REVIEW: ‘Marvel’s Voices: Identity,’ Issue #1

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Marvels Voices: Identity

Marvel’s Voices: Identity #1 is an anthology series published by Marvel Comics. In the same vein as the DC Festival of Heroes anthology, Identity features a collection of stories centered on the Marvel superheroes of Asian American/Pacific Islander descent. And like the previous Marvel’s Voices one-shot, it features AAPI creators for those stories. True to its title, each story in Identity features a hero wrestling with different aspects of their culture and their own personal ties to it, as most of them take up residence in New York.

The issue features eight stories in total. “What Is VS. What If” centers on Shang-Chi and is written by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Marcus To, and colored by Sunny Gho; “That One Thing” features Jubliee and is written by Christina Strain with illustration by Jason Loo; “Jimmy Woo 1959” is written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Creees Lee, and colored by Brian Reber; “Seeing Red,” featuring Ms. Marvel, is written by Sabir Pirzada and illustrated by Mashal Ahmed with colors by Neeraj Menon; “Personal Heroes” features Wave from Agents of Atlas and is written by Alyssa Wong, illustrated by Whilce Portacio, and colored by Jay David Ramos; “Singular/Plural” features the New Warriors’ Silhouette and is written by Jeremy Holt, illustrated by Alti Firmansyah and colored by Irma Kniivila; “Traditional Pink Sushi” is written and illustrated by Ken Niimura, featuring the X-Men’s Armor; and finally “New York State of Mind” is written by Maurene Goo, illustrated by Lynne Yoshii and colored by Sebastian Cheng with a focus on Silk and Amadeus Cho/Brawn.

I had difficulty narrowing down my favorite stories within the anthology, as they feature top-notch writing and art. However, “What Is VS What If” takes the top spot as it tackles the question of Identity very literally. Shang-Chi travels to a monastery that is home to the Order of Uatu to secure a mystical coin. Said coin has the ability to show its users’ different realities, which leads to Shang fighting a version of himself that never left his father Zheng Zhu’s thrall. Given that Shang has strived to become a hero and break free of his father’s influence, it adds more weight to the classic “hero battles an evil version of themselves” trope. Yang could write Shang-Chi in his sleep at this point, and To has the chance to illustrate two different versions of the Master of Kung Fu—as well as their high-pitched battle.

Other standouts in the anthology include “That One Thing,” which features Jubilee visiting her parents’ graves and performing a cleaning ritual, and “Seeing Red,” where Ms. Marvel visits Pakistan and reunites with Red Dagger while struggling to explain to him why she feels more at home in New Jersey. “Personal Heroes” features Wave uniting with the Marauders’ Bishop to battle a massive water monster; the meeting is important to Wave as Bishop is one of her heroes (and given extra weight since Portacio, who co-created the mutant hero, is illustrating his appearance.) “New York State of Mind” has Silk and Brawn connecting over their Korean heritage, especially the concept of han—or the collective grief and resentment built up from years of oppression.

Marvel’s Voices: Identity is a wonderful celebration of the House of Ideas’ AAPI heroes, packed to the brim with stories that are heartwarming and emotional in equal measure. The Marvel’s Voices one-shots have been a great way to spotlight various creators across the spectrums of race and sexuality, with the upcoming Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades slated to focus on Marvel’s Latinx heroes, that tradition doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

Marvel’s Voices: Identity #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 


Marvel's Voices: Identity #1
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TL;DR

Marvel’s Voices: Identity is a wonderful celebration of the House of Ideas’ AAPI heroes, packed to the brim with stories that are heartwarming and emotional in equal measure. The Marvel’s Voices one-shots have been a great way to spotlight various creators across the spectrums of race and sexuality, with the upcoming Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades slated to focus on Marvel’s Latinx heroes, that tradition doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.