Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 2/13/21

I think I’m relatively done with Future State. I gave it the old college try. I read a bunch of Future State comics. Some of them are even very good. But the deluge of comics to read and the largely mediocre stories has broken me. I just don’t care anymore. That being said, I’m definitely going to check out a bunch of Infinite Frontier comics spinning out of Future State, like the continuing adventures of Next Batman and Yara Flor!

Comic Book of the Week goes, once again, to the new issue of Mighty Morphin. It’s maybe not as dramatic as previous issues, but we finally get the reveal of the new Green Ranger! And it’s everything I could have hoped for!

Behold its might!

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing Ghost of Tsushima and it’s phenomenal! I love a big, open sandbox game and this is right up there are one of the best. Definitely one of the best looking, that’s for sure.

Comic Reviews: Future State: Dark Detective #3, Future State: Robin Eternal #2, The Green Lantern: Season Two #11, Mighty Morphin #4 and Power Pack #3.

Future State: Dark Detective #3
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar

I like this story. Simple as that. I would mind if this continued in a post Future State world either.

CEO Carl Bennington has been shot dead in his home. Bruce does a little digging and finds out that one of Carl’s companies had a hand in building the Magistrate’s invisible drone army, and he was going to sell those secrets overseas. So Dark Detective uses some fancy electro-netting to capture some of the drones and is eventually able to keep some in tact and hack into their systems. He gets ahold of the drone camera footage and finds proof that the Magistrate sent Peacekeepers to assassinate Bennington to keep his secrets for themselves. This is possibly why they “killed” Bruce Wayne as well. Also, he has a brief run-in with Next Batman, who simply warns him about doing this kind of work. Seems they’ve never met before this.

Bruce has another run-in with the daughter of his paranoid landlord, who claims he is hearing alien signals. Bruce cobbles together some more tech to help him see the drones and he finds out that the daughter is being tailed by a bunch of them. He follows her and finds her going to Magistrate HQ. Then Bruce realizes that “alien signals” his landlord is hearing is a whole fleet of those drones swarming around their building. They’ve found Bruce!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I think Tamaki is telling a really fun Batman story with an actually new and interesting dynamic.I complained about The Next Batman last week and how it wasn’t doing anything new, despite having a whole new protagonist. Dark Detective is actually leaning really hard into its new status quo, and I really enjoy that part. Bruce Wayne is a man with no means left, but he’s still Batman, and he’s making all of this work through sheer will and skill. He’s got a legitimate mystery/problem on his hands, and Tamaki is sure to show us the hands-on work of solving what’s going on and doing something about it, while throwing us little twists. And Dan Mora is a rising star is who earning every single sparkle. This is a fun, alternate Batman story that makes Future State worthwhile.

Old school vs. new school

And speaking of things that don’t make Future State worthwhile…the cameo from Next Batman is a bit of a non-starter. It’s like nobody figure out what the two characters would even have to say to one another, so they immediately go their separate ways. Cool double-page spread, though.

TL;DR: This is the sort of alternate take I like to see in an event like Future State. New ideas, new status quo, but same classic, awesome character at the heart of it.

Robin Eternal #2

Future State: Robin Eternal #2
Writer: Meghan Fitzmartin
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Eber Ferreira
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Pat Brosseau

The second and last issue of Robin Eternal tries to throw in some Tim Drake-specific drama, but it still doesn’t amount to much at all.

Robin is back from the dead and juiced up on Lazarus Resin. He’s super strong and starts kicking Magistrate butt, but he’s also going a bit loopy, having flashbacks and memories, with a ghostly Batman haunting and taunting him. Robin, Spoiler and Darcy make their way through the ship to the control room, where they’ve got to crash the ship and the resin into the river. Tim successfully fights off the Resin crazies and stops Peacekeeper-13. Spoiler gets caught and taken to her back-up story in The Next Batman #2. Robin and Darcy crash the ship and jump to safety. Tim appears to fall into the river himself…but his triumphant hand bursts out of the water in the last panel.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

Much like my complaints with the first issue, the second issue of Robin Eternal just doesn’t have anything to say or do. Fitzmartin does a fine job mining some Tim Drake drama to try and add some oomph to the story, but it’s the same old Tim Drake drama. And it’s all the character has left. DC hasn’t known what to do with Tim since Damian came around more than a decade ago, and this little two-parter is just a reminder of that fact. It’s just a bunch of generic action as Tim and some friends fight some vague robots/officers. Tim is haunted by the ghost of Batman, but again, it’s just rehashing all the usual Tim Drake drama about how he’s smart, how he’s maybe better at this than Batman. That’s all Tim is now, those general ideas. He doesn’t have a unique character anymore. And this comic also does nothing with the Robin identity. Tim could be calling himself “Red Robin” or “Drake” in this comic and it would be the same. Then he doesn’t even die in the end, so nothing about this adventure is special.

TL;DR: A perfectly adequate Tim Drake adventure that simply doesn’t do anything very special with Tim or Robin. Not that any of that is this comics’ fault, because DC hasn’t known what to do with Tim or the Robin mantle in years.

The Green Lantern #11

The Green Lantern: Season Two #11
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Letterer: Steve Wands

I will see this comic through to the end if it’s the last thing I do. Cast aside all sense of right and wrong, my mortal friends, for we are adrift on a sea of Morrison and Sharp!

Hal Jordan deposits his hawk-kids with Trilla-Tru on her planet, then he goes to speak to the New Guardians. They explain that the golden giants were an ancient nomad race from the beginning of the universe, and now they’ve come back. The New Guardians want Hal to fight them, after which he’ll be fired and they’ll remake the Corps. Hal decides that first he’s going to take the rest of his shore leave, so he goes to hang out on Athmoora, that sword & sorcery planet he loves so much. But upon arrival, he’s blasted out of the sky. He wakes up among allies, but they say war has come, the planet is in volcanic upheaval. Hal quickly learns that the golden giants are making their last incursion on Athmoora. Not only that, but Hector Hammond is apparently in charge, and he’s brought along a bunch of Hal’s classic villains, and he’s got Hal’s ring.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

God, don’t even use my review in any of those comic review aggregate sites. This comic has also broken me. I just don’t know what I’m doing here anymore. I’m just on auto-pilot. I want to see this beast through to the end. I want to see where Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp have been leading me this whole time. What new artistic madness will they unleash? What new monstrosity will my brain fail to wrap its head around? It’s like I’m drowning in artwork, clinging desperately to little life preservers of things that make sense. Does all of this tie together somehow? Has Hector Hammond been the villain this entire time? Was I supposed to know that already? Why are we back on Athmoora? Does it hold some special, deeper significance? I just don’t know anymore, but there’s only one issue left, and I will not leave it unconquered!

TL;DR: Make of this comic what you will. I’m barely hanging on to the basic ideas at play, confident that there’s some deeper level of something I’m just not understanding. This is a wild trip and I want to get off and put it behind me forever.

Mighty Morphin #4

Mighty Morphin #4
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Marco Renna
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte, with assist from Katia Ranalli
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

The time is now! The time is here! The Green Ranger stands revealed! And it’s exactly who I wanted!

In flashback, we see that Zordon was chosen to become the next Chief Guardian over his mentor, Zartus. In the present day, the giant Chaos Putty is too much for the Rangers, even with the timely arrival of the Dragonzord! Zedd is on the ground, too, and he sends the other chaos putties against the Thunder Megazord. Just when all hope seems lost, the Rangers are teleported out…by Skull’s girlfriend, Candice! She has taken them to the Command Center, and reveals herself as Zelya of Eltar. She warns Zordon that her mission was to protect the Power Rangers at all costs, because the third Eltarian War has begun!

Meanwhile, in Angel Grove, Zedd conjures a giant dome around the city to keep the Rangers out. The Rangers can’t get through, but soon a message starts broadcasting on every device and TV inside the dome: it’s the Green Ranger, offering words of encouragement to the citizens. And to prove he can be trusted, he takes off his helmet to reveal he’s one of them: Matthew Cook!

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

I’ve long suspected that Matt was going to be the new Green Ranger, and I do believe it was spoiled somewhere on the internet, but I never saw those spoilers and that final page turn was worth the wait! The entire wait. I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop with Matt since the start of Go Go Power Rangers in 2017. Who was this new person who was so ingrained in the lives of the Rangers? What is the end game? What purpose is he going to serve? Well here it is, and it’s awesome! The unknown extra friend introduced in the comics becomes the mysterious extra Ranger! And Parrott has set him up to really shine in the next couple of issues, as it’s regular guy Matt alone in Zedd’s bubble, fighting to protect the people of Angel Grove.

I love the idea of Matt revealing his identity to the people and becoming their direct champion. The People’s Champ!

The rest of the issue was solid. The Dragonzord makes a truly awesome entrance (as I posted above) and we get some exciting Ranger action. Zedd is truly giving it his all this time, and the Rangers struggle. Then we’ve got the extra side bits, like a new intergalactic war involving Zordon’s people and his past, which is all still new and exciting. And Parrott even follows up on Rocky’s anxiety about being the Red Ranger. He offers to hold off the wave of putties on his own while the other Rangers fix the Megazord, in part because he feels he has to, as that is something a Red Ranger would do! But Adam still shows up to help out, because that’s how the Rangers work. It’s such fun and interesting drama that is legitimately tied into Power Rangers lore, and I love that beyond measure!

TL;DR: The reveal of the Green Ranger was worth the wait and now I can’t wait to see the new drama that unfolds. Beyond that, the rest of he issue continues working all the exciting nuts and bolts Parrott has baked into his Power Rangers comics.

Power Pack #3

Power Pack #3
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Nico Leon
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Power Pack has definitely proven itself to be worthwhile since the first issue. I’m now rather disappointed that it’s only a mini-series and not Ryan North’s new masterpiece.

The Power Pack have been working with Agent Aether to generate electricity and they’re pretty happy with themselves. But when they run into Taskmaster after school the next day, they find their powers very weakened. They still manage to beat him with some trickery, and confront Agent Aether about their diminished powers. He hoodwinks them a bit before capturing them and revealing himself to be the Wizard! He’s about to destroy them when Julie Power — who has been narrating this issue — draws on a deep well of power to sacrifice herself to destroy their restraints and stop the Wizard.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Power Pack is an excellent showcase for Ryan North’s character work and Nico Leon’s clean, creative artwork, with Rosenberg’s colors another highlight. This is quality comic books. This is a strong creative team putting their spin on some classic characters, making them a viably enjoyable series. The Outlawed tie-in nature of the comic does not derail the story North is telling, and he uses it very well to make his story better. North writes everyone so well and so unique, giving each member of the team a chance to be themselves and really shine. And focusing on a different narrator each issue makes the whole thing especially fun. He really gives Julie Power her own unique style, building up to a really exciting and dramatic climax.

Starfish were cool once

The Wizard totally works as a villain, and his use of the Agent Aether idea continues to be funny. There’s a neat scene where the Power Pack confront him about their powers, and he suggests putting the machines in reverse to give them their powers back. The younger kids are all for it, but Julie susses out that this just doesn’t make logical or scientific sense, and it’s a fun dialogue scene as the Power Pack are so close to figuring him out — before he reveals it was just a distraction to capture them. Good times. The writing is just so sharp and so much fun to read. This comic is a true gem.

TL;DR: Another issue and Power Pack continues to improve, telling its own little story with so much charm. It’s a shame this is not an ongoing series.

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!


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 February 13, 2021, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Robin and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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