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Marvel's Thor sells out, MCU Madisynn makes her comics debut, and more in this week's Watcher's Report

The Watcher’s Report: The biggest changes in Marvel Comics this week

Thor becomes a corporate sellout
Image credit: Marvel

Popverse's top stories of the day

Welcome to the Watcher’s Report, where we breakdown the biggest moments in Marvel Comics this week. Like Uatu the Watcher, each week I observe everything that goes down in the Marvel Universe. That means reading every Marvel release and cataloging the most startling, exciting, and amusing developments. Once Popverse told me that being a Watcher meant reading lots of comics, I signed up without hesitation.

Marvel’s April 17 releases contained some interesting developments. For example, did you know that a fan favorite MCU character has made her comics debut, and a longtime Avenger just got a symbiote upgrade? Let’s dive into this week’s Watcher’s Report for more…

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Keep up to date on Popverse's Marvel coverage, with these highlights: Marvel Comics' return to fun, how Marvel Comics' boss said it was lost in 2023 (and how its finding itself again), How 2024 is a pivotal year for Marvel Comics & Marvel Studios, the 3 big challenges facing Marvel Studios in 2024 (and what they could learn from Marvel Comics), Inside Marvel Comics' plans to fix its pricing issues, Overgrown children of the atom: Marvel's X-Men can't evolve past their '90s commercial peak, and the biggest outstanding questions of the Marvel Studios' movies & TV shows.

This week’s most awesome moment: Madisynn King makes her Marvel Comics debut (sort of)

Madisynn King makes her Marvel debut
Image credit: Marvel

Do you remember Madisynn King? The club-hopping mimosa-drinking beauty stole our hearts in the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode “Is This Not Real Magic.” It was only a matter of time before she was added to the comics, and that’s just what happened in What If…? Venom #3 (written by Jeremy Holt and penciled by Manuel Garcia).

Kind of.

We don’t actually SEE Madisynn, but she speaks to her BFF Wong from the other side of a portal. Doctor Strange approaches Wong about a problem he’s having with the Venom symbiote, but Wong has other plans. “Tonight’s the season finale of The Bachelor. Madisynn and I have been waiting weeks for it,” Wong says. “Wongers…the bottomless gee and tees are readyyy,” Madisynn says from the other side of a portal. Keep in mind, this is a What If story set in an alternate reality. However, Madisynn’s party energy is too strong to be kept in one reality. Perhaps we’ll see her in the mainstream 616 sometime soon.

This week’s biggest power upgrade: Hawkeye bonds with a Venom symbiote

Hawkeye bonds with Natasha's Venom symbiote
Image credit: Marvel

Hawkeye is currently in a lot of trouble. The longtime Avenger has been accused of assassinating a Russian foreign minister, causing him to become a fugitive of the law. Multiple government agencies (and freelance mercenaries) are after Hawkeye, but his longtime friend (and former love) Black Widow is sticking by his side. She’s convinced there’s more to the story and wants to protect her friend. This leads us into Black Widow & Hawkeye #2 (written by Stephanie Phillips and penciled by Paco Villanelli).

Did I mention that Black Widow has been bonded to a Venom symbiote for the past few months? This development occurred in Venom #26, and to my surprise it’s carried over into other titles.

An assassin poisons Hawkeye, forcing Natasha to use her Venom symbiote to save his life. As Natasha cradles Clint’s weakened body, his eyes go black. “Natasha,” Clint says, with a black speech balloon. We’ll learn more in Black Widow & Hawkeye #3, but the implication seems to be that Hawkeye is now bonded with Natasha’s symbiote (or a piece of it).

It seems like everyone in the Marvel Universe is getting a symbiote these days.

This week’s most interesting status quo change: Miles Morales gets a surprising new roommate

Miles Morales' clone moves in
Image credit: Marvel

The Spider-Man franchise has a complicated history with clones, but Miles Morales is trying something new. Shift is an unstable Miles Morales clone who was introduced back in Miles Morales Spider-Man #25 (2021). He’s an unstable clone with the power to shapeshift. He’s large and his unique biology makes it hard for him to speak (but he’s learning). He was initially created to be an enemy of Miles, but he decided to be a hero instead.

Things took an interesting turn this week in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #19 (written by Cody Ziglar and penciled by Federico Vicentini). Realizing that Shift had nowhere to go, Miles invites his clone to move in with his family. “This is Shift. He’s my clone – my brother. I’ve known about him for a while and figured it’s finally time he met his -- ,” Miles says. “—Family,” Shift finishes. For what’s worth, Miles’ parents Jefferson and Rio took the news in stride. “Jeff, can you put a pot on, please? It’s gonna be a long night,” Rio says.

Most of Peter’s clones are forced to go on the road for 5 years or live in exile, so it’s nice of Miles to let his clone move into his home. It will be interesting to see how this new dynamic alters the Morales household. It’s like having twins…if they both had superpowers and one of them was artificially engineered by a mad scientist.

This week’s funniest moment: Thor becomes a sellout

Roxxon's Thor promotes some products
Image credit: Marvel

Al Ewing must have had so much fun writing Roxxon Presents: Thor #1 (written by Al Ewing and penciled by Greg Land), because I had tons of fun reading it. The Roxxon corporation has taken over Marvel Comics, and they’re using Skald-Magic to rewrite the narratives of Earth’s heroes. As a result, Thor has become a corporate sellout known as Roxxon Presents Thor. Everything is branded, and everything is commercialized. The entire comic is a giant parody of superheroes, corporate greed, and commercialism. It’s one of the funniest books you’ll read this year.

Here are a few of my favorite lines. “My mortal guise Chad Hammer doth date Norwegian supermodel Val Kyrie, though I am vexed by her strange connection to my fellow Avenger Valkyrie! What could that link be,” Thor says. “The glass is bulletproof in case of urban threat, as is standard, but my feelings are not! Thus, I shall summon the storm – as easily as I might summon a delicious triple-beef Roxxburger via Roxxon Grub-2-Go,” Thor proclaims. ”By the pits of Muspelhei, the pits of smelly hippies are my downfall,” Loki cries.

Read this book now!

This week’s grossest moment: Madame Monstrosity feeds her husband a live mouse

Madame Monstrosity feeds her husband a mouse
Image credit: Marvel

Spider-Boy #6 (written by Dan Slott, art by Paco Medina, Walden Wong, Erick Arciniega, and Julian Shaw) contained this week’s grossest moment. The villainous Madame Monstrosity has recently been creating mayhem for Spider-Boy and his friends. She recently used Bailey’s discarded organs to make a Boy-Spider, and this week she turned Spider-Boy’s friend Christina into a human/pigeon hybrid.

It turns out that the mad scientist has been doing all of this so she can find a cure for her husband Jeremy. Years ago, she temporarily spliced Jeremy with an owl, but something went wrong when they attempted to reverse the procedure. Now Jeremy is in the owl’s body, and the owl is in Jeremy’s body.

(What is it with Dan Slott and body-swapping?)

For now, Jeremy must live his life as an owl. However, this means keeping his human body healthy until they can find a way to put him back in it. This is why Madame Monstrosity feeds her husband (or the owl inhabiting her husband’s body) a live mouse every night. Seeing a human body swallow a live mouse is an unsettling sight. As if this wasn’t horrific enough, Madame Monstrosity forces one of her mouse/human hybrids to serve the mouse to her husband. This poor guy has to watch someone eat a member of his species alive.

That’s it for this week’s report. Popverse’s Watcher (that’s me!) will return next week to break down the latest developments in the Marvel Universe. See you then…

Advance copies of this week’s Marvel books were provided ahead of release by Marvel.

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