Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/5/22
If you’re reading this, I’m already on vacation! I’ve got a week off from work and I plan on kicking back and just relaxing. Is it a coincidence that I timed my vacation for the release of both God of War: Ragnarok and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Nope! Not a coincidence at all!
Comic Book of the Week goes to Batman #129 for a high energy, action-packed issue. It’s a bit weaker than previous issues of this run, but it’s still a fun read. Needs more Robin, though.
Meanwhile, like I said, I’m on vacation. I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll buy Ragnarok yet, since I’ve only got a Playstation 4 to play it on. And because Pokemon Scarlet and Violet come out the week after. I don’t need to be spending $100+ on video games in a single month, you hear me? So we’ll see what my week of relaxation will feature.
Comic Reviews: Batman #129 and She-Hulk #7.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
You know what I always found weird about Dragonball Z? That Doctor Gero was able to build such powerful androids, and that they activated at just the right time in Goku’s power leveling that they were a match for him. Like, how did he build something so strong? And imagine if he’d built them at any point prior? He could have saved the world from the Saiyans, or just conquered the world!
Anyway, here’s Failsafe.
Failsafe has taken over Gotham City and let criminals run rampant, terrorizing innocent citizens. Most of the Bat-Family is imprisoned, and he’s hooked Barbara Gordon up to a computer to run algorithms to help find Batman. Failsafe realizes Batman is in Atlantis, but Bruce is gone by the time Failsafe raids the underwater kingdom. Bruce is up on the Justice League Watchtower, so Failsafe goes there. Bruce pulls off all sorts of tricks and traps before teleporting Failsafe back to Earth and ejecting himeslf out into space.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This issue is only a step down from previous issues because I don’t think it moves the story forward any great degree. A big deal is made that Failsafe has taken over Gotham City and turned it into this horrible place. But 1.) Every single major storyline in Batman over the past few years has involved the exact same thing. There was Bane, then the Joker War, then Fear State; it’s like nobody can come up with a Batman story unless it involves the villain conquering all of Gotham City. But then 2.) This issue doesn’t spend much time in Gotham City. We get one brief scene of some Blackgate prisoners being on the loose before the action switches to Atlantis and then outer space. If the story wasn’t going to focus on Gotham City being conquered, why go to all the trouble? Couldn’t Failsafe have been more sinister and secretive about his plot to lure Batman out of hiding? I dunno. It just feels done before and extraneous.
And, if my prologue wasn’t obvious enough, Failsafe’s extreme abilities are getting a little out of hand. Why did Batman come up with any other plans to defeat the Justice League if Failsafe also works so well against all of them? Why has Batman ever struggled ever if he’s capable of building this one robot that can do anything and withstand anything?
Nitpicks out of the way, it’s still a fine comic book story about Batman on the run and thinking on his feet against seemingly impossible odds. And that’s a fine, fun story. You can see the gears turning in Batman’s head as he figures out his next step. You can feel the desperation in his voice. This is definitely a unique, adrenaline-filled situation in which Batman is truly under the gun and has only minutes to come up with moves and plays. And Jimenez easily keeps up on art, delivering some great stuff with each page. This issue just isn’t particularly clever or engaging. It’s just this unstoppable robot being varying degrees of unstoppable. Almost too unstoppable.
TL;DR: Not as much happens as I would have liked in this otherwise excellent Batman comic.
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Luca Maresca
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Hey! Guess what this She-Hulk issue does! It focuses mainly on a legal situation (yay!) and then pivots into an actual ongoing story!
She-Hulk and Jack of Hearts have slept together and they share a cute morning together before Jen heads off to work on a Saturday to meet a mystery client set up by Awesome Andy. The mystery client is Doombot, from Runaways, and Victor Mancha has brought him to get legal help. Doombot was picked up on a traffic ticket, and the district attorney wants to prosecute him for all the crimes of Doctor Doom. Jen takes the case!
Later, she goes to visit April and Mark, the odd couple we met a few issues ago who attacked Jen, but made it seem like a mistake. Welp, turns out they really are after Jen, and she’s just delivered herself to their front door. They lock her in cuffs and throw her in their basement, which seems to be the same place Jack of Hearts broke out of!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I’m not ready to forgive She-Hulk all its faults, but at least this issue does a lot of things right. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t care for the relationship between Jen and Jack. It was too obvious, and far too much time was spent with the two of them just having random, meandering conversations. I love a good comic book romance, but I need more courtship than that, and I prefer it when the relationship isn’t telegraphed from day one. So the two of them hooking up and then being cute at breakfast doesn’t do anything for me. Sorry.
Thankfully, this comic finally devotes more time to the other stories, and that stuff is much, much better! I loved the scene of Jen trying to juggle Doombot, Victor and Andy to understand this new legal dilemma. I want that stuff! She-Hulk is in such a unique position of being a superhero law firm, take advantage of that! So that scene was a blast, full of character and interesting issues. Though now that I think about it, have we followed up on any of the legal issues so far? Mr. Fantastic and Nightcrawler haven’t come back. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of Doombot and his issue.
And then I really liked how April and Mark were tied into the larger story, finally. They were sudden and random characters when they first appeared, but I thought we were mostly done with them. Revealing them to have been villains all along is a great bit of pulling the rug out from under me. And it’s just plain funny that Jen went to check up on them because she cared, only to find out they were indeed after her all along. That’s good stuff! And then it turns out they’re the ones responsible for what happened to Jack of Hearts! Finally, we get some solid progress on that story, and it’s tied into another ongoing Jen story! This reveal should have been in the previous issue. We should have gotten it a bit sooner. I love how it ties everything together pretty well, but these past even issues could have been tighter.
TL;DR: Law stuff and the larger plot finally take over from the far less interesting relationship, at least in this issue, and that makes it a more enjoyable issue for this reader.
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.