Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 7/23/22

Guess what? We’re back with more comics! And in the middle of San Diego Comic Con no less! Lots of exciting news coming out of Comic Con, with hopefully even more today. I’m hoping for the announcement of the New/Dark Avengers and Marvel recreates that stage scene, only now we have all these off-shoots and bad guys taking the stage. That’ll be fun! As for comics, we’ve got some hits and some misses this week.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1 from IDW, the launch of a new and interesting heist comic by writer Scott Snyder. I’m branching out this week.

Might want to get that checked out

Meanwhile, I couldn’t bring myself to read the first issue of Judgement Day, nor am I getting into Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. I just don’t think I have the energy to read Big Event comics anymore. At the very least, For All Mankind on AppleTV+ is another banger of a show! And let this be the first place I mention it: I finally got off my butt and scripted the first issue of a new, original comic series! Hopefully I’ll share more with you all in the future!

Comic Reviews: Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1, Godzilla vs. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4, Jurassic League #3, Nightwing #94 and She-Hulk #5.

Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1

Dark Spaces: Wildifre #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Andworld Design

In my ongoing efforts to hope senpai notices me, we’re going to review another Scott Snyder original comic! As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m currently enrolled in Snyder’s Comics Writing class on his Substack. It’s a great class and I highly recommend it! The class is about to start its second year, and all back classes are archived so you can join and catch up at your leisure.

Snyder showed us all a preview of this comic in the last class, and I definitely wanted to check it out.

The story focuses on a small group of female convicts and their corrections officer who work on a prison gang that fights wildfires out in the midwest. We meet each of the characters and learn a bit of their backstories, before one of the convicts realizes she recognizes the area they’re in. An old, crooked business partner of hers owns a mansion nearby that is filled with expensive art and a safe full of crypto. The lot of them decide to rob the place before it goes up in flames.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This is a very excellent and sufficiently moody introductory issue, setting up all the main characters and the mood of the story. A lot of research seems to have gone into how these fire crews work, and that level of detail is very much appreciated. The artwork, especially, captures the mood and sets the tone and look going forward. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it pays a lot of special attention to the allure and the danger of fire. So the feel of the comic is pretty great. It’s got a distinct look that fits the story perfectly. The coloring, likewise, is a specific choice that definitely works for the story being told. The art team is killing it.

Fire is the answer to everything

I like the story as well. It’s a neat concept for a heist story, and that’s exactly what you need if you’re going to tell a new heist story. A team of female convicts who work as large scale forest firefighters rob a mansion before it is destroyed by the fire they’re supposed to be fighting? All led by their corrections officer, who has decided to just go for it? Heck yeah, that sounds neat! And the characters are all set up nicely, along with their relationships to one another. Everything is set up very well to kick off a fun new story in this issue.

Though if I’m being entirely honest, I didn’t personally like the twist ending. But we’ll see how it plays out.

TL;DR: Really good start to a new heist comic, laying out all the groundwork perfectly with some truly immersive artwork.

Godzilla vs. Power Rangers #4

Godzilla vs. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterers: Johanna Nattalie and Nathan Widick

Did you hear the news? The Power Rangers are gonna team-up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again in a new comic! And I’m in the middle of reading the Batman meets the Ninja Turtles series. Guess now we just need to wait for the Batman vs. Godzilla comic…

The Power Rangers and Godzilla make short work of the giant bug monsters, so Rita takes control of the alien spaceship and summons King Ghidora! This beast gives our heroes a real thrashing, but also starts attacking the spaceship, because he’s nobody’s fool! The damage to the ship allows Tommy to get free, and one of the Xilians gives him his Power Coin, because they’re ready to cut their losses and want the Rangers and Rita out of their universe. Anyway, the fight just keeps getting bigger, as Rita sends Goldar and the rest of her stored monsters out to fight Ghidorah!

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

This remains a perfectly adequate crossover between these two franchises. The Power Rangers are the regular old Power Rangers, completely with butt-whooping Megazord. And Godzilla remains Godzilla. Ghidorah remains Ghidorah. This comic clearly and effortlessly delivers on the title. What holds this comic back is the lack of any greater depth beyond the title — which maybe happens with a Godzilla comic? I don’t know, I don’t read them. But it’s not like the big guy can engage in any real meaningful interaction with the Power Rangers character-wise. Likewise, all of the villains are their one-notest selves. And in the end, the comic is all about just piling monsters upon monsters upon monsters. But it’s not going so crazy with it as to be very entertaining on just that alone. At least the art is very exciting stuff. Williams is giving this comic his all and it’s great!

TL;DR: While generally fun and entertaining to a degree, this comic is not really delivering anything beyond just the title.

Jurassic League #3

Jurassic League #3
Writers: Juan Gedeon and Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist: Rafa Garres
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Ferran Delgado

I definitely think I’ll be seeing this series through to the end, though this issue makes that idea a little harder…

Dinosaur versions of Green Lantern and Flash show up, and they team up with Aquaman to fight Black Manta, Joker, Atrocitus and Reverse Flash. This eventually leads to Aquaman trailing an injured Black Manta back to the cave that holds the Dark Embryo. Meanwhile, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman save the humans from Bizarro and Giganta, then use the Lasso of Truth on Bizarro to learn of the Dark Embryo’s evil ways. Giganta eats Bizarro for his betrayal.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

What a difference an artist makes. This issue puts me in the unenviable position of having to be mean, and I hate that. I’m not here to rag on anybody’s professional work. But there’s no denying that the new artist on this series — at only the third issue, no less — just isn’t as good as when Gedeon was drawing the series for the first two issues. The new artist’s work is swampier. It’s messier and really just ugly. He’s drawing big, ugly monster people, but they look especially cramped and ugly. It doesn’t help that there are half a dozen characters appearing together in the same scene, so the comic is even more cramped.

Duck-Billed Green Lantern must be a reference to something

And I’m sad to say the worse art takes away from the story. Because, ultimately, there’s just not much of a story. This whole thing hinges on the fun idea of these dinosaur characters. The story is as basic as it gets: the various members of the Justice League team up for the first time to take on a version of the Legion of Doom. That’s it. That’s the entire story. And it worked just fine when it was a vehicle for the awesome Gedeon dinosaur art. Lose that and you lose the appeal of Jurassic League altogether. This is very much a case of not knowing what we’ve got until it’s gone. Is there a reason this series couldn’t have been delayed to keep Gedeon on art for the whole project? I gladly would have waited.

Also, maybe having the weird lettering of Bizarrosaurus deliver all the important exposition was not the best idea. The lettering has been phenomenally fun this whole series…but Bizarro has that weird speak, you know? And this was important exposition.

TL;DR: The new art is a bit too messy and cramped for my tastes, and it brings down the already very simple story.

Nightwing #94

Nightwing #94
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Geraldo Borges
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Best comic on the stands? Yeah, pretty much.

Now that they’ve busted the crooked cops who vandalized Haven, the pressure is on to get the corrupt police commissioner. Mayor Melinda helps set him up, and Nightwing makes the grab as the mayor tries to flee the city. Dick gets all of Blockbuster’s files that the commissioner had stashed and he takes them to Oracle to go through them all.

Meanwhile, Melinda appoints Maggie Sawyer as the new police commissioner, which angers Blockbuster. He pays her a visit and takes her to a warehouse, where he has one of his henchmen trussed up as the possible leak to Dick Grayson. Melinda asks for time alone with him to continue the torture, only for her to immediately cut him free and call Dick for help. Once free, the henchman turns on her and reveals that she’s the traitor to Blockbuster.

Comic Rating: 8 /10 – Very Good.

Rookie mistake, Melinda. I thought you were shrewder than this. Though I do think it’s rather funny that Blockbuster legitimately thought his henchman was the mole, and this wasn’t a trap for Melinda. Still, she’s surely been evil enough so far to get this close to Blockbuster in the first place, only to blow it in this one moment of weakness? Rookie mistake! But a rookie mistake that totally works for the story, so I’m fully on board with the continued exploits of all these fun characters. This issue is a really nice mixture of all the things that make this comic great. We open with a fun action scene as Nightwing takes out a speeding motorcade, one that is built directly from the ongoing story. This isn’t just an opening action scene for the sake of it. This is part of the story and that adds extra oomph as Nightwing takes down some corrupt officials in expert fashion.

Bad dog

Couple that with more adorable Dick and Barabara antics, and then the growing confrontation between Blockbuster and Melinda. I love it when evil super villains show up and have perfectly polite tea with their victim’s mothers, as Blockbuster does here with Melinda’s mom. I love it when villains behave like normal people. So fun scene. And then the rest is just more rising fear and danger, leaving us with an excellent cliffhanger. I don’t even miss regular artist Bruno Redondo all that much. This is another stellar issue of Nightwing with all the good Nightwing action we know and love.

TL;DR: Can Nightwing survive a guest artist popping in? You’re darn right it can! The action and character intrigue remain some of the best in comics.

She-Hulk #5

She-Hulk #5
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Luca Maresca
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

I just don’t know with this comic. It’s a well-made comic, but it’s going nowhere at the speed of light.

The surprise appearance at the end of last issue who knew Jack of Hearts turns out to be a mentally challenged giant who is super strong, but who only recognized Jack as a playing card character. He gets into a fight with She-Hulk until a woman shows up and calms him down and takes him away, declaring that they don’t need to answer to the cops or anyone else. Jennifer is perplexed, but she and Jack just go to dinner. They spend a lot of time talking about how they don’t need to tell anyone, including other Avengers, that Jack of Hearts is back. Not sure why they think that’s the best course of action. The evening ends with Jennifer tripping and falling and Jack not helping her up? I dunno. Then he checks her with a gizmo to determine that she’s very radioactive.

A few days later, Jen is sitting on a bench at the park, spying on the big guy and the woman. Another lady on the bench mentions that they come here all the time, and the woman is the big guy’s wife. For some reason, he really likes nursey rhymes about people named Jack.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

Dear lord, the mystery of Jack of Hearts’s return had better be that he’s the second coming of Jesus Christ, because I don’t know what else warrants so much time just talking about it. I love character interactions as much as the next reader, but give us something else, please! No, wait, allow me to clarify. Give us something else that matters! Interrupt the unending chat about Jack of Hearts with a fight involving brand new, uninteresting characters that means nothing and ends nowhere? Why? Is now really the time to introduce yet another boring mystery that has nothing to do with She-Hulk in this She-Hulk comic? I might actually be intrigued if the issue involved Jennifer Walters stepping up to be a lawyer to this husband and wife, but we don’t even get that tease. They’re just two random people who are allowed to ignore the law who just by happenstance wander into She-Hulk’s field of vision. Will we get another five issues just talking to them?

I have all of the faith in Rainbow Rowell in the world, but there is nothing she can reveal about Jack of Hearts at this point that warrants 4-ish straight issues of just talking about it and revealing nothing.

TL;DR: For yet another issue in a row, this issue is just a long conversation about Jack of Hearts that goes nowhere and reveals nothing about the mystery of his return.

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 July 23, 2022, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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