Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 1/28/23

We’re back with another solid week of new comics, as we are every week. Was this the best week of new comics ever? No, sadly not. Was it the worst week? Nah. Just a pretty average week. Though this week did see the return of Saga!

Comic Book of the Week goes to X-Terminators #5 for a very enjoyable wrap-up to this excellent series! This is the sort of X-Men ongoing I could get behind.

It’s Jubilee’s time to shine

Meanwhile, I’m probably going to skip Sins of Sinister. I’m just not into crossovers these days anymore. More my loss. I also finally beat Pokemon Violet! I really liked the open world aspect of the new game, but the whole thing wasn’t very fulfilling. Perhaps they’ll do better with the next one. Also, I started watching Lockwood & Co. like I mentioned yesterday, and I’m enjoying it so far!

Comic Reviews: Action Comics #1051, Justice Society of America #2, Saga #61 and X-Terminators #5.

Action Comics #1051

Action Comics #1051
Writer: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Colorist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

I’m still on board for this new era of Superman comics. If nothing else, I love everybody’s jacket-based costumes!

Superman is back in action and he’s brought with him a whole family, including his son, Jon, his clone, Conner, his cousin, Kara, the Superman of China, Kenan, Steel, Steel’s niece Natasha, and Otho-Ra and Osul-Ra, two Warworld orphans that Clark and Lois have adopted. Everybody gets new costumes and attend the grand opening of the new Steelworks Tower, but the big debut is hijacked by Metallo, who is working for Lex Luthor.

In a pair of back-up stories, we see a flashback adventure of Jon Kent, and we see that Power Girl and a person I think is Rose Canton (Rose and Thorn) are now running a superhero therapy clinic. Their first client is Beast Boy.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

While I like the concept of the Super-family at play here, I feel like this execution wasn’t as strong as it could have been. For one thing, this issue assumes that we readers know all of these characters and know how they’re connected. Considering the boldness of this new relaunch, I would have liked a lot more introduction to a lot of the stuff happening here. Who are these kids? Why is Kenan suddenly hanging out with them like this? I never read his series, so I know nothing about him. This issue seems like it would have been a great place to give a new introduction to Kenan Kong. I liked the back-up features just fine, but maybe some of that extra-sized comic book space could have been put to use better establishing exactly what this new status quo entails.

If nothing else, maybe actually have a character on the page explain the sudden overuse of jackets? And why Superman doesn’t get a jacket, but gets to keep his classic costume?

Who did the design work on these?

Also, one last nitpick. For an event as important as the opening of this new Steelworks, you’d think the entire Superman family would be more prepared for a supervillain attack. Apparently, Metallo just waltzes into the building and the workers inside think he’s just some lost dude. And when Conner goes to investigate, he again just assumes the guy is lost. This is a major event, sponsored by Superman, and in direct opposition to Lex Luthor. They’re fools for not immediately assuming an attack, and for said attack to happen while half a dozen super-people are just floating around at the press conference.

Alright, nitpicking aside, this is still a fine issue and I’m still on board. I like scenes where superheroes get to be people, and we got a great one of the Kent family and all the Supers hanging out in their home and bonding. I definitely want more of that stuff. And I really hope this series can live up to the promise they lay down in this issue, of a new era of superheroing in Metropolis.

I also enjoyed the back-up comics, especially the Power Girl one — though, again, the story doesn’t bother to introduce the other character. I’m really just assuming it’s Rose and Thorn because I think she’s been in some Superman comics lately? And her color scheme matches what I think Rose and Thorn’s color scheme is? I dunno. But it’s a nice story, and I love the idea of superheroes doing something other than just fighting crime. Using their powers to be therapists for superheroes is great!

TL;DR: Good enough look at the new revamp and new status quos, though I would have liked more time explaining all these characters and how this new set-up is going to work.

Justice Society #2

Justice Society of America #2
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Mikel Janin, Jerry Ordway and Scott Kolins
Colorists: Jordie Bellaire and John Kalisz
Letterer: Rob Leigh

I hate to ding this story for being too ambitious, but things are a little too flighty only two issues in.

Huntress has woken up in 1940, where she’s questioned by the Justice Society of America about who she is and where she comes from. She’s very open with them. Dr. Fate tries to peer into her timeline, but he’s suddenly thrust to an adventure in 1941 in Slaughter Swamp with his sidekick, Salem the Witch Girl, and the first Mister Miracle. They capture Solomon Grundy. Then Fate is thrust back to 1940, then Huntress is thrust forward in time, where she meets Detective Chimp, Deadman and another Dr. Fate.

Also, Catwoman reveals that the villain of the piece is Per Degaton, a classic time villain who I’ve actually never heard of until now. But Wikipedia says he’s made the rounds. Weird.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

The artwork is fantastic, and the writing is strong in this series so far, but the story is a little too all over the place for my tastes. I know that’s the nature of the story, to be all over the place on purpose, but this is only the second issue since November. I kind of like the idea of time being so wonky in this story, with stuff like Dr. Fate having a bypass through a different time period, but we’re Huntress isn’t getting enough time in one place to really find our feet. We get this big introduction to the 1940s JSA and her arrival, but she’s gone by the end of the issue. And perhaps once we have more of the story, and the bigger picture, this will all be an exciting development. But we’re two issues deep in three months and I don’t feel like I have enough of a foundation under me in this story to really enjoy it. I’m not going to stop reading yet, because I would like to see the bigger picture. But this comic is on shaky grounds with me so far.

TL;DR: All the pieces of this story look and read great, but the whole thing is a little too up in the air for my tastes so far, even if we’re only at two issues.

Saga #61

Saga #61
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
Letterer: Fonografiks

After another big delay, Saga is back with another issue that kinda just moves things along in the same way as always.

We pick up six months or so after the end of last issue. Sophie finds out that The Will and Gwen are an item. And our heroes are once again busking on the street for money, after their rocketship tree was burned down. Alana is even working in a fulfillment center. Neat. They go to visit a local black market magician because Alana needs some forgeries to get them all off planet. When Alana mentions she’s a widower, the magician says she knows the spell to bring her husband back to life! Also, Petrichor is hunting The Will.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

Look, I love Saga as much as the next person, and this issue is another quality addition to the saga, but sometimes this series really feels like it’s spinning its wheels. And yes, part of me realizes that’s entirely the point, so I’m not sure what the fix should be, if it should be fixed at all. I think we just have to mellow out and enjoy Saga for what it is, as it goes along. That’s pretty easy, since the writing and art remain supreme. The characters are still full of life, especially Hazel, who remains a total rockstar. Squire’s growth continues to be interesting. We finally get Sophie back, and Petrichor. And that tease about resurrecting Marko sounds neat! I won’t believe it until I see it, but I really liked Marko, so I wouldn’t mind if he magically came back to life. It would be weird, and not in fitting with this series, so we’ll see. Alana remains all over the place, but still cool. I dunno. I guess we’ll just see where all this goes. The previous batch of issues dealt with that pirate band, but now there’s no sign of them or anything they did for the series. So…is Saga just gonna be single chapters of meandering about?

TL;DR: Saga is back and it’s the same as ever. The overall story seems to still be spinning its wheels with day-to-day stuff, while the character writing remains top notch.

X-Terminators #5

X-Terminators #5
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Colorist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

This was a very fun little series and I hope to see much more of the X-Terminators in the future. Let Leah Williams have all the fun she wants!

Now that everything has been settled, the X-Terminators get their revenge by beating up Alex the vampire and the Collector. It’s super fun, and obviously more involved than I’m letting on.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

My only problem with this final issue is that it feels a bit tacked on. The story wrapped up in the previous issue, and this is more of an epilogue where our heroes just go and beat up the bad guys from the story. Now that I’m actually writing it out, I’m starting to think that’s the perfect ending for this series. X-Terminators is so off the wall and wild that they’re gonna use their extra issue space to just dunk on the bad guys some more. And Williams and Gomez clearly have fun with it. They go especially all-out with Jubilee, in a way that I guess has been building for decades for her character? Either way, it was super fun and super cool, and all of the characters are used well and entertainingly.

This comic is only fun outfits

X-Terminators has been a great little series. Just pure and silly fun, taking a couple of underused characters and giving them a nice spotlight. I love this sort of thing in the Krakoa Era, and I really hope this team continues, as is hinted. Not everything has to be big, reality-altering crossovers. Krakoa offers so much possibility for the X-Men franchise, and X-Terminators takes that opportunity and gives it a big, ol’ smooch. It’s funny, charming, full of energy, life, and most importantly of all, character. And this final issue is a nice celebration of all of that, just having fun for fun’s sake.

Though if I’m being honest, I hope they’re not pigeon-holed into just being vampire hunters going forward. There’s so much more fun to be hand than just that!

TL;DR: A lot of fun is had, a lot of joy is spread, a lot of X-Men goodness all around. More X-Terminators, please.

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 28, 2023, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Superman, X-Men and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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