Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/2/19
Oh what a world, what a world! I was swamped at work this week, so I didn’t have time to read too many comics. Fortunately, it was a Fifth Wednesday situation, so there weren’t many comics to worry about anyway!
Excalibur arrives to continue Dawn of X, and it’s fine. Runaways has a quiet issue that just moves the story along. And Mighty Morphin Power Rangers wins Comic Book of the Week for another exciting issue!
Meanwhile, I’ve been reading through Brian Michael Bendis’ Daredevil for the first time ever. It’s pretty good! And in comic book movie news, we have confirmation of Into the Spider-Verse 2 and Ant-Man 3! That’s pretty exciting!
Comic Reviews: Excalibur #1, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #44 and Runaways #26.
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
And so we arrive at the first Dawn of X comic that doesn’t really strike my fancy.
A Krakoan portal has opened from Otherworld (home of Camelot and King Arthur) to Krakoa, so Apocalypse is investigating. Meanwhile, Morgana Le Fay has taken over Camelot and is in a war with a White Witch. The portal’s plantlife has gotten into the Waters of Avalon, so she recruits some witches from Earth to help her root it out, even if it means killing all the “witchbreed” mutants. Meanwhile, Betsy is having trouble adjusting to Krakoa. Things are especially weird when she discovers that her crazy brother, Jamie Braddock, is among the resurrected. She has to deal with him for a bit. Then her other brother, Captain Britain, recruits her to go with him to Otherworld to find out what’s wrong. They have to fight Morgana and her coven of witches, and Morgana quickly takes control of Brian with dark magic.
Meanwhile, Apocalypse recruits Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee and Trinary in his portal investigation. He has Rogue use her powers on the portal to try and weaken it to bring Betsy through, but when Betsy destroys the portal, the backlash causes Rogue’s powers to go nuts. She absorbs some combination of magic and plantlife and goes into a weird, glowing coma. Meanwhile, Captain Britain summons his remaining willpower to force his amulet into Betsy’s hand and then he banishes her. She arrives on Krakoa, in full Captain Britain armor, and asks what the heck happened to Rogue.
Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
This is a really really meaty issue. It’s extra length, like all of these comics, and Tini Howard uses aaaalll of the space given to her. This is a a really dense comic! Just so much stuff packed into this issue, and most of it about whatever weird Otherworld stuff exists in Marvel. It’s never been my cup of tea (pun intended), so perhaps that’s what is turning me off about this issue. I just don’t really know anything or care about Otherworld and Marvel’s Captain Britain/King Arthur/Camelot backstory, and this issue doesn’t really do much to make it exciting or interesting to me.
Like Marauders last week, Excalibur focuses on a single character and explores their relationship with Krakoa. Betsy just doesn’t feel comfortable on the mutant nation, and she’s got this whole other life/world she can distract herself with. I liked the characterization of Betsy well enough — though on a personal note, I am a little disappointed that this comic doesn’t follow up her new, potentially complicated relationship with the Blob from Age of X-Man. I should have expected that, but I’m still holding out hope that Leah Williams gets to continue that thread somewhere. We haven’t seen Blob yet in Dawn of X.
I was a little disappointed in how the roster of this issue came together. It feels very, very, very random. I get Apocalypse studying a curious, magic-connected portal, though I felt he was a little off, character-wise. Perhaps he truly has turned over a new leaf, but he’s treated like a noble scholar this issue. It was also weird how much reverence he showed the mantle of Captain Britain. But then Gambit and Rogue are just randomly added. Since when do Rogue’s powers work on inanimate objects like portals? Though I suppose they are part of Krakoa, a mutant island. And then Jubilee is brought in because, according to the dialogue, she was the last person to see Betsy, and Apocalypse needed her mental image. I’m pretty sure a lot of characters have a mental memory of Betsy he could use. Plus, in this very comic, Betsy spends a couple seconds with Jubilee and then goes and has a whole subplot with Jamie Braddock and Goldballs (who is now going by the name “Egg” It’s not as bad a name change as Honey Badger, but it’s close).
((Quick note: Dawn of X has so far focused a lot on name changes. Kitty Pryde wants to be “Kate”, Psylocke wants to just be “Betsy”, Goldballs is now “Egg” and Apocalypse insists a lot this issue that everyone call him by his new Krakoan name. Just a note…))
Anyway, the overall issue is fine. It’s definitely readable. It just didn’t do anything for me. I don’t particularly care about any of these characters, and I really don’t care about Otherworld. So as more and more story and plot and characters just kept piling on with nothing particularly exciting to say, I just lost interest.
TL;DR: Excalibur #1 is fine and has a lot to offer, but I don’t think much of any of it is all that interesting.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #44
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colorists: Walter Baiamonte and Katia Ranalli
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
The crossover you never thought you’d see is here! And, by that, I mean the most obvious crossover this comic could do.
Dayne has the Power Rangers on the ropes, ready to tear through the Thunder Megazord. But that’s when the Omega Zords arrive and kick the ever-lovin’ tar out of Dayne! The Power Rangers rush over to greet their new allies, but the Omega Rangers say nothing and teleport away with Dayne as their prisoner. Back on their ship, Zach and Trini think they should have said something, but Jason reminds them that the Emissary claims any contact could disrupt the new timeline.
Back on Earth, Tommy is healed and wants to get the Rangers back into training, but Aisha, Rocky and Adam are really bothered by the fact that they were all almost just killed. Kimberly and the classic Rangers think they should just get over it and move on, but the new team is shaken and angry at the risks.
Elsewhere, Jason leads the Omega Rangers into a direct attack on Lord Zedd’s palace on the moon. The other three hold off the monsters and putties, while Jason heads straight for a duel with Zedd in the throne room!
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
I was not expecting any of that! And it’s very exciting! The Omega Rangers reveal themselves to the Power Rangers! They kick Dayne’s butt and take him into custody! I thought he’d be a bigger villain (could still be). And then Jason and his team head for a direct assault on Lord Zedd! Awesome! This issue was both action-packed and had a ton of great character stuff. This is the great material I expect from the Power Rangers comics. Twists, action, great use of the lore and the resources, and some solid drama. I loved the Stone Canyon teens getting worried about their lives, while the old school Rangers brush off the danger. It’s a really cool dynamic.
I do find it curious that the Omega Rangers apparently have a history that dates back long into the past. Zordon had heard of them ages ago. I thought they were a new thing, but this is fine, too. I’m still holding out hope that the big, bad villain character gets to become Omega Pink.
This sort of issue is exactly why I love this comic so much. Well-written action, dialogue, drama and twists, full of activity and story propulsion. It’s not often the Rangers get to attack the moon base, and now we’ve got the Omega Rangers giving it their all. It’s a cool moment, and I’m looking forward to Jason vs. Zedd! Though if I can nitpick a little bit, I dislike how this art team gives Jason brown hair. Jason has black hair! He looks too generic with brown hair, and looks exactly like Rocky.
TL;DR: Another stellar issue of this stellar comic, packed with action, twists, drama and really good character development.
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Andres Genolet
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
This is one of those simple issues that just moves the story along. Still good, but nothing extraordinary.
The Runaways ship out to Doc Justice’s mansion for a place to stay for the night and he’s happy to have them, with rooms all set up. He’s also got an assistant named Matthew. Doc Justice eventually informs the crew that the Pride may be gone, but their criminal empire was too entrenched and is still up to no good. In fact, that very night, he’s going out to raid a human trafficking operation. Victor wants to go too, and he’s eager to grab one of Kid Justice’s old costumes. Victor was a huge fan of the various incarnations of the old J-Team. The rest of the team is also eager to volunteer to help out!
Meanwhile, the cat and Old Lace have figured out they need to sacrifice living things to feed Gib. They bring him a mouse and a puppy, respectively. Gib is pleased.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This issue is really good mostly on momentum of an already good comic. Honestly, not too much happens in this issue. The team checks out their beds, we get some Doc Justice backstory and the uneasy feeling that this will all fall apart is still there. I’m desperately hoping that Rowell doesn’t go down the obvious route where Doc Justice is secretly crazy or evil, but it’s bound to happen. I have faith in Rowell not to go there, but I dunno…Most interesting is the idea that the Pride’s criminal network is still alive and well, worming their way into white collar matters like for-profit prisons and human trafficking. That sort of thing could be really interesting! And I like the idea of putting the Runaways into some regular superhero work to fight that criminal empire. So the potential story remains interesting, but this issue was all about dropping some exposition and transitioning to the next part.
Though that scene with Gib and the pets at the end was perfect.
TL;DR: The story moves along nicely with an issue that gets a lot of work done.
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!