Today, Big Planet Comics was having a 20% off sale on everything in the store. Because what’s more American than buying comics? Not wanting to fight DC traffic, we went to the Vienna store and it was full of guys and guys only. There was one other woman in there, briefly — obviously a girlfriend — looking kind of uncomfortable. It wasn’t that anyone was saying anything inappropriate — it was just full of guys.
And I was buying Marvel Divas #1. I was carrying it around as I looked at other things in the store and I was feeling … not exactly ashamed, but I was kind of feeling “No, no, I totally like other things too! This is research, this is going to be better than it looks …”
I don’t know why I particularly cared because I know enough about comics to be confident in my purchases. I think it was just that the cover is completely embarrassing.
So, yes, the comic. It’s better than you probably think it’s going to be. Is it life-changing? No. But it’s fun, and I think that’s all it needs to be.
It’s a little exposition-heavy as we get a pile of relationship and character backstory, but it does work, as Patsy Walker, Monica Rambeau and Felicia Hardy each share their troubles with men over drinks after fleeing from Patsy’s book launch party. It’s something women would do. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa keeps the pace moving and they all talk like friends, with gentle teasing and sometimes criticism. They feel like girls I’d like to hang out with.
Nothing much happens until the final three pages when Angelica Jones walks in, crying. The girls rally around her to find out what’s wrong, and she reveals what I assume is going to be the major plot point — she has cancer — in a surprisingly emotional scene (even though I knew it was coming.
Tonci Zonji’s art is playful and animated, making what would otherwise be static scenes of people talking into something dynamic. He communicates the characters’ emotions amazingly well, with body language and facial expressions. The panel when Angelica first appears, holding her purse to her chest with a tear-stained face, beautifully shows her devastation. While Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing does elevate traditional romantic-comedy conventions beyond the usual, Zonjic’s art is really what makes this book.
I think it’s sad that Marvel really screwed up when they announced this. If people do pick it up, I think they’re going to go into it with the wrong attitude and I don’t know if this issue is really strong enough to overcome that. I did like it quite a bit, but it was about what I expected. It’s just a light-hearted diversion, though, even if it is a good one.