Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 2/11/23

The time has come for more comic book reviews. Do you look forward to these reviews every week? I know you do! Should I have them up on Thursdays instead? Get off my back! We’ve got new Batman and the return of Static!

Comic Book of the Week goes to Amazing Spider-Man #19 for a fun tale about Spidey and the Black Cat. I’ve always liked them as a couple.

A side of Peter Parker you’ve never seen before!

Meanwhile, I am having a ton of fun with Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Once I got into the groove of the game, it’s become a real blast! I fully expect to max out all the characters just because I can and the end will be more fun that way. I’m also super eager to see Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania next week!

Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #19, Batman #132 and Static: Shadows of Dakota #1.

Amazing Spider-Man #19

Amazing Spider-Man #19
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Terry Dodson
Inker: Rachel Dodson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

The latest crossover is over and so I’m gonna head back and give Amazing Spider-Man another try. Though this seems to be a fill-in story, which is fine.

Peter and Felicia head upstate for a weekend together at a ski resort, where they coincidentally run into Mary Jane and her husband on a similar getaway. But they don’t stay long, because of an earthquake that feels suspiciously similar to the Shocker. Spider-Man and Black Cat head further up the mountain and find the White Rabbit running away from a squad of newbies wearing classic Spidey villain equipment. Turns out she’s running a side hustle where rich tech types rent out this gear and go hog wild in this wilderness area. Everybody gathers at a lodge to talk logistics and be generally cool, though Peter and Felicia do plan on putting a stop to this — until one of the tech types is found murdered, and they all turn against Spidey, Cat and the White Rabbit!

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

This is a fun fill-in story, which handles the characters really well and explores some fun angles of the current status quo. First of all, I really enjoy the pairing of Peter and Felicia. Mary Jane is great, but Felicia Hardy is just more fun and just a really different person on where she can take Peter. And that is on full display in this issue. Peter is almost scared to be with her, but she pushes him in positive directions, while still caring for him. So the two of them going on a weekend getaway together is already a premise that I am fully on board for. That it then also gets to be a superhero adventure is just icing on the cake. Kelly comes up with a nifty idea — renting super-villain gadgets to idiots with too much money — and runs with it in some fun directions. And Felicia’s influence on Peter helps to flesh it out even more, in that he’s not immediately just shutting it down.

Spider-Man is chill sometimes

Second of all, I really love the use of the White Rabbit here. I like her as a character, and I like her more here than I did when she was turned into a henchman at the start of this relaunch. She’s got a bit of her old style here, a bit of her silliness. And I really, really enjoyed the scene where everybody cools off and hangs out at the ski lodge together, even though some are good guys and some are bad guys. It’s funny and full of a nice character energy. I am very much looking forward to the second part of the story, or however many parts there are. This is just some fun Spider-Man storytelling, with some great supporting characters to support the whole thing.

My only complaint is that it feels like the Dodsons are a bit rusty. Have they been doing comics lately? They are normally a top tier team, but a lot of the art in this issue feels rushed and sketchy. This is far, far from their normally S-tier work. It’s the perfect art team for this story, but maybe they were rushed?

TL;DR: Really fun, really charismatic story with a fill-in creative team. Kelly and the Dodsons are old hats on Spider-Man and his supporting cast, and their ease of creativity and personality really shine.

Batman #132

Batman #132
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Mike Hawthorne
Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Does Batman interact with a lot of alternate realities? I know there are plenty of Elseworlds stories out there, but does Batman actually visit them? Just wondering how unique this situation is for Bruce Wayne.

Bruce Wayne is in another universe where bad guys rule Gotham City and haul people off to Arkham Asylum. He’s working with Jewel, a young kid fighting the power, and a lot of the rich socialites in the city seem to already be interested that Bruce Wayne is apparently “alive” again. Bruce decides he needs to rub elbows with Gotham’s golden boy, Darwin Halliday, so he goes undercover at a swanky party. But everybody who is anybody is at this party, including Selina, Alfred, Croc, Punchline and Halliday — who might just be the Joker! Bruce is ID’d almost immediately and ends up fighting his way to freedom, though he’s severely injured in the process. In the end, he decides he must become a bat.

In the backup, Tim Drake uses Mr. Terrific’s interdimensional portal to trace the energy signature from Toyman’s gun to another world to try and find Bruce. Instead, he finds a bunch of innocent people, and an angry Toyman.

Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I’m still on board and having a fun enough time with this story. Zdarsky has set up a pretty standard alternate reality, with all sorts of familiar characters around, and now it’s gonna be up to Bruce Wayne to fight the power and save the city. Should be fun. The character writing is still strong, and it’s simply very compelling to have Bruce realize he needs to ‘become a bat’ in order to save Gotham City. It’s a classic line, and it works great to end the issue and set up what’s to come. The art is good, the writing is good, the premise is solid, so let’s just have fun with it.

It’s just scrambled eggs

If I’m feeling nitpicky, it’s a little too easy how quickly everybody recognizes him as Bruce Wayne and are interested in that. Bruce is dead in this world, but he’s not there a day and everybody knows he’s there and are on board with Bruce Wayne being alive again? And are now after him? I know it drives the story, but it just feels either too convenient or too much of a stretch. Feels a bit forced. But not so much that it breaks the story or ruins the story telling. Just a little nitpick I had.

And, of course, I’m loving the Tim Drake back-up story. Zdarsky even managed to make somewhat good use of Bernard. He’s not able to infuse Bernard with anything resembling a worthwhile personality, but at least he’s not openly terrible. And Robin remains awesome under Zdarsky’s pen, so I’m pleased as punch about that.

TL;DR: Bruce Wayne is in a messed up alternate reality, and he’s the one man who can don a bat costume and make things right. Pretty solid story so far.

Static #1

Static: Shadows of Dakota #1
Writers: Nikolas Draper-Ivey and Vita Ayala
Artist: Draper-Ivey
Letterer: Andworld Designs

I very much enjoyed the first season of this Static comic, so I’m happy to check out its return.

Virgil and his friends are heading to a Bang Baby meet-up but get waylaid helping a homeless lady who is getting hassled by the cops. So they’re not at a meeting when a big explosion goes off and some armed goons start trying to capture Bang Babies. Virgil suits up and fights them off, then is shocked to learn that the explosion was caused by a Bang Baby who accidentally lost control of his powers when the goons shot him. Virgil then heads out to attend a science fair because he’s mentoring a kid, Quincy Davis, who Virgil discovers is also a Bang Baby.

Meanwhile, one of the goons is kidnapped and interrogated by a really spooky and mysterious Bang Baby, who might be well known to Static fans, but I don’t know the lore well at all so he’s new to me.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

This is good, solid stuff, but the issue was a little too all over the place for my tastes. There’s some great superhero action, and Draper-Ivey draws a great Static at the height of his power. But the story stretches itself a bit too much for a first issue, and the day-to-day artwork isn’t as clear as the superhero stuff. Like, I’m not entirely sure what’s happening in the opening scenes. We don’t even get to see the Bang Baby meeting, or if Static was on his way to said meeting. And then all his friends and allies are thrown at us again without any sort of refresher. I don’t remember anybody other than Static, let alone their powers. And then the issue jumps to this science fair with yet another new character with poorly defined powers I now need to know about. I would have liked something more foundational in this first issue, something that firmly established this unique corner of the world.

The artwork is still really cool

I did like the moral conundrum of the Bang Baby causing the explosion and I hope that adds some complications to the world going forward. And I loooooved the introduction of this new villain. Again, he might be someone from the previous comics that I Just don’t know. But Draper-Ivey and Ayala do a wonderful job presenting the menace and the power of this new bad guy. His sequence is really top notch and does a great job setting up a proper big bad for Static to face. I’m definitely looking forward to that aspect of the story. I’m still on board with checking out more Static, I just think this issue could have have been better spent getting us all back on board and up to speed with the world and all the characters.

TL;DR: Some cool sequences are balanced out by some less-than-clear sequences, making for a muddled issue. I would have liked some time spent reminding me who everyone is and what they can do since it’s been a while.

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 February 11, 2023, in Batman, Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, Robin, Spider-Man and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: