Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 10/24/20

It’s one of those weeks folks, where everything seems to be going wrong. Life stinks and there’s no cure. Ugh. But at least I read some quality comics, like Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Woman and yet a couple more X of Swords comics.

Comic Book of the Week goes to the final issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for an exciting introduction to the new Green Ranger…even if they’re going to keep his identity a secret for now.

He has arrived!

Meanwhile, I just finished up the final season of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts last night and it was fun. Quality show overall. Not too heavy, mostly funny and an all around good time. I highly recommend Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts on Netflix.

Comic Reviews: Batman #101, Iron Man #2, Juggernaut #2, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #55, Spider-Woman #5, Excalibur #13 and X-Men #13.


Batman #101

Batman #101
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

I’m pretty excited about the upcoming Batman stories. And they begin here! Sort of!

In the wake of Joker War, Batman is going to need to change. Bruce Wayne is under a lot of suspicion, so he and Lucius Fox think it would be a bad idea to just give the Wayne fortune back to Bruce. Lucius will keep the money and continue funding Batman, but he’ll need to be leaner and more grounded. No more high tech satellites or a new Batmobile every week. Bruce will take a back seat on Wayne Enterprises stuff and will move into a brownstone in the city, rather than live at Wayne Manor without Alfred. And Catwoman will give him a year so that they can both settle their business and then figure out how they can be together.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

This was a pretty simplistic issue. Honestly, I think it was just a chance to have Batman fight Grifter — but the fight was so inconsequential that I didn’t even mention it in my recap. Lucius hired Grifter as a bodyguard and he decided to fight Batman when Batman came to speak to Lucius. It wasn’t an interesting fight. The rest of the issue is then just an explanation for why Lucius is going to keep the money and how Batman is going to have to change going forward. So the issue isn’t about Batman changing, it’s an explanation for why and how it’s going to happen. There are book-end segments featuring Catwoman that aren’t very interesting, because it’s all about the two of them calling it quits for the time being. So even while Batman changes to one degree, he backsteps to another by putting the Catwoman relationship on the back burner. So yeah, this issue is all about calmly setting some pieces in place for what’s to come. Not much more else than that.

TL;DR: Small, straight forward issue that tells us about some of the upcoming changes to Batman rather than showing us those changes.


Iron Man #2

Iron Man #2
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Cafu
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Gonna keep Iron Man going for now. It’s solid character-based comics so far.

Iron Man finds himself in a wrestling match with Absorbing Man, set up by Arcade. The Vegas oddsmakers have Absorbing Man winning…so Tony figures out that Arcade is posing as the ref and he ends the fight. But Tony is bummed because everybody thought he’d lose; they were cheering for the bad guy to win. He does some meditation with Patsy Walker, but he can’t focus. He’s thinking too much. Then they get the alert that Cardiac has kidnapped a bunch of Stark medical scientists and they go fight him. He’s got them trapped in a giant metal sphere, which Tony penetrates by crashing arm first into the side. At the hospital (having broken his arm and a bunch of other bones), Patsy continues to try to pscyho-analyze him and his possible desire to die doing something heroic. Also while at the hospital, the Unicorn attempts to escape the secure ward after last issue’s beating.

Meanwhile, a year ago, some evil scientists created a new Korvac clone.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I am definitely enjoying the character work on Tony Stark. His head’s not in the game, he’s worried about past deeds and legacy, and he’s got Patsy Walker as a pseudo life coach/therapist at the moment. It works nicely for this comic, especially in giving it a character focus. I like comics that focus on the characters, simple as that, and Iron Man is doing a solid job. I also enjoyed the action in this issue, even if it’s a little silly. Cardiac built a giant Vibranium and Adamantium ball to imprison and slowly suffocate his victims? Seems…elaborate. But it leads to a cool moment where Iron Man charges the ball and slams his arm through it, destroying his arm and armor in the process. It’s a cool moment, especially visually. Cafu is doing a great job on art. This is definitely an enjoyable, slow burn (so far) take on Iron Man going through a bit of existential crisis — though he seems to do that a lot lately.

TL;DR: A strong character focus and some great artwork make for an enjoyable second issue of this new series.


Juggernaut #2

Juggernaut #2
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Ron Garney
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

I really enjoyed the first issue of this new Juggernaut comic and I liked the second one too! I like having small, enjoyable comics like this.

D-Cel has convinced the Juggernaut to capture the Hulk since a lot of people are upset over the damage the Hulk has caused, so the two tussle in North Carolina. With the help of D-Cel and some Damage Control containment equipment, they capture the Hulk and put him on display at the Town Hall in Marion, North Carolina. A bunch of people air their grievances against the Hulk until he decides he’s heard enough and breaks out. When he confirms this isn’t an actual plot against him and just a “bad episode of Dr. Phil”, Hulk points out that people have plenty of such grievances against Juggernaut as well. Cain Marko feels even worse. When he returns to Manhattan, he gets a summons to appear in court. He’s being sued for $25 million by a construction company.

Meanwhile, in flashback, Cain was hospitalized after escaping Limbo and Charles Xavier visited him to let him know he’s not welcome on Krakoa. Cain then tracked down some Cyttorak power in Budapest.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

The fight with the Hulk seems silly on the surface, but it is used well enough. I don’t even know how to approach everything going on with Immortal Hulk right now, and this issue barely scratches the surface, but thankfully not in an obtrusive way. Hulk’s dialogue is a little weird, as is his ability to contact someone on comms and teleport away, but those can both be ignored to focus on the Juggernaut story, and that’s good. I think Hulk was brought in just to give this issue a solid, second issue guest star. And it works. We see Juggernaut get into a big, mean fight, and Hulk helps point the finger at Juggernaut to increase his feelings of guilt.

No help with his feelings of indigestion

This series continues to be a nice, grounded look at the psyche of Cain Mario as he attempts to use his powers to make some kind of amends — only everything he does seems to keep backfiring. That’s a solid mini-series idea for the modern Juggernaut. I especially enjoyed the flashback scene where Charles Xavier visits him in the hospital (mental projection) and has to let him down rather harshly that Xavier isn’t there to invite him to Krakoa and the X-Men. It’s harsh, but it’s good character building stuff. Helps give this issue some weight. And D-Cel is fun, but little more than a narrator/sidekick at this point.

TL;DR: This new series delivers a strong second issue thanks to a great guest appearance by the Hulk. This comic is doing a fine job of turning the screws on its main character.


Power Rangers #55

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #55
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Moises Hidalgo
Colorist: Igor Monti, with assist from Sabrina Del Grosso
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

Here we go! Final issue of this series before the relaunch! Will we learn the identity of the new Green Ranger?!

Nope!

Anyway, so the battle is huge! The Power Rangers in their Zords are fighting the minions in their new Dark Ranger Power and their new Terrorzords — and the Rangers aren’t doing so hot! It’s as tough a fight as they’ve ever encountered, especially when the villains merge to form the Mega Terrorzord!

In desperation, Billy reaches out to Grace Sterling to ask that she activate the new Green Ranger! Grace agrees and goes to visit Drakkon, offering him a shot at redemption. Is he the new Green Ranger? They’re pretty coy about it. Because soon that new Green Ranger attacks Lord Zedd, who is overlooking the fight. The Green Ranger doesn’t say a word as he destroys the Green Power Crystal that Zedd has been using to power his Dark Rangers. The villains are defeated and forced to retreat and the Power Rangers never notice their new ally.

Later, we see Grace instructing the new Green Ranger that he works for her and that there are certain rules he’ll need to follow. He still doesn’t speak and the panel obscures his head.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

I should have known better than to expect the reveal this issue. I got my hopes up and they were dashed with so much teasing! But I can live with that because I’m going to buy both the new Power Rangers and Mighty Morphin comics. So we’ll see who this new Green Ranger is. I’m hoping it’s Matt and not Drakkon. I’m pretty sure you don’t make such obvious Drakkon moves in this issue and still keep the ID of the Green Ranger secret unless he’s not Drakkon. Simple as that.

Mega-Tigerzord FOMO

This issue was just plain great. We start with the Power Rangers engaged in one of their toughest fights ever, with villains that actually matter. I love how the Rangers actually talk and interact with the likes of Finster and Baboo. Makes for a better fight. Then we get some exciting stuff where Billy and Grace Sterling active their secret weapon, and then the Green Ranger shows up to kick butt and be awesome. Considering how much I love the Green Ranger, I couldn’t be happier — unless, of course, they do reveal that he’s Matt, then I’ll definitely be happier. I love the Green Ranger, I’m excited about the future of the Matt storyline, and if they somehow intersect like I’m hoping, I will be tickled the pinkest of pinks!

TL;DR: All around strong final issue to what has been an amazing comic over the years. Full of action, good character bits and plenty of teases for what comes next.


Spider-Woman #5

Spider-Woman #5
Writer: Karla Pacheco
Artists: Pere Perez and Mattia De Iulis
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

The epic opening storyline concludes here!

Jessica’s mother has suddenly become deranged in her hatred of Jessica, as they fight off all the villains. Like, the mom’s face is now all contorted and gross, and she’s sweating profusely. Turns out she’s some kind of clone. So Jessica fighters her mom who fights Octavia Vermis who fights them both. It’s a vicious circle of fights. Octavia eventually gets away to get the info she wanted, while Jessica juices up with more serum to take on her deranged mom.

When Octavia threatens to kidnap Rebecca, the mom focuses on stopping her and saving the girl. She traps Octavia in a lab and blows them both up. Jess, Michael and Rebecca escape, but Jess goes her separate way because she’s annoyed at Michael for all the secrets, the clones and the whatnots.

In a nice back-up feature, Jessica checks in with Roger and Gerry, then hops on her motorcycle to go recruit Captain Marvel to head into space.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This was a fine and dandy conclusion to everything we’ve see so far — though it does more to set up future stories than really answer anything here. There are more teases about twists yet to come than there are concrete endings. The art is great, the fights are cool, the drama works. The twist with the mom is weird, but the art of her deranged, grotesque face absolutely sells it. I don’t think I fully understand exactly what has happened and how it relates to Jessica’s origin story…but I at least understand that she’s got some new mysteries to solve. That works enough for me. And Jessica remains a strong, compelling lead.

I really want to point out how much I love the art by Mattia De Iulis in the short back-up.

That is some good hair art

Pere Perez is really great as the main artist on this comic, but that back-up art was really good! It’s very realistic, kinda moody, and while it’s not normal comic book art, I wouldn’t mind seeing a whole issue like that. I just like the realistic style. It would suit an off-shoot book like Spider-Woman, I think.

TL;DR: Craziness abounds as the first story wraps up more so with mysteries to come than concrete conclusions.


Excalibur #13

Excalibur #13
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: R.B. Silva
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher

What follows here is not going to be a fair review of this comic. Excalibur #13 makes no effort to ease non-Excalibur readers into understanding what’s going on, and it suuuuuucks.

So I’m just going to wing this recap. I guess Betsy is still Captain Britain, and she’s feuding with Brian and Jamie. And the other Excalibur members are some kind of bootleg Captain Britain Corps and they try to kill Jamie? And Saturnyne imprisons them all? And Betsy and Brian fight, and Saturnyne seduces Brian…but it was all a trick so that the Braddocks could get her to create her magic sword? So then Betsy and Brian both have swords and they both join the Krakoan sword circle. Also, maybe Jubilee is killed? They kind of just blow right past it.

Comic Rating: N/A – Not Available.

I can’t possibly review this issue. In terms of being an ongoing part of the regular Excalibur comic, maybe it’s great. I have no idea. It’s all Greek to me. I’m fairly confident I at least understood who the characters were and I understood the words coming out of their months. But the politics involved are all over the place and no effort is made to ease non-readers into what’s going on. But it’s still a firm part of X of Swords, so I read it. And I regret it.

TL;DR: Barely an issue of X of Swords and too impenetrable an issue of Excalibur for non-readers to understand. This is not a review. This is just me trying to read every issue of X of Swords.


X-Men #13

X-Men #13
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

On the other hand, I have been reading X-Men consistently, so I hope to better understand what happens in this issue.

While Apocalypse heals in the infirmary, he remembers back to the start of this conflict on the original Krakoa/Arakko all those centuries ago. He and his warriors fought waves of this alien enemy until they came to parlay for peace, and his wife, Genesis, got a taste of what the villain Annihilation wanted. Then her sister, Isca the Unbeaten, betrayed them and the battle raged with no clean victory. It broke all of them, especially Genesis. So Genesis led the Horsemen through the portal, leaving Apocalypse behind to prepare the world for the eventual fight. It’s the origin of his “survival of the fittest” mentality.

Once he’s healed in the present day, Apocalypse returns tot he Pyramid of the Horsemen and collects his ancient sword.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This was a fine issue. On the one hand, it’s nice getting some direct experience with the upcoming villains from X of Swords. On the other hand, it still reads like nonsense to me. It’s all just a big retcon to Apocalypse’s origins involving strange beings, strange lands and nothing that came before. Remember in Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern retcons, where he built the new Sinestro Corps and Emotional Light Spectrum on stories and events that had come before? And it made such perfect sense? All this Okkara stuff is the exact opposite. It’s all craziness birthed from nothing, with all new concepts to try and wrap our heads around. They’re not complicated concepts, they’re just weird concepts. And while it’s fine for a story, it’s not working on me at all as something to connect with. There’s just a bunch of monsters, and monster-looking people, and Apocalypse was a part of it and he’s just never mentioned it before until now. And then he goes to get a sword. The storytelling is fine, the art is fine, and it’s an overall OK addition to X of Swords.

TL;DR: An overall OK addition to X of Swords at least gives us some direct storytelling from the upcoming antagonists.


The comics I review in my Hench-Sized reviews are just the usual comics I grab from Comixology 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 October 24, 2020, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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