Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 10/22/22

Comics, we’ve got comics! New comics! Returning comics! We’ve got everything you could want. From X-Men to the start of GCPD: The Blue Wall. Is it the next incarnation of Gotham Central? Let’s hope so!

Comic Book of the Week goes to Nightwing #97 because it’s just another wonderful caper of an adventure.

Renee Montoya is the surprise star this week

Meanwhile, I just finished The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and I loved it! Fun show, fun use of the material, and a really cool ending. I haven’t seen Black Adam yet, but I will this afternoon. So check back on Wednesday for my thoughts and review on Black Adam.

Comic Reviews: GCPD: The Blue Wall #1, Nightwing #97 and X-Men #16.

GCPD: The Blue Wall #1

GCPD: The Blue Wall #1
Writer: John Ridley
Artist: Stefano Raffaele
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Ariana Maher

Gotham Central remains one of my all-time favorite comic books, so I decided to check out GCPD: The Blue Wall. I like Renee Montoya, too!

Police cadets Park, Ortega and Wells attend their graduation, where Commissioner Renee Montoya gives a moving speech about the “blue wall”. Then they all begin their new shits the next day with the GCPD. Park is a parole officer, who really thinks ex-criminals can reform. Ortega is assigned to Tricorner, the roughest neighborhood in Gotham, where it’s implied pretty heavily from his patrol captain that certain things are expected of him (and there’s no escaping the racism). Park is assigned to the touristy Little Tokyo, and her first day on the job involves pulling her gun on a kid.

But Park doesn’t take the shot and the kid is revealed to be completely innocent. The captain of patrol pushes Renee to make Park into a hero for not taking the shot, and she’s put through the media wringer. Park later confides in her friends that she didn’t take the shot because she was frozen with fear, not because she made the right call. Then, a few days later, she’s involved in another situation with an actual shooter and a civilian gets shot.

Also, Renee has the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

This is a good, solid start to the story, introducing three brand new characters and setting them on different paths through the police service. The issue also establishes Renee Montoya as a main player, and the world of doubt and responsibility on her shoulders. This comic isn’t just Gotham Central Redux, which is fine. This is a comic that will explore societal issues, and concerns with modern day police departments, through the lens of the Gotham City Police Department. There’s nothing fantastical about it yet (we only get passing mentions of the Joker and Two-Face), but hopefully that will change and evolve as we go forward.

Choices made…?

On its own, this was a really solid issue establishing the new characters and their new worlds. The art was perfectly realistic and gritty, which is what you need for a comic like this. The situations the officers find themselves in are real and based on real events, and it’s another excellent, nuanced look into the real lives of police officers. I’m also a big Renee Montoya fan, so it’s nice that she’s also got her own plotlines and concerns going on. This issue does a fine job introducing the whole cast.

If I had any nitpicks, it’s that this first issue doesn’t do anything to really establish itself as anything really special, if that makes any sense. Like, it’s a couple of cops in their first days on the job dealing with the sorts of issues I would expect to see in a realistic cop story written in 2022. And it’s all done very well, there’s just nothing that makes it stand out storywise just yet. I’ll definitely be checking out future issues though.

TL;DR: A good, solid start to a new Gotham City crime drama. We meet new characters and get into the head of an old favorite. The first issue just doesn’t really embrace the unique setting enough for my tastes.

Nightwing #97

Nightwing #97
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Bruno Redondo and Geraldo Borges
Inkers: Caio Filipe and Borges
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

What’s that? A new issue of Nightwing? Hot damn!

After Blockbuster’s death, the cops want Sal Maroni turn testify to bring down his whole operation — but this makes Maroni a target for every crime family in the tri-state area. Nightwing and Batgirl help out with transportation and fight off a bunch of attempts to kill him. They take Maroni to a Batman safehouse deep in Gotham Forest where they can stash him for a couple of days until the heat dies down. But in the morning, a taxi cab has shown up outside…and Ric Grayson is behind the wheel.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I mean, this comic is a broken record. Taylor and Redondo writing Nightwing? It’s going to be wonderful! The story of this issue picks up with the ongoing events quite nicely, addressing Blockbuster’s death and moving forward with the next stage of things. Boss Maroni needs to be dealt with, and Taylor comes up with a fun way to involve Nightwing and Batgirl. The only real nitpick I have is that Taylor once again has to ignore the fact that he’s frequently had the Flash and Superman guest star in this comic. Because transporting Maroni to Gotham City should would be easier if the Flash just stopped by for a couple seconds.

Cutest couple in comics

But it’s best not to think about such things. In the context of this series, it is far more fun for Nightwing and Batgirl to grab him when the police escort goes pear-shaped. And hiding him in a Batman-funded safehouse in the middle of the forest separating Gotham City and Bludhaven? Sounds neat! Especially since this issue features more fun Dick and Babs time. They’re comics’ golden couple right now, in my opinion. Taylor is really breathing new, beautiful life in this classic comic book couple. And they easily carry the comic through this story set-up. It’s got action, it’s got superheroics, it’s got sexy heroes; what more could you ask for?

That cliffhanger reveal is also pretty insane! I wasn’t around for the Ric Grayson era, but I know it is generally hated by the fandom. I fully trust that Tom Taylor has come up with a pretty crazy twist to it.

TL;DR: More of the same, by which I mean the funnest, most enjoyable, most personable comic on the stands. A new story kicks off with some great character moments and a wild cliffhanger.

X-Men #16

X-Men #16
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Thankfully, at least one X-comic has moved beyond Judgement Day. I probably should have read that crossover, but I never got around to it.

While Forge is deep in the Vault, Havok and Cyclops get into a shouting match outside and Havok causes one of the Children, Perro, to escape his holding cell. It takes the whole team to defeat him and plug him back in, and Scott and Jean are concerned at how Havok isn’t right for this team.

Meanwhile, inside the Vault, Forge and Caliban find their mutant signature but it’s not Darwin, as they surmised. It’s actually Laura, still alive after her centuries spent with Synch. This is a pretty big problem, considering they already went ahead and resurrected Laura some time ago.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

I loved the art in this issue, and I love the story of Forge wearing a talking Caliban suit to infiltrate the Vault. The only problem is that there’s no real story to them, because they easily succeed in reaching their destination and revealing Laura. It’s a fun reveal, even if it’s not entirely unexpected. And I like the idea of Havok being a problem in the X-Men lineup. But this issue is all about doing things that set-up those future stories. So, like, this issue is mostly just one big fight with Perro that didn’t have to happen and doesn’t add anything to the ongoing story. It just sets up that Havok is a jerk these days and Cyclops has doubts about him on the team. That’s an interesting story, but the part where he unintentionally frees Perro feels a little forced. Like, it is very contrived how Perro gets freed and that just gnaws at me. But like I said, both storylines set up in this issue are solid, so let’s see where they go.

TL;DR: Some interesting future stories are set up in this issue, but we need to take some contrived steps to get there.

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 October 22, 2022, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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