- Written by: Eve Ewing
- Art by: Luca Maresca, Ivan Fiorelli
- Colors by: Carlos Lopez
- Letters by: VC’s Clayton Cowles
- Cover art by: Lucas Werneck
- Cover price: $3.99
- Release date: December 14, 2022
Monica Rambeau: Photon #1 (re)introduces readers to the hero who can transform into nearly any form of energy. When Monica experiences an existential crisis of identity during a particularly bad day, a little space may just be what the doctor ordered… unless that space happens to run into a powerful foe.
Is It Good?
Monica Rambeau: Photon #1 is fine, which seems to be the prevailing sentiment of all Marvel comics this week. It’s not a terrible first issue, nor is it a memorable first issue. You get a clear explanation of who (and what) Monica Rambeau is to the world, a demonstration of her powers, and a hint about a big threat waiting around the corner. Generously, Monica Rambeau: Photon #1 is a solid primer.
The best aspects of Eve Ewing’s script are the elements that dig into Photon’s current state of mind as she appears to be struggling with settling on her place in the world. To Photon, her identity is heavily wrapped in what she does rather than who she is, so her unsettled state as a sometime-Avenger and sometime-Thunderbolt and sometime-Free Agent leaves her feeling ungrounded.
Putting those “sometime” elements together, Ewing creates an interesting character study about a person who hasn’t found their purpose in life, and that makes Monica imminently relatable.
With the (mostly) good comes some bad. When the story shifts to a quick visit to the Sanctum Sanctorum, events hit rapid-fire and seemingly out of nowhere. A scientist-and-possible-villain named Hinge attacks, Spider-Man shows up out of nowhere to help but spends the majority of the fight bickering about who’s taking the lead, and when a bold claim about an impending disaster is made, it’s completely dismissed and forgotten. The pacing shifts dramatically from the first to the second act and from the second to the third act.
When the third act kicks in, Ewing spends an inordinate amount of time showing a dysfunctional relationship between Monica’s family and her cousin. It’s not clear what Monica’s cousin has to do with anything in the plot, but you could presume it will be a factor down the line (maybe).
Likewise, the art is fine, albeit unremarkable. Hinge’s character design is trippy in a cool way, but most of the issue revolves around people talking, so there’s not much artistic flexing to get your attention.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Bits and Pieces
In all, Monica Rambeau: Photon #1 is a serviceable reintroduction to the character for new readers. Ewing lays out an excellent bit of character development to demonstrate Monica’s current crisis of purpose, and the art is generally good. However, the second act feels chaotic and plagued by jarring pacing shifts.