Comic Book Reviews (Week August 3, 2022): X-Men Red Issue 5, Batman Issue 126 & More!

Batman issue 126 review
Batman Issue 126 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (August 3, 2022). I will be talking about X-Men Red issue 5, Batman issue 126, Golden Rage issue 1, and more.

I’ll open by talking about Batman issue 126 by writer Chip Zdarsky. The current arc seems to be about exploring Bruce as a person and the weight he continues to feel of putting the Bat-Family in danger. He knows he isn’t as young as before and can’t handle everything on his own, but that doesn’t mean he’s okay with putting, basically his “kids”, in harm’s way.

Tim Drake getting shot in the previous issue did a number on Bruce. I liked the scene where Tim told Bruce why he continued to fight crime as a young hero. I also liked how he’s the first one to see Batman’s transformation at the end of the issue.

In a sense, Tim’s the closest to the “detective” part of Bruce’s brain, and that allows these two characters to share a connection that’s unique from the dynamic Bruce has with other members of the Bat-Family.

With Bruce facing an incredibly dangerous threat, I’m looking forward to seeing what Zdarsky has planned to do with such an iconic character as the series continues.  

As for the accompanying side story featuring Selina, also written by Zdarsky, her search for the Penguin’s children took a deadly yet expected turn as two new players entered the board vying for Penguin’s inheritance. I liked seeing Zdarsky taking the time to showcase Selina’s empathy. Both the Cat and the Bat are going through “emotions” in Zdarsky’s stories and I’m here for it.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Poison Ivy issue 3 review
Poison Ivy Issue 3 (Image: DC Comics)

Poison Ivy Issue 3

From writer G. Willow Wilson, the latest issue in the current Poison Ivy solo series again made me wish Wilson would get the chance to write a Storm solo story soon. There’s just something about Wilson’s skill as a writer when it comes to exploring characters. It was one of the reasons the initial run of Ms. Marvel was so well-received by fans.

I’m not the biggest fan of Poison Ivy out there, and yet I found myself being thoroughly engaged by the voice Wilson gave Pam. Yes, Ivy wants to infect humankind, but there are layers to her madness. She’s struggling with loss and conflicted feelings that explore her human side. Fingers crossed Pam finds herself in a somewhat healthy place as the story draws to a close.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Immortal X-Men issue 5 review
Immortal X-Men Issue 5 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Immortal X-Men Issue 5

With writer Kieron Gillen spearheading the current AXE event, the Immortal X-Men tie-in for AXE Judgement Day fell kind of flat, in my opinion. To be fair, I liked how Gillen portrayed Exodus as a knight ready to slay dragons and how it related to his faith. The way he used Hope as a sword and Emma as a shield during their psionic battle with the Eternal’s Uni-Mind was an impressive creative touch.

However, overall, it ended up being an issue that could be easily skipped, especially because of certain inconsistencies in the timeline. What happened in AXE Judgement Day issue 1 was quite different from how Immortal X-Men issue 5 visualized the same sequence of moments. One would think Gillen would have made the storytelling a bit tighter considering he’s overseeing the entire event after all.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Up to you.

x-men red issue 5 review
X-Men Red Issue 5 (Image: Marvel Comics)

X-Men Red Issue 5

In X-Men Red issue 5, writer Al Ewing detailed the Arrako-centric massacre by Uranos that was mentioned in AXE Judgement Day issue 1. While I enjoyed reading this chapter, I can understand how seeing numerous mutants be killed in various ways might not be for everyone.

The action-heavy installment had a bunch of awesome moments. I can’t wait to see Isca get knocked down a couple of notches by Storm. The Arakki Omegas really need to reconsider having someone like Isca continue being a member of the planet’s governing body. You can’t trust her.

And that final scene with Magneto was definitely a highlight. The Master of Magnetism really said, “Tony Stark who?”

The Arakki mutants need to regroup and initiate a counterattack against the powerful weapons Uranos has left behind. So, here’s to hoping that Storm makes it to the planet soon to set things right.

Speaking of Storm, Gillen recently did an interview where he explained why he couldn’t make Storm one of the main leads in the AXE event. Apparently, he used a similar excuse that Gerry Duggan shared (when Coates was writing his Black Panther series). Due to Marvel Comics being a world where teleportation and magic exist, saying that you’re unable to use a particular character in your story because they are busy somewhere else makes no sense to me.

Also, the fact that Storm, the Voice of Sol, is not one of the main players in a major event focusing on the extinction of mutants is just wow! At this point, I would have preferred Gillen simply saying he’s not interested in writing Storm instead of whatever explanation he tried to give.

As of now, the main players in AXE Judgement Day, especially when it comes to the mutant cast, are quite Caucasian and yes, I can’t help but side-eye such a creative decision. 

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Mighty Morphin issue 22 review
Mighty Morphin Issue 22 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Mighty Morphin Issue 22

As a fan of the Pink Power Ranger, I enjoyed reading Mighty Morphin issue 22 by writer Mat Groom. Due to Kimberly’s fear of being replaced by other Rangers messing up the Morphin Grid in the previous installment, I liked how Groom took the time to address her concerns and make her willingly accept the next chapter in life and the overall legacy of being a Pink Ranger.

Kimberly left the Rangers (but not permanently) in canon, and I think this issue worked well when it came to laying the groundwork for her inevitable decision down the line.

Also, that Pink Emissary reveal. When I tell you I screamed!

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Golden Rage issue 1 review
Golden Rage Issue 1 (Image: Image Comics)

Golden Rage Issue 1

If there’s one new book you pick up this week, I want it to be Golden Rage issue 1 by writer Chrissy Williams. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it sure as heck wasn’t what the creative team ended up giving me. And I’m thankful for that because I can’t wait to read the second issue!

I don’t want to ruin the story. The explanation about what is actually happening with the old women is something you need to experience for yourself. All I can say is that Golden Rage is another example of how important it is for publishers, other than Marvel and DC, to continue existing as they offer the platform for such stories to be told.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Vineyard issue 1 review
Vineyard Issue 1 (Image: AfterShock Comics)

Vineyard Issue 1

If you’re into a mythological horror story featuring some messed-up worshippers of Dionysus, then Vineyard issue 1 is for you. From writer Brian Hawkins, the debut chapter did a very good job of introducing the main players (a family connected to Dionysus) and the conflict that will need to be resolved as the story continues.

Whether it is due to religious or political reasons, extremism and cult-like behavior have been known to ruin families. So, there’s a relatability factor in the overall narrative as one particular character decides to take it upon themselves to rescue another family member. 

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Which comic books did you read this week? What did you think of X-Men Red issue 5?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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