Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 3/3/18
Posted by Sean Ian Mills
I’m still over the moon that we’re getting a new Multiple Man comic book. I don’t know much about this Matthew Rosenberg fella, and I’m slightly disappointed that it isn’t me writing the new Multiple Man comic, but you’re can be darn sure I’m going to read it all! And review it right here!
Some pretty solid comics this week, from Detective Comics to Batgirl to a couple more of DC’s new titles. I’d been waiting to check out The Terrifics and it did not disappoint. But Comic Book of the Week goes to All-New Wolverine for a delightfully funny done-in-one issue.
Speaking of new comics, Marvel has officially announced Nick Spencer as taking over Amazing Spider-Man. I don’t have anything to do with the guy’s Twitter feed or whatever brouhaha erupted during Secret Empire, but I really liked his Ant-Man and Superior Foes comics, so I’m definitely on board for his Amazing Spider-Man.
Comic Reviews: All-New Wolverine #31, Batgirl #20, Detective Comics #975, The Silencer #2 and The Terrifics #1.
All-New Wolverine #31
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Marco Failla
I’m a simple man with simple tastes, and the new issue of All-New Wolverine fulfills pretty much all of them. I may have missed out on the past couple of storylines, but I’m back with a vengeance, people!
Gabby takes her pet wolverine, Jonathan, for a walk and they come across the research lab where Jonathan was experimented on and rescued from. Gabby wants revenge, but is worried that Laura will stop her, so she calls her pal Deadpool and he’s more than happy to lend a hand in destroying an animal testing facility. They suit up, head inside and discover that the mad scientists have been making zombie animals! They fight their way through, joking along the way, and are later joined by Wolverine. They feed the director of the facility to the zombie wolverines and then burn the building to the ground, and everybody feels pretty great about that.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This is basically an issue of Tom Taylor just cutting loose and having fun with the characters/world he’s created. Gabby is, obviously, the breakout star of his All-New Wolverine run, and here is an issue where he just has fun writing banter between Gabby and Deadpool. The stakes don’t matter, the overall storyline doesn’t matter, this is just a fun, silly issue and I love it! This issue is comedic gold!
I’ll be the first comic book reviewer to tell you that comedy is subjective. What I find hilarious, you might find boring. And vice versa. I mostly skip Deadpool comics because there’s just something I don’t particularly enjoy about his brand of comic book comedy — though I absolutely loved the Deadpool movie. The new direction of the Harley Quinn comic is leaning into its wackiness, but it’s turning me off from the comedy that came before. And then there’s this issue of All-New Wolverine, which I found absolutely delightful!
I think it all comes down to context, stakes and the actual jokes themselves. This issue of All-New Wolverine never loses sight of itself or its world. It doesn’t go off the rails concerning what we know about Honey Badger, Deadpool or their world in order to make the jokes. The issue keeps everything grounded in their reality and their characters, then builds jokes off of that. That’s what I find funny. It helps that Honey Badger continues to be adorable and awesome, and Deadpool is a good foil for her antics (and she for his!).
TL;DR: A nice, simple done-in-one issue of Honey Badger and Deadpool having the kind of hilarious fun that makes them breakout characters to begin with.
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Sami Basri
I applaud Larson for trying to create some new and established villains for Batgirl to face.
Batgirl finds Qadir in his government lab, having been knocked out after an unknown villain stole his latest invention: a trust ray. After listening to the security footage, Batgirl recognizes the voice of Ethan Cobblepot, the Penguin’s son, who she tussled with recently. They deduce that father and son are using the trust ray to get people to like the Penguin so that he can run for Congress. Batgirl traces the signal and gets ambushed by Ethan and his supersuit, and he leaves her to burn up — but she escapes, obviously.
Batgirl then crashes the Penguin’s first attempt to start mass brainwashing people and reveals his plan to the people. This gets Penguin to turn on his son, and Batgirl and the cops break them up. When Barbara gets home, she reflects on how much growing up she’s done since coming to Burnside and how she’s got further to go.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This was a fine, if unspectacular issue. Batgirl does some solid investigating, discovers the bad guy, escapes an ambush and then disrupts the Penguin’s mind control plans. Solid comic book storytelling! With picture perfect comic book art. Basri is great on this title. There are some weird bits, like when Batgirl recognizes Ethan’s voice. Larson writes it as if Babs has to use her eidetic memory to pinpoint the thief’s identity…but, like, isn’t she just recognizing the voice of a guy she used to know? I’m pretty sure we can all do that. And Larson puts a lot of emphasis on Burnside and Batgirl growing over the years she’s been here, and that kind of came out of nowhere. She’s pretty much the same she was back when Batgirl of Burnside started, and I’m totally cool with that since it’s still a fun comic!
TL;DR: It’s a standard, solid issue of Batgirl fighting baddies as the creative team tries to build some big picture momentum.
Detective Comics #975
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Alvaro Martinez
Now this is more like it! All the overstuffed action of the past few issues has been condensed into a really compelling look at the series.
After Batwoman shot and killed a rampaging Clayface, Batman has gathered his closest allies (all four Robins and Batgirl) to discuss what is to be done with her. Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin and Robin all give their thoughts on the matter, as to whether or not Kate Kane should be allowed to continue using the Bat-symbol, but it’s Batgirl who really has everything figured out.
Batgirl has deduced that Batman knew about the Colony in advance, and he knew that they were going to try and recruit all the unaffiliated vigilantes in Gotham City, including Batwoman. Not wanting to lose his control, Batman turned to Red Robin, who has been pushing his Belfry ideas for awhile. Without telling Tim the truth, Batman allowed Red Robin to push ahead with his plans, even though Batman knew they couldn’t be sustained, all in an effort to keep Batwoman in the Family — in large part because, as Bruce’s cousin on his mother’s side, Kate is a strong connection that he has to his mother. Batgirl tells Batman that this faux trial is all just to ease his ego, because he knows he has no real control over the adult, independent Batwoman. And she says, in the end, that only Kate Kane can decide what she does next.
While visiting the grave of her mother, Kate decides to take her father’s offer to join the Colony.
Also, Tim is a little perturbed that Batman has been lying to him all this time.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This is more like it! I felt that the past few issues really went a little bit off the rails with so many characters, plots and sub-plots, each with their own emotions and development to get through. This issue shrinks everything down to a single meeting, laying out the thesis of Tynion’s whole Detective Comics, while also revealing some neat twists! The Belfry Squad was all a ruse by Batman, that he kept from Red Robin? Neat! Definitely explains why Batman can continue to be an independent hero going forward. It’s a solid twist and adds a lot to the whole story so far.
And it explains, to an extent, why nobody bothers to teach Cassandra how to freakin’ read. Since the Belfry wasn’t a real effort by Batman, he didn’t treat everyone as warmly as he would have otherwise. Seriously, though, someone should just sit down with Cassandra and help her out.
Anyway, I really dug this issue. It provides some solid character development, especially for Batwoman, and upends everything about Tynion’s Detective Comics, which is cool. It’s not without faults, though. This big issue rests on the shoulders of guest stars who don’t normally factor into Detective Comics. Batgirl has never appeared, I don’t think, and yet she’s the one who essentially just tells the reader what’s really going on. Not only does that violate the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule of writing, it also stinks that a guest star is the one telling.
But I still enjoyed it all, because I love the Bat-Family and all these characters matter to me, even if they’re not normally in the book.
TL;DR: Tynion flips everything on its head in a fun, revealing issue of Detective Comics, though he relies too much on guest stars and long speeches to make it happen.
The Silencer #2
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: John Romita Jr.
I liked the first issue of The Silencer well enough to try out the second, and I’m still generally pleased. It’s has quickly become DC’s answer to John Wick.
The Silencer defeats the two goons that were sent to kill her and Talia, but Talia escapes in the confusion. The Silencer calls in a cleaner and everything is taken care of, so she goes home to her family and pretends that nothing is wrong or weird. The following day, when her family goes off to work, The Silencer reaches out to a bunch of other connected people and arranges a meeting with Remedy, a neutral party who handles matters, and a position that is currently occupied by an old asshole colleague of hers. They meet on neutral ground so that the Silencer can tell him she’s out for good —but Remedy says things are changing and the old rules no longer apply, and it’s an ambush!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
So yeah, The Silencer is wearing its John Wick influences pretty openly, like colorful buttons on the front of its shirt. Almost to the detriment of the DC Universe. In a world where we’ve been following the likes of Talia al Ghul and Deadshot for decades, you’re trying to tell me all of this stuff has existed all this time? All this hoity toity John Wick infrastructure? There’s an operator, a cleaner, a fixer, somebody who can get her an exact replica of her car, a series of neutral warehouses where everybody can buy stuff, a greeter at said warehouse, a position called ‘Remedy’. It’s all fun and games, to be sure, but it’s clear that someday at DC watched John Wick: Chapter 2 and decided to make a comic out of that stuff.
(To be fair, as a would-be writer myself, I also watched John Wick: Chapter 2 and came up with a comic series with similar trappings, so who am I to talk? I’ll tell you about it sometime.)
If you can ignore the obvious John Wick stuff, this is still a solidly entertaining comic. Honor Guest is a reasonably solid person as a protagonist, even though her costume is pretty basic and lame. Her family is very cute and her mission is a good one to hang a story on. And I like all that cool infrastructure in the John Wick movies, so I like it here as well. Now the creative team needs to take all this foundation and build something new and exciting.
TL;DR: The Silencer continues to be a solid comic built around a solid character, but you’re going to have John Wick flashbacks in this second issue.
The Teriffics #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Ivan Reis
Yes, I find it quite funny that, while Marvel has the Fantastic Four on hiatus, DC Comics has stepped up to create their own.
While Mr. Terrific was off helping out with DC Knights: Metal, evil businessman Simon Stagg went and acquired his company and all its equipment. Now Stagg has opened a portal to the Dark Multiverse, and Terrific’s equipment has alerted him to the breach, so he goes to investigate. Mr. Terrific not only finds out that Stagg can’t close the portal, but its energies have Metamorpho raging out of control! Chaos just keeps erupting until Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho and the Plastic Man egg are pulled into the portal.
Terrific wakes up Plastic Man, who creates a safety bubble out of his body for them all to hang out in. Metamorpho calms down and they start trying to figure out what’s going on — only to get a distress signal from nearby. The trio make landing on what turns out to be a giant Celestial, and they meet Linnya Wazzo, who has the power to go intangible, but she didn’t leave the distress signal. They track it to its source and find a message from Tom Strong about saving the universe!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This was fun and I approached it with an open mind. So Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man and Metamorpho are gonna just dive in to some wild and crazy adventures? Yeah, sure, why not? I’ve never particularly cared about any of them but like I said, I’m gonna be open-minded on this one. Let’s see what Lemire and Reis do with this crazy crew. This opening issue is enjoyable in that regard, getting everybody together without too much work, and so far everybody works well off each other. And the art is phenomenal, of course. That’s what you’re going to get with Ivan Reis. So yeah, let’s see where this goes. It’s off to a fine start.
Though there are a couple problems I’d like to point out, just to nitpick. There are two editorial notes telling us to go read Dark Knights: Metal, so this debut issue is clearly too attached to that crossover, which hasn’t ended yet. In fact, when Plastic Man wakes up from the egg in this issue, it seems like this is the first time he’s waking up…so does that mean Plastic Man isn’t going to appear in Dark Knights: Metal? For that matter, Mr. Terrific basically explains the Plastic Man/egg backstory in a quick scene in this issue, so are we not even going to get that in Metal? Scott Snyder and DC Comics go to all the trouble of setting up a weird Plastic Man mystery…but nothing comes of it? Was all that just being done to be thrown off into this comic? That’s fine, I guess, because Plastic Man is entertaining here, but was his role in Dark Knights: Metal just some big, dumb tease?
Also, this Intangible Girl character is off to a weird start. First of all, if you’re going to take three established male characters to make this team, why not go with an established female character, too? Why go to all the trouble of creating a new female character and hoping she matters in the wider superhero landscape? Also, hopefully this is being set up as some kind of mystery, but you just have her show up with a costume and super powers already in place? The heroes weren’t even going there to rescue her. She apparently didn’t have anything to do with the distress signal, so she’s there to join the team by sheer coincidence? Yeah, I hope something comes of that.
Also, I have never read Tom Strong, so that cliffhanger doesn’t do anything for me. Just saying. Clearly DC enjoys playing around with Alan Moore’s toys all these bitter years later.
TL;DR: The Terrifics is off to a fun start with mostly fun characters. Go in with an open mind and hopefully we’ll get a fun new comic out of the deal.
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 MillsHello, 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 March 3, 2018, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged All-New Wolverine, Batgirl, Batwoman, Detective Comics, Gabby, Honey Badger, Metamorpho, Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Silencer, The Silencer, The Terrifics, Wolverine, X-23. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.