Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/19/16

Oof. What a crummy week for comics. I don’t know if it’s just me, but this whole week was kind of a dud. And I even read some of my favorite comics! Squirrel Girl! Hellcat! Wolverine! I don’t know what happened, but everything just felt kind of…flat. They were all still pretty good, but there just seemed to be something missing. Some magic…

As such, I’m not even sure which comic to award Comic Book of the Week. I kind of want to just not give it to anybody. But I’m not ready to set that precedent, so I’m gonna give it to Infamous Iron Man #2 because it has the most potential.

I'm still not buying why he modeled himself after Iron Man

It’s a good look for him

My actual reviews are going to be kind of light this week, because after reading a bunch of comics, I just didn’t feel like reviewing them. Plus sometimes I skip over storylines, like I’m currently doing with Patsy Walker and All-New Wolverine. Both are fine, but eh…also, the fill-in artist they got for All-New Wolverine was just bad. Like, make you question what Marvel was thinking bad.

Still, we got a handful of comics to check out this week.

Comic Reviews: Infamous Iron Man #2, Jessica Jones #2, Nightwing #9, Thanos #1, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #14.

Infamous Iron Man #2

Infamous Iron Man #2

Infamous Iron Man #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev

We’re back with more Doctor Doom action! This is also a little weird in that I’m just now realizing we have two Brian Michael Bendis comics this week starring scarred heroes, and drawn by sketchy, gritty artists. How cool is that?

In his quest to be a better person, Doctor Doom ambushes the Mad Thinker and kicks the baddy’s butt in his new Iron Man-esque armor. Then he goes to visit Amara again in Cambridge, but she’s jumpy and accidentally shoots him in the shoulder. She takes him inside to clean his wound, and she tells him that she’s been questioned about his whereabouts. But before Victor can leave, the Thing smashes his way into the apartment!

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

Yeah, this series is fine so far, but it’s really dragging its feet to an incredible degree. This issue was almost exactly like the first. Both issues feature Doctor Doom dispatching another classic Fantastic Four foe. Both issues feature Doom having a brief meeting with Amara that goes nowhere. And both issues feature the Thing hanging around in the background wanting to talk to Doom. You don’t know how disappointed I was that this issue ended without Doom and the Thing having their tête-à-tête.

The Thing's desperately trying to recapture old times, when he had a team

The Thing’s desperately trying to recapture old times, when he had a team

In general, I’m enjoying Bendis’ take on the reformed Doctor Doom. I’ve always liked Doom, and I love the trope where villains become heroes. So seeing this Doom try his hand at helping people is just fun. But Bendis is really dragging his feet everywhere else. I’m not sure where he’s going with the Doom/Amara stuff. Both of their meetings in these two issues have been flat and absolutely nothing of importance was discussed. If Bendis is building to some sort of romance, it feels kind of skeevy that Doom is just gonna try and steal Tony Stark’s girl like this. Doom comes off more as a creep, considering what he’s done to set Amara up with her work since the two of them met.

And this face-off with the Thing cannot come soon enough! When are we going to get to the fireworks factory?!

This new Doctor Doom series is good so far, and it has the potential to get really exciting, but so far it seems like Brian Michael Bendis is really dragging his feet on anything meaningful happening. He keeps teasing something better and deeper, but the story is only skin deep so far.

Jessica Jones #2

Jessica Jones #2

Jessica Jones #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos

Speaking of Bendis stories that are moving at a glacial pace, here’s Jessica Jones! It’s another solid comic from Bendis and a superstar artist, but he has definitely reverted to some of his slow-paced roots.

Luke Cage confronts Jessica Jones about the whereabouts of their child, but Jessica just deflects everything. She doesn’t explain what happened or where Danielle is hiding. Jessica then leaps away to get some space, worrying and angry about whatever it is that’s happened to her. Jessica checks into a hotel room and her mother comes to visit, revealing that she’s the one taking care of Danielle. Jessica tells her mom that she’s going to fix everything.

Later, Jessica gets a call from a homicide detective. The woman that hired her last issue has been murdered by her husband! But before Jessica can help the detective out, she’s kidnapped by the Spot!

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

I love the Spot and I’m excited to see him show up in this comic. Granted, he’ll probably be horribly murdered or crucified or some other sad fate, but just seeing him pop up in such a comic should be fun! Remember when he showed up at the start of Mark Waid’s Daredevil? The Spot is in his heyday!

Is Jessica still using a flip phone?

Is Jessica still using a flip phone?

Spot aside, this was another slow issue of Jessica Jones, but I’m fine with that for now. We don’t get a lot of movement on Jessica’s new case, other than that surprise murder twist. And we don’t get an explanation for what happened between her and Luke, but at least we know now where Danielle has been hiding. I suppose that’s something.

That's one cute baby

That’s one cute baby

Was this the same frustration people felt when Bendis first debuted at Marvel? He’s clearly got a story to tell, but it’s a little maddening when nothing happens issue to issue. It’s like everything exists in the margins, just out of sight, but we’re not allowed to find out what. I guess we just have to hope the payoff is going to be worth the wait.

For now, I’m willing to stick around because of the character and the creative team. They can definitely make a great comic. But the second issue of Jessica Jones still feels like it’s keeping any meaningful development at arm’s reach.

Nightwing #9

Nightwing #9

Nightwing #9
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Marcio Takara

As much as I like Tim Seeley as a writer, I’m starting to get worried that DC once again has no idea what to do with Nightwing. Do you remember what Nightwing was like pre-Grayson? There are shades of that returning…

Nightwing has been having some weird nightmares lately, and Old School Superman believes it is the result of Dr. Destiny invading his mind. So they plug into a machine and both go into Dick’s dreamscape, where he has to learn to have confidence in himself and his friends in order to overcome Destiny’s dreamy devices. In the end, the villain is defeated and everybody’s cool, and Dick decides he’s going to check out Bludhaven.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This was a solidly fine issue of Nightwing, and a reasonable way to kick off the upcoming Bludhaven stuff. We get a little bit of interaction between Nightwing and Old School Superman, which is fine, but still largely weird (the character, not the interaction). We get to see Takara draw Tim Drake’s most recent costume, which is pretty awesome. Detective Comics is a darker comic, and here we get to see the costume in bright, shiny glory.

Not my favorite Robin costume, but still a good one

Not my favorite Robin costume, but still a good one

So yeah, this was a perfectly fine superhero comic. Crazy superheroics to defeat a crazy bad guy, with great art and some solid, if short, character moments. Good times all around.

But as I said before, things aren’t looking good for Nightwing’s future. If you recall, Nightwing was a mess in the New 52, and it never seemed on purpose. He had a perfectly fine solo series, but no matter what the writers tried to do, Dick Grayson was always yanked into some crossover or another and everything was ruined.

Dick buys Haley’s Circus and thinks about going on the road with them around the country — nope, that all falls apart with the Court of Owls. Dick buys Amusement Mile in Gotham City and plans to settle the circus there permanently — nope, the Joker comes back and destroys that whole plan. Remember when DC made a huge deal about Dick Grayson moving to Chicago? That ended almost immediately thanks to Dick being pulled into Forever Evil.

And here we go again with a return to Bludhaven. I have all the faith in the world that Seeley has a good story in mind, but this reeks of some kind of stunt by DC. Don’t have anything in mind for Nightwing to do? Lets put him back in his blue costume and send him back to Bludhaven to appease the fans. That always works.

Let’s hope this isn’t Chicago all over again.

Thanos #1

Thanos #1

Thanos #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mike Deodato

Remember when Thanos used to be a Chatty Cathy? He would engage the Silver Surfer in all manner of philosophical discussions, or he’d talk his way in and out of power in Annihilation. It was fun. But that Thanos is no more!

Since Thanos went to Earth to do his thing, his former lieutenant, Corvus Glaive, has taken over the Black Order and turned it into a giant, well-oiled evil machine. But Thanos returns, marches right up to Glaive and kills him good, reclaiming his throne. Elsewhere, Starfox is recruited by the Champion of the Universe for a meeting with Thane, the son of Thanos. Thane has teamed up with Death for some reason, and Death informs the young heir that Thanos is dying.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

Again, the issue was fine. I guess. Thanos basically just stomps around like a giant goomba, smashing tanks and opponents with little more than a shrug of his mighty shoulders. Corvus Glaive is reduced to a whimpering fool so that Thanos can get his throne back — even though I don’t have any context for why he lost his throne, or why Glaive was in charge. I know Thanos showed up in flashbacks at the start of Civil War II, but I don’t think we know yet how that all played out. Eh.

So far, this is a pretty solid comic if you want to see Thanos as a mighty muscle king.

Thanos don't care 'bout no tank

Thanos don’t care ’bout no tank

The interactions between Starfox and Champion are a bit more interesting. I don’t particularly care about either character, so I wasn’t too invested, but a building coalition of random cosmic characters in order to take down Thanos could be pretty cool. Though Thane remains a thoroughly dumb character, so I can’t say as how his appearance is all that inspiring.

The kick-off of this new Thanos series could be pretty fun for Thanos fans, but I wasn’t personally too impressed. The main character is all thuggish destruction, with random supporting characters carrying the plot instead.

Squirrel Girl #14

Squirrel Girl #14

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #14
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson

Eh, there were some funny parts in this issue, but I think North bit off more than he could chew with this giant Canada/Ant-Man/Brain Drain/Enigmo storyline. Usually Squirrel Girl comics are a breeze, but this whole storyline has been a bit of a slog.

A funny and witty slog, but a slog nonetheless.

Squirrel Girl and her team meet a good Enigmo, who broke off from the main mass a long time ago. He wants to help! So they hatch a new plan: lure bad Enigmo to the Toronto City Hall and have the good Enigmo absorb him — except the plan goes awry when they find out that good Enigmo can’t absorb the bad Enigmo, and bad Enigmo sends a whole army to Toronto to fight this squirrel resistance force.

After a lot of talking and a physics lesson, they hatch a new idea: they’ll use Pym Particles to make an Iron Man action figure giant, to make bad Enigmo think he needs to grow big to fight the big Iron Man. But since Enigmo isn’t using Pym Particles to grow, his big body can’t handle the mass and he ends up breaking his bones. This weakens bad Enigmo enough that good Enigmo is able to absorb him, and he turns the main mass good. So the day is saved and everybody can finally get out of Canada.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

My main problem with this whole Enigmo storyline has been the overwhelming text. There was just so much for North to explain, and so many characters around to talk things out, that this whole story has been overwhelmingly filled with dialogue balloons. And it’s not like this is some grand story. A weirdly defined supervillain takes over the world, but the action is reduced to just a couple of people in a van vaguely driving through Canada. There were plenty of jokes and one-liners for sure, and that physics lesson interlude was amazing, but those things were not enough to carry this story out of the muck.

Though the physics lesson was hilarious.

In more exciting news, I picked up the original GN Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe last weekend and I’m super excited to read it!

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 November 19, 2016, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Infamous Iron Man was pretty OK. His take-down of the Thinker was fun, and the scene with Amara was kinda funny.

    Jessica Jones was OK again. This just isn’t really a book that’s doing a lot for me.

    Thanos was pretty OK. I do dislike Deodato as an artist. I dislike his use of 3D models that he then traces. It always looks awkward. I also really dislike his design for Death, which is way too sexualized for no goddamn reason.

    Squirrel Girl was as wonderful as always, I thought. Lots of fun. PALactus! I want that figure. I also want the not-shown Angela: Queen of Halifax. But yeah, this was a fun arc. I enjoyed it. Plus, Brain Drain is amazing and I love him. (By the way, the Squirrel Girl OGN is wonderful. So good.)

    Wolverine wasn’t as good as the previous issue, but this is still an arc that excites me. Hellcat remains delightful. Ian’s sad backstory is sad, but he gets a snazzy new costume, and Zoe becomes the Villain I Hate Most In All Of Comics for her past treatment of Ian.

    • I think the arc in Wolverine could be great, but for some reason, it’s just not reaching the heights that it could. This issue’s bad art was also a definite drawback.

      I’m also definitely enjoying the Hellcat storyline. I might actually accept Black Cat as a villain if she shows up in stories like this one, and then Power Man and Iron Fist. She might actually be interesting as an antagonist to heroes like these, instead of to Spider-Man.

  2. What happens with Thanos after the opening shots of “Civil War II” was explored in Al Ewing’s “Ultimates,” so that’s not as confuzzling as it might seem if you go straight from the Big Stupid Bendis Event Book of the Year to “Thanos” #1.

    Not that it’s a good issue by any stretch even with that additional understanding. My favorite Marvel character is Thanos, and I should be really excited to see him with his own starring role in an ongoing in like 15 years — but being that it’s not written by Jim Starlin, I knew it wasn’t going to be great. No one else can do Thanos like Jim, unfortunately. Jason Aaron and Dan Slott have come as close as anyone has. I love Jonathan Hickman, but even his Thanos isn’t good. Better than most; still not good.

    Giving him to Jeff Lemire, though? The co-writer on “Death of X,” in which he seems to have forgotten everything he’s been having characters like Storm and Magik say about Cyclops’s #ReallyBadDeed for the past year over in “Extraordinary X-Men”? Just ugh.

    And Christ, why is Thane here? Bendis had an opportunity to score some points with me by killing off that horrid-idea-of-a-character-that-should-have-died-in-a-dumpster-fire with the “Black Vortex” crossover a couple of years ago — yet here he still is. Fuck.

    Oh, and Black Cat has no business being a villain in anyone’s comic. That continues to be Dan Slott’s One Really Awful Idea from An Otherwise Great Writer.

    • Thanks for the tip about Ultimates. I keep thinking I should be reading that book, but alas. And sorry to hear how Thanos is being put through the crappy writer ringer. I bet Lemire is responsible for killing Multiple Man, too! That monster!

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