Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review: MARVEL RISING: Alpha #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Devin Grayson
ART: Georges Duarte
COLORS: Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
EDITORS: Heather Antos and Sarah Brunstad
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Akira Yoshida
COVER: Gurihiru
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Stacey Lee; Rian Gonzales
36pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (August 2018)

Rated “T”

Part 1

“Marvel Rising” is a “new animation universe” from Marvel Entertainment.  It is apparently a multi-platform franchise that will feature a diverse line-up of Marvel Comics superheroes:  Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Quake, Spider-Gwen, Lockjaw, America Chavez, Squirrel Girl, Patriot, and Inferno.  “Marvel Rising” will include digital animated short films (focusing on Spider-Gwen) and a feature-length animated film, Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, for release sometime in the second half of 2018. I think Captain Marvel will be involved in “Marvel Rising,” to one extent or another.

Released earlier this year, Marvel Rising #0 is a free comic book that previews the Marvel Rising comic books.  It brings together Doreen Green a.k.a. the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Kamala Kahn a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.  It presents Doreen as a volunteer in a teaching program, in which her latest pupils are a group of New Jersey high school students that includes Kamala.  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel eventually team-up to take on A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) who play some part in a scheme to find “powered teens” or young people with unusual genetic traits.

Now the Marvel Rising comic book miniseries begins in earnest with the recent arrival of Marvel Rising: Alpha.  It is written by Devin Grayson; drawn by Georges Duarte; colored by Rachelle Rosenberg; and lettered by Clayton Cowles.

Marvel Rising: Alpha #1 (“Part 1”) introduces high school student, Ember Quade, known online as “Emulator” or “3mul@t0r.”  She is a really good gamer, much to the chagrin of some teen boys who absolutely hate to lose to girls.  Ember has a friend to whom she can confide her powers, an online buddy named “King0fPWN.”  He or she lifts Ember's spirits, and also encourages her to explore her emerging powers.

Meanwhile, computer science college student, Doreen Green a.k.a. the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, continues to teach an extracurricular class, game programming, at a New Jersey high school.  One of he students is Kamala Kahn a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.  When giant versions of video game characters start popping up on campus, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel spring into action.

I enjoyed Marvel Rising #0, although it is really a “kids' comic book.”  Marvel Rising: Alpha #1 is rated “T” as a comic book for teen readers, but I think it is appropriate for middle school and 'tween readers, especially for girls who read or might read a comic book.  Writer Devin Grayson eschews character drama for the kind of episodic adventure found in animated action and superhero animated TV series.  The super-heroine action here is good, but not great.  Personally, I would do something different with Ember Quade's powers, but then again, Grayson may not have a lot of control over the direction of this story.

The illustrations by Georges Duarte and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg are pretty, but the graphical storytelling is not particularly ambitious.  The lettering seems crowded, but the design is good.  I think the point here is more about being “good” than being ambitious.  I wish the people who are overseeing Marvel Rising would expect as much of their target audience as Marvel Studios does of the audience for its smash hit films.  Still, I would recommend this to young comic book readers interested in superheroes and super-heroines.

6 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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