Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews 12/3/22

Christmas Time is here! Magic is in the air. It’s cold out. Life moves on. And we got some really good comics this week. Granted, it was a fifth week, so that usually leads to some smaller offerings. But I was pleased with stuff like Strange Academy and X-Terminators.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Justice Society of America #1 for a strong, if potentially confusing, first issue. Everybody had better have done their homework ahead of this one.

Old dudes are go

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying Pokemon Violet, though I can never seem to find time to play it. That’s on me. But then there’s no harm in taking it slowly. I loved the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. It was so heartwarming! And I got to see Glass Onion in theaters, which was marvelous. So things are going rather well for me in pop culture land.

Comic Reviews: Justice Society of America #1, Strange Academy: Finals #2 and X-Terminators #3.

Justice Society of America #1

Justice Society of America #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Mikel Janin, Jerry Ordway, Scott Kolins, Steve Lieber and Brandon Peterson
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire, John Kalisz, Jordan Boyd and Peterson
Letterer: Rod Leigh

I don’t know if I’ve read everything I need to read to understand this new Justice Society of America, but I’m largely on board. I like Geoff Johns, and I usually like his big ideas for continuity stuff. So let’s see what happens!

In the not too distant future, the Huntress, daughter of Batman and Catwoman, has gathered together a new Justice Society in order to search for the missing Doctor Fate. The team is comprised largely of either villains or the children of villains, and Catwoman and Power Girl don’t particularly like it…but they do find Fate’s mummified body. Then a mysterious stranger with the ability to manipulate localized time shows up and kills all of the JSA members in seconds. He’s about to do the same to Huntress, but Catwoman shows up and sends Huntress rocketing back through time to the original JSA in 1940.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

First and foremost, this story is weird. This isn’t some relaunch of the Justice Society, where the classic members fight bad guys and we all enjoy ourselves. This is some big, weird, time traveling mystery involving different incarnations of the JSA through the centuries. And I’m all in! The comic is definitely lore heavy, and I’m not sure if I’ve read everything I need to read to understand what’s going on, but I’ve read enough. I love the idea of the New Golden Age, that time travelers somehow removed a dozen or so classic Golden Age characters from the time stream, and this comic will somehow deal with that aftermath, while also telling this weird story of Huntress battling the new villain. The scope looks good to me.

I am loving everything about the new Golden Age Red Lantern and his daughter, Ruby

This issue is a strong start. We meet Huntress, get a taste of her life and personality, and meet her really eclectic iteration of the JSA. A team made up of both villains and children of villains? Sounds neat! I would probably read a comic about that team. But then they all get brutally murdered by the mysterious new villain in the first issue, and Catwoman launches Huntress on a quest through time to stop him? You had my curiosity; now you have my attention. The characters are written well and established clearly, and the mystery seems really interesting so far. I’ve always enjoyed Johns’s big ideas for history and continuity, and the mystery seems baked into those ideas. So bring it all on!

TL;DR: A lot of homework needs to be done ahead of this complicated first issue, but if you’re on board, this looks to be a really exciting jumping off point.

Strange Academy: Finals #2

Strange Academy: Finals #2
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Nobody is taking any final exams yet.

Strange Academy welcomes back the students that defected from Emily, and everybody gets assigned to clean up the campus now that the Mindless Ones are gone. It’s all fun, magical cleaning stuff. Then they have a big meal to celebrate, and everybody finds out that Calvin is a prisoner of Gaslamp. A squad of kids head into New Orleans and get up to all sorts of trouble rescuing Calvin. The issue ends with Germán causing a huge, unintended magical explosion.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This series has built up a strong momentum with its characters that this issue gets a nice high score. The students are forced to do some mundane things, which I love to see. And then we get a cool hero moment when a squad of kids go to rescue Calvin. Even though Calvin sucks, I love seeing the good guys still launch a rescue attempt. I like the subversion I’m seeing here, and I hope it’s intentional. That the Son of Dormammu, who is siding with the authorities, is the good guy, while the pretty, young girl protagonist, Emily, who sides with the unfortunate kids, is the bad guy. Calvin sucks. Doctor Voodoo is great. I’m really excited to see the heroes step up to become heroes.

Boss time

It was a little disappointing that this issue didn’t do anything to progress the larger story with Emily, but that is far from a dealbreaker. I really liked what we got instead. Doyle remains my favorite character, and the badassery of the crew that goes to rescue Calvin is just plain cool. I would be lying if I said I could tell the supporting characters apart, still. Part of me knows that Germán has been in this comic since the very beginning, but has he really? The sprawling cast, especially with background students thrown in, remains a slight hindrance.

Art remains great, though.

TL;DR: A lot of neat things happen for our characters in this issue, which helps keep the already strong momentum going. I especially look forward to these youngsters becoming heroes.

X-Terminators #3

X-Terminators #3
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Colorist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Let’s keep this crazy train running!

Our heroes battle doppelgangers and vampires while trading all sorts of fun dialogue. Then when they have a moment, Dazzler riles up the crowd with a Boom-Boom striptease, and they all combine their powers to blow up the glass fortress they’re stuck in. In the aftermath, they discover a bunch of Otherworld people also trapped here, then everybody gets kidnapped by the Collector and taken to his floating space mansion.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This issue raises the wildness to a whole new level, and I’m all here for it. The action and zaniness hasn’t let up since the first issue, and I’m pretty sure that’s the point. Williams just keeps throwing one awesome idea after another at our heroes, while keeping the focus squarely on the interaction between the characters, and keeping those interactions fun and sexy. Jubilee punches Boom-Boom in the boob in the middle of a fight? Sure! Boom-Boom flashes the whole crowd with boob bombs, riling them out so that they’re loud enough for Dazzler to turn their noise into energy blasts? Heck yeah! It’s fun, it’s a creative use of everybody’s powers in tandem, and makes for an exciting issue.

The moneyshot

Williams is also doing great with the comedic timing when it comes to the Quiet Council. An exasperated Charles Xavier struggling to contain the ludicrousness of the story the women are telling is great, especially as new factors keep getting added and introduced to the reader. I can picture the scene playing out in my head and it works so well. The art, likewise, keeps up with the madness and hopefully Gomez is having fun drawing so much zaniness.

TL;DR: The bar is raised yet again for just how insane this comic can get. X-Terminators is clearly meant to be fun, and that’s exactly what we’re getting, in spades.

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 December 3, 2022, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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