What sounds like an experimental estrogen-laden breakfast cereal is really just an out-of-continuity experiment with some of the women of Marvel. Except they’re only just women. Well, maybe not yet, but soon. OK, this book is essentially “Marvel High School Musical” minus the music.
Experiments like this usually are stellar in their ingenuity or wallow in their mediocrity. I’m not going to judge the entire series on the first issue, but mediocrity seems to be the scent I’m picking up. Either that, or it is teen spirit.
The writing is standard high school fare — catty girls broken off into cliques, dreamy boys that the catty girls are fawning over, and one really solid friendship surrounded by a sea of uncertainty — but with super powers. The cover depicts Wasp, She-Hulk, Namora, Ms. Marvel, and Valkyrie grooving to an old Alice Cooper ditty, but only two of the characters appear in this issue with the powers in place. Jenny Walters, not She-Hulk, is a strong co-star, with some foreshadowing of what’s to come, but she keeps her other half in check despite Namora (and crew) dragging her into their problem with Janet Van Dyne.
To get a different take on this comic, I dropped it into the lap of my twelve-year-old daughter. Her assessment (with no familiarity with these characters from any previous incarnation) was: “I really like all of the characters, but I’m curious about Jenny. She got all green, like her whole body. That was weird. I’m also curious about this Namora. She’s strong, but what else can she do?”
She went on to add her thoughts about the art: “It reminded me of the more recent issues of ‘[Wolverine] First Class’ with Kitty Pryde. It’s cool.” I’ve got to agree with her there. Rousseau’s art is cool. He’s a perfect match for this book, and his straightforward camera angles, combined with the highly stylized character renderings make this book work.
I was prepared to assess this comic a two-star rating, but my daughter’s enjoyment of the comic has to count for something. With “Wolverine: First Class” no longer being published, this comic seems to be an apt replacement.
For fans that have been missing the Wasp and hold no qualms over continuity, this comic is a nice fix. It’s a peek into the shaping of the Janet Van Dyne “Avengers” fans know and miss.