I can't believe it, but...I might be delving back into the X books. More than one of my friends has been pushing X-Force on me (and he's right! Read those TPBs, they're so incredibly good) and now I bought Wolverine and the X-Men. Next week, a week late again, yeah, but still, I'll probably pick up Uncanny. Never thought this day would come, but, if you read below, you'll see that I don't regret it, either.
Animal Man 3 - I made the crack on Twitter that between the Red and Black here and the Green (and alluded-to Black) in Swamp Thing the DCnU is starting to look like Magic: The Gathering. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, if it's revealing a deeper focus on in-line continuity. Lord knows they could use some, and if Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder are the men to do it, then DC is all the better for it. As for the actual story here, there's a pretty strange revelation, which I think could be incredibly great: the Red tells Animal Man that he actually doesn't matter, except for the fact that he brought his daughter into the world. This has great potential for future storytelling and I'm psyched to see if they'll (DC editorial) allow it to bear fruit. That's the problem with new directions: they're so tempting, but rarely are shown the patience they need. I'm firmly on record as not liking the DCnU, but I'm more than willing to give it time and chance. We'll see if the people pushing it are as willing. Last notes: Travel Foreman's art is nearly as ground-breaking as JH Williams III's, but it's nowhere near as pretty, so it won't get (nor does it deserve) as many accolades. The ending, with the cop? Pure terror. Great book. Buy it.
Invincible 84 - This month: Invincible hints at Darth Vader. Seriously. I'm very concerned. The all-black (except for Mark) cover is the perfect tonal preview for this issue, as we see Mark taking his realization that perhaps he's been approaching things wrong to the penultimate degree. Cecil brings an army and next issue it looks like we're getting the classic dodge; Nolan and Oliver are on the cover next month. Dinosaurus is turning into quite the important character, which is a Kirkman classic: bring someone in for a bit part, revisit them months and months later and look at how there's a whole world around them. This is where Kirkman excels in a very 21st century, post-modern way - he's a storyteller, not just focused on his one baby that he thinks is so important. Lastly, we only got one page of Rex and Monster Girl (who, yes, seriously, is now amazingly hot), but their mystery continues to be dangled in a totally satisfactory manner. This is a comic where at least three stories are being told, and all three of them are fantastic.
Swamp Thing 3 - The other half to the new mystical team of the DCnU and the one I was more excited about originally finally pays off for me. This issue has a little bit of everything: some backstory, some revised history and some new developments, all while being gorgeously illustrated by Yanick Paquette. The story with the kid, William, was disturbing in the best kind of way. I called this the mystical book (with Animal Man) but that's obviously the wrong term. These are clearly horror books, harkening back to the best aspects of the old EC line, but with some nouveau elements that make it impossible to think they're actually relics. The shots of how William kills his victims, and the grim look on his face is deftly handled. And the coolest page in the book is the non sequitur of the little girl in the dress that, I think, is supposed to indicate Alec accessing his powers? It was so out there I had to look at it four or five times to verify that it wasn't just a misprinted page. But it's part of an overall message that this book (and Animal Man) are pushing. Purposeful chaos. It's wicked.
Wolverine and the X-Men 1 - I'm breaking my own rules for this, I know, because this book did not come out this week, but I'd heard such good things about it that I had to get it. And boy am I glad that I did. This could easily be the best book of the week with all the throwback references (Kitty talking smack to the Prof, Logan jokingly asking if Scott had gotten rid of their rooms, Logan vetoing baseball in his chat with Xavier, etc.) and the amazing throwback art. Bachelo has always been a favorite, but when he's getting to play in the X-Universe, it's clear that he's having the most fun. The way the group is going to interact is going to be the best part of this book and I am excited to join the ride. I'm curious if Jason Aaron will be able to keep up his impressive run with a cast that I think is insanely different than I've seen him succeeding in (solo focus or groups that can't stand each other versus this X-Book where they're supposed to be more of a family) but I have enough confidence in his writing ability to trust that he'll get it done. Whether you're an X newbie or an old hand, this book is worth getting, just for an injection of the fun the X books used to be. Plus, come on now: they killed Jean and have kept her dead for how long now? Give them applause for following through!
Book of the week goes to Invincible. This book is incredible and, just when I thought I had an idea of where it may be going, it takes a sharp, drastic turn - maybe. This is the way to stay engaged with a readership, even when you've been at it for more than half a decade.