Thursday, April 29, 2010

comics for the week of 04/28/10.

Wasn't Brightest Day 1 supposed to drop this week?

Here's the stack:

Captain America 605 - I don't know how it happened that I bought more Marvel titles than DC this week, but this will probably be the last time it ever happens, because I'm finally dropping Cap. After successfully bringing back Bucky and killing Cap, Brubaker has finally lost me upon bringing back not only Steve Rogers, but a clone of him. I just don't care. This book no longer has the feel of something that's been plotted long-term (as it did when it was relaunched) nor does it have the immediate intrigue (as it did when Bucky was waffling with his decision) - it's just another Cap book. Captain America's never been that interesting to me, but Bru had done a good job making me care about the humans that occupied the book, until this point. Now, when I look at Bucky in the uniform, all I see is the stale, old character: Captain America.

Green Lantern Corps 47 - Good issue, but it had me wondering about the scene with Guy and Ganthet and Atrocitus on Ysmalt in Green Lantern 53. I like the fact that Guy and Hal and Arisia go to see the Guardians in much the same way that Hal and Sinestro used to, and I guess I like the fact that the Guardians repealed the third law. But it felt...unnatural. The Guardians aren't supposed to cave to that pressure, especially when caving is the right thing to do, because the Guardians are supposed to be aloof. I loved the fact that name called it a War of Light when we all know that's not what it was and that that's still upcoming. I'm not sure I'll stick on this book when Emerald Warriors comes out, mainly because I hopped on for the pre-Blackest Night stuff, and I just don't care about the Corps all that much. I'm a fan of the individual lanterns (Kyle, Hal, and Guy, probably in that order, and not Jon at all) but don't care so much for the space stories. Plus, I don't care about Kyle's relationship with his doctor-friend nearly as much as I do about his relationship with Guy. Hilarious potential there.

Invincible 71 - Finally, the Viltrumite War begins! Not much to say about this issue that hasn't been said about Invincible before: great story, clean pencils, one of the best in the biz. I'm excited for this storyline and definitely think it'll be epic.

New Avengers 64 - Good look at things from the other side. I've known the Hood was an interesting character since his first mini, but they've done an even better job with him since his return. I love the interplay between he and Norman, love the betrayal of Loki, and love the way he and Madam Masque are seeming like a real couple. This book gave me a good insight into Siege and reminded me that the conclusion is coming up and got me even more pumped for it. It also, however, had an ad for the Secret Avengers book, which looks beyond terrible.

Book of the Week? I don't know. Let's give it to Invincible for being consistently awesome even if this issue didn't blow me away. What books did I miss?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

apple's security.

Just real briefly, I do think that this police raid on Gizmodo speaks to more than just the journalistic considerations that Mashable mentions - it's about the whole ecosystem of a company that values intellectual property above anything else in the world.

Intellectual property, while not the devil that it's sometimes made out to be, is one of the worst catchalls for bad behavior in recent memory. Suing senior citizens for downloading a few songs, the five-plus privacy warnings before a legit copy of a DVD, etc. all stand to punish consumers who are already on the side of the behemoths that come across like bullies. However, with Apple's pursuit of their new iPhone, this appears to have reached a new low. (Or maybe not. Maybe this is old-hat and I'm naive enough to think that this is some terrible event. Let me know.)

The simple fact is that the police would never have conducted this raid without being egged on by Apple, Inc. and perhaps even Jobs himself. The fact that Giz had already offered (some reports are even saying had already done so!) to return the phone speak toe the totalitarian nature of this company regime. As uncomfortable as I was with Google starting their censoring business in China, I'm even less of a fan of a company directing the police in my own country to a private residence.

I understand the desire, and even the need, to keep trade secrets. I'm not against capitalistic advantages, nor do I think copyright (or patents, in this case, more likely) should should obliterated. However, I do think there's a real danger in this case. The journalistic implications are important, and I believe that they'll be fleshed out, if not fully, in the near future. I'm still surprised, though, that so few people are talking about the broader aspects of this whole story.

Just another detail that pushes me away from Apple and their gates and into the open-source community. This is not a business, this is a master-slave didactic.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

comics for the week of 4-21-10.

Man. I'm a bad comic book fan. I only bought two books this week, and that ways only because I felt like a wanker going to the register with only one. To be fair, I wanted to buy SHIELD 1 but my LCS said it was sold out! I should have gotten it earlier. So, yeah...only two.

Green Lantern 53 - Easily the best book of the week. Great previews for a whole bunch of storylines, while not necessarily sacrificing anything of its own, having a cohesive storyline running through the whole book - this book proves (if it hadn't already been proved to you!) that Geoff Johns is a master of the craft and that he knows exactly what he's doing. The highlights include the Hammond nonsense, the Sinestro dialogue (do we sense jealousy about the White Lantern?) and the super-intriguing almost-intro, where we see 2001-like obelisks with the symbols of all the different Corps.

Powers 4 - I know; I said I was dropping this book. And I meant to. But. I only had GL walking up to the register, and I just wasn't willing to be that guy. When I read the book, though, I was actually glad that I'd bought it, because this book seems to finish up (the first part of) the Broglia storyline that was reaching back to Vegas and the 50s/60s and had bored me so much into dropping the book. I'm happy to have it (semi-) finished, so that I won't have any threads (really) hanging when I truly drop the book. I leave all these parenthetical statements, obviously, because nothing is ever truly done in comics, it's serial storytelling, so there were plenty of hints dropped about possible future storylines. I just don't care about any of them.

Green Lantern gets the easy call for book of the week. Johns rules, if you're not reading GL, you're a fool.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

in priase of handcent sms.

Thanks to a fantastic comment on my last entry about my phone from a helpful stranger, I learned about Handcent SMS which is a free app available for Android phones. Now that I have it, I literally cannot imagine having a phone without these capabilities for SMS again. Seriously.

Handcent lets me do everything that I've ever wanted to do with SMS, and I can only pray that this sort of openness will be delivered in every way on the Android platform. One of the greatest things about Handcent, too, is the fact that the customization of sounds is not limited to SMS - I've been able to throw all kinds of alerts on emails, calendars, etc. all just due to having the application installed. Android (and perhaps the Nexus One, in particular?) has been super easy to trick - all I have to do to make a ringtone is to throw an mp3 into a folder on my SD card labeled Ringtones - no need to even mess with the Ringdroid application, unless I want to tweak some of the time-settings. But now, thanks to the Handcent app, I'm able to pick from the full spectrum of all of the sounds that are on my phone, not just the ones that I've altered into notifications, alerts, or ringtones. This is an ideal solution, but it'd be even better if it was the default. Hopefully, the Android platform will grab a few of the better ideas from these various applications, and write them into the baseline OS for the future releases, as Apple used to do with the jailbreakers.

If the homepage of Handcent doesn't give you enough of an idea of what the program is, let me break down some of the best parts, for me: first of all, the pop up screen. This is even better than the iPhone's, because it allows for replies right from the popup. Additionally, if there are multiple notifications up, it's possible to customize the application so that the user can flick through them. (This can also be avoided, if you want to prioritize privacy - options are amazing!) The popup screen also doesn't have to allow replies, in a doubling of the options comments. There are also options to customized ringtones for individual contacts' text messages, not just including the sound, but changing the vibration as well.

There are so many good things about this application, and what's promising to me is that they all seem to be things that are embraced by the native OS - when a system is open, it's just bound to work better.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

taking names.

This weekend, Kick-Ass came out, and it got a lot of press. I mean, a whole lot. I'm honestly not that interested in talking about what Ebert said, what he knows about, or any other ridiculous shit, because, well, it's been covered to death other places way better than I would be able to do, even if I did care.

What I will say is that it was an awesome movie. Comic book to death, true to its roots, funny as hell and violent as all get out. The best things about it were its under-utilization of Nicholas Cage (he of the can't-say-no-to-comic-book-movies variety), its relentless treatment of the concept (way to go full hog with it!), and the relatively small, but pretty significant change that was made (it was the right decision for Hollywood).

The concept of, "What if somebody actually did this in the real world?" is one that's honestly worth exploring, and though this isn't the only way to do so, I think it's cool that Millar and Romita did so on their own terms. The comic itself suffered because of this transition to the format of film, but it was worth it in the end, because the books still stand on their own, and the movie is a great one.

The only beef that I'll actually register with the movie has almost nothing to do with the movie itself, but the soundtrack was just...weird. It wasn't bad, it was just strangely out of place at times and in places.

Just like with the comic, great things about the movie were the so-obvious setting up of the sequel, the gratuitous use of cursing (I say good for the little girl!) and the real-world dialogue. When Dave suggests that someone become a hero in real life, his friends call him a fucking retard, just like real comic book geeks would talk to each other. It's not politically correct, and it's not nice, but if you thought that's what you were going to get when you walked into this movie, you didn't bother to even look at the previews.

Friday, April 16, 2010

comics for the week of 4/14/10.

A healthy stack this week, minus the obvious buy Brightest Day 0 because, honestly, I'm not going to even think about buying the whole series, so why should I waste money on this first issue? I'll read my friends' copies.

Batgirl 9 - Advertising the new arc on the cover is kind of a pet peeve of mine, but Batgirl gets a pass because the writing is solid, the art rocks, and the books is new; they're bound to slip up every once in a while. The story inside is all right, we're continuing the progression of Stephanie and Oracle and their relationship together, and so, of course, we need a nemesis. (Nemeses? What's the plural?) I'll continue buying this book as long as it treats all of its characters with the respect that it currently shows. Good work all around.

Batman 698 - On the other hand, all of the other Bat books continue to slip for me. This one's got the Riddler on the cover (uncool ever since they took away his deduction of Batman's identity) and there's a copycat killer of some sorts inside and it. just. doesn't. matter. None of the main Bat books are any good, and I'm only biding my time until issue 700, at which point I'll drop this book.

Booster Gold 31 - Booster is always a fun run, and I love the continuing complexity of the relationship between Booster and Rip Hunter. I love the fact that older Booster showed up a few issues ago (last issue?) to give it even more of a wrinkle. And I love that Dan Jurgens was on this book. As much as I love Giffen and DeMatteis, I'm just not sure that I'll keep on buying the book. This seems like a perfect time to leave, especially since, as the crises are over, Rip's chalkboard has become increasingly less important and enthralling. It still gives us clues, and the book's still fun, but we'll see.

Daredevil 506 - Let's start off with: what a cover! Man, this is gorgeous! Seriously. The story inside continues to impress me. This is two new writers now, since Bendis that I thought I would drop this book with, but they continue to reel me in. I love the story of Matt being in charge of the Hand, and I love the new directions that Diggle continues to take the entire cast in. The art is nowhere near the old Maleev levels, nor even the semi-Maleev-looking art of Lark, but it's great in that same style. I'm enthused that White Tiger has stuck around beyond her introduction, beyond even the period when it looked like she might be forgotten or just avoided, and I'm looking forward to Matt coming back to NYC and re-integrating into the Marvel Universe, proper.

Fables 94 - Fables is marching toward their 100th issue relentlessly! This book has never been anything other than fantastic. The Great Fables Crossover might have been a personal favorite of mine, but everything before, and everything since has impressed in a way that few books are able to do, much less maintain. Willingham and Buckingham have really got something right here, and I hope they continue to do it for as long as possible. In this issue, we get the expanding conflicts or the Dark Man, Gepetto, the Farm, and the 13th Floor Crew all congealing. There's no doubt that these things will come to a head, but there's also very little doubt that, even when a few (or all) of them get resolved, things will probably be worse than they were before. Rose Red is in some serious trouble and has been for a while. Here's hoping her Mom can help her out.

The Flash 1 - Never have I been so happy to be so wrong. It happens frequently enough, me being wrong, but rarely does it bring me so much joy. Last week I wrote about my disappointment in Flash 1 but that's because I'm a bad comic book fan! That wasn't Flash 1! And thank God for that! Last week we got Flash Secret Files and Origins and here's the normal book! And guess what? It's penciled by Francis Manapul! I have yet another book to spend money on every week! This book was everything I wanted from last week's Flash - I'm not that interested in Barry, I don't give a shit about Iris, and yet, Johns' writing and Manapul's pencils were more than enough to hook me into the story. Great job from a great team. I still wish they were working on Superboy and the Legion, instead, though.

The Unwritten 12 - Another freakishly good issue. They've done this once before, with the whale issue, but this one is even better. Dovetailing completely from the main story of Tom Taylor, instead we have an entire issue that is written in two distinct styles, where we get to see what the children's book is probably like, and the real life (lives?) contained within it as well. The premise is genius, and fits in beautifully with the larger arc that the Unwritten seems to be traveling toward, but the emotions that are infused into such a ridiculous image (the cute bunny cursing and threatening violence in a way that Bugs Bunny never dreamed of) really make this a must-read. If you haven't picked up any of the Unwritten, buy this issue! You don't even need to read the previous 11 books. But you should.

Book of the week has got to be tied between Fables and the Unwritten. Fables continues to kill, and the Unwritten is, put simply, the best new book of the last five plus years. Vertigo as a label has not faltered since the Sandman debuted, and, despite some of the love that it gets, I firmly believe that it's still underrated as a label and as a producer of some of the finest comics this generation has seen and will see. Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

looking longer and harder at the nexus one.

It's been more than two weeks since I picked up my Nexus from the UPS Store, and almost two full weeks since I put a T-Mobile SIM into the monster and made it play on the 4th (3rd?) network. Here's a few of the things that I've noticed in that time.

First, the N1 really is a good phone. It's solid. The touchscreen is great, videos look great, the controls are responsive, etc. That being said, I believe few people read reviews for the good, and there are some serious downsides to the phone. The stock keyboard that Android devices launch with is pretty bad. The space bar is way too small, and the letters (and symbols) are much too close together. The back, menu, home, and search buttons can be accidentally pushed while you're typing. (This, however, can usually be rectified by hitting the back button, which is an advantage over other phones - unless it's the back button you mispressed originally.)

Secondly, either 3G isn't nearly as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be, or T-Mobile's network really does suck. I've had some of the reported issues of 3G dropping in and out and defaulting to the Edge network, but that's not the issue. Even when I had consistent 3G signal, streaming video was choppy and disjointed at best, and didn't even work 2 of the 4 times I tried. If streaming video isn't the point of 3G, then I see no point at all. If it's only for faster browsing, I'm not impressed. Either way, it seems way overblown to me.

Thirdly, the news about the Android Market is great because some things just aren't there yet. Twidroid still hasn't proven itself to me as a sufficient replacement for Twitterrific. It's capable, just not on the same level. NBA Game Time Lite is nice, insofar as it's free, but ESPN still hasn't staked a claim in the Android Market? This is almost unbelievable to me!

In an important note, the battery issue is a real one. Real real. I'm not doing anything intense with my phone (yet) and I still have almost nothing left by the end of a 14 hour day. This simply isn't acceptable from a phone that people rate as important as sex. Either the batteries have to be improved or the OS does. Or both, I suppose.

Last, there are some unnatural things about the phone that I can't help but mention: when I click an apostrophe, the keyboard should default back to the letters. We should be able to customize individual SMS notifications. (I tried Missed Call, but didn't find it satisfactory.) The lack of a silencing button is a semi-significant issue. The native music app has been written about plenty of times, but it's still (perhaps) the biggest issue. And then, lastly, there's the splintering of the Android platform itself. This has been rumored to be reaching the point where it's going to be stopped but it's bad that it even got to this stage.

Overall, a solid phone. Nowhere near the revolution that I wanted it to be, coming from Google, but, as with other things, that was probably a problem of expectations, not on their part.

unsung player day!

Today is Unsung Player Day! In the NBA, we have superstars, we have role players, and we have...the other guys. The unsung players. The ones who get very little love, who play few minutes. The ones who, maybe, just maybe, could be replaced by a D-League player, and every once in a while, you'd get an improvement. But we don't want to replace them! We love them! And for me, for a variety of reasons, that player is Adam Morrison.

I know what you're thinking: Ammo's a waste, a wash, he's only famous for his mustache. Well, that and Halo Wars and leading the nation in scoring. Oh, crying. (He even made a meta commercial about it.)

But it goes deeper than that. Adam Morrison played at Gonzaga, where I went to college. He gave a controversial interview in Sports Illustrated. He is a role model. And, I mean hell, he's living the dream! He gets to sit the bench for the Lakers. He's got a championship ring! (Think about that for a little while. Try not to get depressed.)

Morrison's only playing 7.5 minutes per game for the Lakers, and they're mostly all meaningless minutes, but to me, that's perfect. I never thought he was going to be a great pro-level talent, despite all the great flashes he showed in college. On the Lakers, he gets to absorb some great teachings and teachers, he gets to be around the game that he clearly loves so much, and he doesn't have to worry too much about living up the to hype of being the number three pick in the draft. He might not contribute much to the team on the court, but I love being able to look to the bench and see him there.

As a postscript, I feel it's worth mentioning that my love for GU players in the league wanted me to pick Ronny, but his minutes have bumped way past the buffer since he took the money from Golden State and ran. Good for him.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

comics for the week of 4-07-10.

A couple more books this week, with some really good ones, and a huge disappointment.

Batman and Robin 11 - The Return of Bruce Wayne continues! one should really care. I mean, Bruce coming back is a huge deal, just feels like he hasn't even been gone. Final Crisis was...ugh, and then it kind of seemed like the only reason it even existed was to kill Bruce, which was something Morrison had never mentioned (never intended?) and Bruce was clearly never dead anyway, so then the story became...nothing. There is no story. He's traveling through time. We think. Really? I don't care about this at all. Dick is Batman now and it's awesome and it's what it should be, and Bruce coming back is just going to add another uninteresting, unwanted layer to what should be a simple treat. Oberon is (in a silly way) an interesting character, but if we have the typical Morrison story where it's so obvious that he's Bruce and then it turns out he might not be and then he is, I'm going to be pissed.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer 34 - Wow. So good that I had to read it twice. Before I read any other books. Buffy is just such a damn cool story, I love Angel, I love Buffy, and, of course, I love all the other characters. (Everyone does, right?) This storyline, though, is getting weird. A whole lot of sex in this issue made for an energetic time reading, but beside that, I'm curious what's going on with Angel. Is he really a good guy? I don't get it. Giles seems so freaked out by the concept of Twilight (and the old-timey Watchers committed mass suicide!) but Angel seems psyched at the end to see that they' Twilight. I don't get it, but I love it, and I'm confident that it's going to a great place.

The Flash 1 - On the other hand, this book was a trick! Manapul's name is on the cover, he did all the preview art, he did the cover and he does a few of the Flash Facts in the back, but he's not the artist! What the hell? Why can't he draw Adventure Comics, then? While Kollins is a fine artist, he's not what I was expecting, nor what I wanted. I didn't even want to buy this book, but I told myself I had to, since Johns was writing it and Manapul was drawing it. Since Manapul's not drawing it, I'll be saving some money; no way am I buying any more issues of this.

Invincible Returns 1 - Kirkman knows drama. Great book, it's been on a consistent build since I can't even say when and now we're going to get to the real stuff. Mark's going off-planet, Conquest has been sent out to stop Nolan and Allen (too late!) and Eve's left behind, having refused to reveal the baby to Mark. Great, great stuff that I hope continues for as long as possible.

Superman: Secret Origin 5 - Another Johns winner. The art continues to kill, with Christopher Reeve almost looking straight at us off the page, and the story is a fine update. For some reason, with this penultimate issue, some of the urgency seems to have died off. It felt like such a fresh take the first three issues, what with the updates, the Legion, the Luther clues, etc. This wasn't a bad issue by any means, but it lacked some of the pep of the previous ones. Next issue is the conclusion, though, and I expect great things.

All good books this week, no Marvel titles, with Flash being a solid read, just not what I was looking for. Book of the week has to go to Buffy, simply for my love for the franchise and the way it's progressing. What'd I miss?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

just briefly, on reading books.

John Green asks a question in his latest video (actually, I'm sure he asks more than one, but...) that I think is worth a quick answer:

The answer is no. I don't find it harder to read books in the modern era. However, that comes with a caveat: I don't find it harder to read books in the modern era...than I ever did before...or as long as they're good books.

When I was growing up, all I wanted to read were sci-fi or fantasy books. As I grew, so did my tastes, but not before comic books took a permanent residence as my preferred form of literature. So now, while I read plenty of books still, they tend to fall along the lines of comics, or info about comics, or young adult fiction, which serves the dual-purpose of entertaining me and helping me in my job.

Regardless of what kind of book I'm reading, though, as long as it's a good book, it is all I can think about. I want to read it when I wake up in the morning (and usually do try to sneak a few pages in), I want to schedule SSR at school so that I can read, and I want to read at night. A lot of times, other things get in the way, but once I'm in the throes of a book, it's usually pretty engrossing. A couple of things to note about this, though: my appetite for books is not exactly normal. And, a lot of the time here I'm talking about comics. Neither of these are bad, in my opinion, but they're important.

Do you feel distracted in your day to day life?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

wanting mockingjay!

Recently I finished up the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy: Catching Fire. I was completely enthralled by the first game, and had looked for the second one immediately upon completion; unfortunately, in my public library system, there are 15 copies, and there were 45 holds on those 15 books. I resolved to see if it was available at my school and, if not, to just wait to read it when it was less popular. Fortunately, I found a copy and blazed through the book.

Instead of another summary of a book (or two) that are better-re-capped online, I figured that I would just take this opportunity to say some good things about the book, since, sure, it's getting some press, but not as much as...other books.

Here's the thing about the Hunger Games: not only are these books drawing in tons of kids and getting them to read at a fantastic pace, but they're well-written! I know it's hard to believe that any young adult fiction could be, but that's only to you haters who have never read any. (Or who only read Twilight.) There are certainly predictable elements in all of the books. There are elements that are stereotypical. But these things, to me, are almost unavoidable. When you're writing a story that fits so neatly into the genre, there's nothing wrong with playing to form, as long as you've got that original concept, like Collins does. (No, it's not completely original, I know that. But it's got the good twist.)

Books like this are what we need more of: we need to encourage kids to read books where they see themselves, characters who are three-dimensional and aren't presented with the faux-choice of predetermined courses. We need to see family members they care about, in real and authentic ways, such as Katniss loving her mother and being willing to sacrifice so much for her, and yet, harboring this intense anger towards her for this behavior she exhibited after the father's death. The stereotypical snake-like nature of President Snow is one of the few truly over-the-top characterizations that I've resented.

If you haven't read the Hunger Games and its sequel, do so. They're kid's books, so to speak, so you'll zoom through them in less than no time. But they're filled with good characters, beyond-decent plot lines, and it'll give you some kind of picture on the good stuff available when a young'un tells you they're thinking about reading Twilight (or one of its sequels) for the umpteenth time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

comics for the week of 3-31-10.

Only three again this week.

Blackest Night 8 - The book I've been waiting for since the event started. It was better than we even had a right to expect, after all the recent lackluster conclusions. The four-page spread was epic, as it was designed to be, and the entire book had a feeling to it that it was just right. Everything that happened felt good and like it was supposed to happen. The returns of the ones who returned (both good and bad) felt perfect, and the ones who didn't return really shouldn't have. It was good. The ending, while appropriate (I suppose that's the word) felt a little forced with the connection to the other storyline that Johns isn't in charge of, but I guess that's him being a good team player. If they had to have a White Lantern Corps, it was done as well as it could have been, with a minimal amount of cheese. I'll be interested to go back and read the whole thing as one installment and see if it holds up as well as it is now in my memory.

The Sword 23 - Speaking of endings, this one's building beautifully! The Luna Brothers do great work and, even though I thought that Girls got a bit derailed by just being weird at one point, this one is turning out to be their greatest work. It's clearly derivative, but in that way where it doesn't matter at all. This is an example of homage as the greatest tribute. Sure it's a classic-style story, sure there are familiar elements, but none of that matters, because the book is so well-done and it's not like they're trying to camouflage their intents. The second-to-last book here has a twist that I never saw coming, and I'm left salivating over the fact that they now only have one issue left to wrap this mess up. This has been a great book and will be a great finish.

X-Men: Second Coming 1 - I was talked into getting this book by my guy at the local comic book store, and by all the good things all my friends have said about how the X-Men have been great lately. And after reading the book, I can say that it was definitely good. But I don't feel the need to follow the storyline, nor will I be buying all the tie-in books (13 chapters?!) that run through the various X books. I'll probably pick up the last chapter (X-Men Second Coming 2? Something like that...) and I'll keep track of the storyline, either by Byrne-stealing the books, or just be chatting with friends. It's interesting, but I just can't feel myself being deep-hooked into the X-mythos again.

LCS claimed X-Men was the book of the week, Blackest Night clearly wanted to be, but I think I might have to give it to The Sword. Not a bad week, even if there were only three books, and if all three were up in contention for the best, then I think comics in general are in good shape.