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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 10/6/18

Welcome to New York Comic-Con Weekend! Man, what a wonderful time that convention is. I’ve been a few years, but not this year. Maybe next year…Anyway, enough rambling from me! We’ve got comics to talk about!

I was feeling a little low energy this week, so I didn’t get to all the comics I wanted, but I did check out the new Batman, Superior Octopus and even the new Rainbow Brite! Weird, right? Comic Book of the Week goes to Tony Stark – Iron Man, a comic I am loving almost too much.

Iron Man Mom Comment 01

Let’s leave the moms out of this

Meanwhile, how about that Venom movie, huh? If you’re willing to accept that there’s no mention of Spider-Man and no Carnage, it’s thoroughly watchable. It could have been so much better, though…

Comic Reviews: Batman #56, Rainbow Brite #1, Superior Octopus #1 and Tony Stark – Iron Man #4. 


Batman56

Batman #56

Batman #56
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Inkers: Daniel and Danny Miki
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

I wonder if Tom King was told to connect his Batman stuff to these new plans for Nightwing, or if it was his story idea.

The shooter is KGBeast, and he heads home to visit his father in his cabin in the cold, hard Russian wilderness. They have a cold, hard Russian conversation, but eventually do admit that they love each other like father and son, so KGBeast shoots his dad.

An angry, slightly disheveled Batman is on the hunt and he either fights or argues information out of certain underworld folk, but he’s pointed towards the father’s cabin on the cold, hard Russian wilderness. The winter is so horrendous that it destroys three Batplanes, so Batman marches his damn way to that cabin!

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

Just like last issue, this issue really only gets us from Point A to Point B in as simple a way as possible. We don’t even see Nightwing, or see Batman react to him being shot. We’ve jumped ahead in time, so we don’t see the aftermath. Just a cold, straight forward Batman who grumbles at a couple criminal underworld types to get him to a location we’re already seeing in the second storyline. And forgive me for not knowing much about KGBeast, but suddenly he’s this impossible figure who is nigh unreachable. That seemed weird. And I’m rather disappointed in how little we actually get of Batman in this issue. We don’t get any emotion out of the guy. He’s not out of control or overly angry. He’s determined and emotionless, like a Terminator. None of his interrogations are particularly noteworthy or memorable. Injuring Nightwing like DC has done could lead to a lot of rich character drama, but King just fast-forwarded to a cold, hard Batman and just doesn’t do much with him.

TL;DR: Despite the massive, status quo-shaking events of last issue’s cliffhanger, King doesn’t do very much in the immediate follow-up issue.


RainbowBrite1

Rainbow Brite #1

Rainbow Brite #1
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Brittney Williams
Colorist: Valentina Pinto
Letterer: Taylor Esposito

I picked up the first issue of Dynamite’s new Rainbow Brite comic based on the creators and the concept. I’d only just heard of it the other week. But I loved Jeremy Whitley on Marvel’s Unstoppable Wasp comic, and I loved Brittney Williams on Marvel’s Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat comic. So the two of them teaming up for a semi-serious take on a classic 80s cartoon? Sure!

And by “semi-serious” I don’t mean dark and gritty. I mean a structured, well-grounded and well-established revamp, like the new DuckTales cartoon, or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, where they take the classic cartoon concept and give it depth.

Wisp and Willow are two very best friends, and they spend the day LARPing at Willow’s house. Wisp is a warrior and Willow is a wizard. When Wisp later gets dropped off at home, she is woken up to the sound of three monsters sucking the color blue out of her mom’s car. Wisp can not only see them, but strike them with her sword, so they start chasing her. Twinkle the sprite shows up to help, but he doesn’t have enough light magic to teleport them to safety. So Wisp runs to Willow’s house and has her friend break a window to set off the burglar alarm and turn on the flood lights. The monsters disappear and Twinkle teleports Wisp to Rainbow Land, which has been drained of color.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

It’s fine, though I was hoping for more. That’s probably on me. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I had a lot of different hopes that were based on nothing but my own pre-conceived imaginings. Maybe this is supposed to be a lower key story, just looking to be a friendly, all-ages book without many stakes. The issue is largely just the two girls playing, which is nice, but there’s not much to it. The flight from the monsters is equally low key, with Twinkle just showing up and delivering some exposition. I dunno, I guess I was just hoping for a deeper, richer introduction to what this comic is going to be about.

The issue does a fairly good job of introducing us to Wisp and Willow, and there’s a lot of fun to be had when the girls are forced to LARP indoors due to rain, and Willow’s parents casually play along with the scenario, while still going about their normal evening. It’s fun and cute. I’ll admit I was expecting more humor from Whitley, but he settles more for cuteness than comedy.

Rainbow Brite 01

My one laugh-out-loud moment

I was actively hurt when the issue ended and Willow had not also been teleported to Rainbow Land. I can only imagine there’s more story planned going forward, but after doing such an amazing job on the pair’s friendship throughout the issue, it was a real blow that she didn’t get to go too. Whitley better have something planned or so help me!

The art is phenomenal. Williams is a great choice for this book, a definitely selling point. Williams and colorist Pinto already make this book look good, and we haven’t even arrived in a vibrant and colorful Rainbow Land yet.

TL;DR: Rainbow Brite keeps things low key in its opening chapter, and I would have liked a bigger, fuller introduction. What we do get is still very adorable, though.


Octopus1

Superior Octopus #1

Superior Octopus #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mike Hawthorne
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

I will go on record in saying that Superior Spider-Man was Dan Slott’s best story in his 10-year Amazing Spider-Man run. There was just something fresh and exciting about that story. So I’m pleased to see Gage, who assisted, carry on the excellent Doctor Octopus story.

I’m less pleased to see that the title will be going back to ‘Superior Spider-Man’ when this story picks up again. What’s wrong with focusing on Doc Ock as his own superhero?

Otto Octavius is currently living his best life as the superhero Superior Octopus in San Francisco. He’s living in a perfect clone body that’s half himself, half Peter Parker. He’s posing as a super smart, super handsome professor at Horizon University, where he gets to interact daily with Anna Maria Marconi, and he’s slowly making waves as an unconventional superhero. Of course, the people of San Francisco are a little hesitant, considering he’s modeled after Doctor Octopus, and he did work with HYDRA when they took over the country…But at least he’s now aware of how sick his wooing of Anna Maria was back when he was posing as Peter Parker, so he’s promised himself not to romance her, merely to be friendly, polite and protect her from afar (which is still a little creepy, but at least he’s learned from his mistakes).

Then Arnim Zola and a bunch of HYDRA soldiers show up in his lab, determined to get him back with the team. Otto tells them to get lost and starts fighting through their forces, including a clone of the Gorgon, who turns Otto to stone — so it’s a good thing Otto has perfected cloning, using technology from the Inheritors to also perfect mind transference. All he has to do is transfer his mind to a new clone body and defeat Gorgon and Zola. Not only is he superior, but he’s also pretty much made himself immortal. Good for him.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This was a really fun issue based almost entirely on Otto’s interesting new status quo. I would really enjoy reading an ongoing series based on this premise. He’s still something of an asshole, but he wants to be a hero. And he’s going to apply super-villain logic to being a superhero. There’s an opening action scene where he stops a bunch of low-level costumed criminals, and rather than arrest them, he hires them on as henchmen to be his eyes and ears in the city, instead of them committing crimes. That’s a neat way to be a superhero, and this Otto would make for a really neat protagonist. I like that he learned what was wrong with his earlier attempts to woo Anna Marie, and how he’s mad at himself for being that way. It shows real character growth and improvement. But he’s still a lovable asshole.

Superior Octopus Saves 02

To be fair, those arms are radical!

I like the stand Otto takes against HYDRA, making for a really solid action scene to end-out the issue. Hawthorne’s art is pretty standard superhero stuff, so I liked it. And I really dig Otto’s current costume. This opening chapter really does have the makings of a solid, entertaining ongoing superhero comic. We have a very flawed protagonist, whose heart is in the right place, who has both a really cool and unique look and a really cool and unique modus operandi. He’s got a complicated but interesting personal life. And he’s got a lot of mistakes to make up for. I’m down with all of this!

But making him into yet another Spider-Man again isn’t going to be as interesting.

TL;DR: This kickoff issue is so much fun and presents such a neat new take on a superhero that I’m rather disappointed it’s not going to be a proper ongoing series.


TSIronMan4

Iron Man #4

Tony Stark – Iron Man #4
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Dan Slott is killing it on Iron Man.

Everybody at Stark Unlimited is finding the perfect date on Make-A-Match.com, and it’s driving security chief Bethany Cabe bonkers with how many security passes she has to issue these new guests. There’s no way this can be so perfect! And it’s not! A rogue A.I. is matching all these people up with robot dates, and when Cabe nearly uncovers them, the villain has all the robot dates go pell-mell in an attempt to steal whatever they can from the building.

Meanwhile, Tony is out on a date with Janet Van Dyne (which started as part of his continuing efforts to test Jocasta to see if he’s more robot than man). They’re having a lovely time, but they rush back to Stark Unlimited to help fight the robots (humanely, as Jocasta insists). When Andy Bhang realizes that the robot dates operate with a hive mind, Tony fights them by putting up his own personal dating profile on the website and creating so many dating matches that the whole system crashes! The day is saved!

And Tony and Janet are totally a thing now. As are Andy and Tony’s mom.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

First of all, why are so many employees bringing their brand new significant others to work with them? Leave your personal lives at home, Stark Unlimited employees!

Second of all, I’m not a fan of Tony and Janet getting together, especially not this easily. It  comes out of nowhere and they seem pretty rock solid by the end. This comic is too good to just up and ignore any romantic storytelling opportunities. Just, ‘hey, these longtime old friends are going to see each other for one day and just fall head over heels for each other’. It’s not a pairing that really works for me, and Slott doesn’t really do anything to try and convince me. Of course, he’s also rushing pretty quickly into Andy Bhang and Amanda Armstrong.

C’mon, Slott! Romance us!

Tony Janet 01

The Vespa becomes an Iron Man armor, it’s sweet

Beyond all of that, this is another fun issue! I like Slott’s choice to do a bunch of done-in-one issues, with a full story contained in a single issue. All these stories have been about some crazy level of technological advancement, and a villain-run dating website hooking people up with evil robots is neat! That everybody then has to fight against their former paramours adds extra flavor to the fight, as does Jocasta and Friday’s continued insistence that all of these robots are equal to people, and that they’re essentially being mind-controlled. It’s a really nifty argument that adds an extra level of political intrigue to an Iron Man comic. And I like the way Slott continues to use everybody to come up with and implement clever and unique solutions.

Tony Stark – Iron Man has it all: a great lead character, awesome and inventive superhero action, a wonderful supporting cast, nifty and clever story ideas and the energy of a bunch of done-in-one stories. It’s such an enjoyable comic!

TL;DR: Tony Stark – Iron Man is still firing on all cylinders, telling inventive, clever and supremely fun stories about Iron Man and his wonderful supporting cast.


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 October 6, 2018, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Man, it’s hard to get DC sometimes…
    They changed the Red Hood (not that I care about), disbanded his outlaws… justo to replace the same attitude, carelessness and bar/drinking routine with Nightwing! It’s just so weird…

    The good thing that could come out of this crazy direction, is this Grayson regular life, job and etc. being constantly visited and interrupted by superheroes. A drunk and mourning Green Arrow, aliena like Superman and Starfire, an impatient Huntress, an always-caring Alfred, Robin, and also that boy Damian… this could lead to some heart-felt moments, and also hillarious ones, just like when Hawkeye (in the Fraction/Aja run at Marvel) called the genius/tech expert Tony Stark to connect his DVD and home theater cables. The encounter of superbeings and ordinary life tasks with Grayson’s sente of humor would be the best.
    But at the end of the last Nightwing issue, me hopes are already kind of down…

    • Tony Stark helping Clint set up his home theater system was a true standout scene in an already legendary comic book! I would love that sort of chill vibe in a Nightwing comic. I really do plan on getting around to reading that new issue and staying caught up…I hope.

  2. Octopus wasn’t bad. Gage does good work. And I do like the Night Shift. Especially nice to see Gypsy Moth again. But the Night Shift were always fun. I remember when they were actually a major threat to the original West Coast Avengers. Now they basically exist to be curbstomped.

    Iron Man was good. It was fun. Tony/Jan is a perfectly reasonable ship, they make sense together, so I’m fine with it. It is weird how all the Stark employees brought their dates to their job. Is that even a thing? Do people go to their workplace on dates?

    • Right?! That was super weird bringing their dates to the office during business hours. They’d all only just met within a week and they were bringing them to work? Nobody does that! Cabe should have been kicking them out instead of issuing an overflow of guest passes. Last girlfriend I had, we were dating 2 months, spent most of our time in my city but I didn’t even drive past my office and point it out to her.

      Maybe the robots asked to be taken to Stark Unlimited…Or maybe Dan Slott brought his girlfriends/wife(?) to the Marvel offices a lot and everybody was too polite to point out how weird it was.

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