I didn’t mean to pick up this book, but three issue in, I seem to be collecting it.
Kieron Gillen is even doing one of my least-favorite comic book tricks with the long, drawn out “putting the team together” story. Typically those types of story turn me off quite quickly (see the recent Cable & X-Force relaunch).
There is one thing that can guarantee me coming back to a new launch, though. Good villains. And Gillen has a winner in his creation of Mother. Her patronizing tone and overly familiar dialogue immediately sets up a creepy feeling. Her ability to manipulate adults’ minds is a great, on-the-nose power for a book featuring rebellious kids. (I will say that I didn’t understand that about her powers until I read it on the recap page.) Her ability to create armies of goopy underlings is pretty handy too.
So before this issue, we had Hulkling, Wiccan, and Loki. This issue brings in the new Miss America, and what a debut it is. She gets a nice buildup, teasing her imminent arrival for a few pages before she lands with a splash and starts kicking butt. I love the new Miss America’s look and confidence, and she’s clearly got a good back story. It looks like she comes from a super-powered family, so I hope we get to see that history explored.
Gillen does engage in one other thing that annoys me; pop-culture shortcuts. While it is worth it to see Loki ask the team if they watch Game of Thrones (Hulking and Wiccan do, Miss America has never heard of it), having Loki say “I’m Tyrion!” is a bit too much like a statement from a series pitch. Would anyone really say that? (Even an Asgardian god?)
Jamie McKelvie does another great job on the art. I love this approach, with McKelvie drawing the main figures, but Mike Norton contributing on “finishes” and backgrounds. The book feels full and realized, and the main characters all have the tremendous level of personality we expect from McKelvie’s work.