Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/11/22
Welcome back to comic book reviews! I skipped last week because of my hellish problems flying back from a California vacation, so now we’re back with some good quality comics, like Amazing Spider-Man and Mighty Morphin.
Comic Book of the Week goes to Poison Ivy #1 for being a really strong start to the new series by G. Willow Wilson. Maybe DC has finally found something stable to do with the character.
Meanwhile, I loved the first episode of Ms. Marvel. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be! I’m currently playing through Sniper Elite 5. I love those games, and the new one is another fine entry. And I’ve decided not to bother with Dark Crisis at DC Comics. I might read it on my own, but the first official issue didn’t do much for me, and I don’t want to spend time just dragging it through the mud in this review column.
Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #3, Legion of X #2, Mighty Morphin #20 and Poison Ivy #1.
Amazing Spider-Man #3
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
I trust what Zeb Wells is doing with Amazing Spider-Man…but he hasn’t gotten there yet.
After a brief opening scene where we learn that MJ’s new guy is rich-ish, we find that Tombstone has chained up Spider-Man in an abandoned sewer tunnel. He then proceeds to give Spider-Man a pretty standard speech about how Tombstone has spent his whole life fighting for what he’s got. Then explains he’s going to have his goons shoot up some innocent people, while making it looks like they’re the Rose’s goons. It’s a frame job. He’s also gonna hurt Robbie Robertson because Robbie’s son wants to marry Tombstone’s daughter — only when we see that scene, it’s Janice who asks Randy to marry her.
Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
This relaunch hasn’t really done anything for me yet. The bulk of this issue is just Tombstone giving a pretty standard crime lord speech that doesn’t provide any new insight or context to his character or the current mob war storyline. It’s like this comic is reaching for something big and cool with this storyline, but the individual parts of it aren’t very unique or clever or interesting. The dialogue itself is pointing this out. Tombstone asked the captured Spider-Man why he interrupted the deal between Tombstone and Rose, and Spider-Man says it was a simple matter of him being a good guy trying to stop bad guys. And that really is all we’ve got so far. Spider-Man randomly came across some crime and stopped it, and now Tombstone has managed to get one up on Spidey in response. But Tombstone is also just piling on a bunch of unnecessary and incorrect assumptions about what’s going on. And just because Tombstone is doing that does not give the story itself the gravitas that Tombstone seems to want to give it.
I just don’t care about a lot of these storylines. I don’t care that Tombstone and the Rose are having some generic crime lord beef. I don’t care about Robbie Robertson and Janice Lincoln. They’re from the previous run that I didn’t read. And I’m mostly annoyed at how Spidey is being jobbered to make Tombstone look more menacing. I keep waiting for Spider-Man to just be Spider-Man and break out and save the day. But maybe that’s just me.
The comic is well drawn, I’ll always enjoy Romita Jr’s art. And the writing is solid. Just the story and characters are doing nothing for me at this point. Whatever big mystery about Peter Parker Wells set up in the first issue hasn’t been touched upon in the last two issues. This is so far just a story where Spider-Man stopped some uninteresting crime and Tombstone has gone big in striking back. I’d like to see more happen; and I have faith that more will.
TL;DR: This Amazing Spider-Man comic still looks good, but I don’t feel like the story has gone anywhere all that interesting quite yet.
Legion of X #2
Writer: Sy Spurrier
Artist: Jan Bazaldua
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
I’m not quite sure what to say about this issue.
Kurt works with a couple other Legionnaires to track the Skinjacker, only to find out he’s learned sorcery so he’s able to stay ahead of everybody. Banshee was possessed for a bit and he’s been thrown off his game. He spends some time in the Altar to clear his head. After the Arakki god of mischief, Mother Righteous, offers Legion some god-like power, she then sets her sights on the wounded Banshee.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
So I largely liked this comic, but it’s also rather scattershot. Not in an off putting way, but in a way that I’m not entirely sure what the story is and where it’s going. A lot of things are pretty wild and weird in this issue, whereas I guess I prefer more grounded, reasonable things. Nightcrawler and his people are investigating a mutant who can possess bodies. I get that, and we get some good storytelling out of that. They’re also investigating this guy from the first issue who may have killed his wife? I didn’t think he’d be a continuing story, but it works. Then we’ve got this weird god of mischief just floating around striking deals and causing mischief. So there’s a lot going on, and I’m liking most of it, but it’s also feels a bit fast and loose, if that makes sense. Characters float in and out of scenes, side characters pop in from out of nowhere. But at the very least, I’m enjoying Spurrier’s writing on these characters, so that’s keeping me grounded enough to want to stick with this comic. And he’s definitely succeeded in getting me interested in the Nightcrawler/Weaponless Zsen romance. So at least I’ll cling to that.
TL;DR: The various stories get a bit fast and loose in this second issue, making for an issue that feels a bit too ephemeral for my tastes. But the character writing is strong and this comic still has a lot of potential.
Mighty Morphin #20
Writer: Mat Groom
Artist: Moises Hidalgo
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
This excellent little storyline comes to an end and I continue to love everything about BOOM!’s Power Rangers comics. I just can’t help myself.
While most of the Power Rangers pull off their Command Center switcheroo in the Lion Galaxy, Rocky and Matt stand alone against the villainous King Aradon. The Green Ranger takes on the king himself while the Red Ranger clears out the foot soldiers. Aradon whoops Matt but good, leading to Rocky needing to take a stand. Rocky is unsure of himself, but Matt gives him a great pep talk, then arms him with the Dragon Shield and Dagger. The Red Ranger takes on King Aradon alone and holds out long enough for the other Rangers to teleport back. Their arrival is enough to get Aradon to flee.
Oh, also, in the Lion Galaxy, Kimberly and Adam have a great talk about how easily Adam has taken to being a Ranger, and Kim’s thoughts about having to give it up someday.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
This issue excels with some truly awesome fighting action, as two Rangers must make a stand against a major villain, and then a pair of really great, really personable conversations. I will gladly and emphatically state that I love these Power Rangers comics so much because of how much attention is paid to the humanity of the characters. This isn’t just a straight adaptation of the TV show. This is a series that routinely and wonderfully delves into the minds and lives of its characters, giving them flaws and thoughts and hopes and dreams and concerns. And this issue showcases that very thing with some really great scenes, while also giving us the wild action and sci-fi neatness that we know and love.
I will say that Adam has definitely be underserved in this series. Aisha has carved out her place as a Ranger, and — as this issue shows — Rocky also has his own storylines and arcs. But Adam just hasn’t done much. So it was nice to see him get some attention, as he proves to be a natural at being a Power Ranger, and what exactly that means for him. Contrasting that with Kimberly is great, because she has also had all manner of stories and character growth, and where the timeline stands, she is also on her way out as a Ranger. So it’s really neat, at least to me, to have Power Rangers actually talk about what it means to move on from being a Ranger, and both how they shouldn’t be expected to shoulder this responsibility forever, while also wanting to stay in this awesome position. It was a great talk.
Then we’ve got Matt and Rocky. I have loved Rocky’s character growth. The Red Ranger is always, through pretty much every season, considered the leader of the Power Rangers. Yet Rocky became the Red Ranger at a time when Tommy was the leader as the White Ranger. The idea of Rocky suffering some Red Ranger-specific imposter syndrome is a brilliant idea. And it comes to a head nicely here, as Matt points out just how well Rocky fills the role he’s been given. He may not be the leader, but he is for sure a rock-solid member of the team who does the role of Red Ranger proud. And that leads to an always-badass moment, when the Dragon Shield is given off to another Ranger to kick some butt.
And as cool as it would have been to see Rocky step up and defeat the villain, it was just as cool to have Rocky hold the line until the other Rangers ‘ported to the scene without knowing they were going to be back-up. Nice touch.
TL;DR: Some great character moments and some great action make for another great issue of Mighty Morphin. This comic has everything I want as a superhero fan.
Poison Ivy #1
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Marcio Takara
Colorist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
I’m not reading too many DC Comics these days, so I’ve decided to give this Poison Ivy series a try because I was a big fan of G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel run.
Poison Ivy is on a mission to spread some deadly, fast-acting mushrooms around the world, and she starts with some cattle in Wyoming before making her way to Seattle. She reflects a bit on her recent past, including breaking away from Harley Quinn and no longer being attached to The Green. She also plans to die herself at the end of her mission, because her own poison is killing her. She reflects on humanity and kills some douchebags at a bar. The Sixth Mass Extinction is coming…
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
I really enjoyed this issue. Not a whole lot happens plot wise, but Wilson and Takara do a great job of presenting the main character and getting into her new headspace for this series. Poison Ivy has gone through a ton of big changes recently, and I know some of them, so I wasn’t totally lost. And, thankfully, none of that matters super too much to what happens. Just know that she’s on a new mission, and it’s a really funky one. The idea of super-spreading fungi “devouring” people is pure madness, and Takara does a wonderful job bringing that madness to life without sacrificing the rest of her art. The people still look like people and Poison Ivy looks phenomenal. She creates a very imposing figure in this comic, and that totally works for this first issue.
I just really liked the feel of this first issue. The narration is well-handled, giving us a clear idea of the character as she stands now and her mission. I really enjoyed the Harley/Ivy flashback scene as they broke up. That was really impactful, with some great art. Which really sums up this issue in a nutshell. The overall plot/story could use an oomph of energy and direction in future issues, but this first issue does a really enjoyable job of setting up the main character and the series. And that totally works for me checking it out on a casual basis.
TL;DR: Writing and art come together for a really strong first issue, presenting a clear and interesting look at the main character as she kicks off this new series.
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 June 11, 2022, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged Amazing Spider-Man, Boom!, Legion of X, Mighty Morphin, Nightcrawler, Poison Ivy, Power Rangers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.