This was an absolutely huge week for me, so there’s a lot here.
Batman #672: If you were waiting for the part of the run where everything would go fucking insane and you’d think “Well, Jesus, NOW this is a Grant Morrison book”: It’s here. I’ve been enjoying this book a lot so far, but the main plot kicks into overdrive here and we’re headed for Batman stories the likes of which we haven’t read in decades. Anyone who had Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told as a kid and read it over and over like me will REALLY enjoy this issue.
Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood #3: The threads tying these stories together become a lot clearer, as does Montoya’s current mental state, and what Flay is up to. This is a really interesting book that a lot of people aren’t digging because it is admittedly very slow and detail-oriented — but the rewards are there if you look for them.
Death of the New Gods #4: It’s about on par with the series so far — if you’ve enjoyed it so far, you’ll like this. Unless you’re a *hardcore* Kirby fanboy to the point of rejecting anything different done with the New Gods. Because there are some odd revelations in this issue. Still, it’s fun, and casts some interesting questions about Final Crisis, but at the end of the day, it’s FC-speculator Kirby continuity porn.
Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files: The nerd’s reference guide. Huge and definitive. I haven’t read all of it yet — it’ll take quite a while — but it’s a slick package.
Legion of Super-Heroes #37: Manapul’s art works really well with this book, and Shooter’s script is strong and funny, combining old-school and new-Waid-era Legion sensibilities. He’s got a reverence to what comes before, and his writing style isn’t Claremont-dated — the dialogue is crisp, the characterization strong. It’s your dad’s Legion book, and it’s not. It’s a strong first issue. I can’t pass too much judgment yet, but I’m intrigued.
Amazing Spider-Man #545: If you think this is the end, you have absolutely no reading comprehension skills. It was easily the best issue of the arc so far, with people acting remotely reasonable for once. There are a lot of dangling plot threads, and it’s not pissing on thirty years of continuity. This isn’t the end of the story. You may not still like it, but give it a chance.
Iron Man #24: Events start fitting together. Guice’s art with White’s coloring looks fantastic, I’ll be sad to see him leave this book. It’s a mid-arc chapter, so I can’t say too much specifically, but if you’ve been enjoying this smart techno-espionage-thriller this chapter won’t disappoint.
Punisher #53: The previous few issues, amped to 11. This arc is insane.
Daredevil #103: This issue ostensibly features guest art by Paul Azaceta (Potter’s Field), but I sure couldn’t tell. It’s another strong issue of Brubaker’s run, but I really don’t know where he’s going with all this — it’s starting to feel like just another tribulation in Matt’s life. Still, Bru has the tendency to impress and surprise me. Another for the “we’ll see” pile, but fans of the book so far will want this (obviously).
Captain Marvel #2: This miniseries is shaping up to be way more interesting than its predecessor, Civil War: The Return. It seems like they aren’t planning on Mar-Vell’s return being permanent, which is interesting, and it’s doing a lot to lead towards Secret Invasion (at least, so it seems). It’s an interesting take on the character, and honestly I’d like to see more after this mini, but I just don’t see it happening. Maybe I’m wrong.
Teen Titans #54: McKeever ends his first arc on an alright note, although I’m unsure how i feel about the implications of the final scene. Still, it’s not really his book — this arc was editorially mandated — until #55, which will allow for a fuller examination of what he’s planning on doing with the title.
Ultimate Spider-Man #117: Maybe the best issue of the series so far. I don’t want to say any more, but this issue is essential.
Ultimate Fantastic Four #49: I have to admit this arc didn’t do much for me, and I didn’t think Brooks’s art fit the characters very well. That said, I’ve been enjoying Carey’s run as a whole, and next issue returns to his far more interesting Cosmic Cube main-plot. Unfortunately, I also understand it’s the last or second-to-last arc before Jeph Loeb ruins the Ultimate Universe.
Blue Beetle #22: Excellent as always, although I’m scared the book is crawling along to its end. Its sales certainly haven’t been hopeful. With any luck, editorial approval will keep it alive a la Manhunter, since it really is one of DC’s best books.
Avengers: The Initiative #8: Holy shit, what a difference a Gage makes! The dialogue is way sharper in this issue, with a lot of Slott’s more obnoxious tendencies toned down with a lot of his sense of humor that was enjoyable in She-Hulk v1 shining through. I think it brings something to the book that it was lacking before, a kind of grounding, and I’m on for the foreseeable future because this book seems to be finding its form. It’s not Marvel’s best book by a longshot, but it’s got a huge cast of interesting characters that it’s doing cool stuff with. If you’ve been turned off by Slott’s tongue-in-cheekery, give this issue a try.
52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #5: I want Giffen to take over Superman/Batman, because his version of the relationship between the two is hilarious and believable. That said, the miniseries barrels towards its final confrontation, and it continues to be a lot of fun and supporting the thesis that 52 spinoff books are the best things at DC.
Action Comics #860: The arc continues, basically. I’m not sure where it’s leading, but it’s quite a bit of fun.
Flash #235: If you love the kids, this is a great issue. If you hate the kids, it’s godawful. Totally depends on that. I love the kids, so I thought it was great, and it’s a shame Waid’s leaving although Tom Peyer is pretty hopeful as a replacement. The backup, as always, is funny and rather nicely dovetails back in with the main plot.
Green Lantern #26: Taking stock after the Sinestro Corps War, basically. This is a much slower arc about the changes going on in the Corps, and it’ll answer a lot of questions people had about what the organization is going to do with these new regulations. Sinestro especially gets some really interesting face time. The book may have slowed down, but it’s not losing its appeal or momentum.
Captain America #33: What’s great about Brubaker is that he takes stories exactly where you think they’d go, but he manages to make it incredibly entertaining anyways. His characters are consistent to the point of being predictable, and lord knows Marvel’s marketing department doesn’t help, but it never does anything to the impact or quality of his stories.
Thor #5: What the fuck, JMS? This is just bizarre, I dunno what else to say about this issue. This is a new direction but… kind of not. I dunno.
Brave and the Bold #9: B- and C-listers galore, as this issue features three different team-ups, all linked by the plot thread of the Challengers and Megistus. It’s big-action cosmic time-space-bending superhero comics at their best, much like the series so far; it revels in being old school.
X-Men #206: Man, why the fuck are the Carey chapters the only important ones of this crossover? This is a great issue, but it just seems lame that in between them I have to slog through three issues of chess pieces moving before they actually fight in the Carey issue. Maybe I’ll be wrong next month; I hope so.