Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 8/21/21

We’re two weeks away from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Feels good to be super excited about another Marvel movie! Good thing we have plenty of interesting comics to get us through this, like Power Rangers, Nightwing and the start of the Trial of Magneto!

Comic Book of the Week goes to a truly epic Way of X #5. I already loved this book for the philosophy, and then this issue goes and delivers some truly out-of-this-world action!

It has been said

Meanwhile, I had a pretty busy week and wasn’t able to get around to all of my normal comic reviews. After two weeks of nearly bare pull lists, this week had a ton of comics! I had to skip out on Marauders, Iron Man and Supergirl this week, but I hope to get caught up and review their next issues.

Comic Reviews: Nightwing #83, Power Rangers #10, Superman and the Authority #2, Way of X #5, X-Corp #4 and X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1.

Nightwing #83

Nightwing #83
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Here’s where the big stuff happens…though I’m still not entirely sure why it needed a long lost sister added to the mix.

Blockbuster and the cops arrive at Mayor Zucco’s apartment to apprehend Nightwing. Before Dick leaves, Melinda reveals that she’s undercover to take down Blockbuster from the inside. Nightwing flees, faces off against Blockbuster and makes his getaway with the police helicopter. After sleeping for two days, Dick heads out to talk to some movers and shakers about his plans for the billions Alfred left him in his will. Dick also meets with Superman for one of their wonderful chats.

Then Dick goes before the press to announce The Alfred Pennyworth Foundation, a charitable venture that aims to erase homelessness in Bludhaven as the first step. Everybody is pleased with him, including Bruce. But Heartless obviously wants to stop him.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

The cynic in me is worried that this isn’t going to go anywhere. The Alfred Pennyworth Foundation is a great idea, and to have Dick Grayson make it happen with the money Alfred left him in his will, is also a great idea. I just know how comics work. Is this something DC is going to let exist in the long wrong? Surely Taylor already has plans for stories upon stories about what’s going to happen to Dick as he tries to help people in Bludhaven. Didn’t Barbara do similar stuff in Burnside? What ever became of that?

But that’s thinking too far ahead. This issue itself is really fun, and the big moment where Dick announces everything is great. Taylor really digs in deep with the pure joy of the Bat-Family and Dick Grayson’s world, and that stuff is like crack to me. The scene where Dick consults Superman on his plans is beautiful. Who doesn’t like a good Nightwing/Superman scene? Those two are always great together.

Why do people visit Superman in Metropolis? Imagine all the work that would go into traveling to Metropolis when Supes could just fly to them

Then we’ve got Batman calling up Dick to thank him, good stuff. Taylor and Redondo went all out in announcing and explaining The Alfred Pennyworth Foundation, and I love that stuff, so I loved this issue. And on top of it, we got a great action scene at the beginning where Nightwing took out a freakin’ helicopter! This series is damn good comics. It’s a wonderful balance of really great action, with spectacular artwork to see it through, and hugely enjoyable character moments. Taylor seems to be having a blast writing in the Bat-Family, and I’m glad I’m along for the ride.

Also, I don’t know how I feel about Babs kissing Dick. I’m not a Babs/Dick stan, and the two of them have been so back and forth over the years. But I am always up for a good romance in my comics.

TL;DR: This issue leans heavily into the sheer fun of the Bat-Family and Nightwing’s superhero friends, and I love that sort of thing. Big changes are afoot and I can only hope this series can pay them off nicely.

Power Rangers #10

Power Rangers #10
Writers: Ryan Parrott and Rachel Wagner
Artist: Moises Hidalgo
Colorist: Raul Angulo and Jose Enrique Fernandez
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

This is a tough issue to review. It’s all about the big, alien cat, Yale…but I don’t care about the alien cat. He’s been a pleasant diversion at best. But then the cliffhanger ending of this issue could change everything…

So Yale is hanging out on Safehaven being a big cat. We see a little bit of his backstory, how he was the runt of the litter and made friends with a little kid, whom he saved in the wilderness, before the Rangers found him and locked him up for being a Morphin Grid creature. Kiya let him loose, but he wanted nothing to do with her.

We see him hang out with the kids of Safehaven as they trek through the woods, and he protects them from a giant monster. This gives the little girl courage to stand up to the controlling bully and she apologizes for being mean to Yale last issue. All throughout the story, a narrator is speaking to Yale, and this narrator guides Yale at the end of the issue into a Morphin Temple…

…where Yale reaches for the Blue Omega Morpher!

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

OK, that cliffhanger definitely won me over in the end. I am very excited to get more Omega Rangers…and then Yale becoming the new Omega Blue?! I did not see that coming! I have written Yale off pretty heavily throughout this series. I honestly don’t even remember when he first showed up. This issue goes a long way to explaining his origins and pushing him up as a potential lead character. I’m just not completely sold on that happening at all. It’s nice that the Omega Rangers have a pet, but I don’t think there’s anything all that special or remarkable about Yale. He was the runt of the litter, grew up into a big cat and is smart enough to knowingly help people and kids in need. It’s fine, but he’s no Alpha-5. And as such, this issue didn’t do too much for me. It’s all pretty standard stuff, and a big cat is not capable of the human character drama that normally makes these Power Rangers comics so much fun. As much as the creative team and BOOM! love this big cat, he does nothing for me…until he’s piloting the Blue Omega Zord. Then perhaps I’ll have a change of mind.

TL;DR: It’s an issue that focuses on the team’s pet, but not in any really remarkable or interesting ways.

Superman and the Authority #2

Superman and the Authority #2
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Mikel Janin, Fico Ossio, Evan Cagle and Travel Foreman
Colorists: Jordie Bellaire, Sebastian Cheng, Dave Stewart and Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Steve Wands

This looks to be a pretty short and sweet comic, and I’m totally down with that.

Superman and Manchester Black recruit their new team members, each of whom gets a fun little story of their own. There’s Natasha Irons, Apollo and Midnighter, and June Moone, the Enchantress. Each story gets its own art team, and all of them are pure Morrison delight. Natasha takes on “sentient wifi” and has to battle physical manifestations of internet trolls, edgelords and more. It’s good stuff. The other stories are fun, too.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Very strong writing and some great art all around make this another fun issue. I don’t know what sort of story we’re going to get in only 4 issues if the first two are spent putting the team together, but I don’t care. This is Grant Morrison and a couple of superstar artists telling fun little stories with some random character choices. I especially enjoyed Natasha’s story, as Morrison put her through some silly internet jokes. And Apollo and Midnighter had some especially fun dialogue as they took down some bad guys while having a little lover’s quarrel on the side. It was super fun. And then the Enchantress got a suitably spooky story. All of it surrounded by more fun character interactions between Superman and Manchester Black as they welcome their recruits to the team. This is just an all-around solid issue of team building.

TL;DR: I enjoy a reigned in Grant Morrison, and this issue is chockablock full of fun little Morrison stories as he explores some fun characters.

Way of X #5

Way of X #5
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Bob Quinn
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Oh baby, this is what I’m talking about! Way of X’s first storyline comes to a close and it’s a whopper, people!

After the Xorns wiped out the bar to stop Onslaught’s attack last issue, Professor X and the others are resurrected and Xavier goes to confront Legion — who is on Mars trying to do something secret, while also trying to talk to Kurt about how Legion has been looking at things all wrong. Kurt, meanwhile, is trying to force Fabian Cortez and Lost to make amends, but they just want to fight each other. As the pressure keeps mounting, Kurt teleports himself, Fabian and Lost to low orbit and they all start falling. Kurt wants Fabian to boost Lost’s gravitational powers and save them all, because teamwork makes the dream work. Instead, Onslaught invades Fabian’s mind and causes him to overpower Lost, killing her.

The over-boost to Lost’s gravitational powers causes her to pull Mars’ moon, Phobos, out of orbit. It’s going to impact the planet and kill millions. It’s at this time that Legion also realizes that Onslaught is gaining power to “eating” the memories that get lost between when a mutant’s mind is last backed up and when they get resurrected. Kurt realizes what he needs to do to save the day. He has Fabian boost his teleportation powers beyond their limit. In this moment, Kurt sees what needs to be done to save everyone and flourish…but he’s going to lose these memories when he stops Phobos. So he tells Fabian Cortez a code phrase to pass along to the resurrected Kurt.

Nightcrawler then grabs onto Phobos, the moon of Mars, and teleports it back into place! Jeez louise, people.

A short time later, Kurt is resurrected, but he can’t remember anything that happened on Mars. He seeks out Fabian Cortez, and Xavier reveals that something seems to have shut down Fabian’s brain. They will likely need to just euthanize and resurrect him. But since Fabian was recently fired, and is quite the malcontent, Xavier figures he’ll be low on the resurrection list for the time being. You just can’t save everyone…

Comic Rating: 10/10 – Fantastic.

Sweet jeebus! Nightcrawler boosting his powers beyond the max so that he can teleport a moon back into orbit is exactly why I read comics. That may have been the biggest and coolest thing I’ve seen since the start of the Krakoa era. And it was handled beautifully! Spurrier has been putting the pieces into place to build to this moment for several issues now. We needed Lost. We needed Fabian Cortez and his inferiority complex. We needed Nightcrawler’s patience pushed to the breaking point. It built wonderfully and was then executed flawlessly, a heroic act worthy of anything great any individual X-Man has ever done.

Wagner-brand therapy

And it’s only part of this already amazing comic. I can’t believe I was ever hesitant about what Way of X might be about. Spurrier is delivering world-class comic book excitement and drama with this series. I love how he weaves his various stories together and continues to build his characters against the obstacles they face. I love the drama of Kurt making his decision and then entrusting Fabian Cortez to be the lynchpin…only to then have that fall away in a perfectly predictable manner. Kurt had already threatened to put a dead Fabian at the back of the resurrection queue, so to see it happen completely unintentionally, and against Kurt’s best intentions, is such sweet icing on this cake.

Onslaught’s power is slowly building as pieces either fall into place or fall off the board entirely. And it’s just so much fun to read!

TL;DR: The character drama and comic book excitement are second to none in this issue, featuring one of the biggest and coolest moments in the Krakoa-era.

X-Corp #4

X-Corp #4
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Alberto Foche
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

For the first time, X-Corp continues a storyline from the previous issue, and it’s quite nice.

The public launch of the Ionospheric Bandwidth Generator is a disaster…or it would be, if Mastermind didn’t show up and make it look like a huge success. While he puts on a show, everybody else figures out that Kol and Noblesse sent some goons into the HQ to stop the launch. Selene also showed up to help, and she managed to stop Kol’s plan from coming to fruition, and she saved Monet. X-Corp hold a board meeting to discuss what to do about Kol and Monet and Selene propose buying his company out from under him, by pressuring the lower board members to sell their shares. Warren is the only one opposed, though Monet and Selene reveal they already did it that morning.

Tired of all these attitudes, Warren invites Monet into a fistfight in the executive lounge/Danger Room to work out their issues. While they fight, they see that Kol and his goons have invaded HQ, planning to do a “hostile takeover” quite literally. X-Corp starts scrambling…and Kol shoots Multiple Man.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

Stop killing Multiple Man! I don’t know if he’s actually dead, as it seems he was only shot in the chest. But still! C’mon! We’re only four issues into his return and he’s already been shot. I only just got him back! But I digress. This was another fine issue of X-Corp, and I still love their focus on business. It’s exactly what I wanted from this series, and it’s exactly what I’m getting. I loved Mastermind stepping up and saving the day with the launch failure. Great use of the character. I loved the reveal of Selene sliding in and fixing all of the other problems, though I’m still not convinced that had to be Selene. Especially in this issue, she seems like just another Monet.

I demand more board meetings!

I loved jump-cutting right to the board meeting on Monday as the team held an actual business meeting. It’s fun stuff. It’s unique stuff. Of course, everything then devolved into fighting, whether it was Warren vs. Monet or the bad guys grabbing guns and simply invading the HQ. But I am perfectly fine with the balance of business and battles in this comic. It’s still a superhero comic, and that stuff still matters. I am really enjoying this very specific, very unique series, even if they’re also in the business of killing Multiple Man yet again.

TL;DR: This issue finally digs deep into everything this series can be, from cutthroat business maneuvers to team board meetings to some great inter-character drama. X-Corp has a very specific reality and this issue brings it alive.

Trial of Magneto #1

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Lucas Werneck
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

It’s a shame Marvel canceled X-Factor so that Leah Williams could write this mini-series, but this is a damn good mini-series so far.

X-Factor investigates the murder of the Scarlet Witch following the Hellfire Gala, with a couple pages of deeply scientific forensic investigation. They come to the conclusion that someone with magnetic powers killed her. Meanwhile, Magneto is causing a big fuss at the Quiet Council as everybody outvotes him to not resurrect Wanda. Magneto storms out and is stopped by X-Factor, X-Force and the X-Men, leading to a big fight. Magneto is eventually brought down by an outraged Quicksilver.

The Avengers are informed. Speed grieves. Some old Brotherhood members drink to Wanda’s memory at the bar. Wanda’s body disappears. And we see her stuck somewhere between life and death going through some kind of mysterious transformation.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

I loved the emotion in this issue. Williams really digs in deep and goes wild exploring these characters and their reactions to Wanda’s murder. Magneto, especially, comes off really well. He’s passionate in the Quiet Council, he’s bitter when they reject him, and then he’s powerful when the X-Men confront him. And then we get a good, old-fashioned fight between Magneto and the X-Men! When was the last time we had one of those? Williams and Werneck go all out and I loved it. I especially loved how it ended with the arrival of Quicksilver, getting him into the story nice and early. This first chapter was firing on all cylinders to deliver us some really great character stuff right up front, and I loved it.

This takes me back

The mystery itself is also good. There’s already one clue out there in the world: the time of Wanda’s death, according to this issue, does not match up with Wanda’s visit with Magneto at the end of the Hellfire Gala. So that is very curious. And obviously Wanda is not really dead. I am 100% on board if Marvel wants to use this story to return Wanda and Pietro to both being mutants and being Magneto’s children. By all means, retcon that back! But for now, it’s a good start to a good mystery.

After this first issue, I think Toad is the culprit based on his outburst at the bar.

TL;DR: The emotion and action on display in this first issue really raise the stakes for this event. This issue has the first big Magneto vs. X-Men fight in a long time, and it felt really cool to see everyone, especially the creative team, go all out.

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 August 21, 2021, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Multiple Man, Reviews, Superman, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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