Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 3/18/23

Some weeks I get so many comics that I have to drop a couple because I don’t give myself enough time or energy to read them. And some weeks I have very few comics to review, like this week. X-Cellent and Justice Society of America for the go!

Comic Book of the Week goes to The X-Cellent #1 because it’s just a bit freakier than Justice Society, and that has to count for something.

The mutant menace

Meanwhile, I enjoyed Shazam! Fury of the Gods and will have my full review/thoughts up in the usual place on Wednesday. I enjoyed the movie, but there are a lot of problems with the movie. I’m going to make a push to beat Marvel’s Midnight Suns this weekend, unless Gotham Knights is on sale, then I might buy and play that instead. I’ve gone too long without playing Robin: The Video Game. Also, I bought that new Multiple Man action figure, in his classic, original costume. So that’s a nice feather in my cap.

Comic Reviews: Justice Society of America #3 and The X-Cellent #1.

Justice Society of America #3

Justice Society of America #3
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Mikel Janin and Jerry Ordway
Colorists: Jordie Bellaire and John Kalisz
Letterer: Rob Leigh

As I’ve mentioned before, this series is definitely written for the bigger picture trade, but this individual issue is pretty fun.

In this issue, we learn Degaton’s origin in World War II, how he’s a Nazi who built a time machine that, I guess, gave him his own time traveling powers. Meanwhile, Huntress touches base with the ‘present day’ Justice Society, while passing off the snow globe to Detective Chimp and Deadman to take to Madame Xanadu. Degaton senses through time that Huntress no longer has the globe in her position, so he teleports to her and ambushed the JSA.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

I remain lukewarm on this series as individual issues. It’s written for the trade, and I bet it will read very well when that comes around. The pacing is rather glacial in terms of the overall story. We have a villain, and we have our protagonist, but I’m still not entirely sure what this story is about or what the villain is after. Just that Huntress keeps getting shuttled through time to encounter different Justice Societies. And that part is fun. This issue wins in terms of characters and their interactions. It’s fun to see the various Justice Society members get flummoxed when dealing with this time traveling Huntress, especially this young Dr. Fate. Time travel is a classic story trope, and Johns has some fun having these veteran and newbie heroes deal with the complications of it all.

It’s a whole thing

The artwork, likewise, is fantastic. I’ve loved Janin’s work for years. He draws very clear, very cool superheroes, no matter how many are on a page. And Ordway is a classic, giving a real sense of the golden age when he draws his flashback pages. So this comic is the whole package. It’s fun to read and has some great art. It’s just that the overall story is moving slowly, to the point that I’m still not all that invested, three issues in. Huntress is jumping around through time because of this obscure villain, who seems to just be evil for evil’s sake. I’d like a bit more to sink my teeth into at this point, thank you very much.

TL;DR: The individual scenes are fun to read, with a lot of mileage in characters interacting and dealing with the strange happenings of the plot. But the overall story has yet to pull me in.

X-Cellent #1

The X-Cellent #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Michael “Doc” Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot Studios

I’m not sure why this series needed a whole new relaunch and a new #1, but here we go again!

So we’re back with the X-Cellent vs. X-Statix, with Uno, the X-Cellent floating eye character, as the narrator. We learn a bit more about him, and he’s neat. Zeitgeist has stolen a spell from the Book of Vishanti that will make him a god if he gets a ton of followers, so that’s what he’s working on with all these stunts and attacks. But after some spying and some help from Doctor Strange, X-Statix figures it out and starts waging a PR war to steal followers. So Zeitgeist steals a robot built in Silicon Valley that will hack email servers.

Meanwhile, Toodle Pip is fun and sticks up for Mirror Girl. And Katie and Mike have broken up.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

So yeah, this issue picks up right where the last ones left off, so I’m not sure why it needed a new #1. But here we are and here we go. This issue, more than any of the previous ones, really hit me over the head with the melodrama. Perhaps that is the point of this series, that one missing piece that was keeping me at arm’s length. This obviously isn’t a serious comic, but it also didn’t feel like the celebrity satire like the original X-Statix. Now I think X-Cellent is all about celebrity and superhero melodrama, and on that level, it works nicely. So I think I’ll have an easier time getting into the headspace of this series. My problem is that I get too connected to these interesting characters, and then Milligan and the Allreds go off in some weird directions for them. Like, I really want to see Toodle Pip and Mirror Girl get the best of Zeitgeist, but will that happen? I have to stop thinking of this as a traditional story and just let myself go along for the ride.

I am too connected to The Wall

I liked this individual issue. Toodle Pip is a fun new addition, and she has a great scene where she puts Zeitgeist in his place, so I liked that. Uno gives some really interesting, really creepy narration. Milligan and the Allreds are great at coming up with and fully utilizing weird characters. And I really liked the general banter back and forth between everybody. This comic is uniquely its own, and this issue is a very good at showing off everything the world of the X-Cellent and X-Statix have to offer. If you’ve been enjoying this series so far, this relaunch should do you just fine. I just hope I don’t get my heart broken before all is said and done.

TL;DR: Things get weird and very, very melodramatic in this new issue. I think I’m finally beginning to understand this series — but I might also be way off base. Who can tell?

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 March 18, 2023, in Comics, DC, Marvel, Reviews, X-Men and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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