Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 5/27/17

It’s not often that I like to toot my own horn about these comic book reviews. I’m nobody special. Just a comic book fan who likes to read comics and share my thoughts and opinions each week. But I noticed something rather interesting a few weeks ago — beginning with issue #3, I might be the only reviewer on the entire Internet who stuck with Mosaic.

See all those single reviews for issues 3-8? That’s just me. So I have been the only Internet comic reviewer chronicling the downfall of Mosaic. That’s just kind of weird. But it is an honor I take seriously.

Mosaic End 01

So alone…

It is with a kind of heavy heart that I must also be the only reviewer to chronicle the final issue of Mosaic. And you know what? It was a damn good issue, and I think I’ll give it Comic Book of the Week. Let it go out on a high note.

Comic Reviews: Infamous Iron Man #8, Jean Grey #2, Mosaic #8, and X-Men Blue #4. 


Infamous Iron Man #8

Infamous Iron Man #8
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev

I love this comic. I love this cool, calm, collected and heroic version of Doctor Doom, and I think Bendis is nailing his dialogue and personality. I know this probably won’t last forever, but I am definitely going to enjoy the ride while I can.

In an effort to stop Doctor Doom, Riri Williams flies to Latveria to search for clues to his whereabouts — only to find Doom himself sitting in contemplation in his old, ruined castle. Doom isn’t about to fight a teenager unprovoked, so he instead talks with Riri, having done his research on the new Ironheart. Riri is very skeptical, but they actually have a pleasant conversation as they discuss their own approaches to Tony Stark’s legacy, and Doom advises Riri to go back to college, since he found his own collegiate experience beneficial.

Eventually, Doom confides in Riri that he had a vision of some glorious future machine, and he thinks undergoing stress will help him see it again — so he asks her to blast him. Riri takes some convincing, but after a few repulsor blasts, Doom has the vision again. In his vision, he’s greeted by a mysterious man who has been trying to contact him from the future. That man is Tony Stark, the Sorcerer Supreme.

Meanwhile, the Maker convinces the Thing that he’s really Reed Richards returned and he tells the Thing to kill Doom!

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

I love character-based stories. Give me some exciting and fun characters and have them butt heads or put them through the ringer, and you’ve got the makings of a great story, let alone a great comic book. I think Bendis has done a great enough job building up both the new Doom and Riri that their confrontation in this issue feels genuine. It feels like a real moment we’ve been building towards, and it definitely lands. The characters feel like real people, especially Doom. I just love this guy. This is exactly what I want to see in the classic trope of villains becoming heroes.

Doom Riri 01

Good advice

The connection between Doctor Doom and Tony Stark is still a little weird, though. I’m still not entirely sure why Bendis and Marvel have thrown them together, but I suppose it’s working. At least there’s Maker, who should make for a great antagonist for Doom. He’s not quite Reed Richards, and that should be enough for some good conflict. I’m also still loving the Thing’s role in this comic. Some great character choices in this series.

And the art is just killing it on every page.

TL;DR: Doctor Doom and Riri Williams finally meet face-to-face in a great character and conversation-driven issue.


Jean Grey #2

Jean Grey #2
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Victor Ibanez

I missed reviewing the first issue of Jean Grey while sick in the hospital. I read it in my hospital bed and I wasn’t too impressed. The writing was fun, but an opening issue where Jean Grey fights three members of the Wrecking Crew in Tokyo was just weird. Fortunately, this issue dives into the real story and it’s much better.

After having a vision of the Phoenix at the end of last issue, Jean Grey is worried that the big flaming cosmic entity is on its way back to Earth, and that she might suffer the same Dark Phoenix fate as the adult Jean Grey. None of the adult X-Men believe Jean, so she reaches out to other people who have played host to the Phoenix, like Rachel Grey, Quentin Quire, Colossus, etc. When she tries to telepathically get in touch with Hope Summers, Jean instead discovers that Hope is a prisoner of the Reavers in a backwater Arizona town!

Jean rushes out and saves Hope, then they team up to battle an army of Reavers! Then all the Phoenix hosts Jean contacted show up to help out as well! While they’re fighting the Reavers, Quentin Quire takes Jean on a journey through everybody’s subconscious so she can get a taste of what the Phoenix is like. In the end, Jean decides to go see Namor, who also played host once.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good. 

This was a much better issue than the first because of the strong character focus. The first issue was just Jean Grey’s inner narration as she fought the Wrecking Crew, and again, only three members of the Wrecking Crew for some reason. It was weird. This issue was better because it was about Jean interacting with a bunch of interesting X-Men who are germane to the actual story, and Hopeless and Ibanez nailed their guest appearances. Heck, I even liked Hope Summers in this issue. Hopeless had a lot of fun detailing the first meeting between Hope and Jean.

Jean Hope 01

Hope has never been more interesting

Poor Hope. The forgotten red-headed step child. Remember when she was a big deal?

Dennis Hopeless is a great writer. I loved his Spider-Woman like no other comic. I’m hoping he can bring that same level of heart and character focus to Jean Grey. This issue, much more so than the first issue, is a solid example that he can. Heck, he wrote a better Quentin Quire than the one who showed up in Generation X!

TL;DR: The second issue of Jean Grey is much better than the first with its strong character use and far more focused story. I even liked Hope Summers for the first time ever!


Mosaic #8

Mosaic #8
Writer: Geoffrey Thorne
Artist: Khary Randolph

Of course we’d get one of the best issues yet of Mosaic as the very last issue.

Mosaic has stumbled upon a villainous scheme by Diablo to something something gain magic powers and take over the world. Mosaic is ready to bail, but something deep inside pushes him onward. He discovers that Diablo kidnapped a Moloid and has been using alchemy to make mindless clone drones of the Moloid to construct some magical pylons. Mosaic jumps into the body of the Moloid and finds he has the power to control the entire clone flock. They gang up on Diablo and essentially smack talk him into surrendering.

Afterwards, Mosaic hooks back up with Fife and tells him he wants to do good with his powers.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Let this tragic comic book tale be a lesson to Marvel, DC and anybody making comics in the future: don’t take 8 issues to tell your damn origin story! This was an awesome issue of Mosaic, one that was firing on all cylinders in both writing and art! But guess what? This series has already been cancelled due to low sales! This is the end of Mosaic. Who knows if he’ll ever show up again? Who knows if Marvel will ever be brave enough to introduce a brand new character in a brand new solo series ever again?

But here is the one, simple lesson to learn about Mosaic: don’t take forever to get to the good stuff!

Mosaic End 03

I really like the “jersey” comment

This was an awesome issue. One of the best of the series. Mosaic’s character has never been stronger, and Thorne really cuts loose with the trash talk and attitude that are unique to Morris Sackett. There are no other superheroes like him at Marvel or DC and it’s fun to read. I personally think Diablo is a horrible choice for the villain, since he doesn’t have any real way to connect to the hero, but Thorne still makes it work. He uses the rather creative idea of teaming up Diablo with the Moloids, and then uses the hero’s unique power set to solve this unique crisis in a unique and interesting way!

This is the sort of creativity and solid character work we should have gotten in issue #2!

Mosaic End 04

It’s on like Donkey Kong!

But what did we get instead? Thorne and Marvel took us on an extended tour of Mosaic’s powers. Remember when he possessed that gang banger who got shot? Did we ever even find out if that guy lived? That lasted two issues! Remember when Mosaic spent, like, three issues possessing Spider-Man?! What was even the point of that? What did that add to the series besides a shoe-horned Spider-Man cameo? It’s not like the two heroes even interacted.

On top of that needless exhibition of Mosaic’s super-powers (which any comic book reader would understand instantly as just being Deadman), this series rushed through Mosaic’s personal drama. The basketball player angle disappeared after the first issue. Finding out his girlfriend was both hired and queer was dropped almost immediately after learning it. The drama with his father was quickly settled in one issue when Pops turned out to just be generally evil and corrupt. And the Brand Corporation was also just a generic evil group.

And yet we had to spend 5 issues to get through all of that. In today’s market.

Mosaic End 02

Moloids have never been so cool!

Modern comic book readers have short attention spans. The market is flooded with tons of good comics, including a bunch from Marvel. Why would anyone want to devote 5 issues to a lackluster origin story? And then Thorne was forced to speed through Mosaic’s Inhuman connections in two issues, though I’ll readily admit it’s not his fault that Mosaic debuted when the Inhumans were going through a lot of complicated stuff. But this means we missed out on the potentially adorable flirtation between Mosaic and Iso. What little we did see of that was fun.

Mosaic is an interesting character. He could have been at the heart of good stories. This issue in particular is a very good story. But Mosaic took too long to tell an uninteresting origin story. And hindsight is 20/20. Nothing can be done now. The ship has sailed and Mosaic isn’t coming back. This was a wasted comic, it’s greatness smothered by editorial demands or poor story choices. It’s a damn shame.

Art was great this issue, too. I’m glad they brought Randolph back to do a strong final issue.

TL;DR: Mosaic goes out on a very high note with a thoroughly entertaining issue that really showcases the unique style and attitude of the character. But it took way too long and way too many issues to get to this level of greatness.


X-Men Blue #4

X-Men Blue #4
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Julian Lopez

I am not a good critic. I’m not great at being objective or viewing comics on their purely artistic merit. I’m just a dude who likes reading comics and likes putting my thoughts down in blog form.

But I’m going to try really hard not to blame this comic for re-introducing Jimmy Hudson to the world. Ugh.

The Young X-Men head up to the frozen wilderness to track reports of a strange mutant. They meet the local sheriff from a few issues back, and she quickly leads them all to Jimmy Hudson, who has gone pretty feral. Everybody does their best to subdue him, and then Iceman hulks out and just smashes Jimmy into submission. Everybody heads to the local bar to talk to Jimmy to find out what’s going on (and we get a little flashback to that one time the Young X-Men had a crossover with the Ultimate X-Men, so some of these characters already know Jimmy). But Jimmy doesn’t remember anything.

Then a bunch of other Ultimate X-Men show up at the bar claiming they’ve come to take Jimmy back. Also, I think they’re called the new Marauders.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

Ugh. Uuuuuuugh. Ugghh. I want to start pouting and stomping my feet like a child. X-Men Blue is the best comic to come out of ResurrXion (so far)! Why does Bunn have to ruin it by bringing in Jimmy freakin’ Hudson?! Now, I say this having never read a single comic staring Jimmy Hudson. But come oooooooon. Another Wolverine?! Does Marvel really need ANOTHER WOLVERINE?! It’s bad enough they’ve forced Laura into the corner of her solo series. And it’s bad enough that they’ve stuffed Old Man Logan onto half a dozen X-Teams and treat him like regular Wolverine. But now, in a move that NOBODY asked for, Marvel has to bring the freaking knock-off Ultimate Wolverine over into the main universe? Ugh!

Iceman Smash 01

Now that’s cathartic

Does anybody in the entire world have positive thoughts about Jimmy Hudson? By the time he was introduced, the Ultimate Universe was already in a death spiral of insane crossovers, massive relaunches and excessive character death. Plus, he’s not even an interesting idea! Oh, the son of Wolverine has Wolverine’s exact powers. Great. It’s already been done in the regular Marvel Universe. He’s called Daken and nobody likes him either!

This is a STUPID idea!

But maybe we’ll all get lucky and Jimmy won’t stick around by the end. Lord help us all, though, if he becomes a permanent member of the team. Just ugh.

Fortunately, this issue was perfectly enjoyable on it’s own merits. Bunn’s character work for the team is still outstanding. All of these Young X-Men are interesting and enjoyable characters, and they bounce well off each other. They’re also neat when suddenly thrust into a strange new setting, like the wilderness or the bar. It’s just good stuff. Lopez’s art isn’t as awesome as the previous artist, but I can survive a fill-in.

TL;DR: An otherwise enjoyable issue is hampered by the fact that Marvel is shoe-horning  the worst possible character into this fun comic. Just ugh.

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 May 27, 2017, in Comics, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I understand, and agree, that having yet another Wolverine-like character is a very dumb move, but I think you are being very unfair to a character that you’ve admitted have never read and to the Ultimate universe as a whole, there were other good ultimates comics after Ultimatum besides Miles Morales Spiderman, I actually think we already had a similar argument.
    (I checked, it was on Review: Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1)

    Jimmy is very different from Daken, he actually acts like he is Logan’s kid instead of just having his powers, he understands that he has to live up to a legacy but he doesn’t let that be his only motivation or trait, and goes through character development because of it.

    He is not perfect by any means, it was obvious that at the beginning that the reason of his existence was just to have a wolverine after the butchery that was Ultimatum killed their Logan, and he can be quite dull in some parts, but I think he eventually became his own character.

    Hell, I would argue that in terms of their character arcs he was a better replacement for Ultimate Wolverine than Laura was for Regular Wolverine, although admittedly that has a lot more to do with MARVEL wasting her full potential, keeping her separate from the X-men world is frankly an stupid idea, and keeping Old Man Logan for no reason other than give people a more “normal” wolverine at the same time defeats the ENTIRE purpose of the legacy, presumably just to get comic sales out of LOGAN (while also wasting HIS potential, in his universe he accidentally killed the X-men and now that he is in another one where most of them are alive he is like “cool I guess”).

    • I readily admit to being totally unfair to Jimmy Hudson. My rantings are nothing more than those of a child who has no idea what he’s getting into, judging a book purely by its cover. But at your suggestion, I will do my best to give him a chance!

  2. Totally agree about JG#2 and XMB#4.

    Hey! Guido just showed up front and center on the last page of Secret Warriors #2, along with some other X-Men! Thought you’d want to know. He’s sporting a new look.

  3. Infamous Iron Man was good. Doom and Riri talking was fun.

    Jean Grey is good. I still think a Phoenix arc misses the point of the All-New X-Men, and it’s a huge mistake to open with a Phoenix arc, but I did like seeing some of the past hosts. Especially Rachel and Hope. I wish we could get more of Jean and Rachel interacting. Deciding to just ignore how bizarre it all is that Jean is talking to an alternate-future daughter older than she is, because X-Men.

    Mosaic’s final issue was fine. But man, this series was one big missed opportunity, and it disappoints me so much. I stuck with it the whole run, and I enjoyed it, but it just felt like it was the wrong genre. This should’ve been a creator-owned comic.

    X-Men Blue was fine, but felt empty. There wasn’t a whole lot to it. Also, I’m annoyed that Bunn imported a young male son of an alternate reality Logan, while Laura, the actual Wolverine, still seems to be exiled from the X-Men. It’s frustrating. “Gee, this team of young X-Men could use a Wolverine, someone with claws and a healing factor, who’s in the same age group as these kids. But where will I ever find that? I know! I’ll grab Logan’s son from the Ultimate Universe! That’s what the readers want, right?” (Also, hey, yet another straight white dude, because really, that’s what this book needed. I mean, it only had 4 straight white dudes already, plus a straight white girl and a gay white guy. And if there’s one thing this franchise about a hated minority group needs, it’s more conventionally attractive straight white guys.)

    • I think I agree that a Phoenix arc is a little too obvious for a Jean Grey comic, but part of me is kind of hoping that Hopeless is setting us up for an ‘It’s all in Jean’s head’ twist at the end.

      Mosaic as a creator-owned comic is an interesting idea, but I don’t know if it would get any traction. I’d never heard of Thorne before this comic, and while a basketball player getting super-powers is a neat premise, the indie market wouldn’t stand for such an obvious Deadman rip-off. I think Mosaic definitely could have worked in the Marvel Universe. They went about him the wrong way.

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