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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 5/2/15

This is a great weekend for comics! Not only is Avengers: Age of Ultron tearing up the box office (expect my review tomorrow), but it’s also Free Comic Book Day! And my own comic, Gamer Girl & Vixen, is only two weeks away from launching on Kickstarter! What a time to be alive, I tell ya!

Due to my seeing Age of Ultron twice in as many days, my review pile is a little light this week. Well, light in terms of number of issues reviewed. For some reason, I went on a real nitpicky exploration of Batman #40. You might want to skip that one if you don’t want to hear me drone on endlessly about why I don’t care for Scott Snyder’s Joker.

And skip right down to Bitch Planet #4, the Comic Book of the Week! That series is starting to pick up steam!

And watch out when she gets going!

Over at Word of the Nerd, you can check out my review of Fantastic Four #645. It’s being hailed as the final Fantastic Four comic ever, but trust me, it’s not. The comic isn’t even written as a finale. The Fantastic Four will be back as soon as Marvel is done having a beef with FOX Studios.

Comic Reviews: Batman #40, Bitch Planet #4, Princess Leia #3 and Silk #3.

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Robin Watch: Batsgiving

There hasn’t been too much Robin news lately – other than that day everybody mistakenly thought the new Robin was going to be black – but I’m still keeping a close watch on who might be the next Robin. As you may recall, the leading contenders are Carrie Kelley, an alternate reality version of the female Robin that appeared in Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns, or Harper Row, the street-smart electrical engineer groomed by DC Comics’ current golden boy Scott Snyder.

Speaking of Snyder, he Tweeted a picture yesterday teasing the upcoming new weekly series Batman Eternal.

Why did they invite freakin’ Professor Pyg to dinner!?

The picture is full of Easter Eggs, like the little robin sitting on the back of Titus the dog, Alfred in a straight jacket, possibly a blonde Nightwing, and the first look at New 52 Stephanie Brown (she’s the one in the purple hoodie). So it’s definitely a neat picture. But our interest is in what it means for the new Robin.

If you look at everyone in the picture, you’ll see Harper Row plain as day in a very important position. I think Carrie Kelley might be that orange-haired woman sitting between Catwoman and Batwing, but it’s hard to tell. She’s not wearing her normally signature glasses. Heck, that might not even be Carrie Kelley.

But that’s definitely Harper with the blue streak in her hair sitting next to Red Robin. She’s the one sitting directly behind Batman. She’s also holding a drumstick in her hand, making her the only other person eating Thanksgiving dinner with Batman. She’s also sitting among Red Robin, (a possibly blonde) Nightwing and Stephanie Brown, so clearly that’s the ‘Robin Table’, as it were.

Maybe I’m reading too much into the picture, or maybe I’m reading exactly what Snyder wants me to read. His Tweet was bragging about all the Easter Eggs in that picture, after all, Easter Eggs for the Batman books in 2014. So I suppose we’ll still just have to wait and see.

This has been another edition of Robin Watch!

Robin Watch: Harper Row Gets It Right

Welcome to a new, ongoing feature here at Henchman-4-Hire! By now we all know that the most recent Robin, Damian Wayne, died in the heat of battle. And so for the first time since the late 80s, Batman is without a Robin. But like how chocolate needs peanut butter and peanut butter needs jelly, Batman needs a Robin, so it’s only a matter of time before a new hero rises into that iconic role.

Being the huge Robin fan that I am, I’m going to cover the ongoing search for a new Robin. Whether it happens in the comics themselves or maybe interviews with the writers and creators, I’m going to stay on the front lines of Batman journalism – which, of course, is the best kind of journalism.

Let’s kick things off with this week’s Batman #18, one of the first comics to deal with the fallout of Damian’s death. Writer Scott Snyder has taken the curious tactic of having the issue star Robin frontrunner Harper Row as she tries to help a grieving Batman.

With an butt-kicking

I was a big fan of this issue, and my full review will go up on Saturday with the rest of the Hench-Sized reviews. But first I want to explore this issue for the ways in which it pushes Harper ever closer to becoming the  new Robin. I recently wrote several articles about this subject, both on why I fully support Harper as the new Robin, as well as the criteria that goes into picking a successful new Robin.

Suffice to say, in this issue, Harper Row gets everything right.

Join me after the jump to see what I mean.

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Superman Unchained is the Stupidest Name of All Time

Do you remember a few months ago when DC started hinting at a new Superman series written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Jim Lee? At the time, the comic was rumored to be called ‘Man of Steel’ to coincide with the big movie of the same name.

Instead, DC have revealed that the new comic will instead be called ‘Superman Unchained’ – quite possibly the most ridiculous name ever.

Unchained

Here is the announcement article at USA Today. Reading that article makes me question – and not for the first time – what the hell even goes on at the DC editorial offices. According to Snyder and Lee – who, don’t get me wrong, are two of the biggest talents in comics today – the series is going to be like every other Superman series ever. It’s going to star Superman as a superhero and include his supporting cast, like Lois Lane. There doesn’t seem to be any special gimmick or pull or reason for the series to exist.

What the hell is the ‘Unchained’ even supposed to signify? Is every cover going to feature him breaking out of chains? And why chains? Since when has Superman ever been chained or had a problem with chains?

Why not call it ‘Man of Steel’ like the freakin’ movie!?

What about the comics already being published, Superman and Action Comics? Why not just put Snyder and Lee on one of those series? There’s no way Superman is going to be able to support three ongoing series. Batman can barely pull it off, and Superman is no Batman.

Speaking of which, DC is also bringing back the Superman/Batman team-up book, because they want to make money. Comics like Hawkman and Blue Beetle are being cancelled to make way for even more Superman and Batman comics. This is the future of comics from the Big Two publishers, people. Soon all we’ll see are Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wolverine comics, with other characters only appearing in team-up books.

Still, Superman Unchained is a stupid name and it just seems to me like DC is shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to Superman and Action Comics.

Is Damian Wayne Going to Die?

Is DC Comics going to kill Robin in an upcoming issue of Batman Incorporated?

There’s no official word yet. This is all just speculation. But if you read the signs, read between some lines and maybe jump to a few conclusions, it looks to me like DC plans to kill a 10-year-old boy!

Though he is kind of a jerk

Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and his enemy Talia al Ghul. He was created by superstar writer Grant Morrison and introduced in Batman #655 in 2006. Talia raised the boy in secret and trained him in the ways of the League of Shadows. But when Damian finally met his father for the first time, he switched sides and became the new Robin. You know, of Batman and Robin fame? Damian had a lot of rough edges, but he made for a compelling protagonist. Here’s a kid who was raised to be a killer, but he wants so badly to do good and make his father proud as Robin.

But is he now doomed?

I’ve never been particularly happy with Damian as Robin. He stole the mantle from the previous Robin, Tim Drake, who is one of my favorite comic book characters. But Damian has grown on me. He’s had a lot of good stories and he’s definitely been coming into his own lately as the Boy Wonder. Still, the evidence is pretty strong. Join me after the jump to see for yourself.

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