Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Power Rangers Beast Morphers, “End of the Road” Review

*** You know what I am? A multi-tasker. That’s why, as Power Rangers Dino Fury is in full swing, I’ll also be looking back at Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Why? Because I can!!!***

SERIES: Power Rangers Beast Morphers
EPISODE: S26:E3. “End of the Road”
STARRING: Rorrie D. Travis, Jazz Baduwalia, Jacqueline Scislowski, Abraham Rodriguez, Colby Strong
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Patrick Rieger
DIRECTOR: Oliver Driver
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: March 16, 2019
SYNOPSIS: As Zoey tries to promote Morph-X-powered bicycles to save a forest, Blaze plans to steal the Morph X.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I understand that kids shows often require dramatic actions that spell things out for developing young minds. But Zoey jumping in front of a bulldozer to save a tiny lizard…I mean, really? You sure about that? It’s noble, I’ll give her that. But it’s a little too much for my tastes.

Apparently, people in Coral Harbor are only impressed by bicycles powered by the Power Rangers’ Morphing Grid if they have two seats. Not just one. Apparently, the people in Coral Harbor are very stupid.

You can call the monsters on this show silly, but I’d be damn scared of Needletron (shown below). You never know what those needles have touched.

I don’t want to like that conversation Nate has with Zoey where he talks about not having much of a family, wanting a brother, etc. I’m still not warmed up to the Nate character. But I have to admit, they took an opportunity to develop his character and ran with it. It works.

I’m fairly certain this episode gives us the first “Rangers on bikes” sequence in the show’s history. The Beast Morphers suits made them look like BMX cyclists. Very well done.

Were those “banana rockets” the gorilla zord shot at Needletron? And did Needletron subsequently slip on a giant banana peel? You know what? Sure. Why the heck not?

“Virus eliminated” is a pretty cool post-battle phrase. Concise and to the point.

It’s interesting to me that we now know a parent of each Ranger. Devon’s dad is the mayor, Zoey’s mom is a TV reporter, and of course Ravi’s mom is Commander Shaw. If they was ever a time to do another “villain kidnaps the team’s parents” story, it’d be now.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Power Rangers

Power Rangers Beast Morphers, “Evox’s Revenge” Review

*** You know what I am? A multi-tasker. That’s why, as Power Rangers Dino Fury is in full swing, I’ll also be looking back at Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Why? Because I can!!!***

SERIES: Power Rangers Beast Morphers
EPISODE: S26:E2. “Evox’s Revenge”
STARRING: Rorrie D. Travis, Jazz Baduwalia, Jacqueline Scislowski, Abraham Rodriguez, Teuila Blakely
WRITER: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Simon Bennett
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: March 9, 2019
SYNOPSIS: As Evox and the villains assemble, the Rangers face conflict over who their leader should be.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Blaze and Roxy avatars are teleported to the Cyber Dimension where they encounter Scrozzle, who will ultimately serve as one of Evox’s henchmen. He’s also the creator of the Tronics, the villainous foot soldiers for Beast Morphers.

Sometimes I find myself wishing this show would get a little more creative with its voice acting. Scrozzle has virtually the same scratchy, high-pitched voice we’ve heard from villain toadies over and over throughout the show’s life. Can’t we come up with something a little more fresh?

Evox, our computer virus and lead villain for Beast Morphers, takes the form of a big snake (shown above). It’s hardly the best CGI you’ll ever see. But other than that, no complaints. I buy it.

This episode introduces us to the Beast Bots, robot companions for our three Rangers. Nate quickly announces that their circuits infused with animal DNA. That’s one of those things that sounds cool at face value, but when you really think about it, makes no sense. At least not without further explanation. Are we supposed to believe these things are synthezoid robots, like Data or the Vision?

Kelson Henderson, who’s been cast on the series several times, once again returns as the voice of Cruise, Devon’s Beast Bot. He was first on the show back in 2005, as Boom on Power Rangers SPD.

Ben and Betty are our comedic side duo this time around, playing the roles previously filled by Bulk and Skull, Cassidy and Devon, Victor and Monty, etc. Historically, when comedy is incorporated this way, the show does a pretty good job of keeping it amusing rather than annoying. Cosme Flores and Kristina Ho are able to keep that tradition alive. I can also appreciate that they’re at the Rangers’ base, getting into hijinks with the tech, gear, etc. That’s a dynamic we haven’t seen in awhile.

Apparently one of the show’s ways of establishing that Devon is a video game nut is simply having him generically reference video games time and time again. At best it’s a little contrived. At worse it’s flat out grating.

These animal-related weaknesses, such as Zoey needing carrots to charge up because of her jackrabbit DNA, are silly and eye-rolling. But because this is a show meant for young children, it’s an acceptable kind of silly. Though in Devon’s case, I highly doubt cheetahs are afraid of dogs. Much less a friggin picture of a dog…

I don’t have any major complaints about the zord stuff here. Power Rangers obviously exists in part to sell toys. But I remember seeing some of the Ninja Steel zords and thinking the “toyification” of the show had become a little too blatant. Especially when we got to the Ninja Steel Megazord. But by modern standards, these zords are fine. At least so far.

I appreciated the way “Evox Unleashed” handled the question of who the team leader would be. Ravi and Zoey both wanted it bad enough to openly compete with one another, whereas Devon simply wanted to do a good job. Thus, not wanting to be the leader so badly ironically made him the perfect choice to lead the team. I like that moral for kids. It’s alright to want something, but not to the point that it supersedes all your other responsibilities.

Although, maybe these kids should have been paying closer attention to the franchise they’re in. C’mon noobs. The Red Ranger is always the leader…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Power Rangers, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Mighty Morphin #5

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Mighty Morphin #5

AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Marco Renna, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Sara Antonellini & Katia Ranalli (Color Assistants), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by InHyuk Lee.
RELEASED: March 10, 2021

Stellar cover by InHyuk Lee. His best Mighty Morphin one yet, in fact.

Fitting, as this might be the best overall issue of Mighty Morphin yet. Parrott takes us into our new Green Ranger’s journey from civilian to superhero.

As we obviously see a lot more of the Green Ranger this month, we get the chance to really appreciate the gold accents made to the suit. They’re an acquired taste, but ultimately work out well. It’s a tremendous way to distinguish this new Ranger from Tommy, and let them be their own hero.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury “Lost Signal” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE: S26:E3. “Lost Signal”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Kira Josephson, Victoria Abbott
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTORS: Chris Graham
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: March 6, 2021
SYNOPSIS: After receiving a message from Zayto’s home planet, the Rangers must fight a monster blind.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Sometimes, in the back of my mind, I’ll hear my mother asking nitpicky questions. One came to me as I was watching the opening credits sequence this week: “Why is it called Dino Fury? What are they so mad about, anyway?”

Oh jeez. We’re seeing more tentacled people? I can’t say that’s the route I’d have gone. I’d have forgone the tentacles altogether. Back in the day, Andros was able to pull off the alien look just by putting blonde streaks in his hair. Couldn’t they have done something like that with Zayto?

You’d think I wouldn’t have rolled my eyes so hard at Amelia thinking a psychic could unravel the mystery of the message from Zayto’s planet. This is, after all, a show with tentacled people, an anthropomorphic talking dinosaur, and a cyborg walking around like normal in everyday life. By Power Rangers standards, who’s to say it’s that far-fetched?

It looks like Jane and J-Borg are our comedic duo this season, in the spirit of Bulk and Skull or Ben and Betty. These pairs are usually an acquired taste. But I’ll say this much: They found two funny actresses in Kira Josephson and Victoria Abbott. Dino Fury is also the first season to give us two women in these roles, as opposed to two men, or one man and one woman.

Pine Ridge. That’s our city name in Dino Fury. Pretty generic. But it beats no name at all.

Solon would be such an awesome sidekick for the Rangers if only her lips moved a little bit. Those zoom lenses on her eyes are pretty cool, though.

I enjoyed that little fight sequence between Zayto and Vypeera, and I like the idea of the Rangers having to fight a monster blind. I only wish it could have gone a little longer.

I talked last week about the zord sequences having too much CGI for my taste. Cast in point: The Tricera and Ankylo zords. Whenever they were on screen, it looked like the show jumped right into a video game. And not in a good way.

So Ollie and Amelia teleport into the Megazord cockpit, and one of the first things Amelia says is: “We’ve got to get a selfie in this thing!” Please tell me that’s not how kids talk these days. Tell me they don’t go around asking to take selfies in things. Please? Pretty please…?

I like the T-Rex Champion zord better than the Megazord. The latter just has too much going on. It’s almost overwhelming on the eyes. That’s a common problem with modern Megazords, I think.

This episode had its high points. But overall, I’d call it a step down from the first two. Here’s hoping next week’s will be better.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Power Rangers

Power Rangers Dino Fury: “Sporix Unleashed” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE: S28:E2. “Sporix Unleashed”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Shavaughn Ruakere, Kira Josephson
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: February 27, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Ollie devises a plan to catch the Sporix monsters on the loose, and executes it without the knowledge of his teammates.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve got a beef with modern day morphs: They’re way too wordy. It goes, “It’s morphin’ time! Dino Fury key, activate! Link to Morphing Grid!” C’mon, folks. We’ve only got about 22 minutes here. Let’s move things along…

Also, link to Morphing Grid? I suppose that’s practical. But much like “Activate Beast Power!” in Beast Morphers, it’s not very creative. What’s the deal? If you can’t think if something quick and catchy for them to say, just stick with “It’s morphin’ time!”

I suppose I’m just old, but the notion of drones being used on Power Rangers is quaint to me. It’s a good thing, though. The more this show can keep up with the times, the better.

When Zayto, who’s been asleep since prehistoric times, asks where all the dinosaurs are, Amelia says: “Well, they’re mostly in the movies.” Mostly. I love that. Nice subtle nod to…you know…28 years of continuity.

Power Rangers Operation Overdrive doesn’t get a lot of love. Simply put, it wasn’t very good. That being said, I did enjoy the small Overdrive reference in this episode. During the scene at Buzz Blast, “Hartford Robotics” is printed on the box the android comes in (shown left). That kind of thing is cute, harmless, presumably easy to do, and fans get a kick out of it.

So the henchgirl’s name is Mucus. Again, I’ve got to call them out for lack of creativity on this one. Was Phlegm taken? I do like that she can turn into green slime, though.

While I’m not a fan of the morphing call, the CGI portion of the morph sequence is pretty awesome. I can’t bring myself to complain about that.

Thus far the music, composed by Bert Selen, really adds a lot to Dino Fury. It’s heavily synthesized, which I’m sure isn’t for everybody. But it gives the show a particular flavor, and the heavy percussion adds a lot to the fight sequences.

The “toyification” of Power Rangers, which many see as the show’s entire purpose for existing, is in full effect here. The Rangers have swords with a t-rex head on the hilt, and can manipulate the jaw to do various super-powered stuff. Are they selling that sword at Wal-Mart yet? Even as an adult, I’ve got to admit it’s pretty cool.

I saw some fans on Twitter were happy to see the Rangers teleporting. Frankly, it’s hard to believe teleportation ever left Power Rangers. During the first several years of its existence, it was a big part of the show’s DNA.

You know what would be nice? If Ollie’s mom figured out he was a Power Ranger. Not because he told her, but because she…you know…recognized her own son’s voice and body language. I don’t expect characters on a kids show to be that competent. But this woman is supposed to be a brilliant scientist, right?

I hope kids get a kick out of the zords they see on Power Rangers. Because as an adult, they generally don’t do much for me. All the CGI that’s been integrated into zord sequences for the better part of 20 years now muddies them all together, making them less distinct.

That said, the T-Rex Champion Zord looked pretty good. The CGI and practical effects were blended together fairly well. By modern zord standards, it scores high.

Well how about that? The Rangers are, in essence, using crowdsourcing as their monster alert system. Civilians can call, text, or DM Sporix sightings to the Rangers. I like that a lot, and I don’t believe anything like it has been done before.

Void Knight and Mucus (shown above) are using an abandoned base called “Area 62” as their lair. I’ve got no issues with that. Obviously it’s a take-off of Area 51. It does, however, make me wonder what happened to Areas 52-61…

Dino Fury has come out of the gate strong. I’m mostly pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I’m legit looking forward to the next episode!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

 

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Mighty Morphin #4

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Mighty Morphin #4
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Marco Renna, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Katia Ranalli (Color Assists), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Variant cover by Eleonora Carlini.
RELEASED: February 10, 2021

We find out who the mysterious new Green Ranger is this month. As someone who read Parrott’s work on Go Go Power Rangers, the choice he goes with was rather obvious. But that’s not necessarily bad thing. It opens up some interesting story opportunities. Especially when it comes to the character’s apparent relationship with the news media…

The Dragonzord returns this month with a tweaked design courtesy of Promethea. I like it. But of course, the original can’t be topped.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury Episode 1 Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE: S28.E1. “Destination Dinohenge”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: February 20, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Two youngsters uncover Dinohenge, a lair containing secrets from 65 million years ago…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I like that Amelia, our new Pink Ranger, is a reporter. It creates a cool little Clark Kent/Superman vibe. More importantly, reporters are the often unsung heroes of our society. So it’s nice that Power Rangers is creating that connection for kids. I also like the name of the web site she works for: “Buzz Blast.” It’s a thinly veiled allusion to BuzzFeed.

Apparently Amelia is also a Ghostbuster. That “spook snare” reminded me of the Ninja Steel premiere, when Sarah showed up with an honest-to-God hoverboard.

So Dinohenge is filled with “Hengemen,” who will apparently serve as the henchmen for this season. Get it? Hengemen? Henchmen? Brilliant…

As the Hengemen are preparing to attack, Amelia says she’s taken three years of karate. Ollie, our new Blue Ranger, replies with “Yeah, me too.” Does that mean Ollie has taken three years of karate too? If so, that’s a remarkable coincidence even by kids show standards. I’d like to think it was just a general affirmation that he too knows karate.

After they’ve morphed, and Amelia asks Ollie what else they get with these new powers, he says: “If you watch the news, zords!” I like that line a lot. Not only does it tie into Amelia’s job, but it’s a nice reference to the fact that the Power Rangers get plenty of news coverage in their universe.

Design-wise, those helmets are pretty busy. They’re going to be an acquired taste. But I’ll get there.

The bad guy’s name in this episode is “Void Knight.” I can’t decide if I like that name. Look at a thesaurus, and you’ll see it’s a degree or two away from “Bare Champion.” You don’t want a Bare Champion on Power Rangers. Bear Champion? Maybe. Bare Champion? No.

After we get acquainted with Zayto, our new Red Ranger freshly awakened from a 65 million year hypersleep, he reads Amelia and Ollie’s minds. He calls Ollie “a rational, logical adventurer and scientist.” He refers to Amelia as, an “imaginative, unstoppable truth seeker.”

It’s rare that a show flat out gives you the rundown for some of its characters. It’s contrived, yet amusing.

I wonder what Russell Curry, who plays Zayto, thinks of those tentacles he has to wear. You think they told him that at the audition? Probably not.

Solon, our resident helper (a la Alpha 5 or Redbot) this season, is a cyborg dinosaur. That’s amazing. Have we not had a cyborg dinosaur in two and a half decades of Power Rangers? I’m thinkin’ we haven’t…

We see the Morphing Masters (or is it Morphin Masters?) in this episode. That name dates all the way back to an expository line from season one. But we’ve never seen any characters called the Morphing Masters until now. That level of attention to detail, especially on a show primarily meant for young children, is really cool.

Zayto says the other Knights of Rafkon were “lost” in battle. Which, in Power Rangers speak, means they probably died. So who wants to bet on when one or all of them shows up in an episode? Are we thinking end of season one? Or are we going into season two?

Overall, I dug this premiere. I tend to like it when the show paces itself like it did here. We haven’t had any zords or big city battles yet. The show took its time and allowed us to get to know Amelia and Ollie a little bit. Things felt like they unfolded organically.

A good start to what will hopefully be a good series.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Mighty Morphin #3

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Mighty Morphin #3
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Marco Renna, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Katia Ranalli (Color Assistant), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Inhyuk Lee.
RELEASED: January 13, 2021

Ryan Parrott has always been very good at putting the “teenage” in teenagers with attitude. Case in point, there are a couple pages in here that highlight a previously unseen rebellious streak in Billy. That’s something never even hinted at on the show.

On the flip side, Parrott seems to write Tommy a little more hot-headed than the show ever portrayed him. Marco Renna accentuates this on the art.

I nitpick, but these are still the best Power Ranger comics ever produced. So put it all in perspective…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Jinny Hex, and More Catching Up

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This concludes most of our catching up period. Hopefully we’ll be back on schedule from here on out!

TITLE: Jinny Hex Special #1
AUTHOR: Magdalene Visaggio
ARTISTS: Gleb Melnikov, Luis Guerrero (Colorist), Gabriela Downie (Letterer) Cover by Nick Derington and Nick Filardi.
RELEASED: December 29, 2020

This book made me miss Young Justice a little more than I already do. I didn’t think that was possible.

I’m not sure Jinny Hex would be able to support her own series. But if she could, the first two issues would look something like this. We’ve got a story and villain that help us get to know her better, the introduction of a supporting character, and the seeds of a status quo. If you’re a fan of Jinny’s, this issue will please.

TITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue #1
AUTHOR: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Ty Templeton, Sean Parsons (Inker), Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Mirka Andolfo.
RELEASED: December 31, 2020

In the Arkham games, the Joker had a weird fascination with the Scarface puppet. This issue essentially gives us the DCAU version of that. You can tell they had fun writing those two together.

Still curious as to why they’re re-doing this story about Arnold Wesker going straight…

TITLE: Something is Killing the Children #13
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Werther Dell’Edera, Miquel Muerto (Colorist), Andworld Design (Letters)
RELEASED: December 23, 2020

I’m starting to wonder if Something is Killing the Children isn’t like The Walking Dead comic book, in that it’s better read in five or six-issue volumes as opposed to issue by issue. I’m finding that the book has started to lose me on a month-to-month basis, even though the story at large is still appealing. This isn’t a negative judgment on the book. Certain comics simply work better in fewer, larger doses.

TITLE: Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run #1 (of 2)
AUTHORS: Greg Rucka (Novel), Alec Worley, Edward Gauvin (Translation)
ARTISTS: Ingo Romling, Amauri Osorio (Letterer)
RELEASED: December 23, 2020

On one hand, this was a pleasant surprise, as I’ve read the Greg Rucka novel this issue is based on. On the other, Smuggler’s Run makes a slightly better novel than it does a comic.

Still, Ingo Romling’s animated style is a fun match for the Star Wars universe. Some really awesome shots of the Millennium Falcon. Granted, Han does look a little old on the cover.

TITLE: Batman/Superman #15
AUTHOR: Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS: Andrei Bressan, Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), John J. Hill (Letterer). Variant cover by Travis Charest.
RELEASED: December 22, 2020

A charming little story about Solomon Grundy, with some cameos by some D-list villains you don’t see too often. Namely Lock-Up and Lady Vic. It’s punctuated by a cute little moment between Clark and Bruce at the end.

This Travis Charest variant cover is awesome. We could very well see it again down the road as the cover to a trade or something.

TITLE: Batman #105
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Alvaro Martinez, Christian Duce. Variant cover by Francesco Mattina.
RELEASED: December 15, 2020

I’m having some trouble wrapping my head around the direction they’re taking Ghost-Maker, and how quickly this story is resolved. Based on what Tynion and the team have established up to this point, everything got wrapped up a little too neatly for me. I’m wondering if they were shorted an issue because the story needed to be done in time for Future State.

Still, Ghost-Maker is intersting enough. I’m curious to see where they take him.

TITLE: Mighty Morphin #2
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Marco Renna, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Katia Ranalli (Color Assistant), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Variant cover by Eleonora Carlini.
RELEASED: December 9, 2020

I appreciate whenever we see the Rangers in new environments we never saw on the show. So it’s nice to see them at a music festival in this issue.

Mighty Morphin #2 has really nice balance. We get a good blend of dialogue between the teens, Power Ranger action, and even some of Bulk & Skull. They can’t all be this evenly divided. But when they are, it’s generally a good thing.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Batman, Bendis’ Superman Finale, Spider-Man, and More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue #16
AUTHORS: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Ty Templeton, Monica Cubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Mirka Andolfo.
RELEASED: December 18, 2020

This issue and issue #15 are weird in that they essentially repeat a story from the New Batman Adventures episode “Double Talk.” Arnold Wesker, the Ventriloquist, tries to reform and ultimately fails. That’s a really strange thing to have happen, as these guys obviously worked on the old shows as well…

This story seems primarily like an excuse to put Harley and Ivy together. On the upside, we get a cool villain Christmas party at the Iceberg Lounge with plenty of cameos. Including, oddly enough, a panel where Captain Boomerang and Roxy Rocket are making out.

TITLE: Superman #28
AUTHOR: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTISTS: Ivan Reis, Danny Miki (Inker), Alex Sinclair (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer). Variant cover by Kael Ngu.
RELEASED: December 15, 2020

I’d love to know when Bendis’ run on the Superman books was originally supposed to end. Or if they even had an endpoint in mind. In the grand scheme of things, this feels like a fairly abrupt finale. But at the end of the day, Bendis did right by Superman. That’s more than a lot of writers can say. I respect him that much more for that.

Reis and the artistic team did too. There’s a beautiful panel in here of Lois looking lovingly at her husband. Amongst all the space alien grandeur in this issue, it’s an unlikely highlight.

TITLE: Power Rangers #2
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Francesco Mortarino, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Matteo Scalera & Moreno Dinisio.
RELEASED: December 16, 2020

A neat issue, conceptually. Jason, Zack, and Trini against a bunch of space vampires. But this series is having trouble holding my attention even earlier than I anticipated. The foundations of a good book are there, but I think Power Rangers needs a stronger hook. Here’s hoping this book can up its game in a big way soon.

There’s a pretty cool splash page early in this issue. It’s just Jason posing with a sword. But between the pose, the framing, and the lighting, it’s got an epic feel to it that works really well.

TITLE: Spider-Man #5 (of 5)
AUTHORS: J.J. Abrams, Henry Abrams
ARTISTS: Sara Pichelli, Elizabetta D’Amico (Inking Assisant), Dave Stewart (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Olivier Coipel & Stewart.
RELEASED: December 9, 2020

This story was compelling enough, and the premise was enjoyable. Plus, Sara Pichelli was apparently born to draw Spider-Man. But I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: The presence of the Iron Man characters took away from Ben Parker’s journey as Spider-Man. Especially here in this final issue. This was supposed to be a family story about Peter Parker, his son, and the passing of the proverbial Spider-Man torch. Instead, the waters got a little too muddied.

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #112
AUTHORS: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz (Story), Sophie Campbell (Script)
ARTISTS: Jodi Nishijima, Ronda Pattison (Colorist), Shawn Lee (Letterer)
RELEASED: December 9, 2020

Just when I think these TMNT issues can’t add any more depth, we get a story about a fight breaking out during an “I used to be a  human, but now I’m a mutant” support group meeting. Love it.

To help differentiate between the Turtles without their multi-colored bandanas, Ronda Pattison is giving them different skin tones. The IDW Turtles have had different skin tones since issue #1. But note they aren’t given such tones on this otherwise pretty cool cover.

TITLE: Star Wars #9
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
ARTISTS: Jan Bazaldua, Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, & Rain Beredo.
RELEASED: December 9, 2020

You’d think a story about Lando and friends trying to break into a museum on Coruscant would be a lot more fun than this. But somehow this issue managed to bore me with it.

I’ve been on the brink of dropping this Star Wars title for a long time. This might have been the issue to push me over the edge. There’s a certain fun, a certain spark, that’s missing here.

TITLE: Suicide Squad #11
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS: Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer). Variant cover by Jeremy Roberts.
RELEASED: November 24, 2020

I’m not a Harley Quinn mark the way a lot of people are. But even I’ve got to admit: That’s an awesome cover.

In hindsight, this series was better than it had any right to be. As expected, Taylor leaves the door open to work more with the characters he created in Suicide Squad. He and Redondo are about to start a run on Nightwing. So I expect we might see them there.

In the end, this may go down as one of the more underrated runs Suicide Squad has ever seen.

TITLE: Batman/Superman #14
AUTHOR: Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS: Max Raynor, Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), John J. Hill (Letterer). Cover by David Marquez & Sanchez.
RELEASED: November 24, 2020

“I’m calling for my Bat-spaceship to come get us.”

*cringe* That feels like a line out of a post-Wertham comic in the ’50s.

Still, while this story looks uninspired on the surface, it manages to be a decent amount of fun in its execution. A fairly interesting take on the composite Superman/Batman concept, with some fun art by Max Raynor and beautiful coloring by Alejandro Sanchez. I’ve seen much better. But in all fairness, it could have been much worse.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.