SUPERBOY #4—I am in love with this book. Even with the pencils loosening up, it’s maybe even a good thing, a-watching-a-young-master-to-be-hone-his-craft-early-on thing, but that’s just one piece, you’ve got the rock-solid set-up from Johns, high school Smallville adventures done right with the notable and perfect addition of Simon and then you’ve got Grant’s palette just screaming ALL-STAR SUPERBOY at you, because really, written this well, how can it not? As much as I have loved everything Bendis has done since the AVENGERS reboot, taking careful note of the flow and momentum of how each initial arc has unfolded, and let’s not forget to count PRIME here, which I almost have to give the gold medal to, as much as I adore the arc of adjectiveless and Stuart & Laura on NEW. As. Much. As I think Bendis has been kicking ass on these individual titles, even if you stack them all up. These guys are on pace to leave all that shit in the dust, just now. Particularly with that last page, the title of next issue. Sleeper hit of the millennium, folks. Lemire is such a talent.
BRIGHTEST DAY #19—We hit the acceleration pedal on this one, just a hard almost out of nowhere infodump in the first three pages giving us a pretty plausible reason for this entire fracas, then it’s over to Aquawar! which turns out to be such total go for broke beachstormin’ fun that the pages actually manage to trump the name. This one might have the most Reis pages to date. Prado also killing it. Fine work. Oh, but that last bit, so so gorgeous. Almost didn’t get myself under control from all the too loud funny about to spill out from me this late. Brightest Day. Fucking hilarious title, man.
LEGION ANNUAL #1—Of course timeless to have these guys together again. Giffen manages to evoke both CREEPY/EERIE-era and the latest permutation of JRjr, always in service of his vision of Levitz’s script. Easily the most historic release of the week. I hope Levitz wrote that dictionary, the THE GREAT DARKNESS SAGA entry is priceless.
WEIRD WORLDS #2—It is all right not be holding the line at $2.99 if you have three 10-pagers in a rocking anthology such as this. All three artists are delivering somewhere right around career best (I mean, with Ordway and Maguire, at least, everyone’s always going to have a valid argument with like five or ten performances), and the writing remains pretty sharp throughout. It’s a gripping LOBO story, for God’s sakes. Kevin Maguire told me this weekend that he’ll draw this Tanga girl for the remainder of his career if DC will bankroll him. Fingers crossed, my man! Dude wrote “ONE PUNCH!” on the cover of my JLI #5 (just JL then, two issues before the I, but JL #5 looks not right, you need that last initial to get there right away to Guy Gardner’s indignant face), good man. I wish this mini would do well enough that they start an ongoing with rotating stories of varying lengths, so that you never know exactly what you’re going to be getting until you actually read the thing. That would be the bee’s knees. Why don’t anthologies sell anymore?
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #34—What incredible words at the top. Sturges started this series out with a confidence in tone and voice that belied his years, and he has shot way up in the past three years. This one’s roaring along at a pretty high level. Rossi is a master. Can’t believe how much I dug the non-Sturges tale of Bloodsucker, too. Immersive dialogue. Vertigo roars on.
BEST OF WEEK:THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #500.1—Strange that what must surely be a corporate mandate triggers Fraction’s most beautiful writing on the title to date (excepting that thing a couple weeks ago that no one will ever top) totally embracing the premise of making this the ultimate New Readers Jump-On issue to do a recap of the last five decades’ worth of IRON MAN comics while somehow simultaneously giving us what feels like Fraction’s most personal tale yet by framing it in an AA meeting, zooming us all the way into Tony’s head and letting us look right out of his own eyes at all of the coffee drinkers. Just a hell of a done-in-one. Particularly when you think about #500 dropping a couple of weeks ago. This one, again, raises the bar and jacks up anticipation for the future, the noblest goal to which this title aspires. Killer ending, you’ve got to love the way Tony lands on his feet, just trading one rush for another. The Coming Attractions scenes fell a bit flat for me, but maybe it’s just because Johns has locked my head into his idea of what they should be. But I think he’s right, people! If all the other .1s are half as good as this, Marvel is going to continue smashing the competition. This one edges out SUPERBOY by just the narrowest margin (and I may even come back in six months and flip those two and no one will ever know, we'll see if the memory lingers).