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Review: Marvel Voices Pride #1

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In honor of Pride Month, Marvel Comics dropped a big 84 pages one-shot celebrating both its LGBTQ+ creators and characters. Beginning with a story from Luciano Vecchio that’s not sure if it’s telling the story of queer characters in the Marvel Universe from an in-universe or more of a real-world documentary perspective, Marvel Voices Pride #1 sputters with a story that basically says aliens and shapeshifters brought the idea of being non-binary, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming to this world followed by a text-heavy Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung Young Avengers reunion. However, it catches its footing with a cute Karolina Dean/Nico Minoru story, and for the most part, it provides a wide spectrum of LGBTQ+ representation with a special focus on the mutant/X-Men side of the Marvel Universe, who have acted as a mostly metaphorical representation to queer fans like myself. However, it’s nice to see characters like Anole, Prodigy, Destiny, Karma, and Jessie Drake get the spotlight along with more prominently featured cis male gay characters like Northstar (His coming out story in Alpha Flight #106 is reprinted at the end) and Iceman. But fans of non-mutant/Runaways/Wiccan and Hulkling characters may be disappointed as characters like Angela, Sera, Hercules, and America Chavez don’t appear except in small cameo roles.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 kicks off with a journey through the LGBTQ+ history of the Marvel Universe from writer/artist Luciano Vecchio. Even though many of his adult characters look like teens, Vecchio has a beautiful art style and color palette. However, my issue with this first story isn’t the form, but the content. As mentioned earlier, this introductory story isn’t sure if it’s being told from the perspective of the real world or Earth-616 even though it’s narrated by Prodigy. It also has a very self-congratulatory, back-patting tone, especially for a company that recently cancelled a book starring many of its queer characters (X-Factor) and mentions characters like Angela and Sera that haven’t been barely heard or seen from since getting their own title in 2015. Even though Vecchio is a queer creator, there’s big “ally” energy in this first story with a heterosexual character, Captain America getting the spotlight, and the implication that non-binary identities came from aliens and shapeshifters. He does successfully lay out what ended up being a thesis for the anthology, which is the connection between mutants and queer identity.

This story is followed by a one page Young Avengers creator reunion as Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, and Marcelo Maiolo chronicle Hulking and Wiccan’s wedding vows. Heinberg’s writing is tender, but this feels like more of a prose piece than a comic. Heinberg and Cheung’s inclusion seems like more stunt-casting to get older queer Marvel fans interested in the one-shot rather than being any kind of substantial addition to their work on Young Avengers. However, Marvel Voices: Pride rights the ship (Pun fully intended.) in its next story featuring two members of Marvel’s other prominent 2000s teen superhero team, the Runaways. Mariko Tamaki, Kris Anka, and Tamra Bonvillain turns in three pages of sweet glances, chatter, and a super adorable kiss as Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean think about what they would tell people if they asked how they met. The long line out of the venue reminded me of the pre-pandemic days when I would wait in line for hours to get a good spot to see artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn with my fellow queer folks, and Bonvillain’s summery color palette matches Anka’s skill with facial expressions. This story is like the cherry on top of the sundae that he helped build when he was the artist on Runaways and finally put Karolina and Nico in a relationship together.

The next story in Marvel Voices Pride is the first one to feature a trans protagonist, Dr. Charlene McGowan from Immortal Hulk. The plot of Lilah Sturges, Derek Charm, and Brittany Peer is about some “hilarious” misunderstandings when Lady Daredevil aka the artist formerly known as Elektra Natchios and some Z-list, rapping supervillains raid McGowan’s lab when they think she’s producing mutant growth hormone when when she’s actually working on a way to get trans women’s bodies to produce progesterone without taking pills. What follows is Trans 101 with a little bit of ass kicking courtesy Charm, who is in his Bronze Age element with the cheesy costumes and dark shadows. However, other than the fact that’s she a scientist who sometimes makes jokes, we don’t learn anything about Dr. McGowan except that she’s surprisingly cool with microaggressions from A-List Marvel heroes. Kudos to Marvel Voices‘ editorial for getting a trans writer in Sturges to pen this story, but the whole thing feels reductive and geared towards fanboys who know every member of Daredevil or Hulk’s rogues gallery and have never interacted with a transgender person.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In contrast, Leah Williams, Jan Bazaldua, and Erick Arciniega re-introduce Marvel’s first transgender character, the mutant Jessie Drake in a thrilling manner as she appears in her first comic in 27 years. However, Black Cat is the protagonist of this story and is tracking down Steel Raven, a villain who’s been impersonating her, pulling some sloppy heists, and ruining her reputation. Williams’ quippy writing style works well for the fast-paced short story as Black Cat and Jessie meet, flirt, and figure out their next move in catching Steel Raven. Bazaldua plays with space and transforms what would normally be your run of the mill villain warehouse into something more surreal. She and Williams do succeed in building a connection between Jessie and Black Cat as well as showing off Jesse’s empathy-based abilities, but this is just a teaser for a bigger cat and mouse game. Hopefully, there’s room for more batting of eyes, power showcasing, and insight into the character of Jessie Drake, both in her own series or in Black Cat’s current ongoing, which has been a sneaky good read.

Continuing this positive trend is Crystal Frasier, Jethro Morales, and Rachelle Rosenberg telling a wonderful She-Hulk and Titania. But there’s a twist as Jennifer Walters doesn’t appear, but Jennifer Harris, who was inspired by her to come out as trans and cosplay her at a copyright friendly version of New York Comic Con. As someone who came out as bi around the same time Prodigy did in Young Avengers or when Iceman came out as gay in All-New X-Men, I can definitely connect to the inspirational power of fictional characters like Jennifer did with She-Hulk. She and Titania also have some nice banter, and Frasier and Morales also remind readers that She-Hulk was the original fourth wall breaker with some jokes and exploding layouts.

After the She-Hulk story is probably my favorite story of Marvel Voices Pride #1, which is a Prodigy and Speed one from Kieron Gillen, Jen Hickman, and Brittany Peer as Gillen returns to both the X-Men and Young Avengers franchises. The dialogue between Speed and Prodigy sparkles, and Hickman shows off their chops as a storyteller working in eating pizza, stealing glances at Colossus, and empathizing with Kitty Pryde as Prodigy basically tells his bisexual origin story. His story also acts as a critique of how the mutant books have been good about metaphorical queer representation, but not actual queer representation. This is timely because the book that Prodigy was a main cast member in is getting cancelled. However, this is really a lovely story full of hilarious and insightful writing from Kieron Gillen and pitch-perfect images and comedic timing from Hickman as Speed teases Prodigy for having a crush on Colossus when he ran with the New Mutants. Prodigy is true overthinking, chaos bisexual representation, and I’m personally glad to see him get a spotlight in this story even if it’s only a few pages long.

The anthology takes a break from comics for a bit and features an interview with Christian Cooper, one of the first queer editors at Marvel, and he talks about his experiences at the company and the impact comics have had on his life. After this, there’s a timeline of big LGBTQ+ moments in Marvel Comics. It’s followed up with a cute Anole story from Terry Blas, the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau, and Kendall Goode. Blas connects the idea of Krakoa being a mutant utopia to things like Pride, and the ability to unwind at the Green Lagoon with folks who understand your struggles being the goal of all this hard work and fighting. However, it’s not all big metaphors as he and Ganucheau probe into Anole’s body issues leading to him not wanting to date along with his friendship with Jonas Graymalkin. It all ends on a fabulous final page, and this story is worth checking out for Ganucheau and Goode’s soft, colorful takes on the different mutants.

Sticking with the mutant theme, Anthony Oliveira, Javier Garron, and David Curiel go all in with the mutant as gay metaphor in an Iceman story set during the time period of the original five X-Men. They play on the fact that Magneto was played by a gay man in four of the X-Men films and find a real connection between Bobby and Magneto, who takes a break from the missiles to provide a listening ear to this young man struggling with his identity. Oliveira writes Iceman as having a crush on Angel, and Garron nails the longing glances that he throws at the majestic mutant that turn into words when Magneto sits down to chat with him. They take the subtext (For example, Bobby not being interested in Jean Grey when she joins the team.) of these Silver Age text and transform them into glorious text while also showing off the sweeter side of Magneto, a man who would one day break down when he realized that his crusade almost led to the death of an innocent child, Kitty Pryde.

This story is followed up by one focusing on the relationship between Northstar and his husband, Kyle Jinadu from writer/artist J.J. Kirby. It’s touching to see what Northstar is like away from the cameras and public, and what Kyle loves about them. However, Kirby’s 1990s-style artwork with modern, digital coloring is a mismatch for the story, and I spent most of the time wondering why Northstar looked like a vampire or a block of ice instead of the events of the story. Luckily, the misstep is remedied by a thrilling riff on Sherlock Holmes vs. Professor Moriarty from Tini Howard, Samantha Dodge, and Brittany Peer featuring Mystique and Destiny. The story is adventurous filled with wits matching, chess games, and lover’s embraces and shows how iconic a couple these two are while also showing what a big deal it was for them to be open with their love in a time period where being queer got you thrown in jail. Plus it’s a reminder that queer people have always existed in history. (Or fiction.)

Vita Ayala, Joanna Estep, Brittney Williams, and Brittany Peer continue the theme of both mutants and queer women in a Karma story set during the Hellfire Gala after party where Magik gives her a pep talk to dance (and maybe even smooch) Elle, who as far as I can tell is a new, queer mutant created for this anthology. Karma truly gets the spotlight this story and gets to work out some of her issues with her powers and emotions as she’s afraid that if she asks Elle out that she’ll use her abilities to mess with her free will. However, this doesn’t happen, and we get to see a mutant who has been screwed over so many times be happy for once and get the girl in a beautiful sequence from Ayala, Estep, Williams, and Peer.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

The final story in Marvel Voices Pride #1 again shows that Steve Orlando is perfect for writing violent, queer characters with a sensitive side as he and Claudia Aguirre tell the story of Daken and Somnus, a new character who can make one night seem like a life time together. He used this power on Daken back in the day during a one night stand and then ended up living a long life without him even though he didn’t divulge his oneiromantic mutant abilities to everyone. However, Krakoa and its resurrection protocols are all about second chances, and Daken gives him one in this story. As well as digging deep into Daken’s emotions, Orlando and Aguirre also use this story to remind readers of queer elders, who because of society’s hate, never came out or came out later in life, and this is what makes Somnus’ second chance so special. Also, his abilities are pretty cool and bring a little Vertigo into the X-Books.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 is definitely an up and down ride. Some of the stories mishandle nonbinary and gender nonconforming identities (Also, there are no nonbinary lead characters in this anthology.) or seem to pander heavily to allies while others have issues with their art or storytelling style. (Northstar/Kyle, Wiccan/Hulkling) But, for the most part, it’s nice to see queer creators and queer characters get the spotlight for once instead of being hidden behind things like the mutant metaphor, which is usually Marvel editorial’s approach. Time will tell if we see them beyond this anthology, but most of the creators in Marvel Voices Pride work on books in Marvel’s main line or have had consistent success at other companies or even television in Allan Heinberg’s case so, at least, that’s something they have going for them.

Story: Luciano Vecchio, Allan Heinberg, Mariko Tamaki, Lilah Sturges, Leah Williams,
Crystal Frasier, Kieron Gillen, Terry Blas, Anthony Oliveira, J.J. Kirby, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Steve Orlando
Art: Luciano Vecchio, Jim Cheung, Kris Anka, Derek Charm, Jan Bazaldua,
Jethro Morales, Jen Hickman, Paulina Ganucheau, Javier Garron, J.J. Kirby, Samantha Dodge, Joanna Estep with Brittney Williams, Claudia Aguirre, Jacopo Camagni
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo, Tamra Bonvillain, Brittany Peer,
Erick Arciniega, Rachelle Rosenberg, Kendall Goode, David Curiel
Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

(W) Kieron Gillen, More (A) Javi Garron, More (CA) Luciano Vecchio
88 pages/ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 23, 2021
SRP: $9.99

MARVEL CELEBRATES LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS & CREATORS WITH A RAINBOW-POWERED SPECIAL!
Marvel Comics is proud to present its first ever queer-centered anthology! Ring in Pride Month with an amazing assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life. Wiccan and Hulkling! Iceman! Mystique and Destiny! Karma! Akihiro! Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean! Celebrate these and so many more legendary characters from across the Marvel archive! New and fan-favorite creators tell their Pride stories – stories of inspiration and empowerment, stories that illustrate “the world outside your window” in full color. Plus, some of Marvel’s biggest LGBTQ+ moments get a special reprinting. Don’t miss an extraordinary new chapter in Marvel history!

Marvel's Voices: Pride #1

Magma Comix and Heavy Metal Announce Intrusion from Ethan Sacks and Marco Lorenzana

Intrusion is a parable about the consequences of misguided prejudice and hate. The new one-shot comic is coming from writer/co-creator Ethan Sacks, artist/co-creator Marco Lorenzana, colorist Erick Arciniega, and letterer Jaime Martinez. It features a cover by Daniel Govar and a variant cover by Marco Lorenzana. Coming from Heavy Metal imprint Magma Comix, the horror comic comes to comic shelves on September 22, 2021.

Set deep in the Louisiana bayou in the late 1760s, INTRUSION tells the story of the Broussard family, Acadians seeking a new life after being cast out of Canada by the British and having lived the last several years in indentured servitude. They arrive in Louisiana desperate for a second chance. Settling on a patch of remote land bordered by a “cursed” swamp, Jacques will do anything to defend his family’s homestead…even if that puts them on a collision course with a creature that dwells in the bayou. Conceived as a one-shot horror comic from creators Ethan Sacks and Marco Lorenzana, the story makes use of the flipbook format in an innovative way to tell the story from two very different perspectives—the human and the monster. The second story starts at the “flipped” back cover and both the first and second stories merge on a double-page spread in the middle. 

The patriarch of the Broussard family will stop at nothing to defend his family from the horrors that lurk in the swamp—and neither will the Grunch!

Early Preview: Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

(W) Various (A) Various (CA) Luciano Vecchio
88 pages/ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 23, 2021
SRP: $9.99

MARVEL CELEBRATES LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS & CREATORS WITH A RAINBOW-POWERED SPECIAL!
Marvel Comics is proud to present its first ever queer-centered anthology! Ring in Pride Month with an amazing assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life. Wiccan and Hulkling! Iceman! Mystique and Destiny! Karma! Akihiro! Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean! Celebrate these and so many more legendary characters from across the Marvel archive! New and fan-favorite creators tell their Pride stories – stories of inspiration and empowerment, stories that illustrate “the world outside your window” in full color. Plus, some of Marvel’s biggest LGBTQ+ moments get a special reprinting. Don’t miss an extraordinary new chapter in Marvel history!

Marvel has released teaser images for the upcoming anthology!

Story A
Starring Prodigy and Speed
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jen Hickman
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story B
Starring Karma
Written by Vita Ayala
Art by Joanna Estep
Layouts by Brittney Williams
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story C
Starring Iceman
Written by Anthony Oliviera
Art by Javier Garrón
Colors by David Curiel

Story D
Starring Daken and Somnus
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Claudia Aguirre
Somnus Character Design by Luciano Vecchio

Story E
Starring Mystique and Destiny
Written by Tini Howard
Art by Samantha Dodge
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story F
Starring Black Cat and Jessie Drake
Written by Leah Williams
Art by Jan Bazaldua
Colors by Erick Arciniega

Story G
Starring Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Kris Anka
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain

Story H
Starring Anole
Written by Terry Blas
Art by Paulina Ganucheau
Layouts by Kendall Goode

Story I
Starring Northstar
Written by JJ Kirby
Art by JJ Kirby

Story J
Starring Elektra and Dr. Charlene McGowan
Written by Lilah Sturges
Art by Derek Charm
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story K
Starring Titania and She-Hulk
Written by Crystal Frasier
Art by Jethro Morales
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg

Early Preview: Widowmakers: Red Guardian and Yelena Belova #1

Widowmakers: Red Guardian and Yelena Belova #1

Written by Devin Grayson
Art by Michele Bandini
Colors by Erick Arciniega
Rated T
In Shops: Nov 18, 2020
SRP: $4.99

Devin Grayson, one of the creators of Yelena Belova – the Red Room recruit who once nearly killed Natasha Romanoff – returns with a brand-new story drawn by rising star Michele Bandini! Yelena has spent years trying to figure out who she is. Once she thought the Black Widow mantle was her destiny, but fate had other plans. Now the past is catching up with her – and with Alexi Shostakov, a.k.a. the Red Guardian! Alexi has worn many titles, including husband to Natasha, but while the Widow played her avenging games, the Red Guardian waited in the shadows. Now a new day is dawning – and this time, no one will stand in his way.

Widowmakers: Red Guardian and Yelena Belova #1

Review: Dawn of X Vol. 3

Want to get into Marvel’s X-Men relaunch? They’ve made it easy with Dawn of X collections that package all of the comics of the same number!

Dawn of X Vol. 3 includes the third issue for X-Men, Marauders, Excalibur, New Mutants, X-Force, and Fallen Angels.

Story: Jonathan Hickman, Gerry Duggan, Tini Howard, Ed Brisson, Benjamin Percy, Bryan Edward Hill
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Michele Bandini, Elisabetta D’Amico, Marcus To, Flaviano, Joshua Cassara, Szymon Kudranski
Color: Sunny Gho, Federico Blee, Erick Arciniega, Carlos Lopez, Guru-eFX, Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Cory Petit, Travis Lanham, Joe Caramagna, Joe Sabino

Get your copy in comic shops now and bookstores on March 24! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Star Wars: Target Vader

Darth Vader is on the hunt for a criminal syndicate but he doesn’t know that same syndicate has hired a group of bounty hunters to take Vader out once and for all.

Star Wars: Target Vader collects #1-6.

Story: Robbie Thompson
Art: Marc Laming, Cris Bolson, Stefano Landini, Marco Failla, Robert Di Salvo, Georges Duarte
Color: Neeraj Menon, Rachelle Rosenberg, Jordan Boyd, Andres Mossa, Federico Blee, Erick Arciniega, Giada Marchisio
Lettering: Joe Caramagna, Clayton Cowles

Get your copy in comic shops and bookstores now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Venom #21

Absolute Carnage is over! What’s next for Eddie Brock and Venom? Venom Island begins here!

Story: Donny Cates
Art: Mark Bagley
Ink: Andy Owens
Color: Frank Martin, Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Get your copy in comic shops! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
TFAW
Zeus Comics

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

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