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Marvel Divas #2

Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Tonci Zonjic, June Chung (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Marvel Divas #2 arrives in stores tomorrow, August 12.

Plot: Photon, Hellcat, Firestar and the Black Cat form an unlikely foursome in the city that never sleeps. But is even it up to the task of coping with their personal dramas?

Comments: What can I tell you? You have to have a certain sensibility to enjoy this book. It's an attempt at having a different flavor in Marvel's stable, which I'm always in favor of. The difference (apparently building on the strong critical reception to Hellcat's last whimsical series) is the attempt to appeal to a female audience, and a more adult one at that. These divas know their fierceness is mostly in their own minds (as the Sex in the City divas did); and that they need their fragile defense mechanisms to cope with their setbacks. The question is, do we care about their fragility or their setbacks?

Well, they had me with the cast, as I've been worrying about Photon since she was Captain Marvel, Firestar since she was in the Massachusetts Academy, Hellcat since she started hanging out with the Beast, and Black Cat well, I'm not so much a big Spidey reader, but I didn't really like Samantha Jones that much at first, either.

I'm not totally sold on the mixture of humor and drama, as Angelica's cancer scare has to share pages with everyone's witty comments and boyfriend troubles, but it's a balance I think Aguirre-Sacasa is striving for and may yet perfect. Certainly seeing Dr. Strange and Night Nurse again is a step in the right direction.

While Monica entertains everyone with her confusion over Brother Voodoo, Dr. Strange gives Firestar a referral to Hank Pym? Aguirre-Sacasa does a very good job of remembering Angelica's continuity (the danger her powers pose to her, and how Pym helped her when she was an Avenger), but sadly it might be her own negligence regarding Pym's advice that has endangered her.

As for our other co-stars, Patsy is being chatted up by the ultimate bad boy, Damon Hellstrom (who does come off a bit sinister this issue, thankfully) and Felicia is having trouble staying legit when financial woes come her way. Zonjic's art is beautiful (recalling Cliff Chiang and the Luna Bros. or other more indie-style artists than one usually sees at Marvel), and the slight cartoonishness goes a long way to selling the mix of humor and pathos fueling this fresh attempt at telling a Marvel-style story.

The ride is still fairly bumpy, however, mostly I suppose down to dialogue more than plot. The tone is shaky, but the intent seems to be good and the product is at the very least an intriguing effort.







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