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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/9/19

Last week only had a couple of reviews, whereas this week has so many comics I don’t know where to start! I have overloaded this week’s Hench-Sized Reviews with comics, and yet some of my regulars still hit the cutting room floor! There are just too many good comics out there!

This week sees the debut of a new Legion of Super-Heroes and I decided to check out the first issue of the new Image comic Undiscovered Country. Beyond that, we’ve got Batman, X-Force, New Mutants, Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom and still more! I gave Comic Book of the Week to my darling, Wonder Twins, because sometimes I can’t help myself.

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With your powers combined!

Meanwhile, I finally finished off the third season of the Young Justice cartoon. It was really good, though some of my complaints from the original run still remain prevalent. I think it’s so weird that each season focuses on a new main team of heroes, though I suppose it works. I’m definitely looking forward to future seasons!

Comic Reviews: Batman #82, Doctor Doom #2, Fantastic Four #16, Green Lantern: Blackstars #1, Legion of Super-Heroes #1, Lois Lane #5, New Mutants #1, Undiscovered Country #1,  Wonder Twins #9 and X-Force #1.


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Batman #82

Batman #82
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

You guys, I don’t think this story was about Bane at all…

Batman confronts Bane and they both agree to remove their masks and weapons and just fight it out 1 on 1. Once Bane is disarmed, Batman reveals it was a ruse. Catwoman immediately joins the fight, and Batman uses some hidden batarangs to inject Bane with the super-Venom. The three of them battle it out and Bruce wins, but then Evil Batman shows up and shoots Bruce in the stomach, then shoots Bane in the head.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This issue was really quick. I liked the trick of Batman lying to Bane, and I like how Catwoman explains the lie to Bane and Batman during the fight. Batman didn’t think Bane would be dumb enough to agree to disarm for a man-to-man fight, but Catwoman convinced him and their trick worked. But again, this fight isn’t really about Bane, so it felt a tad anti-climactic. At least the art and the character work are great. Catwoman had a real impact on the fight. And while they battle, Evil Batman slowly and patiently makes his way to the scene of the fight (which I don’t know the location) and then ends the issue by kicking off the real climax. So we’ll see that when it arrives. But overall, I think this story has gone on too long and it’s lost a bit of its luster.

TL;DR: A seemingly short, quick issue has some great art and some nice character work, but it feels overall anti-climatic.


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Doctor Doom #2

Doctor Doom #2
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorists: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

What an odd comic. It features at least two characters who are busy in other comics in such a way that their inclusion here wouldn’t make sense — if I cared about that sort of continuity anymore.

Doctor Doom is under arrest, his armor removed, as Doctor Strange and Silver Sable fly him to New York City to stand trial at the United Nations. Kang randomly appears on the plane and tells Doom he’s witnessed a perfect future where Doom rules over a peaceful Earth. Doom gets Kang to free him and Doom escapes into the city, where Morgan Le Fay asks him to stop by her apartment in Queens. She allows him to relax and rest up, even giving him a new mask to wear with his street clothes. Doom tells her about the visions he had of his perfect family somewhere in the future, and she takes him to visit The Witness, who can peer into your eyes and see your death. He tells Doom that his death is the saddest day in the world…then Taskmaster shoots The Witness in the head. Doom takes off running down the alley.

Meanwhile, a new HERBIE recruits the Blue Marvel to help take on Doom. The Fantastic Four are busy cleaning up the Antlion Project on the moon, so they sent a HERBIE.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

So about my note above. This very week saw the release of a new issue of Amazing Spider-Man that revealed the Silver Sable we’ve seen running around the past year or so is actually a Life Model Decoy! And that LMD was killed in this week’s issue. The real Sable is alive but is very much bed-ridden from her original death a couple years ago. And Morgan Le Fay showed up just last week in the new issue of Excalibur. She’s running Camelot and is up to all manner of evil. She’s definitely not chilling in an apartment in Queens trading modern slang with Doctor Doom. I just find it funny that such really minor continuity snafus can happen.

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He picks John, obviously

Anyway, as for the issue itself, I really enjoyed what we got. One of my favorite tropes is injecting grounded realism into superhero comics, and that’s exactly what this comic is doing with Doctor Doom. He’s been stripped of his armor, his power and his country, and now he’s just a normal man on the run. He’s got weird allies, weird frenemies and powerful enemies, and Cantwell and Larroca do a great job getting us into his headspace and down to his current level. This is Doom like we rarely see him, and that’s pretty fun and exciting. I also really enjoy the international feel of the comic, with Doom interacting with people like Union Jack and Silver Sable instead of just going up against Reed Richards all over again.

TL;DR: This comic is doing something new and very fun with Doctor Doom, and it’s taking full advantage of that new storytelling track.


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Fantastic Four #16

Fantastic Four #16
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Sean Izaakse
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

I still don’t like the planet of Spyre, but Slott does introduce some interesting ideas in this issue.

The members of the Fantastic Four are in various places on the planet Spyre, which is the planet they’d intended to reach on their original space mission. The planet is pretty much your average inhabited planet, complete with people, cities, super-powers and the like. Reed and Sue are trapped by the Overseer, leader of the superhero team The Unparalleled. He explains that Reed’s original scanning of their planet opened their eyes to other worlds, and Overseer reversed the technology to spy on Earth and the Fantastic Four. Fearing an invasion of these super-powered beings, Overseer mastered Cosmic Rays and periodically blasts his own people to give them powers. The pretty ones join The Unparalleled and the ugly ones are sent down to Low Town to live in squalor. Reed and Sue eventually manage to escape, pursued by the Unparalleled.

The Thing is in Low Town beating up all of the ugly ones, who ended up as monsters, similar to him They’re a gang now and they blame him for what happened to them, hence why they’re attacking him. When he stomps their lead guy, the Thing starts giving everyone a speech about how they don’t need to be monsters in the dark. When he sees Reed and Sue’s distress beacon, the Thing hypes up the Low Town mobs for a rebellion.

The Human Torch is hanging out with Sky, one of the Unparalleled, who claimed him as her soulmate last issue. She reveals that every person in Spyre is scanned at a certain age and matched with their perfect soulmate. She was scanned at the exact same time as Reed’s original scanning of their planet, and that somehow matched her with Johnny. She takes him on a flying tour of the city and Johnny agrees that they definitely have a connection.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

As I said in my review of the previous issue, I do no like the world of Spyre. The infinitely creative Dan Slott could have come up with anything to put on the planet from the original Fantastic Four mission, and he instead comes up with another Earth-style planet with a society that is just slightly off from Earth’s. How boring. But at least this issue introduces the idea that the residents of this planet have harnessed the cosmic rays that gave the Fantastic Four their powers and use them on their own people. That’s a pretty new and unique idea with ties to the origins of the Fantastic Four. That such activity gave us the utterly generic Unparalleled just echoes my overall problems with Spyre. But the idea of harnessing cosmic rays and giving people powers with them is neat. And the rest of the issue is good enough. The various members of the Four take on various characters and challenges, none of which are particularly interesting. But the art is nice, the writing is nice and there’s some tension. I just lament how boring this overall world is.

TL;DR: There are some new and interesting ideas introduced in this issue, but the overall storyline is still a huge, unimaginative letdown.


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GL: Blackstars #1

Green Lantern: Blackstars #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Xermanico
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Letterer: Steve Wands

Grant Morrison’s The Green Lantern saga continues in this Blackstars mini, and it’s still humming along nicely.

There’s a weird thing where the events of this comic are listed as days in descending order, like Day Four to Day Three to Day Two, down to Day Zero. Except I’m pretty sure the events of the comic occur in chronological order…so I don’t know why the days are descending.

At any rate, to catch you up to speed, Controller Mu forced Hal Jordan to remake the universe, and now all the GLs are Blackstars and Mu controls most of the univese.

Blackstars Belzebeth and Parallax (Hal) head to the ruins of Oa to recruit the last remaining monstrosities of Ysmault, imprisoned there long ago by the long-dead Guardians. Most of them refuse, so Belzebeth eats and kills them. The rest agree to help. Then on the next day, the Blackstars lay waste to Mongul and Warworld in badass fashion. On the next day, as the Blackstars prepare for a visit from Mu, Belzebeth mentions to Parallax that Mu wants them to take their relationship to the next level and get married. Then on the next day, the Blackstars throw a huge, planet-wide celebration for Mu’s arrival, with Belzebeth declaring herself the voice of Mu and announcing the upcoming nuptials.

On Day Zero, Parallax is seeing floating over the planet Earth.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

Much like the first issue of The Green Lantern, this is a dense, mind-numbingly complex comic where Morrison doesn’t even try to help us through any of it. Names, concepts and other weirdness are just thrown at us and we’re expected to handle it. I think I did a pretty OK job, though that descending day thing threw me for a loop. I thought this issue was going to be told in reverse chronological order, but nope, it seems to be proceeding normally. The meat of the story was really good. We’ve got Hal in this new compromising position, with a team of ass-kickers. I’ve always liked Belzebeth in this series, and she really gets to shine as the team easily defeats Mongul and lives like a war cult worshipping Controller Mu. This is definitely a crazy, evil new status quo for Hal Jordan to get through in Morrison’s ongoing saga, and this issue does an OK job setting it all up — you’ve just got to get past Morrison’s usual obtuseness to try and understand what’s going on. And that doesn’t even include what’s really going on.

TL;DR: Grant Morrison’s Green Lantern saga continues with a gnarly, badass and pretty jumbled new mini-series.


LegionSH1

Legion of Super-Heroes #1

Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Ryan Sook
Inkers: Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

I’ve never been any sort of fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but I like Brian Michael Bendis, I like Ryan Sook and I love the overall brightness and colorfulness of this reboot. So let’s give it a shot!

I haven’t read any of the comics leading up to this debut issue, so I might be a little behind. But then I think #1 issues should stand on their own.

Ultra Boy takes on a gang of criminals who are trying to steal an old artifact on Planet Gotham. He’s soon joined by Karate Kid, Wildfire and Starboy. (I’m not quite sure if Ultra Boy is a member of the Legion yet or not.) They succeed in obtaining the artifact, which is revealed to be Aquaman’s trident.

Superboy is welcomed into the Legion of Super-Heroes at their big, city-wide Legion HQ. They’ve got an orientation presentation for him, but Superboy keeps getting distracted by what he sees in the future. For example, he quickly learns that the planet Earth suffered catastrophic damage at some point and is now held together…I think by machines? Earth is in rough shape, basically, but someone already went back in time to try and save it, and this rough shape version is what they managed to save. Then Ultra Boy and the others show up with the trident, which Superboy confirms is legit, since he knows Aquaman. Then the gang of criminals follow them through the teleporter.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

First of all, I love the look of the new Legion of Super-Heroes. Ryan Sook is a great artist and his redesigns of all these classic Legionnaires are amazing! They are a definite draw, especially with Jordie Bellaire’s colors. The characters pop off the page! Even Superboy!

Second of all, this book desperately needs a Who’s Who back-up feature giving us a couple character bios at the end of each issue. These characters look so great and have so much history. If you’re going to just throw them all at us in giant crowd shots, please do something to help us separate them. Half the fun of a Legion comic is all the characters, right? I tried Googling for some kind of roster but came up pretty empty. I suppose we’ll learn more about them going forward, but that feels like it’ll take forever!

Legion Team Shot 01

Just like with Dawn of X, none of my favorite characters of the team are involved so far

Beyond the disappointment of mostly just seeing group shots of the Legion, this was a fun issue, but one that was light on content. We get a couple different info-dumps as the Legion explains some particulars about the future to Superboy, with few of the characters in those group shots really standing out. Ultra Boy’s adventure is a little more interesting and easier to follow, and Karate Kid and Wildfire actually get to show off a little personality, so that was fun. The overall caper doesn’t seem that interesting. Using Aquaman’s trident is fun, but protecting it against a band of random, vaguely defined alien criminals? Meh.

Maybe a lot more was covered in the various tie-in comics leading up to this debut, but I don’t have an easily accessible list of what those comics were. As a first issue, this one promises a lot of fun but falls just short of delivering.

TL;DR: This looks to be a bright and fun relaunch of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but this first issue is just a tad lacking in really meaningful content.


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Lois Lane #5

Lois Lane #5
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Mike Perkins
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Simon Bowland

Sorry Amazing Mary Jane, but Lois Lane is the definitive superhero spouse comic right now.

Lois gives a crash course in journalism to both an airplane passenger and a secret source she meets in DC, who has a memo about the illegal stuff the White House is up to. Lois pursues that story. The Question, meanwhile, follows the money from that murder Lois witnessed a couple issues ago. She finds a guy with a sack load of money, fights through some toughs and then strings the guy up to ask him who he’s hiring a hitman to kill.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This issue was a bit light on content, but still good overall. This issue is split between an awesome fight scene for the Question against mostly nameless henchmen and a couple of Lois Lane conversations where she explains journalism to sources/the reader. First, there’s a random passenger on the plane, to whom Lois explains the concept how journalists don’t just make stuff up like all those “fake news” claims from Trump. And then with her new source in DC, she explains the various layers of “off the record” or “on background”. Considering I’m an actual newspaper reporter in my day job, I’m thrilled to see Lois be such a bastion for journalism, but it makes for a light issue. I think Rucka just wanted to give readers a primer on important concepts. We also got a fun little scene with Lois calling in to Perry White’s office, with Clark also in the room. That was some really fun character stuff.

Clark and Perry 01

One big, happy family

The Question fight was awesome. I think this was my favorite issue so far for Mike Perkins’ art. I love the modern, hipper look that Rucka and his art teams have always given Renee Montoya’s Question. She kicks butt and works wonders as an interrogator. I’m a little lost in the weeds on the overall story/mystery that Lois and Renee are tracking down, but I can follow the gist. And Perkins does a great job with the art and the personality in Renee’s fighting and interrogation styles.

TL;DR: Two divergent stories are a little light on story content, but they still make for a good comic.


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New Mutants #1

New Mutants #1
Writers: Ed Brisson and Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Rod Reis
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

This might be a Dawn of X series that I don’t read based purely on the cast. I’ve just never cared about the New Mutants team. Wolfsbane works better on X-Factor.

Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Cypher, Chamber, Mondo, Magik, Karma and Dani Moonstar live together on Krakoa. After a couple of pages of feeling them out, including Cypher using Mondo to try and run some tests with Krakoa, the gang decides to hitch a ride with the departing Starjammers to collect Cannonball and his family up in Shi’ar space. The space pirates stop for a heist at a facility on the edge of the galaxy and the New Mutants decide to go exploring because they’ve been cooped up in a spaceship for several days. It all ends with the New Mutants taken into custody by Shi’ar forces and the Starjammers abandoning them.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This is a fun, enjoyable issue that takes its characters and puts them in some wacky situations. That makes for a good comic to me. I think the size of the cast might be a little unwieldy. The classic New Mutants team is already big enough, but then the issue adds Chamber and Mondo. Both characters are put to good use, but they don’t add anything to the overall dynamic. The issue also doesn’t get much of a chance to bask in that dynamic in this issue. There’s too much plot to get to, plus they have to share page time with the Starjammers, who, honestly, get more of a chance to show off their personalities. I really like the Starjammers in this issue. They get saddled with these young heroes and deal with them appropriately. I especially liked how they just abandoned the team when they got in the Starjammers’ way.

Starjammers Booted 01

Space pirates don’t play

This is probably the sort of comic that’s going to matter more to actual fans of the characters. I’ve just never been into these characters, with the exception of Wolfsbane, but only when she’s teamed with Multiple Man and Strong Guy. So I wasn’t personally invested in their team adventure. It’s a good plot that, despite leaving Krakoa, is still somewhat connected. The crew wants to head out and grab Cannonball so that he can come see this new world. It’s a fine start to a story that sees this crew lost and in trouble in space. Now that the plot has been kicked off, hopefully future issues will find the time to explore and show off the characters and their connections.

Also, I liked the art. It’s not the usual strong lines and firm detail I like from superhero comics, but the softer touch works for this comic.

TL;DR: The plot and guest stars steal the spotlight from the main character, but it’s an overall fun start to the comic.


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Undiscovered Country #1

Undiscovered Country #1
Writers: Scott Snyder and Charles Soule
Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini
Colorist: Matt Wilson
Letterer: Crank!

As if I didn’t review enough comics already this week, I’ve decided to try out Scott Snyder and Charles Soule’s new Image comic for kicks and giggles.

It has been 30 years since the United States of America closed all of their borders with giant walls and sealed themselves off from the rest of the world. In these past three decades, the rest of the world has gone to hell, largely due to something like the Sky Virus that’s killing everybody. The various nations of the world have banded together into two empires. Then one day, they get a message from a Dr. Samuel Elgin from inside the United States. He’s a scientist who offers the rest of the world a cure for the Sky Virus and a chance for America to become a part of the world again. So the two empires set aside their differences and gather a team to fly to the U.S. and take Dr. Elgin up on his offer. Among the members of the team are Dr. Charlotte Graves, who helps the sick and the dying, and her brother, Major Daniel Graves. They have some connection in their past to Project Aurora in Colorado, which was one of the lead-ups to the Sealing.

The team follows Elgin’s flight plan and fly into the West Coast of America…only to immediately get shot down. They crash in the desert and start walking. The pilot stays behind to fix the chopper, and the others watch as a gang of crazy, Mad Max lunatics descend upon him and eat his legs. They’re like Mad Max, but instead of just cars, they also have giant, colorful, mutated animals that they ride upon. And they wrap themselves in sliver insulation and call the pilot an invader. And they’ve got a giant mechanical city. Real crazy bonkers.

While the team is running through the hills, a masked man finds them and leads them down into a secret town in the mountains. He takes the Graves siblings to a secret room where he unveils a map of the United States and a path to the “Heartland”. He says there’s a prophecy about the Graves siblings coming to help him, but he hasn’t heard of any message being sent. The masked man then reveals himself to be a scruffier Sam Elgin.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This is a good, solid start to what could be an exciting series. There are parts I like and parts I don’t like. If you’ve got an open mind and want to try it, I could easily recommend it. But nothing in this first issue screams to me to scream at you to go buy it immediately. I like the premise. I like the idea that 30 years have passed since the U.S. cut itself off from the rest of the world and now this crazy crew is going to explore. I don’t like the idea that the U.S. seems to be some kind of Mad Max wasteland. The visual of the crazy desert people is indeed weird, but not so weird that we’ve never see anything like it before. It feels weird for weird’s sake. Then the underground people again feel like we’ve seen it before. But the surprise twist of the two Sam Elgins is fun. It’s not such a huge hook as to sell the comic on its own, but it’s a solid enough twist to make me curious enough to keep reading.

Cool Umbrella 01

I don’t want to spoil the weird-looking crazies

The main cast of characters is fine. Dr. Graves is a little on the nose in terms of protagonist. She’s the sort of woman whose badass, dedicated, and yet cool enough to have a streak of blue hair in a world where there’s something called a Sky Virus that’s going to wipe out the human race in a couple of months. Everybody gets a couple of panels to flesh out their character, but none of them stand out as particularly engaging yet. The pilot was really cool when he recruited Charlotte…but then he got half-eaten by the desert wasteoids, so perhaps he won’t get to be a main character. Everyone else is generally fine and I hope time is taken to flesh them out going forward.

Also, and this is just me personally, I’m just not a fan of the ‘chosen one’ narrative. So the idea that Charlotte and her brother have some sort of prophecy about them just isn’t my cup of tea. Why do we need to add some kind of prophecy and some kind of secret connection for the two of them to this whole mess? Why not just put some characters with no secret connection into this mess and follow them? I guess a story like this needs surprises and secrets to reveal down the line.

The art is really good, at least. And the story flows very well. And it’s all generally well-written, like I said. As an overall package, it’s a quality first issue. I’ve just got some personal hang-ups that stick in my craw.

TL;DR: Solid, enjoyable and very imaginative first issue that has a couple personal hang-ups that I felt like nitpicking about.


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Wonder Twins #9

Wonder Twins #9
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

We’re back to this comic being amazing again! Russell is writing some great break room chats between Superman and Jayna of the Wonder Twins.

The Wonder Twins help Batman and Superman rescue some refugees from some soldiers in the country of Zagronia. Then back at their apartment, the Twins meet with their guest, Polly, to let her know their plan for saving her father. Jayna recognized the device used to transport him to the Phantom Zone and she reveals their dark secret: they are the grandchildren of Raylon the Judge, a xenophobic former leader of their home planet who personally exiled more than 5,000 Exxorians to the Phantom Zone with a similar device. That’s why Jayna thinks they can still save Polly’s dad. She has her grandfather’s notes on how to reverse the transportation. Also, they left Exxor because of that legacy.

Superman later finds Jayna in the break room contemplating if life is just one long attempt to run from the horrors of the past, especially if you have benefited from those horrors. But Superman explains how life is all about fixing the past and making the world better.

Meanwhile, some dudes bought some of Filo Math’s older computer equipment at his estate sale, and they accidentally revive Filo’s genocidal 1988 computer program, Colonel 88. Polly has some updated software that should fix him. Double meanwhile, the Scrambler tries to do his Grand Scramble plan from prison, but it doesn’t work because Polly’s computer server is offline. Triple meanwhile, the flag of Zagronia looks suspiciously similar to the flag of Exxor from Raylon’s time.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

While there weren’t as many standout bits of humor or story points as previous issues, this was still a great overall issue. It was wonderful seeing the Wonder Twins actually join in on a Justice League mission, using their powers to help and be helpful and useful. It would be too easy to treat them like jokes, but thankfully that has never been Russell’s style. He also writes a great Batman/Superman combo. So great opening scene.

Wonder Twins Friends 01

Nice Batgirl PJs

When we get into the meat the issue, it’s still good. That is some great backstory for the Wonder Twins, giving us a new perspective on them and especially Jayna’s various existential crisis. She’s been living with this dark family secret this whole time, and it helps to flesh out her overall storyline really well. And those sit downs with Superman are a real treat. It’s so wonderful when Russell treats these potentially joke characters or scenes as earnest. They really lift and enhance the comic, making it a real standout in today’s market — but then that has always been his M.O. Have you read Russell’s Flintstones comics? They’re marvelous!

And I’m glad to have Byrne back on art! Don’t go away again! There’s only three issues left!

TL;DR: Few comics are as meaningful, as insightful, as colorful and as much fun as Wonder Twins!


XForce1

X-Force #1

X-Force #1
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

And so we’ve arrived at an issue of Dawn of X I have found actively off-putting.

We open with a secret society of masked mutant haters hold a secret meeting, wherein they test everybody for the mutant gene beforehand. This outs Domino as one of the attendees and she gets captured. We then cut to the jungles of Krakoa, where Beast is attacked by some wild predator. Wolverine scares it off and the two of them have a brief discussion about native Krakoan wildlife and where that thing came from. Wolverine says Krakoa makes people soft.

After an infographic filling us in on Krakoa’s biological defenses, we see Black Tom Cassidy as ward of the island and its defenses. He greets Kate Pryde’s latest arrival, with refugees from Russia. Colossus, who was boots on the ground in Russia, was badly hurt in the rescue efforts. Professor X attends a press conference in Sokovia as they sign a treaty, and perhaps they put some kind of tracking device in his drink? The art isn’t clear.

Then four armed soldiers hijack a passenger plane, fly it over Krakoa and dive down onto the island. They trick the natural defenses into believing them to be the returning Domino and they parachute down and start opening fire on everybody. The various members of X-Force respond and take out some of them, but not before one of them tracks down Xavier and shoots him in the head, destroying his big Cerebro helmet.

Comic Rating: 4/10 – Pretty Bad.

I just did not like this issue. It rubbed me in all of the wrong ways, both artistically and storywise. It took me several reads to fully understand what was happening and put the pieces together because the art was really muddy and did not convey key parts of the story very well, like the Sokovian government putting something in Xavier’s champagne, or the skydiving soldiers somehow posing as Domino. It didn’t help that the comic kept cutting to different brief interludes constantly. It also didn’t help that one of the soldiers looks identical to human Colossus, so I was confused as to who I was seeing at any given time. Did we really need several interludes about how the soldiers hijacked a passenger plane? Why does it matter how these anonymous soldiers got onto the plane they chose? And everything with Black Tom Cassidy and his trees was just ugly and weird and wasn’t easy to follow.

Black Tom Weirdness 01

Nobody cares about Black Tom Cassidy

Beyond nitpicks like that, I did not like the overall impact of this story on the larger Krakoa storyline. This sort of attack is happening way, way too soon and it’s muddying the overall mystique of the storyline. We’ve spent all of these issues building up that this island is a mutant paradise, but in the very first issue of one of the random ancillary titles, armed soldiers are able to simply land on the island and start murdering people indiscriminately. I’m all for Krakoa getting attacked in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like this is much too soon, and X-Force doesn’t feel like the proper book to do it in. This is huge. This comic specifically shows a happy, innocent, unknown mutant mother getting murdered in front of her child. This is insanely serious stuff that shatters the perception we’ve been given of Krakoa and it’s much too soon to do that. We’re still in the honeymoon phase of Dawn of X. Heck, we’ve barely started that phase. They should have saved this plot point for later.

X Mom Dead 01

Poor Blue Gills Lady

Beyond that complaint, the whole idea of it bugs me. We’re given one of those fancy infographics letting us know about Krakoa’s biological defenses and yet these random soldiers can overcome them? How did they even know how to mimic Domino’s DNA in order to bypass a biological security system? How did they know they needed to mimic a mutant’s DNA? Perhaps that’s a plot point. But how is such a system so easily fooled so quickly? And it can’t register that there are four people dropping down instead of just one? For that matter, this is an island teeming with every X-Man and X-Villain who has ever lived, and four soldiers can just skydive into the middle of a party? You’re telling me there aren’t dozens of different mutants who could detect them? Let alone stop them once they landed? Why did it have to be the specific members on the cover of the issue who rushed to the scene to stop them? We saw Boom Boom in one of the panels reacting to the soldiers. She couldn’t handle even one of them?  Beast and Wolverine had to rush in from the jungle to finally just physically stop the soldiers? These comics can’t misuse their giant island full of every mutant ever like that.

This is a new status quo. There are new rules and a new scope. All I ask is that creative teams take full advantage of that and tell new, bigger, bolder stories.

This issue also does a terrible job of actually setting up the X-Force team/concept.

TL;DR: The story flies in the face of the new status quo, doesn’t set up the actual series and is too distracted by itself.


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 November 9, 2019, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “I just find it funny that such really minor continuity snafus can happen.”

    I know I’m in the minority on this, but it bugs me to all hell. I don’t consider it a minor snafu. They just don’t care, and it really bothers me. If a new comics universe ever came along again that actually cares about that stuff, like Wildstorm did, and like Marvel once did, I might drop Marvel altogether and just read that. I’ve had it with that stuff.

    “I’ve just never been into these characters, with the exception of Wolfsbane, but only when she’s teamed with Multiple Man and Strong Guy.”

    Same here! As far as I’m concerned, she’s the main character.

    “This is a new status quo. There are new rules and a new scope. All I ask is that creative teams take full advantage of that and tell new, bigger, bolder stories.”

    Yeah, preach it! We saw this so many times, even just since the X-Men moved to Central Park! Things should be very different now.

    Great post.

    • Thanks for the feedback! I’m so worried that all of these Dawn of X comics are just going to be business as usual for the X-Men and that few of them will actually explore this new status quo and come up with new and original stories.

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