Comic Reviews: Asgardians of The Galaxy and Bordertown!
Asgardians of the Galaxy #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s a little strange that Marvel is putting out a title called Asgardians of the Galaxy after the release of Thor: Ragnarok, seeing as how the internet gave that nickname to the third Thor film. But here we are, with a new series that’s….supposed to replace Guardians of the Galaxy? Serve as a tie-in to Thor? I’m not entirely sure, but the opening issue from Cullen Bunn and artist Matteo Lolli is pretty fun, if a weird addition to Marvel’s publishing slate.
Annabelle Riggs, aka Valkyrie, is called into battle by Angela to prevent the latest version of Ragnarok, also known as the Asgardian version of the Apocalypse. Joining a makeshift team of other Asgardians like Skurge The Executioner, Thunderstrike, and even the Frog Thor Throg, the new group of heroes are quickly thrust into battle against the one enemy they never expected: Nebula. Looking to start Ragnarok again for her own means, she’s assembling the old, forgotten bodies of gods of Ragnaroks past to start a new war, and the only beings who stand to stop her are the ragtag group of Asgardians who are secretly lead by the last person you’d expect…
…No I’m not saying who it is, but the reveal is a little strange, and while I’m sure Cullen Bunn will offer an explanation in future issues, it really is a headscratcher when you consider Asgardians‘ place in the regular Marvel continuity. That being said though, Bunn’s script is pretty fun, and he does a great job of introducing you to these characters in a concise way that doesn’t feel like an info dump. This is a team of misfits and losers, but Bunn has a lot of fun having them bounce off of one another, and to be honest, I feel like Bunn might be onto something with this team.
Matteo Lolli’s artwork is pretty much perfect for this type of book. Asgardians of the Galaxy jumps around to many different locales throughout this opening issue, but at no point does Lolli struggle to depict what’s in Bunn’s script. From the out-there settings to the variety of aliens and human characters, Lolli not only handles the art with ease, but he also has set the expectation that his art will only get better as the issues go on.
While I’m still not entirely sure of Asgardians of the Galaxy‘s place in the Marvel publishing wing, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun with this series. If done right, this could be Marvel’s next Guardians of the Galaxy or Superior Foes of Spider-Man, as it has a nice mix of grand, superhero action, and like-able characters that haven’t made a connection in other series. Here’s hoping Beta Ray Bill makes an appearance soon.
Bordertown #1 (Vertigo/DC Comics)
The lines between the real world and fantastical become even more blurred in Vertigo’s new series Bordertown, which stands as one of the coolest debut issues of the year. Eric M Esquivel and Ramon Villalobos’s new series is 100% politically minded (it takes place along the US/Mexico border, after all), but it actually adds a lot to the themes of the book, and in doing so, becomes a pretty necessary read for our modern times.
Frank Dominguez has moved to Devil’s Fork, Arizona. After being expelled from his previous high school, his mom thinks it’s a good idea to move to a new town with her long-distance boyfriend and start over. But Frank finds that he’s still having trouble fitting in, and quickly becomes the target of the local bullies at his new school. Thankfully for him, but not so much for the town, a monster that’s been terrorizing the desert arrives just in time to save him, but not before Frank and his friend’s have to take off from the cops.
As I mentioned before, Bordertown is definitely a politically charged series, so if you’re looking for an escape from the real world, this might not be the book for you. But Eric M Esquivel’s script is chock full of ideas of like-able characters, and really looks to be something special. Esquivel does a great job of not only getting into Frank’s mindset, but he also makes his friends interesting too, which is pretty impressive seeing as how this is only the first issue.
On the art side of things, Ramon Villalobos’ style is a really cool mix of Chris Burnham and Mike Allred. Making high school interesting is pretty difficult in comics, but Villalobos’ character work is fantastic, and his depictions of body language and facial expressions are awesome. But where Villalobos really shines is with the monster design, which goes from a giant, mythical beast to a tiny little creature capable of getting into small cracks in our dimensions.
Bordertown is a really interesting and thoughtful comic, and if everything is right in the world, it’ll become the breakout smash of DC’s new Vertigo relaunch. There’s a lot of interesting and topical ideas in Esquivel and Villalobos’s book, and while it may not all be comfortable to read, it’s putting a fantastical spin on a real-world issue in a way that will hopefully inspire people to seek out how they can help the issues this book focuses on. It’s also got cool monsters, which is always a bonus too.
Posted on September 5, 2018, in Comic reviews and tagged Asgardians of the Galaxy, Bordertown, Cullen Bunn, Eric M Esquivel, Marvel Comics, Matteo Lolli, Ramon Villalobos, Vertigo Comics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.