Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 9/30/17
Comic Convention Season is almost over! Tomorrow I will be selling Gamer Girl & Vixen at Uticon in lovely Utica, NY, so if you live in the area, stop on by! For now, though, I’m reading regular comics!
Plenty of fun entries this week, from the proper return of Tim Drake in Detective Comics to the return of Volstagg in The Mighty Thor. But Comic Book of the Week goes to the new issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for some great character moments, great monsters and a great twist ending!
I also read the first issue of Marvel Legacy, and it was fine. It’s mostly just a big tease for all of Marvel’s upcoming storylines, and some of them look fine. None of them tickle my fancy, so I just hope we get some good stories out of them. I don’t particularly like this 1,000,000 BC Avengers, even if it’s slightly clever. And the less said about the real Wolverine’s “return” the better.
I can’t have missed you if you never went away, Old Man!
Comic Reviews: Batgirl #15, Detective Comics #965, Infamous Iron Man #12, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #17 and Mighty Thor #23.
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Chris Wildgoose
Let us continue on with more classic Robin goodness in the pages of Batgirl!
While checking out the Mad Hatter in the hospital, Batgirl and Nightwing discover a doctor going crazy and attacking her nursing staff. The doctor doesn’t seem to feel pain, even when her face gets covered in glass shards. Our heroes manage to blind her and get her into a room for safety. When they put her into the MRI to try and discover what’s wrong with her, the woman’s body vaporizes!
When they run some tests on what’s left of the doctor (who called herself The Red Knight), our heroes learn that her body was pretty much 70% nanobots. And when they learn her real name, Babs remembers that she was working with Ainsley in the flashback period on a nanobot project! So the mystery of Ainsley continues!
Oh, and at one point, Dick and Babs, kiss, but he decides afterwards that it was a mistake.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This was another fine issue, and Larson is doing a great job on the interactions between Dick and Babs. They feel very natural together, and their back-and-forths are fun. I’m especially enjoying the flashback scenes. Larson is telling a really nice story about the two of them, with fantastic art from Wildgoose — though he’s drawing adult Nightwing a little too similarly to teenage Robin. But the overall story isn’t all that interesting yet. Nanobots are hardly a new and exciting adversary, and we don’t really learn anything new or interesting about this Ainsley person or the Red Queen. Larson is kind of just leading us through the mystery point-by-point, without there really being much of a mystery at all.
TL;DR: Come for the awesome Batgirl/Nightwing team up and stay for the awesome Batgirl/Nightwing team-up, because the story that unites them isn’t very hot this issue.
Detective Comics #965
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Finally, at long last, after waiting months and months, Tim Drake is back! Consider me 100% on board! Let’s do this!
Mr. Oz interrogates Tim Drake about his origin and about why he became Robin, why he stayed being Robin and what he hopes to accomplish as a superhero. Tim knows he never wanted to be Batman, and part of him thinks he can do more out of costume. Tim then reveals that he took over the control room and is prepared to turn the tables on Oz, except that Oz reveals himself to be Jor-El, the not-dead dad of Superman, and further reveals that he, too, was a prisoner alongside Tim, of a much more sinister power. Oz then leaves Tim alone in the control room.
Tim is pretty flummoxed and is sad about being alone all this time. He gets on the computer and tries to get a message out to Batman — and it’s received! But Batman claims he’s a prisoner too. Tim opens his cell and rushes to join him, but finds this Batman wielding a gun. Turns out it’s the older Tim Drake from a Teen Titans storyline from years ago (that I totally read and loved), and together they’ve got to team up against Doomsday!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I’m as happy as a clam that Tim Drake’s origin has been resored, so I don’t really fault this issue at all for spending several pages setting things right. I was as bummed as a comic book fan can get when the New 52 altered Tim so much, and I’m glad that Tynion has set everything back to normal. Good for him! But it doesn’t make for much of a story. Nor does the big Jor-El reveal, because it doesn’t mean anything to Tim Drake. Tim is just a pawn in whatever bigger story DC is telling, so Tim being free of his cell and one-upping Oz don’t mean anything, since Oz is needed elsewhere for the rest of the story and Tim is not.
So that leaves Tim teaming up with his future self, which is just the teaser at the end, so that’s not much meat either. Overall, the story in this issue isn’t much. But at least the character work — and the art — are solid. Tynion does a deep character dive on Tim Drake. We see him at his most heroic and noble, at his most triumphant, at his most scared and at his most confused all in a span of an issue, while laying the ground work for an Evil Tim Drake Batman story coming up in a few months. That’s a solid kick-off to this hugely anticipated story.
TL;DR: Tim Drake is back and better than he’s been in a long time! Tynion repairs the damage caused to the character by the New 52 and starts him on the path for a hopefully exciting storyline!
Infamous Iron Man #12
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
What a disappointing ending to this otherwise amazing series! This comic was one of my favorites this year, based on just how powerful it was to see Doctor Doom, the Thing and the Human Torch try to pick up their lives after the end of the Fantastic Four.
But I guess early cancellation may have ruined everything for everyone. This is why we can’t have nice things!
Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange launch their attack against Mephisto — prompting Mephisto pause the scene in order to spend several pages breaking the Fourth Wall to talk to the reader about how much of a bad guy Doctor Doom is, and how he’s not going to get away. Mephisto also explains that he was behind everything in this series, both the evil Reed Richards and Doom’s mother. So there’s that.
Mephisto goes back to the fight and gets defeated. Director Carter wants to arrest Doom, but he promises that if she lets him go, he’ll take out a Hydra science island for her. She’s cool with that. The Thing isn’t cool with that, so Doom teleports him to a nice suite in Amsterdam to kick back and enjoy life. Thing is cool with that.
So Doom goes and destroys the island, while the various super-villains he had locked up earlier conspire about teaming up to take down Doom.
Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.
When Mephisto paused the scenario in order to talk to the reader, I knew we were in for a doozy of a dumb issue. I don’t know any of the behind-the-scenes details about Infamous Iron Man, but I’d like to imagine that Brian Michael Bendis had bigger and better plans for this series. And a weird Mephisto Wall break was surely just a quick way to wrap it all up in the end? I can’t accept that the greatness in the beginning of this series was all leading up to an out-of-nowhere Mephisto reveal, I just can’t.
Beyond that, the rest of the issue just kind of petered out. Doom solved his problem with Director Carter and SHIELD very quickly, and wrapped up the face-off with the Thing just as quickly. I don’t think he even said “goodbye” to Doctor Strange. Things just kind of wrapped up, albeit with gorgeous and glorious art from Maleev, so at least there’s that. And at least we can apparently look forward to Bendis continuing Doom’s story over in Ironheart’s comic (which I stopped reading awhile ago, so I guess I gotta go back).
TL;DR: The otherwise phenomenal Infamous Iron Man ends with a bit of a whimper, because it feels like Bendis switched out whatever stories he actually planned for a quick fake-out resolution.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #17
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Hendry Prasetya
So good, there’s no wonder BOOM! has two ongoing Power Rangers comics now!
We see a couple vignettes of the Rangers out of costume, like Kimberly dealing with the fact that her divorced dad is going to propose to his girlfriend, or Billy’s mom worrying about him. Then everybody gets called to a new monster attack! Two of Finster’s latest creations — monsters that pose as people first and then burst out in crowded locations — attack some European cities, and the Rangers use teleportation to deal with both of them and get the upper hand!
When they return to the Command Center, the Rangers try to interrogate Finster to get more information, but he’s not squawking. Zach tries to suggest they take Grace Sterling up on her offer to help, but they don’t have time to debate it when Grace shows up at their front door! Not only does Grace already know Zordon and Alpha, but apparently she’s a former Red Ranger!!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
Holy guacamole that’s a good twist! I thought, for sure, that Grace Sterling would be revealed as a bad guy, but I held out hope that Higgins was throwing us an obvious red herring. I had no idea he’d turn his red herring into a freakin’ Red Ranger! Now that’s a good twist! It raises so many new questions and possibilities! And Higgins is already knocking this title out of the park with those! The man seems born to take the Power Rangers we know and love and just expose them to all manner of fun and awesome storytelling tropes!
I’m having so much fun with this comic. Twist aside, it was all still a blast. The out-of-costume moments were great, and are vital to this series. The in-costume scenes were a lot of fun as the Rangers dealt with two monsters without the need for Zords or going big. They just took on their foes, both of whom had interesting powers, and used their wits and varying levels of awesomeness to win the day. That’s good storytelling, and that’s good Power Rangers!
TL;DR: A super fun issue of Power Rangers features a bit of everything I love about this series: entertaining character moments, creative fight scenes, amazing art and the sort of twist that really throws this whole franchise for a loop!
Mighty Thor #23
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Valerio Schiti
So endeth the War Thor. I thought we’d get more out of him, but instead we get his swan song in this issue, and I hope that means Aaron is ready to get back to the War of Realms!
Thor and the War Thor do epic battle, with their blows drawing the attention of people from all across the Ten Realms (Including Baldur the Brave, the King of Hel!)! Odinson and Roz team up and try to lend a hand, informing Thor that the War Thor is actually Volstagg, driven mad by the ravages of war! So Jane drops her hammer and reverts to her human self, and that seems to get through to her friend Volstagg. Then Odinson casts the Ultimate Mjolnir back to Old Asgard.
Meanwhile, as the two Thors fought, the War of Realms has spread to many other previously untouched realms. Seems the war is only getting bigger!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
I love Jason Aaron’s Thor. I’ve loved it from the very beginning. And I think this whole War of Realms storyline is amazing. The guy is killing it! And his art teams are great! But just like the Shi’ar storyline, this War Thor thing now feels like an odd tangent. I didn’t expect him to be taken care of so quickly. Ultimate Mjolnir was an interesting piece to add to this puzzle, but this was where it led? What was the point?
Why is Aaron dragging this story out?
Don’t get me wrong. This issue was hugely entertaining, the characters are still super fun and he’s clearly got a lot more facets of the story to explore. So I’m not losing faith! I can’t wait to see him re-introduce Baldur the Brave into the Thor universe, and having Malekith visit Heven is a great twist. So clearly Aaron is going somewhere with all of this. I guess I just wish he’d get there already and give us some more meaningful war stories.
TL;DR: It’s an epic brawl the way only Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor can deliver! But I feel like this storyline was just another distraction from his already epic War of Realms overarching story!
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 September 30, 2017, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Robin and tagged Batgirl, Detective Comics, Doctor Doom, Infamous Iron Man, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Mighty Thor, Nightwing, Red Robin, Thor, Tim Drake. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.