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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 8/26/17

You know what I love to do on vacation? Nothing! Flame Con was a huge success last weekend for Gamer Girl & Vixen, and I had a super fun time in New York City. But now I’m just living out the rest of my vacation in calm and solitude. Gotta love that.

Had some great comics this week, from new Power Rangers to Harley Quinn, and a somewhat disappointing new issue of Chip Zdarsky’s Spider-Man. Not sure what happened there. Comic Book of the Week goes to the new Iceman, which is turning out to be a remarkably well-built comic.

Iceman Daken Freeze 01

Take that, Daken! You’re terrible!

Secret Empire is almost over, thankfully. It’s worn out it’s welcome. Nick Spencer now seems to just be narrating what amounts to just a giant battle of superheroes punching goons. It’ll all be over soon and we can move on with our lives.

Comic Reviews: Batgirl #14, Harley Quinn #26, Iceman #4, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #18 and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #3.


BGirl14

Batgirl #14

Batgirl #14
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Chris Wildgoose

I love the New 52 redesign of Dick Grayson’s original Robin costume. So anytime it shows up in a flashback scene, I get an extra level of excitement!

Batgirl and Nightwing are both summoned to the same rooftop by a mysterious text message, where they run into a pair of villains dressed like costumed acrobats — and who promptly dive off the roof, hand-in-hand, claiming “her” blood is on their hands. Babs and Dick immediately think about a woman named Ainsley and some mysterious summer. Ainsley was a friend of Barbara’s from school and work shortly after she moved to Gotham City, at about the same time that Robin was starting to tease/flirt with the new Batgirl. Could this be related to her?

Batgirl and Nightwing track down the Mad Hatter to get info, but he’s in the hospital. When they get to his room, he’s beaten all to hell — but suddenly wakes up and warns them that the Red Queen is coming! And sure enough, we see her spying on our heroes and plotting something sinister!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This was a very solid, very entertaining start to a big Batgirl storyline. Larson does a phenomenal job playing up with youthful flirtations of Dick and Barbara, while tying the flashbacks to the present day mysteries. This is exactly what you want in a good team-up issue. Both characters are well represented, with a focus, of course, on the title’s main character. Both characters are fun to read, and their dynamic together is truly something special.

Robin Classic Batgirl 01

He drinks and he knows things.

The mystery itself is off to a nice start, with plenty of cryptic clues and curiosities abound. I’m sure Larson has a lot to reveal, and I’m confident she’ll come up with clever and entertaining ways to solve this mystery. And then the art is spectacular. Wildgoose (an amazing name) is just the right amount of detailed and slightly cartoony that I like in my comic books. He’s great with both action and the characters — and his New 52 Robin is to die for. This is great stuff!

TL;DR: A new Batgirl mystery is off to a very exciting start, and the Nightwing guest appearance fits perfectly.


HQNew26

Harley Quinn #26

Harley Quinn #26
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
Artist: John Timms

The action and party continue as Harley Quinn starts its campaign against the evil mayor of New York City!

Harley and her pals defeated the Unconquerable 25 with skill, guns, plants, smashing stuff, neck snaps, knives and a lie about an exploding cannoli. It’s all manner of fun, I tells ya! When the dust settles, they come to the conclusion that the Mayor hired the 25, so Harley’s new plan to hit him where it hurts is to run for mayor herself!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This is about as good as superhero action gets. From wild insanity to actual one-on-one confrontations, to cool character beats and wild stunts to some general personal banter. It’s all a blast! The villains in this piece are pretty lame and unimportant, but the heroes and supporting cast are some of the best in the biz right here. The creative team is having a blast and using everybody to the fullest extent of their awesomeness. Can’t compete with that!

Harley Armor 01

Where is the Harley Iron Man armor variant?

And I love the idea that Harley is going to run for mayor. That should make for a really fun storyline. The evil mayor is a pretty one-note villain, whose only real defining characteristic is that he’s mayor. So hitting him right there, right at the only thing he has, is a solid way to tell this story. Plus, Harley running for mayor is exactly the sort of storyline I expect and love from this comic!

TL;DR: Carnage, mayhem and hilarity the way only Harley Quinn can provide!


Iceman4

Iceman #4

Iceman #4
Writer: Sina Grace
Artist: Edgar Salazar

I feel I might be a little biased here, because I love Iceman, but this comic is the whole package!

Zach, the kid that Iceman and Kitty Pryde rescued in issue #2, has disappeared from the X-Mansion. Bobby and Kitty check his social media and determine that he’s hanging out with Daken at a fancy nightclub. Rather than launch an X-Men assault, Bobby gets dressed up and goes to the nightclub to try and talk Zach into coming back to the X-Men, while fending off attacks and flirtations from Daken, who is a total knob.

But Zach says he’s too awesome to spend his time doing pop quizzes and other school stuff. He’s a cool mutant and he wants to live a cool life! So he takes off in Daken’s helicopter, while Bobby traps Daken — but the villain sees through Bobby’s cool exterior and calls him out for being afraid deep down.

Later, at the school, Bobby’s parents make a surprise visit and he immediately tells them he’s gay.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

The great thing about Iceman is how full it is, how well-built the series has become in only a few short issues. Grace has perfectly captured the protagonist, positioning him as a unique and interesting individual. And he’s filled the comic with it’s own little world, from interesting supporting characters to particular themes. This issue captures it all perfectly. Not only do we keep the story of Bobby coming out to his parents going, but Grace ties it directly into the confrontation with Daken and Bobby’s own personal insecurities. Plus, we’ve check back in with the new mutants!

Spit Girl 01

Spit Girl Watch!

The dialogue and action in this issue were top notch. Not only the banter with Daken — whom Grace really makes especially slimy and horrible — but also everything Zach has to say to Bobby. It’s smart stuff, really playing into the idea that Bobby is trying to be a role model to these students. And this issue is such a complete story. We go all the way from finding out Zach is missing, to the encounter with Daken and Zach at the club, to the emotional climax, to a nice little epilogue. Grace has been doing a great job with single-issue stories that build the larger narrative.


MMPR18

Power Rangers #18

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #18
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Hendry Prasetya

I know Higgins is surely building to something really awesome, but for now, we get a creepy issue of Power Rangers that touches upon some other genres.

Grace Sterling fills the Power Rangers in on a mysterious city shrouded in mist that has been discovered in Romania, in the Carpathian Mountains. The pilots she sent in to get a better look have disappeared, and satellite images show the city full of people…and monsters! The Rangers teleport in and are greeted by weird-acting locals, and then Finster! All of the townsfolk are his new, advanced, human-disguised Putty Patrollers, and the Rangers start fighting! Tommy and Jason head into Finster’s castle and rescue the pilots, then everybody takes Finster down.

Afterwards, Grace offers to team up with the Rangers and give them worldwide surveillance, but Jason turns her down. He wants the Rangers to stay independent. Zach visits him at the Command Center later to suggest they take Grace up on her offer, and then the trouble alert goes off to reveal that some of Finster’s human-looking Putties are out in the world causing mayhem!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

The great thing about the Power Rangers comic is just how wonderfully Higgins breaks the mold. In this issue alone, we’ve got Finster working solo, rather than just being a cog in the Rita machine. We’ve got the Power Rangers acting without Zordon. And we’ve got them interacting with other people! I know Grace Sterling is up to something — and might even be Rita — but she’s a fun addition to the cast for the simple fact that she’s new and interesting! How do other people actually react to the Power Rangers? We rarely ever saw that in the show. How do titans of industry and powerful people react? How do the Rangers interact with said people? Higgins is tackling all of this, and just showing the Power Rangers in these new lights is freakin’ cool. As is the Power Rangers in a spooky zombie flick. Higgins and Prasetya are killing it on this comic!

TL;DR: Power Rangers continues to color outside the lines and that makes for a hugely enjoyable nostalgia comic!


SpecSpidey3

Spectacular Spider-Man #3

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #3
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert

Huh. I don’t…I don’t know what’s happening. But this comic is kind of quickly falling from grace for me.

Spidey has traced the hacked phones to the Kingpin. So after visiting the Mason to hook Teresa up with some superhero weaponry, Spidey, Teresa and the Human Torch break into Kingpin’s penthouse. They beat up him and his goons, and Spidey tells him to stop supplying criminals with phones, though Kingpin is nonplussed about all of this and says he’s actually being supplied by the Tinkerer, who also shows up.

Meanwhile, somebody has sent pictures of Spider-Man breaking into Kingpin’s penthouse with enemy of the state Teresa to J. Jonah Jameson, who runs a Spidey-hating blog.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This comic has gone slightly off the rails. There’s just something off about it that I didn’t like, as if it was a little wilder and less polished than the excellent first two issues. Spider-Man isn’t as witty. And the storytelling is a little clumsy. Like, Peter Parker seems off his game in both breaking into Kingpin’s place and then also confronting him about the phones. Zdarsky hasn’t properly established why these phones are such a big deal, and this issue and Peter’s lack of confidence don’t help. It’s like we’re just supposed to accept that he’s telling us that these phones are bad, and whatever Spidey does about them is the right thing to do.

Spidey Bad 01

Smile!

On top of that unsure storytelling, and some pretty bad jokes/humor from Spider-Man, the art is definitely starting to suffer. Kubert is a legend in the industry, but when was the last time we drew more than one issue consistently? It’s only issue #3 and already the art is suffering, with sloppy panels and muddy detail. There are a ton of lesser known Marvel artists who could have given this series their all.

TL;DR: Three issues in and this new Spider-Man comic is starting to feel a little too wibbly wobbly.


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!

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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 August 26, 2017, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Iceman was good. Iceman trolling Daken was rather enjoyable. Though Daken definitely got the best line of the issue with his “pretty white person drama” line.

    Spectacular Spider-Man was reasonably fun.

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