Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 5/15/21
It’s the week I’ve been waiting nearly a year for! X-Corp has finally been released and Multiple Man, my favorite comic book character, is back in regular comics! What a joyous day! Too bad it had to go up against a new issue of Mighty Morphin. That comic can’t be beat!
Comic Book of the Week goes to Mighty Morphin #7 for another jam-packed issue full of neat characters, great story twists and the new Green Ranger!
Meanwhile, I’m still reading and skimming through the new Heroes Reborn big event from Marvel and I’m really digging it! The comics feel like a spiritual sequel to Amalgam Comics. They’re based on the lighter, more chipper tone of comics from the Amalgam era, and they’ve even got callbacks and references to “other” comics from the “canon”, like Amalgam used to do! For example, one of the comics features what is supposed to be a preview for a new Starjammers comic “coming soon”. And these comics are full of cute crossover/merged character appearances and cameos, like Johnny Storm of the Nova Corps! So yeah, I’m having fun with Heroes Reborn so far!
Comic Reviews: Children of the Atom #3, Mighty Morphin #7, X-Corp #1 and X-Factor #9.
Children of the Atom #3
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Paco Medina
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Things are a little confusing this issue. But in the comic’s defense, at least they don’t fight the Hell’s Belles again.
If flashback captions can be believed, some time ago, our fivesome snuck into a crashed alien spaceship that blasted off into space with them on board. They loaded themselves into some escape pods and crashed safely back to Earth. At least I think this is a flashback to the team before they suited up as Junior X-Men.
In the present day, everybody’s been invited over to their friend Cole’s place for dinner. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned him yet, but he’s shown up a couple times as a longtime friend who has recently recovered from some kind of illness. They meet up at Carmen’s place before they go over, because Carmen is the narrator this issue. She’s the Gambit, and she’s struggling with not feeling good enough for her friends and family. She thinks she has to be useful to them to be liked. She also streams cosplay tutorials. And she’s secretly in love with Buddy, the Cyclops. She turns down the dinner invite, and everybody else (minus Daywalker) head over.
We meet Cole’s dads and their friend Arthur Nagan, whose scientific work cured Cole. A quick Google search tells me that Nagan is Gorilla-Man, of all people. Nagan explains that he spliced some mutant DNA into Cole as part of his work, and our heroes immediately ask Cole if he can take them through a Krakoa Gate. Cole takes offense and kicks them out.
Meanwhile, back at Carmen’s place, she’s suddenly struck by some kind of internal problem and she rushes to the bathroom. She starts morphing into some kind of…monster, maybe? We don’t really see. Is it her mutant power? Is it something to do with the trip to space? We’ll have to wait and see!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This comic is doing a great job when it comes to using its characters well and really diving into who they are as people, while also giving us some solid drama, action and art. That flashback, however, does the issue no favor. It is so jarring that I had a hard time wrapping my head around what it was doing in this comic. And the only indication we get that it’s anything is a single caption that reads “then”. The flashback starts with them already on the spaceship. So it’s just jarring and seems very out of place, considering what this comic has been about so far. But I guess I can wrap my brain around it. I guess I can try to understand.
The rest of the issue is where the real strength lies. Ayala is doing a fine job really diving into these characters and their heads. I almost wish this was on ongoing series, considering how much effort is being put into fleshing out these teenagers and giving them distinct personalities and character flaws. And the narrative surrounding this Cole kid continues to grow. It works as a foundational narrative, even if the inclusion of a random Gorilla-Man also throws things for a bit of a loop. At least the teenage drama and character building is working splendidly.
And now this mystery of what’s happening to Carmen will help carry us a bit further. Did she get infected with a Brood egg while they were up in space? Is this her mutant power? I still stand by my belief that they are not mutants.
TL;DR: A weirdly crafted flashback feels really jarring in this issue, but the strong character work, storytelling and artwork continue to elevate this series.
Mighty Morphin #7
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Marco Renna
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte, with assistance from Katia Ranalli and Sara Antonellini
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Hot dang, people! Mighty Morphin just gets better and better!
In the flashback, Zordon and his allies explore the moon palace and find a strange race of monks that “speak” in blank, colored word bubbles. Deeper inside, they find the monks gathered around the Zeo Crystal!
The Green Ranger is working with Goldar and Lord Zedd in a battle against the Power Rangers, but our heroes have a plan. Tommy, Aisha and their guest, Candace, slip away, while Kimberly, Rocky and Adam surrender to Matt and the villains. Matt is really apologetic, hoping to make them understand, but the Rangers don’t trust Zedd at all — for obvious reasons. Matt and Goldar take our heroes to Promethea to meet with Grace Sterling, who reveals that they surrendered to Lord Zedd and the city has been able to repair and relax, with Zedd’s help.
Tommy and the others see this first hand, with putties helping to rebuild damaged buildings and monsters keeping the peace as if they were cops. They watch one monster catch a purse snatcher and return the purse to the lady, who thanks him kindly for his help. They still don’t trust any of this, and they sneak into the White Tigerzord and Tommy makes a beeline for the machine controlling the dome…only to be attacked by giant chaos putties disguised as buildings!
Meanwhile, at the Command Center, Zordon shares some stories of Zophram with Billy, and then gets a phone call from his old friend Zartus. It’s a warm reunion, and Zartus warns Zordon of the Empyreals (which the Omega Rangers are chasing). Zartus is on his way to Earth to help Zordon defeat Zedd so that they can focus on the Empyreals, and possibly offer Zordon a way home!
Back at Promethea, Lord Zedd arrives and greets Kim, Rocky and Adam. He makes them an offer: turn over Zordon and he will leave Earth immediately. Zedd makes the claim that humans are caught in a war not of their making, and he will gladly take that war away.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
This issue is another wonderful example of just how well Parrott is crafting several different stories at once. I’ll admit, I was looking forward to the new Green Ranger being some kind of lone hero within the dome, kicking Zedd butt. But this twist is even more genius! It’s a great evil plan for Zedd, and a great use of Matt’s naivete at being a Ranger. Zedd has the people of Angel Grove in the palm of his hand…but rather than simply destroy them, he concocts something even more brilliant to get what he wants. He’s nice to them and turns the people against the Power Rangers and Zordon! It’s great! And he’s able to use Matt to get what he wants. I totally understand where Matt is coming from. He hasn’t been a Ranger all this time, he’s not privy to their lessons and secrets. He’s fallen for Zedd’s scheme because it makes sense that he’s fallen for Zedd’s scheme. I love this character work.
And while this crafty Lord Zedd plan is playing out, we still get some cool Power Rangers moments. And, even more exciting, is the story Parrott is building with Zordon and his past. This is all fertile ground, since Zordon was pretty much untouched in the actual show. I’m loving these flashbacks and these new Eltarians. Watching Zordon make jokes with an old friend in a call several thousands of years in the making is fun! And you can just feel Parrott pulling the strings and twisting the knives and building to something that should be really neat!
TL;DR: Every storyline is on fire in Mighty Morphin as they weave and wind together into truly exciting storytelling.
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Alberto Foche
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
There’s no way this issue could live up to all the hype I built in my head. But it is satisfactory for what I had hoped to get!
Monet and Angel are in charge of X-Corp, which controls the production and distribution of the pharmaceuticals that make Krakoa possible. They’re looking to expand the company into new ventures, including expanding the board. Monet heads to India to save/recruit Trinary, who was trying to visit her family, but she’s persona-non-grata in her home nation. Trinary also discovers some ransomware trying to attack X-Corp HQ. Monet also recruits Multiple Man, who is running the pharmaceutical lab in the Savage Land. He doesn’t want to leave, but Monet tells him of the ransomware and he’s on board.
Meanwhile, Warren has met with Jean-Pierre Koi in Brazil, a mover and shaker in the pharmaceutical industry who is tightening his grip around X-Corp, including getting the UN involved in shutting down their work in the Savage Land. But Koi is doing even more. He blows up the Savage Land lab (including all the dupes inside, and their collective knowledge), and he is behind the ransomware. So Monet reveals that the giant island that is X-Corp HQ is itself a floating fortress. She teleports it to Brazil to rescue Warren and uses the giant flying fortress in international territory as X-Corp’s very public relaunch.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
Tini Howard did it! I had my doubts, but she really did give us a comic that’s almost entirely about actual business deals and the like. She throws in a bunch of superhero excitement, like Monet flying an entire island to Brazil and Warren dodging missiles in order to reach the island to escape. But this is still largely an issue about Warren and Monet talking business deals, making business deals and generally dealing with the business of X-Corp. And it’s fun, at least I thought so. I don’t want this to devolve into general superheroics. I want Howard to find a way to make corporate stuff interesting in a superhero world! She’s off to a good start.
Also, Multiple Man is in this comic and it’s great! He’s a scientist now, complete with doctorate, and he’s got a little sprig of white hair up front.
I like the little things in this comic. I like how Wind Dancer is apparently serving as some kind of filmmaker for Krakoa and is working on a welcome video for X-Corp. I like how Madrox has this whole thing going on with him and the pharmaceutical work, which builds on where we’ve already seen him in the Krakoa era. I really enjoy the back and forth between Monet and Warren as they talk business and their different approaches to leading X-Corp. I am in high hopes after reading this first issue.
TL;DR: The first issue finds a lot of ways to make X-Corp distinct from other comics. It leans hard into the business angle and finds ways to make that really fun and exciting.
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: David Baldeon
Colorist: Israel Silva
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Apparently X-Factor is going to end after the Hellfire Gala, which is a damn shame! This is a book with a solid premise, yet it’s not going to get to exist! Alas.
Does this mean I shouldn’t get my hopes too high with X-Corp?
With Polaris keeping the Morrigan at bay, Rachel takes everybody on a mental tour of Siryn’s memories to learn more. They find a mental block at about the time of the big party from House of X. Daken offers a blood sacrifice to the magic of the mental block and they get a riddle…which Prodigy quickly solves: they need to get Shattersar to defeat the Morrigan. Since X-Factor are not welcome on Mojoworld, they organize another massive strike force all focused around a mutant musical band and some other subterfuge agents. It’s a big, cool scene…though I’m a little unsure all of what’s happening. I think they use the big band to distract Mojo and then Magik threatens him to make peace with Krakoa.
So Shatterstar is free and he goes into the memories to defeat the Morrigan, and we see how/why Siryn made the deal with her to protect mutants back at the party. Eventually Shatterstar kills the Morrigan, but the death goddess casts some sort of parting spell on Shatterstar, Siryn and Rictor, who is elsewhere.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This issue gets a high rating for the sheer energy of the issue and the big, cool things that happen, along with some fun dialogue. But this was a really difficult issue to follow. Williams and Baldeon are all over the place with the storytelling. At one point, the art switches to ancient medieval tapestries? There’s just a lot happening and it could be hard to pick up on everything, is what I’m trying to say. But a little time away from the issue and I think I’ve largely understood. X-Factor put together a mutant band to distract Mojo, use that to pull Shatterstar and other trapped mutants free, and then Shatterstar defeats the Morrigan. Works for me! I especially enjoyed the band. Honestly, Marvel should be doing a lot more with Dazzler these days. Adding the likes of Lila Cheney and DJ to her band also makes perfect sense.
Where’s my X-Men mini-series about Dazzler and Lila Cheney going on tour as Krakoan brand ambassadors to the world/universe?
There was also a lot of really fun character-to-character dialogue. This sequence got a chuckle out of me. Northstar is in the psychic plane and Kyle is back at base, with Rachel as the go-between.
If that sort of banter had been a bigger part of X-Factor I would have loved this book even more. That sort of stuff is like comic book crack to me. But we get the comic that we get, and X-Factor is a solid comic. The art may have gone a little wild in this issue, but the ideas are really fun and Williams presents them solidly to tell her story. And it’s a fun and exciting story, so that’s always a treat.
It will be a real shame to lose this comic. I don’t feel like it’s even had a chance to take off.
TL;DR: Things get a little helter skelter with the art and storytelling this issue, but everything comes together if you can look at the big picture. Some strong character moments and some really fun ideas keep things entertaining.
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!
Posted on May 15, 2021, in Comics, Marvel, Multiple Man, Reviews, X-Men and tagged Boom!, Children of the Atom, Jamie Madrox, Mighty Morphin, Power Rangers, X-Corp, X-Factor. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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