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411’s Comic Reviews: Excalibur #8, Marauders #9, More  

March 5, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Excalibur 8

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews (and previews) from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!  

Before we jump into things I wanted to give the great Mark McKenna’s Kickstarter some shine. While it doesn’t go live till March 1st, find him on social media and stay tuned for his Banana Tails project. As he says…

I created Banana Tail back in the late 1990s with my dear old departed dad and he’s never gotten to see that his son, me, developed his idea into a beloved children’s book series for those familiar with it. I started out submitting Banana Tail to staples in the children’s book market like Little Golden Books, Little, Brown, and Simon & Schuster and got very close to getting a contract with a few of them. It was eye-opening to say the least, but these “near misses” helped me realize I had something worthy.

If you click the link below there’s a 10 page preview of Banana Tail and the Checkerboard Jungle for you to sink your teeth into. You’ll be able to tell if this is a book for you.. or some child you know might enjoy it!~ Once again.. Thanks for looking!~

This is one project you won’t want to miss. 

Marauders #9

By Jeremy Thomas

Kate Pryde is dead, but the Marauders aren’t without other problems to deal with while Krakoa tries to bring her back into the fold.  Kate’s death has loomed over this series since it happened back in issue #6 at the hands of Sebastian Shaw, but it’s also been a boon of a sort.  She’s such an essential part of this series that it was hard to really give the other characters a lot of focus early on.  By cannily removing her from the board, Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli opened up a lot of real estate so that they could look at the rest of the team and give them some development, both in how they’re dealing with their captain’s fall and otherwise.

Marauders #9 continues that trend as it deals with the elephant in the room — or rather, the Yellowjacket in the mutant.  The Ant-Man villain has been stowing away on Pyro as we saw previously as a spy for Homines Verendi, so he can relay information from Krakoa back to the Hellfire Kids.  The young monsters have their plans for Krakoa, and the wonderfully-named “Journey to the Center of Pyro” delves into Yellowjacket’s mission – and more importantly, how the Marauders will deal with it.

While this whole issue could seem like a time-filler as we wait for Kate’s return if handled less effectively, Duggan and Lolli prove up to the task of playing out the story in an interesting way that allows the other Marauders some time to shine.  Pyro’s been largely a comic relief character in the series so far, and it’s nice to see him get some more development while Bishop and Emma also get a chance to shine.  Duggan delves some more into how the loss of Kate is affecting the White Queen without taking away any of her competency, and Lolli’s art really sells the emotions than everyone is feeling here.

Lolli in particular deserves praise for this issue.  He’s been doing some of the best art in the Dawn of X line short of Pepe Larraz and RB Silva, and a sequence involving some Yellowjacket/mutant conflict in particular is stunningly good. There are some coloring issues involving Bishop that pop back up – an unfortunate recurrence of the Storm and Bishop concerns from earlier in this series – but it appears to be an outdoor lighting choice and that context makes it less egregious than it otherwise would have been.

There are still a lot of plot threads hanging in Marauders, with a lot of promise toward where they’re heading in here.  The final sequence bodes well for our team getting some answers about what happened to Kate, which should open an entirely new can of messy worms to deal with – especially with the next issue seemingly dealing directly with Kate’s death.  Given how well the series has handled the story so well, I’m very excited to see what’s next for our merry band of mutant pirates.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Excalibur #8

Review by Jeremy Thomas

Last month’s issue of Excalibur kicked off a new mini-arc that, while mildly fun, seemed a bit filler-y.  It was definitely a bit less than what we’ve come to expect from Tini Howard and Marcus To, but I’m grateful for it.  Because without the merely-acceptable arrival of Cullen Bloodstone and a weird Warwolf hunt, we wouldn’t have had the joyous conclusion that is “The Unspeakable and the Uneatable II.”  Howard and To earned the faith of Excalibur fans in the first six issues and deliver in the conclusion to the pure set-up of last week’s issue.

Following up on the confrontation that concluded issue #7, this week sees Betsy and her team engage in a bit of battle, both physical and social, with Cullen and his pompous attitudes.  The United Kingdom has no shortage of its own superpowered individuals, and Cullen makes for a perfectly fine example of how the other heroes (and “heroes”) might feel about Excalibur in the wake of Krakoa.  There’s a lot of subtle worldbuilding going on here, with Cullen serving as a possible stand-in for how other supers as well as the higher social class in the country feel about this new tenuous situation.

With Cullen, we also have a character who bounces off several of Excalibur’s teammates very well.  Betsy and Rictor in particular have a chance to shine in this capacity while Rogue, Gambit, and Jubilee have some good moments during the renewed hunt-slash-contest.  And lest he be left behind, Apocalypse gets a wonderful scene at the end of the issue with Betsy when things don’t quite go as planned regarding the mission to bring him all the Warwolves.  And judging by the artwork, To and Wilton Santos are really enjoying the opportunity to explore British elitist fashion as well as monsters, silvery and otherwise.

There’s no getting around to the idea that this arc is not my favorite of this series.  But to be fair, it’s only the second arc of the book and the first set the bar very high.  It definitely feels more like a diversion before the book jumps into something bigger.  There are some interesting implications to Apocalypse’s plan and the Coven Akkaba is still out there causing trouble, all of which I’m looking forward to. But but at the same time, “The Unspeakable and the Uneatable II” is adding some depth and shading to the cast so it doesn’t feel superfluous, resulting in an enjoyable little ride.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Ghosts #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson
 BOOM! Studios revealed today a first look at JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER: GHOSTS #1, the first story in a brand new four-issue comic book anthology series based on the Emmy Award-winning classic television show, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, presenting several extraordinary folk tales of life after death. JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER: GHOSTS #1, from cartoonist Márk László, colorist Patricio Delpeche, and letterer Jim Campbell, presents the perils of getting entangled in a ghost’s affairs, available in March 2020.

In Scandinavian folklore, there exists a vengeful ghost known as the Myling. A man traveling at night comes across a haunting cry from within the forest. He enters it to find a spirit who demands to be carried to its proper burial site. The man agrees, but as he travels forth, the spirit’s grip tightens… it grows in size…and the man moves slower and slower. Can he unburden himself of this terrifying weight before it brings him down for good?


Preview by Steve Gustafson 
BOOM! Studios today revealed an exclusive first look at new original graphic novel BEAR—from Ben Queen, writer of Pixar’s Cars 2 and Cars 3 and creator of NBC television show A to Z, and children’s book author and illustrator Joe Todd-Stanton (A Mouse Called Julian), comes an unforgettable story of one dog’s grand adventure from the wooded countryside to the heart of Manhattan where he encounters new friends and discovers his true calling.

Bear is a guide dog for the blind, and he would do anything for his best friend and owner, Patrick. But when Bear suddenly loses his own vision, he worries that he has lost his purpose! Determined to protect Patrick at all costs, Bear sets out on a quest to regain his eyesight. Along the way Bear will learn to tap into his other senses and begin to see the world from a new perspective that is at times more rich and colorful than the world he’s always known.

BEAR is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ ambitious Archaia imprint, home to graphic novels such as Bolivar by Sean Rubin; Mouse Guard by David Petersen; A Girl in the Himalayas by David Jesus Vignolli; Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramón Pérez; and licensed series including Lev Grossman’s The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lilah Sturges and Pius Bak; Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation.

Red Atlantis #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson
A series of unexplained, violent crimes on Election Day around the U.S. leads the FBI to zero in on a covert group of Russian terrorists.

When a Texas journalism student named Miriam accidentally finds herself mixed up in the investigation, her life will never be the same. With political espionage, treason, and even mind control, can she clear her name and stop the U.S. from entering into a new Cold War?

From writer Stephanie Phillips (Butcher of Paris, ARTEMIS AND THE ASSASSIN, DESCENDENT) and artist Robert Carey (Aliens: Resistance, James Bond) comes a fast-paced political thriller that explores the dark history of U.S./Russian relations.

That’s all the time we have. Tell us what you’re reading below and see you back here next week! You can now find our reviews on!