Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/20/21

Comic books, comic books, we all love comic books! Good week of good, ground-breaking comics this week. And surprisingly, no Marvel comics on my pile! Just some quality DC, like Nightwing and Son of Kal-El, and then some quality Power Rangers.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Batman #117 for a fantastic conclusion to Fear State! All of the characters have strong moments, and I really enjoyed the very finale of the story. This Batman run ends on a definite high note for me.

Be warned, this is the smooching review post

Meanwhile, against all odds, I’m watching Hit-Monkey on Hulu! I didn’t even realize this show actually got made until that first trailer came out a month ago. I thought for sure it had fallen by the wayside, like that Tigra/Dazzler cartoon. But Hit-Monkey is actually really fun. Definitely recommended.

Comic Reviews: Batman #117, Nightwing #86, Power Rangers #13 and Superman: Son of Kal-El #5.

Batman #117

Batman #117
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Fear State sticks the landing with another excellent issue and we bid a fond farewell to James Tynion’s run on the Caped Crusader.

Batman battles Peacekeeper in a truly brutal fight, while Miracle Molly works to disarm the Scarecrow’s fear bomb. Batman gives Peacekeeper a lesson in how selfish he’s always been, and whoops the bad guy’s butt using his own utility belt as added padding on his fist for more epic punches. When Peacekeeper is down, Batman turns to Molly, who reveals that she has rewired the bomb to fulfill the Unsanity Collective’s original goal: erasing people’s trauma. Batman gives Molly access to his cowl feed to see that she doesn’t need to do this.

Molly sees news reports on how the Bat-Family has taken down Simon Saint and he’s been arrested. And Queen Ivy has been recombined with the extra Ivy, and together they give Harley Quinn a big smooch and use plants and pheromones to keep Gotham City and its people from going crazy. The Bat Signal and hope are shining again.

Batman takes off his mask and tells Molly that people are inherently good. And while he can never be entirely sure that he’s right, he chooses to believe. A tearful Molly puts down the detonator and hugs him. She wants to believe as well.

Comic Rating: 10/10 – Fantastic.

Maybe I’m rating this a little too high, but I feel like being generous. I have enjoyed Fear State as its barreled along, and I really enjoy this final issue. Specifically, I loved the moments between Batman and Miracle Molly. Obviously this isn’t the first time Batman has talked down a villain, and it’s not even the best time, I’m sure. But it’s very effective in the moment, and that’s what matters most. Tynion did a great job setting up her character, and her look is still really neat. Then everything we’ve seen so far builds to this very intimate, very personal moment between Bruce Wayne and a wayward youth of Gotham City. He pulls off the mask and speaks to her person-to-person. I thought it was a very effective and very meaningful ending to this crazy story. It worked for me.

Miracle Molly for Robin

Apologies for being mean, but I don’t think Fear State is going to go down as one of the all-time great Batman stories. It does not transcend itself. But it’s still an enjoyable Batman tale. There’s a classic bad guy, there are new bad guys, there’s a big danger to everything, and there’s plenty of Bat-Family to also enjoy. This story had a whole lot of everything, and was drawn with absolutely perfect at by Jorge Jimenez. I mean, jeez louise, why isn’t this guy regarded as the next Jim Lee yet? I hope Jimenez sticks around in comics for a long time, his work was just wonderful and really elevated everything it touched.

And any comic that reunites Harley and Ivy in romance is a good comic to me.

TL;DR: Fear State comes to a big, fun conclusion with some really nice character moments that sold the whole thing for me.

Nightwing #86

Nightwing #86
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Now that the crossover is over, here’s looking forward to Taylor getting back to doing his own Nightwing thing!

The Clocktower has blown up and Nightwing, Robin and Batgirl rush to dig through the rubble to try and save Spoiler and Batgirl — but they’re fine. They evacuated in plenty of time. The heroes reunite and then steal some Magistrate armor to fly up to the Airbase and invade. They rescue some kids, beat up Simon Saint and take control of the ship, eventually crashing it into Gotham Harbor. But Seer got away and Barbara is determined to track her down and stop her for good!

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

I am a sucker for good Bat-Family comics, and this issue of Nightwing is a really fun family affair. Part of me worries that there are too many members of the Bat-Family these days, but Taylor makes them all work and I had a blast. He’s also one of the writers willing to refer to Tim Drake as just “Robin” these days, and I will always enjoy that. But I digress. Taylor does a phenomenal job leaning into the heart and warmth of the Bat-Family while they help one another and kick bad guy butt. His banter between the family is absolutely perfect and could stand to be a comic all its own.

There’s even talk of smooching

If I can be a little nitpicky, I think Seer doesn’t fit as a villain in Fear State. I read all of James Tynion’s Magistrate stuff and it’s weird to think there was some secret hacker who knows all of the Bat-Family’s secrets working alongside Simon Saint this whole time. It stretches credulity. But I guess they just needed to set this villain up to be an enemy in the new Batgirls comic, which I will likely be checking out. So I can forgive it. The story just works better if the Family is fighting the Magistrate in general. And while Batman was off taking down Peacekeeper-01, the Bat-Family was taking over the entire airship and arresting Simon Saint. They get stuff done!

TL;DR: The charm and heart in the Bat-Family under Taylor’s pen is a joy to behold.

Power Rangers #13

Power Rangers #13
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Francesco Mortarino
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer; Ed Dukeshire

The Omega Rangers — including the new Omega Blue — join the Eltarian War!

The new Blue Ranger rescues the Omega Rangers and brings them back to Safehaven, where they are finally able to receive the calls for help from the Power Rangers on Earth. The Omegas arrive to a pitched battle as the Power Rangers, along with the new Green Ranger, try to defend Promethea from an Eltarian army. Our heroes fight bad guys and banter among themselves, including having Matt reveal to the Omegas that he’s the new Green Ranger. But eventually Zartus brings in the Empyreals and that’s just the end of it. They blow up Promethea, they blow up Zedd’s palace on the moon, and we see only Jason, Rocky, Adam, Kimberly and Yale actively escape and teleport off-planet. They’re able to save Billy, Alpha, the remains of Zordon and Zedd’s henchmen in the Command Center before it too is destroyed by an Empyreal. Zartus has won.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

Joy is joy is joy. I have made it crystal clear how much I love Ryan Parrott’s Power Rangers comics, and Eltarian War is a storyline I can definitely get behind! I wasn’t a super huge fan of Shattered Grid. It was a fine event, but I don’t really know any Power Rangers beyond the Mighty Morphin era, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. But Eltarian War is very grounded, very real and very Earth-based, with the Rangers and their allies fighting to defend the world from a really cool alien invasion. Parrott has done such a great job fleshing out Zordon’s backstory and homeworld, creating a very strong, very cool foundation for this big event. All of the characters feel like they have something special going on and I can’t wait to see everything that happens. Heck, I was taken by surprise in the reveal that obviously Zack and the others don’t know that their friend Matt is now the Green Ranger!

Sadly, no smooching in Power Rangers

That was super fun! And this issue is filled with a ton of great character moments. And, obviously, the action was second to none. So much cool fighting, so much focused action; it’s amazing that Mortarino can keep up, but the dude is a total pro. Everything looks great and none of it gets lost in the mess. And then we build to a big All Is Lost moment, as the Empyreals show up on Earth and just wreck house. It’s nice of them not to simply destroy the planet entirely, but taking out Promethea, the Command Center and Zedd’s Palace in one fell swoop is about as serious and dire as these stories can get. Couple that with only a handful of Rangers accounted for as they make some last, desperate escapes, and this issue really kicked a bunch of stuff up a notch!

Also, as always, give me Omega Pink, you coward.

TL;DR: The Omega Rangers make a real impact on The Eltarian War and I couldn’t be more excited for this Big Event.

Superman: Son of Kal-El #5

Superman: Son of Kal-El #5
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: John Timms
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

This is it, folks! The big issue that caused all that stir! Jon Kent is bisexual and that’s just the way it is. Should anyone still be wondering, I am 110% fine with this and look forward to more of Tom Taylor’s story.

Superman has been blasted by a localized solar flare, pushing his powers to the maximum. He can hear everybody in the world. The villain, Bendix, thinks this will hamper Superman, but all it means is that Jon Kent pushes himself to the limit as he races around the entire world saving everyone he can, from a flood in Luxembourg to a lost little girl in Costa Rica to some kidnapped journalists in Zambesi. As he nears the end of his rescue rodeo, Superman begins to get tired, and his new friends come and collect him. The solar flare is wearing off and he used up so much energy that he’s actually tired, because Jon is half-human, after all. He crashes on Jay’s couch.

When he wakes up, the two share a moment and a smooch. Then Jon has to rush off to stop an armed robbery.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

And it’s all good. This is a fine issue, and actually a lot of fun outside of the kiss. As I’ve mentioned before in reviews, I’m not a fan of new characters who clearly only exist to be love interests. I like to be wooed, and perhaps even surprised. So I’m not entirely on board with Jay and Jon just yet. Jay has some other plot elements around him that could be put to good use, and Taylor clearly plans to do that. I’m just not as personally invested in the two of them smooching just yet. Fortunately, that was only one small part of an otherwise wonderful issue of Superman being awesome. I love the premise of this issue and every step along the process. The bad guy hits Superman with an overdose of solar energy, pushing his powers to the max. But rather than give in to the pain, Superman uses his max powers to travel around the entire world and commit a bunch of acts of awesome heroism!

Everybody be smooching, smooching U.S.A.

It was just plain cool. Sometimes Superman’s status as a down-to-Earth hero can get lost in all the big stuff. But nope, sometimes he flies out to Costa Rica to help rescue a lost little girl. I loved that part of the issue. Then it all ends with Superman getting tired, something that doesn’t happen to Superman…but Jon is half human, and I hope Taylor has a lot of neat ideas of how to use that to his character’s storytelling advantage. I like the world Taylor is building around Jon and I hope he gets time to explore everything and build it up even more. I also hope he does more to flesh out Jay and this potential relationship with Jon. I’m all for seeing it develop, I’m just not sold on it yet. And, as always, maybe that’s just me.

TL;DR: The smooch heard ’round the world is not yet best part of this really enjoyable comic about Superman being the best Superman he can.

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 November 20, 2021, in Batman, Comics, DC, Reviews, Robin, Superman and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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