Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 1/21/23

The weekend is upon us again and that means more comics and more reviews! I’ve got a 3-day weekend, so I’m gonna relax, play video games and hope the world doesn’t end. At least I’ve got the likes of Invincible Iron Man, the Wasp and Power Rangers to keep me company.

Comic book of the Week goes to Nightwing #100 because I’m a suck for emotional scenes between Batman and his Robins. Just tug at my damn heartstrings, why don’tcha?

By all means…

Meanwhile, I’m spending this weekend finally beating Pokemon Violet. I’ve been dragging my feet with this game for no particular reason and I swear to see it through to the end. Then perhaps I’ll pick up Marvel: Midnight Suns. Also, shame to hear about the lay-offs at Comixology. I’m gonna have to juggle where I get my comics from it seems, as I’m sure many will. I hope those employees cruelly cut from Amazon land on their feet.

Comic Reviews: Invincible Iron Man #2, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #104, Nightwing #100 and The Wasp #1.

Invincible Iron Man #2

The Invincible Iron Man #2
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Colorist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

I’m still on board for this series, though it hasn’t wowed me yet. Do I need to be wowed with every new comic I read? No, but it would be nice.

Ironheart rescues Tony Stark from the gutter and they head back to his place to clean up. Seems he’s been poisoned at the AA meeting. They watch the news to see how the world is reacting to Tony’s downfall, and they watch as the Living Laser attacks a Stark Unlimited press conference. Tony and Riri go and fight him, and Riri reveals that she has possession of the Mandarin’s rings. She goes into Living Laser’s mind and they see that Tony kidnapped him and took him to a lab to be experimented on, but Tony has no memory of it. They’re all pretty sure it’s part of the latest scheme against Stark.

Later, one of Tony’s closest business allies, Zhong Wei, is murdered.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

I love when super-villains can be reasonable, and that’s largely the case with the Living Laser appearance here. He’s got a legitimate reason to be mad at Tony Stark, and we get a nice fight scene, and then everybody calms down and talks this through. I liked it, both for the superhero fisticuffs and the reasonable villain. I also liked how the Living Laser told the armored heroes that he wants in if they figure out who’s behind this mess. I hope Duggan carries through on that set-up. Again, villains acting reasonable is awesome. I also really liked Living Laser’s new outfit. He’s had some great designs over the years, and this one is solid.

Classic villain makeovers are always a hoot

Beyond that fun superhero encounter, the rest of the issue is just some really enjoyable character stuff from Tony Stark and Riri Williams. They have a nice mentor/mentee relationship, and Duggan writes it well. These remain interesting characters, and I’m invested in their story so far. The new villain and their scheme hasn’t been all that exciting yet. It’s just some typical villain stuff, but it’s fine. I don’t need the greatest, most clever villain plan ever conceived. Just give me something fun for Tony Stark to be knocked up against. And the character stuff, and the strong artwork, otherwise maintains this comic nicely.

TL;DR: Good, quality, well-rounded superhero comic, with an especially fun villain encounter in this issue.

Power Rangers #104

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #104
Writer: Melissa Flores
Artists: Kath Lobo with Simona Di Gianfelice
Colorists: Fabi Marques with Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

I love it when the comics explore other villains from other Power Rangers series. There’s a whole cadre of cosmic bad guys that couldn’t be properly explored with how the shows worked.

As Rita flies through space with Matt as her prisoner, we learn her story. After being discarded by Lord Zedd, she is rescued by Divatox and is brought back to her father, Master Vile. She learns that dear old dad has convinced Alpha-1 to become the new vessel of Dark Spectre, and they all head out to present this gift. But Spectre doesn’t want a robot for a vessel and Rita capitalizes on his anger, betraying her father and pledging herself to Dark Spectre. He grants her his power, turning her into Mistress Vile, so that she can bring him a proper vessel…Matt!

Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.

This issue wove in appearances from Master Vile (finally!), Devatox, Dark Spectre, Darkonda and even included a Rito mention! It’s super neat! I love the whole idea of this cosmic cadre of bad guys just out there in space doing their evil things, only to run up against their own batch of Power Rangers whenever their season comes around. So this was a really fun issue of Rita Repulsa letting her hair down (literally) and exploring the world of cosmic evil during her downtime. And it’s especially fun to see Rita as a person instead of just the TV show caricature. She has hair that she can bring down from those spiky pigtails. She has hopes and dreams of her own. She has a dad she butts heads with. This issue is a great showcase of Rita as a person, and I love that sort of thing. I very much look forward to where this storyline is going…though I hope this isn’t the end of Matt as the Green Ranger.

TL;DR: The regular story takes a break so that we can get some excellent, world-building backstory. This issue should be a treat for Power Rangers fans with all the cameos.

Nightwing #100

Nightwing #100
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Guest Artists: Scott McDaniel, Rick Leonardi, Eddy Barrows, Javier Fernandez and Mikel Janin
Inkers: Karl STory, Eber Ferreira, Caio Felipe, Joe Pardo and Leonardi
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Huzzah anniversary issue of Nightwing!

Heartless breaks into Bludhaven Private Prison and frees all of the prisoners, giving them masks and telling them to go nuts and cause chaos. Nightwing responds and calls in the Titans for backup. He also manages to talk some of the more calmer-headed prisoners into helping stop the chaos. It’s a whole big thing of Nightwing and his friends saving Bludhaven, all while Heartless makes connections with Tony Zucco.

After the heroes have saved the day, Superman and Wonder Woman pay Nightwing a visit and ask him to be in charge of global superheroing while the Justice League is out of commission. Nightwing goes to Batman for advice and they share a really emotional father/son moment together. Great stuff. Afterwards, Dick Grayson buys the destroyed prison and turns it into a new Titans Tower.

Comic Rating: 10/10 – Fantastic.

All the joy and fun of Taylor and Redondo’s Nightwing comic is right here in this celebratory issue, and I am perfectly happy with that. It’s another done-in-one story that moves things forward in a big way by the end. Watching Nightwing and his allies save the day is always fun, especially with the little character moments that Taylor adds to the story. I especially liked when Nightwing was able to convince some of the prisoners to be reasonable and actually help. So all the superhero stuff is pretty fun. And I don’t need to tell you that the scene between Bruce and Dick was a tear-jerker. That’s my comic book kryptonite. Batman and the Robins having good moments together cuts through me like nothing else. So yeah, that’s glorious.

Cats in the cradle and the silver spoon…

With all that praise out of the way, I do have some nitpicking to do. There are some big, bombastic changes to the DC landscape in this issue, and while they feel cool and I look forward to Taylor exploring them, they also feel…a bit empty. I didn’t read Dark Crisis and I haven’t read any Teen Titans comics in years, so I’m a bit out of the loop on some of the stuff in the finale. And I’m growing a bit bored with Taylor’s overuse of the Teen Titans. Almost every issue of this Nightwing comic, and surely every major threat, involves Dick calling in the Teen Titans to save the day with him. It’s getting repetitive. Are the Titans just sitting around waiting for him to call the next time Bludhaven is on fire? He even gave it a special name in this issue — Operation: Power Shift — and all it turned out to be was the Titans showing up to help.

They show up way late

And then the issue ends with Nightwing turning the prison into a new Titans Tower and it’s underwhelming. Superman and Wonder Woman show up to personally ask Nightwing to take on major superhero responsibilities. They insist that the Justice League isn’t a thing at the moment, but how long is that going to last? Honestly? And instead of asking Dick to lead a new Justice League, Dick decides to just make the Titans the lead superhero team? And it’s just the regular Titans lineup? Nothing new or unique? It’s not like the Teen Titans haven’t been on the East Coast before. Titans East, anyone?

I dunno. I’m probably being a downer for no good reason. But rather than do something new or exciting, or elevate Dick Grayson to a bigger status in the Justice League, we’re just gonna have the Teen Titans hang out in Bludhaven full time now. Eh.

TL;DR: My minor nitpicks aside, I really enjoyed another fun, full, emotional Nightwing issue. The anniversary is well-handled and we get a big story out of it with some great character moments.

Wasp #1

Wasp #1
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist Kasia Nie
Colorist: KJ Diaz
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

I read and very much enjoyed the Ant-Man anniversary special. How about the Wasp one as well?

The Wasp has opened a new night club, and wants to turn the top floor into a superhero-friendly lounge, but she can’t think of a good name. Jarvis is helping. Then she heads out to meet her stepdaughter, Nadia, for lunch, and Nadia mentions how she’s been thinking about her biological mother and grandfather, who were killed by the KGB and then those bad guys were never punished. They’re interrupted by Whirlwind, who comes in ready to kill! But he’s clearly being driven by someone else, and the Wasps beat him but good. In the end, we see that the bad guy is Nadia’s grandfather, Janos Travoya, who is possessed by the monster Kosmos, who killed Janet’s father and started her on the path to become the Wasp in the first place.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

You know what this issue is? It’s a very excellent dip into the life of modern day Janet Van Dyne and all the stuff she’s got going on as a superhero. Janet is in a good place these days. She remains a successful superhero and businessperson, and that’s what we get. She’s opening a new club, she’s friends with Edwin Jarvis, she’s very much involved in Nadia’s life, and she’s constantly harassed by Whirlwind, her longtime arch-enemy. So if you’re gonna do a fun little Wasp story, this definitely works. And that’s exactly what this comic is: a fun little Wasp story. Janet isn’t on any Avengers teams at the moment. She’s no longer in a whirlwind relationship with Tony Stark. She’s living her best life, doing her best things, and that can still be fun to read.

Best tiny life

I really enjoyed Nadia’s Wasp comic a few years ago, and Janet was a great supporting character in that. This issue feels like a sequel to that series, only now it’s focused on Janet instead of Nadia. That works for me! And then combining some key characters into a new villain for the series is just classic comics. All of this is classic comics. And that’s the sort of thing I love, so I enjoyed this issue. It’s a nice length, and features Janet having some meaningful interactions with important people in her life, both good and bad.

TL;DR: This issue is exactly what the comic promises to be. It’s a fun story that celebrates the Wasp and her long, heroic history.

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 21, 2023, in Avengers, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Robin and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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