Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 11/26/22

Happy American Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m thankful that I can still enjoy new comics that come out, and still have the energy to keep this review column going. I’m thankful people are still reading. I’m thankful for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Tim Drake: Robin, among other things.

Comic Book of the Week goes to X-Men #17 for a really nice story about Caliban making friends.

Nobody ever marvels at my hubris

Meanwhile, I’m very much enjoying Pokemon Violet. The open world aspect is more than making up for its graphical problems. So that’s nice. I had a really enjoyable Thanksgiving with the family, and caught up on various pop culture shows, games and movies with my brother. Always a hoot. And then last night, I very much enjoyed the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special! So awesome! Oh! And tune in on Wednesday for my review of the first season of Andor. Good stuff there.

Comic Reviews: Dark Spaces: Wildfire #5, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #102, Tim Drake: Robin #3 and X-Men #17.

Dark Spaces: Wildfire #5

Dark Spaces: Wildfire #5
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Andworld Design

So we have come to the end of this fun little story, which successfully nails the landing and wraps everything up nicely.

Brooks has been revealed as a traitor and she orders her soldiers to finish off the other women. But they’re up and ambush the soldiers, killing them all and very nearly shooting Brooks, but they give her time to explain her plan. Brooks is able to convince everyone that the plan can still work, and they’ll use the soldier bodies as stand-ins for them. Everyone agrees and they head outside, only to discover that the original forest fire they were all fighting has grown out of control while they weren’t watching. What will they do now? No spoilers for the ending!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This is a strong final issue that wraps up the story nicely, playing off the tease ending we got in the first issue nicely. All the cards are on the table and the characters play out how you would expect them too. I felt the ending could have been a bit stronger for the individual characters, but it’s mostly an ensemble ending, which also really works well for the crew. We get a pretty happy ending, and I like happy endings. I especially liked how Snyder brought back the larger fire to wrap up the story, the idea that the forest fire they were supposed to be fighting grew out of control while they were on their heist. That’s a really great callback that ties the whole thing together. And the art remained as strong as it has been. Very detailed, very gritty, very perfect for the story. This whole thing is a nice little package that comes together nicely in the end.

TL;DR: Strong final issue wraps up the series nicely, with good callbacks and defining character development. Nice little series overall.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #102

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #102
Writer: Melissa Flores
Artist: Simona Di Gianfelice
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

Oh man, Melissa Flores is going all-out for her introductory arc and I am here for it!

After a too brief flashback to when Trini and Zack met Kimberly on a date with Matt, we find the Rangers outgunned and outnumbered. Rita Repulsa is back, and is calling herself “Mistress Vile” now. She’s got Lord Zedd at her mercy, and she’s brought along a tough new body guard, named Vessel. The fight is intense, and ultimately the Rangers are the ones getting whooped. They manage to get Zedd away, but Matt sacrifices himself to stay behind and delay Rita. The Rangers and the Minions escape in Serpentera, though it is heavily damaged and they crash land on Earth. They regroup in the Command Center, as we see that Rita has taken Matt captive and is using Vessel to claim the Zeo Crystal!

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

The action and character development are as fire as ever in the new era and I am loving it! We’re two issues in, and already we’re assaulting the moon, teaming up with Lord Zedd, facing a terrifying new Rita, and Matt is making the sacrificial play so that the Rangers can escape the moon in freakin’ Serpentera! How damn cool is all of this? Of course, my excitement will take a real hit if this somehow leads to them killing off Matt within the first storyline of this new era, but I don’t think that’s the case since he’s still alive at the end. I think the new Rita might turn him into a new evil Green Ranger, which sounds pretty cool. Especially if Flores plans to dig more into Matt’s relationship with the other Rangers. That opening flashback to the time Matt introduced Kimberly to Trini and Zack was awesome. And like I said last issue, I’m all for a Matt/Aisha romance, which would be wonderfully complicated by Matt being turned evil by the new Mistress Vile!

A good Ranger can recognize a cool look

Man, I can’t explain enough how hype I am for this new storyline so far. This has been a great kick-off, setting up new team relationships, a new yet familiar villain, and all sorts of complications. It’s fantastic! This is pure Power Rangers magic, and that’s what I’m here for. The art, likewise, keeps up with the action. Rita’s new look is great, her new ally is cool enough, and the Rangers look how they’re supposed to look. It has all come together nicely and there’s nothing to fear about the new creative team at BOOM! I have no idea where this story is going next, I’m just very confident that it’s going to be awesome!

TL;DR: The second issue of this new creative team ups the momentum and excitement from the first issue, adding new stakes, new dangers and new awesomeness all around. And all while building on what came before, which is always fun.

Tim Drake: Robin #3

Tim Drake: Robin #3
Writer: Meghan Fitzmartin
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer; Tom Napolitano

I know superhero significant others are supposed to be blind when they meet the hero, but this is getting ridiculous.

Robin is attacked by all the other Robins, or at least it appears to be them. He quickly discovers that they are some kind of clay creatures, but probably not Clayface, since they’re all operating independently and all seem to perfectly mimic the other Robins. Tim uses his history and deductive powers to take them down, because learning to take down the other Robins is something he’s trained on. Once it’s over and he’s recovering in an alley (while the cops pick up the clay goons), Bernard finds him and takes him to Tim’s houseboat to recover. It’s a really cringey where Barnard can’t tell that Robin is Tim and he mostly chatters about how great Robin is and how worried he is about Tim.

Anyway, once Robin is alone, he starts working on the mystery of who the main bad guy is. And we see the clay Jason Todd escape back to the bad guy’s own houseboat, where we meet some dude named Colonel Moran and then the boss might actually be Clayface after all?

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

I hate to be that guy, but Bernard really is the albatross around this comic’s neck. Everything to do with Robin is really enjoyable. Fitzmartin writes a great Tim Drake, and that’s on full display as he takes down his “family members” in fights. He figures them out, already knows what it will take to beat them and gets it done. It’s a fun scene, and definitely builds the mystery of this bad guy. Though going from detective mystery clues to clay Robins who know a lot of details about the Bat-Family is a bit of a leap. Who even is this bad guy?! What kind of reveal are we in for? I’m both excited and hesitant that the pay-off is going to be good. Who is going to live up to all this build-up? I suppose we’ll find out.

The art can definitely work

But then, like I said, the Bernard stuff is just really cringey. I feel like it wouldn’t be so bad if Bernard knew that Tim was Robin. And I mean openly knew. Because it’s entirely possible that Bernard isn’t an idiot and he’s just playing Tim/Robin/us; that I would accept. Because their scene together in this issue was so awkward. Bernard decides to invite Robin to come hang out on Tim’s boat? After just happening to bump into Robin? And he gives Robin a note to give to Tim? Yeah, now that I’m writing it all out, I really hope that’s the reveal Fitzmartin has planned. Because Bernard just isn’t clicking, and he needs to click for all of this to work.

TL;DR: The relationship storyline doesn’t work as well as the superhero storyline and it makes for an awkward comic.

X-Men #17

X-Men #17
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

If this is the end of that Vault storyline started years ago with Hickman, I’m quite pleased with it.

Forge finds the body of Wolverine (Laura) inside the Vault, even though everybody thought her dead from that first mission. He tries to leave her there and focus on Darwin, but the Caliban in his chest isn’t happy about leaving someone behind. They’re ambushed by Serafina, who was the Child that the X-Men rescued from Orchis way back at the start of this version of the X-Men. She bonds a little with Caliban, enough so that she interrogates Forge and decides to let him go when she likes his answers.

Forge is then greeted by Darwin in his mind. Darwin explains that he has evolved into living computer code, which is how he’s survived in the Vault all this time. He tells Forge that he still has work to do, and they bid one another farewell. After that experience, Forge decides to rescue Wolverine and he takes her back to the surface. The X-Men call Synch to the scene so that he can be reunited with his lost love.

Afterwards, Forge meets Caliban at the bar to apologize and tell him this whole strange story. And a little post script at the end reveals that the Darwin code may have piggybacked on Forge to get to Krakoa.

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

I know I really enjoyed the Power Rangers comic this week, but this issue of X-Men is just a bit better because of how human and character-based it is. All the pay-offs, all the great character moments, all come together for just a really nice, really heart-warming issue that moves a lot of things forward, while also adding all sorts of fun new details to the world. Like Caliban. Forge made a clone of Caliban and turned that clone into a costume so that he could use Caliban’s powers. The Caliban suit has a mind of his own, and opinions of his own. And his heroism in the face of being used by Forge is remarkable and very endearing. He won’t leave Wolverine behind, and then he immediately befriends Serafina. It’s such a fun character moment!

I ship them

And it’s just the first of several fun character moments. I loved the changes of heart for both Forge and Serafina. I loved Synch reuniting with Wolverine, and how that’s going to make things difficult for Krakoa going forward. I loved Darwin’s evolution, and the sneaky way we’re told at the end that he has transferred himself to Krakoa. And I especially loved how Forge meets Caliban at the bar later to tell him everything, how he’s not going to keep this some mysterious, modern Krakoan secret. That is some fun character development, and I really hope Duggan has other plans for Caliban. Both he and his clone outfit were clutch in this issue and this storyline, a very neat idea executed wonderfully.

TL;DR: Several really fun and well-developed character moments make this a standout issue. The sci-fi and superhero stuff is already off the chain, and then Duggan finds the heart over and over again.

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 November 26, 2022, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Robin, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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