All right, hands up everyone who was slightly turned off by the title “Marvel Divas.” (I think we can all thank VH1 for overusing the word “Diva” into oblivion.) I admit it, I had planned to steer clear of the book. Then I remembered that I enjoyed Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s issue of “Young Avengers Presents” and I started hearing good things about the first issue, so I’d given it a shot. Well, the second issue is here, and I’m pleased to say that this is a strong and fun mini-series.
I have to give Aguirre-Sacasa credit: “Marvel Divas” is a lot of fun. What strikes the reader almost instantly is how Aguirre-Sacasa makes the friendship between Patsy, Angelica, Monica, and Felicia (or Hellcat, Firestar, Photon, and Black Cat) feel natural and warm. It’s as if you’ve stepped next to a group of friends that have known each other for years, and their back-and-forth banter as well as caring for one another is the real heart and soul of the book. Everything else — going with Angelica to have Doctor Strange and Night Nurse examine her breast cancer, finding out about Monica and Brother Voodoo’s team-up, even just buying new outfits — is merely gravy.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of funny and clever stuff going on in those sections, too. It’s hard to not laugh when Felicia asks if Monica’s still receiving voodoo dolls, and when told “he’s told a lot worse” the scene suddenly shifts to a drooling zombie at Monica’s door holding a bouquet of flowers. There’s even some potential superheroics on the horizon for the remaining issues, although knowing Aguirre-Sacasa he’ll have the ladies solve their problems in other ways. But it’s all just fun (well, except for the cancer part) and entertaining to read.
Tonci Zonjic’s art reminds me a lot of Paul Grist, with a stripped down but expressive art style. It may look simple at a glance, but don’t be fooled. Zonjic’s capable of a lot with the art for “Marvel Divas.” Monica’s “do I tell them?” contemplative look, for instance, speaks volumes much more than even her thought balloon can. Angelica has a beautiful innocence about her, but Zonjic’s able to draw the tenser moments too, like a slightly panicked look on Angelica’s face when she’s being examined by Doctor Strange. Even Felicia’s look of surprise as her loan application is denied (and in a pretty classy looking outfit to boot) is just about perfect. I don’t know what Zonjic’s done before, but I’m ready to see lots more in the near future.
I really wish this hadn’t been priced at $3.99, because this is the sort of comic that I think would benefit by a casual buyer giving it a shot. It’s fun, it’s witty, it’s nicely drawn, and I for one would buy an ongoing series. Hint hint, Marvel. Check it out, you’ll love it.