THE BOYS #57—Man, those first eight of ten pages are just almost the best yet. And it’s two people having a conversation, one on a bed, the other sleeping on the floor. Ennis is nothing less than a monster. This one’s got me by the throat as it revs ever so slowly into the home stretch.
X-FACTOR #223—I was, as usual, very much a fan of the David family recap crowding into that of our main narrative on the first page, but I think the Harry Potter mention means the reference of same has to get deleted from the sequential pages. Also, that Cerberus page works much better without dialogue. Still, good fun as always. No idea if that Agamemnon kid is someone we’re supposed to already know about or a new friend. I’m sure it will all turn out very well.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #40—Um, is this only running 42 issues or something? It is always admirable to write yourself into a corner, but there doesn’t appear to be anywhere else for Sturges to go! Riveting and brilliant.
BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM #4—Yeah, this one’s just another quality installment of a case that all Bruce’s kids happen to be working while he’s Morrison, Inc’ing around the world. Gotham revisionist history just about never had it so good. Not counting Tony S. Daniel unmasking Black Mask as Jeremiah Arkham, of course, what a master stroke that was.
FLASHPOINT: KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #3—Well, before it’s all over, Azzarello/Risso and accomplices couldn’t resist flashing back to show us The Death of Bruce Wayne in a sequence that’s pretty heartbreaking, unflinching in its depiction of damage done to his unfortunate parents. This is just a hell of an Elseworlds concept that’s executed to perfection by its A-list creators. No, it doesn’t make sense where it fits into the main book’s chronology, because Batman has never left Flash’s side since #1 and is very unlikely to do so and come have this last adventure in the middle of #5, and it would have been nice if Johns had built an Exit Stage Left in to make it more seamless, but in the end, it just doesn’t matter. Definitely the one to hit if you just want the best three issues that this crossover produced.
FLASHPOINT #4—All right, Fraction and crew are officially kicking this thing’s ass. It’s a fun enough romp on its own merits, Big Dumb Summer Fun, but pretty shallow and way too much emo this time out with the Marvel kids. Which, huh, might actually be pretty clever in a meta- kind of way, I had to type it out to see it. Not one thing about the last two pages was surprising, but it certainly makes me ready to get on to the next issue, as much to go ahead and put this thing behind us as finally witness the secret origin of the relaunchboot.
ADVENTURE COMICS #529—Mm, that last line, “Uh, ‘bye . . . I guess . . .” about sums it up for me. Not sure that I’ve received enough return for eighteen months’ worth of investment in these characters. Going to give the new #1 a shot, but that’s going to have to be one charming motherfucking pig.
SUPERBOY #10—Lemire ropes in a solid round robin crew to jump in before September and jam out this secret origin of Tannarak, a story stretching from almost five millennia in the past to the modern-day hijinx of Connor and his friends. And aNOTHer Potter/Voldemort reference. They really shook something loose last week. So, that first story that was published in ACTION #893 just happens next month, I presume? The way it’s been going, it’ll be a double-sized finale and they’ll just reprint those pages as part of it. Because I will be made to pay twice for every single Second Feature page that I ever purchased. But the book, even though the title character’s only in the last two pages, remains entertaining throughout, and I’ll be really sorry to see it go, easily the worst casualty of the relaunch. Onward!
BEST OF WEEK: S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 2 #2—This one wins just based on never hurts to have Todd Klein aboard. Never mind the whole Frankenstein implication with the auto-golem. Heady stuff. It’s very obvious in hindsight, but I didn’t understand until this installment that Leonid is on deck to become the next Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Which, yes, has all sorts of insane connotations for the present-day Marvel Universe, especially given the glimpse we got in one of those last issues of SECRET WARRIORS. Hickman! These pages are absolutely gorgeous and tell a brilliant story that stretches the limits of the imagination, not to mention anyone’s notion of what someone can do with fifty-year old corporate characters that should by rights have long been sucked dry of anything riveting by the unrelenting grind of serial publication, month by month by month. This and Morrison BATMAN and Hickman FF and (soon, again and at last!) CASANOVA are easily my favorite things being published in these glorious moments.