April 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Secret Wars Rankings: M.O.D.O.K. Strikes Back


No big droppers, but two big upwards movers in this week’s Secret Wars Power Rankings.  Marvel Zombies vaulted into top ten territory and M.O.D.O.K. Assassin recovered from last week’s drop of 5 and then some.

This week also brought the last (?) new Secret Wars series with Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra.

After the break we’ll examine those series and also get Ryan and Tom’s thoughts on this weeks most overrated and underrated in the rankings.

New This Week


Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra.  Rank: 29.

I actually did like this book, but I didn’t love it.  Ryan did love it (see below in the underrated section) and he thinks that my lower ranking is because I’m not married with kids and still a young’n.  Unlike Ryan who is old and busted, which makes me the new hotness.

It’s a fun book with some nice laughs (like the image that leads this article) that you won’t likely be disappointed you spent your $3.99 on.

Biggest Movers

  • Marvel Zombies +8.  Rank: 9.  A big jump into the top ten for Marvel Zombies.  The first two issues have been solid, but the third cranks things up a notch with some nice twists and turns and surprises.  An overused guest star is also used incredibly smartly.

    Typical of zombie stories of late, no doubt driven by the success of Walking Dead,  the focus is less on them and more on the humans.  Which serves this book just fine as Elsa Bloodstone and her companion have enough ghosts of their own to worry about.

  • M.OD.O.K Assassin +7.  Rank: 27.We’ll look at M.O.D.O.K a bit more below in the underrated section.  The book recovered from dropping 5 last week, which was more due to other books with new issues leapfrogging it than anything.  With the release this week of a new issue, M.O.D.O.K. comes back strong.  As Tom mentions, each issue seems to be getting better.

Most overrated


Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos
Rank: 8

Tom: Now, don’t get me wrong.  This series is a lot of fun and should be pretty high up.  I just don’t think it should be as high up the chart as it is.  Put it maybe five or six places lower and that would be about right.  The series itself is goofy and fun, but also comes across as slight and inconsequential.  Good, fun art, and Deadpool’s ghost makes a fun narrator, but I think there’s better on the list.

Jimmy:  By the look of the way this event is going, almost everything is going to end up being “inconsequential”, but I digress.  I’ve really, really been surprised by this book.  I had no interest in it coming in and have been laughing my ass off ever since.  I can see moving it down a bit based on personal tastes, but I still think it is one of the top books of the event.


Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders
Rank: 14

Tom:Man, what a drop-off in quality.  The first issue was eclectic with an interesting team, a twist on Iron Man’s origin, and great Alan Davis artwork.  The second (and apparently final) issue made the whole thing feel like a rush to the end.  Yeah, there’s still Alan Davis artwork, and the invading zone being based on Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One makes the series “extra British,” but the whole conclusion felt rushed.  Maybe if it had gone another issue or two…

Jimmy:  Captain Britain is a bit of a conundrum based on the way that I rank each issue and then average them out to get a score.  Maybe that’s not the best way to do things, but it’s what I learned from Watson’s Advanced List Making class at the Gabbing Geek Academy.

That said, the problem here is that issue one was fantastic.  I had it ranked 5th overall when we started this little exercise.  However, as Tom says, issue #2 was a disaster.  I don’t know what happened.  And only two issues?  Given all the issues being pumped out for Secret Wars they couldn’t have stretched this out more?

So now it sits with a bit of a still lofty score, buoyed by that first issue unless I invoke some manual intervention.  C’est La Vie.

Most underrated


Rank: 42

Tom:   Ryan really hates this one for some reason.  Now, to be fair, much like Mrs. Deadpool, I don’t object to it being low, but it is too low in the rankings.  Transposing recognizable Marvel characters to the Old West is fine.  I am surprised there aren’t more of Marvel’s Western heroes hanging around, truth be told.  But this series is rather interesting in how it reimagines various Marvel characters, so for that alone it should go up a couple slots.  And while the same could be said for 1602, that one is rather dull to 1872’s mediocre.  Master of Kung Fu did a similar trick, but that one doesn’t seem too far from where I’d rank it.

Jimmy:  42/49 does seem harsh, but it has been more mediocre than anything.  I don’t get Ryan’s utter hatred for it either, the book as been ok.  I’m interested enough to stick around and see where it is going, but I do wish it was better.  It’s a very different beast from 1602, even if they riff on the same concept, so I don’t fault it to much there.


M.O.D.O.K Assassin
Rank: 27

Tom: The first issue was so blah, but just as Captain Britain hit a high point with its first issue, M.O.D.O.K. gets better with each issue as the title character runs around killing everyone he meets simply because he can, and then falls in love with a Thor.  The art is goofy, the comedy improves, and it should be higher in the power rankings as a result.

Jimmy:  Another book coming in that I had no interest in.  Especially after I read the horrible M.O.D.O.K. story in Secret Wars Battleworld #1.  And even after issue #1 I didn’t hold out much hope for it.  But then came issue #2 and then #3 and #4…each progressively better.  M.O.D.O.K has gone through some growing pains to become one of the better books coming out of Secret Wars.

As Tom mentions, the book seems to be the anti-Captain Britain,  meaning that those lower ranked first issue or so are holding it back in the rankings a bit.  Hopefully it continues to climb.  It is well worth your time.


 Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra
Rank: 29

Ryan:   I will start by saying that I can actually understand the ranking of this book because, in the grand scheme of Secret Wars, this book probably has absolutely nothing to do with the main storyline.  But then again, seeing as how scattered all of these series have ended up, it’s entirely possible that 90% of the series have nothing to do with the main story.  And that is why I think Hank Johnson deserved to be in the Top 10.

I loved, loved, loved this book.  Not like.  Not enjoyed.  *LOVED*!  This book squeezed more story and humor into 19 pages than most books twice the length.  The angle of following a typical HYDRA thug through his otherwise mundane life is fantastic and fantastically funny.  There are so many moments in this book that made me laugh.  Some are explicit like the discussion of how AIM pays better but he refuses to work for them.  Some are more hidden, like how all the bad guys and family dress up like superheroes for Halloween while the SHIELD agents and family dress up like supervillains.  And then there are moments about people besides Hank, like this fantastic two (really one) panel exchange that completely summarizes the marriage of Madame Hydra and MODOK:

Even funnier the second time around!

Granted, the mixture of humor is based on the soccer-dad kind of life Hank leads outside of HYDRA, but it’s something that most older comic readers can relate to and it’s fantastic.

Bottom line: how good is this book?  I started describing it to Watson and he agreed to read it.  Yeah, that good.

Jimmy:  How am I supposed to follow that?  Ryan and I, while both geeks, have very different tastes I believe.  Particularly when it comes to humor.  Again, I did like this book and it is funny and smart.  But the things Ryan finds “fantastically funny” I just find mildly amusing.  To each their own.  (I bet Ryan would hate Mrs. Deadpool…)  Should it be ranked higher?  Maybe.  Should it be in the top ten?  No.

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