Tuesday, September 27, 2011


TINY TITANS #44—Wonderful trick they pull here, and I feel such like a rube for not getting it as soon as I saw those arms on the cover, but all of Beast Boy’s “________ . . . OF DOOM!” dialogue this past year culminates in the original Doom Patrol showing up as crossing guards, which was played as completely silly and not horrifying and absurd as I might have preferred, but I guess they kept in mind that the nine-year-olds digging on this probably aren’t all huge fans of Morrison’s run. But just when I couldn’t have been digging on the issue any more, there’s a flashback to Beast Boy in his crib with a bunch of stuffed animals, which was really like the greatest thing that could have happened, as far as my little girl was concerned. So, good times, all around. Really hope these guys are in the mood to do this for the rest of their lives.

: BATMAN #1—Crushing. I was expecting greatness but still got completely leveled by what these guys did. This was a perfect issue in every way. As a #1 pilot for new readers. As just the first part of a new Batman arc, establishing the status quo with just the right balance of exposition. The tone of Bruce Wayne’s voice in the captions, that whole GOTHAM IS… bit. The in medias res craziness of shutting down an Arkham breakout in SEVEN PAGES with the unlikeliest help of all (even though I totally fell for it, seemed like nothing more than picking up from where Morrison last left him). And Capullo/Glapion. My God. Such masterful storytelling. This was everything a relaunch issue should be. I liked it better than Morrison on ACTION. Very very well done, all around. Can’t wait for more.

WONDER WOMAN #1—Another pitch-perfect offering. Azzarello continues not to pull any punches in terms of reader accessibility, spells nothing out for you. But hey, we all know Diana, and can certainly deal with getting pitched into basically a horror comic with her. Complete with our own disposable Furies. Cliff Chiang turns in some all-star work, here. A very auspicious debut for our warrior princess.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1—Wait, is Glorith the Mysterious Hooded Lady that’s in every other book? That would be a strange play for the Trade Federation, particularly since the kids actually acknowledge FLASHPOINT in this one. Which makes no sense, I get that like Batman and GL aren’t all screwed up, but if a few little things altered Superman’s origin, it seems like that would be a catastrophic rewrite to Legion continuity one thousand years later. Bradbury’s butterfly effect, and all? As is, this might as well be #17 of Levitz’s run. The kids from the academy are even folded in. I don’t know, I think I might want to like Legion more than I have the ability to, or something, the stories are never bad, but they just aren’t locking in with me, seem totally disposable. Probably not sticking with this one, even though Portela handles the ensemble pretty well.

X-MEN: SCHISM #4—Really really good, I continue to be impressed by this mini, and certainly wasn’t expecting a dip with classic tag-team Davis/Farmer taking their shot at art duties. Aaron does a fine job ratcheting everything up without ever leaving the island, and just when it can’t get any more heated, Cyclops has got to go bringing up Jean without even mentioning her by name. Slugfest! And not because of misunderstanding, but because each guy totally wants to kill the other! These fellows are going to have lots of bad blood serving as teammates when this is all said and done.

GENERATION HOPE #11—I wish I’d read this before SCHISM, as it pretty much came across as classic tie-in filler. The kids stand on the beach and have their own micro-debate on whether they should stand or run before deciding to go tell Scott they’re X-Men, which I of course already read. Tim Seeley’s work is inconsistent, some pages are all right, sometimes it looks like the girls are kind of melting. It’s quite strange seeing Val Staples coloring mainstream superheroics, as opposed to CRIMINAL. Not bad, but not terribly consequential.

AVENGERS #17—The Avengers who aren’t doing important things in FEAR ITSELF run into Cage’s crew from their sister book and then Marvel Boy hacks the hell out of everything and saves the day. Excellent last page from Bendis, the sequential equivalent of Steve Rogers dropping the mic. The cover was totes ripoff, though, (!) not only did Hawkeye and Spider-Woman not do it amidst the wreckage of New York burning, they didn’t even kiss or nothing.

UNCANNY X-MEN #543—Nothing can stop Piotr Nikolaievitch. This one’s a bit thin, from the conflict resolution to the last scene. These two from Gillen tonight have not hit me as hard as usual, but it might really be because Aaron is just destroying over there. I guess FEAR ITSELF->SCHISM is the order? Really looking forward to SCHISM #5 in two weeks. Annoying that they are rebooting this with #1. Will it really sell THAT much better than #545? Is it worth it?

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #508—Mm, this one’s another tie-in casualty, not enough happens to justify having picked it up, we just get to the point we left Tony in FI #6, with only a couple of things along the way to make any kind of argument for having picked this up. And a Pepper cliffhanger and Tony Stark turning down his twelfth drink might not be it.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #3—Glad to hear Davis is signing up for this title, knew McNiven wasn’t long for the monthly grind. Considering bailing, though. Have come a long way with Brubaker, but $4 a month for twenty pages is garbage. Kind of thought he’d run out of gas by now, but if he’s got the stamina to keep telling Rogers tales, my wallet might not have the juice to keep up. Particularly with the double-down over on the old numbering with Samnee/Breitweiser. I’m getting kind of down on the $4 Marvel singles, if you can’t tell.

X-FACTOR #225—Nice to have another top-drawer artist on the team, Leonard Kirk does fine work. Strange to give Rictor his powers back in a different series. We’ve kind of been hanging out with him for a few years over in this one. Ho hum, another quality issue of X-FACTOR.

BUTCHER BAKER CANDLESTICKMAKER #3—I was expecting Ennis to dig the hooks in, and he doesn’t disappoint. Excellent, believable characterization all around. Oh, Butcher & Becky, why do you have to be doomed? It’s been a long time coming, but this insight into what makes Butcher tick is doing an excellent job of adding momentum to all the madness already going on over in the main title, heading into the home stretch. And Robertson is killing it, as ever. Not a THE BOYS mini to be skipped.

FABLES #109—It is a pretty dick move putting that ONCE UPON A TIME ad on the back inside cover of this comic book. Got to wonder what Willingham makes of that one. Well, how he articulates it, at least, I’ve got a pretty good idea what he thinks about it. Otherwise, another rock-solid issue of FABLES. All the pieces on the board get pushed a little further down the way after we get Ozma’s prophecy (I think?) repeated for us (from #100, I want to say, that whole thing was pretty crazy).

THE RED WING #3—I’m not always sure what’s going down in this thing, but shit usually seems to be coming apart six ways from Sunday two timestreams over, and it always looks beautiful doing it. I think this is another Invaders/Correctors from a Parallel Universe thing? I really wish I had fleshed out that idea when I had it a few years ago, before Hickman and FRINGE came along and blasted me into the stratosphere. Lots of concept for your four issues, hey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


FEAR ITSELF #6—Oh, it is all going very badly for the heroes of the Marvel Universe, but they have never looked better while it all falls apart. Sorry to say that this one feels a bit padded for a penultimate issue. The two-pager with Spidey and Aunt May was completely superfluous. I do love Tony’s response to Odin “I rather came having had” because it is absolute drunkspeak that makes no sense whatsoever, no matter how you parse it, and I guess that’s about where old Tone “Planned Relapse” Stark should be at the moment. They sure are ramping it up like Thor’s going to die, but that really feels like a mistake, hope that’s not the case, it’s just happened so many times to so many people, we need to figure out a way to tell compelling and engaging stories that don’t hinge on character death. Jean Grey and Elektra have come back and forth a few times now, diminishing returns. Still hoping for great things from the finale. We will see.

NEW AVENGERS #16—Bendis is still in with both barrels blazing, dropping Matt Murdock into the mix because, why not, I guess it’s been a while. I love the bit, the device where the talking heads are disparaging the next guy or girl on-panel on page 2 and then you get the other side of it on that last page, really such a great trick there, and a fantastic way to pull ol’ Hornhead into the fold. Though I must confess I was really looking for Squirrel Girl to just start beating the hell out of giant Nazi robots with each other, take over two city blocks or something and set up a fortress to defend the Power baby. Hey, she beat Thanos off-panel once!

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #627—Oh, did my nose wrinkle when I saw that the art team was fill-in. Not a propitious way to begin this excellent tangent done-in-one starring Mephisto, who takes credit for the entire Fear Itself event on the very first page. Lots of funny asides in this, Gillen could certainly script the hell out of a Mephisto mini. Painted by John Bolton, let’s say. What could have been this book’s initial misfire only reinforces how rock-solid it is. Quality work.

CRIMINAL: THE LAST OF THE INNOCENT #4—Gah! Brubaker & Phillips keep Dave Stewart on board to deliver the final part of this arc, which might just be my favorite one yet. I don’t know, I keep meaning to go back and read this from the start. Don’t really want to get into the specifics of this issue, but I will say that I enjoyed the way in which Riley addresses each new unraveling of his plot while never breaking character, and the way that Phillips makes that final transitional shift into the style of that last panel is masterful. I always want the CRIMINAL protagonists to pop back into a subsequent arc when we get to the end of their story, SIN CITY-style, and never more so than Riley Richards. Top shelf comic-booking, all around.

THE UNWRITTEN #29—??!? Too freaked out about the last three pages for anything else. That came out of nowhere! What will it mean for the overall narrative?

AMERICAN VAMPIRE: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST #4—Oh, Nazi vampires, why can’t you always be drawn by Sean Murphy and Dave Stewart? This art team continues to make this spinoff mini unmissable in singles format.

FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E #1—Was expecting great things from Lemire and not disappointed. Great fun to have Ray Palmer involved and that Ant Farm HQ is brilliant. The art by Alberto Ponticelli was a little bit looser and scratchier than I would have preferred, but it suits the tone of the book. What really makes the pages are Jose Villarrubia’s choice of colors, some relatively subdued blues and greens that go a long way to establishing an immersive atmosphere for the book. This one didn’t flatten me like ANIMAL MAN did, but it’s good fun and I look forward to these guys tearing it up on this book.

DEMON KNIGHTS #1—This was quite a bit better than I expected. Had no idea what it was about going in, other than that it starred Etrigan, but if he’s going to be on a team with Madame Xanadu and Vandal Savage in the Dark Ages, that’s a great set-up for stories told in a corner of the DCU that has not been that well explored. If you were on the fence at all while reading through this one, I hope the last page sold you. Cornell strikes again.

GREEN LANTERN #1—This one has got to be by far the most seamless transition between old and new DCU. I mean, there could have been a #68 on the cover and there would have been nary a hiccup, same creative team and everything. What’s changed is that, with the shakeup to the status quo Johns made at the end of last issue, this book is suddenly much more interesting than it’s been in years. I’ve been saying how badly we need an issue of just Hal taking Cowgirl to get drunk at a bar instead of just neverending rainbow cosmic escalation from the end of the SINESTRO CORPS WAR waaaaaaay back in #25, and this proves me right. Without his ring, just blustering and blundering through the wreckage of his life, Hal Jordan is a much more interesting character. And the fact that Sinestro is the one who has ring is no less wonderful. Really, these two plots could carry two series and it is a wonderful thing to have them here in one book. While this first one read a bit fast, seemed just a bit slight, it’s much better than the book has been and, again, I’m interested to see where the crew is taking these jokers. I hope Hal doesn’t get back his ring at the end of this arc, though I don’t suppose that’s too likely. How great would it be to have Johns writing Sinestro as the token pink-skinned alien with Lee in JL?

BATWOMAN #1—Is there anybody better at page composition than J.H. Williams III? Now or ever? I mean, I guess Steranko is the acknowledged Lord & Master? With Williams co-writing and providing the pencils and inks under Dave Stewart’s colors* and Todd Klein’s letters, this one is A-list all the way, and does a fine job of dropping us into Kate Kane’s life, even if you haven’t pored over and over and over the seven issues of DETECTIVE that Williams and Rucka tried to kill us with a couple of years ago. The only place where this issue falls the least bit short is that we get a lot of setup and no payoff. Just a page or two of dialogue with Batman would have gone a long way toward alleviating that. Of course, you can probably say that about most problems.


BEST OF WEEK**: BATMAN AND ROBIN #1—This one blew me away. I was never really a fan of these guys’ GREEN LANTERN CORPS but found their short arc on the previous volume of this series very strong. Still, this one had the unenviable task of delivering us the first appearance of Damian Wayne in action with his father, as opposed to Dick Grayson, with whom he’s built 2+ years of chemistry that appealed to pretty much everyone I’ve talked to and went a long way toward rehabilitating Damian’s character in the eyes of many, if not all. And we’ve still got no explanation for Dick being out of the suit, which, if we’re going to hang around and let Morrison tell the tale, keep his BATMAN (INC/LEVIATHAN) run as a holdover of the old DCU through next year, well, fine with me. All that this issue has to do is set up the new dynamic between this duo and it succeeds on every level. SO many great little bits in here, Bruce’s decision to celebrate his parents’ anniversary instead of marking their murder, the way that he approaches Damian to begin the adventure (really, the gutter-jump in action between the panel of Damian sleeping and the next one of him blocking his father’s strike, “I’m up,” is one of my favorite in recent memory), the Batpoles, Alfred taking exception, the DUNE callout in Damian’s “Sometimes I think your secrets have secrets,” Bruce sailing the darkness away in his boat and the preceding exchange between father and son, Bruce setting up a batarang handhold for Damian, Damian STILL not following orders, this was pretty much a perfect pilot to the new status quo and my favorite DC #1 of the first two weeks, hands down, no problem. Really really really good.

*Today’s Dave Stewart hat trick is much appreciated, cheers, Editors

**Okay, except I just found out that Adrian Tomine released OPTIC NERVE #12 after all these years, so there’s some chance that even this monster will fall. Pending!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It’s the New DCU and the return of CASANOVA! Can these books possibly live up to the hype, expectations, and emotions that their very existence generates? Read on!

ACTION COMICS #1—It should first be said that I went into this expecting to be completely devastated. Grant Morrison is one of my very favorite writers in any medium and I consider ALL-STAR SUPERMAN to be one of his best works and the best Superman story ever told. So, particularly after slamming through SUPERGODS, I was very very very excited to dive into this series, even as it smashes to bits the chance that a serial comic will ever legitimately make it to the four-digit milestone. The numbering on a cover is nowhere near as important as the story told within. But September 7th finally rolled around, I have to say, I found the whole thing a bit off-putting at first. Initially, it was Superman’s attitude, but then when the guy quoted the fucking SMALLVILLE theme song on that double-page splash, well, that was pretty unforgiveable. Still is, that’s actually the one thing that I haven’t come around on about this issue, even though I admire Morrison trying to perfectly fuse even that anathema into the mix, all that has gone before, the Golden Age right up until now. Really, I just hate that fucking song and show. Though I guess I owe them some gratitude for making me write a song about Superman that isn’t terrible, if only to give Stipe and the boys some company. Oh, but don’t I digress? The cool thing about this is how, yeah, Golden Age it feels while simultaneously maintaining a contemporary feel. Texting has replaced the signal watch, but Superman’s power set has defaulted back to the original three-pronged 1938 Siegel/Shuster setup that I surely need not recapitulate here. There are some intriguing nods to previous continuity (Clark missing the Legion trio showing up at his apartment, his landlady from the 5th Dimension), but what rings truest for me is what put me off at first: how much growing this guy has left to do. How unlike Superman he is. Which, if you think about it, is the perfect starting point. We’re used to, we embrace and adore, the ALL-STAR characterization, For Superman So Loved the World That He Created A Microscopic One . . . (that in turn created him, repeat ad infinitum). The 70 years of history distilled into those twelve flawless slices that end with his sacrifice. Point Omega. This is Point Alpha. It would not be very interesting if he just rolled into Metropolis with the whole Messiah thing down. He’s kind of an idiot. He’s stronger and tougher than everybody else and he perceives that the suits behind the corporations are the ones starting the shit, so he goes to beat them up. It’s so simplistic, such a 30s pulp attitude, the best place from which to pick up the new story. This issue does everything it’s supposed to, drops us right into a new status quo, no sign of Ma and Pa Kent, Thank Rao, and then runs a rocket train right off the tracks and smashes it into our hero, which is as close to a 21st century analogue of that first ACTION COMICS cover as I think we could possibly get. And I am positive that the best is yet to come.

OMAC #1—Kirby! I was expecting greatness from Giffen and not sure how the script from Didio was going to turn out, but both guys really managed to channel the Silver Age goodness, with a dash of Mokkari and Dubbilex from the Fourth World thrown in for good measure. As someone who’s been mainlining old Kirbys for close to a year straight, now, I could not be happier with the tone and dynamism of this thing. I really really hope there’s a market for it.

BATGIRL #1—This one let me down. It’s not a terrible comic, but I was expecting quite a bit more from Gail Simone rehabilitating a character whose development she has contributed so much to over the years. Pretty much wouldn’t have given this Oracle bleach a chance without her at the helm and just didn’t feel that I got enough of a first issue. I mean, if you’re going to straight up drop in THE KILLING JOKE in not one but two panels, you’ve got to come with just a little bit more thunder. Will probably give it #2 to hook me, but this one’s on the thinnest ice of the week. SPECULATOR’S NOTE: On a whim, I bought two copies of this, planning to flip one on eBay. They’re going for $13 at the moment. When do I post it? When will the bubble burst? Ohohohohoh….

ANIMAL MAN #1—Lemire just straight up leads with the meta, we get an interview he did for The Believer with Buddy to establish that all is as it was, Morrison and everybody’s runs happened. That’s how it seems to be shaking out so far, apparently, Superman and Batgirl get all messed with just the way editorial likes, and of course we fold in the Wildstorm and Vertigo universes (even though it’s not like both of those haven’t done business in the DCU proper before now…), but what was working (i.e. selling, BATMAN and GL) and what relatively few care about (this one and SWAMP THING) stay the same. I say “relatively few,” if they threw out the Vertigo runs of those last two, I’m sure there would be howling in the intertrenches. Mm, maybe I should talk about this issue, here. Travel Foreman’s style was definitely a risky move, but I think it fits. Reminds me of what Faryl Dalyrymple was rocking on that OMEGA THE UNKNOWN mini a couple years back. He probably shouldn’t have opened with his lead in the page crease of that first double-splash. Unless that was meta, too! It’s possible. Took me right out of it, but fun that that could be argued as intentional artistic effect. Fantastic to see that Cliff’s 80s mullet is immune to Superboy space-time punches and line-wide relaunchboots. Maxine opening up on him at full volume out of nowhere on that first page there felt like the real deal, I’m going to hazard a guess that Lemire has young kids. And the floorboards creak even under the weight of a bumblebee, yes. Every time. Very clever first-person captions throughout, the bit about punching someone, or what he’d do if he ever lost the kids. NO, DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT. Don’t think about that time you went to Scotland and met Grant Morrison before he shaved his head, when he gave you the secret origin of your first 26 issues. I dig how this starts out basically at that Morrison status quo and then out of nowhere trapdoors into pretty much straight horror. Was expecting greatness here and not disappointed, easily my second favorite DC of the week.

SWAMP THING #1—Paquette maintains the exceptionally high standard of quality that he employed to launch BATMAN, INCORPORATED that frankly justifies the cover price all on its own. Snyder does a solid job with the set-up, confirming that pretty much all that’s gone before, pre-Moore, Moore, post-Moore, and I think even BRIGHTEST DAY? Everything except BKV’s run, has not been erased by the Flashpoint fracture. Funny thing about the schedule of the rollout, this first page seems to confirm that even though Clark’s status quo is a bit shaken up five years ago in ACTION, he’ll make it back into Perry White’s office with Lois Lane by the time the present day rolls around. The Batman and Aquaman shots were totally gratuitous, but I don’t care. Frankly expected Snyder to deliver a bit more here to hook us with the first issue, but Paquette carries the extra load, and with Francavilla already signed up to tag-team in for deadline concerns, this one appears to be in solid hands.

STORMWATCH #1—It didn’t occur to me that this would basically be Cornell doing an amalgam of Ellis’s AUTHORITY/PLANETARY with J’onn J’onnz thrown in for good measure. It works. This one was a little bit too straight-up for my taste, I mean, if you compare it to Ellis’s tone, but I can see Cornell playing it that way for the first issue, or even the first few, and then just dropping everyone down the crazy hatch. Unless a bunch of fucking Doomsdays tear down the walls again. That was terrible! The art is pretty good-looking and, if not quite up to the standards of Hitch and Cassaday, at least doesn’t have you just missing those guys all issue long. Definitely intrigued and on the hook to see where this is going.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY #41—Ah, this book is insane. This right here is a perfectly satisfactory ending/epilogue to the entire thing. A series finale. Or at least a Fig finale. Is Sturges just going to cycle her out and keep going? That would be a pretty neat trick. Kind of funny to set up a reset for the series this week of all weeks. This was really well-crafted, top to bottom, even and especially Jordan’s terrible movie.

MORNING GLORIES #12—This one’s all about the guidance counselor, apparently the hot teacher’s sister who I don’t THINK we’ve seen before? This one really is going to read better in trade, I bet. Each slice is satisfying enough, but I’m never quite sure if they’re alluding to some mystery that hasn’t been revealed yet or if I just don’t remember what happened in #3 well enough. No L O S T references this month, Spencer, what’s up, man?!? Is the fact that Jorge Garcia probably reads this comic enough for you? He reads a LOT of comics, dude.

THE BOYS #58—Wow, just that first page alone. Just when you think Ennis can’t make you scrape your eye sockets out any worse. That is pretty funny stuff. And a lot of dick. The line when they walk out on the rooftop is perfect. We definitely seem to be advancing into the endgame.

X-FACTOR #224.1—Madrox sure can think fast, if the captions on the first page are any indication. This starts out as your by-the-numbers .1 issue, here’s everybody and their power set/personality, yadda yadda, but it completely bails out on the last page. I have no idea what happened. Was the little boy possessed or really a monster or something and killed the mom? That’s the only thing that makes sense, but then if Layla knew about that, it’s not a very noble thing to just march on out of there after Madrox exposits the cast for all the new readers that this thing attracted. I’ve gone through the whole issue twice and cannot make heads nor tails of the ending.

NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1—Ah, you’d think that once they started adding the 9/11 reprint pages as backmatter, that a flag would have gone off for SOMEone that maybe September 7th was like maybe the worst possible Wednesday that this could be released. Unless that holds doubly so for the AVENGERS ANNUAL follow-up. Be that as it may. I like to think that Marvel realized and were like Fuck It, it’s okay to blow up mansions and towers in Marvel NYC the other 51 weeks, burn it down, Bendis & Dell’Otto! I’ve been a big fan of Dell’Otto’s work ever since those years that SECRET WAR was coming out and was really glad to learn that he was back with Bendis on this, which picks up the thread from #1 or 2 of Bendis’s latest relaunch involving Wonder Man threatening to shut down the Avengers. And, you know, old Simon manages to articulate a pretty convincing argument. I loved the Bendis tease, there could have been six incredible pages of poker game dialogue, as soon as the dude says they’re playing one, I was all Oh Noes! but of course it gets broken up the first shot that makes it on-panel. And Cage was about to say, “Sweet Christmas!” Love Jessica’s “My house!” The subsequent takedown of the team is a bit unconvincing, not earned, but I can live with it. It’s late. Regardless of the timing, this was great big dumb fun from Bendis, and typically gorgeous work from Dell’Otto


BEST OF WEEK: CASANOVA: AVARITIA #1—This comic book had to about nuclear annihilate me to live up to what I was hoping for. Job well done! From the greatness of inverting the first line in this issue from the first line of the very first issue, Fraction & Ba never let up, annihilating alternate universes while pushing the medium forward as hard and fast as they can without the panels and pages breaking. Fraction’s script is razor-sharp enough to cut Morrison and Ellis’s brains, Ba keeps the energy as hyperkinetic as our eyes can bear, and Cris Peters really brings a gorgeous palette to the table, great to see it here for the first time on brand new material. I really don’t have anything else to say other than I loved every page and it was far and away the best #1 that came out this week, or really any other in quite some time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


SECRET AVENGERS #16—I’ve been really looking forward to this since it was announced, as I am in lust with the Ellis and nothing less an acolyte/evangelist for all that PHONOGRAM glory. The script is razor-sharp and suitably mental, featuring a subterranean city built by the Secret Empire containing a skyscraper-scale von Doom time platform set to send Cincinnati into the future and turn it into a bomb, so Beast has about a page to convert an atomic Cadillac into a fissile bomb to save the day. That will do just fine.

Where this one misfires for a me a bit is the art. It’s not bad, it just seems a bit off in places. The anatomy, the framing. Moon Knight, in general. I don’t know. These boys did a great job playing in the Marvel sandbox back on GENERATION HOPE #6, and that double-page spread of Moon Knight gliding over the city is gorgeous, but there’s maybe not enough Kirby in the action sequences? It’s all a bit too clean for me, a style that totally worked with the so so cool kids in the club teaching me about all this great music I never heard of, but the lads don’t inject enough dynamic crackle into this thriller. Pretty pictures, but ultimately more sterile than what was called for. I wish Ellis’s old THUNDERBOLTS collaborator, Mike Deodato could have bounced back over here after sitting out Nick Spencer, but hey, he draws a hell of a Squirrel Girl.

The line about right-hand-drive sounding less sinister for some reason was a corker. And, on the reread, I happened to be listening to this link fresh from Ellis’s site, they synch up pretty well.

THE MIGHTY THOR #5—Odin headbutted Galactus! Oh shit! I think something else happened too, maybe a couple things, but oh shit! He just headbutted him and they plummeted out of orbit. That was . . . shit, that was cool.

ULTIMATE COMICS HAWKEYE #1—Really did not want to support a new $4 Marvel #1, but it was a light week and Hickman wrote it! Had to give it a shot. Like his first ULTIMATES issue, this is tonally right in line with Ellis ten years ago, down to the three assailants who look like they flew up out of The Bleed. I think I heard this one’s going to have some interplay with ULTIMATES, which somewhat defeats trade-waiting. Probably going to hang out for a bit and see how it goes.

ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #4—Well, it is a shame to see this one wrap up, but man, did they slam out some quality month after month, eight-pager after eight-pager. The artists really shone this time in particular. Scott Hampton probably came the closest to the Stevens style, juxtaposing gorgeous shots of Cliff flying around holding a surfboard with just, hey, Betty in a bikini. Tony Harris provides his usual painted brilliance, but the last story is the one that holds the most interest for me. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Brendan McCarthy not color his own work, which would in most cases be terribly sad news, but is totally redeemed by the fact that they brought in Jamie “Frank Quitely doesn’t need an inker” Grant to do the job. If Dave Stevens has got to go and Laura Martin’s done more than her share in this neck of the woods, this is definitely the move to make. But it’s very much Grant doing McCarthy, everything’s just a bit more saturated and dialed up than Grant normally does it. And a couple of pin-ups from Ashley Wood seal the deal, though I’m damned if I can find the Rocketeer in that second one. Burned about five minutes trying to make that happen. It would be great if they could put out short collections of eight-pagers like this every few years or so, once they stockpiled enough talent, but Dark Horse has set the bar very high with this initial non-Stevens effort.

BEST OF WEEK: Man, I just don’t know. Was positive it was going to be SECRET AVENGERS, but don’t think I can bump that art up over some of the other books. Would it have been so hard to get Lee/Williams/Sinclair over on SA for one issue?

I liked everything I read, but nothing made me just two-dimensional. Let’s mark this week up in the Win column and go on and hunker down for next Wednesday, when Morrison debuts ACTION COMICS #1 along with that whole entire first full blast of New DC goodness, and CASANOVA finally finally returns and then I get to be a single dad until Saturday, because Thursday and Friday are surely the days this year that I am guaranteed to be the most functional and emotionally cohesive.