Nebula #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on February 11, 2020

Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Claire Roe
Colors: Mike Spicer
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham

Without going into too many spoilers this issue revolves around Nebula trying to get her hands on a new piece of tech to upgrade her already impressive cybernetic powers, and she’s not afraid to employ any method of persuasal at her disposal to get it. And right from the get go we’re reminded that she’s a villain, and it makes a nice change to have the bad guy as the main focus. I suspect by the end of the arc she may end up living in a bit more of a grey area like Yondu recently in his mini-series.

Debut issues usually suffer from similar problems. Usually too much time is spent setting the story up for future issues that the writer forgets to start telling the story. As a reader we’re left to look for the potential for the rest of the series. Not so here, Nebula #1 hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. I like the concept of the story and where it was going.

The only hiccup came when I reached the final page. There’s a ‘twist’ at the end which, while I didn’t see it coming, is such an overused and cliched trope. It feels like Vita Ayala spent all this effort writing a clever and imaginative story with so much potential going forward I felt the issue could have been ended in a better way. It’s almost enough to drag down my opinion of the rest of the comic but I’m going to give the ending the benefit of the doubt for now, and assume after how well done the rest of the issue was there's a plan going forward that’ll continue to make the series just as exciting as this first issue.

I mentioned Yondu earlier. There are a lot of similarities between this mini-series and the recent Yondu series which just concluded. They both focus on characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy films, which are closer to their movie counterparts than the original comics. Both series put characters in the spotlight that are a far cry from the usual heroes we have plaguing the pages of our Marvel comics. Having Mike Spicer coloring both probably reinforce the similarities. I suspect Marvel have a bigger plan with these characters, since the conclusion of Yondu coincides with the debut of Nebula. But only time will tell.

I think it’s fair to say Vita Ayala is a fan of the Guardians films since Nebula's character is captured really well, the nuances of the character from the MCU in particular, to the extent I can actually hear Karen Gillan’s rasping voice in my head when I read her lines.

Claire Roe’s art is really good throughout. Like John McCrea in Yondu it’s a good fit for the series. We’re seeing a side of Marvel Cosmic we don’t usually see, and while not quite as gritty as Yondu, Roe really manages to capture this different side of the Universe. She also has a great grasp on Nebula, managing to make her look suitably menacing. Then we have the other characters, she captures their wide-eyed fear perfectly. The fight scenes are frantic, with all focus on the main characters and the background faded away so as not to distract.

There is also an effect used in a few pages later on relating to Nebulas upgrade. I’m not sure who should get the credit, whether it’s Claire Roe or Mike Spicer, but whoever is responsible did a great job and it’s really effective.

The final panel employs such a tired storytelling trope it lets down the clever and imaginative story up until that point. Looking past that, if Vita Ayala’s writing continues these otherwise high standards, with Claire Roe and Mike Spicer on art duties, fans of Marvels Cosmic comics are in for a treat. I’m enjoying how Marvel are putting the spotlight on some of their lesser cosmic characters at the moment and I hope the trend continues. We're getting a return to the heights of Dan Abnett and Andy Lannings cosmic run and I hope this trend continues.

Our Score:


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