Comic Book Reviews (Week January 4, 2023): X-Men Red Issue 10, Batman Issue 131 & More!

Batman Issue 131 Review
Batman Issue 131 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (January 4, 2023). I will be covering X-Men Red issue 10, Batman issue 131, Kaya issue 4, and more.

Happy 2023 to everyone! Here’s hoping we have more well-written comic books to read this year! I know that’s a big ask. But there’s always hope!

Let’s begin my first 2023 comic book review roundup by talking about Batman issue 131 by writer Chip Zdarsky. I think it’s obvious what Zdarsky’s doing in his current run on the flagship Caped Crusader title. The previous arc was reminiscent of past Batman stories and the latest arc, titled ‘The Bat-Man of Gotham’, featured a similar vibe. Seeing Bruce wake up in a different dimension has been done before. So, let’s see what Zdarsky’s got planned when introducing alternate versions of iconic characters.

I’m not saying that I’m not enjoying what Zdarsky’s offering. All I’m saying is that I’m kind of worried about how long he can manage to keep reader interest by being “inspired” by a bunch of past Batman stories instead of delivering something that can be considered a bit more original.

As for the accompanying mini-story, also written by Zdarsky, it dealt with Tim Drake feeling guilty about not being able to save Bruce against Failsafe. Tim’s been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to bring Bruce back to their actual dimension with Jon Kent lending a hand. I understood what Nightwing said about how Bruce will find a way to return. But I also understood why Tim didn’t want to sit and wait for Bruce to do so. With the Toyman being involved, in a way, I’m more interested in seeing what will happen in Storyline B rather than Storyline A.  

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Dark Knights of Steel Issue 9 (Image: DC Comics)
Dark Knights of Steel Issue 9 (Image: DC Comics)

Dark Knights of Steel Issue 9

Even though I feel this 12-issue limited series takes too many breaks between issues, I can’t deny that writer Tom Taylor has created an alternate reality I want more of. Dark Knights of Steel issue 9 had a major reveal about who was behind all of the brutal killings. It wasn’t the most surprising reveal (considering most in the fandom had been on the same wavelength for months now), but it sure was fun as it propelled the story forward. With only three more issues left, let’s see what Taylor has got planned for the big finale!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

X-Men Red Issue 10 Review
X-Men Red Issue 10 (Image: Marvel Comics)

X-Men Red Issue 10

Sigh! Where do I begin with X-Men Red issue 10 by writer Al Ewing? The Vulcan vs Storm battle had been hyped for months. I was excited. A bit cautious, but still excited. And when I finally managed to read the latest issue… well… at this point, I think I might not continue reading Ewing’s X-Men Red series any longer.

It’s not as if it’s a poorly written-comic book story. It’s definitely not. But it’s clear that Ewing isn’t interested in exploring Storm the way I would like him to. He’s not giving me the Storm that I’m willing to keep paying my money to read more of.

Look. I’m okay with Ororo valuing teamwork. That’s part of her character. She’s a born leader after all. However, there’s a time and place for demonstrating teamwork in a manner that doesn’t take away from the character’s ability to do things on their own.

Fighting Vulcan was such a moment. Ororo should have been capable of defeating him on her own and asked for help to encase him afterward. Even Vulcan called her out on needing help from three other mutants to take him down. After all of the hype, the conclusion to the Omega vs Omega fight was disappointing to me.

When Vulcan talked about Ororo running out of options after he took away the “weather”, that was the perfect moment for Ororo to tap into her Godhead or her Rogue Storm persona to showcase she’s more than capable of creating her own weather or she could have easily control cosmic winds or some other type of energy from deep space. But alas, she surprised Vulcan by accessing a hidden water supply (made with the help of three other mutants) and defeating him with rain. Like really, an Omega-level mutant like Vulcan was defeated by rain? I get he was exhausted, but come on now!

As I said, it’s clear that Ewing isn’t interested in exploring Storm in the manner I want him to. And you know what? That’s okay. He can keep on writing whatever he wants. And I can decide if I want to read said work or not.

Talking about the rest of the events in X-Men Red issue 10, the walls collapsed around Abigail as Roberto and Xandra confronted her. Abigail did manage to escape, but it’s clear she has to answer for her numerous crimes.

As for Cable and his team, they got the information they wanted. However, the reveal at the end wasn’t as surprising as I had hoped because the fandom had figured it out beforehand. With the Sins of Sinister era upon us, let’s see what Storm and her Brotherhood does next.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Kaya Issue 4 review
Kaya Issue 4 (Image: Image Comics)

Kaya Issue 4

From writer and artist Wes Craig, Kaya issue 4 was more about letting certain characters take a breather after the fight in the previous chapter. Once rested, it’s revealed that our heroes were walking into a trap. And I’m looking forward to seeing how they will manage to face the upcoming situation.

The character moments continued to shine as the story finally allowed Seth to tell Kaya the truth about being engaged to someone else. Kaya handled the news maturely. She’s got other things to worry about after all.

As for Jin, we got to see him make contact with a higher being. Kaya’s not into believing in Gods while Jin is. I think the siblings will have a conversation about the existence of Gods soon. And I’m here for anything that helps expand this politically charged world.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Its Only Teenage Wasteland Issue 2 Review
It’s Only Teenage Wasteland Issue 2 (Image: Dark Horse Comics)

It’s Only Teenage Wasteland Issue 2

From writer Curt Pires, It’s Only Teenage Wasteland issue 2 was another stellar chapter after the enjoyable debut. It’s kind of disappointing that this miniseries is supposed to last for only 4 issues because I’m rooting for the characters, but I’m also here for the tight pace due to the limited number of installments. The restricted space allows for every panel to work toward taking the story forward.

We got to see Javi and Scott have a much-needed conversation about Javi freezing up and not coming to Scott’s aid during the fight before the world changed for the teens. Javi’s someone who hesitates to make a decision. I get his cautious nature. But when you’re best friend is in trouble, you are supposed to throw caution to the wind and help in any manner possible. Javi did step up during the physical confrontation that occurred later in this issue. So, that’s good.

I still have no idea what’s going on and if the teens are even on actual Earth. But I’m looking forward to finding out, especially after an awesome character reveal moment in the end. 

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Rick and Morty vs Cthulu issue 2 review
Rick and Morty vs Cthulu Issue 2 (Image: ONI Press)

Rick and Morty vs Cthulu Issue 2

I was provided with a free digital copy of Rick and Morty vs Cthulu issue 2 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

From writer Jim Zub, Rick and Morty vs Cthulu issue 2 continued to explore Lovecraftian lore through the lens of the long-running comedic Rick and Morty IP. In my opinion, Rick and Morty vs Cthulu is one of the best comic books around right now, more so if you’re a Rick and Morty fan. The way Zub handles Lovecraftian lore while dragging the original creator just works and I want more!

With Rick being “killed” in the previous issue, the latest chapter had Summer and Morty try to face the cultish inhabitants of Innsmouth. Again, the data page at the end really helped explain more about the characters Summer and Morty interacted with. We got to see Summer enter the Dreamlands and meet Nyarlathotep! And I was not expecting the twist during Morty’s sacrifice to Dagon. It’s so good!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Which comic books did you read this week? What did you think of Batman issue 131?

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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