one issue left (and as we learned in our interview with Sam Sykes at WonderCon, the last issue involves a lot of cooking within the Monster City guidelines) so I’m sure they’ll all somehow pull it together!
There’s a lot to love about this issue. I’m really happy that they threw in some extra drama by bringing Hans into things. While, yes, we know that Brianna and her brothers are supposed to be seriously competing for the family legacy, Hans’s competitiveness really drove that home. And the resulting cook-out wasn’t just a one-off filler plot point. It’s going to have lasting effects. Selina Espiritu did an amazing job with the character designs for the new cook-off judgers who were introduced – and my favorite background detail this issue involves some fairies trying to eat a floating burger. Also, if you’ve been paying attention to the recipes at the end of these books, then you understand when I tell you I’m making this one as soon as possible. Buffalo Chicken Tater Tots!!
Goldie Vance #12
Artist: Noah Hayes
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
The latest Goldie Vance arc wraps up in a spectacular fashion and I couldn’t be happier with it. While the mystery of the secret saboteur trying to take out Sugar Maple dragged out a little in the middle but ultimatley I think this turned out to be one of the best arcs in the series.
Part of the reason I love it so much is that it’s more grounded than some of the others (the underwater space program arc was kinda weird to me). This arc, on the other hand, is very personal. All the suspects were normal people who are connected to Sugar. Their motivations are love and resentment. We see a lot of character growth in Sugar Maple and we see her relationship with Goldie largely repaired.
The interpersonal connections – especially in this final issue – are what make this arc for me. Whether we’re talking about Sugar’s relationship with her father (and now her nieces) or how Goldie gets everyone to come together and try to protect Sugar during her final race, it’s seeing those relationships come together on the page that really made this arc so engaging.
I also liked that we saw this story through all the way until the very end. Usually the story ends with the bad guy getting caught. But after Red nearly kills Sugar by remotely detonating her race car there’s not just some finger-wagging or even an arrest. We see the story continue all the way through the criminal trial where Red goes away for what she does and Goldie gets a pretty sweet article about her efforts solving the case in the paper. That last bit, by the way, leads to a super dramatic panel where Red swears her revenge on Goldie, basically.
All together, these last four issues have been amazing. I truly think that this has been the best arc in the series so far and I hope we see more stories like it as the series continues. Once they’re collected in their own trade paperback, I feel like it’s going to be the perfect completed arc for fans to use to introduce new readers to Goldie and her adventures. Noah Hayes did a fantastic job and no matter how much I loved Brittney Williams’ work in the first eight issues, I’m really glad we had him on board for this arc. Now all we can do is hope that the next arc is as good as this one!
X-Men Gold #3
Author: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Ardian Syaf
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Across its line, Marvel has been pushing the idea that its comics aren’t innately political. Secret Empire, the company’s just begun summer event story, is explicitly about fascists under the command of a turncoat Captain America taking control of the world’s security systems but, according to the story’s writers and editor, it features no overtly political content. It’s among the worst, most transparent lies a company renowned for telling transparent lies to fans has ever told and it’s the same one they’re spreading in their X-Men stories.
In pre-release interviews, writer Marc Guggenheim emphasized that he wanted X-Men Gold to focus on the idea of the X-Men as heroes, not as persecuted minorities in a world that hates and fears them. Guggenheim’s never been a writer, on TV, movies, or in comics, that really had a handle on combining the metaphorical strengths of characters with their physical strengths and it shows worse than ever now.
It’s impossible to tell a story in 2017 about a group of minorities being attacked by nationalistic forces and claim that you’re avoiding politics. Even the book’s first issue was forced to reckon with religious and nationalistic fervor when artist Ardian Syaf placed a host of anti-semitic imagery and references throughout the issue.
Guggenheim’s naiveté notwithstanding, he fails to even tell an enjoyable superhero story, much less a powerful one, in X-Men Gold #3. The issue, illustrated functionally but without panache by Syaf in what is likely his last work for a major American publisher, sees Kitty Pryde lead her newly assembled team against a manipulated Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who are being used to pin escalating urban violence on mutants.
Guggenheim wants this story to be about Kitty and her team fighting for what’s right, protecting innocents and saving a kidnapped mayor but it’s trafficking in innately political territory. Guggenheim wants to have it both ways. He’s happy to trade in fiery nationalistic rhetoric to inspire the series’ heroes but unwilling to actually reckon with the racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric that the issue’s villains traffic in.
As a result X-Men Gold #3 says nothing and means even less. It’s a book that pays only lip service to the policies and rhetoric that are costing real persecuted Americans their safety, wellbeing and lives, all while it claims that such language only exists to inspire a cast of poorly sketched heroes. It’s among the worst comics Guggenheim, who has a resume filled with less than sterling stories, has ever written and an insult to the characters and concepts it attempts to represent. Marvel has the opportunity to tell compelling stories about difficult topics, with characters and teams who’ve addressed such topics, whose conceptual foundation was designed as a reaction to such rhetoric, but it requires honesty and thoughtfulness. Frankly, it’s unlikely this creative team will ever be the ones willing to tell that story and do so honestly and it’s in readers’ best interests not to give them the opportunity to try.
Jessica Jones #8
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Picking up where the last issue left off, Jessica finds Maria Hill bleeding to near death in her bathroom. Skeptical at first, Jessica is unwilling to trust or help Maria Hill. Maria explains that S.H.I.E.L.D has been using brainwashing techniques so the world would believe all the lies about her. Jessica winds up deciding to help after being paid and visits Raindrop to find out who has put out the hit on Maria Hill. As she is leaving, Sharon Carter, Sub-Director of S.H.I.E.L.D apprehends her and asks what she is doing with a life-model decoy.
This issue of Jessica Jones veers away from the main dilemma between her and Luke Cage. The art and drawing in this issue were remarkable and well done, and it was also a compelling story. Though Jessica is often at odds with her fellow superhero contingent, she does attempt to do the right things and help where she can.
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Publisher: Marvel Comics
In this issue, it looks as if Black Cat is going to be one of Miles main villains, as she makes a reappearance in the first couple of pages and takes over a local bad guy contingent. Miles is attempting to explain to his mother why and how he became a superhero. His mother explains to him that he will always love him because Miles is her son, but she is hurt because her entire life up to this point has been a lie.
His mother leaves him, and Miles attempts to go after her but loses her. To cope with his feelings, he goes out as Spider-Man and goes after a thief who attacked an old woman. The thief runs to a club of baddies, who help out their fellow man and attempt to attack Spider-Man. Spider-Man manages to take out everyone in the club with little effort.
Being a superhero is never easy, especially for a teenager superhero attempting to keep his family together and maintain his secret identity. Miles has been dealt some serious blows thus far in his superhero career, and he has, for the most part, handled it pretty well. However, protecting his mother and his relationship with his mother has always been one of the most important things to Miles.
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Harry Osbourne calls Gwen in an attempt to have her stop his dad from continuing to experiment with others. Gwen ignores the phone call and the message. Gwen goes to visit her dad in prison with Matt Murdock and finds that his trial has been fast-tracked. Her father refuses to state his innocence or guilt, and Murdock goads Captain Stacy while reminding him that Gwen made a deal with the Kingpin.
Outside of the jail, Murdock threatens Gwen and reminds her that she has not fulfilled her part of the bargain and that she needed to go to Oscorp. There is a big bad guy reveal about the Spider-Woman serum and the lizard serum that turned Harry into a monster. They attempt to convince Spider-Woman that they can make her whole again by infecting her with the venom parasite. Spider-Woman agrees, and the end of the issue shows Wolverine arriving in the city.
Gwen has made some pretty terrible decisions in an attempt to get her father out of jail, and as such, she has had to bend and re-evaluate her morals and values. This issue of Spider-Gwen brings the Gwen back to reality as Matt Murdock reminds her that she has to pay her dues to the Kingpin. However, Gwen is still conflicted as she realizes that she does, in fact, need to follow through on her promises.
Renee Marriott is a staff writer at Nerdophiles.