Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/12/22
And so we come to it at last. This day, unlike any other. In which I post some comic reviews on Saturday. But not just any Saturday. This Saturday. And we’ve got some Batman and some Captain America and probably something else.
Comic Book of the Week goes to Fantastic Four #1, kicking off Ryan North’s next big Marvel comic series! After Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I’m excited to see what else he’s got in store for us.
Meanwhile, I very much enjoyed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I think I liked it more than the first, especially because of Namor and everything he brought to the table. Quality movie all around, and I’ll have my review up on Wednesday! I’ve also started watching Andor, at long last. It’s going well so far.
Comic Reviews: Batman Incorporated #2, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #6, Fantastic Four #1 and Legion of X #7.
Batman Incorporated #2
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: John Timms
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Back to keep giving this new series a chance. First issue was fun, second issue is solid.
The various members of Batman Incorporated try to save the surviving mentors, but none of the mentors are very trusting, so our heroes keep falling into traps — only to be saved by new, more mysterious fighters dressed in snazzy red outfits. Meanwhile, Ghost-Maker tries to convince Skyspider that he’s a good dude now, but she refuses to believe him and ends up getting killed in an explosion. Then Clownhunter gets taken by a new antagonist: Phantom-One, Ghost-Maker’s original sidekick.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
This issue does a solid job of keeping the story moving, though it really only comes together with that end reveal. Mostly it’s a bunch of continuations from the first issue, as our various heroes find themselves in some real pickles. More time is spent with the mentors monologuing than us getting to know our main characters a bit better, but that’s alright. There’s a ton of characters, and there’s a bunch of plot. It still all works for me. And we spend plenty of time with Ghost-Maker making the case for why he should be the lead character in the series. That definitely worked for me.
And Ghost-Maker having his own teen sidekick that he supposedly killed at some point? That definitely works as an antagonist! He was trying to copy Batman for all those years, right? And now he’s got Clownhunter as a new kid sidekick, so this should add some excellent development all around. And then we’ve got the mysterious characters in red. There’s a lot of good story and plot happening here, and it makes for a nice second issue moving forward. Though I’m definitely hoping for more time with the actual main characters as well.
TL;DR: Plot and story are the main focus of this second issue, and they move things along nicely.
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #6
Writers: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Apparently I missed some important ramifications last issue. The Revolution offered himself up to Bucky so that Bucky could replace him in the Outer Circle. And that’s why Bucky shot him.
So yeah, Bucky has killed the Revolution, intent on joining the Outer Circle and taking it apart from within. Steve isn’t about to let that happen. Neither man is backing down, so they engage in an issue-spanning fight throughout this big floating station. Bucky wins and kicks Captain America back down to Earth. Then he cleans himself up and joins the Outer Circle as the New Revolution.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
Mostly this is just a full-issue fight scene with no dialogue. We get a really great opening scene where Steve and Bucky find themselves at loggerheads. It works for both characters very well, and explains what the heck is going on and will be going on in the future. Then the art team takes over and delivers one heck of a cool fight scene. It makes the issue go by faster, because there’s nothing to read, but I’d say the prior five issues did plenty of heavy lifting to get us to this point. We’ve got a legitimate reason for Steve and Bucky to fight, so why not give them an epic fight?
And then the issue ends with Bucky joining the Outer Circle, which they’re all apparently very cool with. I really don’t like these guys as villains. They come out of nowhere, have the sort of retcon where they claim they’ve been behind everything since before the beginning. And yet here they are, just welcoming Bucky to join them like it ain’t no thing. How much you wanna bet it’s gonna become a thing down the line, you dinguses? Still, a great convo between Steve and Bucky, followed up by a great fight, and a really big tease towards the next chapter, all make for a really enjoyable issue.
I still need to get caught up with the Sam Wilson side of things before the big Cold War crossover…
TL;DR: It’s mostly all fight scene, but it’s one heck of a fun fight scene, so rock on Sentinel of Liberty.
Fantastic Four #1
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Iban Coello
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
I’m very disappointed in myself that I gave up on Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four. I was really enjoying it, but then stopped for reasons I can’t remember. Well you best believe I’m going to give it my all on Ryan North’s Fantastic Four! The man’s a comedic genius!
The Thing and his wife, Alicia, are on vacation and stop in at a roadside motel to spend the night. Over the course of the next couple of days, they discover that the entire town is stuck in a timeloop from 1947. The day just keeps repeating itself, but nobody remembers, so it’s just infinitely repeating. Our heroes spend some time trying to break the loop and figure out what’s going on, and they discover it’s a guy named Sandy, who was dumped in the morning, and uses unknown wishing powers every night to wish for the chance to do it all over again. So our heroes spend some time trying to convince Sandy to stop wishing.
Eventually they decide to talk the guy into understanding that break-ups aren’t so bad. Sandy gets over it, he doesn’t make his wish, and we get to watch as he and the entire town get to live through the entirety of the 20th century. Ben and Alicia wake up the next morning in the present day and continue on their vacation. What are they vacationing from, you ask? And where are their children? Well, it seems Reed Richards turned a large chunk of Manhattan into molten slag, so that might have something to do with it.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
This was a wonderful done-in-one story that worked perfectly for members of the Fantastic Four, while never losing sight of Ben and Alicia Grimm at its core. The story is exactly the sort of weird you want from the FF. A whole town from 1947 is trapped in a Groundhogs Day event thanks to a dude who got wish powers in a nuclear accident. But unlike Groundhogs Day — in theory — the rest of the world kept on living outside of the timeloop. Neat stuff! And then North has a lot of fun with the Thing in classic mode, where people think he’s a monster and it bugs him just enough. That is good, old-fashioned Fantastic Four comics.
And I love that they solve the crisis by talking to the guy like normal people and convincing him that breakups aren’t all that bad. North’s Squirrel Girl settled a lot of problems by just talking to people, and I hope to see that level of creativity and civility in this Fantastic Four series. Not every storyline needs to end with a punch-up. Let’s really explore the space and explore space.
I also liked the tease for future issues, with Reed Richards really slagging Manhattan. It reeks a bit of that big tease that Spider-Man did something bad in Amazing Spider-Man, but I trust North to do a better job with this mystery.
TL;DR: The first issue of this new relaunch is full of humor, heart, character and creativity, which is exactly what I’m looking forward to with Ryan North on Fantastic Four.
Legion of X #7
Writer: Si Spurrier
Penciler: Netho Diaz
Inker: Sean Parsons
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Huh, I actually really liked a Mister Sinister scene. Wonders never cease.
So there’s a lot going on in the wake of Judgement Day, some of it involving Warlock and Legion, and some of it involving Banshee and that mischief god. But the important story is that Nightcrawler has randomly grown a pair of horns in his forehead. He goes to Mister Sinister for help, and Sinister shoots him to see if a resurrection fixes it…but that only makes the horns bigger. So Nightcrawler goes to Doctor Nemesis for help, and Nemesis confirms it’s both mutant and magic in nature, and that he’s found a second one. They go to visit an X-Corp building, where they find the new Black Knight fighting with a mutated Archangel.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
That was a really funny Mister Sinister scene. I normally hate that guy, but this whole issue is very well-written as it explores a couple different things. I’m a bit lost in the weeds on the stuff with Warlock and the Phalanx, and I’m still not on board with this weird Ghost Rider Banshee thing. But Nightcrawler suddenly having horns and visiting a couple different mutant scientists to figure out why is wonderful. I love that usage of Krakoa. Of just wandering around and using what mutants best fit the situation.
Spurrier is a master of characters and dialogue, and that really makes his X-Men comics enjoyable. Everybody feels right, everybody is used well; and then he’s got a lot of creative ideas. Some of them are a bit too crazy for me, like I said with the Warlock stuff, but the down-to-Earth character stuff is a winner. It’s also just so full of character. The dialogue is so fun and full of life and energy. Also, are Kurt and Stacy-X banging?
If so, I totally approve! Weaponless Zen was great and all, but give me more Stacy X!
TL;DR: Some weird storylines are there, but they don’t crowd out the really enjoyable, character-rich main storyline about Nightcrawler and his peeps.
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 November 12, 2022, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged Batman Incorporated, Bucky Barnes, Captain America, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, Clownhunter, Fantastic Four, Ghost-Maker, Legion of X, Nightcrawler, Winter Soldier. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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