Huge stack this week, for me, in comparison.
Action Comics 897 - Lex and the Joker take us closer on Lex's journey for the Black Spheres and the countdown to issue 900. This book is so good that, honestly, I didn't even realize that we were so close to 900 and that that was probably what everything's building toward. The way that Lex and the Joker interact, plus Robot Lois' machinations make this a solid issue. The My Little Pony reference to Death was clever and the way they're shadowing the Joker (as having been shot, as being genuinely crazy and hearing voices, as having some kind of honest connection with all of the shady stuff) really makes me think of Darkseid. Is he on the same level? He might be, after this arc.
Age of X Alpha - Nowhere near as good as I wanted it to be. The art was middling and uneven and I don't have the hook of the Age of Apocalypse. We had Legion traveling back in time, wanting to kill Magneto, accidentally killing Xavier, and then...madness! Here...well, to be fair, I haven't been reading the X books, but they even say in the back of the book that this is just jumping out of nowhere and that's part of the plan. Unfortunately, with this as the first part of that plan, I won't be sticking around for the rest of it.
Detective Comics 873 - So, I was right to say last week that I was a bit behind with the last issue. Only I had no idea how far behind. But that was a super satisfying mistake to make as the conclusion to this story was here so quickly and ran so well. The auction and the gas combination lead to Dick recalling some of the lessons that he learned as one of the Flying Graysons, and this is something that I hope we can get more of, as this book continues. Maybe that was part of the idea behind the 'Grayson-ifying' of the Penthouse, to reflect the fact that he truly is Batman now, and that it's going to be all about him. If that's the case, mark me down in the happy column, because he makes a great Batman, and I love the narration that he's got going. The story, honestly, was almost secondary, with how happy I was with Dick's development, but count Etienne Guibourg as a new, worthy addition to the roster of rogues, like what's happening over in the Batman book, and the little touch with the Joker's crowbar (used against Jason Todd) made for a perfect wink and nod to be long-time crew. This was a solid issue and I'm firmly on board with the idea that Detective Comics might be the best Bat book on the market right now.
Fables 101 - The single weakest issue of Fables so far. I know they have to break things up after the epic builds to 75 and 100, but this just felt so flat. Maybe it was the fact that I saw Wicked this weekend, but Bufkin's journey to Oz just fell short this month. The interaction between the Magic Mirror and Fankenstein's Monster was solid, but Bufkin is a weak character and the premise of him climbing a tree didn't do anything for me. Even the delight of seeing Jack Pumpkinhead didn't make up for the fact that this issue felt like mostly filler. And I'm sure it's going to continue for a while, which makes it even harder to stomach.
Fantastic Four 587 - Casualty. I read the previous Hickman arcs in trade, and jumped on board for the Three storyline, Byre-stealing the issues and buying 587 for posterity's sake. I've never been a Fantastic Four fan and I won't pretend that I'm going to start being one now - though the stories that Hickman's been telling have been solid, for the most part - but I will say that, honestly, the end brought me to the verge of tears. Maybe that makes me a wussy, for caring about characters I don't honestly care about, but I prefer to think that it's a great sign of Hickman's writing, to make me believe that this actually matters. I'm not going to get into spoilers about who dies, even though it's out there, mainly because all I want to say about this issue is that it felt real and that I think they did a good job and I hope it's not made irrelevant too soon. Bravo.
New Avengers 8 - Despite how truly great this issue was (and it had some phenomenal moments) the issue was a terrible read, purely because of Daniel Acuna's pencils. I can't stand his art, I never could. The conversations between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones were pure Bendis, but I didn't even get to delight in them because every other panel Jessica's face looked like there was a different source of light shining on it. The Doombot plot, and the Spider-Man quips, and the Power Woman gag, they all fell off the edge of a cliff for me, purely because of Acuna's pencils. I'm sure his art appeals to many people, but for me, this one was negated,
The New York Five 1 - Picked this up on the strength of word of mouth, which was completely justified. I'll be picking up the trade of New York Four. A solid story of four roommates who are all real people and hence have real problems. This could be my new Strangers in Paradise, except for the facts that it's a limited series and I'm assured that it won't go off the deep end of mobs and millionaires and secret conspiracies. All of which is my way of saying that it might be my favorite book in a long time.
Scarlet 4 - I've said this before, but I'm honestly not sure why there isn't a bigger protest presence about this book. It's incendiary. But...it's also one of the best books on the market right now. Bendis and Maleev might be one of my favorite teams of all time. Scarlet 4 picks up literally where Scarlet 3 left off, with the video tape of her shooting a cop. The FBI's involved and the lead detective in Portland is beyond frustrated. A flashmob is organized and...the issue ends. So basically, we have no development of Scarlet, but we get to see some things from the other side. While that's all well and good, I can't believe we spent the whole issue talking about the gathering, and then the last page is her in the middle of the crowd and we don't even get a teaser! Looking forward to 5, loving this book.
Book of the week goes to Action Comics 897 for the way it's working its magic slowly but surely. There were no big deaths (a la FF) and it wasn't a premiere (like New York Five) but it does the job of keeping the overall story going while taking a brilliantly entertaining sidetrack. If only all writers could handle a long beat like Cornell's done here.