I understand why they're using Hayley Atwell's Peggy on the cover, but it must be confusing to fans of the MCU who pick this up expecting MCU Peggy anI understand why they're using Hayley Atwell's Peggy on the cover, but it must be confusing to fans of the MCU who pick this up expecting MCU Peggy and getting 616 Peggy art. Though that doesn't matter in the long run, because ANY Peggy Carter is badass.
The war is over, but Peggy still sleeps with combat boots by her bedside. Why?
Because if someone infiltrates your home, you're not going to take care of business in your bare feet.
Much like Agent Carter, Operation S.I.N. has Howard Stark drawing Peggy back into action, where she enjoys being. What follows is a romp around the world, a team made up of interesting characters, HYDRA, alien artifacts and a hell of a great showcase for the sheer whirlwind of awesome that is Peggy Carter.
If you want a quick, fun read, this is for you. If you want more Peggy Carter, this is for you.
And, joy of joys, that rarity in today's world of crossover events: you can read this one without needing to know anything about Original Sin....more
4 stars evened out between the really great stories and the just okay stories. Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a fantastic anthology, featuring so4 stars evened out between the really great stories and the just okay stories. Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a fantastic anthology, featuring some current popular YA writers coming together to write a bunch of horror stories. And it's fantastic. I had high hopes for this, and though there's always one or two short stories in an anthology that can bring the book down, I thought each story here did well. Some weren't as good as others, but only one was a true clunker for me.
Fun side note: each story is based on some form of pop culture - films, stories, poems, etc. Some I realized right away, and others I didn't know until I checked the footnotes. It became a sort of game for me to see if I could spot the reference.
The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma - 5/5 Teenage girls know more than we're given credit for.
Nova Ren Suma writes some fantastic teenage girls, and Birds features a great snapshot of them. Three teens (among others) have dealt with the long stares and thinly veiled longing from their older male neighbor, but of course the parents believe he's completely harmless - he's a wonderful baker, after all. The girls deal with his mostly harmless leering until the night they see him bring a young girl home...and the weirdness begins.
The reveal is easy to see pretty early on, but it didn't detract from the impact of the ending one bit. Nova Ren Suma knows how to pack a punch in such a short time frame, and it's obviously a very strong start to the book.
Spot the reference: Didn't catch this one as I read.
In the Forest Dark and Deep, by Carrie Ryan - 5/5 I'm giving this one a full five stars for how deeply fucking unsettling it was. Donnie Darko meets Alice in Wonderland in this one, and Donnie Darko has given me a life-long fear of man-sized rabbits. (Fuck you, Frank.) The moment I read the description of the March Hare I had to turn on the lights in my bedroom to finish the story.
Spot the reference: Pretty obvious right from the start.
Emmeline, by Cat Winters - 3/5 One of the shorter stories, Emmeline is a story that would sound really fantastic around a campfire late at night. It has some good atmosphere, but it felt a little too obvious as the story went on. The reveal didn't have as much weight as it should have, but I'm still not sure if it was meant to be a twist/reveal as such, or only the obvious conclusion to the story being told.
Spot the reference: Apparently three different ones, none of which I got.
Verse Chorus Verse, by Leigh Bardugo - 2/5 I was a little surprised that the story I found one of the weakest was by Leigh Bardugo. I enjoy her Grisha series, but there was little I liked about this one. It focuses too much on the life of a pop starlet and the supernatural isn't clear at all. Ultimately the ending left me dissatisfied.
Spot the reference: Not one I got, and a surprising one.
Hide-and-Seek, by Megan Shepherd - 3/5 Annie has to win a game against death, and death never loses. Taking place over the span of 24 hours, Hide-and-Seek is a story that is an adrenaline rush, moving from moment to moment with very little time to breathe. I was captivated for the first few scenes, but it quickly became difficult to stick with my suspension of disbelief as thing after thing after thing kept happening. I'm not quite sure I liked the ending, but the story accomplishes what it wants very well.
Spot the reference: Did I mention I was pretty bad at this? Also, very surprising.
The Dark, the Scary Parts and All, by Danielle Paige - 3/5 I spent the majority of this story wondering where it was going, then when I got to the end, I laughed. I don't think laughter was intended by Danielle Paige. (view spoiler)[When it's revealed that Damien is actually Hades' (or the Devil's?) son and he just wants to claim Marnie, it reads two ways for me. First, it's a basic creepy ending, all oh no, whatever will she do, she can't escape him!. Second, every step of the way Damien reminded me of SO MANY YA LOVE INTERESTS that all I could think of was this story as a scathing indictment on the mysterious, super gorgeous and deep love interest trope. Yeah, Damien is deep and has a mysterious past - he's the fucking devil. DON'T FALL FOR THE DEVIL, GIRLS. (hide spoiler)]
Spot the reference: Well, one is actually mentioned in the story, so sure, I got it.
The Flicker, the Fingers, the Beat, the Sigh, by April Genevieve Tucholke - 3/5 I rated this pretty highly because I really love how April Genevieve Tucholke evokes a mood right from the start -- that feeling of being on the cusp of high school and college, when your life is finally changing and every plan you've been making is coming together. Except something brings it all crashing down.
The actual plot of the story is really good, but...it comes crashing down with the ending. Very dissatisfying.
Also, the narrator is a dick.
Spot the reference: Finally got another one!
Fat Girl with a Knife, by Jonathan Maberry - 4/5 So, I was very dubious about this one thanks to the title and how it starts, but damn if Jonathan Maberry didn't make me fall in love with Dahlia. While the length constraints don't leave much of her to be fleshed out, what Maberry does include makes for a very clear picture of who Dahlia is in this snapshot of a moment in her lifetime.
Oh, and some other stuff happens that's pretty rad. This one has the least creep factor of all the stories, but I really enjoyed it.
Spot the reference: Hell yes.
Sleepless, by Jay Kristoff - 2/5 I was very unsure about this story for a majority of it, since a huge part of it takes place in IM format, which drove me nuts. Pretty sure nobody really uses txt spk when having online conversations these days. Anyway, it was a very real, very grounded, and very...unimpactful story, especially compared to the others. I didn't even really enjoy the resolution the way I think we're intended to.
Spot the reference: One of them, and I thought the ending was a reference to something obvious, but apparently wasn't.
M, by Stefan Bachmann - 1/5 I was flying through the book and then I got to M, which brought my momentum to a grinding halt. The initial set up of a blind girl being "witness" to a crime was interesting, but I didn't quite like most of the story, and I didn't like where it went. I really wanted something to happen (view spoiler)[with the creepy children who seem to know everything that happens (hide spoiler)], but that wasn't meant to be.
Spot the reference: Nope.
The Girl Without a Face, by Marie Lu - 2/5 Eeehhhh? This had promise, but then the reveals started to happen and I lost interest very quickly.
Spot the reference: Nope.
A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow, by McCormick Templeman - 2/5 Not a great stretch of stories here. I was a bit confused as to where the story started out, and found the characters felt more like cardboard cutouts than anything. Mysterious girl, sympathetic guy, his menacing brother, etc. I enjoyed the ending a bit.
Spot the reference: No, but I googled the film and I'm totally interested in watching it.
Stitches, by A.G. Howard - 4/5 Ohhh hell yes. This was so strange and it starts off with an in your face bang. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the reasoning behind what was happening, the sheer creepiness and horror of the reveal. This was the only story in the entire book that made me gasp "oh SHIT!" out loud. Fucking body horror, I love it and love to hate it.
Spot the reference: Oh yes, it's very obvious.
On the I-5, by Kendare Blake - 2/5 A very disappointing finish to the book, which surprises me as I really loved Kendare Blake's previous novels. The real intentions of the character are shrouded too much to make her all that interesting, and it isn't until the reveal that my interest perked up. I liked the idea behind the story, but the part I liked was only a couple pages at the very end.
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Look. I'm giving this five stars even though it opens with Michel Fiffe shitting on the Marvel universe again with whatever that Daredevil and Karen PLook. I'm giving this five stars even though it opens with Michel Fiffe shitting on the Marvel universe again with whatever that Daredevil and Karen Page story was supposed to be. (No, I haven't forgiven him for All New Ultimates, Vol. 1: Power for Power, why do you ask?) The art and tone did not fit with the rest of the stories at all. The others were very light romantic fun, and the Daredevil story was what, Karen following Matt around because she thinks he's cheating on her with Typhoid Mary? And then that reveal at the end, what the actual fuck was that?
As for the art, no thanks.
Thankfully the rest of the issue way more than made up for Fiffe's story. The rest of the stories are light-hearted romps with bright, fun art. Danny Rand and Misty Knight were the highlight of the issue for me, especially because DANNY PUTS MISTY'S HAIR IN BANTU KNOTS. What? WHAT?? You never see that in huge canons like this. A BLACK WOMAN'S WHITE HUSBAND WAS DOING HER HAIR. I know it seems like such a little thing, but this is where I'm just gonna say REPRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT. I can't imagine how many other black women felt connected to the issue so much more just for that little action. I need Jeremy Whitley to do more Marvel comics because he understands representation. It's the little things.
There are also some really great moments as Misty contemplates her relationship and the family and life she and Danny have created together.
Oh, and then the Wasp and Ant-Man story took place in an actual universe where they're all bugs and HULK WAS A ROLY POLY!!!!!! And and AND Squirrel Girl ended up naming each of Thor's abs, and Kamala Kahn and Robbie Reyes end up a pretty perfect team.
I want more issues like this. I want less end of the world and more day in the life stuff with cute art. I need more light in my Marvel comics....more