Monday, August 18, 2014

comics for the week of 08/13/14.

I thought we'd get some real answers in the penultimate issue of the Original Sin mini-series, but I guess that's not how things work anymore. It was all right.

All New X-Men 30 - Yeah, that was all right. We're really getting into kind of murky, treacherous territory here, when it comes to layers. (I mean, I guess since we're talking about the X-Men, we've been there for decades, so maybe it's just me getting older...) I get that it's quirky and different to have Jean Grey and Emma Frost be friends, but that doesn't feel like a good enough reason for that to be the primary driving force of this issue. On the other hand, X-23 and Angel's story was refreshing. I like the meta aspect of them taking a break and their part feeling so much more real than the various soap opera drama with young Iceman, Beast and Jean hanging out with Professor Kitty and the White Queen and her goons. (Don't get me started on the romance angle feeling less cliche. I'm already depressing myself with this review.) But the next issue box has me semi-excited so we'll see if this title can revive itself.

Rachel Rising 27 - There's a lot happening here, but let's start with the fun: Jeff gets killed! (Shoutout killmezoe.tumblr.com and the back page explanation for letting me have such a ridiculous sentence.) But this is obviously bad news for Zoe, as well as Rachel and Jet, who are totally unaware of their little friend's ongoing activities. It's not like they don't know she's trouble. They joke about her previous kills. But this seems to be particularly dangerous and too close to home. They need to stay on their feet. Of course, there's plenty of other great stuff in the book, including a pep talk from Johnny to Earl about Jet, Johnny's playing detective, and her interactions with the cop and a peek into Rachel's insensitivity. She's worked with this guy for how long and Zoe gets all that personal information out of him in the first minute of their first encounter. Ray is a nice addition to the supporting cast, I'm hopeful that he gets to stick around for more than a minute.

Sex Criminals 7 - Man. This book is so weird and kinda good, but almost definitely makes me feel dirty. I do feel like it's a true effort to subvert that old paradigm, though, so it's not like it's without merit. Obviously. This issue doesn't go where I thought it would, based on the relationship deteriorating as we'd seen in the past, but I'm happy Rachel's back. Jon's depression leads him to do some bad, bad things, and we see some of his childhood which explains a lot of why he is the way he is. Shit, if I had those powers, I would have been way worse. (I kind of hope that's something all guy readers of this book relate to, otherwise I'm just a horrible person?) The art, as always, is gorgeous, and the nods in the backgrounds are more than chuckle-worthy. Also, the over the top nature of the nature of sex is halfway between gross and hilarious.

The Walking Dead 130 - Huh. Well that's cool. I love how Rick's legend is growing so large and how uncomfortable with it he is. I love his justification for the haircut and the beard. I especially loved the newbies' dismissal of Negan's bullshit. But there's some long term stuff here, too. I like Carl's discomfort with the other apprentice but it's clear they're both going to stay on. I like Maggie having her own place and being a big boss - she's earned it. I like the fact that the newbies got their few panels to shine but not much more, so we have their story still on the backburner. I like how much confidence the girl had when she said she knew when someone was lying. But of course, the moneymaker is the new development with the dead. That'll be great if it holds up. If it turns out to be a red herring, it'll be quite disastrous for Kirkman, at least insofar as my nerd group's confidence in his ability to turn the story up a notch. If he stays with it, though... could be a game changer. I like it.

Book of the week goes to The Walking Dead. Purely on potential, though. If it doesn't follow through, I'll have problems.

Monday, August 11, 2014

comics for the week of 08/06/14.

Go see Guardians again.

Angel and Faith 5 - A nice bit of tying between the two titles made me curious as to why this was such a mystery, but it was laid out nicely on the last page; of course they're not talking - that would make far too much sense. I mean, we've seen where sharing information can lead. Jokes aside, it was another solid issue. I like the involvement of the aunts in this title, but to get no Faith at all was quite a change. Are we just going to bounce back and forth until they (inevitably) reconcile? Dunno, but I'm along for the ride. It's fun seeing Angel in London, playing with the new Magic Town issues, and working with the police.

Invincible 113 - Yes, this book is incredible once again, over and over, month in and month out. Robot working with the Viltrumites feels like a short-term move: he might be authentic for now, but he cannot possibly let them live for long. And most of them have got to be smart enough to see that, too. So any alliance has got to be played from both sides for temporary gains as quickly as possible. Because, unfortunately, Rex has the time table in his favor right now. Despite showing cracks in the armor as he tries to take over the world, it certainly looks like he's succeeding. He's meeting with the President and while we haven't seen the death of any major characters (the Martian guy and my horrible memory inevitably failing aside...) we've seen plenty of blood, death and gore. The key players have made it out, but not all unscathed, and it's going to be a heck of an uphill battle, no matter how the alliances (temporary as they may be) turn out. More importantly, though, we've got two joyous occasions in this issue: Eve has the baby, the baby's safe and Eve's safe, the couple are staying together and she encourages Mark to get back in the fight. Most importantly, though: we have an excellent chance at a superhero baby with the name Dick Grayson! I know, I know, she's a girl. But how great would that be?

New Avengers 22 - Well, the art was terrible, and the conclusion was inevitable, but it didn't have to feel quite so flat, did it? I just feel like...where do we go from here? After the apex of last issue and the contrast provided by Namor's realism versus the heroes' idealism, it felt like more of the same, with that one huge caveat: Namor is clearly going to be a flat out bad guy from here on out and Black Panther is always going to be on his case. That's a good development, but I don't feel like it needed an entire series almost exclusively dedicated to getting to this point. If we're gong to build them up just to break them down, I'm not sure this was the right format? I liked Hulk being the voice of reason and the poor-Reed cliffhanger, but the rest of it felt like it'd already happened last issue.

Ultimate Spider-Man 4 - The conversation with Katie and her sister really was a strange way to open such a killer issue and it quickly spun into directions that I did not see coming. Who are her parents? Why is her sister so coldly practical? Then the issue shifts to Miles' fight with Norman and the Peter Parker character (whom I still refuse to acknowledge might even be the real deal) shows up and and the fight goes...weird. "Peter" whups him, Miles gets in a venom blast and Norman takes off. The most important development, though, is how everyone reacts to seeing the classic costume on the broadcast of the fight. Aunt May says she thinks it's him, everyone else only gets to exhibit their best shocked faces. I'm not sure how much longer this is going to be dragged out (six issues is the new norm, right?) but I'm curious to see if my jaded cynicism is going to be right or if they're actually going to bring the killed Ultimate Peter Parker back. I hope not, and I still don't believe it, but they're certainly selling it.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. I was holding out hope for Ultimate Spidey, but without a resolution, I can't be as satisfied as Kirkman made me.

Monday, August 4, 2014

comics for the week of 07/30/14.

Guardians of the Galaxy came out this week. It's great. Go see it.

Avengers 33 - Just Cap. A 2001 and Wizard of Oz reference in the first two pages. And then....more stuff I don't understand. There's so much scope (50,000 years, right?) at this point that I (we?) continue to have no choice but to sit back and let it wash over us and try to look back only in retrospect, in the future. (Which, I guess, is kind of a meta commentary on the story? Huh. I wonder if that's purposeful. Or if I'm just stupid and there are plenty of people who are getting this as it's happening.) The best/worst part, though, is the last page. I thought for sure that Cap was going to fall through fractured time and lose the Infinity Formula and we'd have some kind of resolution, both to this story as well as to the larger idea of how we're going to make the jump that's imminent (this is why I try to stay away from Previews. If I didn't know that jump was coming and Steve was going to be old, I wouldn't be trying to pre-rationalize it) in the Avengers World idea. But noooooo...we've got one more issue. However, I'm happy to see the words "To Be Concluded" which assures me that next issue actually will provide some sort of closure, whether I understand it or not. The biggest question? That sure looks like modern Tony, huh? It's cool, but I definitely don't get it.

Black Science - This book is the most bonkers book coming out in all of comics-hood. Seriously. The art is a huge part of it, with just totally cutting loose, but the coloring is definitely included, too. It reminds me of a 21st century take on the old four way colors. In this issue, I was lost in the best way. It all happened so quickly that I didn't even get to figure out who the narrator was until it was revealed. I should have caught it with the names, but I was happily surprised. With the way the characters are dying in this series, I think we've got to acknowledge that there's a chance the kids are dead, but I don't believe they are. I love the progression of all the characters and I loved the horse-fish, the sacrifices, the Shaman still being around.

East of West 14 - This book is close up there on the insanity meter. We've got Death looking for his son, but his ex-compatriots getting there before him. Before they do that, though, they check with their God-ish figure (Ezra [Have we seen him before?] is simply the Word's vessel, but I'm sure we're supposed to take him at his [pun intended!] word) to make sure it's OK. It's definitely not, and despite hearing that negative, the remaining trio of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse put their dastardly plan into action. Also, we see the Confederate States of America moving toward a new President and while it's no surprise who takes over the role, it's revealing to see the depths he descended to in order to get there. It's a confusing book, but there are huge things happening.

Hawkeye 19 - Oh man. I've loved this series as long as it's been going on and this felt like the perfect issue of the entire run. The only thing darkening its perfection? The realization that there's only two more (?) issues left. It's always felt like a comic that we didn't really deserve any more, at least not from one of the Big Two. When it came out, it was a revelation. It's still deserving of its spot in the sun, but I can't say that I'm surprised at its (inevitably too-soon) demise. This issue fully bought into the sign language and got us back to the truth of Clint as a deaf kid. While he's made strides getting over it (clearly) in the interim - I don't know if those were magical or superheroic or just plain old rectons out of spite for "weakness" - it's now got to be an essential part of him. If a lesser writer can't handle that wrinkle to this character, I'm just not sure they should get to write him. This has got to be Clint from now on, otherwise this sparkling run will mean nothing. This is a prime example of when continuity is important. Clint and Barney get back up after being knocked to the mat, they rally themselves (actually, it's more like Barney rallying Clint first, which is perfect with its tie to the past) and the troops (not just the citizens of the apartment building, but Clint's super pals, too) in order to take the fight to the gang that put them in this place. The last issues (the question mark in the beginning is to say I think I remember hearing there'll be two more, but that could be wrong...) are going to be incredible. As this whole thing (minus those two throwaway issues...) was.

Mind MGMT 24 - A lovely time for a break. It was a perfect little retrospective, giving long-time readers new clues regarding the life of Henry Lyme and providing a nice jumping on spot for new readers. I'm reassured by the fact that new comics like this are still coming out monthly (kinda) and that the hardcover collections are still readily available as well. There's not a lot to say in regards to this issue for a long timer, other than it was delightful to see some of the older adventures of Lyme and his once-upon-a-time partner. Also tragic is the inclusion of any other aspect, since we know they're all doomed: his marriage, his rescue of Meru, his time with the dolphins, with the artists, on the plane, etc. I mean, damn. Dude's lived a hell of a fucked up life.

New Avengers 21 - This was a masterpiece. I feel like we're in the worst/best kind of morality play, where Namor plays the Shakespearean role of villain embracing his heroic side in the most stark terms. It's a weird thing to say, but this mainstream Marvel superhero comic was on the level of some of the most impressive indie comics this week. When Namor started the battle between the Illuminati and the Great Society a couple issues ago, I wasn't surprised, but I was happy to see him fully embracing that role. This issue was even more than that and, ironically, I think it made him come off stronger. While all of the heroes have already clearly crossed the line, they're unwilling to take the LAST step. They've been perfectly content to walk all the way past the edge, but, Wile Coyote style, are still deceiving themselves that they're on solid ground. Only Namor is brave enough to look down and realize that he's overdue for a fall. I actually lost respect for Reed, Beast, Tony, etc. and gained some for Namor. Only Strange seemed fully aware of the price he's already paid. When the Great Society was first introduced, I was pissed off, because I felt like we were wasting time. But now that I've got the gift of hindsight, I see they were only a means to an end. And that end, amazingly, has been to put some kind of shine (whether it's of disgust or not) on Namor and slime up his Illuminati fellows.

Sandman: Overture 3 - Well. I don't know how to properly react to this issue because it feels like the true middle of the series. I'm not sure anything actually happened, but that's kind of to be expected from the Prince of Stories primarily just telling a story and wandering over some land, only arriving at his destination on the last page? I mean, he definitely met a companion who's going to be detrimental to his overall cause according to the Fates. And the art was gorgeous (duh) and the blending of our Dream and the Cat Dream became even better. But...the point of the story eluded me and the ending of the story just made me more anxious for the time to pass to get to the next issue. But the section with the bugs was amazing as was the little girl (Hope, love it) and her reaction to Dream's horrible, horrible laughter. That seems pretty accurate.

Spike: Into the Light - Yeah, that was cool. But nothing amazing. Just a Spike tale, pretty standard. I'm not sure it added anything to anything, at least for me. I was already a Spike fan, and I'd think anyone who's been on the series long enough is, too. But I'm glad Marsters got to write this, because it seems like he truly wanted to, and I'm glad the story of good Spike was advanced a little. There's not much more to it.

The Wake 10 - I'm disappointed to say that I was disappointed with the ending. It was appropriately epic in scope for a story that spanned more than hundreds of years (I mean, thousands, even millions, if you count the caveman stuff) but it felt so loose, so tenuous to the stories that I'd actually cared about in this book. The first half was Dr. Archer and her work and discovering the Mers and the second half was Leeward and her dolphin and her parents and the crazy new world she and her people inhabited. But that's the thing: we don't truly get resolution to any of those. We do, though, get a pullback by the camera, and a revelation that the picture was always much larger than we (or even Archer) suspected and a grander resolution. Which, I suppose, is good for Snyder, since it seems that's the story he wanted to tell. But for those of us who invested in the concept of the two protagonists, the only satisfaction we get is hearing Archer say she spoke with her son and that she gave him some good advice, which Leeward gets to use to bold effect on the gorgeous last page. Also, the turnout with the General and the Crazy Lady, which is the only bit of conclusion we see in regards to the future story. It was fine, but it felt like...not an ending?

Book of the week goes to Hawkeye. In a week of amazingly strong comics, there was a lot of competition, but I can't ignore the simple and most pure pleasures.

Monday, July 28, 2014

comics for the week of 07/23/14.

There are no sports. Life.

Buffy 5 - Continues the great story of how Buffy got her family back. This seems to be the overarching motif of Season 10 and I'm great with that. The Dracula/Maloker (sp?) issue was taken care of with much more ease than I thought it would be, but that didn't feel like a bad thing. I was more relieved that we didn't stretch story unnecessarily, especially since we have so much more good story left. First up, the Dawn and Xander plot. Secondly, the Xander and Anya plot. Man. He's got some stuff going on. Then, of course, we've got Buffy and the cops, young Giles, Willow recognizing her place and Spike still kind of struggling to fit in. Lots of good seeds planted in this issue, I'm sure they'll be followed up on and I'm sure it'll be cool.

Daredevil 6 - Huh. Well, this one was a miss for me. I'm not sure whether part of this story was planned aside from the Original Sin tie-in, but I'm going to go ahead and blame the event for the lackluster quality of a book that's normally stellar. The art wasn't up to par, the story was shoehorned in, despite all the attempts to fit it into continuity, and the fact that it's not just a single-issue arc is more than disappointing. I'm kind of glad that we're demystifying Matt's dad's character a bit, but this seems like an odd way to do it. Just have the Original Sin plot go through and take it up there, unless the Wakanda thing is going to have larger ramifications. If it's not, this is a waste of time and effort.

Saga 21 - Wow. I don't know if it was, but this felt like an extra-sized issue. And every single page was good. From the drugs that Alana is beginning to the lack of romance in her sex with her husband to the casual touch of the other woman, it was all good. Plus, we get Robot IV learning he has a son, grandmother paying her respects to Oswald and the quippy line from the indentured servant. This is just chock full of goodness and it's so beautiful and so well told. Also, Robot's kid is on a voyage, and Hazel's narration continues to be spot on. Plus, she's becoming an older person, so the chances of staying undercover and becoming much smaller. I love this book so much.

Trees 3 - This series is weird and this issue was the weirdest. It wasn't remotely bad, but I'm not sure of anything at this point. Could be, if I continue with this book, it'll turn out to be one of the most important parts of the series. Could be this is the issue that makes me say it's not worth it. It was pretty and intriguing, though. I like the girl, I like the professor and I'm interested in the kid artist. That's about it for this one.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse 7 - The glitches serve their point and Pullman scores a (temporary victory) at the end. But this clearly isn't going to fly. Even if it doesn't revert back to the epic romance tale, Tom's pants aren't even down! Logic will shine its light through, even if it's clouded through the story lens. The back and forth nature of this issue really worked well, until the end, where it was clear that things were elevating to another level. Just look at the narration. There's no way this is actually the narrative. The rabbit's having second thoughts, the king vampire was dismissed so easily when we thought he'd be yet another true challenge, we haven't even got to the side effects of Tom bringing back the childrens' father - remember they were previously orphans! This is winding down in a hell of a way and while the last few pages were a bad note, they weren't (at least, I don't think, at this point) a missed on. We're going to see some serious pulling together of the strings here - it's no coincidence that Rauch is remembering back to the one dangling thread we've got, the scene that was never explained. Also, hilarious that her kids are already dreaming up theology and picking sides. The new world is coming, and there's always a place for the stories of good guys in the sky.

Book of the week goes to Saga. It's an honor that'll continue more than a few more times while this brilliance is happening, but I'm just as happy with the title today as I was for issue one. What a unique thing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

comics for the week of 07/16/14.

I also read The Life After, on the recommendation of Dave Jordan. It was cool and, as he said, very Matrix-y, which should be up my alley. I'll check out the second issue, but I really just couldn't stand the art.

Fables 142 - A really sad look at how the battle lines are being drawn, despite some characters deluding themselves into thinking they're not. Rose Red and Snow White simply approach one another and magical armor springs up? Man, there's going to be some shenanigans. Also, the reappearance of Bigby out in the Mundy world has brought around New York's finest, and they're sure to have some itchy trigger fingers regarding a killer who's brought down some of their number already. Lastly, we see the real power of the North Wind - she's calling in all the favors and she's putting down a big bet. This is another solid cog in the machine of getting us toward the end. The laughs at the end, when it comes to Sinbad's last story are relatively meager, if only because of the foreboding sense I got from the real story. It's going down.

The Wicked and the Divine 2 - Did not care for it. Art is beautiful, but... The story is too self-indulgent. I'm buying another issue, but we'll see if it goes further than that.

Book of the week goes to Fables, not in any bad way, it actually earned it, but there was no competition in reality.

Monday, July 14, 2014

comics for the week of 07/09/14.

While the Solstice just happened a little bit ago, a New Mexico teacher's summer is more than halfway over. This is incredibly sad.

All New X-Men 29 - Before even reading it, I just want to talk about how weird the cover made me feel. It's like...we're living in a world where the original five X-Men have time traveled to the 'present' and are riding motorcycles around and know about what happened and...isn't that just weird? I mean, even for comics? Man. And then I read the issue and the end was the cover and the beginning and the middle...? Well, it was (KIND OF) a wrap up of some of the craziness that's been going on. While Xavier and Raze are (apparently) now here for good (which seems like a HORRIBLE IDEA, BTW) along with the time-displaced X-Men and the bad-but-not-really-bad-they-were-just-being-mind-controlled-by-Xavier have been sent back to the future (THAT SEEMS LIKE THE REVERSE OF WHAT YOU SHOULD DO, BTW), we have things kinda sorta set back to a status quo. But that status quo now involves a shitload of out of time people, and the bad guys in a place where there's no chance things don't go wrong. In good news, Angel is clearly the most underused of these characters, so it's nice to think we're going to get some shine time on him with X-23 next issue. Deadpool was also funny.

Avengers 32 – Well, I thought that was just about as wacky as it was going to get, but my jaw literally dropped at the last page. Not that it was so shocking or something crazier than I've seen in comic books, but just...I mean...how far down the rabbit hole are we going??? Also, I love that this is ostensibly an Original Sin tie-in, but there's nothing to it. We've got Cap, Black Widow and Starbrand 4,000 years in the future talking to Franklin Richards, seeing an Avengers World, with a cool cameo on the second to last page. And the dialogue was right up my alley, with discussions about time not being linear and space-time being an actual organism and all that good stuff. But every layer that we've peeled back has revealed more and more, so for the first time in a long time, I'm actually really, really excited for the next issue of Avengers because I feel like there's some point finally coming. I'm not sure I know what it is, nor where this battle between Cap and the Illuminati is going, but I feel like things are definitely coming to a head. And that's exciting.

Daredevil 5 - What a hilariously comic book explanation Matt has for Foggy regarding his own death. It's as though Daredevil's been through this before himself, or with his girlfriends, or with enemies, or with Spidey and Iron Man, who get specifically name checked, or he's been reading some Marvel Universe books. And then the whole book plays out and you wonder how Mark Waid hasn't gotten to be one of the biggest writers on the planet year after year after year. He just knows the genre so well, and he knows that DD has had years of bad karma, so he gets this one fortuitous moment, where the Leapfrog attacks, Foggy's complaining about faking his death, wanting to the the hero and he's presented with the perfect opportunity. Ant-Man's on hand for a special (and important) guest spot, and Foggy narrates the whole thing in his diary. It's so touching. A really, really good single issue that fits in so well with the overall narrative that's been happening in this book for the last 2+ years. Superhero comics at their best.

The Walking Dead 129 – Oh man. That's just...I don't know. I don't feel fear for any of the people I've come to love, nor any hatred for Negan, just a whole mess of...I don't even know. I'd forgotten about the new people, but I'm hopeful they're not going to be that stupid. I'm happy for Carl, in more ways than one and I'm worried about Rick. He seems committed to the idea of the new, peaceful society, but to a disturbing degree. I don't know how the rest of his people feel about him, though. They all seem more than okay with him, calling him sir, etc. So, I guess if he cracks down hard on a horse rider, they're not going to care? Which is fine with me? I don't know. It's in a weird place for me right now.

Book of the week goes to Daredevil. While I was really happy with Avengers, I just can't deny the truly happy feeling I get from Waid's DD. And Samnee's art is a huge plus.

Monday, July 7, 2014

comics for the week of 07/02/14.

Before these books came out, the US soccer team lost to Belgium. I'm still sad.

Angel and Faith 4 – Hm. Cool. First of all, I love the art in this book. But beyond that, the story is working on several levels. I like what's happening with Nadira, and the detective, and Corky, and the magic bottles and the reveal of the baddie at the end. I even flipped back a few pages to see if she was around. Yup, she was. I'll have to check some of the previous issues at this point. Really cool take on bringing back yet another old face, but I'll be curious to see how it all gets explained, if it does at all. I mean, I'm sure there'll be some kind of token, but... There's a lot of ground to cover. For now, I'm not really clear on believing who's the good guys versus who's the baddies. (Except for the last page.) And the most interesting wrinkle in that equation is Faith, on the other side of the pond, who's got to contend with a missing Riley all of a sudden. Yep, that's worth sticking around for. And, as much as I've always hated Riley, he's a great draw to continue to connect the series to the books. I hate him and it was a hook even for me. So good for the writers.

East of West 13 – Huh. Well, I still don't understand this book at all. Beside the fight between Death and the lawman, I didn't grok any of the Crow/Wolf/demons encounter. But I guess I don't necessarily need to just yet. It's a long game (as usual) Hickman's playing. It's pretty and it's entertaining and I feel there's some sort of (mini, perhaps) conclusion coming up, so I'm happy with that.

Original Sin 5 – Well that was different. A hell of a retcon, there's no doubt. I mean, when the term was introduced, I don't think they even contemplated this scale. But here it is. Nick Fury is Jon Snow. The man on the wall. Times infinity. But with Howard Stark dead, why does he continue? Who does he talk to? To whom does he make his reports? How will he know how to pass the position on to? Why does all of this seem so convoluted? Really, I mean, that's all we get from this issue, aside from the question of who killed the Watcher. It still doesn't seem like it was Nick, but he certainly knows who it was. Also, way to write a mini-series for the express purpose of retconning everyone and everything Marvel. I can't believe it took this long for someone to suggest this concept, much less this long for the comics industry to embrace it. Damn, this is going to be a hell of a game changer when it's over, regardless of how this series turns out. We can just introduce all kinds of secrets from “back in the day” and say they've been around all along and were obscured by the Watcher or Fury or this semi-SHIELD (notes of Hickman's old series, huh?) or just...stuff... Man. What a weird thing I'm reading.

Thor 24 - Sad, in a weird way. But fitting. Asgard leaves Earth, through an odd set of circumstances, but no more weird than what brought it to our planet in the first place. (Ragnarok, right? I mean...) Roz gets some real love here, not just from the oblique references of everyone around her (good thing for comic book writers - characters live as long as you want them to, they're not subject to contract renegotiations, so Roz looks like she'll be around for the long term) but also from Old King Thor himself, having his granddaughters name a river after her, Jane and Steve. (Love the love that emanates from every character in the Marvel Universe for Captain America, BTW.) Also, Galactus is a whipped little puppy but he's transforming, we see that Roxxon has, in fact, set up base on Mars - but is apparently in no shape to challenge Galactus upon his arrival there like old Thor did when he showed up on Earth, so at least that's good - and we get the conclusion of the saga in Broxton. (Is that the name of the town?) Thor makes many sacrifices, Jane will still be around, she's accepting of Roz and next issue is a diversion. The art wasn't perfect, because I think only Ribic's art is perfect for this book and I'm going to be disappointed every time he's not on it. But it's still a hell of a comic book.

Ultimate Spider-Man 3 – Oh cool! The recap page just told me that Miles' girlfriend is Katie Bishop! I'm sure that's supposed to be an analogue for Stature in the 616, right? So...can we assume she has powers? Or is this going to be yet another divergent point? But then the issue started and all I could see was responsible JJJ, the beautiful art of Marquez and the LOLz at cross-dressing Carol talking about the incursions. Man, this book is so good. It's the little touches: the way Norman disables Chang by talking to her, the Blaire realty sign, the Scooby Doo homage, everything that used to make comics feel like a cool in-joke that nerds could get is in here. But it doesn't feel exclusionary. The only bad part of this issue was the fact that it ended where the cover began. It wasn't a huge surprise, but I hate to be drawn out like that. Beautiful all the way around, I feel bad for Spider fans who aren't reading this.

Book of the week goes to Angel and Faith. It's weird, I felt like ALL the books this week were great, but looking back over the list, a single title didn't jump out at me. That's not a diss of Angel & Faith, just a note.