Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/10/17
Good news, everybody! My time is my own again and the bonus Wednesday is out of the way, so I’m back to buying and reading an entire pile of comics! But bad news, too! Because as has been the case with me and comics, all of my favorite comics come out in one week, and there’s no way I can get to them all.
So this week sees new issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Hawkeye and Nova! But I had to pass on new issues of Harley Quinn and Unstoppable Wasp, just for time! Fortunately, I made room for the Comic Book of the Week: Iceman #1! He’s my favorite
X-Man and he’s finally got a solid solo comic!
Speaking of comics I read but didn’t review, the new issue of Harley Quinn is pretty nifty! We learn the secret origin of Red Tool, even though I didn’t know he had a secret origin! I’m gonna do a write up on it next week in case you want the fully skinny.
Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #28, Batman #24, Hawkeye #7, Iceman #1 and Nova #7.
Amazing Spider-Man #28
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Stuart Immonen
I love Dan Slott as a writer. I loved this issue of Amazing Spider-Man and most of Slott’s ongoing adventures. But…I’m ready for somebody else to take over Amazing Spider-Man. I’m definitely going to pick up Chip Zdarsky’s Spectacular Spider-Man.
It’s not that Slott isn’t a good writer, because he’s a great one. It’s just that…I dunno…after all these years of Slott Spider-Man stories, it feels like butter scraped across too much bread.
Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends take on Norman Osborn and his evil forces after he’s launched a missile heading towards the capital filled with goblin gas. Mockingbird goes after the missile, with help from the Wild Pack. Silver Sable defeats the evil countess in a sword duel. And Spider-Man takes on Norman, but only after Norman uses a bunch of tricks to rob Spidey of his powers and gadgets. It’s a man-to-man fight in the snow and Spidey wins, but Norman escapes.
Afterwards, the Uncle Ben Foundation arrives in the capital to deliver aid and SHIELD cuts ties with Parker Industries.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
Most of this individual issue was a lot of fun. I liked seeing Spider-Man and his friends rally to stop the bad guys. I enjoyed a lot of little moments — like when Mockingbird is literally riding the missile to disable it before it hits the village, and she calls Nick Fury for help and he asks where she is: “Where do you think?!” she shouts back. Good moments like that really keep the issue kicking. So it’s a quality comic and a good wrap up to the storyline (with continuously stellar art from Immonen, obviously).
But in the end, it’s just yet another fight between Spider-Man and Norman Osborn. And Slott goes to really, really strained lengths to have Osborn depower Spider-Man so they can have some sort of one-on-one fisticuffs. And the issue ends with Osborn escaping and promising to become the Green Goblin again. Ugh. It’s just…yeah. Slott has done pretty much everything there is to do with a Spider-Man comic. He’s had Spidey face all of his biggest foes, sometimes multiple times. Now he’s got Spider-Man invading a sovereign country to overthrow its evil leaders alongside his superhero pals, and that’s only one of a string of big, heroic adventures.
I’m ready for something new. I’m ready for Zdarsky to come in and tell more grounded, human stories about Peter Parker again. Slott’s doing a fine job, but I’m not really interested in big, bombastic, international Spider-Man stories anymore. Give me a couple issues where it’s just Peter Parker and Bobbi Morse going on a date, with zero hint of superheroics. Slott would write the hell out of that story.
TL;DR: The latest Spider-Man story wraps up in enjoyable, bombastic fashion, but reading this issue made me realize I’m ready for a new type of Spider-Man story.
Writer: Tom King
Artists: David Finch and Clay Mann
If you managed to avoid the spoilers that were plastered all over the Internet this week (including on my site), good for you! If you weren’t, don’t worry, it’s not that big of a deal.
Now that Gotham Girl is fully recovered, she and Batman find a really high spot to hang out and talk about life. She doesn’t know what to do with her life and wants Batman to tell her, but who is he to tell her what to do with her life? They talk about what it means to be a hero and whether or not being a hero is what being Batman is all about, or what being a costumed superhero is all about. They talk about being scared and sad and whether or not they’re happy. Batman says he isn’t happy. He tries to be happy, it’s why he’s doing this, but in the end he just keeps failing. Gotham Girl tells him it’s OK to be scared and be happy.
This prompts Batman to ask Catwoman to marry him.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This was a nice, quaint issue exploring Batman as a person and I liked it. My synopsis doesn’t do any of the issue any justice. I’m still not sold on Gotham Girl as a living, breathing character and part of the Bat-Family, but she’s a solid enough foil to get Batman talking about whether or not he’s happy and why he doesn’t think he’s happy. It’s a really solid conversation and King writes it spectacularly, with stunning art from both Finch and Mann as they draw different sections of the comic. The idea of Batman asking Catwoman to marry him is a little silly, but only in the larger sense of nothing in comics is permanent. After those great Batman/Catwoman issues a couple months ago, I am absolutely in favor of this nifty new ending.
TL;DR: In spite of the the gawking, clickbait headlines this issue prompted, this was actually a really nice meditation on Batman’s emotional state and why he deserves to be happy.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Leonardo Romero
Is Hawkeye still an awesome comic? You’re darn right it is! It’s like Thompson and Romero are channeling Matt Fraction and Annie Wu’s Kate Bishop issues from his legendary Hawkeye run.
At the end of the last issue, Kate Bishop was jumped in her office by some goons and they left behind a present. Inside is a very special necklace that her mother wore and a taunting calling card from Madame Masque. We’re treated to several flashbacks about Kate’s mother, the necklace and the dangerously rocky relationship she had with Kate’s father, all while Kate fights her way into Masque’s headquarters. She knocks out a security guard and then goes all The Bride vs. The Crazy 88 on a ballroom full of goons (without the killing). When she eventually makes it up to Masque’s office, she’s greeted instead by her father!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This issue was all about the action, and holy heck did this creative team deliver! Romero’s multi-page fight scene is phenomenal and clever, where every little detail counts and the action flows perfectly from panel-to-panel. And the writing keeps the whole thing popping like a really great fight scene should. This is just plain gorgeous stuff.
And the rest is really great, too! Thompson does a spectacular job setting up the importance of this necklace in Kate’s life, and the flashbacks to her mother really build the drama for the confrontation to come. I don’t recall ever reading anything major about Kate’s mom, so this is really cool stuff. The flashbacks are incorporated very well. And the build-up to finding Kate’s dad in the cliffhanger ending really raises the stakes for this confrontation with her father.
TL;DR: This is a well-constructed, hugely fun issue that uses both Kate Bishop’s unique wit and her personal drama to start building another great Hawkeye story!
Writer: Sina Grace
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Finally! Iceman is my favorite X-Man (when you consider that Multiple Man has never actually been an X-Man), so I’ve been excited to read his first ever ongoing solo series. And I like that Marvel is really pushing the idea that this is going to be a comic about a man coming to terms with finally being comfortable with his sexuality. That’s a great premise for a new, solo superhero comic.
Is Iceman’s outing still controversial? I don’t really know. Personally, I think if Marvel really wants to be diverse, they should create and celebrate new diverse characters instead of retconning ongoing characters to fit diversity. But I don’t have any real problem with making Iceman gay beyond that.
The subtext was always kind of there. And fortunately, this first issue handles it well.
After a sparring session with his younger self (and turning down an offer to be a third wheel on Young Bobby’s date), adult Iceman signs on to a dating site and begins writing his profile. He’s never done this before, let alone searching for a man. Then he gets a text that his dad suffered a heart episode and he rushes to the hospital, greeting his mother and father in their room. They make small talk for a bit, until a Purifer in armor attacks a mutant girl in the hallway.
Bobby ices up and eventually takes the guy out, saving the young girl. She’s a new mutant with spit-based powers, and Bobby gives her a nice pep talk. But afterwards, with the hospital fight on the news, Bobby’s parents kind of passively aggressively want him to leave. They don’t want to be hassled because of their son’s mutant antics.
So Bobby leaves, sighing about the tense relationship with his parents. They don’t yet know that he’s come out as gay. As he’s waiting for a taxi, Bobby erases his previously written dating site profile and just puts the shrug emoji.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
What the heck is up with the Purifiers?! Marvel just used them in the opening issues of Generation X, and now here’s another one? Randomly showing up in a hospital wearing beefed up hockey pads to kill some random teenage mutant? Why are these villains so popular?! They’re one-note, brainless psychopaths with zero depth. Yeah, that makes for a solid adversary, I suppose, but they’re just so ridiculously insane that they pull me out of the story. Writers these days can’t get a little more creative than randomly having an armored Purifier show up and start opening fire inside a hospital?
Anyway, that nitpick aside, this was an otherwise wonderful debut issue of the Iceman comic. Grace did a really neat job making Bobby’s internal monologue into his dating profile, adding an extra bit of creativity to the usual character captions. And this issue was more about Bobby as a person than as a superhero. We got some great moments between Bobby and his younger time-traveling self — which remains a weird comic book concept, and Grace doesn’t shy away from that. We get a couple of great scenes of Bobby with his parents, building up a realistic look at an adult interacting with his parents, with both his being a mutant and his being gay hanging over them.
And the superheroics are good too, even against a Purifier. Bobby gets to show off and kick butt, with Vitti doing a phenomenal job showing off the crazy ice powers. I even liked the new mutant they introduced. I’m glad to see that new mutants get to pop up again instead of everybody needing to be an Inhuman. Viva la mutants!
TL;DR: The first issue of Iceman is a success because it focuses on character more than anything else, bringing attention to Bobby Drake at an interesting time in his life. Should make for a good comic.
Writers: Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez
Artists: Ramon Perez and Scott Hepburn
So sad that this series is coming to such a quick end. This is the most I’ve enjoyed Nova since before Rich Rider died! Loveness and Perez wrote the perfect Nova Rebirth storyline!
Sam Alexander takes on the possessed Rich Rider in the Cancerverse, fighting against insurmountable odds! Sam eventually gets through to Rich, who is able to pull the cancer out of himself. They try to convince Worldmind to surrender and get help, but he’s too far gone, so it’s another fight. The pair find a Cosmic Cube among the bodies and combine their power to teleport home, where life is pretty good.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
I’m glad to have Rich Rider back as Nova. Even though this series in particular made me finally appreciate Sam Alexander, there’s just no beating Rich as Nova. And this series did such an amazing job bringing Rich Rider back into my life that now I want to pick up whatever comic he appears in next. I heard it’s the new Guardians of the Galaxy! I had zero interest in that comic until hearing that Rich might show up. Now if only Loveness and Perez were writing. We might get scenes as awesome as this:
This issue was pure Nova bliss. From Sam stepping up to be a hero, even in the face of personal doom, to Rich replaying his greatest moment by ripping the cancer out of his own mouth, to the two Novas teaming up and kicking all manner of butt, to Rich surviving in the end! This was an exciting issue chock full of the usual strong character work and a lot of great comic book action. Perfect finish to this fun little Nova comic.
TL;DR: It’s a damn shame this series is over because Loveness and Perez wrote one hell of a Nova comic! And they easily stick the landing!
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 June 10, 2017, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged Amazing Spider-Man, Catwoman, Green Goblin, Hawkeye, Iceman, Kate Bishop, Nova, Rich Rider. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.