Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 4/23/16
Welcome to another thrilling installment of Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews! We’ve got a plate of wonderful comics today, including some of my current favorites, like Astonishing Ant-Man. Some of my review columns have been a little light over the past month, and if you’ve been wondering why, it’s because I’m nearing the end of a Kickstarter campaign for my own comic, Gamer Girl & Vixen!
This week is the final week of the campaign. We’re so close to hitting our goal that I can taste it! But the nerves have kind of dulled me to every other awesome thing in the world right now. So if you’d like to order a copy of my own comic, head on over and pick one up. Every little bit counts at this point!
Comic Book of the Week goes to Power Man and Iron Fist #3, which continues to be a wonderfully entertaining comic. Hopefully my own comic book work can be this good someday.
Comic Reviews: Astonishing Ant-Man #7, Captain Marvel #4, Power Man and Iron Fist #3, and Totally Awesome Hulk #5.
Astonishing Ant-Man #7
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
In two weeks, we’ll get to see Ant-Man on the big screen again, finally teaming up with the other Avengers! I am pumped! But for now, his comic book is still a lot of fun.
Ant-Man finds out that his daughter has gone missing, so he launches a full-on assault against the Power Broker at his latest Hench X demonstration. Ant-Man has to fight off the new Plantman, only for the Power Broker to unleash his full power and take Scott down. In the end, he’s no closer to finding his daughter. But Grizzly and Machinesmith have been spying on Cross Industries, and they’ve got security camera footage showing the new Stinger trying to break in. Scott realizes he’s going to need an army to assault the Cross compound and save his daughter…so it’s a good thing there are supervillains for hire on the Hench and Lackey apps.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This was a nicely entertaining chapter in the ongoing Ant-Man saga (despite what it says on the cover). Spencer’s Scott Lang remains a fun protagonist, and his life isn’t the glitz and glamor of other superheroes like Iron Man or Spider-Man. He’s got a lot of unique things going on, and Spencer keeps all of them fun. I enjoy his awkward friendship with ex-girlfriend Darla Deering. I like his henchmen employees. The drama with his daughter is cool. And going up against the Power Broker and his Hench X stuff is still entertaining. Spencer and Rosanas keep the story rolling along with this issue and I am definitely still on board. The humor alone is worth the read. Not as laugh-out-loud funny as some books, but Scott Lang delivers the chuckles.
Captain Marvel #4
Writers: Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters
Artists: Kris Anka and Felipe Smith
I am enjoying this space story a bit more than the last time Captain Marvel had a big space story, but hopefully the creative team doesn’t drag this out for too much longer. Carol’s still got a lot of status quo building to do.
Captain Marvel and her crew destroy their infected space station and the evil alien ship — but there’s still a fresh alien ship to contend with, filled with an army of anti-Kree warriors. Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight fly out to take them on, but get easily repelled. They manage to capture an enemy ship and its pilot, but he’s fairly belligerent in his hatred of the Kree. Carol takes a desperate step and trusts this guy enough to return him to his people, no harm no foul. But as he pilots an Alpha Flight ship back to his base, his own people blow him out of the sky!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This is a fine, entertaining comic so far. The creative team keeps winding things around one another, and I’m having an easy job keeping up. The action is great, with the art team really showing their chops. The characters are strong. The mystery is pretty solid. But I’m afraid they haven’t taken enough time to flesh out the cast. We know their names and their unique looks, but they’re not people yet. They’re still just comic book characters in a comic book plot. Captain Marvel had a strong first issue when it came to introducing and exploring the supporting cast, but the series immediately launched them into this multi-part space fight, without any real deeper themes or stories to explore. It’s just Captain Marvel and the still inexplicable Alpha Flight fighting generic aliens. It’s fine, but it could be so much more.
Power Man and Iron Fist #3
Writer: David Walker
Artist: Sanford Greene
The third issue of Power Man and Iron Fist loses a little bit of its spark, but not enough to cause any lasting harm. This is still a very fun series, and one of the best duos in comics right now.
After a chewing out from Jessica Jones, Luke and Danny visit Doctor Strange to learn more about the Supersoul Stone — but he’s never heard of it. So Luke takes them to visit Senor Magico, a more urban magician who gives them the lowdown on the Supersoul Stone. Meanwhile, Jennie and Black Mariah are using the power of the Superstoul Stone to rob all of Tombstone’s joints. Luke and Danny eventually join up with Tombstone, and he hires them to protect him from the monster that Jennie is turning into!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This issue is graded a step lower than the previous two, but that should not be a sign of any loss of quality. It’s more that this issue is an example of a new series settling into itself. The flash and excitement of the debut has passed, and now we’re just telling a story. It’s still a fun and entertaining story, with great characters and amazing art. But a little bit of the energy and excitement has passed. That is definitely not a knock against the sheer quality of Power Man and Iron Fist #3. This is a great new series.
I will say that the art seems to have taken a very slight hit, but that’s probably more a sign of Greene coming up against the usual monthly deadline that threatens all comic book artists. No big deal there. It’s the characters that truly shine. Luke and Danny are hugely entertaining as they constantly battle assumptions that they’re getting the duo back together. Jessica Jones gets an amazing cameo, making me excited for her upcoming return to comics proper. Even minor characters like Tombstone and his skull-masked thugs are fully fleshed out and fun to read. Walker and Greene have created a great little world in only three issues, and I’m loving the visit.
Totally Awesome Hulk #5
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Mike Choi
I’m still not sure what Totally Awesome Hulk is supposed to be about. It’s still a fine, enjoyable series. But Pak doesn’t seem to be in any kind of rush to reveal a theme or a point. Maybe he just really, really likes Amadeus Cho.
While wandering around the Southwest, sometimes as the Hulk and sometimes as Amadeus, our hero starts having nightmares about the murder of his parents. He’s also still being hounded by his sister, who wonders whether or not Amadeus is in charge when he Hulks out. Eventually, the Enchantress shows up to try and sway the Hulk to her side, but Amadeus refuses because he’s not a fool. Enchantress pushes some of his buttons and riles him into a fight, and the Hulk eventually passes out.
When he comes to, he’s greeted by Thor, who tells him that Enchantress has declared the Hulk as her champion.
Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.
I don’t get the sense that Pak is going anywhere with this. The first half of the issue involves a lot of Amadeus Cho wandering around wondering about being the Hulk, but nothing is really said or established. What makes the Cho Hulk special? Or different? Or interesting? Surely there must be something! Granted, I’ve never particularly cared about Amadeus Cho as a character, so maybe that’s my problem. But Pak has yet to deliver any sort of solid reason for why we even have a Cho Hulk. Superior Spider-Man this ain’t. And the random arrival of the Enchantress only furthers the problem by throwing a seemingly random adversary into the mix. What does the Enchantress mean to either Hulk or Amadeus Cho?
Totally Awesome Hulk is starting to feel like a fluff series, without any real hooks to make the fluff worth reading.
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!
Posted on April 23, 2016, in Comics, Marvel, Reviews and tagged Alpha Flight, Amadeus Cho, Ant-Man, Astonishing Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Hulk, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Power Man and Iron Fist, Scott Lang, Totally Awesome Hulk. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.