Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 4/16/22

Welcome to another little pile of comic book reviews from this random nobody on the internet! Apparently I had a pretty off week this week because nothing stood out as all that great, and some comics with faults really started to get to me. Oh well.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Mighty Morphin #8 for another one of their excellent downtime issues. The new creative team is still doing OK in my book.

He makes house calls

Meanwhile, I’m nearing the end of Horizon Forbidden West and this game lived up to all my hopes and expectations. I’m gonna stretch it out as far as I can and enjoy the world. I also finally watched Sweet Tooth on Netflix and it was really good! Can’t wait for the next season.

Comic Reviews: Batgirls #5, Mighty Morphin #18, Superman: Son of Kal-El #10 and X-Men #10.

Batgirls #5

Batgirls #5
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colorist: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Becca Carey

In literary criticism, an idiot plot is one which is kept in motion solely by virtue of the fact that everybody involved is an idiot, and where the story would quickly end, or possibly not even happen, if this were not the case.

The issue opens with a quick confrontation with the Saints, in which Barbara Gordon joins the fight as Batgirl and these bad guys are very easily defeated. Immediately afterwards, the Batgirls find out that the Tutor is free once more, almost as if turning him over to a private citizen with no security in his house last issue as a bad idea. The Tutor has taken over the abandoned Arkham Asylum and is once again mind-controlling innocent people en masse. Steph and Cass head to Arkham to do some digging and learn that Charles Dante, the aforementioned private citizen, was Tutor’s doctor when he was at Arkham. But they learn this too late to stop Babs from going to check on Dante at his home.

Stephanie is ambushed by the Tutor, Cassandra prepares to take on the mindless mob and Babs is ambushed by Dante, a.k.a. Spellbinder.

Comic Rating: 4/10 – Pretty Bad.

So I ranted about this at length last issue, and I’m sorry to see just how stupidly it played out with this issue, hence my invoking the “idiot plot” definition at the top of this review. When the Batgirls defeated the Tutor in the previous issue, instead of turning him over to the police (which is what they do with the Saints this issue), they decided to randomly take him to Charles Dante’s house for treatment. They barely know Dante, and apparently couldn’t even be bothered to do enough of a background check to find out that he was once a doctor at Arkham. Yet they turned this dangerous criminal over to him and just left. And now, immediately afterwards, they’re shocked that Tutor “escaped” Dante’s house and has gone back to harming innocent people. If your story only works because your characters act like idiots, then it’s not a well-written story.

He escaped?! You don’t say

I’ve been giving Batgirls the benefit of the doubt for a while now, and I think the issue has pushed me over the edge of no longer caring. This comic is all style and little substance. The art is phenomenal. This is a great-looking comic, with a really special art style. And the writing is fun. There’s a unique energy to the writing. But the story is garbage. We start with the Saints, who after all this build-up, are quickly and effortlessly defeated. That’s anti-climactic. Then the Tutor is just free. I’ve already ranted enough about the idiocy of him being left with Charles Dante in the first place, so let’s now focus on the fact that the Tutor sucks as a villain. He’s just a wheezing bad guy who seems to be made of teflon. Despite being very effective superheroes, the Batgirls seem unable to catch this guy, even when he’s not doing anything noteworthy to make him uncatchable He just exists. His graffiti gimmick doesn’t amount to anything, his mind-control gimmick doesn’t amount to anything, and his name doesn’t make any sense. What is he tutoring?

And then we’ve got Charles Dante, who fits into the Scooby Doo cliche of being the bad guy because he’s the only notable new side character to be introduced. No matter how much the book teases Barbara that he used to be an old flame, the character himself is never going to be anything more than a poorly thought-out villain. Just like everything else in Batgirls. Nothing has any depth or deeper meaning. Nobody is doing anything particularly meaningful. And there’s not enough story to fill the apparent six issues of this arc. I’m sorry, but I’ve turned a negative corner on Batgirls, even if the book remains very stylish.

TL;DR: This is a very stylish and fun comic, but this issue really solidifies just how surface-level everything feels. There’s no character depth and no weight to the story, even as it stretches on issue after issue. It’s all style, no substance. All glitz, no glamour.

Mighty Morphin #18

Mighty Morphin #18
Writer: Mat Groom
Artist: Moises Hidalgo
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

We’ve still got a new creative, and so far, Mat Groom and Moises Hidalgo are doing a bang-up job.

On the planet Aegus V, the Power Rangers dive deep into the ocean to explore the Eltarian outpost, but they get attacked by the native fish people. After a brief fight, Aisha realizes that they are on the same side and quickly explains that they are not Eltarians themselves. The fish people use the outpost to house their eggs after the Eltarians helped to wipe out most of their species, so the Rangers can’t have it. But Billy uses the computers inside to find another option elsewhere in the galaxy.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Rocky is home babysitting his younger siblings, while Matt, Grace and Promethea begin setting up the new Command Center area. They’re using the Zords to create a force field. Matt and Rocky come up with a neat idea that allows him to bring his siblings to the work site while maintaining his secret identity, and the kids have fun meeting the Green Ranger, Zordon and Grace. But then that robot villain teased at the end of last issue shows up, ready to conquer Earth.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This is another one of those excellent scene-setting Power Rangers comics, and I enjoy them so much. Groom does a good job handling all the characters and bouncing them off one another. It’s not as magical as previous such issues, but it’s still a quality reads. I especially enjoyed the clever way that Matt and Rocky think to keep Rocky in the loop, even while he’s babysitting his siblings. That led to some cute scenes. But pretty much nothing is done with the Matt/Rocky relationship. Matt, as we know, specifically exists as someone who can react to/comment on the original five Rangers. But he’s become a Ranger himself with only Billy and Kimberly still around. He’s got a chance for a fresh start with the Stone Canyon trio. But this issue doesn’t do anything with it. Rocky and Matt are just generally friendly and helpful with one another…which, maybe that’s the extent of their relationship. They’re just being polite to their friend’s other friend. Such is life. I very much look forward to the two of them alone against these robot invaders.

Matt isn’t known for being subtle

Meanwhile, the other Ranger adventure is a really well-done single story. The Rangers dive deep to explore an underwater Command Center and have a fun fight/encounter with some aliens. It totally works as part of their ongoing story. And I especially loved the conversation between Billy and Aiesha, in which he explains that he’s all about saving the world, but the literal power of the Power Rangers is the last thing on his mind. It’s great foreshadowing for Billy eventually stepping away from being a Power Ranger, and it works perfectly for the character. Everybody is handled very well this issue, making for a promising story by this new creative team. I just think it can go a bit further with some characters.

TL;DR: Another fine in-between issue focuses on the characters and finds some great scenes and moments to explore.

Superman: Son of Kal-El #10

Superman: Son of Kal-El #10
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Cian Tormey
Colorist: Frederico Blee
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

My time with Superman: Son of Kal-El might be coming to an end. Such is the fate of every time I try to read an ongoing Superman comic.

After that bad guy blew up last issue due to the bomb in his head, Lex Luthor holds a press conference to blame Superman for his murder. Superman, meanwhile, is still out in the world helping people, though those people are now more scared of him than the disasters. Lois Lane shows up at the press conference and confronts Luthor, tricking him with a fake Lasso of Truth to get Lex to walk off stage. When Luthor’s bodyguards go to forcibly remove Lois, Superman shows up and saves his mom.

Later, at home, Jon comes out to his mother, who already suspected. And she loves him unconditionally, obviously. But then Batman shows up to get Lois and Jon to a Justice League safehouse because it’s not safe to publicly humiliate Lex Luthor and piss off a super villain head of state. As everybody climbs into the Batplane, Batman warns Jon not to trust Jay Nakamura.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

I can’t really put my finger on it, but there’s just something I’ve never liked about the various plot and story choices in Superman: Son of Kal-El. I can name those choices, but I can’t really wrap my head around the bigger picture, if there even is one. It’s a finely written comic, with good art and good forward momentum. The choices are just getting under my skin. I don’t like The Truth. It feels so juvenile. A buncha kids in masks with an internet show are somehow the only honest journalists in the world, so much so that Lois freakin’ Lane is now working for them.

Kids love Superman

Or that everybody in the world is ready and willing to immediately believe it when Lex freakin’ Luthor claims that Superman killed a guy. Is Lex Luthor really that trustworthy? Does he not have an established animosity towards all Supermans? And nobody is willing to believe all of the other plausible options for that guy dying? And Lex Luthor is so confident of his bluff that he holds a massive press conference? And yet he can’t tell the difference between Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth and a regular rope painted gold?

I’m just nitpicking this thing to death, and I know that. But there’s just something about this comic that is getting under my skin. It’s an otherwise solid and enjoyable comic. The scene where Lois accepts her LGBTQ+ son is really nice. And I love Batman’s reveal at the end that Jay can’t be trusted. Jay could really use some depth and intrigue.

TL;DR: The writing, art and most of the character moments are really strong in this comic, but I feel like there are some story shortcuts that are being taken that I just can’t wrap my head around. And it’s making for a weaker comic.

X-Men #10

X-Men #10
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Javier Pina
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Honestly, just not much happens in this issue.

The X-Men detect a living being with Adamantium on the Orchis moon over Mars, so Wolverine goes on a solo mission to rescue the person, believing them to be one of her clones. But nope, it’s Lady Deathstrike, whom Laura frees and brings back to Earth. Elsewhere, Destiny tells Rogue to ask Rocket Raccoon about Gameworld, ’cause he’s a frequent customer.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

I don’t have any memory of where Lady Deathstrike was before this issue, so if that was important, it’s completely lost on me. This issue is a whole lot of X-Men just grousing about Orchis some more, seemingly powerless to do anything to stop them. The art remains phenomenal, and the characters are all fine, but not a whole lot happens in this issue that matters. Was Lady Deathstrike in a previous issue of this series and I just forgot? Or did she come in from some other comic somewhere? I don’t know, and nothing she does in this issue matters all that much. And then Destiny suggests Rogue ask one of their space friends about Gameworld. Rocket Raccoon knowing about it makes perfect sense, so that’s a cute moment. But that whole “Gameworld location” mystery is solved by a glorified cameo from a non-X character. Maybe the X-Men can ask a different cosmic character to deal with Orchis for them. If Galactus ate their entire moonbase, that would solve things pretty easily.

TL;DR: Not a whole lot happens in this issue either story or character wise. The art is still to-die-for.

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 April 16, 2022, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Superman, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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