Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 4/2/22
I think I’m running out of comics that I actually read. A ton of new comics come out each week, but it seems my actual buy/read/review pile keeps getting smaller. We’ve only got a couple of Marvel comics this week!
Comic Book of the Week goes to Immortal X-Men #1. Not necessarily because I enjoyed it the most, but because it’s probably the most important comic I read this week.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed the first episode of Moon Knight. Plenty of good stuff. Nothing I would rave about just yet, though. I also finished Our Flag Means Death on HBO Max and that show was a hoot. So it definitely gets my recommendation.
Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #93, Immortal X-Men #1 and X-Cellent #2.
The Amazing Spider-Man #93
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artists: Patrick Gleason, Sara Pichelli, Mark Bagley and Tim Townsend
Colorists: Bryan Valenza and Carlos Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
At long last, the Beyond story arc comes to an end in satisfying manner — though I’m not particularly thrilled with what becomes of poor Ben Reilly.
Maxine convinces Ben Reilly that if he can get Peter to put on a fancy mechanical helmet, than all of Peter’s memories can be transferred back to Ben. It’s enough to push Ben all the way over the edge and he and Peter have a big, epic fight, all while Maxine turns on the self destruct protocols for the lower levels of Beyond, and she leaves the company. Meanwhile, Janine shows up to rescue Marcus, Ben’s handler, because he’s an alright guy.
In the big fight, Peter wins and Ben seemingly sacrifices himself in the corrosive goo that’s being used to destroy the lower levels. Marcus rescues Peter and he and MJ see to his recovering. Janine goes into the destroyed lower levels in search of Ben and manages to save him. Later, we see that Ben has become some new, funky-looking Spidey guy going by the name Chasm.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I am satisfied with the ending to this storyline, but I’m not excited or thrilled or any higher, more interesting emotions. Ben has been driven beyond the edge, and he and Peter have a cool fight in the middle of a self-destructing science complex. Ben is too far gone and is too under the thumb of Maxine Danger to hold my sympathy too much. So the issue isn’t as compelling as I would have liked. And then I really don’t care for his ultimate fate. “Chasm” falls into all the horrible tropes I hate about modern superhero naming conventions. It means nothing, even as it tries to mean everything. And his look is just that of a funky symbiote. Definitely a step down for a character considered to be Peter Parker’s brother.
Everything in this issue plays out pretty predictably, and with not nearly enough finality to be worthwhile. I’m annoyed that Maxine Danger escaped all repercussions, just waltzing out of the story like it’s no big deal. Janine and Marcus (Ben’s handler) both come out unscathed as well. No big deal there. And Peter and MJ continue to return to their original status quo, so that part is nice, at least. I’m all for Peter and MJ being a solid couple again. They are both served pretty well by this story and this finale as a whole, so at least that’s something.
TL;DR: This issue makes for a satisfying ending to the whole Beyond story arc, ending in a cool fight with some strong character moments. A few bites and pieces didn’t sit exactly right with me, but I’m open-minded to see where it all goes from here.
Immortal X-Men #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Lucas Werneck
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
The next phase of the Krakoa era is there and I am down to check out most of it!
Narrated by Mister Sinister, this issue takes us through Magneto stepping down from the Quiet Council and the remaining members electing Hope to replace him, with various degrees of people pulling strings and calling in favors and whispering in each other’s ear. They had to turn down Selene though, and she responds by summoning a giant worm or something. Also, Sinister is cloning Moira MacTaggert so that he can use her powers all willy nilly.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I’m going to level with everybody right away: I don’t really like Mister Sinister. I know a lot of people love him, especially this super catty, smarty-pants Sinister, but I do not. I have never liked the character. So to have this whole issue narrated by him really just rubbed me the wrong way. And that, in turn, affected my enjoyment of this issue overall. I know a part of reviewing comic books is trying to remain somewhat objective, this will always just be my dumb little blog review list and my personal feelings on a comic definitely factor into my rating and enjoyment. So having Sinister just snidely prance his way through this entire issue just wasn’t for me. I enjoyed the small moments where he got knocked down a peg, but I didn’t really enjoy anything he did on his own.
Beyond Sinister, the issue was some solid political maneuverings on Krakoa. I enjoy the politics of it all, and seeing the Quiet Council debate among themselves on replacing Magneto was fun. I like this pedantic stuff, like having all these characters debate the merits of letting Selene join, or interviewing a bunch of different candidates, or having Exodus take matters into his own hands to convince Hope to throw her hat in the ring. It’s neat stuff that I actually enjoy, with some great art. But like I said, having Mister Sinister narrate all of it just gets under my skin, and not in a fun way. So it’s nice when Destiny can slide in and needle him.
TL;DR: This issue doesn’t really do much to kick off a new phase of the Krakoa Era, so much as just continues the usual political stuff, only this time it’s dripping in Mister Sinister cattiness. Your opinion on such a thing may vary.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Michael “Doc” Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
I think I’m looking at this series the wrong way. I keep thinking it’s about X-Statix…but it’s clearly not. It’s right in the title, Sean! Use your brain!
The confrontation between X-Cellent and X-Statix ends rather gruesomely, with both teams fleeing to lick their wounds and either heal/bury their dead. While Doop begins working on Vivisector, we learn how he used his weird Doop stuff to save Zeitgeist back in the day. Nothing special. Doop just healed him through weird Doop means. But now Zeitgeist is especially crazy, and he’s letting that crazy bleed over and drive his teammates crazy as well. Mirror Girl, especially, is trapped in an abusive relationship with him, and he manages to keep her from leaving the team. Zeitgeist then leads the team into breaking a teleport out of prison, but his weird, unpredictable teleportation power may kill them all!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
OK, so I definitely had to do some rewiring of my brain as I read this issue and thought about it. I wasn’t too pleased with it at first. Part of me feels this comic is too shallow. And then part of me is worried that I’m looking back at the original X-Statix with rose-colored glasses, having had the benefit of hindsight to better appreciate that comic. And then I’m judging a couple issues of X-Cellent against the entirety of the X-Statix saga. That’s not fair. Then I realized that I shouldn’t be so concerned with the X-Statix team in this comic. This series isn’t actually about them. They’re the foils. This is a comic about X-Cellent, and if you think of it like that, it’s a better issue.
Because the X-Cellent are really messed up and that’s where the real drama can be found.
Zeitgeist is an obvious villain, and this is a comic about that villain…or at least this issue is. We’ll see what future issues hold. But Zeitgeist and his cruel hold on his teammates are the real meat of the story, and it’s sad and tragic and wild, just like this series is supposed to be. Poor Mirror Girl. Poor dead Joe Bomb. Zeitgeist’s resurrection isn’t particularly interesting, and I think it undercuts the original use of the character, but I’m not going to fault some creators with bringing back a guy who should have stayed dead so they can do more crazy stuff with him. They’re doing some interesting stuff, to be sure, and I’m now more on board than I was when I first read this issue. I wonder if the next issue will prove me right or wrong.
And, should it need to be repeated, the Allreds are killing it on this comic. Just phenomenal work, as always.
TL;DR: I needed to refocus my initial thoughts on this comic to better appreciate this story, this issue and these characters, and I think that helps. This isn’t a revival of X-Statix. This is a comic about the X-Cellent and their particular brand of madness. At least I think that’s what it’s about…
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.
Posted on April 2, 2022, in Comics, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged Amazing Spider-Man, Ben Reilly, Immortal X-Men, Slingers, The Slingers, X-Cellent, X-Statix. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.