Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 3/12/16

Is anybody else excited for March? By this time next week, we’ll all be buried in the second season of Daredevil! That is beyond exciting! And by this time in two weeks, we’ll all have seen Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice! For some reason, March 2016 is a good month in geekiness.

So it’s good that we have good comics, too! This week delivered more solid goodness from Wolverine, Doctor Strange, Ms. Marvel, Starfire and more. They were so good, I kind of think I should start reviewing other comics, because I praise these too much.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Mighty Thor #5, as Jason Aaron delivers more than a few showstoppers!

Feels like somebody is missing…

Speaking of good comics, remember to mark your calendars for April 2, when the new Kickstarter for Gamer Girl & Vixen launches! In fact, I think I’ll have some even bigger news about my comic tomorrow! So come back then!

Comic Book Reviews: All-New Wolverine #6, Doctor Strange #6, Mighty Thor #5, Ms. Marvel #5 and Starfire 10.

Wolverine #6

All-New Wolverine #6
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: David Lopez and David Navarrot

As much as I enjoyed the finale of the first All-New Wolverine story, I’m even more excited to see what comes next. Taylor and his team told a great introduction, and now I hope they sink their teeth into life as the new Wolverine.

Wolverine and her clone sisters assault the Alchemax secret base, and they’re able to slip Laura inside under the guise of an injured Bellona. She then gets a pair of scientists to deliver the facility’s info to SHIELD. Bellona kills the evil security chief and takes off, while Wolverine and Gabby decide to let the head scientist live so that he can face justice. Laura and Gabby then head off to start a new life together.

As for Bellona, she’s apparently been working for Kumira this whole time! Kumira being Laura’s arch-enemy!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This was an exciting conclusion to the first story arc, with a solid twist and a lot of good action. The fights are a nice mix of fun and brutal, and the characters keep getting better. The focus was mostly on the clone sisters in this story, but hopefully that will change going forward. Lopez, Navarrot and the rest of the art team do a  phenomenal job on this comic. It’s colorful when it needs to be, but also hard-hitting and realistic. Heh, the classic blue and yellow Wolverine costume almost looks out of place. But Laura fills those pointed boots well. I’m excited to see Taylor flesh out Laura more and more as the new Wolverine. That’s a huge legacy to live up to, and I can’t wait to see what Marvel and Taylor do with it.

Doctor Strange #6

Doctor Strange #6
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo

Jason Aaron’s Doctor Strange has had the pedal to the metal since the beginning, and it all leads to this battle against his odd enemies! If this is how Marvel wants to build up Strange ahead of his movie, I’m all for it!

Doctor Strange battles the leader of the Empirikul outside his house, and it gets pretty gruesome. While they battle, all magic around the world, big and small, disappears, effecting superheroes and ordinary magicians alike. But Strange gives it his all, weaponizing despair and the magic deep in the Earth. But in the end, he loses, and the Empirikul prepare to burn the world.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Part of me worries that this issue was over a bit too quickly, but I could say that about most of the comics this week, a lot of which reached their finales. I need to read more comics in tpb form, where these final issues are part of a nonstop story. Anyway, Aaron does a great job setting up the stakes and putting Strange through his paces, while leaving more for next time. The fight is far from over, and I’m excited to see what he does next. He’s already pushed the envelope by a lot.

The ol’ wand in the eye!

Aaron is clearly having fun with Doctor Strange, in a way I haven’t seen since the MightyGodKing blog. He weaves all these fantastical tales and elements in and out of the story, from floating statues near New Zealand to a short list of random magic-users in the MU who suddenly lose their power in crazy, anecdotal ways. Doctor Strange a fun ride, and the end of this issue promises that we’re only at the beginning.

Mighty Thor #5

Mighty Thor #5
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman

I need to get over my excitement for Beta Ray Bill. I don’t mean ‘in general’, because that’s impossible. I mean where it specifically regards Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor. Just because Bill appeared on a teaser poster before the relaunch doesn’t mean he’s going to show up in a meaningful way. I need to stop expecting to see Bill with every turn of the page.

But I probably won’t.

The battle between Thor and Odin is epic! The pair trade angry blows through the solar system, using planets for added environmental damage. Thor uses her control over storms to blast Odin with the Great Red Spot on Jupiter! It’s awesome. And while they’re doing battle in space, Freyja, Loki, Sif and their allies try to hold the throne room from the Serpent and his justicars.

Until Loki betrays Freyja and stabs her in the back with a poisoned blade!

All battles come to an end with the blow. Odin releases Thor and returns to his wife, who is clinging to life. He takes her into the Odinsleep chamber to recover, while Cul takes the throne over a tense peace in Asgardia. And elsewhere, Loki and Malekith’s Dark Council celebrate their victories.

In the epilogue, we see that the Odinson has been kidnapped by some strange aliens.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

So yeah, I thought that last page reveal would be Beta Ray Bill. I have a problem.

But anyway, this was another great, exciting issue! The battle between Thor and Odin lived up to the hype created last issue, with Aaron and Dauterman breaking through the envelope! Weaponizing the Great Red Spot storm on Jupiter? Brilliant! And the battle back in Asgardia was just as fun. These fights have been building for awhile, and the Mighty Thor team nails it. That twist with Loki definitely took me by surprise, and I’m excited to see what else Aaron has in store. I thought, for sure, that I knew what he was doing with Loki, but Aaron clearly has a lot more layers planned for this story.

I bet it’s a maniacal laughter

It’s very interesting that Aaron has created such a conclusive stop in the story. I thought this would just keep building. But again, Aaron has definitely put a ton of thought into this whole ongoing saga. That can only mean great and greater things to come!

Hopefully with a certain horse-faced cosmic hero in tow…

Ms. Marvel #5

Ms. Marvel #5
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Nico Leon

I felt the ending to the last issue was pretty weird, but Wilson pays it off well in this issue. She takes the weird danger of a bunch of weird clone golems and finds a few perfect ways to incorporate them into Kamala’s personal life. Scene of the week, for sure.

The Kamala clone-golems are out of control! They’re messing up in gym class, they’re ruining the first meeting of the Khan and Hillman families, ahead of Aamir’s marriage. And they’re flooding not just the school, but all of Jersey City! Kamala tries to round them up, while also fighting ninjas, but there just isn’t much she can do. Bruno and Mike are hard at work on a way to get rid of them, but until then, the city remains under siege.

After one of the golems ruins the family meeting (hilariously), Kamala tries to apologize and explain to her family. She gets a hard lesson in how her choices effect other people in her life. Kamala promises to be at the engagement party the following night, but when the time comes, she’s late — and a massive golem arrives instead!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I should have had more faith in Wilson and her golems. I thought the story was just too weird for Kamala in the last issue. She’s smarter than that! But Wilson tied her poor decision-making into all the stress in her life. She’s still a kid, she’s more than capable of rash decisions. Wilson expertly pivoted in that direction this issue by having Kamala’s golems show up in her real life, where her rash decision effected her family. Shockingly so.

Golems can’t keep it together

For the second issue in a row, Wilson delivers a strong focus on the Khan family. I love the idea that something important is happening in the family that isn’t directly tied to Kamala. That pushes her to deal with family issues, it pushes her to be selfless and have concern for others, and Wilson uses that to really establish that being a superhero comes with sacrifices. Plus there’s the fact that Kamala doesn’t really have any motivation to be Ms. Marvel other than desire. She’s not driven by a responsibility or duty. She wants to be a superhero, but her responsibilities and duties lie elsewhere. That’s a fun dynamic to explore, and this is definitely the comic to see it through!

Starfire #10

Starfire #10
Writers: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Elsa Charretier

The new issue of Starfire is a delightful bit of deja vu. Back in the day, Conner and Palmiotti were the masterminds behind a really great Power Girl comic, and their run ended with PG visiting Atlee’s people in the center of the Earth. Now they’re back with their new star, and it’s just as fun.

The evil subterranean warlord Neala-Tok is attacking Strata with his armies, slaughtering the good, peaceful people. Atlee is one of their protectors, but she can’t handle the fight alone. Stella grabs her gun and joins in, but it’s Starfire who truly kicks butt! She passed out at the end of the last issue because Strata’s ‘sun’ was super-charging her cells. Starfire kills the evil Neala-Tok and his minions and the day is saved, then Kori and Stella are invited to join in on the Strata rebirth ceremony to honor their dead.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Part of me wishes we had more time with Neala-Tok and the politics of Strata. There are only a few issues left. This might be the action climax of the entire series, and I could have used more emotional investment in the battle. Kori has only just arrived in Strata, and her friendship with Atlee is only a few issues deep. Neala-Tok only showed up in the cliffhanger of the last issue. So while Kori’s big speech is nice, it doesn’t really land anywhere — though Conner and Palmiotti did make Neala-Tok easily hateable, making his brief appearance and quick, justified death ring perfectly.

Why yes, that is how I would describe Elsa Charretier’s art

This was a fun, action-packed issue that gave Starfire a lot of time to shine, while bolstering her BFFs. I wish we had more time with all of them, and I wish we knew more about this world and why it mattered, but the creative team does a good enough job in glossing over the details. We know enough to understand the battle taking place, and that’s just going to have to do. I think the final few issues could be great. I’m far more interested in seeing Kori bond with her friends in a magical place like Strata than in seeing her in battle. I hope Conner and Palmiotti are building up to a solid, enjoyable farewell.

The comics I review in my Hench-Sized reviews are just the usual comics I pick up from my local shop any given week, along with a few impulse buys I might try on a whim. So if there are any comics or series you’d like me to review each week, let me know in the comments!


About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on March 12, 2016, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. March also sees the new season of My Little Pony. Yay March!

    Wolverine is great. It feels like there should’ve been a little more action, but there’s only so much space, so it’s not a big deal. I love Laura being strategic. And Gabby is amazing. She is so great.

    Dr Strange is good. It’s fun. “Beware the shrubberies!” is clearly the stand-out moment.

    Thor is great. Very epic. Thor uses the power of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. That is epic. I’m not happy about the Loki twist, but I’m hoping he’s still got a lot more twists going on and he’s still secretly working against Malekith’s side.

    Ms. Marvel is as wonderful as always. Hordes of Kamala clones are the best ways to learn lessons. I also love Tyesha’s family. They’re great.

    Meanwhile, Weirdworld #4 wrecked me, Vision #5 is really unsettling, Mockingbird #1 is great fun and Insexts #4 has lesbian sex AND creepy monster-people fighting. You mentioned you’re considering getting Vision in trade (and you should, because it is one of the best comics). You should also look at Weirdworld, which has great writing and gorgeous art, and the latest issue proves Sam Humphries hates your stupid feelings and wants you to cry forever. And I’d definitely recommend Mockingbird, which is just a lot of fun while also being smart.

    • I’m fairly certain Aaron has so much more planned with Loki. Cul’s line about there being just enough poison to take her out of commission, but not kill her, is a clear indication that Loki knows exactly what he’s doing…I think.

      I definitely want to pick up Vision in trade. I grabbed Mockingbird this week, but didn’t get around to reading it just yet. And Weirdworld, huh? I hadn’t even considered that one. It’s not a corner of the MU I’m all that interested in. But I can always give it a shot!

  2. Oh my god, the melting Kamala golem had me laughing in fits. This is some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen in a comic in ages!
    Right now Ms. Marvel and Faith are making my world.

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