Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 7/17/21
What a time to be a comic book fan! Black Widow came out a week ago! Loki just ended a wonderful season, with a promise of more. And we’ve got Multiple Man making awesome multiple moves in a regular comic again! Life is good.
Comic Book of the Week goes to Mighty Morphin #9 for just another consistently wonderful comic book about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Meanwhile, things are going to be a little different around here…sort of. I’ve decided that I give too many details away in my synopsis. So I’m gonna try to dial that back. I still want to be a review place where I can talk about spoilers and stuff…but I also want you readers to buy the comics and enjoy them yourselves. Don’t read me just to avoid buying comics! I love buying and reading comics!
Comic Reviews: Champions #8, Iron Man #10, Mighty Morphin #9, Thor #15, Way of X #4 and X-Corp #3.
Writer: Danny Lore
Artist: Luciano Vecchio
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
I got a request from a reader to check out Danny Lore’s run on Champions and I gladly take requests from you people! So I got caught up on the past couple of issues and here we go!
To get everybody caught up, in the wake of Kamala’s Law banning teen superheroes, the Champions fought the Roxxon Corporation and got the law slightly knocked down (it needs another vote to make it permanent or not). Now Roxxon is working overtime to rehab their image with today’s youth for some nefarious purpose. Miles, Sam and Kamala have gone undercover as interns to take down Roxxon from the inside.
The drama behind the internship is that Roxxon only wanted Miles, because they thought Sam was boring. So in an effort to ensure his place on the inside, Sam promised the Roxxon leaders that he could get them Kamala Khan for the internship, even though Kamala did not want to do it because of the whole “Kamala’s Law” thing. So we spend some time on the inside, until Kamala freaks out and runs away. Her parents tell her it’s OK to drop out of the internship if it doesn’t feel right.
And the other Champions are disgruntled that Sam pushed so hard for Kamala to do something she wasn’t comfortable with. Anyway, the plan moves forward and Viv sneaks into Roxxon while Miles and Sam run interference. Viv finds out their evil plan to create robots to enforce Kamala’s Law in the future, but then the head honchos nearly catch her inside the facility.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This is going to be an interesting review because I’m torn. On the one hand, this is fine comics. Maybe a little too talkative at times, but perhaps I only feel that way because I’m not the least bit interested in the subject matter. The writing is strong, the characters all feel like unique individuals, and the art is a really nice, cartoony style. I just don’t have any personal investment in anything happening here. I’ve tried multiple times in the past to read various iterations of The Champions, but it just doesn’t interest me. I like most of these characters as individuals, but there’s juts something about them playing superhero that doesn’t click with me. I love the idea of the Champions going undercover as interns to take down an evil corporation…but all this talk of influencers and social media whatsis and then giant robots just goes right over my head. Probably for the same reason I don’t use TikTok.
TL;DR: All of the pieces are in place for a really strong series, from good characters, solid writing and some nice, unique art, but I just don’t find the subject matter and the story being told all that interesting.
Iron Man #10
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
I’d considered dropping Iron Man because it had lost my interest, but then I found out a certain surprise guest showed up in this issue and that’s a surefire way to rope me back in!
When last we left off, Tony Stark had been teleported away from his makeshift team and wound up on some random planet. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. People across the galaxy randomly find themselves teleported to this planet, called “Megiddo” by these refugees. Tony hangs out with them and discovers that the original Stilt-Man, Wilbur Day, is in charge! Stilt-Man! I love that guy! He’s old and bearded now, having been here for quite some time trying to help lead this random community. Tony also meets Avro-X, a character Cantwell plucked from some random comic from 1989. So woot other random surprise guest. Tony is visited by Hellcat’s mental projection, just for kicks. And then finds out the planet is populated by Ultimos, who randomly swing by sometimes to eat refugees. They fight back, lose some people and Tony decides to stick around and help.
Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
So, uh, I’m not sure of a nice way to say this…but I feel like Cantwell has really let his story get away from him. This was a story about Iron Man and a ragtag team of heroes racing into space to chase down a big bad guy. But this is the third issue in a row that focuses on a tangent. We haven’t had an actual story-based issue since Iron Man #7 in March, which is when Tony was teleported away. Issue #8 was a trip down memory lane for Hellcat. Issue #9 was a side story for Korvac. And now issue #10 is Tony doing something completely unrelated to the previous story. What’s up with that? How does Tony teaming up with Old Man Stilt-Man on a random alien planet to fight Ultimos connect to anything that came before?
I’ll grant you that Cantwell is an awesome writer and I’m sure he has a plan to tie this all back together, but the longer he stretches out these tangents the less interesting his overall series becomes. You’re telling me Tony couldn’t have been sent to Planet Stilt-Man after defeating Korvac?
So yeah, thats sucking a lot of interest in this Iron Man series out of me. The issue itself is still pretty good. Taken on its own, it’s an interesting dilemma for Tony Stark and the start to a potentially interesting story. I didn’t know Ultimos were alien in origin, so having Tony stranded on their home planet is a good idea. And I love me some Stilt-Man, so he’s a fun but odd choice to show up, along with Avro-X. This is a well-written, well-drawn issue kicking off a potentially interesting story…it’s just a shame the previous story wasn’t finished first.
TL;DR: This issue itself is a good start to a new story, with some fun character cameos. But considering Cantwell has yet to finish his first story, I’m not sure why we’ve spun off into a completely unrelated tangent.
Mighty Morphin #9
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Marco Renna
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte, with assistance from Katia Ranalli and Sara Antonellini
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
The day may come when these Power Rangers comics completely poop the bed, but it is not this day! This day, they’re still awesome!
In the opening flashback, we see Zartus meet with one of the monks guarding the Zeo Crystal. He implores the monk to conjure a protective spell on the crystal, but he seems really sinister about the whole thing.
In the present day, we spend a little time with the Rangers at school, and we learn that both Matt has special permission to leave school to do Ranger stuff, and Skull still misses his girlfriend. Then the Rangers fight a chaos putty at the dog park, with Matthew showing up mostly to get into a dick-measuring contest with Tommy. The Rangers are teleported back to the Command Center, except for Billy, who is left at the park with Matt. Zordon tells the other Rangers what Billy has done and announces he will be searching for a replacement. The Rangers argue that may be too harsh.
Then Zartus teleports into the Command Center, eager to meet everyone. He and Zordon are still quite friendly, and Zartus tells the Rangers it’s time for a proper alliance between Earth and Eltar.
On the moon, an imprisoned Candace mocks Squatt and Babboo, and then gets a meeting from Lord Zedd. He promises to let her go if she’ll simply listen to an old story he has to tell…
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
Mighty Morphin is the whole comic book package in a way few comics manage these days. On the surface, it’s got wonderful action. A fight with a random chaos putty isn’t much, but it’s still fun, especially the way Parrott finds new angles to explore. The fight starts with the Green and White rangers mostly trying to one-up one another, and it ends with the core Rangers using their Power Blaster to defeat the monster while the other two are focused on each other. And Parrott is clever enough to add some dialogue about how the Rangers feel weird using such a powerful weapon on just a putty. That’s really great attention to detail.
Beyond the action, there is so much rich character drama that I could drown in these comics! The ongoing stuff with Billy and Zordon is brilliant. Watching the Rangers get called back to the Command Center, only for the Blue Ranger to be left behind, is fascinating stuff. Billy’s actions fit the character, and it’s fun seeing him pay the price for his decisions. Likewise, having the other Rangers try to defend him to Zordon is just as good. Everyone is getting involved in this rich character drama.
And, one of the most exciting things, is how Parrott is building his story on existing Power Rangers lore. I may not remember Zartus’ name from issue to issue, but I love exploring Eldar and Zordon’s backstory. It’s fascinating stuff, and it’s fun to watch that come crashing into the world of the modern day Rangers. That has been a splendid addition to this whole tapestry, and I can’t wait to see Lord Zedd add his story to the mix next issue. I am ready to learn the secret history of Lord Zedd.
TL;DR: Another great issue combining cool action, wonderful character drama on multiple levels, and some fascinating looks into rich, unexplored lore.
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Michele Bandini
Inkers: Bandini and Elisabetta D’Amico
Colorist: Matt Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
It’s been a couple of months since the last issue of Thor. So here we go with something new!
Following the battle against Donald Blake, Thor is in a sour mood. His hammer is no longer really responding to him and he can barely lift it sometimes. He heads to Earth to talk to Captain America and tells Steve what he thinks is the issue: Mjolnir is meant for a warrior, for the tip of Asgard’s spear, and Thor is no longer those things now that he’s king. And he will be king until the end of his days, so he leaves the hammer behind at Avengers Mountain.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
Short and sweet, with a lot to enjoy in this issue. I like the guest artist, who draws with clear lines and easily handles the big, powerful moments. And it’s the start of a potentially interesting story. Cates has been teasing problems with Mjolnir since the beginning of his run, and I look forward to seeing them through. Cates does a fine job explaining the matter at hand, while mixing it up with some strong character moments and solid action. I especially like the chat with Cap, where Cates reveals that Thor has a hard time remembering all of the adventures he has with the Avengers because he’s so old. Thor has been on so many adventures on Midgard, for centuries, that even major Avengers moments are just fleeting to him. And considering all of the friends and loved ones and adventuring partners he’s lost over the centuries, he’s always very happy because every trip to Midgard is a new reminder that his Avengers friends are still alive. Time moves differently for one who ages like Thor, and Cates explores that really well in this issue.
TL;DR: A lot of interesting and juicy ideas get thrown around in a really strong start to the next story.
Way of X #4
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Bob Quinn
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Sad to see Stacy-X gone, but I can’t complain when Spurrier clearly plans to do interesting little things with a bunch of random guest characters.
This issue follows a couple of different stories. In one, Nightcrawler has a confrontation with Fabian Cortez, who has taken the weirdly resurrected Gorgon to Central Park and amplified his telepathy, forcing the man to endure the anti-mutant thoughts of 8 million New Yorkers. Cortez argues he’s done nothing wrong, but Gorgon is still poised to turn everyone in the park into stone. Nightcrawler comes up with a really fun way to counteract Cortez before forcing the man into a conversation with Lost.
Meanwhile, Legion is continuing his investigation into Onslaught, and he asks for a Krakoan seed from Professor X. The two meet at the bar and when Xavier tries to read his son’s mind to see what’s going on, Onslaught strikes and Legion and the Xorn twins are forced to vaporize every mutant in the bar. It’s quite shocking. Then Legion sets about with the next part of his plan.
Also, Dust guest stars throughout the issue to contain some of the big dust storms created by terraforming Mars.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This issue was a little more disjointed than previous ones, but it’s not a bad thing. Spurrier again presents some really tasty food for thought, and I am glad to be at the dinner table. The scene with Cortez was weird…but I guess that was the point. Cortez, in his downward spiral, just goes and does something crazy that puts Nightcrawler into a compromising situation. It’s definitely a moral conundrum. But, thankfully, Nightcrawler comes up with a clever, very-Kurt way to solve it in defiance of Cortez. So I really liked that scene. And then the confrontation between Xavier and Legion is great! It’s really tense, and really works for all characters involved. We also find out that the Xorn brothers have been hanging around Legion at his request, should their powers be necessary to keep Legion in line. Very interesting stuff.
TL;DR: Way of X presents a couple of very interesting, very entertaining conundrums in this issue, keeping the story and the themes flowing nicely.
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Valentine De Landro
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
This is a fascinating little comic…but I keep getting the feeling that it’s not going to last much longer. If X-Factor was cancelled at only 10 issues, I fear for my beloved X-Corp.
It’s the big Technology TALKS Ten conference, and X-Corp is prepared to debut its new ionospheric bandwidth generator, a new project from X-Corp Telecom that will increase internet bandwidth like never before. Madrox and his dupes are in charge of the scheduled launch at 5 p.m., but there’s a problem with the system. Madrox is forced to sacrifice a dupe in a manual energy vent, the same dupe that he sent home to spend quality time with his wife and son — so those memories are lost. Meanwhile, Monet gets into a tricky situation with Sara St. John, the woman who partnered last issue with Fenris, and Monet is injected with a mysterious chemical and disappears ahead of the launch.
Warren is forced to take the stage alone to show off the big launch…but something goes wrong at the last minute and it doesn’t work! Madrox may be to blame.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
One quick complaint right up top: I don’t necessarily like how none of the issues are connected with one another. Each issue is its own stand alone story, dealing with a different avenue of X-Corp business. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that some parts of the comic are getting repetitive. We get some scenes of Warren and Monet talking general business each issue. And we get a scene where Monet goes full Penance for one reason or another. I would like to see a story flow more, with character growth and development. But this isn’t a very strong complaint. Just something I wanted to note three issues in.
Also, the final page is very confusing. At the top of the page, the launch seems to work…but then we have characters simply say it didn’t work. And by the end of a single page, everything has gone wrong with very little visual evidence. It was weird.
I really enjoyed this issue as a whole. It had a lot of fun character stuff. I love a nice grounded comic, and this was exactly that. I love the idea of Warren, Monet, Trinary and Wind Dancer just wandering around this tech conference like normal people. And all of that really worked for me. It was entertaining stuff, with Monet complaining about the special women’s conference, while Trinary and Wind Dancer relish the chance to really focus in on other women. It was a nice display of their characters. Likewise, we got a metric ton of Jamie Madrox stuff this issue! Howard shows off how his lab works, which is really neat. We finally get confirmation on Layla and Davey. We get some really stressful moments for Madrox, fleshing out his X-Corp character. I loved it all!
I am very torn on the art. On the one hand, De Lando does an amazing job making everything look grounded and real. These look like real people wandering around a tech conference. On the other hand, the art also looks really ugly and rushed. As if Marvel didn’t give De Lando enough time to draw everything.
I don’t know the details of the behind the scenes artwork stuff, but I feel like De Lando would be a great addition to the art time — as long as they have enough time to do their best work.
TL;DR: Some muddy art and some repetitive storytelling do not hold back an otherwise very enjoyable, character-focused issue. I am still amazed at how business-focused this comic remains.
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 July 17, 2021, in Comics, Marvel, Multiple Man, Reviews, X-Men and tagged Boom!, Champions, Iron Man, Mighty Morphin, Nightcrawler, Power Rangers, Stilt-Man, Thor, Way of X, X-Corp. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.