Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 5/4/19
What else do I have to look forward to this year now that Avengers: Endgame is over? Spider-Man: Far From Home? I guess. But it’s just not the same…we live in a post-Endgame world now. And this week’s comics reflected that melancholy.
I was pretty hugely disappointed in the new issues of Young Justice and The War of the Realms. Both are OK, but the first is really weird and the second remains oddly shallow. The Green Lantern has another good issue to win Comic Book of the Week, but it’s one of those experimental issues where Grant Morrison likes to use illustrated prose.
Meanwhile, we’re this close to going back to reviewing Tom King’s Batman. The nightmare storyline is over and it was all largely good! So I’m excited to see this through to the end. Double meanwhile, I finally read King’s Sheriff of Babylon, for which he has received much praise. I thought it was fine. Probably flew over my head. But it’s definitely the work of Tom King.
Comic Reviews: The Green Lantern #7, The War of the Realms #3 and Young Justice #5.
The Green Lantern #7
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
How is this comic so damn good? Even when it looks like it’s going to annoy me, it’s so damn good by the end.
This is one of those comics where Grant Morrison tries to do an illustrated prose story, but there is some traditional comic book dialogue eventually. We meet Pengowirr, a woman on the run in the dark, crumbling world of the slumbering wizard Myrwhydden. Everything is falling apart, she’s being chased by nightmare guards and she doesn’t know what to do, but then she meets a stranger clad in green. She takes him further into the crumbling city, and it’s here that Hal Jordan regains his memory. He realizes that Pengowirr is a manifestation of his ring’s AI, and the world is crumbling because his ring is almost out of power, hurtling through the void of space.
Hal and Pengowirr team up to awaken Myrwhydden and demand he help them, use whatever power he has remaining to power the ring and send it flying to Oa. It works, and they barely make it in time for the Guardians to bring Hal out of the ring and to a power battery. Myrwhydden attempts to convince Pengowirr that Hal has abandoned her, but he recites the oath, re-powers the ring and her world goes back to normal.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
I don’t know what it is, but putting prose into comics is pretty annoying. It’s a jarring effect, especially when the lettering doesn’t quite fit against the artwork, like what happens in this issue. Thankfully, the prose gives way to normal comic dialogue before too long, and the full issue was easy to read overall. So I can excuse Morrison for his creative experiment. This all makes for a nice little story, with a solid twist — except that the twist was revealed at the end of last issue. The reader already knew that Hal Jordan was trapped inside his ring and that the ring was lost in the void of space. If we didn’t know, the twist would have been much stronger and a lot cooler.
As it stands, it’s still a fun twist and makes for a solid climax. Overall, it’s a strong story about Hal Jordan’s bond with his ring. We’ll just have to ignore all of the weird stuff that has happened to Hal’s ring since the beginning. I don’t know for sure, but hasn’t it been replaced or cloned or given to someone else a dozen times over? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. This is a nice issue about the bond between Hal Jordan and his Power Ring, with a solid twist.
Also, we’re just going to have to politely forget that Doctor Who and Neil Gaiman did the exact same story eight years ago. Just sayin’.
TL;DR: Even though the twist was spoiled last issue, and the use of illustrated prose threatens to derail the comic, it all comes together nicely by the end.
The War of the Realms #3
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
War of the Realms is still fine. Humming along nicely. Still haven’t had that extra dose of cleverness though. Still waiting for that.
Daredevil somehow relights the Rainbow Bridge simply by gripping the magic sword. Why has nobody tried that before? And Heimdall is only recently blind, so why does blind Daredevil have some sort of magic touch? Whatever. Using the bridge, a bunch of different strike squads go off on different adventures: rescue Thor, destroy the Black Bifrost, fight Malekith in Europe. All of these go generally bad, and then Malekith’s forces destroy the relit Rainbow Bridge, so the various strike squads are trapped in their locations. But at least Captain America’s team manages to find a berserker Thor, who had no problem fighting off an army of frost giants.
Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
The War of the Realms has no heart. It’s just a plethora of Marvel characters making perfectly ordinary quips as they go about their assigned tasks to take down the latest big threat to Earth. Nobody seems particularly bothered. The stakes look monumental, but they feel pedestrian. There’s no sense of what this invasion/takeover really means for the planet Earth. There’s no sense that any of this really matters. Everybody just pops a bunch of trolls or frost giants on the head. Everybody is equal. Wolverine is as instrumental to this story as Frigga as Ghost Rider as She-Hulk as Punisher as Iron Fist. I suppose Spider-Man gets to make more comedic quips than anybody else, but so what? He acts like this is just another day in the park for him. Everybody acts that way.
Overall, The War of the Realms is enjoyable. The art is phenomenal and is the saving grace of the series. But the story is so boring. And this issue in particular jumps around so much that nothing gets time to stick. Roz Solomon gets a single panel to reveal that Roxxon has taken over all of Antarctica. A big deal is made about Daredevil somehow just relighting the Rainbow Bridge, only for it to be destroyed again by the end. And Captain America’s team has zero problem finding Thor. They fight a couple frost giants off-planel, make some lame quips amongst them, and then find Thor, who also fought a bunch of frost giants off-panel. But so what? What is Thor going to do that the combined might of everybody else can’t do?
The War of the Realms feels like it’s just going through the motions. There isn’t a unique or special bone in its entire body.
Also, why doesn’t Wolverine wear a costume like everybody else? I dunno. It’s been bugging me ever since I saw a video from the first Marvel: Ultimate Alliance video game. Remember that one? Wolverine’s default costume in that game was a white wife beater and jeans, while everybody else wore their bright, beautiful costumes. Now it really bugs me whenever I see Wolverine in civvies while everybody else is costumed. Even the Punisher is always in costume!
TL;DR: The new issue of The War of the Realms stretches itself too thin with too many subplots, taking away from any real heart or soul to this event.
Young Justice #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: John Timms, Kris Anka and Evan “Doc” Shaner
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Whoooo boy. This is where it gets weird and I’m probably missing a ton of stuff because I’m not reading every single weird DC crossover going on. Does anybody know what’s happening?
The fleeing Young Justice are confronted by Dark Lord Opal, who has some Kryptonite to de-power Superboy. Robin is really curious where Opal got Kryptonite, even though we’ve clearly seen that travel between Gemworld and the real world is very possible.
This issue’s flashback deals with Tim and Stephanie Brown, and it’s here where everything starts to fall apart for me. Because Tim and Stephanie reference both their Rebirth selves and their Pre-52 selves. They talk about how they were last seen heading off to college, and they talk about how Stephanie was once both Batgirl and a Robin. What’s up with that? They’re hanging out near the Hall of Justice to talk with Zatanna, because they’ve recently saw a vision of their Pre-52 selves (back in Detective Comics). Zatanna scans Tim’s brain and uncovers the suppressed memories of Young Justice. Are they suppressed memories or an alternate reality? It’s very confusing.
Back in Gemworld, Impulse simply takes the Kryptonite from Dark Lord Opal and runs away, so Superboy and Robin can kick his butt. Then the world starts shaking again.
Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
I don’t even know what to think anymore. I just wanted to read a nice comic about the Young Justice heroes going on adventures. Now my entire concept of the DC Universe is messed up. Is this comic starring regular Robin? Or Pre-52 Robin somehow? Is all of this tied into whatever insane DCeased or Year of the Villain or Batman Who Laughs or the perpetually delayed Doomsday Clock? How am I supposed to make sense of this issue? What’s real anymore? What’s forgotten? What’s retconned? What’s double or triple retconned?! Why did this get sprung on us right now of all times?! Especially since it doesn’t seem to have too much to do with the main story!!
It doesn’t help that the “main” story takes a big jump into meaninglessness. So all this build-up so far and Dark Lord Opal just arrives and they punch him? Talk about anticlimactic. This issue undoes all of the build-up we’ve had so far, rushing into the big battle out of nowhere, while delivering a flashback that makes so little sense that I feel like dropping DC entirely. What are they even doing with their characters?! What are they doing with their characters in this very series? Teen Lantern still has zero development or explanation. And Bendis is apparently so in love with Jinny Hex that it’s now bleeding over into all of the characters, even though she hasn’t done much of anything.
I’m just really frustrated by this issue. It’s not the same Young Justice I’ve been reading so far.
TL;DR: A frustratingly rushed issue upends everything I thought I knew about these characters, but not in a good way. More in a “confused by countless rectons” way.
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!