BEST OF WEEK: ACTION COMICS #6—With this last pair of issues, Morrison and fill-in penciler Andy Kubert (not a phrase you hear that often) succeed in cranking this book up to, if not ALL-STAR SUPERMAN-levels of wonder and brilliance, then close enough to get the job done. Especially since this thing keeps cranking out every four weeks, I think it was close to two years by the time Quitely had the first six in the can. On the other hand, the hustle shows. The Legion fight scenes, in particular, look a bit rushed. This isn’t altogether a bad thing, as it in some small way captures that dynamic energy that Kirby splashed out all over the place when he was just slamming out two or three pages a day, but it’s certainly a far cry from Kubert’s meticulous-to-the-point-of-eyebleed work a couple years back with Gaiman on the underpraised “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” Not sure I’ve seen Gotham look as impressive since. But ACTION, this story right here is a great big Silver Age romp. Let me see if I can tell this right. The Superman from the DC-present, the guy in George Perez’s run, journeys back in time to the present day of this initial ACTION run with his friends, the original Legion triumvirate, to save his rocket, which is running out of kryptonite and about to reboot, which will bring Braniac into the situation somehow. But meanwhile, the Anti-Superman squad is having a meeting IN A SMALL POCKET OF TESSERACT-SPACE INSIDE SUPERMAN’S HEAD to determine what happens to the rocket core, who gets what. Um. I think I should have reread the last few pages of #5, I was so overwhelmed by then, I’m not sure how this story got set up. Are the Anti-S Squad from the future/DC present, too, and also came back in time to steal the core? They wouldn’t have to be, except for the fact that they’re hiding in the head of the older Superman, seems like that would need to be the case. It is enough to make a fella’s head hurt. At any rate, interspersed with all of that madness, we get flashbacks of Superboy’s first meeting with the Legion and a few key scenes of Pa Kent teaching Peter that with great power comes great responsibility. Saturn Girl tying it all together for the big finish really did a number on me. Morrison finding new, more streamlined ways to tell these myths is a strong validation of the entire reboot concept. I mean, if I can get choked up about Superboy meeting the Legion? That’s happened like fifteen times, already. The backup is again rock-solid, definitely worth the extra buck. Jose Villarubbia’s overexposed blasted white tones in the flashback images are a particularly nice touch. Hell of an issue.
O.M.A.C. #6—We gladly welcome back Giffen as Didio brings a Fury into the fold and reprises COUNTDOWN’s infamous Ted Kordicide for a bold new era. Plus THE PRISONER catchphrase, always bonus points for that. Only two issues left, going to miss this one every first week out.
ANIMAL MAN #6—Well, this was totally filler, but John Paul Leon’s on art, so what are you gonna do? We get to see Buddy act in TIGHTS, the movie that’s led to a resurgence in his career. He’s better than I thought he’d be. Probably no nominations, but not bad.
SWAMP THING #6—Rudy shows back up and maintains the high standard set by Paquette. More boo’ful layouts. But wtf, Snyder, you just did that ending with Batman a couple of weeks ago, guy! I’m sure you write these all out of sequence and they may have been conceived weeks or months apart, but you can’t just crib your own cliffhangers! Looking forward to #7 and more thunder from Paquette.
STORMWATCH #6—That was pretty crazy. Cornell throws in a dash of PLANETARY into the status quo going forward for good measure and drops his mic on the way out the door. I forget who’s replacing him but think it made me want to bail, as well. This was a solid run, could have been a little loonier than Ellis-lite, but it certainly ramped up in the last couple of issues.
THE BOYS #63—Hughie finally gets his. And boy, does he. My man brings the splatter. And there’s some pretty grievous damage on our side of the fence too. You can really feel it all spinning up here, Ennis is going to do some real damage on his way out. Can’t believe this is only going to happen seven more times.
X-FACTOR #231—Ha, PAD takes a page out of the ol’ Lindelof playbook and doesn’t follow up on last issue’s cliffhanger in any way, whatsoever. On the other hand, we have Captain Deathlok America vs Iron Man in yet another Marvel Universe that Wanda ruined (when Tony asked Madrox if Wanda ruined his world too, you could just hear the growl of one thousand fanboys. “It was Bendis.”). This was entertaining enough but is wearing a little bit thin, it will definitely be all right to shut this arc down next time around. And get our boy back home so that he can hang out with Alex and Lorna and Guido and Rahne! Like in our childhood!
THE DEFENDERS #3—More Great Weird Fun from Fraction and the gang. It looks like they might have knocked out this arc in three and on to the next thing? That would be nice. Loved the detail about Iron Fist punching the dragon’s heart when he was a little boy. The best random footer is probably a tie between WHAT IF IT ISN’T A CANKER SORE and STORY INTERRUPTED SECOND PAGE PREVIOUS. I’m a sucker for the ones that make fun of the ads, I guess. It’s pretty wild that they’re asking $4 for a DEFENDERS book every month out, but as long as they don’t start crapping them out bi-weekly, I’m on board for the time being. And scene!