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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/9/18

Happy Comic-Con season everybody! If you’re reading this, I am likely at Flower City Comic-Con in Rochester, NY, promoting Gamer Girl & Vixen! It’s the biggest convention I’ve tabled at solo, so hopefully I’m having fun and selling comics! Next month I’ll be in Syracuse.

We had some really solid comics out this week, which is always a hoot. For the first time in a long time, I find myself reviewing both the main Batman and main Superman comics in the same week. That’s pretty neat! We’ve also got new Power Rangers, Hulk and that Dazzler one-shot we were all excited about.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Justice League #1 for a far out and freaky debut issue!

Martian Dragon 01

Even as a dragon, he wears his suspenders

Meanwhile, DC is also putting out some one-shots of Bat-Family characters reacting to the upcoming wedding. I flipped through the Nightwing vs. Hush issue and was disappointed to discover that Batman chose Superman to be his best man over Dick. Batman and Robin is legend, man! How is that not the most obvious thing?

Also, they explain that Batman and Catwoman are getting married, but not Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. That’s weird as hell.

Comic Reviews: Batman #48, Dazzler X-Song #1, Go Go Power Rangers #10, Justice League #1, Immortal Hulk #1 and Man of Steel #2. 


Batman48

Batman #48

Batman #48
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

I’ve said it before, but I just don’t care for the Joker. I don’t like crazy cuckoo villains, and the Joker is at the top of that heap. This issue leans far too heavily into that side of the character.

The Joker found out that Batman is getting married, so he kills everybody at a wedding to get Batman’s attention. When the Caped Crusader shows up, Joker rambles crazily about love and lessons from his mother and various other babblings. Batman pretty much just stands there and listens, because Joker either points a gun at Batman or points a gun at himself. Then the Joker gets Batman to pray at the altar with him, where there’s a bomb and Batman takes the worst of it. Joker then aims his gun at the knocked out Batman, while outside, Catwoman decides to get involved after all.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

The No. 1 takeaway from this issue was, for me, that Batman is an idiot for letting the Joker live all these years. This issue was legitimately painful to read in a palm-to-forehead sort of way. Joker slaughters this beautiful wedding party, including a pretty graphic scene where he takes the bride hostage, holds a gun to her head and then accidentally lets it go off, creating a running gag for the issue. It’s gruesome. And you just know that nobody will ever care about all these dead innocents. Batman just stands there letting the Joker blabber on about this and that, and you just know that Batman won’t do anything to the Joker. Even when the Joker holds a gun to his own head and holds himself hostage, you just know Batman’s going to move Heaven and Earth to keep the Joker from killing himself. Because that’s how Batman rolls when it comes to this clown.

Joker Kills Hostage 01

Quick, Batman, just stand there!

And it bugged the hell out of me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally in favor of Batman’s ‘No Killing’ policy. He is under no obligation to kill the Joker. But the extent to which Batman and society let the Joker off the hook just because he’s “crazy” is really rubbed in our faces in this issue. Like we’re supposed to feel sorry for poor, crazy Joker or something. Like all these nice people’s deaths are simply the price we have to pay to be morally right with ourselves by letting the Joker go safely to an insane asylum.

I realize the Joker is super dangerous and may have other tricks up his sleeve, but in this issue, all we see is him standing there with a gun. And Batman can do nothing, apparently, but be held at a distance so that Joker either doesn’t shoot himself or shoot Batman. This is Batman! In this week’s Justice League comic, he’s fighting subterranean cavemen with a giant mech suit! But he’s powerless to do anything when the Joker has a gun pointed at him? Or when the Joker has a gun pointed at his own head? Batman just stands there. Or he plays the Joker’s stupid games by kneeling at the altar and making the prayer sign with his hands.

Joker Prays Batman 01

No, as I mentioned above, it’s Superman

Batman deserved to get blown up in that surprise bomb, the idiot.

Anyway, my intense rant against the Joker aside, this was still a solid issue of King’s Batman. There are some clever bits here and there, and Janin’s art is amazing as ever. And people’s mileage may vary when it comes to letting the Joker get away with this stuff, so it’s not a bad issue, by any stretch.

TL;DR: The art is gorgeous and is pretty much the only saving grace for a pretty ugly issue that, I think, is unintentionally about how much of an idiot Batman is for letting the Joker get away with whatever he wants.


Dazzler1

Dazzler #1

Dazzler X-Song #1
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artist: Laura Braga
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

I’ve never been a Dazzler fan. But I am kind of a Visaggio fan, and definitely a fan of supporting X-Men who don’t get a lot of attention finally getting that attention.

Dazzler has been doing some low key shows around the city, headlining a new band instead of being just Dazzler. The shows are all about being inclusive of mutants, inhumans and anybody with powers — but some mutant assholes have decided to start being racist against inhumans and forcing them out of the shows. Their goal is to keep mutant spaces safe, but they’re obviously going about it in the worst way. It gets bad enough that Dazzler has to step in, kick their leader’s butt and give everybody a real lesson in being accepting and being awesome.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Can I just say, I’m still annoyed at the Inhumans. Like, the message of Visaggio’s issue is great, and it makes for an awesome comic. That even amongst minorities there is still some bigotry against other minorities, and that stuff don’t fly, no matter how noble your intentions may sound to you. Dazzler seems like a perfect character to share that message, and this issue does so in a pretty wonderful way. It’s not all superheroics and thrown punches. Dazzler deals with the troublemakers in a more civilian way, a realistic way. Punches are thrown, but it’s not some superhero fight. It’s ordinary people needing to throw a punch to get a point across, and it absolutely works as a Dazzler one-shot.

This comic is fun look into Dazzler’s life, the art is pretty stellar and it shows us a slice of non-superhero mutant life. I love all of that stuff.

Visaggio has a nice handle on Dazzler as a character, but she does make one unforgivable slip-up.

Dazzler One Hit 01

Blasphemy!

There is no way Dazzler was a one-hit wonder. Nuh uh. No way. Full stop. Get outta town!

But OK, back to my original point for just a second. I still think the Inhumans are really lame after Marvel’s attempts to shove them down our throats, and their horrendous behavior in Death of X and Inhumans vs. X-Men. I’m not ready for forgive them, personally. So I was a little bummed that intolerant mutants were the bad guys in this issue. But that’s on me and doesn’t detract at all from what the creative team does with this issue. The message about tolerance for all minorities, especially amongst minorities, is an awesome message and Visaggio and Dazzler both nail it in this one-shot. And inhumans vs. mutants is the perfect metaphor for that idea in the Marvel Universe.

It’s not the comic’s fault that I’m still butthurt over what Black Bolt did to Cyclops (and yes, I know Jean Grey forgave him in a recent annual, but I’m not there yet).

Also, I would absolutely read a Dazzler ongoing from this creative team about her life in the underground mutant music scene.

TL;DR: The creative team does a stellar job on this Dazzler one-shot, delivering an important and unique message.


GGPR10

Go Go Power Rangers #10

Go Go Power Rangers #10
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

Go Go Power Rangers definitely still works as a sister series to Shattered Grid. In fact, I’m kind of glad it hasn’t been totally sucked into the crossover.

Evil Pink Ranger launches the Gravezord at Angel Grove to draw out the Rangers, who have to get pretty lucky to escape the school lockdown. But the Gravezord is just a distraction while the Evil Pink Ranger sneaks into the Command Center. She shuts down Zordon and starts beating up Alpha to unlock a communications device, but Good Pink Ranger shows up to stop her!

Meanwhile, before all this trouble, Kim finally confronts Matt for being so quiet lately, and Matt fills her in on his theory: he’s somehow special. He thinks his abduction by Rita is somehow connected to the Power Rangers, and he needs to ask them what it is. Matt is the one that unintentionally helps them escape the school but pulling the fire alarm, and then he heads into the middle of the battle to try and get the Rangers’ attention — but it only puts him in harms way!

Also, in the alternate reality past, Bulk and Kimberly share a friendly moment.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Post-apocalypse bonding between Kimberly and Bulk is now one of my favorite events from Shattered Grid. I could have used a whole issue of the two of them. But there’s more story to tell, and I’m glad Parrott is telling it! He finally brings Matt back into the fold in a major way, and one that promises to lead to some great drama going forward. The inclusion of Matt into the world of the Power Rangers is the best thing this Go Go series has done, and I hope he’s explored to his fullest.

Bulk Kim 01

How could Kim go evil after a pep talk like that?

Thankfully, this issue avoids dwelling on Drakkon so that we can get some proper tie-in side stories. Alternate reality Pink Ranger fighting her old self and friends is a really fun subplot to the whole event, and it flows in this issue. You’ve got Evil Kim being all manner of clever and badass. You’ve got Rita planning something sinister of her own. And this issue has more of those great character moments that I love — and that I think are missing from the main title. I don’t know where Go Go Power Rangers is going with all the plates its spinning, but this is about as exciting as a plate-spinning comic can get!

TL;DR: So much is happening in Go Go Power Rangers and pretty much all of it is a blast to read! The drama is good, the character development is superb and everything comes together so well.


JustLeag1

Justice League #1

Justice League #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jim Cheung
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Tom Napolitano

The first of the new Justice League comics is here, and I’m down to check them all out.

The Justice League and their allies are united in a worldwide battle against a bunch of organized caveman tribes, with new team chairman Martian Manhunter guiding them telepathically. J’onn figures out the Moon is the key, so he destroys the control zone and the tribes fall apart. But there’s something else…

Some energy battery has shot out of the broken Source Wall and will impact the Earth in a matter of minutes. J’onn convenes a mental boardroom meeting with the top Leaguers to try and suss out what this thing is and whether or not they should let it arrive on Earth. Before they can put it to a vote, J’onn’s mind breaks free, drawn to another battle elsewhere…

Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom attack and murder Vandal Savage, who was the one organizing the tribes in the first place. Luthor knows that Savage knows all about this energy battery, and much more. And I think J’onn absorbs all of Savage’s mind and memories before he dies, which sends J’onn a vision of the future, where the Omniverse is destroyed because of the League’s decision.

It’s a little dicey what exactly happens. Just know that there’s a bunch of big craziness coming, the Legion of Doom from the classic Super Friends cartoon is now totally a thing, complete with cartoon bases for both the Legion and the Justice League, and the Luthor/J’onn rivalry/friendship is just getting started!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

OK, this was crazy, and I’m definitely not sure I understood all of it. That’s both good and bad. On the one hand, that crazy energy from Justice League: No Justice is still around, and I like that. I like this big, out there story where the Justice League rushes into the thick of it in the most bombastic way. The hyperbole gets a little heavy with the importance of this new mystery, but I’ll let that slide. How many big crazy cosmic events/mysteries is Snyder going to throw at us one after another? This one would feel more important if we hadn’t just defeated the Omega Titans last week. But I digress.

Lex Luthor Hero 05

I like Lex Luthor as a self-determined hero

So yeah, I loved the charge-in attitude of the Justice League in this issue, even if most of the issue is the lot of them sitting around a table debating. The stakes felt real, they felt big and it felt like the Justice League could really handle it. Using Martian Manhunter as the focus character was a great choice. He’s a very iconic Justice Leaguer, and we already get enough of all the other heroes in their own comics. Letting him take the lead is a good choice.

I’m also excited to see more between J’onn and Luthor. I loved them in No Justice and I hope Snyder has a lot more planned between them in this series.

But I would like to point out that this is hardly the first time DC has retreated back to the Super Friends to try to make a Justice League relaunch seem important. They have definitely fallen back to the Hall of Justice before, so that saps some of the energy from all the pomp and circumstance Snyder gives those elements in this issue. Likewise, the Legion of Doom stuff. I do hope they don’t think fanboys are that easily impressed.

Especially since this Legion of Doom nonsense features Sinestro switching back to his original blue costume. The Sinestro Corps. uniform is one of the coolest, most dynamic costume switches in history. Undoing that costume just to play with your original Legion of Doom action figures is a huge step backwards.

TL;DR: The new Justice League launch is big, crazy and exciting, which I really like. But Snyder and Co. lean way too hard on the Super Friends nostalgia, which has definitely been done before by DC.


ImmortalHulk1

Immortal Hulk #1

Immortal Hulk #1
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Ruy Jose
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

If I had to choose, I would say that the Hulk is my favorite character in the general Avengers corner of Marvel Comics.  And yet, I haven’t read an ongoing Hulk comic in at least a decade. I’ve read more ongoing She-Hulk comics than I have Incredible Hulk comics. I’m not sure why.

But Al Ewing is supposed to be good and here’s a new #1 issue, so let’s give it a spin!

Having recently come back from the dead, Bruce Banner is once again playing the shadowy nomad in the general area of the American southwest. He’s shopping at a random gas station when a shaky crook comes in to rob the place, and the panicky gunman kills Banner, the clerk and a 12-year-old girl. Later that night, Banner’s body turns into an intelligent, meaner version of the Hulk, who tracks down the gunman to a local biker gang, to whom he owes money. Hulk tears up the joint and mockingly interrogates the gunman before breaking every bone in his body and dropping him off with the police.

Meanwhile, a local police detective and her reporter friend are looking into both the shooting and the crazy, Hulk-shaped response.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

Before I get into my review, I just want to point out that it’s only been two years since Civil War II, and already all major deaths/ramifications have been undone. Can Marvel please stop trying to convince us that any of their sacrificial lamb deaths in Big Events matter? Sheesh.

Anyway, the issue was cool. Hulk appears to be back to basics, with a bit of a mean, sneering asshole side to him. That’s fun. And I like the basic Hulk approach of wandering nomad Bruce Banner, where the Hulk goes out and rights some wrongs. So seeing the Hulk tear into some asshole bikers, and seeing him mentally torture this dumb shooter, was pretty darn cool. But the issue doesn’t really do much else beyond that.

Hulk Big 01

He brought a gun to a Hulk fight

Like, nothing much is made from the new ‘Immortal’ adjective in the title. Yes, the Hulk shows up after Bruce is dead and already at the morgue, but so what? How would this story have been different if Bruce turned into the Hulk as soon as he was shot in the mini-mart? How does Bruce dying and then Hulk coming back to life a couple hours later mean anything special? I’m more than willing to give Ewing a chance to show me what’s so new and special about this title, but I don’t see it yet in this first issue.

Also, the art is both OK and amazing. It’s OK in that it’s a little sketchy, but solid comic book art. And it’s amazing in that, when the Hulk is finally revealed halfway through, he takes up two imposing double-page spreads. They look phenomenal. One is of the whole Hulk, crouched in front of the shooter. The next one, right after, is a closeup on his head, looking oh so menacing. That’s how you introduce the Hulk!

TL;DR: The new Immortal Hulk shows promise, with some stellar art choices, but the first issue is pretty business-as-usual for the Incredible Hulk. Fun business, but standard nonetheless.


ManoSteel2

Man of Steel #2

Man of Steel #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Doc Shaner, Steve Rude and Jay Fabok
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Josh Reed

And just like that, I’m bored. I gave the first issue a pretty generous rating because it was fun and user friendly. The second issue delivers more of the same, but somehow feels more hollow.

Gossip is spreading about what happened to Lois Lane, but Clark Kent won’t tell anybody, not even some nosy reporters at the Daily Planet. Some mysterious glowing head/body thing came at them in their home and possibly transported them to another planet, with an Ambush Bug-type fella. It’s hard to tell from the art.

Anyway, Superman beats up Toyman in Coast City and turns down a dinner offer from Green Lantern, then muses to himself how being Superman allows him to get away with being a little jerky like that. Meanwhile, Perry White is lamenting how everybody in the world is a journalist now, and it’s hard for newspapers to keep up.

Also, Present Day Zogol Raar (sp?) randomly learns about Superman from a random bartender in some alien bar, so he hops on his space motorcycle and heads towards Earth.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

Modern day Zigol Ragol (sp?), what little we see of him, seems even dumber than his past version. I do not look forward to his eventual confrontation with Superman. They go to all the trouble of retconning how Krypton was destroyed, but all it’s going to result in is a big space bruiser cruising over to Earth just so he can finish the job by killing Superman? Better villains than you have tried, pal! Repeatedly! The rest of the issue isn’t much better. Superman toys with Toyman in a pretty simplistic way. Bendis does have one neat little idea, where Superman thinks to himself about how being Superman gives him leeway to brush people off, even if he doesn’t feel good doing it. Both that tidbit and one from last issue show that Bendis has definitely given Superman some thought, but these blips don’t amount to much just yet. I’d rather see that creativity given over to Superman’s actual life and adventures.

Also, the art changes are really wonky in this issue. All three artists are good to great, but switching between them, coupled with some weird story choices, made me think I was looking at weird, trippy dream sequences instead of just an artistic change.

Double also, DC knew this brief mini-series was coming. Could they really not retain a main artist past a single issue?

TL;DR: Bendis’ low key take on Superman already begins to wear out its welcome when nothing of note happens, and some art changes effect the story way too much.


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 June 9, 2018, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Superman, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Ewing is my favorite writer in comics, and I decided at the last minute to read Hulk because of that. But yeah, it left me wondering if I’ll read the next one. I enjoyed his explanation at the end, but I don’t know if it will hold my interest.

    Loved Dazzler, and can’t freaking wait for the next X-Men Red.

  2. Dazzler was so good. Really fun, and while it was not the least bit subtle with its message, it’s a valuable message, and presented very well. As for Dazzler being a one-hit wonder . . . yeah, actually, she is. She had a hit during her ’80s series, and not long after that, it came out that she’s a mutant, which destroyed her career. She seems to have a very dedicated cult following in the Marvel Universe – the goddamn Juggernaut is a fan – but she’s still only had one legitimate hit song. She is a one-hit wonder.

    Hulk was, to no surprise, very good. Ewing’s one of Marvel’s best writers, so it’s to be expected that this comic’s great.

    • Really? That’s kind of disappointing about Dazzler. I thought the general consensus was that she was a generally popular, successful ongoing musician with several records to her name, and a solid fanbase.

      • She might have several albums, but only one actual hit song that we know of. Which makes sense. She’s openly a mutant, in a society that’s virulently anti-mutant. She’s got fans, but she’s also got a large portion of the population denying she’s even human. So, yep, one-hit wonder.

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