Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 7/7/21
This is an interesting week in comics because I only have two to read and review! I’ve started to cut back on how many comics I read a week because sometimes I just don’t want to read everything on my plate, you know? I lost interest in the new Green Lantern series when it blew up the status quo, and I just wasn’t hooked on Crush and Lobo. But that’s perfectly fine when we’ve got new issues of Batman and X-Men!
Comic Book of the Week goes to X-Men #2 for another big screen comic book story. I like the look and feel of this comic, and I hope they can maintain and transition into more long-form enjoyment.
Meanwhile, I loved The Suicide Squad movie and will have my thoughts/review on Wednesday! I’m also loving the New Pokemon Snap free DLC and, oddly enough, I got back into playing Diablo 3 to try out some things I left undone years ago. That’s been neat.
Comic Reviews: Batman #111 and X-Men #2.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve kind of given up on Detective Comics. It just lost me is all. But I’m still enjoying Batman. I just wish this comic had a good, solid Robin…
Miracle Molly pulls some tricks out of her sleeve to escape getting shot by the Peacekeepers, but those goose-stepping thugs have the place surrounded and there’s not much escape. Thankfully, Batman, Ghost-Maker and Harley Quinn show up to fight and all hell breaks loose. Molly convinces Batman to help her evacuate her wounded and everybody jumps into Ghost-Maker’s plane. The mayor then goes on TV and declares that the Peacekeepers will now target costumed vigilantes. Peacekeeper-01 regroups with Scarecrow at Arkham, but Scarecrow turns on him and juices him with a bunch of fear chemicals. And Batman confronts Scarecrow, only to get ambushed!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This is just very good, straight forward Batman storytelling. That’s what I like about it. There’s a mix of the old, with Scarecrow, and the new, with this Peacekeepers storyline and the Unsanity Collective, and Tynion is working them all well together. It’s a big crazy mess of a situation, and Tynion keeps twisting the knife nicely. I liked the scene where Scarecrow revealed to his Peacekeeper “allies” that he was only using them and has no problem discarding them to take his plans to the next level. That was a fun twist. And I really enjoy the Unsanity Collective. This is a quality collection of characters Tynion has swirling around Batman.
The real standout of Batman right now is the art. Jimenez is doing some career-high work on this comic. It’s insane how detailed and energetic this book looks. It’s dark and gritty, while also being a wild ride of colors and madness. That is definitely keeping this comic in the upper echelon of being good comics. If I had any real complaints, it’s that this story might be getting a little long in the tooth, but that’s not too much of a problem.
TL;DR: Art, storytelling and characters come together nicely for another solid, enjoyable chapter in this ongoing Batman saga.
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
I like the big, cinematic approach to this new X-Men series so far.
The aliens on Cordyceps Jones’ space casino are still attacking Earth, and the next entrant has a bottle of Annihilation Wave that he crashes into rural Kansas. After some brief but fun downtime scenes, including Synch learning to use Jean’s telepathy, the X-Men mount up and fly out to fight an army of giant, dead, mindless Annihilation bugs. During the epic battle, where everybody gets a role, Jean finds a bug with some residual mind juice and she scans it to get info on Cordyceps Jones. Sunfire then turns up the heat and obliterates the bugs. The local townsfolk recognize the X-Men’s efforts, especially Sunfire’s, and invite them to dinner.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
Two issues in, this X-Men series is big and exciting. I like how Duggan is coming up with these done-in-one battles to keep the story moving along nicely. He’s pushing his creativity to fun levels and coming up with big, cool threats, and then big, cool responses from the X-Men. A lot of thought is clearly going into how each member of the team can contribute. I really like that. He’s got Synch using Polaris’ powers to help keep the bugs at bay, while Polaris focuses on protecting Jean to do her mind-reading thing. He’s got Sunfire using his powers to the max to get the job done. He’s got Cyclops at the center of it all, leading the team through the battle. And with Larraz going gangbusters on the big art, everything is working so wonderfully!
If I have any concern for this comic, it’s the lack of character development in favor of big spectacle…but that’s also not really a problem. This issue opens with a funny little scene where Gambit is using the Treehouse to hold poker games with local superheroes, like the Thing and Black Cat. That was funny. And there’s an extended scene between Synch and Jean as she teaches him how to use her powers, with a quick reference to everything Synch went through with Wolverine. That was good stuff. I also very much enjoyed the rural townsfolk inviting the X-Men to a BBQ after they saved the town. That was fun. These little, grounded, people-based scenes are very important to a comic like this.
Sunfire remains the character I’m most interested in. Duggan and Larraz give him a page-long moment where he examines his past and how it influenced his desire to join the new X-Men. It was solid, but it still kept Sunfire at arm’s length from really being part of the team. I will always ask for more direct character stuff, and I just have to hope it’s coming. It’s only been two issues so far.
TL;DR: The second issue of this new series further solidifies its big, bombastic approach to comic book superheroics, and I very much enjoy it.
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!