Monica Rambeau Photon #3
With the universe twisting around her past, Monica Rambeau finds herself trapped in a vortex of bad memories. Her time with the Avengers, the deaths she's had to grapple with, and The Beyonder's whimsical menagerie of annoyance are thrust in her face without many answers as to her current predicament. She's been left with only questions, and is now on the hunt for answers.
In this issue, Monica puts two and two together to discover the root of this universal shifting reasonably. This takes her back into space for a chance meeting with the Charos, who offers her a chance to fix everything that’s been going amiss.
Pacing is the key to making any story enjoyable. You can take a played-out idea and pace it to make it feel fresh and engaging. The opposite can occur as well. One can have a great idea with a strong character hook and squander it with poor pacing. Sadly, this Monica series has fallen into the latter camp.
That is not to say the book has been all bad. Ewing has a firm grasp on who Monica is and how that influences her life as a superhero. There is much to love in how Monica’s brain is being put under a lens and somewhat deconstructed without muddying up what the character means. Her insecurities and doubts are fully displayed, only counterbalanced by her heroic deeds and how those build her up inside. Ewing proves that character analysis can happen without turning the character’s life into one steaming pile of edge lord goop. Monica’s characterization has remained strong since the first issue, and I greatly appreciate that. Suppose that’s something you like from your cape comics, then this issue wonders. The Charos are a wonderful representation of Monica and what she can do that other can’t.
However, the plot must match Ewing’s excellent character work. This issue continues to spin its wheels, treating things we already knew as grand reveals that should have occurred in the case prior. Twelve pages are spent fact-checking information that is only somewhat important to the plot before getting to the emotional crux of this issue, which is unrelated to what was explored prior. This lull almost takes away from the ideas presented on the page. The last two points were hindered by this shoddy pacing as well. The plot is bare bones and stuck laying breadcrumbs that lead to nothing interesting.
Thankfully, Ewing’s dialogue is a mix of modern ramble and old-school tell-all, ensuring the book is never annoying. The differences in dialect are always earnest, never comofg off as a parody or offensive. It all flows nicely together and does an excellitsob in showing us what a character is about without wasting too much time explaining their complete history.
The artwork continues to get the job done, which is not a criticism. It is clear and does an excellent job of telling its story with good color work to match. Consistency to the art keeps me reading a book even in its darkest times, and the art team here is one I’d continue reading regardless of the story’s aimless direction.
Overall, this issue doesn't re-contextualize the rest of the mini-series in a way that would have me yelling from my soapbox to go back and pickup the previous two issues. However, for fans of Monica Rambeau who may have been hesitant about picking up this book, I can strongly recommend it on the character front alone. Whatever I may find disengaging about the story's structure, Ewing does have such an excellent way of presenting Monica and her struggles that I will continue reading the book until its end.
Monica Rambeau: Photon #3 Aimless Amongst its Star
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 5/105/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10