Snatching a handful of comics from the top of my most-recently read stack, in no particular order…
Teen Titans #32: Why do I torture myself? I picked up the Captain Carrot/Kid Eternity arc and was sorely disappointed, and this alternate angles/extended scenes edition of Infinite Crisis #4 was like a self-inflicted kick in the nuts. Here’s hoping One Year Later returns this series back to the strong character-driven stories of its first 18 issues, as Johns has claimed he’ll be doing.
DMZ #3: What do you do with a series that you really want to like, but find yourself continually disappointed with after each issue? You drop it. Period. Part of the problem, as with Local, is that I simply don’t like the lead character, Matty Roth. If I were a character in DMZ, I’d shoot him.
New Thunderbolts #18: A consistently entertaining read, Fabian Nicieza has such a handle on his characters that it allows me to ignore the fact that I’m unfaimilar with a lot of the series’ backstory. Lines like Nighthawk’s, “Y’know, even the weirdest day I spent with the Defenders was sane compared to you people…” make my inner fanboy smile. In a just world, New Thunderbolts would be outselling New Avengers.
G.I. Joe: America’s Elite! #8: Hate on 80s licenses all you want, but Joe Casey’s spin on the toys I used to shoplift from Caldor as a pre-teen is like cotton candy on the tongue. And I really like Stefano Caselli’s exaggerated faces.
X-Factor #3: You really have to wonder if Bendis had any clue what would become of his House of M deus ex machina, Layla Miller, if in fact he had any plans for her at all. Call me a hater, but I have trouble believing David isn’t simply making lemonade out of lemons here, as opposed to following some grand plan that was hashed out at one of those infamous retreats of theirs that begat Disassembled and Civil War. In one sequence at the end of this issue, David makes Layla the second most interesting character in this series, behind only Madrox. Good stuff!
Captain America #14: Good writers can take on flawed plots and turn out good stories by focusing on the characters’ reactions to said plots and making them feel genuine. Brubaker does exactly that here in his climax to the “Winter Soldier” storyline, making it less about Bucky’s return and more about the emotional toll it takes on Steve Rogers and, equally impressively, Bucky himself. Now, it’ll be interesting to see where he goes next, especially as he ventures into Geoff Johns territory, tackling an insane number of comics at once.
Son of M #3: After the first issue tease, where it seemed this mini-series would be as much about Peter Parker’s reactions to the events of House of M as it was about Pietro’s, that particular plot thread seems to have officially been cut as Quicksilver’s attempts to regain his powers through illicit means takes center stage. Unfortunately, while it’s solid storytelling, it’s much less interesting than Peter’s story would be. I’ll grudgingly see this one through to the end, but my enthusiasm for it has diminished greatly.
Young Avengers #10: My favorite Marvel ongoing series right now, Heinberg and Cheung continue to make magic. Like the New Thunderbolts, it’s the characterization that lifts this series above the crowd.
100 Girls #7: And so the first arc ends, with neither a bang nor a whimper, but rather a whisper of much more to come. Well-played, I hope Gallardo and Demong come back to this story sooner rather than later.
The Flying Friar: Taken on its own merits, ignoring questions of what’s truth and what’s fiction, Rich Johnston spins an engaging tale of Superman in 17th Century Italy. Effectively. It’s a bit rushed, perhaps, but it’s a satisying read, nevertheless.
Batman & the Monster Men #4: A pitch-perfect Batman story, Matt Wagner nails the character and his milieu like few creators ever have. The TPB will be a must-own, and I’d much rather see Christopher Nolan use this story for his third go-round on the big screen than the precarious mish-mash Raimi seems to be going for with Spider-Man.
JLA: Classified #16: Finally, I get to read some Gail Simone, teamed up with an artist I don’t mind – excepting Lea Hernandez, the appealing half of the lame Killer Princesses – and not in connection with a crossover I have no interest in. And she knocks it out of the park with this first issue, ably assisted by the excellent (and odd) duo of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Klaus Janson, two of my favorite artists. I can’t help but compare this to Grant Morrison’s JLA #1, which I read for the first time a month ago, and opine that Simone handles DC’s super team much better than Morrison did. Genuinely entertaining, with some excellent character beats, I especially liked her breaking down of the League into its military analogues.
Powers #16: It seems like I’m ready to drop this series every third issue or so, and then Bendis pulls off a great issue that reels me back in. This is one of those issues, as his spin on the Green Lantern Corps is entertaining in its own right, and compelling for the different angles he might explore moving forward. Oeming goes to town on the art here, too. I think dropping New Avengers will increase my appreciation for this series.
G0DLAND TPB: Talk about serendipity! Midtown sold out of the TPB the first day it came in, and didn’t get any the following week, but I bumped into The Pickytarian in the subway and he happened to have his copy with him, having just finished reading it, and loaned it to me. While I didn’t love it nearly as much as some others have, I did enjoy it immensely. It made me smile, it made me laugh, and now and then, it even made me groan a little bit. Similar to the Austin Powers movies, it’s the bad guys who are the most interesting, and as long as Basil Cronus and Friedrich Nickelhead share some of the spotlight (see picture above), G0DLAND‘s a keeper. I’ll be buying my own copy and adding the series to my pull list.