Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 12/25/21

Merry Christmas, everybody! It’s that magical sort of year when Christmas falls on a Saturday, coinciding with my comic book reviews! If you’re reading this on Christmas Day, more power to you! We had some nice comics this week, though everything is overshadowed by the stellar artistic achievements of the new issue of Nightwing.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Nightwing #87 for an artistic achievement that will hopefully go down in legend.

Behold this thing of sheer beauty

Meanwhile, I loved the Hawkeye finale and will have a review up one of these days. It was quite joyous, and accomplished everything I could have wanted. Hawkeye is probably my second favorite of the Marvel shows right now, I enjoyed it that much. I also tried the first issue of Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit this week and it was not for me. It’s not terrible, but it’s a little wonky.

Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #82, Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #2, Nightwing #87 and X-Men: Trial of Magneto #5.

Amazing Spider-Man #82

Amazing Spider-Man #82
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Jorge Fornes
Colorist: Dan Brown
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

They’ve already announced the upcoming end of the Beyond storyline, so I guess this was just a time filler? Like that Uncanny X-Men series that preceded the Krakoa Era.

Peter Parker recently woke up from his coma, but he’s still in pretty bad shape and is bed ridden in the hospital. He starts to notice a suspicious orderly taking patients away, and soon Peter is taken as well. The orderly turns out to be a monster who brings patients down into a dark basement and eats them. Fortunately, he burns in the light, and Mary Jane snuck in after them. She tricks the monster into some overhead lights and Peter is saved.

Meanwhile, Misty and Colleen are hunting the Lizard in the sewers.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

I dunno, it’s largely fine, I guess. This is a competently made comic that is better than flat average. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything really. Peter Parker just happens to get roped into a weird hospital monster, based purely on happenstance. I was more interested in this story at first, but as time has passed since reading, it’s really amounted to not all that much. The villain is pretty generic as a monster. He looks truly gnarly as an orderly, but the monster version is boring. And it’s fun that Mary Jane saves the day, but it’s still all rather weird and rather contained. This issue doesn’t contribute anything to the larger, far more interesting narrative. And that wouldn’t be a problem if there was any real depth to this story. I think this, more than anything else, is a solid example that Beyond is just a placeholder for something else down the line.

TL;DR: Not much of note happens in this seemingly done-in-one story that doesn’t connect to the larger narrative or anything else, really.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #2

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #2
Writer: Marieke Nijkamp
Artist: Enid Balam
Inker: Oren Junior
Colorists: Brittany Peer and Cris Peter
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

The one where Kate has a random, uninteresting adventure in the Hamptons.

Kate Bishop is at this fancy Hamptons resort investigating her sister’s missing ring and a missing girl. Kate does a bunch of snooping around, all while the resort’s mysterious operators watch her on security cameras. Kate and her sister eventually find the girl being held in one of the sheds on the back of the property, being watched over by some random guy who appears to be under some type of mind control. Kate brakes the resort bracelet he’s wearing and he snaps out of it. All of that is definitely fishy, and then Kate and her sister find themselves surrounded by hotel staff, who also may be under mind control.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

This comic is turning out to be pretty lackluster overall. It’s generally fine. I like the writing, and Kate Bishop is her usual fun self. But the overall story isn’t doing anything for me or for itself. We’ve known since the end of the first issue, and then all throughout this issue, that there’s some secret villain monitoring the situation at this resort. So really, this story is just filling time until Kate eventually finds out about them and stops them. Everything else is filler. A girl has gone missing, the father is being blackmailed and Kate haphazardly just searches the grounds until she finds the kid? Alright. None of it is all that interesting. The “kidnapper” turns out to be just a dude, so he’s hardly an interesting opponent. And then the part that got Kate involved — her sister’s missing ring — is even more boring. A missing ring? Really? Who cares? And Kate’s sister has never been a major part of her comic book life, so it’s not like their relationship is enough to sustain this series. They’re simply very cordial with one another. There’s nothing about this issue, or this series so far, to make it more than just a blandly generic story where Kate Bishop gets to make witty comments to herself.

TL;DR: The lackluster mysteries are not enough to sustain this series, the bland character relationships are not enough to sustain this series, and the mysterious (and likely uninteresting) secret villains are not enough to sustain this series.

Nightwing #87

Nightwing #87
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Welp, it’s an artistic masterpiece.

If you haven’t heard the news, this issue of Nightwing is drawn as one, long extended panel. Each page is a double-page spread with a big, beautiful city drawing, and Nightwing “moves” through the page in “real time”. It’s a thing of pure beauty.

Someone has put a bounty on Dick Grayson, and the gangsters in Bludhaven have no problem opening fire on him in broad daylight. Dick changes into Nightwing and contacts Batgirl, and they found out that Dick’s apartment has been broken into and some bad guys have kidnapped his dog! Nightwing and Batgirl track her collar and find her at a warehouse. They break in, beat up the bad guys and save their dog.

Comic Rating: 10/10 – Fantastic!

It’s great! It has to be seen to be believed. But damn this is a good looking and awesome comic. The amount of effort that clearly went into this comic is a marvel to behold. I love that Redondo went to the trouble to create such life in the random civilians on the street. I love he use of planes, with the action sometime moving into the background or the foreground. It’s a work of pure comic book artistry, worthy of all the praise and hype. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at rating artwork in a comic. I’m more of a story focused guy. So I just don’t have anything really clever or creative or inspired to say about Redondo’s artwork, other than this man deserves some kind of award. Multiple awards. This is a bold and amazing idea, and Redondo pulls it off better than anyone could have ever imagined. Here’s another look.

Name something more beautiful. I’ll wait.

This is damn good comics, and another reason why this Nightwing series is probably my favorite DC comic right now.

Meanwhile, the story is just fine. Some nameless bad guys kidnap Dick Grayson’s dog, so Nightwing and Batgirl beat them up and get her back. Not exactly blowing anybody’s socks off. But it serves the purpose of keeping everybody in constant motion. So it works exactly how the artwork needs it to work. And that’s good enough for me.

TL;DR: This issue is nothing short of a triumph in comic book artistry. The amount of skill, effort and attention to detail on display is nothing short of masterful. Hopefully this work by Bruno Redondo is hailed for years to come.

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #5

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #5
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Lucas Werneck
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Finally, at long last, we find out what all of this has been about. And I was right on the killer…sort of…but not really.

So this issue sums up what happened and what’s changed. We find out that the person who killed Scarlet Witch was…Scarlet Witch. It turns out that Magneto told her about the mutant resurrection process, and she realized that she could tap into that system and make it even better, but she would need to experience the process herself first. So Scarlet Witch killed herself and Magneto worked a cover up so that nobody would find out this was a big scheme. He got Hope’s help to bring Wanda back, and now that she’s experienced it for herself, she has devised a way to use her magic to bend time and space to capture the essences of mutants who were unable to be part of the existing Cerebro backups. And she’s streamlined the system so that its all built into Legion’s new mind palace, created in Way of X. So there’s no more need for the Crucible. Mutants can just place themselves into the resurrection queue through the mind palace.

We get to watch as they resurrect John Proudstar, who was unavailable for resurrection previously. And Northstar finds out that they can resurrect the young baby he adopted back in the storyline where he came out.

Also, as part of Magneto’s cover-up, Toad is offered up as a sacrificial lamb as Wanda’s “killer”. He’s sentenced to the pit by the Quiet Council, though it’s unclear if this is all for show for the Avengers or if Magneto and Wanda really have doomed Toad to oblivion just because they needed a fall guy.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

This was a weird comic. It didn’t retcon Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver into being mutants or Magneto’s real children again, which is a damn shame. It jostled the resurrection system a little bit, but I’m not sure what that accomplishes. Not being able to bring back John Proudstar was an odd and random choice to begin with. And are there any other mutants that matter who didn’t qualify before? And they can come back now? I dunno. I was also a big fan of the Crucible, so losing that is kind of a bummer. Overall, I think this would have worked better as just part of Williams’ regular X-Factor comic, pared down from its lofty event ambitions that editorial imposed on her. This whole series was a bit all over the place in terms of storytelling, if all it was meant to do was tweak some status quos.

Also, I was partially right in my guess that Toad was the killer. He wasn’t the killer, but they fingered him anyway as the fall guy. And if Magneto and Wanda are cool with sending Toad to his doom, that’s pretty harsh, right? Why not just bring Toad back once the Avengers are gone? Poor guy.

TL;DR: And so the Trial of Magneto ends as it lived: as a reminder that Leah Williams should have been allowed to just keep writing X-Factor however she wished.

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

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