Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 7/16/22
After last week’s massive pile of comics, I felt pretty lazy this week. We’ve only got a couple, like Immortal X-Men and Power Rangers. But that’s good enough, right?
Comic Book of the Week goes to X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 for another excellent Hellfire Gala. I really love this as an annual event, even if it throws the normal comic book passage of time right out the window.
Meanwhile, I loved the finale to Ms. Marvel! That show lived up to all my hopes, hypes and expectations. Truly wonderful! Beyond that, I’ve moved onto For All Mankind on AppleTV+ and am hoping for the best. And my trip through Mass Effect: Legendary Edition has reached Mass Effect 2 — which is a huge improvement over the first game! Loving this adventure.
Comic Reviews: Immortal X-Men #4, Power Rangers #21 and X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1.
Immortal X-Men #4
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Michele Bandini
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Things continue to move along nicely in Immortal X-Men.
Following the events of the Hellfire Gala, Emma Frost brings the information about Dr. Stasis being Mister Sinister to the Quiet Council. The Sinister on the Council panics and retreats to his lab, where he creates a new clone of himself to handle things. He tries to make peace with the Council, but is kidnapped by some mysterious force. Emma is perturbed.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
Honestly, I don’t really know what to say about this issue. I like the Mister Sinister storyline, but largely because I dislike the character and am glad to see him taken down a few notches. Stasis as Sinister is a good storyline…though it’s not really Immortal X-Men’s storyline, so I don’t know how far this series is going to take it. But watching everyone turn on Sinister and seeing him desperate to find a way out is a strong series of events. On top of that, we get some good Emma Frost character stuff. Part of me feels like she’s lost her edge in recent years. She’s not as acerbic anymore. Her character development isn’t as interesting anymore. She could use some big character moves somewhere. Maybe a new, unexpected romance now that Cyclops is for sure back with Jean? I dunno. But she’s written very well in this issue, and that’s good enough.
TL;DR: This issue inherits some storylines from other comics and it handles them well.
Power Rangers #21
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Marco Renna
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte, with assistance by Sharon Marino, and Sara Antonellini
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Things continue to move along nicely in Power Rangers.
The Omega Rangers and Andros go on a mission to break through enemy lines to recover the Astro Megaship. Zack and Trini stay outside in their Zords fighting wave after wave of bad guys, while Jason, Andros and Yale head inside to fight directly. Then Andros sneaks away, revives Zhane the Silver Ranger, and drops a bunch of cryptic hints about the two of them needing to do something scary. And it might be connected with the new Death Ranger.
Meanwhile, back at Safehaven, Journey is now a preteen and is pretty grumpy about it. Zack and Trini have no idea how to take care of them. But they spend some time with Kevor Vrin while the Rangers are away on their mission. Then the followers of Vox show up and take the leader of the community hostage to get him to open up the vault, where Garrison Vox is being held. Journey and Kevor watch from the shadows, and need to decide if they’re going to act!
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
I don’t know enough about Power Rangers in Space to know what becomes of Andros and Zhane. Didn’t Zhane need to be rescued in that show as well? I don’t know; doesn’t matter. This is another strong episode, excellently balancing some awesome action and some good character development. I have no idea where this Journey story is going, but strong character writing keeps it interesting. Will Journey become Omega Pink? Should I stop obsessing over Omega Pink? Make me! Anyway, Journey is finally old enough to have some personality and agency of their own, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they and Kevor handle these bad guys.
Then, of course, the Omega Rangers stuff is cool as heck.
This issue features a full-on Omega Rangers assault. We’ve got some awesome Zord action, and then we’ve got some awesome Ranger action, and it’s all good. The tension is high, the art handles all of the troubles and action wonderfully. I understand the stakes and the mission. It’s all really good stuff. The only complaint I have is that Andros continues to dress in this weird black outfit, even though he’s the Red Space Ranger on the cover. He gives an explanation for why he dresses in this black suit in the issue…but who cares? I want to see the crossover between the Omega Rangers and the Power Rangers in Space! Give us the two Red Rangers!
TL;DR: Another solid issue blending action and character development. This is what the Power Rangers comics excel at, and I’m very excited to see where Parrott is going with all of this. I only wish we would get the true Red Ranger team-up we see on the cover.
X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli and CF Villa
Colorists: Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla and Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
I am torn. On the one hand, I love the idea of the Hellfire Gala and voting for the roster of the X-Men. On the other hand, a single year with a roster is hardly enough time to build some good character dynamics. Sunfire never ended up justifying his inclusion after last year’s vote.
Welp, the second Hellfire Gala is held and it’s a doozy! So much happens that I won’t be able to summarize it all. Moira is working with Orchis now, and she invades the Gala in the body of Mary Jane Watson. She reveals herself to her son, Proteus, and is a big jerk to him. Then Spidey and Wolverine team up to go save Mary Jane, continued in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. Everybody is mad at Cyclops for revealing mutant resurrection, but Cyclops clues Jean and Emma in on Dr. Stasis being Mister Sinister. And Emma clues Cyclops in on everything with Moira. There’s a billion other little things here and there, all of it pretty cool. And then the new X-Men team is revealed: Cyclops, Jean, Synch, Havok, Magik, Forge, Iceman and Firestar!
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
I would be more than happy if the Hellfire Gala became an annual event, along with the vote for the new X-Men. I love a good team building series, but I think, at least for now, that the idea of the vote trumps the loss of meaningful character development. Like, Sunfire was a pretty random choice in last year’s vote, and he never ended up justifying that randomness in the actual series. But then we seem to be keeping a core of Cyclops, Jean and Synch, and a lot of good work is being done with Synch, so maybe there is some larger method to the madness. Keep a core cast and story, while letting the fringe team members come and go. I could be down for that. This should be a solid roster going forward, and their selection went really well in this issue.
A lot of things went really well in this issue. Using the annual Hellfire Gala as a big, crazy event with a ton of developments is really cool. There was a metric ton in this issue, and while I’m not on board with all of it, they were all still fun to read about. Duggan uses Emma and Scott to keep the overall issue focused, which was a solid choice. And a lot of the periphery stories really worked. I missed the series where Moira became a diabolical monster, but it was neat giving her a scene with her son, Proteus — especially considering how much he’s no longer a monster. And I’m looking forward to Wolverine and Spider-Man going off to save Mary Jane. Should be fun.
TL;DR: The Hellfire Gala is great stuff in my opinion. It’s a unique and interesting event in its own right, and then it’s filled with all sorts of great character and plot developments. This is the sort of character-focused Big Event I can get behind.
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.