Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 1/14/23

My friends, this has been a week. I had to take my car in for some repairs and that cost me an arm and a leg. And then the repair shop messed up my automatic seat adjuster, which was already pretty fragile. So I’m not only out a lot of money this week, but now my seat is stuck in a somewhat uncomfortable way! I need to buy a new car, but in this economy? In this market? Ugh. Anyway, this is all to say I didn’t get to too many comics this week out of sheer sadness.

Comic Book of the Week goes to X-Men #18 because it was the better of the two I actually managed to read and review this week. It’s an OK story.

That’s too bad

Meanwhile, I haven’t played with my new Playstation 5 yet, because I want to finish Pokemon Violet before moving on to a new game. So that’s just collecting dust. And I finished Wednesday, which was really good. Basically trying to find anything to lessen the pain of this past week.

Comic Reviews: Monica Rambeau: Photon #2 and X-Men #18.

Photon #2

Monica Rambeau: Photon #2
Writer: Eve L. Ewing
Artists: Ivan Fiorelli & Luca Maresca
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Eh, this second issue goes in a direction I don’t personally care for. That’s on me.

Monica ended the previous issue by flying out into space to clear her head. But now she suddenly wakes up on her boat in the bay outside her hometown, New Orleans. She’s confused, but rushes to help when she sees a meteor crashing into the city. Everything is a bit weird, and that’s when the Beyonder shows up, promising even more weirdness. And shortly after that, a classic Avengers team from when Monica was team leader show up as well. It’s all topsy-turvy, and Monica thinks the Beyonder is to blame, but they swear that they were drawn to Monica’s powers for some reason. Things get even more confusing when Monica tries to return home, only to be met by her “husband,” Jericho Drumm!

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

This second issue is a major departure from the really good first issue, and it really turned me off. The first issue was a great set-up for Monica Rambeau’s grounded struggles. It was a great exploration of her character. She had real world problems to deal with, from an annoying cousin, overbearing parents, superhero fatigue and more. I thought we were going to explore themes of burnout, even among superheroes. Has that ever been done before? Burnout is a real problem for people today, and a story of a superhero experiencing burnout sounded neat! But nope, none of that stuff is followed up on in this second issue, which goes in the complete opposite direction. Photon is instead thrown into a topsy-turvy world where the Beyonder threatens to steal attention and Dr. Druid gets to be a grump.

What’s with the Dr. Druid hate?

My issues are really just with the story. The writing and art are fine. It’s just such a weird direction to take this comic after that excellent first issue. And Monica takes a while to realize she’s in some weird alternate reality, or whatever is going on. She keeps butting heads with the Avengers, even though they’re clearly a lineup from the past. And I just didn’t care for her interactions with the Beyonder. I don’t know much about the Beyonder, but they and Monica just keep going around in circles over what they’re even doing there. Basically, this is a weird issue that just layers on the weird, but not in a fun way. More of a confusing way, and even the main character seems more confused than anything else. It’s a confusing issue.

TL;DR: The second issue of this mini-series veers off in a wildly different direction than the first issue, and I just don’t personally care for this weird new direction.

X-Men #18

X-Men #18
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: C.F. Villa
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

I feel like this issue should have been a bigger deal.

The Laura Kinney who went into the Vault has returned alive and well, and she immediately sets about hooking up with her lost love, Synch. But there’s still the problem of Krakoa having resurrected Laura after she died, so there’s another Wolverine running about. Old Laura and Synch check up on her, and she’s hanging out with the X-Terminators hunting vampires in Detroit. The two Lauras take on the mission alone so they have time to hash out some ground rules for living separate lives.

Meanwhile, the X-Men save some ORCHIS scientists who accidentally get vented out into space. Jean tells Beast that he’s out of line for worrying too much about Old Laura, and that she is where she belongs. And the issue ends with Corsair warning the X-Men that the Brood are coming.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

So on the surface, this is a perfectly enjoyable issue that covers some important ground. The two Lauras fighting vampire monsters is fun, in that way that Wolverines get to be fun. I like seeing a good romance, so Old Laura and Synch getting together is neat. And I’m always in favor of an X-Terminators cameo. I’ve been enjoying that series, and I’m a little thrilled to see them show up as a permanent team. Keep that spirit alive, X-Men comics! Everybody is written well, their interactions are great, and the art is on point. It’s a solid, enjoyable issue of the current X-Men comic.

There is much fun to be had

My problem is that I feel like this whole thing with the Lauras should have been a bigger deal, you know? This is a major disruption to the very core of Krakoa. The resurrection protocols have screwed up and now we have two versions of the same person running around. But nobody seems to care! The two Lauras just have a simple chat about who gets to use the name “Wolverine” and about staying out of each other’s way. And everybody else just seems happy for Old Laura and Synch. But, like…come on! This calls into question what we know and understand about the resurrection protocols and the existence of the souls of the X-Men. The Laura Kinney we’ve been reading about for years is now Old Laura. Yet the current Wolverine is now…what? A clone? Doesn’t that make all resurrected mutants clones? These are huge questions, and yet the issue just brushes past them like it’s no big deal.

I think it should have been a bigger deal.

TL;DR: A perfectly enjoyable issue of the X-Men, with some great character moments and some cool action, completely brushes aside the era-disrupting implications of the two Lauras.

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 January 14, 2023, in Comics, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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