In the last few months, Disney has released several Marvel titles for elementary and young adult readers.
This title is a chapter book for readers 8-12. “Mystery of the Dark Magic” begins with a fight between some of the Avengers, including Falcon, Iron Man and Captain Marvel, and a group of werelizards. Doctor Strange arrives to clean up the battle and must investigate the dark magic that is bringing evil creatures into his dimension. This book also sticks with the comic book canon roles for characters like The Ancient One and Wong. This is a fun read for elementary readers, especially those who are fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Appearances from big title heroes such as Thor and Iron Man can help to draw the interest of kids who are unfamiliar with Doctor Strange. And for those who want more of Doctor Strange after the recently released film, this chapter book will give them a look at how he will team up with the Avengers in the future.
“Black Widow: Forever Red” is a title for young adult readers that explores one of Natasha Romanoff’s early missions with S.H.I.E.L.D. The novel opens with Natasha’s rescue of a young girl, Ava, from her own former captor, Ivan the Strange. The two form a personal and mental connection, but are separated for eight years while Ava lives in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and Natasha cements her status as an Avenger. Once it appears that Ivan is still kidnapping children for the Red Room, Natasha reconnects with Ava in order to find and stop him. The novel switches between the perspectives of Natasha, Ava and Alex, a teenage boy who gets folded into the drama. While Ava is the primary focus, “Forever Red” serves to develop some of Natasha’s background and characterization in much more detail than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is a fun read for high school readers, and for anyone who is a Black Widow fan or lover of YA literature. The book was released in paperback in September, and already has a sequel available “Black Widow: Red Vengeance.”
Disney released a Marvel addition to their “Doodles” series in October. “Marvel Doodles” is a fun twist on the usual coloring book. This format mixes the usual color-inside-the-lines pages with more unique activities like giving Black Widow a new motorcycle, designing the Avengers’ new base and imagining what Loki paints in art class. The art style of the pages is very round and adorable, and the book features a broader range of characters than the current MCU. “Marvel Doodles” could keep kids occupied for hours, and, given the current adult coloring trend, would be pretty entertaining for older audiences as well.