Thursday, July 26, 2012


BEST OF WEEK: SILK SPECTRE #2—Jaw-dropping career-defining work from Amanda Conner here for the second time in a row, the back end of this series as yet unseen, it’s not too early to declare that if Mrs. Palmiotti shuffles off this mortal coil before I do, that first night that I find out, I promise to curl up with these four issues and a bottle of wine and just cry my eyes out, smiling all the while. A superior effort from all parties, but her in particular.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #11—Really just too much fun right here, any issue that burns maybe a third of its page count on Jim Lee drawing Wonder Woman just whipping the shit out of the rest of the Justice League is quite all right with me. If it happens every single month, even. I enjoyed the way this one was structured, Johns has really come all the way around and is delivering a story worthy of the A-list fellas he’s got on art. Also, it looks like SHAZAM is hopefully kicking into gear, here. Frank continues to be a hoss (just read their SECRET ORIGIN of Superman this last week and was really leveled, fine fine work from both parties, stunning penultimate panel, there).

FABLES #119—is in no way, shape, or form for all ages. Pretty gruesome shit, right here, bad enough eating the tiger raw before asking the toys to start sacrificing their body parts so that we can get a fire started up round here. That business gets in your head.

THE UNWRITTEN #39—This arc’s moving along a little bit better, but it’s still feeling like pretty much a misfire to bench Tom, barely include Savoy, and suddenly focus on new main characters. Though when you throw in a unicorn who’s not afraid to put that horn to stabby stabby use, that’s going to mitigate the problem a bit. Ready for this one to start ramping up. Cool bit with the holy relic, though, certainly.

WONDER WOMAN #11—I’m starting to lose my steam on this one. The wordplay remains clever as hell, but almost a year in, I’m about as uninvested as I could be, with Chiang/Wilson still certainly making it look very pretty. Wondering how much Azzarello has left in him, here.

GLORY #28—Campbell keeps drawing pretty pictures and Keatinge keeps adding to the momentum of this thrillride. This . . . doesn’t seem paced to sustain itself for much longer than a year. It will be interesting to see how long these runs last and who, if anyone, should happen to pick them up when the initial new creatives move on. I’m okay with maybe 12 issues of this and out but want PROPHET to last forever.

SAGA #5—This one’s still not giving me enough in single doses the way I’ve grown to expect from BKV after 110 issues of training. Not bad, just can kind of see the strings on him moving all the characters around from place to place trying to create the illusion that something’s actually happening. Interesting to lose the kid’s narration this issue in favor of her first interaction with her parents.

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #8—Wait, Coipel’s coming back, right? I hope we get more than two issues out of him. Though certainly no complaint about Kubert. Ha, funny to see him here, indirectly programmed against his dad and brother over on that unmentionable title across the street. But yeah, this one follows a very logical plot development for this juncture: Namor has been all Phoenixed up long enough to lose his patience and basically just goes apeshit all over everybody. Perfectly logical. Love that shot of Prof. X’s eyes there on that next-to-last page, Kubert really channeling classic Sienkiewicz in the best of ways. Onward with the last three issues and creative reshuffling and lots of new Now! #1s, rah rah.

DAREDEVIL #15—And man, the opposite of SAGA, no one can pack it in for you on a monthly single these days like Waid over here. The Latverian madness continues to play out. Samnee and friends continue to blow it up on art. And, hey, Iron Man!

FANTASTIC FOUR #608—Not so much happens in this one, but it’s still all wonderfully engaging and a pleasure to read. The women go hunting Anubis while T’Challa and Reed head to the Wakandan kingdom of the dead. So sad this is coming to an end/going to miss Hickman terribly/etc etc.

Monday, July 23, 2012


BATMAN #11—After starting off with the bar set to a ridiculous height and then ten months of relentless and consistently rewarding escalation, Snyder/Capullo/Glapion/FCO bring it all crashing to a finale just in time for Con. This one’s satisfying on every level except I wish that the ending was a little more definitive, it reads very much as what it is, the end of an excellent excellent arc in a monthly BATMAN series, but I could have used a bit more punctuation. There are no narrative cheats, but just not quite enough finality. The action comes to its logical conclusion and then we get a few pages of Bruce recovering and telling Dick how he’s going to get them all just in the next little bit, here. I don’t know, that’s probably coming across harsher than I want it to and I did enjoy the hell out of this entire run, no problem for me the best DC monthly since last September. What I’m trying to say, I wanted to feel more like I hit the last page of Miller’s YEAR ONE or DARK KNIGHT, and a little less See You Next Month! Though, I should say that having Bruce tying it up for us all the way back to the first narrative caption and finally providing the perfect Gotham Is . . . was a master stroke and just damn perfect. More greatness in the American Pennyworth backup with Albuquerque, though its placement after The End kind of messed me up. Would it have been too weird to lead with the backup? Or have it in-between the foightin’ and subsequent manor convalescence? A superior effort from all parties, who I suspect might be the only creative team out of 52 to deliver every single issue without a fill-in, and even manage to jump ahead a week with #9. An unimpeachable work ethic!

BATMAN & ROBIN #11—I don’t know what it is, but this is the first time since DEATH IN THE FAMILY that I’ve read anything with Jason Todd where I felt like it was actually him instead of just a garbage Winick reincarnation. In just a very few pages, too. Tomasi’s deft hand. Though the art department of Gleason/Gray/four other guys is certainly no slouch, I really loved that double-page no-dialogue spread of them getting out of the Batmobile into all the BOOM-SKOOM. After the first arc, this has for all intents and purposes turned into a Damian-centric, which I’m fine with. These guys delivered a hell of a rip-roaring first arc in a very crowded field of talent in the Batman books, and this three-parter is an entertaining chance to relatively catch our breath before plunging on into the next great thing.

FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #11—Kindt gets his name on the cover this month and continues to tear it up inside, has done more to characterize and drill us into Frank’s head than Lemire managed in the first nine months. Ponticelli/Faucher continue to refine their style, it’s really matching up perfectly with this story. I love that with this book, THE UNWRITTEN, and those shenanigans Morrison is getting up to in BATMAN, INCORPORATED, there are now three antagonists called Leviathan running around the DC/Vertigo Universe. No reason they can’t all be the same person right?

SWAMP THING #11—This was kind of the same deal for me with BATMAN, it didn’t provide the definitive conclusion toward which I felt the previous issues had been building and deserved. I mean, after all this, the bad guy just gets away? My man Marco Rudy blew it up, though, has been turning in beautiful work all along opposite Paquette but apparently still had room left to up his game. Beautiful work from Val Staples, as well. And hey, not so concerned about lack of punctuation with that last page, at long long last!

MINUTEMEN #2—There’s a bit more meat to the plot here as we get Hollis reaming out that old media-manipulatin’ Schexnayder about integrity and such a couple of decades too late before flashing back to seeing how the group interacted with one another right out of the gate, I’m talking about a week Before The Team Portrait, y’all. Then, the whole thing ends on a frankly bizarre montage alternating between Hooded Justice introducing Captain Metropolis to the joys of bondage and sodomy, a flashback of a little boy straying into danger, and then Nite Owl, the Silhouette, and Mothman finding the place where he met his final fate and/or the hanging body of the perpetrator, all lyrically set to Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Unseen Playmate,” the combined effect of which is exactly as creepy and offputting as it sounds. A big wtf? to Cooke on this one.

THE NEW AVENGERS #28—Ooh, that’s some cold shit, Bendis. A reasonably entertaining issue that means almost nothing within the larger context of the event. It is, I also want to say, wonderful to learn from an ad that there was in fact a team of X-Men before Scott & Jean, et al, and that Wolverine and Sabretooth were on it, because of course, and that their adventures will be chronicled just very soon now by Neal Adams and Christos Gage. I’m sure there will be nothing batshit about that one, no.

KIRBY: GENESIS #8—I enjoyed the hell out of this. An undertaking worthy of the great and fertile imagination that produced all of these characters and so many more. That double-splash of “WE WILL SHOW THEM” really says it all. Sorry that it has to be over, but all great stories should come to an end. Much respect to Busiek/Ross/Herbert and everyone else instrumental in making this colossal and ambitious undertaking a reality.

CONAN #6—Well, the second arc’s already over and it appears that we’re again saying goodbye to a seemingly irreplaceable artist. James Harren really came in and blew the doors out, massive respect to him on this one, with Dave Stewart lending his deft palette to the proceedings. I’ve seen a few people really knocking the shit out of this comic, like massive disparagement, and I absolutely don’t get it, I haven’t been the most loyal fan of the character over the years but have dropped in and out on greats like Truman and Busiek and of course classic Thomas/Smith taking their turns, and this right here is the business.

THE MASSIVE #2—Wood elevates the levels of paranoia and dread exponentially and also manages to move things along pretty well for only the second issue. Kristian Donaldson continues to impress, showcasing a command of layout, character acting via facial expression, and just breathtaking vistas of scenery that really bring the global scale of this book to life. And of course, there’s more Dave Stewart. Yet another very impressive creator-owned debut this year.

BEST OF WEEK: (CHEW) SECRET AGENT: POYO #1—This issue is magnificent, a celebration of both the title character and the willingness to take something so far past the point of superlative hyperbole that it assumes a fearsome momentum and life all its own, completely putting to rest the archetypal infamous fanboy concern codified by the question, “Who would win, Hulk or Thor?” The answer is Poyo. Avengers vs. X-Men? Poyo. JLA, Avengers, and the rest of the combined Marvel and DC universes? Poyo. God and his host of seraphim and cherubim, outfitted for war waged upon the highest plane of existence? It’s looking like Poyo. In this issue alone, Poyo crushes all the demons of Hell led by dread Beelzebub himself, fights his way back to life after multiple gunshot wounds from hollow-point mercury-tipped 45-caliber bullets, then via flashback/montage battles [a saber-toothed walrus and other irradiated zoo animals, a gang of Viltrumites from INVINICIBLE in space, and something called Genghis Condor and his mutant Mongol Tryano-riders], teams up with all the main Image characters in the first new panel of IMAGE UNITED we’ll probably get in 2012, falls in love, sees that love blasted to bits by lightning while they both plummet from five miles up, and then flies through the head of an evil scientist causing herds of farm animals to rain from the sky. In 22 pages. I would so very much love to get this as any kind of a regular series, but Layman & Guillory would likely be dead within the first year, their frames withered husks, drained of all essence by the relentless unstoppable force of nature known only by the name Poyo. Glorious.

Friday, July 20, 2012


ACTION COMICS #11—Kind of a meh issue. Not terrible, but not particularly full of wow & wonder, either. It’s an interesting idea for Superman to dump the Kent identity, but I wonder where Morrison’s going with it. Not surprisingly, the best material happens on the two-page rooftop conversation with Batman. The backup, still not bad, just not as top-drawer/knock-the-lights-out as I’d prefer from one of DC’s flagship titles. I guess at least Tony Daniel isn’t writing it.

ANIMAL MAN #11—All the wackiness thus far appears to climax just in time to clear the decks for Swamp Thing’s imminent arrival. Hey, speaking of, where the hell is that fellow this week?

OZYMANDIAS #1—Well, if anyone has the right to clock in on these non-Moore prequels, it’s Len Wein, creator of Swamp Thing and guy who first hired Moore to take over and launch his fabled and critically-acclaimed run on these shores thirty years ago now. Wein was also the sole editorial influence upon WATCHMEN. So, if anybody is qualified to drag these characters kicking and screaming out of ideaspace for more monies, it would be him. He makes an interesting choice here, in that pages and pages of narrative captions seem to be lifted verbatim from Veidt’s secret origin soliloquy to Rorschach, Dan, and Laurie. I mean, pages, the ball of hashish in the desert, all of it. Haven’t gone back and looked but don’t feel like I’ve got to. So that’s weird. With anyone else, I’d be indignant that Moore didn’t get a credit, but that’s pretty far past the point here, in these circumstances. What we have here is a fairly engaging narrative further elaborating the origin for the anti-villain we know and love from the original series. The inciting incident that sets him down the path of crimefighter is fairly boilerplate. I hope Moloch winds up being in all of these minis by the time all is said and done. Moloch, the Wolverine of BEFORE WATCHMEN!

BEST OF WEEK: THE BOYS #68—Man. Save something for later, Ennis. This scene, THE scene, you know just as soon as they start talking, that exact same creeping sensation as when Tony Soprano and Ralphie Cifaretto start in on each other over poor old Pie-Oh-My. Grim grim shit. Doesn’t come close to outweighing it, but The Female’s first ever line of dialogue, delivered off-panel, natch, is almost as thunderous. Time to go to work. I’d like to talk more about this one but had better not.

MORNING GLORIES #20—Another whopping 32-page issue that gives us a double-flashback montage of Georgina and Lara growing up, elaborating upon their sororal dynamic (shouldn’t that be a word? The opposite of fraternal?) and of course raising more new questions than it answers, in the mighty Island tradition. So, if Lara’s really just as bad as everyone else, what’s the deal with her helping Casey? And when the hell are we going to get around to Casey, anyway? This one continues to engage.

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #7—This one continues to hold interest here in the second act. Coipel’s contributions cannot be overstated, but Hickman’s dialogue certainly doesn’t hurt. T’challa bitchslapping Tony was a treasure and delight for all, Hickman seems to suddenly be all over the King of Wakanda. One suspects he’ll figure prominently into the new Avengers lineup. It was kind of funny seeing Hawkeye get roasted and die, leaving the reader just enough to time to really hope he heals up in time for his new Fraction/Aja series next month before they say on the next page that he, in fact, did not get consumed in the righteous fury of a direct hit from Phoenix fire. Even now, Cyclops is such a douche, you just root for Namor to take the whole thing over. War!


BEST OF WEEK (not that anyone else really had a chance): THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN – CENTURY: 2009—Moore & O’Neil return with the third installment of this century-spanning volume that races our intrepid and disenfranchised band of malcontents all the way up from the beginning of the century to the present (or, yeah, two years in our past now, but when we’re used to hanging out in Victorian London, why split hairs?). The conclusion of the previous volume did not lead me to believe that this was going to open on an uplifting note, and Moore does not disappoint. Orlando is a maniac soldier fighting the fictional equivalent of the Iraqi War (still need to hit Jess Nevins’ annotations, not sure what story this in-narrative Q’mar derives from) who has just massacred not only his entire regiment but made collateral damage of everyone within range, Mina’s spent the forty years since last issue institutionalized, and Allan is homeless and back on the junk. Even worse, Vincent Chase is starring in AQUAMAN 2: REVENGE OF QUISP and Driveshaft has a new album out called OH, WHO CARES?, presumably without the songwriting contributions of their founding bassist. Dire times! But it never occurred to me, how once this fiction juggernaut caught up with the times, how all the throwaway Easter eggs would be far more devastating for me personally than what was going on in the 19th century, or even 1969, just because I’m so much more conversant with modern popular culture vs obscure Victorian literature. Establishing the tangential continuities of ENTOURAGE and L O S T in a two-panel shot is a pretty heavy blow, but Moore makes it even crazier a few pages later with Orlando watching the news and giving us a three-panel hit of Andy Millman having a laugh on CELEBRITY-RAPE-AN-APE, then an update on how Nemo’s great-grandson is now an aquatic nuclear terrorist, followed up by incoming President David Palmer blaming Josiah Barlet for the miserable state of the economy. This last is so hilarious because, remember, Martin Sheen’s infinitely charismatic character on THE WEST WING was a Nobel-prizewinning economist. And just when it can’t get any deeper, Moore drives the 24 nail in that much deeper and ridiculously by declaring that CTU has operatives who can end the recession in exactly 24 hours. Now that is a season of Kiefer Sutherland that I want to see. “We’re running out of time!”

But, as ever, all of that is detritus, window-dressing for the story that Moore and O’Neil really want to tell, about the existential terror of immortality and fear and jealousy and love and friendship and redemption of characters created long ago by other people who really have no business ever interacting unless you want to sign up for the notion that all fiction is shared ideaspace. After getting his/her marching orders from Prospero of The Blazing World (last seen in THE BLACK DOSSIER) in eye-blasting 3-D no less, Orlando rallies and manages to put the remainder of the old gang back together just in time for a gruesome field trip out to Hogwart’s. You really have to, if not admire then at least stand in awe of, Moore’s audacity, trotting out probably the most popular modern-day character in all of fiction as nothing less than the Antichrist and villain that it’s been the point of this entire volume to vanquish. I don’t want to get any more specific and spoil more fun than I already have, but the last few pages of this one are definitely one-of-a-kind and Completely Nutter Fucking Batshit. I mean, one thing after another. I certainly understand any reader feeling like this is a little much? but I gobbled it up with a spoon, just glorious madness throughout.

And the prose backmatter. If Moore didn’t single-handedly invent the form with WATCHMEN, he certainly made a strong and immediate assertion for all time that no one does it better, and here he maintains the delirious streak he began in the first volume by providing delicious prose every bit as literary as it is pulp trash, equal parts Michael Chabon and John Thomas. Really, reading just six pages at a time, trying to keep pace with all those ornate descriptions and rhapsodic turns of phrase will make a stone-cold sober body feel like you took just enough of the good stuff, enough to get right. I eagerly await at long last getting lost in the thousands and thousands of pages of JERUSALEM. And Galley-wag Jackboy Sixty is the Sensational Character Find of the 21st century. Just that patois alone.

The really incredible thing to wonder is what’s next? Is this series going to dive headlong into science fiction for the rest of its run? The great thing about it not coming out regularly is that they can really wait for inspiration, the right convergence of influences and references to coalesce into original narrative. There’s no hurry to get it right. I can’t imagine what Volume 4 of this insane idea will hold, but will certainly be there whenever it lands on these shores, fresh and glistening, newborn from ideaspace.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #2—A great Talia-centric here with her turning the tables on her father after he takes her prisoner serving as a framing device for a lifelong recap flashback, all the way through her first falling in love with The Detective and yet another reprise of the famous hairy-chested swordfight. Seriously, I know it was the O’Neil/Adams iconic business, but I swear if someone so much as utters Ra’s al-Ghul’s name, it’s like Bruce has to pause for a second and give us a flashback panel with the caption, “We dueled in the desert once. Wearing no shirts.” This one’s a bit light on content, but entertaining enough when taken as part of the whole. Cool symmetry with Talia raising Damian the only way she knows how, with the help of four ninjas. You’ve also got to love the shout-out to YEAR ONE when she’s in the snow kicking that tree into splinters.

FF #21—More great fun as we get the kids’ side of the grand Wakandan adventure. Valeria is such a great character, it’s hard for her not to overshadow everyone. I’m all right with that. Dug her little aside about promoting collective interest and pan-national solidarity for nation-building, and the last beat is pitch-perfect. Can’t believe there are only going to be two more of these, so bummed.

PROPHET #26—Brandon Graham is very very good at what he does. I have nothing but blazing hyperbole to say about this book. It is one of my very favorites on the rack. Quite the revolving door of talented fellows on art. Fans of science fiction, pulp, and Moebius need this in their lives so much.

NITE-OWL #1—This was the worst-case scenario I envisioned on 2/1/12, otherwise known as B4WATCHMEN DAY: DOLLAH DOLLAH BILLS, Y’ALL! THE SEQUEL. Andy & Joe Kubert deliver rock-solid perfectly paced storytelling because they’ve got in deep down in there twisting in their double-helixes, it’s the only thing they know how to do, they actually have many students paying them to teach them exactly how to convey narrative via sequential art, but J. Michael Straczinski opens with throngs of adoring fans hooting at Hollis Mason after he foils an afternoon heist before deciding that it would be funny to trot Rorschach’s already-a-parody-of-itself “hurm” as pretty much a catchphrase. Dear Walter squeezes out maybe ten in half as many pages, including the last line of dialogue for the entire issue. Like it’s funny. Rorschach as a sitcom star. Plus, absolute absolute worst-case, for no reason, we trod on ground already viewed from multiple angles by Moore/Gibbons and return ONCE AGAIN to the scene of Captain Metropolis’s doomed Crimebuster’s meeting in . . (all together now!) . . 1966. Pages of being back here, suddenly now forced to compare Kubert to Gibbons shot-to-shot, line-to-line, because how can you not? and We Learn Nothing New, JMS brings us back here to deftly by way of sledgehammer insert the narrative innovation that Dreiberg felt a brief fluttering in his heart when he first laid eyes upon Laurie. As if they might, one day, have some sort of future together. Mean something to one another. Repugnant. Kurtz-grade horrah. I’m not the sort of fella to enjoy the sight of another getting skullfucked to death by rabid baboons, but after this, if that person was old JMS, I don’t think I’d change the channel just right away.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #10—I don’t care about the bad guy at all, but Jim Lee and all those inkers and colorists are certainly drawing the hell out of this. That “TAKE HIM” splash works really well, exactly what you need to be doing when you’ve got Lee on the League. The Shazam story is working for me all right on its own merit, but certainly not as an update of these particular mythos. Really wish it was more of an all-ages take, as great as Frank is.

FLASH #10—I love the art, I really do, but all the relationship angst is starting to get to me. What was the point of rebooting him and Iris and bringing back Patty from limbo if we’re almost a year in and he’s farther away from opening up to her then ever? I guess it’s the mark of a good story that I’m engaged enough to be infuriated, but hey, this is me over here being infuriated. Long live the Eisner title pages!

AMERICAN VAMPIRE #28—This looks like it’s going to be another great arc. Though I wish, just once, there would be a twist/identity surprise that wasn’t Skinner Sweet. At least it wasn’t at the end of the issue, but any time anyone in this series gasps at the sight of someone and there’s a page turn, bet the land that your grandmother raised you on that it’s going to be Skinner Sweet there, in some form or another. Albuquerque continues to absolutely knock it down, can’t believe more people aren’t freaking out over this guy after two+ years of this thing.

FATALE #6—We open with another prologue starring the grandson that’s considerably less wtf? now that we are trained to expect Lovecraftian horror to drop in on us out of nowhere. Once the flashback narrative resumes, Hank and Dom are history and we meet two new protagonists in 70s Hollywood who stumble into Josephine’s orbit. This one’s a little skinny, not a lot to judge the new volume on, but of course these creators are all monsters at what they do and I’m sure it will be great when all’s said and done. The Jess Nevins essay is of course interesting, but a little bit more of a laundry list than I’d prefer.

SPACEMAN #7—It is not a bad thing to see the realtee crew get machine-gunned down in silhouette. This one wasn’t quite as satisfying in singles as the others have been, I’m thinking I definitely need to jam all eight before the final installment. The entire creative team can, of course, do no wrong.

THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #4—More gorgeous art, though the twist felt a bit too similar to how it went down with Oppenheimer. Of course I’m rooting for Feynman, but it seems like even he might be outclassed by the staggering amount of bastards running around killing the world with science, one discovery at a time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


BEST OF WEEK: CASANOVA: AVARITIA #4—Fraction, Bá, Peter, and Dharbin keep the pedal all the way down on this one, and the result is a magnificent, furious ride that it is much easier to experience than fully understand. I reread all 96 pages of AVARITIA right before hitting this one for the first time and the experience kind of made me lose my mind. Not sure how rational I can make any sort of critical analysis of this monster. Um. My favorite page was when Cass got all meta- and mentioned the fact that they’re on their second publisher and then the next panel was Charles Dickens providing context and four out of the five panels had the words “fuck,” “fucking,” or "motherfucker" in them. And then Newman Xeno just disappeared when he got unwrapped while plummeting from the sky over the city? And Kaito shot Cornelius Quinn in the head, even though the narrator told us in #1 that he dies from cancer sometime after this series? And Cass escaped to otherwhen in some kind of futureship? And but Sabine inverted this volume’s opening mission and set about killing all the Casanovas? Only one Casanova, “ours,” the one from Earth-919 or was it 909? made it through and crashed somewhere where there’s a guy who’s maybe another Kaito and has my friend Paul’s Nirvana shirt? I think that’s what happened? This book is what it’s like inside of me and I just want to hold it close and keep it safe from all the world.

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6—Man, all right, now this is how you do it. Coipel’s presence makes all the difference, this suddenly this feels like the monumental thing that it always should have. The Phoenix-Men are going all Super-Authority on the world, fixing shit right up! The last line is priceless and confirms my dearest hopes that this entire thing is just going to eat itself backwards all the way to the start of Bendis’s run. We’ve got Wanda on hand, did the FEAR ITSELF thing last issue and but skipped the Skrull action to jump right back to the inversion of the end of HOUSE OF M. Here’s hoping Cap is a Skrull, I guess.

THE NEW AVENGERS #28—The flashback resolves into the present and Bendis drops in the Marvel character that he arguably writes best out of nowhere, and it is a perfect fit. Would love a whole arc with these two, but bet we’ll just see them pal around next issue. Oh, what quips they’ll thwip!

DAREDEVIL #14—This Paolo Rivera cover is a bitter pill to swallow in light of his recent announcement that he’s walking away. This book just keeps chugging right along, though, Chris Samnee’s second issue is as strong as the first. Another perfectly compelling done-in-one with high stakes, a forehead-slappingly obvious threat (sense-devouring nanites!) and a cliffhanger that has us all balled up, worried about What Happens Next. Waid can apparently do no wrong.

SAGA #4—All right, the born-and-raised-in-the-20th-century slang is REALLY getting to me. For all the sweeping space opera drama, BKV is displaying no range whatsoever in terms of characterization through dialogue. Marco & Alana are barely distinguishable from Yorick & 355. Or not at all. I can almost let the little ghost girl slide for sounding like a mallrat, but when that The Will fellow walks into a room and drops a BKV-trademark, “The hell are we?” dropping the opening interrogative, it really really grates. EX MACHINA didn’t sound just exactly like Y THE LAST MAN. Staples is still tearing it up, killer colors on Sextillion in particular, this issue. And of course, I totally screwed it up, immediately put down #2 and jammed out answers to that entire survey, but since it was supposed to be sent to an actual real-life in the physical world address address, I never printed it up and made it happen and now I will never achieve letter-column immortality in this title. Or at least this issue.

GLORY #27—A fast but ferocious read, Campbell continues to absolutely burn it down, what a lunatic. Great flip, of course Glory’s the monster. I wonder how the little girl can possibly stop her without getting her face eated off.

WONDER WOMAN #10—Paging Cliff Chiang. Paging Cliff Chiang.

FABLES #118—Ready for this arc to be over, feels like we’ve been coasting for a bit too long now. With DC’s reboot and Marvel’s compulsive title cancellation/renumbering, this is suddenly the run that I’ve been picking up for the longest time, which gives it a bit more slack and generosity than it might otherwise have earned, but it feels like Willingham’s been spending a little bit too long polishing his Eisners or sharpening his prose to fully dial in, here. Or, hey, maybe he didn’t have but nine years of thunder in him, which would be understandable. But we need to crank this one up, treading all kinds of water, I’ve been bored for longer than I think I realized.

THE UNWRITTEN #38—This one too, man, just coasting after all that alternating .1 destruction in the fist half of the 30s. Let’s get the next arc going, power up for the homestretch, yah?
COMEDIAN #1—I couldn’t believe how great this was, it actually took the reread to fully process exactly how much razor-sharp dialogue action Azzarello has going on in these pages. He completely subverts expectations by making a couple of really quite brilliant choices that make the book so much more enjoyable than I would have thought possible. If Moore really and truly meant for that aside about no one asking where Blake was the day Kennedy was shot as definitive explicit canon, not just braggadocio, then you know what, strike me dead, but I far far prefer this version. I mean, the one thing anybody’s looking for is for Blake to rape somebody before the issue’s over, and it’s pretty apparent that we did get that one out of the way with Norma Jean off-panel, but that last page is so out-of-left-field and perfect, it, well, it certainly doesn’t redeem the character, but when taken with all that jocularity, Blake as the fourth Kennedy brother (and out-ranking Teddy, at that), it’s powerful powerful stuff. I am concerned that of all the series, this one’s six not four issues. You could argue that old J.G. Jones has plenty of lead-time and won’t need a fill-in, but they announced FINAL CRISIS ten months before the first issue hit the stands and seems like he needed Pachecho and Mahnke to start pitching in on #5. Here’s hoping he makes it all the way down the stretch. Without CASANOVA, this would have been my Best of Week, no problem, a stunning 3 for 3 these past weeks that I never could have predicted in a thousand years. Though JMS is all but certain to knock that average down next week. We live in hope!