Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 9/29/18
Bad news, everybody! The final issue of Extermination has been delayed until December, so I’m going to be kept in limbo for the rest of the freakin’ year as to whether or not Mimic survives. Oh, and I guess we’re technically stuck with the Young X-Men still being around too.
Light week for new comics, I’m afraid. The ongoing Superman and Spider-Man comics aren’t anything special, and the new Power Rangers direction is an immediate bust. I gave Comic Book of the Week to the first issue of Tom King’s Heroes in Crisis, though considering the crimes he commits, I need to stop gushing over the guy.
Meanwhile, did you hear that Eddie Brock is wearing a new symbiote these days? That the Venom symbiote gave birth to some new symbiote? Do we really not have enough of those?
Comic Reviews: Action Comics #1003, Amazing Spider-Man #6, Heroes in Crisis #1 and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31.
Action Comics #1003
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Still not feeling it. Not even a cute Batman cameo can help!
The evil Ms. Goode acquires a small piece of Kryptonite from a shady lady downtown. When she carries it in her purse into the Daily Planet the next morning, it makes Clark Kent sick, for obvious reasons. Everyone thinks Clark is having a migraine, but he recovers when Goode volunteers to go downstairs to wait for the ambulance. But Batman is waiting for her in an alley and he takes the Kryptonite from her. Goode goes back to her shady lady to accuse her of having a leak (since Batman knew), but shady lady defends herself, so the Red Cloud shows up and kills shady lady. Superman arrives shortly thereafter to investigate Goode, but she plays the innocent victim.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor pops in to visit the mysteriously returned Lois Lane.
Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.
Bendis’ dialogue is still enjoyable (and I know some will disagree with that statement). He writes the characters well, and that is keeping his Superman comics afloat. But man oh man, his stories and plots are as boring as hell. In this issue, our villain, Goode, acquires a piece of Kryptonite and unknowingly gets it close to Clark Kent…does she begin to suspect he’s Superman? Does anything come of it? Nah, Batman shows up and simply takes the Kryptonite away. And then by the end of the issue, the shady lady who sold it is dead, and Red Cloud barely appeared to do the deed. So…what was accomplished in this issue?
What are we building to here? The mystery of the arsons have been solved and we don’t know anything yet about Goode or her crew. Why does she hate Superman so much? Who is she to go to all the trouble to get hired by the Daily Planet, only to then want to also be a criminal of some kind? And not even an interesting criminal, she’s just some lady. We don’t know her connection to Red Cloud, and we barely know Red Cloud. We barely know anything that’s going on in Action Comics. There appear to be some mildly irritating criminals hiding in the shadows accomplishing absolutely nothing while Superman goes about his day.
At least the art is phenomenal.
TL;DR: The art is phenomenal, but Bendis’ Superman comics continue to accomplish very little. Not even a Batman cameo can help.
Amazing Spider-Man #6
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
This, I like. Want to win me over? Do something crazy, unexpected and clever.
Peter has a problem with his new roommate, Fred Myers, Boomerang, but he can’t really lay a finger on the guy. Boomerang helped out the Resistance when HYDRA took over the country, and he parlayed that into having his criminal record expunged. Now he’s hiding some stolen item from Wilson Fisk, and Peter is trying to get to the bottom of it — but Fred stays pretty clean. When Peter thinks he’s tracking Boomerang to some criminal thing, it ends up just being poker night with his Superiors Foes crew.
Later, Fred comes upon Peter and Robbie talking, and Fred finds out about Peter’s history photographing Spider-Man. So Fred gets a bright idea and brings Peter to Spider-Man Trivia Night at the Bar With No Name! Peter gets a perfect score and has some fun at the raucous trivia night, even if he’s surrounded by low level villains. But when Boomerang turns down Fisk’s latest attempt to purchase the stolen item, the Kingpin puts out a hit on Boomerang that everybody in the Bar is going to want to cash in on!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I’ve been hard on Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man so far, and I was ready to still be hard on this issue. There’s an extended sequence of Boomerang hanging out with his Superior Foes pals, and as much as I loved that comic and am pleased to see them back, I still didn’t want such an extended bit in my Spider-Man comic. But then Spencer took Peter to a Spider-Man Trivia Night at the Bar With No Name, and TOTALLY REDEEMED HIMSELF!
Maybe not “totally redeemed”, but she sheer silly fun of Peter Parker winning at Spider-Man trivia in the Bar With No Name is too much to ignore or dismiss, at least for me. I want unique stories, I want unique situations, and this scene delivers. Though like I mentioned before, this issue is also overstuffed with explanations for Boomerang. Spencer goes into backstory on Boomerang during Secret Empire, he goes into Boomerang’s caper with Fisk, which was in the Free Comic Book Day issue, which I never read. And there’s an extended poker sequence that’s just a callback to Spencer’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
It’s almost as if Spencer is far far more interested in writing the ongoing adventures of Boomerang than he is Amazing Spider-Man.
TL;DR: The creativity and sheer fun of this issue keeps it afloat, whereas it otherwise seems determined not to be about Spider-Man.
Heroes in Crisis #1
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Heroes in Crisis the big, new Tom King project tackling superheroes and mental illness. I don’t know much about mental illness, but I’ll read pretty much anything King puts out these days!
Sanctuary is a treatment facility set up by the Justice League to treat superheroes with PTSD and other ailments suffered as a result of being superheroes…and somebody has murdered everybody at Sanctuary, including Roy Harper and Wally West. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman investigate.
Meanwhile, Booster Gold, a resident of Sanctuary, is taking refuge in a diner in Nebraska. He’s found by Harley Quinn, another resident of Sanctuary, and after a bit of chatter, she attacks him quite viciously. Booster tries to flee, but Harley just grabs on and keeps stabbing him. They eventually crash land in a pasture, where it’s revealed that they both believe it was the other one who killed everybody.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
King is definitely going for the slow, prestige opening with this issue, and that’s an OK choice for this type of comic. It just means Heroes in Crisis will probably read better in a collected trade. We basically just get introduced to the concept of Sanctuary and the fact that all of them are dead, along with the parallel plot that Booster Gold and Harley Quinn are a bit off their respective rockers, and that one of them might be the crazy killer. And all of this makes for a good start. King does a solid job on the slow-burning prestige opening, setting up the concept and giving us just enough to whet our whistles. And Mann is a perfect choice for artist, making the characters realistic, while maintaining the awesome look and feel of superheroes. It definitely works for this grounded story. And hopefully DC is willing to delay the book as much as needed to keep Mann on every issue, so make for the better collected edition.
My only complaint is simply my lack of interest in the wholesale slaughter of comic book superheroes. It’s not King’s fault, if that’s what his story calls for, but comic book deaths just don’t matter anymore. They’re beyond overused and they have zero impact, especially when you consider King likely had to ask editorial which characters he could kill and they probably gave him a list. Lagoon Boy? Blue Jay? Hot Spot? Alright, fine, whatever. Then you’ve got Arsenal and Wally West? Please. They’re the sort of characters that editorial green lights because they’re not super important, but they’re still names that will hopefully have an impact. But they don’t have an impact on me, and perhaps that’s just me. Maybe in a vacuum, these deaths would actually mean something. But all I see when I read this issue is another creative team killing a bunch of superheroes in a desperate attempt to create stakes, unaware that their fellow creative teams have tapped that well dry.
TL;DR: Tom King goes for the slow burn to kick off his big Heroes in Crisis prestige comic, and the first issue lays a good, solid foundation.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Simone Di Meo
Ink Assist: Alessandro Cappuccio
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte, with assistance from Francesco Segala
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Shattered Grid is over and there’s a new creative team on board for a whole new direction! Too bad it’s a let down!
At the end of Shattered Grid, the Rangers on the space station Promethea were shunted into a different universe, devoid of life, the Morphin Grid and no sign of how to get home. Only a few of them can still morph, and those morphs are limited. The rest were refugees from Drakkon’s prison camps, so they’re already in rough shape. Grace Sterling is in charge, and she’s keeping the station going with the energy from the Psycho Green dagger. The crew spends more than a month in this universe, just trying to survive and figure out what to do next.
When they get a distress beacon, the survivors decide not to abandon the ideal of the Power Rangers, so they go to help. A squad of rangers still capable of morphing head out to investigate an escape pod, but quickly discover it’s a decoy. A funky, out-of-shift pink ranger teleports onto the Promethea, fights through the defenses and steals the dagger — leaving everyone, including the away team, without power.
Comic Rating: 3/10 – Bad.
The new issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers commits two unforgivable sins: it doesn’t even tell us who the new Rangers are, and the art is so bad that it’s hard to tell anyway. When the new lineup was announced, I read who they were…but I never bothered to look it up again, because I assumed this issue would tell me. Nope! There’s Drakkon-universe Kimberly, who is actually fairly minor in this issue. There’s Andros, whose name is pretty unique. And then there’s Grace Sterling, who isn’t even a Ranger on the cover. That’s about it for characters I know are in this comic. A few other names get dropped here and there, but unless you’re a master of Power Rangers lore, or you prepared yourself with outside sources, this issue couldn’t care less about its cast. Bennett spends more time establishing the plot, which is pretty simple, honestly. I would have much preferred a character-focused start to the new series, so that I can care about our heroes instead of just accepting them as generic Power Rangers.
The art doesn’t help.
I don’t usually like talking about art in comics because I’m no art critic. I know what I like and I know what I don’t like. But the art in this issue actively takes away from the story. Like I said, the writing does very little to introduce us to the characters. The art also detracts from this. It’s sketchy and lacking in detail, focusing more on scenery. There are far more shots of the Promethea than there are any one Ranger, it seems. So unless the sparse dialogue actually mentions a character’s name, there’s no real way to tell who is in what panel. Everybody is a generically good looking person, male or female. The action isn’t particularly good either. The fight between the funky new evil Ranger and Karone, the one defender, is so confusing that I’m really only guessing that the bad guy stole the Psycho Green dagger (which is also under-explained, I had to Google that to remind myself that Grace stole the dagger once upon a time).
TL;DR: The new Power Rangers direction immediately stumbles, as it fails to introduce its new cast and is hampered by confusing art.
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 29, 2018, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, Superman and tagged Action Comics, Amazing Spider-Man, Boom!, Boomerang, Booster Gold, Harley Quinn, Heroes in Crisis, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Power Rangers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.