Gail Simone is one of the writers in comics where, after reading several of her runs on other books, I’m strongly considering telling my local comic shop to put all her future stuff on my pull list, and Domino: Hotshots is a great example of why.
The book is coming out of Domino’s earlier solo book, which has Domino now having her own team of superpowered mercenaries (all women – starting with her main team of herself, Diamond Back, and White Fox, before adding more women down the road), taking on various missions for fun, profit, and making the world a better place. It’s an immensely fun book, with wisecracking humor, crossovers with other characters in the Marvel universe who don’t get to appear as often as I’d like – Morbius the Living Vampire, Shang Chi – Master of Kung Fu, and so on.
It’s also a book that just ends too soon, which is a bummer, because unlike Mr. & Mrs. X, Domino: Hotshots doesn’t get a continuation on the other side of House of X & Powers of X. Yes, Domino is in a book, but it’s not this team, both in terms of Gail Simone and David Baldeon, and in terms of Domino and her comrades.
In the first front, if you’ve read Secret Six, you know that Gail Simone writes excellent teams of wisecracking miscreants doing wrong to do right. Or just doing wrong, with ethical boundaries in how wrong they’re willing to go. On top of that, Baldeon, frankly, just draws the best faces and reaction shots in Marvel Comics. The look on these characters faces when they start running into major villains from other books (including, slight spoiler here, The Eternals at the end of the story), is great.
To put this in comparison – with Squirrel Girl, when she goes up against threats that should, by all rights, be above her weight class, we know going in she’s going to win, and she sort of does, or at least is putting on a front that she does, and that’s represented in the art, and her catchphrase, “Eats nuts, kicks butts.”
On the other hand, with the Hotshots, it feels like their catchphrase or battle cry is “Oh ****” Not literally, but figuratively, and that’s sold through the writing and through the tremendous reaction shots that Baldeon draws.
However, this book also feels like one that ran headlong into that big event reboot roadblock. It’s clear that Simone and Baldeon had enough notice of this change to wrap up their plot points, but it’s also clear that this is a book where the only need for this to end is presumably because somewhere Domino’s going to come up in one of Hickman’s two minis, and rather than working in her own team, he’s decided to just take that team (and the character growth that came with it) away from her to put her on the new X-Force team.
It’s my hope that Domino gets to be in something of a leadership role on this team, but considering the lineup includes both Jean and Logan, that seems unlikely, and with this lineup, she very likely could end up playing second or even third violin (what with the presence of Black Tom Cassidy, and Quentin Quire) to the rest of the cast.
I do recommend picking this mini up, as it’s definitely worth your time. The GN is currently available for pre-order from Amazon, so if you missed the books, this is definitely worth picking up.