Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 9/11/21
Oh what a week, what a week. Where does one even begin? How about by just diving into some comic reviews, like Batman and a new Black Manta series? Sounds good to me!
Comic Book of the Week goes to Mighty Morphin #11 because this comic can do no wrong. Holy cow is this good drama and good storytelling!
Meanwhile, I did finally get around to watch Centaurworld on Netflix. That show was a hoot and a half! Not much else going on with me right now. I’m playing some old video games and trying to find some new, interesting shows to watch. Just livin’ that 2021 lifestyle…
Comic Reviews: Batman #112, Black Manta #1, Champions #9 and Mighty Morphin #11.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Fear State is in full effect and this issue…kinda just recaps what happened in that Alpha issue last week, with a few minor story movements.
Batman escapes the Scarecrow and gets back to the Watchtower, where Oracle and the Batgirls get him up to speed with everything he’s missed. Batman still feels the effects of Scarecrow’s new stuff, so he sets up a meeting with Ghost-Maker to get fixed. Ghost-Maker also gets him up to speed on everything with Harley, Ivy, Gardener and the Unsanity Collective. Meanwhile, Peacekeeper-01 is running wild, doped up on fear toxin and ready to kill people. So Simon Saint creates Peacekeeper-X, an off-the-books black-ops soldier to take down Peacekeeper-01.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This was another strong chapter of Tynion’s new Fear State, even though it mostly just serves to recap what we saw in that big Alpha issue last week. I feel like that was an odd choice. But how much you want to bet it was editorial’s decision to pump out that Alpha issue for some sales reason, and Tynion was forced to split these plot movements between two issues instead of just the one? Or maybe they wanted to give Jorge Jimenez a break? Anything is entirely possible. Fortunately, it doesn’t really detract from the quality of either issue. Tynion has set up a really good Scarecrow story and has a really good handle on the various players. He writes a really strong Batman as he surrounds himself with allies to see this through. And with Jimenez doing amazing work as always, this issue flows nicely and keeps setting up big, exciting pieces of the puzzle. I very much look forward to how all of this is going to play out.
TL;DR: This issue is a bit too much of a retread of last week’s Alpha issue, but there’s still enough new story — and some continually amazing artwork —to make this issue worthwhile.
Black Manta #1
Writer: Chuck Brown
Artist: Valentine de Landro
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Not many other comics this week, so I’ve decided to check out this Black Manta mini-series from DC. I think the character is cool…and that’s about it. I have zero history with the guy and no particular attachment. But a comic is a comic!
Lots of stuff going on this issue and I’m not sure I understand it all. Black Manta interrupts a boat hijacking by Captain Demo, a classic DC sea-faring rogue who uses a full-on pirate motif. Demo stole a magic rock from one of Manta’s allies, so Manta steals it back with force. Something about this rock is causing some people to have massive headaches around the globe, including Manta. He argues with his ally, Gallous the Goat, and then they head on their mission. All the while, his narration wonders what his legacy will be.
Elsewhere, some mysterious villain absorbs the power of the Human Flame to help weld a weapon, recruiting two low-level thugs to help him out. And then in the Underworld, a mysterious woman breaks out of a statue and starts fighting the demons and beasts trying to contain her.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This was a strong outing for a first issue, doing a solid job of establishing Black Manta as a character and then building up some craziness around him that’s going to lead to the actual story. I don’t think it all gels together all that well in this first issue. It feels like this would definitely be better read in the eventual collected edition. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As a first issue, everything is fine. We got some good scenes of Black Manta, establishing him both as a ruthless criminal and as someone with potentially more depth. The scene where he attacks Captain Demo is great and a lot of fun. It’s just plain nifty to think about all these super-pirates on the seven seas of the DC Universe. Likewise, the scene where he argues with Gallous the Goat works well to establish this version of Manta. He’s a strong character. Ruthless, but not so evil as to be beyond worth. I like him. As I said above, Black Manta is cool, and this issue does a solid job of establishing that fact.
Everything else in the issue is a little jarring. But such is the nature of setting up the larger story, right? The mystery man who “killed” Human Flame is quite mysterious. The mystery rock is even more mysterious. And then a woman breaking out of the Underworld is very curious. Not sure what it has to do with anything, but it’s a solid set up for whatever else is to come in this comic. I also really enjoyed the artwork. It’s not very traditional, focusing more on flats and color than on hard lines and pencils. It really works and it looks really cool. Definitely a solid choice to make this series stand out.
TL;DR: This first issue does a good job in setting up what the series is likely going to be. I think we get a good handle on Black Manta and his personality and style. Some of the story and plot elements feel a bit out of place, but I’ve no doubt they will all make sense as we move forward.
Writer: Danny Lore
Artist: Luciano Vecchio
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
I got a reader request to check out Champions last issue and I was fine with it. This was an otherwise light week, so I decided to keep going.
Viv has snuck into the Roxxon building and uncovered the “Chaperone” giant robot initiative. She’s about to be found out, but she’s saved when Kamala arrives to distract the boss. Kamala promises she wants to support Roxxon now and the boss says she’ll have to give a big speech at the next public event. At said event, Kamala gets up to give the speech and almost immediately switches gears to give her own speech, accusing Roxxon of all their bad stuff. And various reserve Champions show up in the crowd to take out the bad guys the boss was going to use to stop Kamala. Our hero makes a huge speech decrying Kamala’s Law, while the Champions also launch their own social media app.
Kamala is a hit and the law is struck down. The Champions and their allies get together to throw a party, where everybody buries their hatchets. Back at Roxxon, Andre Sims is not happy that he’s being shutdown, so he activates the Chaperone robots and sends them after the Champions.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This comic had heart and I dig that. I was really chuffed at the climax of Kamala’s speech, where she tears off the Roxxon T-shirt to reveal her own underneath declaring “I am not your law”. That was a really big hero moment pushed as hard as it needed to be pushed. And I always love reserve members of any superhero team, so having them all show up in the crowd to take out the villains with stealth was fun. This was all just a big, fun, heroic issue, as our heroes line’em up and take’em out, defeating the bad guys, striking down the law and launching their own stuff to counteract. It’s all good, warm, heroic stuff, with some really wonderful, cartoony art. There’s a lot to root for in this comic.
TL;DR: The Champions are just as heroic as they should be and everybody has a good time putting the bad guys in their place.
Mighty Morphin #11
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Marco REnna
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte, with assistance from Sara Antonellini and Katia Ranalli
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Everything is about to hit the fan, people! It’s very exciting!
The flashback confirms that Zophram is Lord Zedd, and that Zartus worked to keep him hidden from Eltar. In the present day, Billy tries to make nice with the Stone Canyon trio, but Zordon is still pissed at him and the trio are uncomfortable. Billy is also working on a secret project at Promethea. Kimberly and Matt have a confrontation at the juice bar, and she’s still mad at him, though he continues to insist that he and Grace Sterling want to protect Earth, whereas Zordon is not from here.
Zartus has a plan to attack Zedd’s palace to rescue Zelya and defeat Zedd once and for all. He introduces the Rangers to Sentry Force Four, a crew of powered Eltarian warriors. It’s a fun socializing scene, before Zartus and his people return to their ship — and are greeted by Zelya. She insists she escaped on her own…but she later attempts to kill Zartus. Zedd told her everything and let her go, just as he’d promised. Sentry Force Four are loyal to Zartus and stop Zelya’s assassination attempt.
Zartus then goes to Zordon and tells him that Zelya escaped Zedd and was sent back to Eltar to heal, though he’s clearly lying. Zartus insists both about bringing the Eltarian Guard to Earth and that Zordon should surrender the Power Coins to him, so he can put the power to better use against the Empyreals. Zordon agrees with everything Zartus proposes.
But when Zartus is gone, Zordon shares grave news with the Rangers: Zelya failed, and the Eltarian Invasion is upon them!
Comic Rating: 10/10 – Fantastic.
Oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man! Zordon knew Zartus was no good?! How did I not see that coming? I kept telling myself in the issue that Zelya should have warned somebody instead of going straight for Zartus…and then the last page reveals she did! And the stakes have never been higher! The Power Rangers do not have a full team, since Billy has been banished, and they’re not sure if they can trust the Green Ranger, and yet now they’re up against a full-on alien invasion from Zordon’s own people! How cool is this comic? Very damn cool!
Parrott has done a phenomenal job slowly building all of this great drama, weaving characters and plot together in higher and higher stakes. There are so many moving pieces and yet all of them work flawlessly to enhance the story, whether we realize it or not. Like I said, that ending scene where Zordon warns the Rangers about the invasion, it’s up to the reader to notice that the Blue Ranger is not with the group, which is built on all of the scenes and dialogue earlier in the issue explaining why. Likewise, this issue has a lot of really good scenes underlining the fear that the Rangers don’t fully trust Matt…and maybe they shouldn’t? The Green Ranger makes for an excellent wild card. This is gonna be one heck of a war!
TL;DR: The team behind BOOM! Studios’ Power Rangers comics continue to weave a glorious, multi-layered, dramatically engaging story, the likes of which few comics pull off. This issue has a million moving parts, and all of them move in the same wonderful direction to tell a great story.
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 September 11, 2021, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews and tagged Batman, Black Manta, Boom!, Champions, Fear State, Kamala Khan, Mighty Morphin, Ms. Marvel, Power Rangers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.