Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/6/20

Welcome back to another week of quarantine comics! New issues are trickling out here and there, and big changes are coming to everything. DC has cut ties with Diamond! What does that mean? I don’t know, I’m not a business guy. All I know is I enjoyed the comics I read this week.

I got two of my favorite comics: Force Works 2020 and Far Sector! I think Force Works is my favorite thing Matthew Rosenberg has written, and it was my favorite of the two this week.

Will we ever get that Falcon and Winter Soldier TV show?

Meanwhile, life goes on and the world continues to fall apart. I had a bit of a fever scare earlier this week after a doctor’s appointment, but I pulled through without any sickness. I’ve started playing Star Wars: Battlefront 2 because it was free on Playstation, and I just finished the third season of Killing Eve. Both are pretty good.

And, obviously, #BlackLivesMatter.

Comic Reviews: Far Sector #6 and Force Works 2020 #3.

Far Sector #6

Far Sector #6
Writer: N.K. Jemisin
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Lettering: Deron Bennett

Glad to see Far Sector continuing! The industry shutdown was in danger of doing great harm to this book in particular. Hopefully it doesn’t lose its footing.

Green Lantern Jo Mullein is still struggling with everything that’s happened, and then she’s visited in the evening by Councilor Marth come a’courtin’. She’s still mad at him for ordering the officers to fire on the protesters, and he’s come to apologize and explain what it’s like to have one’s emotions shut off. And how he’s much better, and really himself, in situations like this where he’s taking the drug to feel emotions again. He also reveals that he has decided to resign from the Council because of his actions. It’s the right thing to do. He’s truly sorry for his mistake. And she doesn’t have to be alone in her emotions anymore…so they totally kiss and have sex that night.

The next morning, after his drugs wear off and he leaves, Jo gets a call from Councilor Averrup, who has found evidence about the murder. He requests her help in one of the industrial platforms and Jo flies out, with her cyber-receptionist tagging along in her headspace. Jo tracks the guy to a factory, where she’s attacked by a bunch of mechs that used to belong to the Cloud Kratocracy, the alien rulers from long ago. Jo discovers people trapped inside forced to pilot them, including Averrup. And she’s so pissed, she’s ready to really cut loose with the ring for a mech vs. mech battle!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Was Councilor Marth always supposed to be a romantic interest? I know it was there from the beginning, but he always came off to me as trying way too hard and being way too creepy. I’m hoping this is one of those mid-story romances that only happened because Jo was in a bad place and this isn’t the start of the intended romantic arc of the series. But that’s just me. Maybe everybody else really likes Marth and are titillated that Jo is finally making that connection.

Not me

My feelings on Marth aside, their encounter was really well-written and makes perfect sense. Jemisin is really building up the idea that Jo feels more and more alone on this alien planet, and the importance of this emotion storyline. I feel like Marth is taking advantage of that, but perhaps he’s also lonely and these two souls have found each other. It works as character development and it works for this comic. We’re halfway through and Jo is in a bad place. That’s solid storytelling. And the ending is where the action picks back up, so that’s fun too. I look forward to Jo going all out next issue.

Meanwhile, the art was really great this issue. It feels and looks softer than previous issues, I think. I didn’t go back and check. But I feel like Campbell really embraced the romantic part of his talent this issue. The art definitely worked.

TL;DR: I might not personally enjoy some of the story choices this issue, but I can see why they happened and all of it is done well. This is a good issue for the midway point of this series.

Force Works #3

Force Works 2020 #3
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Juanan Ramirez
Colorists: Federico Blee and Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

I want Matthew Rosenberg writing a U.S. Agent comic immediately. If this was his audition, considering it a dazzling success, as far as I’m concerned!

Not that a U.S. Agent comic would sell in this market…

Force Works teams up with M.O.D.O.K. to fight Ultimo, but he tricks them into damaging the giant robot so that he can swoop in and take control of it — creating ULTIM.O.D.O.K. Our heroes retreat and come up with a plan: Quake takes the War Machine armor to distract the robot while Mockingbird, Rhodey and U.S. Agent hack into the Deathlok control network. Rhodey hooks himself up to the command circuit so that he can use the Deathloks to swarm ULTIM.O.D.O.K. and sink him into a lava crevice that Quake creates.

At their debriefing the next day, Maria Hill dresses down the team for their failure, including not getting the files she requested on the Deathloks. U.S. Agent reveals that he secretly downloaded the files to a thumb drive behind the others’ backs, making Quake and Rhodey disgusted with him. But Mockingbird susses out that Agent has handed Hill a blank thumb drive, which should delay her enough so that the clean up teams on the island finish their jobs and leave no evidence behind.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

This mini-series was some really great character work, and that will always be tops for me when enjoying a comic book. The mission itself is nicely insane, combining a bunch of classic Marvel threats into a big adventure. But the way Rosenberg really dug into his characters made this whole thing into a gem. He takes a random assortment of superheroes, figures out who they are, then butts their heads against one another for the greater good. That is what truly elevates a story into something special, at least for me. I had a blast with U.S. Agent this series and, again, want to see more of Rosenberg’s take on the character. He’s the asshole company man with the secret heart of gold! Love it!

Both characters have live action roles in the MCU!

This is exactly the sort of good work one likes to see in a Big Event tie-in. Force works 2020 didn’t need to exist. It’s barely connected to the larger Iron Man 2020 storyline. But a good creative team, a good talent or writing strong characters, and a fun selection of characters really make it something special. Not all superheroes need to be mega-altruistic, liberal do-gooders. Some superheroes can be line-toeing, order-following, redneck-ish jerks who can still get the job done like the best of them. And yeah, that’s me praising U.S. Agent again.

TL;DR: Outstanding character writing elevated what could have been a bog-standard tie-in comic into something truly enjoyable to read.


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 June 6, 2020, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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