Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/27/21

Happy American Thanksgiving, everyone! I thought there’d be less comics this week, but nope, a full load! And while last week was everything but Marvel Comics, this week is only Marvel Comics! Such is what happens when I haphazardly read random comics from a variety of sources. So we’ve got a new issue of X-Men and a new Kate Bishop comic!

Comic Book of the Week goes to Thor #19 for another fun issue setting up a new, hopefully fun story. The lack of Throg, however, is very disappointing.

Not even breaketh a sweat

Meanwhile, speaking of Kate Bishop, I very much enjoyed the first two episodes of the Hawkeye TV show. I thought her character was great, and makes for a nice team with Clint Barton. That should be a fun show. The first few episodes of Netflix’s live action Cowboy Bebop have also been fun. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for TV shows right now! So many things to watch!

Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #79, Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1, Thor #13 and X-Men #5.

Amazing Spider-Man #79

Amazing Spider-Man #79
Writer: Cody Ziglar
Artist: Michael Dowling
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

First Morbius and now Kraven? But his supposed movie isn’t due to come out for years…

Ben Reilly pays a visit to Peter Parker in the hospital, and unloads on him about his hesitation about working for/with Beyond. Has Ben made the right choice? Then he gets called back into duty to stop an armed car heist. Then one of the Beyond board members has notified security about a possible break-in at his penthouse apartment. Ben is sent to investigate and finds the guy dead — it’s a trap from Kraven the Hunter! The two fight until Ben is doped up on Kraven’s nerve toxin, causing him to hallucinate.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

Good, solid, enjoyable Spider-Man comics. The focus is on Ben Reilly and his headspace, and I like that sort of thing. This issue doesn’t go anywhere or do anything crazy. Just some solid Ben character stuff and some more reinforcement of the status quo. Ben butts heads with his Beyond handler, and Peter remains unchanged at the hospital. Heh. I really can’t think of anything more to say in this review. Ziglar has as good a handle on Ben Reilly as the other writers, and Dowling’s artwork is pretty great. He does one really amazing double-page spread of Spider-Man stopping an armed car. It’s wonderful. But there’s nothing overly new or exciting about this issue. It’s a lot more of the same we’ve been getting, which has been just generally good. And Kraven’s arrival is pretty much equal of Morbius’ random arrival only two issues ago. Just two classic villains showing up and getting into a fight with Spidey. Seems fine.

TL;DR: Pretty solid and enjoyable continuation of everything that’s been happening so far.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1
Writer: Marieke Nijkamp
Artist: Enid Balam
Inker: Oren Junior
Colorist: Brittany Peer
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

I like Kate Bishop, and having a new comic come out to coincide with the Hawkeye TV show sounds like a good excuse to me to pick it up and check it out.

Kate Bishop is leaving Los Angeles to return to New York City, though she’s hesitant to change all of the personal progress she’s made. So she decides to take a detour and answers a fancy invitation to a mansion in the Hamptons that feels like a trap. Once she and Lucky arrive, Kate learns that the invitation was sent by her disapproving sister, who says she needs Kate’s help as an investigator to find out what happened to her missing ring and what sort of trouble is going on at this mansion. Because obviously something sinister is going on.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

I am not familiar with Marieke Nijkamp, and I think this first issue is a good but shaky start to their first mainstream superhero comics work. They’ve got a really solid handle on Kate Bishop, I feel. She’s very fun in this first issue, and establishing the fun energy of Kate Bishop is important when giving her a new comic. Nijkamp does a fine job writing Kate and introducing us to a new mystery for her to solve. I just got the general feeling that the scripting isn’t as tight or as sharp as it could be. The art, likewise, feels a little loosey goosey. But maybe that’s just me. The issue and the art don’t feel rushed. Just feels like some creators at the start of their mainstream superhero comics careers. I look forward to seeing more work from both of them.

Kids today always on their cell phones

Like I said, this is a solid introduction to Kate’s new story. We get a lot of flavor with our main character, which is what you want with Kate Bishop. The mystery and especially the setting are handled very well. Balam goes above and beyond with at least one double-page spread that’s an entire layout of the mansion, with dozens of tiny people engaged in a variety of activities. That is some definite impressive work.

TL;DR: This new series is off to a good, if slightly shaky start. Character work is strong and the new story has simple potential, but the issue is not as tight as it could be.

Thor #19

Thor #19
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Nic Klein
Colorist: Matt Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

Sadly, this issue contains no appearance of Throg, the Frog of Thunder. What the heck?!

Mjolnir has been stolen and Thor is really grouchy about it. He’s been reading the Book of Kings, and it foretells of a great storm that will be started by Mjolnir, and its wielder will kill the Golden King of Asgard. So Thor is pretty desperate to find his hammer. He goes and frees Odin from the fighting arena, and together they go to Nidavellir to check with the dwarves — only to find the hall broken open, the forge shattered and all the dwarves killed, by whoever now wields Mjolnir.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This issue is some really enjoyable set up for the new storyline. Granted, I’ve been trick by this sort of thing in the past. Cates has some great set-ups, but the ending/follow-through never seems to work for me. But I’m going to get my hopes up regardless, because I have the memory of a fish and just want to read enjoyable comics like this. Cates does a fine job with a grouchy Thor and especially with setting up the danger of what’s to come. A mysterious villain called the “God of Hammers” using Mjolnir to do great evil? If we can ignore the obvious MCU reference, this sounds like a good Thor story to me.

Thor is a jerk

Throw in yet another team up with Odin and some great Nic Klein art, and you’ve got a very good comic. Though a couple of quick nitpicks. One, if you keep using Odin in every single storyline, then we’re never going to miss him. What’s the point of him constantly going elsewhere if he’s just going to be dragged back into service in the very next storyline? And two, Sif points out quite clearly that Odin has kingly things to do, and he has a Master of War for missions exactly like this one. So why not embrace the bureaucracy of Thor as king? Obviously we know why. And obviously not every comic can be about Beta Ray Bill going on these adventures while Thor sits on his throne handling kingly matters. But oh what a comic that would be!

Probably not the sort of comic that actually sells, though. C’est la vie.

TL;DR: Another excellent start to a Donny Cates Thor story. And just like every other time, I’m gonna get my hopes up for this one.

X-Men #5

X-Men #5
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Javier Pina and Ze Carlos
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Another new issue, another one I wasn’t all that impressed with. More power to Duggan to try and get Polaris to work as a character at least.

The majority of the book is a simple look at Polaris as she goes through a couple of things. She helps contain some damage at a nuclear power plant. She stands alone in a fight against the Reavers, using her powers to puppet Wolverine’s unconscious body. And she’s written as sort of melancholy about becoming an X-Man, and we see a scene from the Hellfire Gala nominations in which Jean nudged Lorna’s mind to volunteer. Lorna confronts Jean about that moment, and Jean reveals that she was able to read Lorna’s mind and knew that Lorna’s first instinct was to want to join the team, but Loran convinced herself against it…so Jean’s manipulation was all about reinforcing Lorna’s initial desire.

Meanwhile, Ben Urich confronts Cyclops with his upcoming news story about mutant resurrection, and he gives Cyke some time to respond.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

I don’t think Duggan did a very good job establishing anything concrete about Polaris. I thought he was going somewhere with Lorna being melancholy and perhaps Jean changing her mind to join the X-Men, but nope, that was revealed as Lorna’s idea all along. The rest of the Lorna scenes are still more of just her being a generic person. Her fight against the Reavers also didn’t work for me. So the Reavers are powerful enough to take out all but one of the X-Men, and somehow Lorna is able to defeat them by swinging Wolverine’s body around? That doesn’t feel, to me, like an effective way to use Wolverine. Also, Lorna then takes the sunglasses off one of the Reavers because hers got destroyed…ew. You don’t know where those sunglasses have been, Lorna.

They actually call her Doctor Polaris in this issue, just like the DC villain

Also, this Ben Urich story just doesn’t work for me. Overall, the idea works just fine. The mutants have invented true resurrection and that’s pretty big worldwide news. It’s the how of Ben Urich’s work that isn’t working for me. He knows Jumbo Carnation is alive again, he knows Cyclops is alive again following a space mission, and he knows that a grave labeled “Nathan Summers” is empty. And through that, he’s decided mutants have solved death? Even though nearly every major superhero Ben Urich writes about has died and come back from the dead at some point, some multiple times? It just feels like a big stretch that this is how Ben Urich, of all people, is uncovering that mutants have this resurrection system. It’s not like the mutants have been hiding how many of them are now back from the dead. And yet only little old Ben Urich notices?

TL;DR: Try as he might, Duggan can’t seem to find any solid ground for Polaris as a character.

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 27, 2021, in Comics, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. That Nic Klein artwork is terrific. Now I have to go and find the comic.

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