Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 8/4/18
Light week for reviews this week. I got wrapped up with a couple of things, and it was a pretty light week for me anyway. But we’ve got new Batman, Power Rangers and Captain America, so at least it’s a good week.
Comic Book of the Week goes to the latest issue of Mister Miracle, not least of which for one sequence that beggars belief to exist in a DC comic at all. It has to be seen to be believed!
Meanwhile, a couple different titles might be dropping in and out of my reviews as we go along. I kind of fell behind on a couple of books, which is why Justice League and Immortal Hulk don’t get a review this week. But I’m going to actively keep reading and maybe drop in a review here and there. We’ll see!
As always, if there’s any comic you’d like me to check out or like me to cover full time, just let me know in the comments.
Comic Reviews: Batman #52, Captain America #2, Go Go Power Rangers #12 and Mister Miracle #10.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Lee Weeks
Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
The saga of Bruce Wayne on jury duty continues rather splendidly!
There are three factors in the Mr. Freeze triple-murder trial that Bruce Wayne has problems with while talking with his fellow jurors. First, the three women died from clots in their brains, possibly caused by lowering their brain temperatures. Bruce points out that the coroner who conducted the autopsies didn’t notice the temperature change, but Batman did later. Perhaps someone tampered with the brains between the times the coroner and Batman looked at the bodies. Second, Mr. Freeze was in costume and armed with his freeze ray when he was taken into custody, in violation of his probation and house arrest. The jurors believe Freeze was in costume because that’s what he does while committing murder. But Freeze claims, and Bruce argues, that Freeze only got geared up because he was tipped off that Batman was after him, looking for a fight.
Third, Freeze confessed to the murders once he was in police custody. Bruce argues that Batman tortured that confession out of Freeze, that he said whatever he needed to say out of fear, and therefore the confession is worthless. The other jurors point out that Bruce’s arguments are simply guesswork and conjecture, but Bruce says he has proof that Batman messed up.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I do love a good courtroom drama, and this issue was solid enough, but I think I side completely with the juror that was pointing out that Bruce’s arguments are all conjecture. I guess I was expecting King to have a really good plan in place for what Bruce was going to argue, of the moral dilemma he was going to face. Instead, Bruce’s arguments are much simpler than I expected, and the one about someone altering the bodies after the coroner is flimsy at best. Bruce seems to think that just because he can come up with a wild theory with a shred of plausibility that that completely negates the prosecution’s theories, which have solid evidence backing them up. I won’t bore you all with a diatribe on “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but that’s weak sauce, Bruce Wayne. You’re supposed to be better than that. But this was only part two, so perhaps King will tie this up nicely in the real climax, and this was just a necessary story to set the foundation for the real arguments to come. I can be patient.
TL;DR: What I hoped would be a thrilling jury room deliberation on the merits of Batman turns out to just be a couple weak arguments. King appears to be saving the really good stuff — hopefully — for a future issue.
Captain America #2
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Oddly, now that I’ve given it some thought, this second issue is almost identical to the first.
While stopping another squad of Nuke soldiers from blowing up a mayors convention in Chicago, Captain America muses to himself about how he can’t help but see a little bit of himself in all of these attempts at building new super soldiers. He’s tired of having to prove that no part of this super soldier industrial complex is him, especially after HYDRA took over the world using his face and reputation.
Later, General Ross dresses down Cap for once again getting involved in something, telling Cap that he needs to cut it out with the freelance superhero stuff. But Cap isn’t just going to sit around waiting for orders. Ross reminds Cap that Washington isn’t exactly full of idealistic progressives anymore.
Even later, after helping him decompress a little, Sharon announces that she’s got to go away on a mission. After she leaves, Cap contacts Black Panther to begin their plan.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
The first two issues of Coates’ Captain America are oddly identical, to the point that I wonder if it’s intentional for some reason. We open with Cap fighting off a Nuke soldier attack in a public place. Then Cap gets chewed out at the scene by General Ross. Then Cap has a quiet moment with Sharon Carter. Then it ends. And all the while, Cap ruminates on the troubles he’s facing. I like the ruminations, the idea that Cap is tired and feeling run down and hopeless in the face of today’s political circus. But Coates is telling instead of showing. The actual events of the comic don’t really give us a good look at how the world is reacting to Cap, or how Cap is interacting with the world. It’s just Cap doing his usual superhero stuff, and then similar encounters with established Marvel bureaucracy characters. I want to actually see Cap get involved with the troubles that are weighing him down. Coates has got me interested in those troubles, but he has yet to really show us what all of this means in a compelling way.
TL;DR: Coates tells, but does not really show, the drama in his new series. It’s interesting enough drama to stick around, but I’d like to see him sink his teeth into his own material already.
Go Go Power Rangers #12
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
The drama that we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! Matthew vs. the Power Rangers!
While the Power Rangers go off to fight two of Rita’s monsters, Alternate Reality Kim tracks down Tommy Oliver, who has yet to move to Angel Grove in this timeline. She shoots him with some kind of memory arrow, which she says will prepare him for the right time. Then she goes to fetch her Gravezord to join the fight, but Matthew has tracked the zord and they have an off-panel heart-to-heart.
Kim then joins the Rangers and forms the Mega-Gravezord to defeat the monsters. She teleports away when the fight is over, and she’s found by Grace Sterling.
Later, Matthew confronts his friends that he now knows the truth. He says he’ll understand if they just come clean and tell him to his face. But the Rangers are bound by oath to protect their secret identities, and they can’t tell him. Matthew storms out.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
The addition of Matthew to the saga of the early Power Rangers was one of the best creative decisions of both comics. The idea that this group of friends had another friend who wasn’t chosen to be a Power Ranger (because there’s only five) is brilliant and oh so heartbreaking. And watching Matthew’s saga through these 12 issues has been amazing. He doesn’t know why, but for some reason, all of his best friends, and his new girlfriend, are suddenly very secretive around him. They all act like nothing has changed, but he’s not an idiot. It’s right there on the tip of his mind, but they won’t/can’t help him understand. They don’t want to hurt him, but they kind of have to. And here we are, finally at the moment of truth. Alternate Reality Kim isn’t bound by oaths anymore, and she reveals everything. I wish we’d seen that scene.
So the creators finally pull the Matthew drama, and it’s a pretty great start. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. The rest of the issue is fun, too. Alternate Reality Kimberly is still a really cool character, and we get a flashback to how she came under Drakkon’s control. It’s a pretty obvious scene. The rest of her tragic heroism is great, and I’m getting more and more excited to read about her as the star of the relaunched series after Shattered Grid. The Mega-Gravezord action is cool, and the fleeting moment of maybe saving Tommy is fine. I hope that works out, because I don’t want Regular Universe Tommy to be dead when all is said and done.
TL;DR: Go Go Power Rangers doesn’t shy away from the intense drama they’ve been building, and doesn’t save it for the season finale. This book is damn good!
Mister Miracle #10
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
And just like that, everything gets just that much more insane.
Scott and Barda start planning Jacob’s first birthday party, while internally struggling with Darkseid’s offer to end the war if they give him Jacob. Barda doesn’t want to talk about it, her mind is made up. But Scott can’t help thinking about the millions/billions who will die if they don’t sacrifice their son. They were both raised on Apokolips and turned out OK, right? Barda points to Scott’s various crises to show that they’re not exactly perfect. It ends in an argument.
After talking to a store clerk with an interesting Life Equation idea, and then talking to Funky Flashman, who tells Scott the story of Galactus and the Silver Surfer, Scott decides that he’s going to take Jacob to Darkseid and then double cross and kill Darkseid. Barda says she’ll go with him.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
I’m serious. Part way through the comic, Funky Flashman launches into a retelling of the story of Galactus and the Silver Surfer, and it probably goes so far over my head that I’m getting a little annoyed that I can’t fully understand the mad genius at work. Obviously, he doesn’t use those real names. It’s the Suneater and the Golden Retriever, but it’s unmistakable. If you know your comic book lore, Funky Flashman is a DC character who was clearly a riff on 1970s’ era Stan Lee, who was a bit of a flashy pitch man back in the day. And as he explains the story to Scott, he says that Jacob came up with the story, Funky just provided the words. Jacob is called “Jake” for short, which is obviously a stand-in for Jack Kirby, who famously did all the artwork, while Stan Lee provided the dialogue, for the classic Fantastic Four comics that introduced Galactus and the Silver Surfer.
This is the most meta thing that’s happened in this already insanely meta comic and I’m near about losing my mind trying to understand every damn thing that’s happening here.
And that’s not even the only insane thing. Once again, I love the juxtaposition in this comic of mundane, every day things put up against the craziness of the New Gods world. Like Scott buying party supplies and anxiously asking the random store clerk about whether or not he should hand over his baby to stop a war. And the clerk just busting out with the Life Equation like some modern-day philosopher. Is the Life Equation a thing in the New Gods? I know the ANTI-Life Equation is Darkseid’s thing. But did King just bust out the Life Equation at some late night party supply store that’s about to close? That’s the sort of wonderful insanity Mister Miracle delivers issue after issue, and I wish to all the gods in the sky that I was able to keep pace.
I haven’t even gotten into all the great stuff between Scott and Barda this issue, from fights to simple, sweet domestic moments. Those two remain such wonderful leads, especially when Barda talks out a potential guest list for the birthday party while Scott curls into the fetal position in the shower from everything weighing him down.
TL;DR: This comic is madness in all the best ways imaginable, and I both love it and hate it in nearly equal measure for that.
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 August 4, 2018, in Avengers, Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews and tagged Big Barda, Boom!, Captain America, Go Go Power Rangers, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Mister Miracle, Power Rangers. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.