Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 9/25/21

Happy vacation, everybody! Vacation for me, that is. I’m finally taking a week off from work for the first time this year, and oh man, I needed it. I need a week to just relax and do not much of anything. Thankfully, I’ve got the likes of Batman, X-Men and X-Corp to kick it off.

Comic Book of the Week goes to X-Men: Onslaught Revelation for a truly excellent and exciting end to this chapter of the story. I have loved Way of X, more so than I thought I would, and the first part of Sy Spurrier’s X-Men epic has come to an exciting end!

Behold his power and weep

Meanwhile, I don’t have much planned for my vacation. Can’t exactly travel anywhere. I’ll go visit my parents, I’ve got a dentist’s appointment, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage will come out at the end of the week. That should be fun. Mostly I’ll just relax and spend some more time playing No Man’s Sky. It’s also pretty fun!

Comic Reviews: Batman #113, Nightwing #84, X-Corp #5, X-Men #3 and X-Men: Onslaught Revelation #1.

Batman #113

Batman #113
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Tomeu morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Fear State continues and Batman comics continue to be just fine!

After filling in Commissioner Montoya on everything that’s happening, Batman sits down with Ghost-Maker to take a trip into Bruce’s brain to clear out any of the Scarecrow’s brainwashing. They battle some psychic implants and clear everything out, but then Ghost-Maker reveals a memory from his own past. It just so happens that Ghost-Maker once spent a week at Gotham University learning from Jonathan Crane when Crane was just a graduate student. And it just so happens that Crane gave young Ghost-Maker the entire run-down of the Fear State idea. Together, Batman and Ghost-Maker realize that Peacekeeper-01 is the match that Scarecrow intends to use to push Gotham City over the edge.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

Honestly, this was another very good issue, but I knocked off a whole point for the flashback to Ghost-Maker and Jonathan Crane. I’ve accepted a lot of retcons when it comes to Ghost-Maker and his very existence. He’s fine. And I was more than willing to accept that Scarecrow has had this Fear State idea in his back pocket this whole time, only acting on it in this story. But now you’re telling me that Ghost-Maker randomly spent a week at Gotham University hanging out with Jonathan Crane, and in that week, Crane info-dumped the entirety of Fear State to Ghost-Maker? C’moooooon.

Other than that, this issue of Batman was as good as all the rest have been regarding this story. Tynion is doing a fine job keeping the momentum going and adding different layers to the tale. The artwork remains amazing, the character work is solid, and Fear State remains good Batman comics. There was just that one silly thing…

TL;DR: Another fine issue of Fear State, with solid writing and art; though one rather silly retcon really pushes credibility.

Nightwing #84

Nightwing #84
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Nightwing joins the Fear State! Sounds fine to me.

Nightwing gets an encrypted message from Oracle to meet in Crime Alley in Gotham City, so he packs up and heads out — but it’s an ambush by the Magistrate! Batman shows up to help fight off the Peacekeepers, but the Dynamic Duo have to make a run for it. They loose the goons in the sewers and share a nice moment together before Nightwing heads to the clock tower to check in personally with Babs. She suits up in her new Batgirl outfit to join Nightwing in taking back her Oracle system.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

One thing I will always enjoy in comics is some good Bruce/Dick bonding. And that scene where Batman swoops in to help out in a fight is a pure hoot. Taylor really leans into the Dynamic Duo and I loved it! They have a whole action scene together, and then really nice talking scene immediately after. All of that is a surefire way to make me (and probably a lot of people) love a comic. And Taylor writes them wonderfully, just as expected. The guy seems to have been born to write Dick Grayson, and he’s not afraid to team Dick up with all the awesome characters in his life.

Never gets old

Batman and Nightwing teaming up is the bulk of the issue, and like I said, it’s a hoot and easily carries the issue. I’m perfectly fine with Nightwing joining Fear State. It’s a big enough story to warrant some B plots, and Nightwing and Batgirl working together to recover the Oracle servers sounds great! If this is the level of fun and strong characterization we can expect in this crossover, then we are in very good hands.

TL;DR: As much fun as Taylor has had on Nightwing so far, he slays it with a great Nightwing and Batman team up.

X-Corp #5

X-Corp #5
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Alberto Foche
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Claytown Cowles

I believe this is the final issue of X-Corp. I don’t remember if this was meant to be an ongoing series or what. I think it was announced as five issues? I dunno. But things wrap up nicely here.

J.P. Kol, Sara St. John and the Fenris Twins have invaded X-Corp HQ and killed Multiple Man (because of course they did). They also sent in those soldiers ahead of time, who bite on some capsules and become monster men. So everybody gets into a bunch of big fights, while Trinary tries to play peacemaker and help Sara St. John. We get a lot of running around, a lot of people annoyed at the Fenris Twins, and it all leads to those twins trying to blow up the whole base — but the surviving Madrox dupes use a special technique they developed where they use their bodies to absorb explosions. The day is saved, some of the bad guys are caught, some escape. Madrox Prime is resurrected and everyone spins the attack as a positive for X-Corp. And the company finally seats their full board: Warren as Chairman, with Monet, Trinary, Mastermind and Selene.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This was a very strong final issue that wrapped everything up nicely and let X-Corp go out with a bang. Obviously I’m disappointed that in his long-awaited Krakoa-era debut, Multiple Man is yet again killed…but the issue ends with his resurrection! So that’s fine by me. We even got to see Layla Miller in the flesh, and Madrox got to go off into the sunset to spend time with his family. It’s all nice. And the issue was fun to boot. Howard expertly combined superhero action with a lot of business talk and moves, and that is exactly what I wanted from X-Corp. This wasn’t a regular superhero book, even if comics demand regular superhero action.

Layla Miller in the flesh!

I did find it rather weird that Archangel and Monet had such a hard time stopping Fenris from holding hands. Like, they manage the separate the twins on multiple occasions, and somehow they’re able to get back together and link hands and use their powers. Try a little harder, you dangerous CXOs! Still, Howard does a great job with everybody in the fights, in the big finale and in the recovery. I really enjoyed X-Corp, and not just because Multiple Man had a starring role. I think this series balanced its superheroes very well with the business talk, and I wish it could be an ongoing. It brought a different flavor to the various X-Men comics these days and it was a tasty flavor at that. I wish more superhero comics from the big two focused on these different types of stories.

TL;DR: An expert balance of superheroics and the fun, business-mind of this series. This was an excellent new flavor of X-Men comic and I think X-Corp succeeded at what it set out to do.

X-Men #3

X-Men #3
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Claytown Cowles

At three issues in, I think this X-Men comic has been the strongest Krakoa-era series of all of them. That’s a good thing.

The High Evolutionary visits the X-Men in Vietnam (of all places) and offers a special bomb that will sterilize humanity and solve that problem once and for all. Rogue is still pissed at the guy for some previous encounter and she throws the first punch, leading to a big fight with the various animal guys and the Evolutionary’s princess, Luminous. The fight rages for a lot of pages until the High Evolutionary agrees to stop for some of Synch’s blood, which he gladly gives if it’ll stop the fighting. And it does. Before he leaves, the High Evolutionary fills in the X-Men about Cordyceps Jones and Gameworld.

Elsewhere, Feilong has decided to go to Mars anyway, possibly with Orchis in his corner. And Mr. Stasis gives all the info he’s found on mutant resurrection to Ben Urich.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

A few really great character moments push this issue up a notch. Otherwise, it’s just a big fight scene against a bunch of nobodies. High Evolutionary shows up, introduces some fancy new lady fighter, and then a bunch of generic animal-men. And then the X-Men get into a fight with the lot of them. Don’t get me wrong, the issue is still written and drawn beautifully. There’s an energy and excitement to this X-Men series that permeates every page. But not even that greatness can make the X-Men fighting random animal people all that amazing. Duggan still does a phenomenal job handling each of the characters and making the different parts of the fight really stand out. And Larraz draws the hell out of it. So at least that’s nice.

That’s just cute

It’s the small character stuff that really elevates this issue. Like Synch agreeing to give up a drop of his blood to end the fight, and then Cyclops assuring him he did the right thing, and that dealing with the High Evolutionary’s follow-up attacks is all just part of the game. I also really loved a scene where Jean and Scott play psychic rock/paper/scissors to decide what to do next about their various foes. It was really cute. And small character stuff like that is what’s going to carry this series, especially when coupled to the big superhero stuff. So X-Men is handling that balance really well. But sometimes the generic fighting can weigh a bit too heavily, is all.

Also, this is just a nitpick that’s bugging me, but Ben Urich is going to have a hell of a job on his hands to distinguish Krakoan resurrections with all other types of superhero resurrections.

TL;DR: The big fight scene can drag on a bit too long against generic bad guys, but the focus on character and good moments between them really elevates this issue and this series.

Onslaught Revelation #1

X-Men: Onslaught Revelation #1
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Bob Quinn
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

I did not know that Way of X would be ending with this issue. That’s sad. But then apparently Spurrier is going to continue his story with a new series and a new team! That’s exciting!

Onslaught is making his move, and it involves invading the minds of all mutants and bringing them to the Cruci-ball, a wild dance party where everybody is going to go nuts and then kill each other at midnight. And since he’s having Xavier erase all of the back-ups, these deaths will be permanent! But Nightcrawler and his crew are on the case! Legion has intentionally created a pocket dimension in his mind where people are safe, and Kurt rescues Pixie so that she can use her psy-dagger to free people from Onslaught. Kurt also brings in Fabian Cortez and Lost and reveals what happened. Orchis had been doing tests and experiments on Lost for years, ever since Fabian caused the death of her parents with his villain activities. Orchis then got a hold of a sliver of Onslaught and put it inside Lost, buried deep with her hate. She came to Krakoa and Onslaught spread.

So Kurt gets Fabian to open up about himself and his self-hatred, why he’s always been a prick. And through this opening up, Lost forgives Fabian…and forgiving that deep-seated hate expels the original sliver of Onslaught out into the open of Legion’s mind palace. Then with help of everybody else, our heroes bring all the mutants into the mind palace, connected by Dust. And together, listening to Kurt’s preaching, the collective mutants banish Onslaught and everyone is saved!

In the wake of this victory, Legion has made his mind palace a permanent place where mutants can come and be safe and worship. Kurt has also settled on his idea: the Spark. It’s not a religion, just a way of living in concert with one another, mutants for mutants. And Kurt is going to put together a new team to support the Spark: the Legionaires.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

I don’t think I have the wherewithal to properly convey how awesome I think this comic has been, and this issue especially. As I’ve mentioned before, my all-time favorite issue of the Krakoa-era so far has been the issue of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men that introduced the Crucible and where Kurt said he wanted to start a mutant religion. That Sy Spurrier has so successfully picked up on that idea, leading to this issue, is just marvelous. I couldn’t be more pleased (unless Stacy X had a bigger role, just sayin’). This issue does a phenomenal job of carefully explaining everything that has happened, while not getting too bogged down in exposition. Spurrier uses all of the characters he’s played with so far to lay out exactly what happened and how, and then how our heroes solve the situation to the betterment of everybody. It’s clearly written, and it’s a big, exciting battle against a villainous foe. It’s great comics.

The Spark had better involve a lot of ice cream

And I believe I am happy with where things go from here. I may not fully understand “The Spark”, but I think I understand enough to like where we’ve arrived. Kurt starting his own church about mutant stuff probably would have been too rote. So this is a much better, much fuller, much more interesting idea. And I very much look forward to Kurt’s Legionaires, which I guess is going to be the next comic/chapter of Spurrier’s story? The team preview seemed to indicate that ForgetMeNot is going to be on the team. That’s awesome! And Juggernaut, which will be interesting, considering Juggernaut has previously been denied residency on Krakoa. But I suppose he can live freely in Legion’s head world.

It’s just a shame Stacy X wasn’t in that team tease…but maybe that’s just me.

TL;DR: Onslaught Revelation is big, exciting and full of great character moments and humungous ideas; and all of it is written clearly that even a dope like me can understand what’s happening.

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 September 25, 2021, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Multiple Man, Reviews, Robin, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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