Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/13/20

Holy cow! The time has come! For the first time in months, since the start of the pandemic lockdown, I finally have enough comics released to do a proper bunch of reviews! Not just one review. Not just two reviews. But five full comic book reviews this week! Huzzah!

Comic Book of the Week goes to an exciting issue of Legion of Super-Heroes, which brought a lot of action and a really fun ending. Also, Gold Lantern!

Why didn’t Geoff Johns think of this?!

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing a lot of tpb reading recently. I read through almost all of the remaining Atomic Robo books. They were good, but not as great as Robo back at the beginning. I recently ordered the Ultimate Adventures tpb for cheap on Amazon. Remember that bit of weirdness? The Ultimate Batman and Robin from Marvel? It was still fun! Next I’m going to try Money Shot by Tim Seeley. I will always have a soft spot for Seeley because he was a backer of my first Gamer Girl & Vixen Kickstarter!

Comic Reviews: Batman #92, Go Go Power Rangers #32, Legion of Super-Heroes #6, Lois Lane #11 and New Mutants #10.


Batman #92

Batman #92
Writer: James Tyion IV
Artist: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Batman’s back, baby! Not even a global pandemic can keep a good Batman down! Granted, there have been a million or so Batman comics released since the shutdown…but this is the actual Batman series, so that counts for something.

The Riddler reveals himself on big screens all across Gotham City. He’s shut down the city and turned the streets into a big crossword puzzle, which Batman will have to solve if he wants to save its citizens. Batman takes his prisoner, Deathstroke, and gets on the Bat-train under the city, all while easily solving Riddler’s various crossword Riddlers. In fact, Batman solves them so easily that it’s really pissing the Riddler off. But Batman knew where to find Riddler the moment he appeared on screen, because Batman can easily recognize Bruce Wayne’s office. Batman arrives and knocks out both the Riddler and Deathstroke, then the Designer reveals himself and also reveals that he knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne.

Meanwhile, Catwoman and Harley Quinn visit the Underbroker to withdraw some money, but Punchline and her clown goons are already there. Introductions are made and, while Harley fights Punchline, Catwoman convinces the Underbroker to cooperate.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This issue felt good. This issue felt classic. Just a lot of long stretches where the Riddler tries to stump Batman with a big Riddler game, and Batman breezes his way through the mind games. And I loved the reveal that Batman figured out Riddler’s location because he recognized the office space on the video screens. That’s fun! All Batman stories these days need big hooks, and this story is no different, but the minor story this issue of Batman in a battle of riddles with the Riddler was a hoot! So I had a blast. Comics can still be fun, even when they’re in the middle of some big Batman epic that threatens to change everything forever. Like, it would have more impact that the Designer knows Bruce Wayne is Batman if continuity mattered anymore. Is there anybody who doesn’t know that fact at this point? I’m pretty sure the upcoming Joker War storyline is all about Joker knowing.

He just fires them off like they’re nothing!

The art was oddly intense this issue, even for March. It was OK, but everybody was too musclebound and too posed to be really effective. But it worked. Punchline as a character remains a punchline of a character to me. Bleeding Cool kept tracking the eBay sales of any comic that had her in it back when she was first hinted and it boggled my mind how ridiculous that can be. She’s nothing. She’s never going to amount to anything. How bad of a gimmick character can you get than Harley Quinn 2.0? So her arrival here, and her first meeting with Harley, felt sad. I totally shared Harley’s thoughts on feeling sorry for the poor woman.

TL;DR: The big picture story lost some steam because of the shutdown, but this individual issue is a lot of classic fun with Batman versus the Riddler!


Go Go Power Rangers #32

Go Go Power Rangers #32
Writers: Ryan Parrott and Sina Grace
Artist: Francesco Mortarino, with ink assist from Simona Di Gianfelice
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

I will never forgive Ryan Parrott for not giving us a Pink Omega Ranger. I hope he can live with that.

So anyway, this is the final issue of Go Go Power Rangers! Sad to see it go, but it was time.

The time has come for Jason, Trini and Zack to leave Earth, while keeping the whole thing a secret from their friends. We see the Rangers grab the Sword of Light, like in the TV show. We see Rocky, Adam and Aiesha getting excited at the prospect of being Rangers. We see Tommy lay into Jason for leaving. We see Zedd react to the idea of new Rangers. And we see the Emissary give the Omega Ranger powers to our heroes, including Kiya. Rather than tell a new story, this final issue just completes the steps we knew were coming, fleshing in a bit more character development in the margins.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

So nothing came of my big Serpentera realization two weeks ago, which is fine. I didn’t necessarily expect anything to come of it. This issue was fine. As I’ve been saying for a while now with Go Go Power Rangers, this series has really just become a chance to fill in some blanks and bridge some gaps, with nothing really epic or momentous to write about. We get some more background on Jason, Trini and Zack leaving. We see them get their Omega Ranger powers in a pretty lackluster ceremony. The Emissary just hands them over without any discussion. I don’t think we ever got a scene where he explained that he had some Ranger powers in his back pocket that he could give them when they dropped their Power Ranger identities. And we never saw a scene of the Rangers asking Kiya to join them. I think. Maybe I’m forgetting earlier scenes from before the shutdown. Jason and Tommy have an intense conversation but it can’t go anywhere because that relationship is part of the other comic. We get a taste of Rocky, Aiesha and Adam shortly after learning they will become Power Rangers, a scene that makes me wish we saw more of their first days.

In the end, this issue just bridges whatever gaps remained and ties off the comic with nothing particularly new or exciting. Still a fine comic, at least.

TL;DR: Go Go Power Rangers sticks the landing just fine with an issue that’s mostly about filling in some blanks and tying things off with a bow.


Legion of Super-Heroes #6

Legion of Super-Heroes #6
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Ryan Sook
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

I’ve still got a bit of a shine towards this Legion reboot. It’s fun, and this issue is a solid example of how and why it’s fun.

The Horraz Pirates that stole Aquaman’s trident have returned in a giant spaceship above New Earth, intent on using the weapon to destroy the planet. Brainiac 5 orders an immediate evacuation of the planet, and half the Legion gets to work helping with that, while the other half launches a direct attack on the pirates. The likes of Superboy, Gold Lantern, Dawnstar, Ultra Boy and others get to shine as the pirates use the trident to throw entire oceans worth of water at them, then Mon-El rushes in to take the bad guys down once and for all. The Legion yell at him to stop, but Mon-El grabs the trident…and suddenly an entire planet’s worth of oceans erupts out of it!

Later, Crav – The General Nah visits with the President to register his disgust with how he was treated by the Legion. She tells him to calm down and get over it, because what the Legion did this day will cement them as heroes throughout the galaxy. She shows footage of what happened after Mon-El grabbed the trident: the Legion worked had and fast to take that entire planet’s worth of oceans and seed the water back into New Earth. They took that catastrophe and gave the dead Earth her oceans back!

The general is still annoyed. He resigns from the United Planets and promises war.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

Honestly, my enjoyment of this issue all comes down to be a tightly paced, very exciting action issue. The Legion leap into a variety of action and it’s all really well done. We’ve got Legionnaires on the ground helping with the evacuation. We’ve got Legionnaires rushing to take on the pirates, both smaller heroes and some of the bigger guns. The issue moves quickly, the art is amazing, and every character just has a nice touch of charm to them. Bendis is a pro, and even characters who only get a couple of lines of dialogue get to shine when they speak. So it’s an exciting action piece. Then Bendis delivers a nice one-two punch of an ending. First he has Mon-El grab the trident and he makes it seem like it’s a colossal mistake — but then he twists it to reveal a positive ending on a global scale! That was a cool ending! The Legion doesn’t just save the day, they alter the face of the very planet in a really cool way! I really liked that twist.

Check out all this action!

The cover is all about celebrating Bendis’ new original Legionnaires, but they don’t actually do much in the issue. Monster Boy gets a quick little scene that mostly explains a bit of his powers. The new Dr. Fate barely appears as a background character. Gold Lantern gets a chance to really shine, but only a chance. It passes quickly. He seems cool. Hopefully we learn more about him as the series goes on. But as a big showcase of the new characters, as the cover implies, this issue does not deliver.

TL;DR: This is a really fun and exciting issue of Legion as everybody jumps into action and a lot of everybodies get a chance to shine in that action.


Lois Lane #11

Lois Lane #11
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Mike Perkins
Colorist: Andy Troy
Letterer: Simon Bowland

Man, this series really went off the rails. It isn’t making for bad comics, just a complete 180 from what I thought we were getting with this grounded Lois Lane comic…

The Kiss of Death has accidentally shot the Question during the transference spell, and she’s perfectly fine with that — but begins to question herself when a dying Renee starts spouting Religion of Crime dogma. In the other location, Lois realizes that Renee has been shot and quickly sends her a text to put on her mask. Renee does, and the Kiss instantly recognizes her, with flashes of memory to some sort of romance together. Kiss immediately regrets what she’s done and she and Jessica save Renee, with the Kiss somehow transferring her anti-life essence into Renee as renewed life essence.

Everybody regroups and Kiss of Death is revealed to be Elicia Sanchez, a minor character from all the way back in Greg Rucka’s Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood mini-series from 2008, which I read and remember! She was a nun of the Religion of Crime who had a passionate fling with Renee, and now they have reconnected. Lois reveals that she…knew? Again, it’s hard to understand and has to do with the splintering of realities that was brought up last issue. Lois had some suspicions about the Kiss of Death and how the Religion of Crime is a bigger thing in other realities. Lois says it is not coincidence that she gathered these specific women together (including Jessica Midnight and the nun) and together they have some stories to tell!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

So, fun trivia: I totally remember Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood, and I remember Elicia — you know, vaguely. It was in the aftermath of 52 and I was big into Renee Montoya as the question, so of course I grabbed every issue of this Question mini-series. And there was an issue dedicated to lust, where Renee got to dive into full LGBTQ+ representation and have a hot fling with a hot bad guy for an issue. It was fun! So nifty that Rucka is bringing that character back more than a decade later for this little bit of story. Also trivia: Elicia is named after a stand-up comedian who asked Rucka to turn her into a comic book character who got to hook up with Renee Montoya. Double nifty!

Oh Renee, you flirt!

As for the issue itself, it’s losing me with all of this splintered reality stuff. Was this always part of the comic? I seem to recall this series kicking off with Lois exposing government immigration lies, and having cool, casual chats with her husband, and speaking truth to power. Now everything hinges on weird alternate reality people having weird alternate reality memories? It doesn’t work for me. It’s fine. I love the idea of Rucka taking a one-off character he wrote years ago and bringing them back in a big way as part of Renee Montoya’s journey. That’s fun. He’s just really losing me that everything in this comic hinges on whatever weird, bigger picture, alternate reality mumbo jumbo DC is cooking up elsewhere.

TL;DR: The bigger picture that this comic has stumbled into clashes with the small picture character stuff that actually makes this comic worth reading.


New Mutants #10

New Mutants #10
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Flaviano
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

The return of Dawn of X continues with little fanfare.

A teenage mutant in Carnelia has developed a mutant power that creates a giant globe of nightmares, and he’s captured most of the New Mutants. Karma and Boom Boom are soon joined by Cypher, Wolfsbane, Mondo and Wildside, who will use his hallucination-inducing powers to fix the teen’s nightmare (and it’s fun to see the team discussing the new Krakoa of teaming up with former enemies). A squad gets into Armor’s shell and goes into the nightmare globe, but the girl spots them when Wildside tries to do his thing. The nightmares cut the tether line and break through Armor’s shell, so the squad might be lost to the nightmares.

Meanwhile, back on Krakoa, Magik checks in with Glob to learn that there’s a website out there that reveals the home addresses of mutants. Said website is also pushing the Carnelian government’s idea that the mutants staged this problem after Carnelia declined to cooperate with Krakoa.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

It’s all fine. The New Mutants are out in the world trying to get a handle on a crazy new mutant with a crazy new power. There’s a touch of political intrigue thrown in. And some subplots are brewing. But this issue doesn’t feel like anything particularly special. Definitely not a story that needed to be shutdown for two months in the middle. The plethora of New Mutants do their things and a crisis gets solved bit-by-bit. Flaviano does a great job with the nightmare globe. And I really, really like the idea of the New Mutants looking over Krakoa and finding the one mutant with the one specific power that can help and bringing them along. I’d love to see more of that in Dawn of X. Wildside and his arrogance and overall jerkliness are a nice addition to the issue and he keeps the team lineup from being overly bland.

TL;DR: A guest character makes an otherwise hum-drum issue actually interesting.

——————————

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 13, 2020, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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