Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 12/4/21

Good morning, everybody! We’re two weeks away from Spider-Man: No Way Home and I just got my booster shot yesterday. Life is good, and comics are plentiful. This week sees the likes of more Amazing Spider-Man, Wonder Girl and Trial of Magneto!

Comic Book of the Week goes to Darkhawk #4 for a very nice issue that finally stops and smells the roses. Not enough comics stop to smell all the roses they themselves are planting.

The new Darkhawk will never be this popular again

Meanwhile, I finished the live action Cowboy Bebop on Netflix and I was not impressed. It was a well-made show, but I felt nothing…other than feeling like going back and checking out the original anime. But then I totally loved the second half of Masters of the Universe: Revelations! Those story twists and that grand finale were some epic stuff, and it was all really damn cool. Those 10 episodes will be quick to binge if anybody hasn’t yet.

Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #80, Darkhawk #4, Wonder Girl #5 and X-Men: Trial of Magneto #4.

Amazing Spider-Man #80

Amazing Spider-Man #80
Writer: Cody Ziglar
Artist: Michael Dowling
Colorists: Jesus Aburtov and Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Every new issue of Amazing Spider-Man is basically just me hoping for a Slingers cameo. But I guess I’m just going to have to keep waiting until January.

Kraven has drugged Spider-Man with some loopy juice, and he drops him on a Beyond Corporation oil rig. Some kidnapped scientists give Ben some pills to help block the loopy juice, and Ben fights Kraven, kicking his butt. Kraven escapes and Ben returns home, where his his girlfriend is worried and his Beyond handlers are both annoyed and worried. Meanwhile, the head of Beyond is going to issue a cease and desist to Miles Morales, and Aunt May has reached out to Otto Octavius for help with Peter’s coma.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This was another good, enjoyable Spider-Man adventure, though I’m starting to get a little worried that the main thrust of this series is going to be just that. This story is almost identical to the previous story with Morbius. Spider-Man fights a classic villain, gets really roughed up, but pulls together in the end for victory. And then Janine and the Beyond Corporation are on the side adding some color commentary. And it’s all pretty good, with strong art. It’s just not much, you know? These are like the filler issues of a classic TV show. The main, story-moving issues are being saved for later. To fill time, we’ll just have Ben fight some classic Spidey villains. So I guess that’s what we’re getting.

TL;DR: Another fine issue of Amazing Spider-Man is a bit too much like previous issues of this same storyline. It’s like a filler issue, just sending Spidey up against a classic villain while we wait for the actual story-moving issues to come later.

Darkhawk #4

Darkhawk #4
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Juanan Ramirez
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

I imagine I’m very shallow when it comes to enjoying comics. Give me exactly what I want and I’ll probably really enjoy the comic — like this new issue of Darkhawk.

Miles Morales (as Spider-Man) has saved Darkhawk from the drink and brings him somewhere to talk. Connor transforms out of the suit and they have a nice chat, including visiting a nearby diner. Connor explains a lot of what’s going on, including telling Spidey about his MS. Miles is a good coach and they have a really nice talk. Then Miles invites Captain America to join them, because Cap has been investigating an A.I.M. ring that links in with the bad guys that Connor is chasing.

The three heroes head to a nearby warehouse and bust shop. Afterwards, Spidey and Connor part on good terms. But the villainous Cole is still active, and he’s turning local hoodlum Shawn into his next robo-villain!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

If you ever read one of my reviews and see me complaining that a story never stops to smell the roses, this is exactly what I’m talking about. We get an issue where Connor finally has a chance to sit down with someone and actually talk about what’s been happening to him. And it’s a really nice chat between Connor and Miles, with the later now relying on a lot of his own superhero experience to help this bewildered new guy. I loved it. This was a well-written conversation that worked for both characters and really helped to flesh out Connor even more, putting him firmly in the Marvel Universe and the world of superheroes. This comic definitely needed something like that.

Captain America showing up might be a bit too much — and it was spoiled on the cover — but it all still works. The only nitpick I have is that neither Spidey or Cap seems all that worried about Chris Powell. Both of them reference their knowledge of the old Darkhawk in this issue, limited as it may be, but neither of them seem at all concerned that something might have happened to him to lead to this new kid showing up with the Darkhawk armor.

Kids. To. Day.

I realize Captain America can’t be worrying about every C-lister who’s ever punched a mugger in a New York City alley, but you’re not even going to at least ask Connor about what might have happened? Not that Connor knows, but still. They could’ve asked. Miles seems to ready and eager to offer advice to a new superhero while apparently glossing over the fact that you can befall whatever fate has apparently befallen Chris Powell.

TL;DR: This issue finally slows things down enough for its new main character to actually reflect on what’s been happening to him and how he might fit into the wider Marvel Universe. I love that sort of conversation and I think it went really well.

Wonder Girl #5

Wonder Girl #5
Writer: Joelle Jones
Artist: Adriana Melo
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Pat Brosseau

My time with Wonder Girl is probably at an end. This issue lacked all of the individual things I have disliked about this comic, and I still couldn’t work up too much interest.

Yara Flor is hesitant to drink the Ambrosia, and stalls for time enough to annoy Hera to the point that Hera admits her entire plan of turning Yara into her servant. So Yara dumps the stuff and goes on a rampage across Mount Olympus. In said rampage, her Pegasus is killed and her sword is broken, then Hera and Hephaestus send her tumbling down below.

Meanwhile, Hermes has filled Cassie Sandsmark in on the Olympus goings on. Then Cassie chats with Potira and learns about the third tribe of Amazons: the Esquecida. Potira takes Cassie to their home, the city Akahim, where they are preparing for war against Themyscira. And they have Donna Troy on their side!

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

This issue rates higher than a bland 5/10 because of the artwork. Melo gets the full issue this time and does a phenomenal job. This is a gorgeous book, whether drawn by Jones herself or with Melo as back-up. So at least Wonder Girl has that going for it. But the story and character just aren’t working for me — and the actual interesting parts of this issue have nothing to do with Yara Flor. I didn’t care for the opening scene. Yara obviously doesn’t want to drink the ambrosia, but why would Hera just come out and reveal her evil intentions for Yara? Then Yara goes on a rampage against conveniently robot soldiers. I also, oddly enough, don’t like Jerry her pet Pegasus. All I can think of is Horse from Marvel’s Valkyrie comic, who is also a Pegasus partner to a warrior woman superhero. But Horse could speak and had a great personality. Jerry is silent, and the comic is leaning very heavily into him just being neat as being his entire character, along with Jara naming a Pegasus something as plain as “Jerry”. The humor did not work on me.

Cassie might be MVP

The only thing I really enjoyed about this issue was everything we learned about the Esquecida, but that was a Cassie Sandsmark story. I liked this young white girl being very excited about meeting and interacting with a new tribe of Amazons in the Rain Forest, and them being welcoming to her. I liked the idea of an upcoming clash between this tribe and Themyscira, built out of the arrival of Yara Flor and her powers. And I liked the reveal that Donna Troy was involved. I’m enjoying this use of the greater Wonder Woman mythology…and none of it has anything to do — at least not yet — with Yara Flor the character. It’s a weird choice and it doesn’t work for me.

TL;DR: The artwork saves this otherwise bland issue. I’m just not vibing with anything being done with the Yara Flor character. The best parts of this issue barely include the idea of her.

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #4

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #4
Writer: Leah Williams
Artists: Lucas Werneck and David Messina
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Magneto isn’t really on trial, and Scarlet Witch’s death is far from permanent, so I’m not very sure what any of this is about. I think Leah Williams had a neat pitch for an X-Factor story, then Marvel editorial wanted to bump it up into an event, and then it just didn’t work.

The X-Men and Avengers are working together to fight some giant monsters on Krakoa. Simultaneously, Billy and Tommy take their resurrected mom off to the side and yell at her about being crazy. Also simultaneously, Wanda’s real soul is on some astral plane fighting with a future version of herself, who is telling Wanda to let go of all her guilt and whatnot. Eventually, all three Wandas (old version, soul version and resurrected body version) come together and help everybody defeat the monsters, then they come together into one form that therefore amounts to Scarlet Witch being normal and alive again.

Everybody is happen that she’s back, except for the general population of Krakoa, who are still mad at Wanda. But she tells them all that she knows who attacked her.

Comic Rating: 3/10 – Bad.

This comic really doesn’t matter anymore. And if the final issue comes along and hasn’t reverted Wanda and Pietro back to being mutants, then what was the point of any of this? Trial of Magneto feels like a comic meant to just be churned out to fix a continuity problem. The only thing it’s really accomplished is bringing Wanda back from the dead…but her death is the inciting incident of this comic! So why kill her at all? It’s not like Scarlet Witch was the subject of anything too crazy. I don’t really know her status quo before this series, but I don’t think it was so damaged that she needed to be killed and resurrected like some kind of slate cleaning. So everything to do with Wanda in this issue just didn’t work for me. She’s on three different levels, and none of them feel grounded. She’s got her kids shouting at her, but they’re shouting at a Wanda body that was resurrected with a mind from before they were born. What does yelling at her accomplish? And then having Wanda’s psyche manifest as a bunch of random giant monsters just doesn’t work on any level. Nothing in this comic really works on any level.

Unless we get that mutant retcon in the end. Then I’ll feel a bit rosier about this comic as a whole. Or maybe the whodunnit will be so mind-blowing that it’ll make all this worthwhile. I still say the culprit is Toad…but if it is Toad, it won’t have been worth it.

TL;DR: Unless the upcoming final issue has some major reveals or retcons in store, nothing else about Trial of Magneto has been worth the price of admission.

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 December 4, 2021, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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