A redux, some standby old favorites fall, and I finished Earth X! (More on that later.)
Batgirl 18 - Another one-off with Klarion! While last issue was nothing but good, this one had a few spots where it lagged. That being said, it was another great example of the truth that the one-off issue is not only dead but continues to exemplify some of the best work in the business. The ways that Stephanie interacted with Damian versus how she interacts with Klarion serve as a template on how to write a character; she's not one-dimensional, there are different aspects to her. She also gets to play the straight role often in these sorts of team-ups, which I think is good for her, as her solo tone is way less serious. Their time in Limbo Town gave us a great Harry Potter shoutout, and the ending, with the two of them together Happily Ever After (for five more minutes...) was pitch perfect. Great stuff.
Flash 9 - The Road to Flashpoint and it sucked. The surprise at the end felt ridiculous, I don't care how they twist it. The whole book felt like a stop-gap measure, kind of just killing time while there was one point to the whole thing - the aforementioned end. The art was fantastic as always, with Manapul finally back on this book, but the story by Johns felt like less of a first chapter and more of a prelude. I know it's (kind of) in the title, but if this is "The Road to Flashpoint" then I'm even more convinced than ever that I want nothing to do with that event. Literally nothing happened in this issue until the last page and that page felt like a cheap soap opera.
New Avengers 9 - Good stuff with Nick Fury in the past and a middling story in the present. Surprise last page didn't do anything for me. Maybe it's the death in FF last week (two weeks ago?) but I just can't handle any more of this fake shit. We all know that any time a major character dies they'll be back sooner rather than later. If just one time (ONE TIME!) they left a character dead long enough for us to believe it, this trend might feel different. But as it is, ironically, the only character who's stayed dead is Jean Gray - the Phoenix! The cover to this book was great, though, and the Nick Fury story in the past was a nick little touch. Hopefully we'll see the tho threads connecting in a way that emphasizes that side as opposed to continuing with the nonsense in the present.
The Unwritten 22 - The worst issue of the run so far. I hope I'm not coming across as too harsh, but this one just didn't have the same gravitas as the last couple issues. Frankenstein's Monster even acknowledges that, when Tom gets to talk to him again and thinks he's gonna get some grand answers. (Interestingly enough, these have been promised by the departing editor in her goodbye column for next issue. I believe it.) The section with the crazy puppet lady (does she have a name yet?) also felt a bit odd, especially after the way that Lizzie and Savoy got worked last issue. This issue, she doesn't get what she needs from them and so she just lets them go with that vivid vision of the future? Clearly, something more is going on there. The connection between Sinbad and Moby Dick is beyond interesting, but I get the feeling that we're only skimming the surface. In two years, though, if this is as bad as The Unwritten's been, it's still got more than enough positive stuff to make it.
Book of the week goes to Batgirl, simply as a reward for being great again on the week that Unwritten happened to falter. I was worried about this book after the first year, wondering if it would find a tone it could stick with. I think it did, and I think the change to Nguyen's art was and is an improvement.