Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 6/25/22
You know what happens when you don’t read comics you don’t like? You get a week like this one, where everything I read was a banger! Amazing Spider-Man finally stepped up to reveal the cleverness I knew was there, and any week with Nightwing is a good week.
Comic Book of the Week goes to Immortal X-Men #3 for a touching and suspenseful focus on Destiny, the character and the concept.
Meanwhile, I continue to explore everything AppleTV+ has to offer. I’m enjoying Dickinson, and Foundation turned out to be pretty OK in the long run. I finished up Sniper Elite 5, which was great, and I plan to spend this weekend rocking some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge!
Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #4, Immortal X-Men #3, Nightwing #93 and X-Men #12.
Amazing Spider-Man #4
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
There we go. This is much more like it. This is the quality and cleverness I was expecting from the start.
Tombstone has Spider-Man prisoner, chained up in the sewers in Harlem. Tombstone is going to have his goons dress up like the Rose’s goons and massacre a bunch of people, then the authorities will take down the Rose for him. And Tombstone has kidnapped Robbie Robertson because Robbie’s son, Randy, wants to marry Tombstone’s daughter, Janice. It’s looking bad!
But Kareem shows up to set Spider-Man free, after Spidey saved Kareem from a burning car at the start of the story. Spider-Man rushes upstairs to intercept Tombstone’s goons before they can begin their massacre, and he starts just kicking total goon butt! He also calls Randy to tell him to find his dad to save him. Spider-Man fights his way through every single goon, right up to the one dressed like the Rose himself. Except…that’s not a goon. That’s the real Rose. These were all of Rose’s men. Spider-Man was never in Harlem. Tombstone tricked him into beating up the Rose and all of his men!
And when Randy finds his dad, Robbie and Tombstone are having a pleasant conversation over tea about the upcoming marriage. Tombstone has tricked everybody!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This is the action and cleverness I’ve been waiting for since the start of the issue. The action is especially cool. Once Spider-Man is free and kicking butt, Wells and Romita really have a lot of fun with Spidey making short work of some bad guys in contained hallways and rooms. I especially like some of the creative uses of webbing, and how it’s not just a “laser” that Spider-Man shoots at people. He uses it to trap floors and make webs that people walk into. It’s really fun, alongside all the kickass punching. So it’s nice to know this comic can really bring the creativity when it comes to Spider-Man doing his thing.
And I really enjoyed the cleverness behind Tombstone’s plan. He’s been playing Spider-Man since the beginning and now has dirtied Spidey’s hands. That’s gotta suck for the Web-Head! Especially with how low Spider-Man is right now anyway…though that storyline seems far in the background. But that’s not a big deal. What really matters is the clever plan Tombstone came up with and how it plays out in this issue. The tension are drama are built nicely, along with Tombstone meeting with Robbie Robertson. It all comes together nicely to make for an exciting, tense issue that ends with a very satisfying plan coming together.
TL;DR: This comic finally lives up to its potential with a fun, exciting and tense issue that really comes together nicely by the end.
Immortal X-Men #3
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Lucas Werneck
Colorist: Dijjo Lima
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Issues like this showcase why Krakoa has been such a good idea. Destiny was a character long lost to history, and now she gets to come back and we get a new character to explore, and a new side of Mystique as well.
This issue focuses on Destiny as she goes about sort of explaining her powers and her history, while also talking a lot about how she loves Mystique and how they met. It’s very romantic, and very weird, as she gets another burst of visions about the very near future. The visions lead her to realize that Mister Sinister has cloned Moira MacTaggert and he has access to her reality-resetting powers.
Destiny takes her visions of war to the Quiet Council, where they are busy arguing about how Mystique tricked a bunch of them into resurrecting Destiny. She warns the Council about war, then she and Mystique retreat to their home. Destiny has the urge to write a new book of prophecies, asking Mystique to never read it until the appropriate time. But then Destiny reveals to the reader that in all of her visions of the future…Mystique wasn’t in them.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
I don’t know anything about Destiny as a comic book character. She died long before I started reading comics, let alone X-Men comics. So I definitely enjoyed this deep dive into the character and her unique world. Gillen has been focusing on different narrators for each issue so far, and yeah, I’m incredibly biased in that I didn’t care for the Minister Sinister issue. But I’m very open to seeing what Destiny is all about, and Gillen and Werneck do a fantastic job. I loved seeing her first meeting with Mystique, I loved her exploring her powers, and there are some really strong scenes in the present where Destiny and Mystique interact with the Quiet Council. It’s good stuff all around.
The ending is especially great. The reveal that Destiny doesn’t see Mystique in any of her future visions is so crushing after we spent the whole issue praising and exploring their relationship. It’s cute as hell. Not only do writers get to just come out and say that Mystique and Destiny are queer and in love, but Mystique gets to have a real, solid love interest. Mystique has always been very mercurial, and tied with thugs like Sabretooth or Wolverine. It’s really nice to see her with the love of her life, being honestly romantic and in love, like newlyweds. I really hope it all works out for these two villainous terrorists.
TL;DR: This new issue explores a character that hasn’t been around in decades, and there’s a lot to explore and enjoy, while setting up some big things to come down the line.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Inkers: Redondo and Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott
What more is there to say about the best superhero comic on the stands?
The Bludhaven Police Department has it out for Haven, Dick’s new public park. They chase Nightwing out of the park after he tries to clean up some of the graffiti and damage from the vandalism, and then they show up in force the following day to hassle kids and hold a press conference decrying that vandalism. Fortunately, as we saw last issue, Nightwing and Oracle unmasked the perpetrators and now reveal them to the media as members of the Bludhaven PD! It’s a big win for our heroes. Another big win is that, while hanging out, Dick has a slip of the tongue and tells Barbara he loves her! Drama!
Meanwhile, Heartless pays a visit to Blockbuster and attempts to “buy” Bludhaven from him. When Blockbuster refuses, Heartless says he’ll just have to take it — so Blockbuster throws a desk at him, knocking Heartless out of the top of the skyscraper. We later see Heartless return to his lair, where he’s got his own butler and a wall of hearts. Apparently he burns through hearts quickly and needs replacements.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
This issue doesn’t feature a puppy play date between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, but it’s still darn good and enjoyable. It’s the perfect blend of touching and meaningful human moments and cool superhero action. It’s a comic that recognizes that heroes and readers deserve wins as much as we want to read about conflict and tragedy. I loved the emphasis last issue of Nightwing unmasking the vandals instead of just beating them up, and that comes back in a wonderful and fun way this issue. This is Nightwing and Oracle. They’re damn good at what they do. They can have wins, and we readers can enjoy and celebrate those wins. Just like we can enjoy the cute character moments, like Dick letting the words “I love you” slip out. Or Barbara using the puppy’s paw to press the keyboard to expose the cops. It’s cute as hell.
Obviously, continuity is a weird thing. Dick telling Barbara he loves her in a slip of the tongue is wonderful and adorable…even if the Dick/Barbara relationship is weird in a historical sense. Like…what exactly is their history in this continuity? Honestly, it doesn’t matter, but it does make their current relationship slightly confusing.
Anyway, that aside, the superhero stuff is fun as well. We don’t know much about Heartless yet, but he makes a good showing as a badass villain in this issue. He’s got a great scene with Blockbuster, in which he shows his obvious strength and skill, but thankfully he’s not one of those villains who is perfect and untouchable. Granted, he’s a little bit that, but seeing him tossed out of a building was a nice character moment. I look forward to him growing as a bad guy.
TL;DR: Another perfect blend of fun character moments and cool superheroics. Nightwing is everything I want a superhero comic to be. The writing and artwork as great, and then the whole thing is greater than the sum of its parts.
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Sadly, this iteration of the X-Men comes to an end with this issue. As much as I love the general idea of the Hellfire Gala and X-Men elections, 12 issues is no time at all to really establish some character rapport and development. Sunfire did nothing.
Cyclops beats up Dr. Stasis, who claims he is the original Nathaniel Essex. Synch shows up to help, and then Stasis escapes with a well-placed explosion. Scott and Everett then reach out to Ben Urich and give him the story of mutant resurrection, which is published in the Daily Bugle. Meanwhile, on Gameworld, the X-Men pull a fast one one Cordyceps Jones and easily defeat him and free Gameworld for everybody. Everything is coming up roses! There’s also gonna be a new Hellfire Gala soon, and most of the team is ready to depart and let new blood step up. And Dr. Stasis and Orchis are planning more bad guy stuff.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
I really, really enjoyed Duggan’s run on X-Men and I’m sad to see it wrap up. He had some really great action scenes and some strong character development, and this issue features a lot of good moments. From Scott and Everett out of costume meeting with Ben Urich, so the two of them kicking Sinister butt. I felt the wrap-up with Cordyceps Jones as a little too clean and smooth, even as it was darn cool. But that whole Gameworld thing ultimately proved no real challenge to the X-Men. Are the characters too powerful? I dunno. But this issue, like every issue so far in this run, has been a fun combination of superheroic action and strong character moments. Which is why I’m doubly sad that this team is over. There hasn’t been nearly enough time to grow this roster as a real team of people. They’re just superheroes filling a spot. And soon we’ll get new superheroes to fill those spots. And none of them will be Avalanche, so what are we even doing here?
TL;DR: This brief roster of the X-Men comes to a largely satisfying ending, with some great action sequences and some cool character moments. But I’m disappointed that we don’t get more time with these characters being a team. Twelve issues is too few for a roster to really matter.
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 25, 2022, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged Amazing Spider-Man, Destiny, Immortal X-Men, Mystique, Nightwing, X-Men. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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