Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 4/7/18

We’ve got something of a light week this week, though a lot of nice comics came out. I think I need to start picking up some new titles after so many of my favorites got cancelled. I’m thinking of trying out the new Iron Man and Fantastic Four when they arrive, along with the big Justice League and Avengers relaunches in the coming months. Anybody have any comics they’d like to see me take on? Let me know in the comments!

Comic Book of the Week goes to the first half of Runaways. It’s as darling as I could have hoped for. But then it just ruins itself! For my money, I would definitely prefer a guest appearance by Julie Power over Doctor Doom in any comic book.

Runaways Julie 02

Molly agrees!

In comics I’m reading but not reviewing, another delightful issue of Rogue & Gambit hit the stands and it’s just as much fun as the rest. I can’t wait to see what writer Kelly Thompson does next for Marvel.

Also, I’ve dropped Marvel Two-in-One now that we know Fantastic Four is coming back. It’s an OK issue. Better than the previous issue, but I’ve decided to drop the series rather than continue to nitpick it to death.

Comic Reviews: All-New Wolverine #33, Amazing Spider-Man #798, Batman #44 and Runaways #8.


All-New Wolverine #33

All-New Wolverine #33
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Ramon Rosanas

I think this is the beginning of the end of Tom Taylor’s awesome All-New Wolverine! And we’re ending with an alternate future story!

It’s the future. Gabby is Wolverine, and she stops some Latverian weapons smugglers in Madripoor. Laura is the queen of Madripoor, and Gabby goes to visit after her superheroics. Laura informs Gabby that she’s dying from cellular clone degeneration, and before she goes, she has two items on a bucket list: 1.) Rescue their sister, Bellona, 2.) kill Doctor Doom. I think she wants to kill Doom because of the Doom World War that everybody fought in a few years ago (where her lover, Julian, was killed!).

Laura visits U.S. President Kamala Khan to get information on the whereabouts of Bellona, who, of course, is in the domed off country of Latveria. Maria Hill, secretary general of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wants to go with Laura to break into Latveria. So Laura, Gabby and Maria head to the smugglers’ hidden entrance — but it seems that Gabby has tipped off a flying superhero to come stop them! We don’t see who, but they are racing towards them at high speeds.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This is a fun, if fairly standard, glimpse into a possible future. These things are all the rage in comics, and Taylor does a fine job fleshing out his future world and placing the characters in it. Gabby is a futuristic Wolverine. Laura is still a kind of Wolverine, and the head of state of Madripoor. We’ve got a fun Kamala Khan cameo. Hints of a Doom World War. It’s all solid, standard stuff, with Taylor’s usual chipper and entertaining writing. If you’re already a fan of this comic, this should be a pretty solid and nifty way to say goodbye.

Future Laura 01

Who would want to rule Madripoor?

It’s not particularly exciting, if I’m being honest. Laura and Gabby still as a pair of Wolveirnes? Fine. Rescuing Bellona when all is said and done? Sure! Not sure why they couldn’t rescue Bellona in the present day, but again, perhaps Taylor just wanted to have the fun of writing a possible future storyline. I’m slightly disappointed that Laura’s target is Doctor Doom because I don’t think Doom has ever really had anything to do with Laura. Why not make her ultimate target somebody that Laura is thematically connected to? Why not make the ultimate target Old Man Logan, or Sabretooth? Really give us an interesting twist! But I’m sure this will be fine.

TL;DR: If you like alternate future storylines, this one is perfectly adequate.


Amazing Spider-Man #798

Amazing Spider-Man #798
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Stuart Immonen

I’m not sure what’s going on here. I have nothing but the utmost faith in Dan Slott’s storytelling abilities, but he’s got me wondering if this is really all there is…I hope I’m wrong.

Everybody is still searching for the Goblin King when the Green Goblin shows up at the Daily Bugle, demanding that Peter Parker summon his pal Spider-Man! Spidey shows up and the two get to fisticuffing while the Bugle employees flee. The Goblin has turned all of the stolen tritium into a bomb, and Spider-Man wraps the bomb in webbing to try and lessen the impact — but the top of the Daily Bugle building still goes BOOM! Afterwards, Spidey is fine, but he finds Norman impaled on some debris. Norman thanks Peter for being such a good enemy to him all these years.

Then the Carnage symbiote envelopes him and transforms them into the Red Goblin! Peter panics and flees, with the Red Goblin in pursuit! Gobby injures Peter’s leg and loses him in a warehouse, then makes a promise that if Peter gives up being Spider-Man, then the Goblin won’t kill all of Peter’s loved ones. Peter leaves behind his costume as a sign that he accepts the deal, then slinks away into the shadows with the promise that Peter Parker will still defeat him!

Meanwhile, Agent Anti-Venom finds and rescues J. Jonah Jameson. They promptly warn Harry Osborn, but that tips off Harry’s nanny, who tranq darts all the adults and kidnaps Normie and the baby.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

First off, this is an entertaining comic, as Spider-Man comes face-to-face with a truly terrifying foe. All of the characters are written well, the art is amazing and the menace of the Red Goblin is strongly felt. So all of that is just fine. That raises this issue above any other also-ran of a hero/villain slugfest. I liked this issue for what it is. I don’t want to be mistaken.

Because my real take away on this issue is that I’m a little worried that this might be all we get. Like, Norman Osborn’s big plan, having gone to all the trouble of getting the Carnage symbiote, is to just fly to the Daily Bugle as the Green Goblin and demand that Spider-Man show up? What is this, the 1960s? And while yeah, Norman Osborn wearing the Carnage symbiote is pretty scary, Spider-Man has defeated both of them multiple times at this point. This also isn’t the first time an enemy has threatened his loved ones. If Norman doesn’t have a bigger picture plan — and we haven’t seen any so far — then why not just pummel the Red Goblin into submission?

Red Goblin Appears 01

It’s what he always wants! The Daily Bugle has drills for this sort of thing; no seriously, they talk about it in the issue

Obviously Peter can’t do that right away now that he’s got a leg injury, but Slott gave him that leg injury. Does that leg injury only exist so that Peter can’t just pummel the Red Goblin right away and get this over with? That seems like lazy writing and we all know Dan Slott is better than that.

So on the one hand, I’m feel pretty confident that Slott (and therefore, Norman) has something more up his sleeve. There’s something we don’t know yet that’s going to blow this story wide open. And if that’s the case, I can’t wait! We’re several issues into this story and we haven’t seen any sign that Norman has something bigger and deeper planned. So if something shows up, great! Bring it on!

On the other hand, am I wrong, and this really is the whole story? That Norman Osborn grabbed the Carnage symbiote and he thought he could just threaten Spider-Man into submission? And that this is all just building to a fight where the two of them punch each other until Spider-Man wins? And maybe Slott kills one of the supporting characters because modern comic writers think death still matters and needs to be involved in every major storyline?

And the first encounter between Spider-Man and the Red Goblin ends a little anti-climactically. The two barely face-off before Spider-Man just slips away into the shadows.

TL;DR: If writer Dan Slott is building to something bigger than this, I hope he gets there soon. Otherwise, this is merely an enjoyable issue instead of something truly wonderful.


Batman #44

Batman #44
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin and Joelle Jones

If your entire comic is a build up to Catwoman’s wedding dress, maybe don’t spoil it on one of the covers?

Catwoman slips out of bed and breaks into a wedding dress shop to find her dress. She tries on a bunch of white dresses and doesn’t like them, then settles on a cool black dress. She takes it home and slips back into bed.

The issue is also interspersed with flashbacks to various classic Batman and Catwoman encounters through the years. It’s a showcase of all the times the two characters changed their costumes, drawing parallels between how they changed over the years, and in Catwoman needing to settle on the right dress/costume.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This was a quaint little issue that fits perfectly in the pre-wedding build-up. This is definitely the best way for Selina Kyle to pick out her wedding dress, an important part of any wedding. King and his art team then make the moment a little more interesting by adding the flashbacks and the themes about finding the right fit. They’re all fine and enjoyable. At this point, I’m not sure there’s anything really new to say about the romance between Batman and Catwoman, but this issue is fine, regardless.

Robin Janin Panel 01

A Mikel Janin-drawn appearance of Dick Grayson’s remastered original Robin costume, even if it’s small? You’re darn right it’s my favorite panel of the week!

Now I’m just patiently waiting for the Dick Grayson-focused issue where Bruce asks Dick to be his best man. I swear, if he picks Superman instead, I’m gonna riot!

TL;DR: Quaint little issue about Catwoman picking out a wedding dress. How are we so lucky to get both Joelle Jones and Mikel Janin on art in a single issue?


Runaways #8

Runaways #8
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Kris Anka

Ah, Rainbow Rowell! I love your work, but you can’t do this to me! You can’t totally ignore all the great work being done with Doctor Doom these days and just drop an evil Doom into your Runaways comic! Especially not when he upstages the already guest starring Julie Power!

Julie Power comes to town and the Runaways are split in how to respond. Nico is panic cleaning the hostel, while Chase, Gert and Victor are perfectly fine with letting the Julie Power see that they live like slobs. Molly is over the flippin’ moon because THE Julie Power, of Power Pack, is coming to their home! She’s met Julie before, but now she’s older and actually knows who Julie is! It’s as adorable as it sounds.

Meanwhile, Molly’s BFF reveals that she eats a special cupcake and doesn’t age, that she’s trapped herself at 13 forever because 13 is the best age ever! She wants Molly to eat the cupcake, too, so that they can stay young forever together! And then while Molly is chatting with Julie about Power Pack, Julie casually mentions that things seemed so easier when she was a kid, and that sometimes growing up can suck. Not really what Molly needs to hear when she’s weighing the possibility of eating a magic cupcake and staying young forever!

Then an evil Doctor Doom shows up, demanding the head of Victor Mancha. The Runaways and Julie Power take him on, despite being horribly outmatched, and Doom swats his way past the lot of them to grab the head!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

OK, this is just me whining here, but I really didn’t like Doctor Doom’s sudden arrival in this issue. For one thing, it completely ignores all of the currently awesome character development for Doom as a would-be good guy. Doom is straight up his old evil self, and not even a cool casual sports jacket look can make up for all that evil. Honestly, Doctor Doom is a little too huge of a threat to suddenly drop on this more grounded, realistic Runaways anyway. For another thing, Doom totally interrupts the far more entertaining arrival of Julie Power, which I’ve been anticipating since the series began!

Runaways Julie 01

Life with sloppy superhero kids!

The first half of this issue is an exciting and entertaining example of how much fun this comic can be, and how to do a superhero guest star right. It’s not just that Julie Power is making a cameo appearance in this comic, but she is personally relevant to pretty much everybody, impacts a couple of different individual plot lines and really effects the comic to its core! Obviously, she’s Karolina’s girlfriend, so that effects both Karolina’s story and everything going on with Nico, who is nervously adorable in this issue. Then you’ve got small things, like Chase and Gert not caring about looking like slobs when she shows up, and Gert, especially, playing the role of slightly awkward friend meeting their friend’s significant other for the first time. And then you’ve got Molly, who, I noticed several issues ago, had a Power Pack poster on her wall in her grandmother’s house. I’m so thrilled that Rowell made that an actual plot point here, that Molly is a little celebrity-crazy — and then Julie actually has an impact on Molly’s current storyline!

Seriously, I’ve been hyped up about this guest appearance for awhile now, and Rowell and Anka knock it out of the park in terms of fun guest appearance and impact on an already awesome comic! Then they blow it all with a far less interesting, though far more hectic, second guest appearance!

TL;DR: The new issue of Runaways is simultaneously the best and worst it’s been, depending on what style of comic you want to read.

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 April 7, 2018, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wolverine is really good. It’s really nice to see a Good Future for once, and there’s some really good stuff going on here.

    ASM was fine, I guess.

    Runaways is good. I’m betting it’s Doombot, from Avengers AI, wanting to repair his friend.

    • Oh man, I didn’t read Avengers AI, but if that is indeed the case, I will forgive everything I said about this issue!

      • Avengers AI was fantastic. It was weird and fun and poignant and weird. Hank Pym stated he has bipolar disorder, something oft-speculated but only confirmed in AI. Also, Vision challenged an evil AI to kill a kitten. And Doombot was AMAZING. Well worth a read.

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