Usagi stops by a temple in the forest to escape a rainstorm. An old friend is investigating a murder and Usagi agrees to help.
I found the murder mystery that Usagi agrees to help inspector Ishida with uncompelling. A local lord wants the temple tore down so that he can hunt the land. The government sends Ishida with a group of delegates to survey the situation. One of the delegates gets found dead in the forest.
It’s a complicated scenario that’s a chore to read. Sakai tries to spice it up with a supernatural legend involving a painting in the temple. The painting seems like an Japanese take on the Hell section of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. But every depiction of the painting is lacking in detail & looks uninteresting.
We get many images of Usagi staring at the painting. He seems shocked by the images depicted. And every time we get a shot of the painting it just looks like a bunch of scribbles. It seems like a wasted opportunity to help sell a story that I already had trouble investing in. Comics is a visual medium. I would have liked at least one beauty shot of the painting to help sell it.
Also, after the introduction we get 8 pages of nothing but people talking in a hallway. The local lord comes in & argues with the inspector. He leaves & a group of priests come in and talk with the inspector. They leave & a group of pilgrims come in and talk with the inspector. It reminded me of a Best Of The Worst review of a movie called Shakma. It’s as boring as it sounds.
Page 6 is the best in the book. I like the perspective in both panels. And the detail of the rain on Usagi’s clothes in the top panel is perfect. I can almost hear the water sliding off his hat.
There are a lot of dull scenes in the book. But not any that are lot more dull that the others.
A mostly boring issue with a nice shot or two. I can’t deny Sakai’s talent, he’s one of comic’s best. But for my tastes this was not his A game. I’ll check back in with Usagi after this arc.
The Power Rangers battle Scorpina as she attacks San Francisco with the Dragonzord.
I loved the original show when I was a kid. But I’ve tried to get into it a couple of times as an adult and haven’t been able to make it through a whole episode. The main reason is that the show plays to young children to a big extent. I feel like I’ll be able to appreciate & enjoy it at another time in my life, but not yet. I went through a similar journey with the show Sailor Moon.
The comic does not play to children in the way the show does. So I’ve been a regular reader since issue #1 & even picked up the recent Power Rangers Pink #1.
The MVP of MMPR #4 is Hendry Prasetya. This is the first big battle issue in the series and he pulls out all the stops. 15 of the 20 pages showcase an action scene or a new monster design. And each of them are fantastic. I’m not going to post the whole issue but here’s a small sample.
The remaining 5 pages have 2 story beats. The first is Tommy conquering the visions of Rita he’s been having since the start of the series. It’s a nice payoff & leads into the 2nd story beat.
Which is Jason & Zack arguing with Tommy because he disregarded Jason’s order to stay out of the big battle. This infighting doesn’t feel earned to me. Perhaps Tommy was wrong to join the battle but Jason & Zack’s reactions are way over the top. I don’t get why they would come close to blows over it especially when the battle ended so well for The Rangers.
Tommy has had the most character development in the series by mile. So far he’s the main character. I need more characterization for Jason & Zack before this kind of infighting can be palatable. Right now they just come across as jerks.
I love this transformation sequence. It’s simple, full of color & gets you pumped to read the battle with the Dragonzord. Perhaps these will get stale in future. But for now I look forward to the transformations as much as anything else in an issue.
The main story consists of 20 pages. 2 more pages are devoted to a backup strip, The Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull. I don’t dislike Bulk & Skull as characters but I don’t care for the backup strip. Especially when most mainstream comics are 22 pages long. I would much rather have 2 more pages drawn by Prasetya.
The first big battle issue of MMPR is exceptional. Prasetya kills it with well-paced, dynamic action and awesome monster designs.
Jane Foster gets taken in for questioning by agents of Shield. Dario Agger gets attacked during a meeting with a group of industrialist villains.
There’s a scene that hints at a possible romantic interest between Jane & Roz Solomon. Making Roz bi-sexual is a cool idea. It’s been awhile since I’ve read issues with Roz as a central character. I only remember her as a 2nd romantic interest for The Odinson who’s also an environmentalist. An Odinnson/Jane/Roz love triangle would add a new dimension to her. But maybe I’m reading too much into it.
During the villain’s meeting we get Dauterman’s take on Silver Samurai Jr. I love everything about it. I love how he destroys Dario’s empire 3 different ways in 2 minutes. I love his transformation sequence with his cell phone. I love the design of the armor. I even love his green suit. I hope to see more of Shingen Harada.
Jane’s entrance to the villain’s meeting. This feels like it would work for any version of Thor. Also Roz’s reaction is adorable.
I’m a sucker for creative uses with lettering.
I don’t understand how Oubliette Midas is able to clear a room of armed guards when she has her back turned to them. I guess she’s just that good a shot? I wouldn’t buy this page if it had replaced her with Hawkeye. It’s a dynamic page in some ways but a little unclear in others.
This issue is excellent. I was excited to read it but I’m even more excited for the next issue. The whole creative team is firing on all cylinders.
The League holds their first press conference. It gets interrupted by a team of villains sent by Vandal Savage. The League battles Solomon Grundy, Eclipso, Clayface, and Thorn.
We get reactions to the new JLA from a lot of DC characters. Metamorpho, Batman, The Blackhawks, even the Challengers of the Unknown and more. Good stuff.
There’s a scene that shows how the group gets named the Justice League of America. It’s kind of meh.
I don’t have a strong favorite member of the team yet, but I don’t any hate of them.
My introduction to Eclipso & Thorn. Thorn seems to be little more than a Poison Ivy knock-off. But Eclipso seems interesting. Hope I see more of him.
Solid costume gag. Also, where’s Barry looking in the first panel?
I don’t think fap ment the same thing in February of 1998 as it does today.
Green Arrow’s a creep.
I don’t buy this take on Batman. Would he be this hostile to a new JSA-esque team? I haven’t read many Batman stories set during that time so perhaps I’m wrong. But for now this seems out of character.
A solid issue. All the main characters get their chance to shine. There are lots of moments with interesting characters familiar & obscure. And it ends on Ted Kord possibly getting involved. What more could you ask for?