Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/18/22

I don’t know what came over me this week, but I wasn’t in a comic-reading mood. Fortunately, not too many titles came out this week, but I did skip a couple I wasn’t too jazzed about. Still, we’ve got new issues of Jurassic League and Power Rangers to enjoy!

Comic Book of the Week goes to Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1 for a really great, character-focused debut issue.

Just a day in the life

Meanwhile, I’ve been exploring AppleTV+ this past week and I really loved The Afterparty. That show was great! Now I’m diving into Dickinson, and it’s been really fun, too. I also read through the first year or so of the comic Giant Days and that was also really good! I am surrounding myself with goodness these days.

Comic Reviews: Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1, The Jurassic League #2, Power Rangers #20 and X-Men Red #3.

Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1

Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1
Writers: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

I totally forget there were new Captain America comics coming out until I saw someone talking about how good this issue was, so I decided to check it out! I may have to go back and check out Sam Wilson’s comic as well.

With Sam Wilson doing some heavy lifting as Captain America, Steve Rogers has decided to get back to his roots, and he’s rented his childhood apartment in Manhattan. We get a really great opening couple of scenes of Steve as a person. He goes for a jog every morning around the island, bringing the shield with him so that people can see it and feel proud. He’s taking art classes at the local community college and making friends. And he’s in touch with some old timer heroes from his war days via the radio. And it’s on one radio chat that they notice a mysterious, coded numbers channel. The old crew decode the message and uncover a terrorist attack for tomorrow’s Fourth of July celebration in New York City.

Captain America and Bucky head out to investigate and discover a villain dressed up as classic WW2 Cap ally The Destroyer. We get a damn cool fight scene that involves jumping around on parade balloons and blimps until Steve and Bucky stop the bad guy. But it seems the villain has a kill switch in him that his bosses activate, but not before the Destroyer whispers in Cap’s ear that his shield is somehow connected to these bad guys.

In the epilogues, we learn that Bucky knows something about this, and how the villains are part of a five pointed star, though he isn’t telling Steve. And we meet some mysterious bad guy who is talking to some other people about something called The Century Game.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

This is about as perfect a first issue as one can get. This is pure bread & butter delightful superhero comics. I am a sucker for when superheroes are written as people first and supers second. So a whole opening act of Steve Rogers getting to be a normal person and do normal person things? I love nothing more! Every superhero comic should feature stuff like this. The idea that Steve goes for a morning run around Manhattan and lets people play with or take selfies with the shield? Brilliant! I loved Steve taking an art class, I loved him staying in touch with old allies via…CB radio? Ham radio? I dunno. I loved all of these little touches.

I live for this stuff

And then I loved the superhero stuff, too! Carnero does a spectacular job with the art, including a massive double-page splash of Cap and Bucky looking out over a Fourth of July parade. Then everybody fights by jumping from parade balloons and stuff. That’s always a hoot. And the creative team put in the effort to make sure the shield is always front and center to what Cap is doing, which will help set up the new mystery we’re going to get about the origins of the shield. Sounds like a worthwhile Captain America storyline to me! I’m definitely going to stay with this comic and see where it goes.

TL;DR: A perfect balance of grounded character development and high stakes superhero action. Couldn’t ask for a better first issue.

Jurassic League #2

The Jurassic League #2
Writers: Juan Gedeon and Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist: Gedeon
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Ferran Delgado

We’re back for more dinosaurs as superheroes action, and I am here for it!

Supersaur is fighting Giganta and Brontozarro for the fate of his human family and villagers, and he’s soon joined by Batsaur and his little human sidekick. The heroes get defeated and the villains escape with all the humans, but they are soon discovered and interrupted by Wonderdon. Then Supersaur and Batsaur arrive to back her up in the fight.

Meanwhile, Jokerzard was rescued by Reverse-Slash, and the two of them join Atrocitaurus as they work towards resurrecting their great leader.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

The Jurassic League is a perfect example of how concept and art can drive a comic. The story isn’t anything special. It’s the Trinity vs. the Legion of Doom, essentially. But the idea of all of them being humanoid dinosaurs, fighting in a prehistoric world over some cavemen, is so much fun. And the artwork by Juan Gedeon is knocking the concept out of the park! Along with co-writer Johnson, those two are pushing everything to the max and it’s a ton of fun! Spicer’s bright, beautiful colors are an additional delight. And Delgado on lettering is killing it with all the different character balloons. The entire creative team is going all-out on this silly concept and they’re making it look easy.

This is pretty life-fulfilling too

The character designs are especially fun. It’s a neat mixture. There are characters like Batsaur, who is wearing a costume. And then Supersaur is his costume. I like that mix of things. And I like the added drama of the humans, whether its the ones Supersaur wants to save, or it’s Batsaur’s little sidekick. I sure hope that little dude gets a Robin costume before too long.

TL;DR: The entire creative team has come together to fully embrace and explore this silly concept, making it an experience in pure comic book fun.

Power Rangers #20

Power Rangers #20
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Marco Renna
Colorists: Walter Baiamonte, with assistance by Sharon Marino, and Sara Antonellini
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

The Death Ranger is coming and I’m definitely here for it…even if they’re not pink.

On Earth, the Rangers attend the funeral for Jason’s mother and everybody tries to suggest he take some time off to grieve. But Jason’s father is selling the house and moving in with his sister, so there’s no family left and no home for Jason in Angel Grove. He lashes out a bit at Zordon because he simply has no one else to lash out at.

On Safehaven, Andros and Xi interrogate a captured bad guy to get info on the Astro Megaship. When Xi isn’t looking overnight, Andros sneaks back in and roughs up the bad guy, striking a deal with him to get into the prison vault. Once inside, Andros blasts the bad guy and responds to a creepy voice asking for escape. Andros finds a chained prison dumpster and unlocks it, finding a mysterious morpher inside.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

As always, this issue was a nice balance of good character drama and good action storytelling. Jason’s mother’s funeral was obviously a sad event, and Parrott found a lot of material to play with in terms of exploring Jason’s reaction. We all grieve in different ways, and it makes total sense that the leader of the Power Rangers would grieve like this. I especially liked the twist that it was Jason’s mother who died, since Parrott had been setting up that it was Jason’s father who was sick. That’s a clever, unexpected twist that just adds to the drama. Jason’s scene with his dad was heartbreaking, and it should provide a lot of good material for the character moving forward.

Quality Ernie appearance

Likewise, the Andros stuff is really good this issue. The character is showing an edginess that we don’t usually see in Power Rangers, so that’s fun. I also really enjoyed the introduction of this mysterious voice. A secret, especially dangerous prisoner hidden in this vault of dumpster prisons? Bring it on. Though if I’m being entirely honest, the last page reveal of the morpher leaves a lot to be desired. I’m sorry, I’ve been reading every issue of the Omega Rangers, and I have not memorized the look of their morphers. They’re not very distinct. I only know it’s a morpher because I looked it up online. The Mighty Morphin morphers are iconic. The Omega morphers are not. So yeah, that reveal could have used some work.

At any rate, bring on the Death Ranger and lets see what that’s all about!

TL;DR: Great balance of two stories in this issue, one full of strong character drama and the other full of mysterious and tense plot momentum.

X-Men Red #3

X-Men Red #3
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colorists: Federico Blee & Protobunker’s Fernando Sifuentes
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher

As much as I enjoy the Krakoa Era, part of me worries that none of the current comics are really for me. But at least this issue of X-Men Red was cool.

Political machinations are afoot on Mars, with various factions vying for a seat on their council. Abigail Brand has manipulated Vulcan into challenging Tarn the Uncaring for his seat, leading to a duel to the death in the arena. It’s a bloody, knockdown, drag-out fight that ends with Tarn beating Vulcan to death. But then Magneto floats into the arena to challenge as well, and he quickly dispatches Tarn with barely an effort, claiming the seat. This was preceded by Magneto getting a pep talk from Sunspot about stepping up, even though Magneto had hoped to retire here on Mars. We find out that the reason Magneto noped out of Krakoa and the Quiet Council was because he realized his first daughter, Anya, was not a mutant, and therefore couldn’t be resurrected, even with their new protocols. So he was done…but now he’s back in a big way.

Meanwhile, Cable, John Proudstar and Manifold are conducting a secret investigation into Brand. And Sunspot gets himself killed by insulting Isca the Unbeaten.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

Honestly, this issue just has some really cool character moments that make it entirely worthwhile. This issue is a lot of talking, and a lot of politicking about the ruling council on Mars. Everybody talks with each other, and it’s mostly good. Basically, everybody knows that Abigail Brand is scheming, but nobody really does anything about that directly for some reason. So instead of that, let’s just focus on the awesomeness of Magneto in this issue, because that sure as hell is the selling point. He gets a great dramatic scene when he’s in counsel with the Brotherhood about his daughter and his decisions for coming to Mars.

Does anybody?

And then he gets a total boss scene in the arena. Ewing has done a great job of setting up Vulcan as both a little twerp and a dangerous foe. I fully believed he could defeat Tarn in the battle, and that’s where things might have been going. But nope, he’s taken out and stomped into the mud. Then Magneto arrives in all this glory and does a cool move with his helmet, circumventing Tarn’s dangerous powers and killing him instantly. There’s added goodness in that Magneto had been previously warned by Storm that killing Tarn would weaken his standing and put blood on his hands, only for Magneto to declare in his victory that he can live with that. Of course, ultimately, it just means Magneto has traded one ruling council for another. So we’ll see what develops from that.

TL;DR: Come for the brutal and awesome Magneto action moments, stay for the subtle and dramatic Magneto character moments.

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 June 18, 2022, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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