Happy New Year, everybody! Let’s kick off the new year with a new blog series, First Impressions, where we’ll take a look at recently released #1 comic book issues.
For this inaugural edition of First Impressions, we’ll look at Star Wars #1, Spider-Ham #1, Thor #1, and Incoming #1. Don’t worry, NO SPOILERS.
Star Wars (2020) #1: The Destiny Path Part I
Story: Charles Soule
Art: Jesús Saiz
Colors: Jesús Saiz and Arif Prianto
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
This year marks the 40th year anniversary of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and the 5th year anniversary of the Star Wars franchise’s return to Marvel. With Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker still playing in theaters and sparking heated debates on whether it sucks or not, it’s the perfect time to relaunch Star Wars comics with a new #1.
Star Wars #1 picks up right after the events of Empire, particularly the legendary “I am your father!” scene. It fleshes out Luke Skywalker’s reaction to this revelation and starts to fill out what happened between Episode V and Episode VI. Charles Soule does a good job of building on characters’ motivations and quirks without going too crazy.
Aside from the characters we all know from the movies, we also get to see some who were introduced in the last volume of Star Wars like Shara Bey and Kes Dameron. We also meet a new baddie, Commander Zahra. So far, she doesn’t stand out from the other bad guys in the Star Wars universe, but hopefully, she’ll become more interesting in the coming issues.
Jesús Saiz draws with the right amount of realism that makes the characters feel authentic but not too realistic that you feel like you’re looking at a sketch of a young Carrie Fisher instead of an image of Leia Organa. His Millenium Falcon is also fantastic.
This is a must for fans of the original Star Wars trilogy. For casual fans like me, there’s enough fun stuff here to make me go back for issue #2.
Spider-Ham (2019) #1
Story: Zeb Wells
Art: Will Robson
Colors: Erick Arciniega
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Peter Porker is the Spectacular Spider-Ham of New Yolk City. He was a spider just minding his own business when he was bitten by a radioactive May Porker. Just so we’re clear, an actual spider transformed into an anthropomorphic pig because an anthropomorphic pig bit him. May Porker then adopted him as her nephew.
The rest of Spider-Ham’s world is just as weird and funny. Much of this issue’s appeal is based on amusing anthropomorphic gags like Bee-Yonder, Crocktor Strange, and J. Jonah Jackal. But with the twist in the end, I’m wondering if we’re going to get a shift in tone next issue.
On the art side, I don’t mind the cartoon style because the story is about a cartoon pig with spider powers. However, I don’t like the warm tone of all the story pages. It’s like every page had a sepia filter applied to it. I’m not sure if this is to convey that the story is a flashback or if it’s just an artistic choice, but it’s not very good.
If they can fix the colors next issue, I’m game for some more Spider-Ham silliness. Maybe.
Thor (2020) #1: The Black Winter
Story: Donny Cates
Art: Nic Klein
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
“Let there be peace or let there be thunder.” That’s how King Thor introduces his reign to all ten realms. It’s a request that doubles as a warning. I love it.
The best thing about Jason Aaron leaving Thor is that Donny Cates is now taking over. Cates, the most metal writer who gave us a metal Venom and a metal Ghost Rider IN SPAAACE, is now writing the most metal Marvel character of all.
This first issue is a great recap of the previous status quo and an even greater introduction to the new status quo. I thought Cates was already doing wonders with Marvel’s cosmic characters, but by adding Thor to his tangled cosmic web, he has effectively built the most fascinating section of the Marvel Universe that isn’t Krakoa.
Cates, Klein, and the rest of the team brought the thunder here and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with Thor and his supporting cast. Adding this to my pull list and you should too.
Story: Al Ewing, Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Jason Aaron, Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Pak, Eve L. Ewing, Ed Brisson, Donny Cates, Saladin Ahmed, Tini Howard, Jonathan Hickman, and Dan Slott
Art: Humberto Ramos, Jorge Fornés, Mattia De Iulis, Carmen Carnero, Andrea Sorrentino, R.B. Silva, Annie Wu, Kim Jacinto, Joe Bennett, Aaron Kuder, Ryan Stegman, Javier Garrón, Jim Cheung, Luciano Vecchio, Francesco Manna, Carlos Pacheco
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Incoming is a one-shot, but it’s still a #1 issue, so we’re talking about this.
I haven’t been reading a lot of non-X-Men comics lately so I’m a little behind on some Marvel stories. In that regard, Incoming is both a gift and a curse.
It’s a gift because it lets me catch up on most of the major series in Marvel’s current slate. It also teases some of the big stories we’ll be seeing in 2020, including a robot revolution and, surprise surprise, a major crossover event.
It’s a curse because it pushes stories and characters that are barely connected to the advertised murder mystery. I just got bamboozled into reading previews of stories I wouldn’t have checked out if they weren’t included in this issue. Now I have to know what happens next IN EVERYTHING.
This one-shot is a great preview for what’s coming in Marvel this year. If you’re not a fan of recent Marvel comics and you’re not willing to expand your horizons, you can skip this. However, I do consider it well worth the $9.99 cover price just for this scene of H.E.R.B.I.E. being real:
Star Wars #1, Spider-Ham #1, Thor #1, and Incoming #1 are available now wherever fine comic books are sold.