Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 7/24/21

We’re in that weird down period again where there are no Marvel projects coming out. We’ve got a week or so still until What If…and that Loki behind-the-scenes episode was good, but it won’t sustain us. What will we do? Read comics, of course! Like Marauders and Nightwing and Power Rangers! This is actually a very DC heavy week!

Comic Book of the Week goes to Superman and The Authority #1 for a very well-polished launch to what will hopefully be a fun little mini-series.

A shiny Fortress of Solitude on a hill

Meanwhile, I’m about finished with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’ve very much enjoyed the game, and I’m tracking down every last shrine, but I have nothing else after it’s gone. Any good games coming out soon? Other than that, I’ve been watching and enjoying Wellington Paranormal, not caring for Tigtone and I binged and enjoyed the new Masters of the Universe: Revelation last night.

Comic Reviews: Marauders #22, Nightwing #82, Power Rangers #9, Superman and The Authority #1 and Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #2.

Marauders #22

Marauders #22
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Matteo Lolli and Klaus Janson
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

I think this is just the Hellfire Club comic now.

In the aftermath of the Hellfire Gala, Sebastian Shaw has been returned to a normal body, and his first order of business is resurrecting his old girlfriend: Lourdes Chantel. But Emma informs Sebastian that Lourdes never actually died. We see in an extended flashback that Sebastian routinely beat Lourdes, so she got Emma’s help in faking her death and escaping (and Emma put her to work with the Kingpin, of all possible horrible choices). Meanwhile, the Stepford Cuckoos are tooling around in the mind/memories of one of the Hellfire Brats.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

This is basically an issue-long flashback explaining who Lourdes Chantel is and then retconning her death. And I miss the actual Marauders. We’re as far from Pirate X-Men as we’ve ever been, and I’m bummed about it. This is all still fine and well-made, but I really think Duggan is missing the mark by a lot with this series. Of all the things he could be writing about, he’s focusing on Sebastian Shaw? Does anybody like Sebastian Shaw? Was anybody eager for him to get some kind of redemption? They went and fixed his body off-panel, apparently. And now he gets a storyline involving his ex, to whom he was an abusive asshole. I’m just not interested and this retcon flashback doesn’t make me interested.

Remember me from 30 years ago?

What about the tiny Gala scene setting up a proper reunion between Emma and Banshee? Isn’t he supposed to be joining the Marauders? Let’s move on to that storyline immediately, please. That way, Marauders can still be about Emma Frost, but it’ll be about her interacting with a character fans actually want to see.

TL;DR: Flashbacks and retcons swirl around uninteresting side-characters and I could not be more bored with Marauders’ current focus.

Nightwing #82

Nightwing #82
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Bruno Redondo, Rick Leonardi and Neil Edwards
Inkers: Redondo, Andy Lanning and Scott Hanna
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

We get the entire backstory of how Dick Grayson has a surprise sister…and it’s fine. I’m still not a fan of such a soap opera-esque retcon, but perhaps it will grow on me. I dunno.

Melinda takes Dick upstairs to meet her mother, a woman named Meili Lin, a former child bride who was imported to America and hooked up with Tony Zucco as his forced wife. But he was obviously a cruel son of a bitch, and she ran away during a trip to Haley’s Circus a long, long time ago. Meili was rescued by John Grayson, who was not yet in a relationship with Mary. Meili joined the circus and traveled with them just long enough to have a brief fling with John before she was kidnapped by Zucco’s people. She eventually gave birth to Melinda and eventually they managed to escape Zucco. They always intended to find John again…but when they did, he had a wife and a son…and then Zucco killed them. Dick realizes this means Tony Zucco specifically targeted his parents.

After the storytelling is over, Melinda’s apartment is raided by Blockbuster and a SWAT team.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

I gave this issue a low score because the surprise reveal is bland, at least to me personally. This comic itself is fine. The wring is as strong as ever, and the guest artists are pretty darn good. I also really enjoyed the opening of the issue, where Nightwing wakes up and has Oracle call off the rescue squad that included the Teen Titans and Batman. I love a good moment of Batman rushing to Dick’s rescue. But I’m delaying the inevitable of talking about Melinda Zucco and this whole retcon. It’s fine. And I trust Taylor to be going somewhere with this. But man, it does not interest me. And this issue is all about bending backwards to make it fit.

Nobody has a good time at the circus

This is a pretty major retcon and I think it has come too early into Taylor’s run. We don’t even know Melinda Zucco. She’s not a character yet. So the surprise reveal that she is Dick Grayson’s retconned sister doesn’t mean anything yet. All we have is the retcon, and it overshadows whatever character she’s supposed to have. What does giving John Grayson a secret, pre-marriage daughter supposed to accomplish? I guess we have to wait and find out, but so far, this just reeks of bad soap opera retconning. Like I said, I am more than happy to give Taylor the benefit of the doubt, but the issue explaining the retcon only succeeds in having it make some semblance of sense.

TL;DR: I am not sold on this new retcon by the issue that only exists to explain the retcon.

Power Rangers #9

Power Rangers #9
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artists: Francesco Mortarino and Moises Hidalgo
Colorist: Raul Angulo, with assistance from Jose Enrique Fernandez
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

Power Rangers remains just slightly less interesting as its sister series.

The Omega Rangers have brought the Hartunian refugees to Safehaven, but not everybody is happy to see them. Arkon and a couple of others group up to enact justice for all of the planets and species the Hartunians conquered and slaughtered, but Zack stands in their way, eventually offering his life if it means an end to the violence. Arkon settles for extracting a drop of blood from Zack to sate justice. Meanwhile, Trini is pushing herself to get in touch with the Yellow Emissary, and manages to bring back a foreboding message. And Drakkon challenges Jason to a fight to earn his freedom. Also, Yale, the big cat has an adventure with some little kid, and in the end, the kid turns on Yale in order to appease the few other children she’s met on the planet.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This issue features a lot of great moments and some interesting storylines, yet Power Rangers as a whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. I don’t know exactly what it is. Part of me feels like the main characters don’t get enough time to be people. The Mighty Morphin crew get to go to school and be normal kids and have scenes like that to enjoy. The Omega Rangers are always “on”. Just the fact that they’re out in space cruising from planet to planet, dealing with one alien danger after the next, keeps them from really creating a foundation of character and development. Drakkon, Xi, Yale and these various aliens do not make for the best foils.

Trini is master of yellow power

But that’s just me projecting. This is another strong issue, and everyone gets a storyline. Zack’s story is amazing, and I’m really enjoying what Parrott is doing with him. I just, like I said, fear that he’s not grounded enough for all of this to really stick. He doesn’t feel defined as a character. He just feels like a sense of a character, doing all these big things. But they’re cool big things. Trini has a fun story, but I’m not a big fan of Drakkon just standing around mocking our heroes to their faces, and he does that for both Trini and Jason this issue.

Drakkon better not be the long con candidate for Omega Pink…

TL;DR: Some very strong writing in some very strong character moments really make this comic, though I still think its general foundation is not as strong as Mighty Morphin.

Superman and The Authority #1

Superman and The Authority #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Steve Wands

Even though I didn’t really like Grant Morrison’s last DC comic, I’m more than willing to come back for more. It helps that Mikel Janin is on art!

Starting in 1963, we see that Superman was friends with President Kennedy, who wanted Superman to step up as a beacon of the future — only for Kennedy to get shot. In the present day, Superman is older and a tad more authoritarian, and he’s setting up a new superteam. His first recruit is the rebellious Brit Manchester Black, who is no fan of Superman’s. Superman puts Black in a position where he can either walk away or help repel a robot invasion from the Phantom Zone, and Black’s general heroic nature gets the better of his hatred of Superman, so he helps out. And then they’re off to the races!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

The strong writing of Morrison and the great art by Janin really elevate this book, simple as that. Considering it’s only four issues long, I’m actually a little surprised at how little happens in this issue. But what does happen is really fun. It’s a couple of really strong characters engaged in a pretty entertaining back and forth, and it worked for me. Morrison clearly has a lot of fun with the foul-mouthed Manchester Black, and I liked the simple hero moment for him that caps off the issue. This is a very strong first issue based on the fundamentals alone. We get a good look at the new Superman design, we get a good sense of where he’s at and what he hopes to accomplish, and Black makes for a great first recruit.

Is Manchester Black the ultimate Grant Morrison self-insert?

So I’m hopeful that four issues is too few for Grant Morrison to go crazy like he did with The Green Lantern. I hope we get a nice, strong parable about Superman and authoritarianism, while being a fun comic book otherwise. This is real meat and potatoes comic bookery, and I like that. Very strong writing, some absolutely phenomenal art, and a unique enough story to make it neat. I have zero history with The Authority, so that part is little more than a storyline for me. And Bleeding Cool said this comic and its status quo were supposed to be part of 5G, but that doesn’t mean much either. I just enjoyed this nice, well-crafted Superman issue.

TL;DR: A very strong start, both in writing and art, for this hopefully fun little mini-series about a new take on Superman.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #2

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #2
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Bilquis Evely
Colorist: Matheus Lopes
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Two issues in and I’m not sure where exactly this comic is going.

Supergirl and Ruthye set out on their voyage across the stars in search of Krem of the Yellow Hills, who killed Ruthye’s father and has poisoned Krypton. Since they started on a planet with a red sun, Supergirl has no powers, so they book passage on some big, low budget transport ship. This issue details various encounters and moments they had stopping at various galactic rest stops and bumping into various aliens.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

Once again, the really fascinating character voice of Ruthye carries this issue. King has just tapped into a fun and slightly silly voice. It’s very haughty, but also grounded. And considering this issue is about 90% Ruthye narration, it flows nicely and I remain engaged. The story itself is fine and pretty enjoyable. Ruthye’s narration seems to keep Supergirl at arms’ length, though, so I’m not sure yet what this comic has to say about Supergirl. The two make a fun pair, and I like the comic so far, it just remains a touch nebulous. The art is phenomenal, and King comes up with all manner of fun moments to smatter throughout. So this comic is a nice little series so far. And Supergirl has yet to be revealed as a war criminal, so there’s that.

TL;DR: A unique and interesting voice carries this fine little comic along.

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 July 24, 2021, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Superman, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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