Monday, October 31, 2011

comics for the week of 10/26/11.

A short stack this week, as it seems is the new norm for me. Representing something from (almost) everything, though. That seems good.

Angel & Faith 3 - The search for the demon's blood to bring Giles back from the dead continues, but we get some good characterization of both Angel and Faith in the meantime. We also see some neat demons, some of the world after magic (this isn't new, in fact, it feels like the only thing that's already tired from both books – I can see how this trope is going to wear thin very, very quickly) and some more of the ex-Slayers. The way Faith talks to them, and the way they talk to her, is really the biggest sign of the progression of her character. She's definitely not the young, pissed off girl who's been passed over one too many times anymore. In fact, she doesn't even think of herself that way, even if she's shocked at her own journey into old age. But the biggest part of this issue is the introduction of a new secondary character I hope they keep around: an ex-mage who knew Giles (at least in a second-hand manner) and who guesses at Angel's motivation pretty quickly. As I said, Faith has progressed as a character, but there's still something to be said for having that old voice of reason around.

FF 11 - Building into 600, it seems like nothing more is happening in this issue. We've got the continued domestication of Reed, his censure at the hands of Sue becoming more and more clear. We've got Ben returning home. We've got the kids working on a secret project, which Reed surmises rather quickly (which will change in that good Hickman way to be something completely different, I'd guess) and we've got some guest spots from Marvel's best and brightest. The real meat of the issue comes in the way the Inhumans (or just the Kree, I really can't tell if they're truly working together) deal with the Alterna-Reeds. (And how sad was it that we didn't see Victor, Other Other Reed and Nathaniel at all in this issue?) But it's clear that the battle that's coming up is going to be huge. It's going to involve diverse and multitudinous sides and, honestly, I'm not sure what each side is going to have to sacrifice if they want to win. Here's to looking ahead.

The Flash 2 - There are a couple pages in this issue, like the title page and the pages where Barry is learning at super speed, that seem truly revolutionary. Francis Manapul's art is truly the best thing in the comic industry right now, and the fact that he's been given free reign on a flagship DC title is promising. However, it's not all wonderful news here, as the story seems...well...kind of dull. Maybe it's the reboot retreading over ground I've already run (pun intended) but it felt very static. As though we were supposed to be amazed at what was going on with the plotting, but, as I started this recap with, the only thing groundbreaking about it is (was) the art. That art, like I've already said, is indeed fresh. But it's not quite enough to be the product it could be.

The Ultimates 3 - This was a bit of a disappointment after the greatness of 2, but, again, it seems like a set up issue and, given the goodness that's happened before, I'm willing to accept that. Hickman paces himself on a scale that a lot of other people can't see most of the time, so I'm more than willing to go along for the ride. It's just like FF; I acknowledge that the end game might be invisible to me, but I know it's worth sticking around. This issue reverts back to the first issue formula: BATTLES! That's pretty much all there is for it, and after the cerebral way that we get our reveal last issue, it kind of felt like a let down, but I know that Thor getting over to the Tomorrow City is going to play out in a way that I can't foresee. And I love that. Meantime, in this issue, we have some Fury, some Hawkeye, a whole lot of Iron Man, and still no Cap. My guess is that's going to have to change next issue. Looking forward to it.

Book of the week goes to the Flash. In a world without Manapul's art, people would still, somehow, realize they were suffering. They would feel that absence. Thank God we don't have to be those poor fools.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

lobos men's soccer reaches number one in the country!

By some counts we are number one. (Of course, by one other we are number two.) It's a good time to be a fan of Lobos soccer.

The men's soccer team, as previously mentioned, has been here before. Ranked first in the country. A team full of athletes dedicated to a common cause. The same coach. The atmosphere drowning the city. It didn't end as well as it could have. Ironically, the team that is ahead of UNM in the NSCAA poll is Maryland, the same team that beat the Lobos in 2005 for the national championship.

The Lobos soccer team is the only unbeaten team in the nation at this point, and is looking to finish up their schedule on a strong note. Two of the last three regular season games take place this weekend at the UNM Sportsplex, and tickets are still more than available.

The truth at this point, though, is that UNM has got to start thinking about the NCAA tournament and, perhaps, let some of the thoughts regarding their now-record-breaking win streak go by the wayside. The MPSF tournament comes first and a respectable finish there is more than hoped for by now – it's expected. The expectations are high for this team. The team will refuse to look past opponents, giving everyone their due respect, but we have the luxury of looking ahead.

When the Lobos were making their earlier runs, they had the benefit of some serious home-field advantage. We can hope for the same here, but it's only useful if the stadium is packed. With the lofty goals of a sport-starved city foisted upon them, the Lobos certainly have more-than-ample excuse to crumble. These men, though, seem up to the challenge. The season is almost over and the time for marking true accomplishments is practically here. Make sure to get out to the Lobos soccer field to see what happens.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

comics for the week of 10/19/11.

Short stack. All DC (including Vertigo). I'm sticking with them despite my beefs with the DCnU. Guess they're not foolish to think they can punch me in the mouth and that I'll be back, because here I am.

Batman 2 - The Court of Owls makes its debut and Nightwing and Bruce have a chat. The storylines that are running concurrently in Nightwing, Batman and even (maybe) Batman and Robin really make me feel hope for this New 52 Universe. However, that's kind of beside the point. Here, we have some solid art from Capullo as well as more great storytelling from Snyder (although I have to say - it reminded me of the David Finch run on Dark Knight before the DCnU and that's not a good thing at all. Here's to hoping it'll get off that style) combining to introduce this retcon of the Court of Owls. It'll be cool, but everytime they introduce some supposedly always important architecture in Gotham, it always makes me think of some fanatic who's got a model of the city in his basement and curses their compulsions. (Theirs?) Capullo's Gordon still looks a bit odd, but I love the way that he's trying to ape some of the greater B:TAS elements, in the big heads and the pointy cowl ears. Good stuff here. You're a fool if you're not reading.

Fables 110 - Some great characterizations of the various Winds! The tests of the baby Wolves continues and the last page of baby girl Wolf finding that Good things are ahead. Fables is a book, like the Walking Dead, that I hope continues (almost literally) forever. There are so, so, so many things they can do with it and, honestly, if you've been reading since the first issue, it's progressed so much. It's an incredible read in a great time for alternacomics. In this issue, we saw the other Winds and we got to see some of the backstory between the family. The OZ adventures continue, but that's the weakest part of the recent run. And, of course, the baby Winds are going through their tests, which we know mean nothing, but they don't. The last-page discovery has some serious ramifications.

Justice League 2 - Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Flash fight, of course, but it's actually pretty good. The issue felt thick, which was good, cuz it was still 3.99. Now that we've had a whole month of other books and we see where the characters are on their own, I'm liking the 5 Years Ago setting of JL. It works better for me because I have a contrast for it, while the first issue was our big get to know you, this one felt fresh, even though we just had fresh. Not a bad thing. The Jim Lee pencils are so sweet, I don't understand people who claim not to like them. I'll include that Johns' scripting felt better, but I can't shake the feeling that he's lost it. Especially in the moments with Vic Stone (the soon-to-be Cyborg) it just felt awkward. I don't care about this character and it doesn't feel like the writer does either. You lose a lot of momentum/impetus when it comes across lazy. Here's to hoping it'll come around.

Book of the week goes to Fables. This book is everything I thought it could be when it first debuted and I am shocked that I can continue to say that, month in and month out. Bravo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

texas vs. st. louis.

Every year, every major sport comes down to two teams. Usually, there's some sort of narrative framing that championship match-up. This year, MLB does not disappoint, and gives the people a trope they've come to expect: team on a roll, usually through some sort of improbable circumstance, versus a team that is defying some odds.

The St. Louis Cardinals get to play the role of the former, shocking most casual fans with their astonishing run through the post-season and winding up only four wins away from the ultimate validation. The Texas Rangers, on the other hand, are a firm lock in the latter category, having raced to the World Series last year, after a long, long drought, and battling all year to get back.

When these two teams meet on Wednesday night, they'll start things off in St. Louis, which has home-field advantage thanks to the All-Star Game. The best of seven series follows a 2-3-2 format, ensuring that Texas' fans will be packing the stands in the middle of the series, regardless of the result.

There's the mini-drama over Lance Berkman, a free agent last year who was pursued by the Rangers, but ultimately spurned them for the Cardinals. There's the amazing rate of the Ranger's bullpen, which is producing at a rate that is almost embarrassing for the starters. And, of course, there's the danger of St. Louis' powerful offense, combining Albert Pujols – perhaps the best hitter in baseball – with David Freese and the aforementioned Berkman.

Predictions, however, are hard to come by. These teams, with their varied styles and the differing ways they got to this point, play a somewhat even game. When forced to come with a prediction, though, I've got to go with the Rangers in seven games. These teams are so close, it's going to be a full series. We're going to see some beautiful baseball. But ultimately, only one of the familiar stories will get to be told. This is the year for the Rangers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

comics for the week of 10/12/11.

Somehow, I missed FF 10 this week. I read it at a friend's house, but I didn't buy it, so I'm not including it here. You should hear me, though, when I say that it was good (not Book of the Week good) and you should buy it. This book keeps getting better and better, except for that very, very odd misstep with the art on the two-part arc devoted to Black Bolt. Other than that, not much to note..

Batwoman 2 - As good as it gets. This book is what comics should be and it's what comics could be Unfortunately, not too many people are going to pick it up. It'll sell enough copies to keep going, because what JH Williams III is doing is so revolutionary, but it's not going to be up near the top like it should be. This comic should be getting written about the way the Unwritten was when it first dropped and yet (maybe because of the reboot?) it's just another new hot piece. In this issue, we got great development between Kate and her sidekick (and how brutal was the line from Bruce about Jason?) as well as Kate and her (maybe) girlfriend. We've got great movement on the La Llorona case and we've got an interesting new angle on the DEO. (Is that right?) Really, really, really great stuff. There's no doubt that this is the second-best book on the market, after Locke & Key.

Buffy Season 9 2 - Buffy continues to run away from the Season 8 debacle (that I didn't really feel was as bad as others made it out to be) in a stunning fashion. After the ending to issue one, it was clear that this was going to be a tonally different book and that's not a bad thing, even though I didn't dislike Season 8, as others did, like I've said. However, there can be no doubt that this is going to be a different look. The relationships are back at center-stage, notably focusing on Willow and Buffy. The role that Spike is going to get to play in this drama, really though, is going to be the biggest change in this book. He was a bit-player in Season 8 and it's looking like he's going to get center stage in Season 9. Other notables include a detective and his partner working on Buffy's case, Buffy being arrested and the reveal at the end of the issue that there might be some alternative slayage happening. This is interesting, but it's a slow build, as opposed to Angel & Faith's right out the door excitement. I'm not against it,'s not fantastically compelling either.

Green Lantern 2 - Repeat my comments from last month on GL. I'm happy with this book, but neither happier nor more upset than I was before the reboot. It's the exact same book. The wrinkle with Sinestro is going to start playing out, though, either next issue or the one after, when we get to see him taking on the Yellow Corps with a green ring. I'm also intrigued by this idea of his creating a green ring. If this is a common thing, that's going to represent a lot of trouble. If this is uncommon, it's going to mean a lot of trouble from Sinestro, as he's evidentially extremely powerful. The Guardians are idiots, Hal is not compelling if he's not a GL, and Sinestro is evil. This doesn't feel like a change and that's not bad. But...I'm confused.

Resurrection Man 2 - This book, on the other hand, is such retro fun. The Body Doubles are back (and they're got a DCnU upgrade! or, at least, in my faint memory of the 90s, it seems like they do) and Heaven and Hell continue to fight over Mitch. The deal with his Dad is sad and the friend of his Dad's is odd (usually, I expect this to go to the typical reverse shock route, but I'm left wondering with this book, given the overall tone) but overall, things are great here. If you want some nostalgic fun, pick this book up.

Shield 3 - This issue is what finally convinced me that if I'm going to continue loving Shield the way I say I do, I've got to stop reading it monthly. (Or bi-monthly. Or whenever the delays allow it to come out.) I've known for a long time that this book is best enjoyed as a TPB, but this (near-) wordless issue is the one that convinced me. If I can breeze through an issue that should be this dense in less than two minutes, I think it's clear that there's something wrong. And since I genuinely believe that the problem isn't with the book, per se, the problem must be with me, how I'm taking this title on. The fight between the warring sides of the Eternal City goes down here and it's epic, but not so epic that we had to be without any words. This, to me, was a mistake. They're losing my monthly dollars, but I'll still be there when the trades come out, because it really is that good. I just can't handle the wait between issues and the ambiguity I always feel when I've lost track of the somewhat tenuous plot.

Ultimate Spider-Man 3 - This is what Spider-Man should feel like! Oh man, it's so good. This is how I imagine people who didn't hate One More Day felt after Brnd New Day, when things were fresh and picking up steam. My problem with that? I've already felt that way towards Peter Parker. I'm not here to tell you that I won't or can't feel that way for Pete again, but damn, Miles will do the trick for now. He's discovering his powers, confiding in his best friend, getting to be a kid, and, at the end of the issue, finding out that Pete has died.

The Unwritten 30 - The finale of On To Genesis really, really hit a homerun. After starting out a bit sluggishly, the last two books really killed. This issue in particular, though, with the epic conclusion that sets up the war, was magnificent. The similarities between the Tinker(er?) and Tommy were striking and the way that the former aged so rapidly was both amazingly disappointing as well as extremely appropriate. The way Frankenstein keeps popping up is both of the same. The reunion of Tommy & Lizzie with Savoy was also appropriate, leading me to totally believe the ending. I can't wait for the war. It's been well set-up, it's been well-done, and now, we're going to seriously get somewhere.

Book of the week should go to Spidey, but it's hard to not give it to Batwoman. I'm going to pull a bit of a cheat and, for the first time (and hopefully, the only time) give it to the both of them. I've compared Batwoman to Locke and Key, and Ultimate Spider-Man is clearly not on that level, but it's so fresh and exciting that I would hate to skip it over. Batwoman will continue at this level...who's to say about the Ultimate line?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

nba lockout becomes official.

The NBA has been officially locked out since July 1. But on Monday night, as the two sides failed to reach a compromise on a new collective bargaining agreement, the lockout reached a new level: the first two weeks of the 2011-2012 NBA season have been canceled. This is not virgin territory for the NBA. With a lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season still fresh on fans' minds, and the success of the 2010-2011 season, it seems poor timing for the perennial middle child (if that) of America's sports love to lose any part of a season.

With the NBA locked out and a shortened season the best thing fans can hope for, it's helpful to break down a few misconceptions about the circumstances that got us to this point, as well as the reality of the situation we're in.

First of all, this has been coming for quite a while. Everyone knew it was going to happen. And, despite the fact that everyone knew it was going to happen (perhaps even as far back as the last lockout), the two sides – represented by David Stern and Billy Hunter – didn't meet until August. Now that the first two weeks of the season have been canceled, at least one ESPN reporter claims that the real work will finally begin. That's a pathetic effort from a sport that isn't entitled to anywhere near the rate of audience-retention that big brother NFL is.

Secondly, despite the above griping, those who say this is just millionaires and billionaires fighting over money are dead wrong. The fight is over money, certainly, but only one side is demanding more. While the owners were previously receiving a paltry – in their eyes – 43% of the BRI (the Basketball Related Income), the players came to the initial meetings willing to move down, from 57% to 53%. While some speculated this might be an acceptable compromise, initial reports claimed the owners wanted the players to bump all the way down to 39%. Then it looked as though the owners were only willing to meet if that figure was at 50-50. Finally, it's been reported that the owners want to take as much as 54%. All these figures have been thrown around as a precondition on the part of the owners to the resumption of meetings. It's hard to call those kind of tactics good faith negotiation.

An underreported angle to the story – at least in the mainstream media – is how the second-tier people will be affected by this. While SLAM Online reported NBA players' reactions to the announcement, there have been no in-depth stories on the hundreds, if not thousands, of employees at the arenas, ticket offices, concession stands and security. Surely these people, for whom this is presumably their job, the main source of their income, need a their paychecks more than any of the players do, not to mention the owners, for many of whom owning an NBA team is a literal luxury. Make sure to include the third-tier layer of ramifications, such as lowered airline revenue from fewer people traveling to games and lowered restaurant revenue from fewer people going out for the night to watch the game and it's easy to see how this lockout spawns beyond the simple degree that many want to classify it as.

It's easy to look at the NBA lockout, in the era of the Occupy Wall Street movement as just another sign of corporate greed. However, like all economic situations, the truth resists simplicity. The players union and the owners have a complicated battle ahead of them, culminating not in the moment that the season is saved – or doomed – but rather in the rehabilitation of their image after that fact. To say that greed got them to this point is ignorant. But if you're looking for a simple tagline, some of that elusive truth, it's relatively easy: the players want to play (and get paid) and the owners want to make money. They'll come to an agreement sooner or later. It's only a question of how many people will still be watching.

Monday, October 10, 2011

comics for the week of 10/5/11.

The second week of the DCnU. I'm still crazy upset about this, but I don't think that I'm going to do a long post here about it, seeing as I've already kind of summed up my feelings over here. Suffice it to say, there are some great books (see below!) that have come out of this shitstorm, but for the most part, it feels like they're making it up as they're going along, and that's the ultimate disrespect.

Animal Man 2 - I read this after Swamp Thing, so the connection between the Red and the Green seemed super obvious to me. I'm not sure that'll stand out so much to people who aren't reading them (essentially) back to back, but it's great to see writers taking advantage of this newly blank slate. Insofar as the story, it was a bummer to see Buddy up and leave his family on such a whimsical note, but I do think his daughter's manifesting powers would scare the crap out of her mom. The dialogue between Animal Man and his wife rang pretty true, too; it's a fact that she didn't sign up for this kind of life. It's a hell of an adjustment to make. I only hope this isn't foreshadowing of a divorce-style conflict coming up - it makes for a way better story to see the two sticking it out together, even if it is hard. The book is building on a pretty slow pace, especially compared to Swamp Thing, but that's all right with me. I want to learn more about this tree and, of course, about the daughter's powers.

Invincible 83 - You know, just Kirkman doing what Kirkman does best: using superhero stories to actually tell super-detailed character stories where we care so much about so many different people. The main focus (and the twist ending) here go to Robot Rex and his lady friend, Monster Girl, in the most roundabout way. There's a party welcoming them back, couples are all around and everyone seems kind of happy. And one really is. Of course, along the way, we get to see more developments of Mark's evolving personality, Cecil's confusion and Eve's smartness (and also a laughingly kinky side to her). This book does so well not because it's got huge space battles, but rather because Robert Kirkman succeeds in making each of his characters so human. Form Eve's weight gain (and the way it hasn't been in an issue in the actual comic, as opposed to the letters column, where you'd think that's the only thing that's been happening in the book!) to Rex's plead to help, all of these people are actually people. Great work, as always.

Swamp Thing 2 - This book is where things really got going. There's a menace on the loose and his name is The Seethe. He's coming for Dr. Holland, as Swamp Thing (the elder?) explains to him, so Alec had better accept those powers tout suite. The whole issue is essentially dialogue/exposition, explaining what's happening with the Swamp Thing entity, how Dr. Holland is wrapped up and what's going to happen if he doesn't accept his role in the drama. We've got a nice jiving of the past (Brightest Day & The Search for Swamp Thing) with some nods to old continuity and we've got forward momentum in the current story; what more can you ask for? The beginning of the book is consumed with the origin of Swamp Thing the elder and meanders its way to Alec in a pleasing way. The enemy is moving quick toward Alec and we have a great action sequence to end the issue. Fantastic.

Book of the week goes to Swamp Thing. When I first started writing this, I thought it was going to be Animal Man, but I guess my need for a bit more action took over. However, let me be honest and say that if you picked up all three of these books this week, whether you're an old vet or a newbie just dipping toes in, you'd be neither disappointed nor confused. This is a refreshing thing to be able to say.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

los lynx make me a believer!

Women's basketball isn't a new topic for me when it comes to sports, but let's be real: the WNBA has never gotten a real shake at attention from me personally, nor from the media I consume. I try to be good about watching the Women's NCAA, especially for the epic UConn teams and the legendary Tennessee possibilities. But the WNBA has never been my cup of tea. I've watched games here and there, but never been drawn in.

Finally, there's a team (and a series!) that can do so. With Maya Moore moving on from college and playing in Minnesota and Angel McCoughtry popping up from nowhere (at least for me) on behalf of the Atlanta Dream, I've got stars to root for, as well as teams I can be interested in. While their NBA counterparts (the Timberwolves and the Hawks, respectively) might be hot and cold commodities in their league, these two teams seem to play basketball that is equal parts purist's perfection and flashy, up-and-down excitement.

While the Dream lost last season's Finals to the Seattle Storm, the Lynx have suffered through a drought. Minnesota hasn't made the playoffs in the WNBA since 2004. Despite the Dream's experience in the playoffs, the Lynx came away from the regular season with the better record, and thus got home-court advantage.

In Game 1, on Sunday night, McCoughtry had 33 points but couldn't bring her team with her on her own. She was a personal revelation, as I'd never even heard her name. Her toughness rivaled any that I've seen on the court, whether from a man or a woman. But the Lynx came away with the victory, at least partially because of their home-court advantage; the Target Center was packed with more than 15,000 people.

On Wednesday night, Game 2 was a similar story. McCoughtry astonished with xx points. She also chipped in 2 assists and 3 rebounds. Maya Moore, on the other hand, was in foul trouble all night, and managed only 8 points in 15 minutes. She was never a true factor on offense but contributed some integral defense as the game trickled away from the Dream. The Lynx refused to quit, fighting all night, and chipped away at the lead bit by bit, finally winding up with the win 101-95 over the Dream.

The real difference going forward might be some of the lesser-sung elements: the Lynx had a little trouble getting a bucket in the half-court set. The Dream will get to go back to their home-court, which, without the passionate fan base the Lynx have, could go either way. And, finally, the Lynx's X-Factor Seimone Augustus, who brings absolutely anything that a team needs in order to win, will have to continue doing something that is exceedingly difficult – namely, anything that's asked of her.

The best-of-five series shifts to Phillips Arena in Atlanta on Friday for game 3. The game tips at 6 PM MST and it'll be worth your time to watch.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

comics for the week of 09/28/11.

Wherein I attempt to stay away from bashing the DCnU.

Angel & Faith 2 - We get more of the Giles issue and we see Faith starting to wonder if this is a healthy angle for Angle to take. (No spoonerism intended.) Also, Angel is still a secret from the rest of the girls, which seems like a bad idea. Good book, pick it up.

FF 9 - Starting to get better again, but I read Ultimate Comics Ultimates, and honestly, this book pales in comparison to that one. So much cool stuff happening there. This one is cool, too, with the Reeds being totally defeated, except for one who captures Doom and bitch slaps the hell out of him, verbally, at least. Man, there's some stuff going on in this book. Next issue, it looks like we'll be approaching from the other side, getting to see Ben, Spidey and Sue.

The Flash 1 - This is the book I was waiting for. Manapul delivers the goods and I like to see that he's doing some of the writing, too. However, all that being said, it wasn't the best book I've read. It was a solid start, but there were some jerks. For instance, reintroducing Iris. I know this is a reboot, and I'm not going to complain about that here, cuz I've done enough of that already, but it just feels weird to see Barry with someone else and having to meet Iris, etc. Also, I know this is petty, but honestly, the new ring/suit foldout really did bug me. It was just so cool before. Maybe I'll come around on this one, too. The big storyline that's happening in here doesn't seem to be super impressive, but I do like the reveal at the end. We'll see where it goes.

Green Lantern: New Guardians 1 - On the other hand, I don't think that I'm going to be seeing where this one goes. After defending Kyle Rayner to my friends for so long, this book felt like a slow, painful letdown. First, we had the retelling of Kyle's induction into the ranks of the GLC, wherein we see that some version of Emerald Twilight still happened, with all the Guardians apparently getting taken out and Kyle being some sort of Torchbearer. Then, we see that the rings of the other Corps are racing to him, even though he's not calling them. Lastly, we get the New Guardians hunting their rings down with a promise of a fight next issue. I'm good to explore the other Corps and I do still love Kyle, but I'm not sure that I can stick around for this story. Wake me when it's back to having ramifications.

Rachel Rising 2 - Terry Moore continues to impress and at a better rate than issue one. The introduction of the Uncle (Aunt?) character was a great decision, because we get to see some of the action from another point of view without having to actually switch viewpoints. It was refreshing to see her thinking to herself that she was just going crazy, that Rachel wasn't actually there, and then the slow burn of seeing the grave, realizing what was going on. The part with the kid was genuinely terrifying and stayed with me the last few days. This one I'll be staying with the whole way, presumably.

Teen Titans 1 - This is where it was all lost for me. I want to love Teen Titans so badly. I've been a Titans kid for a long ass time. And despite the love for Red Robin's new costume, the shitty plotting and the sub-par art (for this decade!) combined to give me a heartache. The crossover with Superboy shows how hard they're trying to make this a coherent universe, but it just isn't working. The NOWHERE division looks like a cool idea, and I wish there were more places we'd seen them, but ultimately, I wasn't concerned for either Tim or Wonder Girl (or not) at any time. Nor was I really interested in them. Which, unfortunately, means another book is crossed off my list.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 2 - I think this book is going bi-weekly? Awesome! This book was great and I'm really looking forward to getting back into the Ultimate Universe. The clarification of his powers, the confiding in his best friend, the way his dad was talking to him...all these things reminded me of the Peter Parker Spider-Man so hard that it was almost tear-jerking. And yet, it was so original and felt so new and fresh that it was compelling to keep turning the pages. If you've jumped away from the Ultimate Universe, or from Spider-Man in general, this is the time to jump back on.

Book of the week goes to the Flash, even though it could have been Spidey's. The Manapul art puts it over the top. Get it while you can, cuz we all know, after these three that he had to have in the can before the book relaunched, there'll probably be a delay.