Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CBR I ♥ Marvel

It's that time of the year, summer is out there, love is in the air or something.

I admit, I originally intended to make this review back in February, but since I wanna move forward with my Great Lakes-related reviews, here it is half a year too late.

Tippy-Toe says: Read these reviews!

Comic title: I ♥ Marvel (aka I Heart Marvel, I Love Marvel or I (heart) Marvel): Masked Intentions #1
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Drawn by Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Mike Norton

Published by Marvel Comics 
From 2006
Lineup I (heart) Marvel/GLA series/Squirrel Girl
Format: One-shot special.

Milwaukee's first superhero team is back! And love's in the air!

The Great Lakes Avengers, or GLA for short, are a fun parody team of superheroes, originally created by John Byrne.

The GLA are a team of minor C-list superheroes mutants based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The team used to be composed of the appropriately-named Mr. Immortal aka Craig Hollis, a quiet Savage Land refuge Dinah Soar, the impressive Big Bertha aka supermodel Ashley Crawford, not-Mister Fantastic Flatman aka Dr. Val Ventura whom I'm not sure is even a real doctor, and the mysterious Doorman aka DeMarr Davis with the ability to simply make doors.

Soon another underrated Marvel heroine Squirrel Girl, aka Doreen Green, would join up the gang following the death of Dinah Soar. She talks to squirrels. Also, she eats nuts. Her pet squirrel and partner Tippy-Toe taking over narrating duties and breaking the fourth wall from time to time.

Following Dan Slott's 2005 epic mini-series Misassembled that brought them back to much success, the Great Lakes would pop up in all kinds of places the next decade. After fighting for a change of name in a poker tournament in Dan Slott's own The Thing mini-series, they would get to star in a few one-shots the following years with a GLX-Mas Special (in 2005), a contribution to I ♥ Marvel (in 2006) and even a fun crossover with the Merc' with a Mouth in Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular (in 2007).

And yes, you read that right. I ♥ Marvel was a fun small initiative Marvel launched back in 2006 to bring back love to comics. Back in the 1970s Marvel used to publish a lot of those romance comics, but sadly over the decades superhero action comics basically took over the entire medium in America. Marvel and DC are easily the bigger offenders being the two biggest publishers in the US, they rarely do any books outside the genre (which has started to change finally these last few years).

With I (heart) Marvel took the occasion to release a few one shots around Valentine's Day 2006. A return to romantic tales with your regular usual Marvel characters, exploring love in general amidst the ranks of the Avengers, the X-Men or even the villains!
Five one shots were made in total. One for the X-Men titled "My Mutant Heart", another for Marvel's first most popular couple (at the time) Peter Parker and Mary Jane in "Web of Romance", one revolving around a few underdog characters such as Elektra, Scarlet Witch or Medusa "Marvel Ai" which had a more mange-influenced stylized direction, a book for supervillains "Outlaw Love" and finally the one I'll be reviewing here "Masked Intentions" following characters from the New Warriors.

This one here was entirely written by one of my favorite writers Fabian Nicieza who is covering two different love stories about younger heroes. Including yours truly!

Our first feature is the one called "First Kiss".

Our story takes place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We're back with the Great Lakes Avengers X-Men. Squirrel Girl is having some relationship issues. She's been in love with Speedball for so long.. but she has no idea how to get his attention. She hoped getting in the GLA would give her the chance to cross path with Speedball, but no luck so far. And why would someone as cool as this New Warrior even pay any attention to her? With her ridiculous (if totally unbeatable) super powers!? She has a tail, for chrissake!

After another one of her dreams interrupted by her critter sidekick Tippy-Toe, SG tries to get some advice from her teammates. But Flatman and Mr. Immortal tell her to simply talk to the boy! That couldn't be so simple, could it?

She finds a public appearance of Speedball and is finally able to get his attention when she prevents a dangerous attacker in that park.

"First Kiss" is a cute little cartoony tale, making use of the great Great Lakes heroes put back into the spotlight thanks to Dan Slott's fantastic Misassembled mini. It's the principal feature of this issue, and unlike other I (heart) Marvel that featured up to three short stories, this one was given more room to keep a pretty natural pace and not rush to the conclusion.

Paco Medina's is absolutely wonderful, Squirrel Girl has never looked cuter. Pretty charming and cartoony, pretty much in line with what you'd expect with a GLA comic.

The second a (sadly) more forgettable tale is "Last Date".

It's a short story that feels like it's a deleted scene from another book instead of a self-contained standalone short story.

C-List heroes Vance Astrovik - aka Justice - and Angelica Jones - aka the more popular Firestar - of the New Warriors are currently preparing their wedding. But with the date coming up fast, Firestar has been getting cold feet...

They talk. They talk a lot. On rooftops. And that's pretty much all there is to this story.

My only issue with this story, despite the fact I'm not a big fan of the characters, is that it just felt like a couple pages taken out of a regular book. Even the style doesn't try doing anything new to remind us of vintage Marvel romance comics. It's basically a few pages taken out of New Warriors.

Mike Norton's drawings are pretty decent, if not spectacular. They feel like they would fit perfectly fine in a mainstream superhero comic, but I would expect some more attention to expressions or body language in one of these I ♥ Marvel one shots.

All in all, okay-sh, nothing more.

Overall, this is another pretty fine entry for the Great Lakes Avengers, containing a pretty forgettable New Warriors back-up feature. At least, that's how I like to see it.

The writing is pretty solid, thanks to Fabian Nicieza. He's clearly having some more fun with the Squirrel Girl story, which allowed him to stretch out and sharpen his humor compared to the second tale.

All in all, it's a pretty funny book. I can't say all of these I (heart) Marvel were that great to begin with, some one shots were actually pretty bad. The Squirrel Girl/GLA story is pretty funny enough and would warrant getting a copy of this comic all by itself. Easily the best feature of this entire lineup in my eyes.

Really Worth A Read if you're a big fan of the characters or just looking for something different with some humor and even some romance in it. It might be a bit tricky trying to get your hands on a copy of it nowadays (I haven't checked it out) or grab it of comixology when and if Marvel finally decides to put these up there someday.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Howards!


  1. I'm a huge New Warriors fan, so I better get this one. Thanks for the review:)

    1. And I'm a huge GLA fan! XD

      Thanks for checking by!