Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/11/16

Huh, what a week. After a few comic weeks full of great and wonderful comics, we’ve kind of landed on a thudder of a week. Some fine comics came out, some enjoyable, some not so much. I read a bunch and generally had a good time. But this was kind of an off week.

Aquaman and Wonder Woman got the Rebirth treatment, but neither issue wowed me in any way. Flash has started Rebirth as well, but for some reason, I still can’t bring myself to buy a Flash comic. It’s fascinating to me how few DC superheroes I’m actually invested in. Where’s Robin Rebirth? I guess Tim Drake’s revival in Detective Comics will have to do!

But it wasn’t all bad news this week! We’ve got the first issue of the Gotham Academy/Lumberjanes crossover! It’s not as amazing as I’d hoped, but it’s still a sign of hopefully great things to come! And it definitely picks up Comic Book of the Week!

Something wonderful!

Now we just need a Lumberjanes/Unbeatable Squirrel Girl crossover and I’ll be all set!

Comic Reviews: Aquaman Rebirth #1, Detective Comics #934, Kaijumax #2, Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1 and Wonder Woman Rebirth #1.

Aquaman Rebirth #1

Aquaman Rebirth #1
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artists: Scot Eaton and Oscar Jimenez

Eh, so far, this has been the least interesting of the Rebirth one-shots designed to build interest in new series. I loved Geoff Johns’ Aquaman at the start of the New 52, and I want to like the character, but I guess my general disinterest is pretty hard to overcome.

Aquaman battles a group of generic Atlantean terrorists who want to bomb the surface world and blow up a new, above-water embassy he’s built off the coast of Massachusetts. He’s got his wife Mera by his side, he’s struggling to unite the sea and surface worlds, and Black Manta is still looking for some sweet revenge.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

Abnett doesn’t seem to have anything new or interesting yet to say about Aquaman. Everything in this issue is par for the course. Aquaman struggles to unite the surface world and Atlantis. Aquaman fights off some random, generic sea terrorists. Aquaman and Mera are a team. Black Manta is the villain. He even repeats Johns’ original New 52 commentary about Aquaman being a joke to the surface world because he “talks to fish”. There’s nothing particularly bad with the issue, it’s just not very interesting. This would be textbook Aquaman, if anybody ever cared enough to write a text book about Aquaman.

Detective Comics #934

Detective Comics #934
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Eddy Barrows

Back when both this blog and the New 52 began, I decided I would review the new Teen Titans comic every month for the sole reason of Tim Drake being the main character. He was my favorite DC character at the time, and I wanted to see where he went — I’ve been less than impressed.

My Teen Titans reviews will continue with the new Rebirth shakeup, but I’m not about to abandon Tim Drake. If nothing else, Rebirth is kind of dialing him back. We’ll see if that’s for good or ill.

Some bad guy is building an army, spying on vigilantes, posing as Batman and beating up Azrael, so Batman decides to start gathering some of the youngsters out there for some extra training. He brings in Batwoman as his partner, since she has military experience. Then they recruit Red Robin, Spoiler, Cassandra Cain and, for some reason, Clayface.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This was a fine start to this new series, but it ends just as it’s getting started. I suppose it can’t be blamed for that, seeing as how it’s a first issue. It’s got to get all manner of balls rolling, and not only does it succeed in that, but I am very eager to pick up the next issue. I want to see what happens next. I want to see what Batman and Batwoman have in mind for this team and their training. I’m not particularly concerned about who this new, mysterious villain is, but I can’t wait to see what becomes of the new Red Robin.

Tim Drake operating as Batwoman’s lieutenant is kind of my ideal lineup

Yep, I am completely biased in this matter. That can’t be helped. I like Tim’s new costume, and I look forward to seeing him interact more with Batman and these characters. I still don’t particularly like the fact that he’s going by ‘Red Robin’ instead of just ‘Robin’, but I can make an unhappy peace with that. I just hope this series treats him well.

The new Detective Comics direction already feels temporary, but Tynion seems to have something fun in mind, and I look forward to a series with a new twist on the Bat-family.

Kaijumax #2

Kaijumax #2
Writer and Artist: Zander Cannon

I don’t know if it’s the week in general or just something about this issue, but I wasn’t feeling it this week. Despite my total enjoyment of the Kaijumax world, I think this issue went a little too far in directions I wasn’t expecting.

Electrogor and the Green Humongous are still hiding out with Red Humongous, and Green decides to cut Red’s alarm clock so that he can blow off work and hang out with his criminal pals. Red loses it when he wakes up and finds out that not only has he missed work, but he’s been fired as well. He’s not going back to the ‘Max, monster! And he steps on his parole officer when that guy shows up to ream him out. Red is in this for keeps now, and he grabs Green and absorbs his power, turning him into a giant, rampaging Black Humongous.

Chisato the super-mech and her human partner head into the city to confront Black Humongous, and she tries to talk him down, while her human partner activates her weapons and kicks the guy’s butt. Then a mistake with hand-cuffs leads Black Humongous to break free and cleave Chisato’s head in half! Her partner is dead, her brain reboots into a new version, and Black Humongous continues his rampage.

Meanwhile, Jin is still drowning his sorrows at the bar, but the bar gets attacked by the Triad. And he founds out that the gangsters killed his old partner.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This was another fine issue of Kaijumax, but I felt a little disconnected. It might have to do with the ever-widening world and cast. We’re no longer in the Kaijumax itself, and all the characters we really knew and connected with in the first volume are either gone or pushed to the sidelines. I don’t really remember Chisato at all from the first volume, and Green Humongous is getting way more attention than Electrogor. So while I applaud Cannon for the excellent work he’s doing and the series he’s writing and drawing, I am just personally losing focus. The world of Kaijumax is still utterly fascinating, but that world only works when we care about the characters and the story. Cannon achieves that in the first volume, but I’m just not feeling it with the new focus this time around.

Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1

Lumberjanes/Gotham Central #1
Writer: Chynna Clugston Flores
Artist: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Who knew that these sorts of crossovers were even still possible? DC Comics and BOOM! Studios teaming up to crossover two of the most adorable and awesome comics on the stands? Cross-company crossovers between amazing characters? Bring it on!

A teacher from Gotham Academy and the head of the Lumberjanes’ camp both go missing at the same time, so the GA students and the Lumberjanes both set off to find their respective leaders. The clues lead both groups to an old cabin in the woods, where they come face-to-face and decide to team up — only to be immediately ambushed by three ghouls! The girls all split up as they flee, but Oliver Silverlock and Scoutmaster Jen get captured!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This comic is a ton of fun, and very nearly captures the magic of both Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy. But it’s also a very clear example of what happens when new writers come along and try to mimic the unique style and humor of an original writer. The jokes are fun, and the humor is nice, but the characters sound off just enough that you know you’re not getting the ‘real’ version. That doesn’t kill the book, per se, it just results in a few more pleased smiles than the usual laugh-out-loud delight.

Would kids today really reference the movie ‘Meatballs’?

The issue itself is still pretty delightful. The characters are fun and a lot of the jokes really land. Flores does a good enough job capturing the spirit of a lot of characters (though her Maps isn’t quite right), and everyone works off each other very well. Things do get a little crowded when both massive casts first meet, but splitting them up as they flee from the ghouls is a solid idea. Perhaps future issues will have more room for individual characters and interactions.

But for now, this crazy crossovers is just fun enough to be worth the effort, even if it doesn’t yet reach the full awesomeness of the individual comics.

Wonder Woman Rebirth #1

Wonder Woman Rebirth #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Matthew Clark and Liam Sharp

Much like other Rebirth one-shots, Wonder Woman Rebirth is really just a teaser/taster of what’s to come in Greg Rucka’s full series. That’s slightly disappointing.

Wonder Woman is grappling with confusion over her origin. Is she a perfect child formed out of clay? Or is she the demigoddess daughter of Zeus? Her pre and post-New 52 histories are a blur, so she uses the Lasso of Truth on herself and finds out she has been deceived! Wonder Woman changes into her new Rebirth costume and heads off to Mount Olympus to find out the truth!

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

Much like my concerns with the weird new Superman status quo, I am not very interested in this take on Wonder Woman. I never read Greg Rucka’s original, apparently-legendary Wonder Woman run. But I love Rucka’s work and am kind of excited for his Wonder Woman…but I don’t like the idea that her pre and post-New 52 histories are at a war. Can’t he just be allowed to write normal, enjoyable Wonder Woman comics? Does Rucka really have to do a story emphasizing this insane new retcon that DC is trying to pull to ‘fix’ the New 52?

Regardless of content, this was still a fine issue. Rucka does a nice job getting in Diana’s head, and you can really understand what she’s dealing with. And both art teams look like they’ll do a great job going forward. The new Wonder Woman series could be something special, but I hope it doesn’t get too bogged down in Rebirth nonsense.

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 June 11, 2016, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Robin and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I read none of these. But WicDiv #20 was great, New Avengers #12 was a blast, and Vision #8 is amazing. Vision #8 has Victor Mancha of the Runaways show up! And there’s some really nice, sweet scenes, which break your heart with the inevitable tragedy.

  2. Vision #8… YES!!! So, so good…

    As for Aquaman and Wonder Woman, I completely agree with the reviews. I’m not interested in a series that has, as its opening pitch, “we’re going to try to repeat what Johns did a few years ago.” I’m even less interested in a series that has as its premise “what if a superhero became aware that her continuity makes no sense at all and went on a journey to try to figure out why that is?”

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