Well. Scalped is over. I'm not gonna spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read it, and I'm not going to review it, because I wasn't on it from the get go. But let me just say this: it did not end like I thought it was going to.
Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan 1 - Well, this was interesting. I'm glad it didn't turn into the Hughes show, full of busty broads, and I was satisfied with JMS' writing, but intros have never been his problem. We'll see how I feel about it at the conclusion, but for now, it'll do. A solid addition to the Before Watchmen line of books finds Dr. Manhattan pondering his own existence, along the lines of Schrodinger's cat and that famous box of theirs. When he decides to revisit the moment of his creation, though, things get a little bit more complicated than even he expects.
Fables 120 - Man. Talk about the slow burn. This whole issue is like one simmering pot that sits on the stove for hours and hours and hours and finally just explodes! The end is one hell of a splash page and I'll be honest and say I did not see it coming at all. Darien continues to fight for his sister, Therese, who is definitely going crazy. Queen Therese's subjects are worried that she might be going a little too crazy, and Darien's dealing with his own hallucinations in the desert. The Oz backup is back to its casual suckiness, wonderfully pencilled, but not all that compelling of a story. But the next issue is going to be a great one, I hope it's the resolution to the Cubs in Toyland story, because I'm not sure how much longer they can draw it out after this insane conclusion.
Invincible 94 - We learn more of Rex and Monster Girl's story in the alien land, while the big bad stands revealed by the end of the issue. I got the reason for the split in pencils and I'm not an anti-Cory Walker kinda guy, but it didn't really work for me in this issue. The pages that were done by Ryan Ottley were spectacular, even if he didn't have a lot to do, as they were the big bad battle scenes. But I needed a little more from the love story angle and I didn't feel like it was really done by Walker. I've seen him do some great stuff in the past, so I'll just chalk this up to being...rushed? The story is coming along in a great manner, and I think the cliffhanger is going to be a great key to the next couple issues, but I'm bummed we didn't get to see more of Invincible and how his progress is coming along...or, that it's not, as we see in the one page we get of him. I like the fact that this has become such an ensemble book, honestly, I was just a little surprised that we didn't see more than one page of Mark.
Mind MGMT 4 - The way that Matt Kindt is building this story is so, so, so impressive. It's at least four stories in one, every single issue, and that's not including the stuff that we haven't even realized yet. Love it. Lyme's conversation with Maru takes up the majority of this issue, but it's mainly about Lyme's backstory, which is opaque at best. He's a Mind MGMT agent, one of their best, and he loves his teacher and she becomes his handler and he's involved with the first Gulf War. I'd say those are the facts, but I'm not 100% convinced of even those. Everything is clouded by the fact that we're talking about a shadowy organization that has abilities to affect your thoughts, your memories, and even your body. We learn a lot about the organization in this issue and when things are all set and revealed, I have a feeling we'll look back at this issue as a vital one. All of them are, obviously, but this ride just continues to improve.
Rachel Rising 10 - At this point, I have no idea how to review this book. Every issue reads insanely quick, and after the turning point of last issue, I thought things were going to get a bit more substantive for Moore's new work, but I didn't feel that way this time around. That's not to say it was bad. It's beautiful and I can see that there's a story being told her. I'm just thinking that this might read better in TPB form, like I had to do with Echo. I don't remember feeling this way with Strangers in Paradise, but that was a different book, and I was a different person then, too. Here, we see Jet and Rachel visiting Aunt Johnny, seeing Zoe brought into the hospital and we have some interaction between Lilith and Rachel. Honestly, I can't say that I understood much more than that. But it's atmospheric and the art is still some of the best on the market. If you're not getting this book, you're doing yourself a disservice, but if you're waiting for trade, I definitely understand.
Spike 1 - This was a solid addition to the Buffy line. While the title character's book is suffering in a case of the doldrums, both Angel & Faith, and now Spike's mini-series seem to have found their authentic voices much more quickly. Spike really does love Buffy and he really does get depressed when she (inevitably) shoots him down. Add in the humorous circumstances of his being in charge of a spaceship full of bugs and the vacation on the moon mixing with some space invaders and you've got this story in a nut shell. Great voice, good comedic timing and a story that isn't top shelf but is more than good enough to get me to come back for the next issue. Count me in.
Ultimates 14 - This was awful. The story is descending into another clustered mess of, "Throw in everything! See how much damage we can do!" and it's really showing the lackluster details. The art, divided between Billy Tan and Timothy Green, was atrocious. I can't stand by this book any more. Looks like Ultimate Spider-Man will be the only Ultimate Universe book I keep up with.
Unwritten 40 - Hm, well, a fitting conclusion to The Wound, but I'm still confused by the role of Danny here. Didge I get, sure, she's the dyslexic (spoiler!) detective who's perfectly suited to work on the Tom Taylor case. The crazy pastor, Filby, yeah, he got put in his place. Even the unicorn doesn't bother me, because, well, we're dealing with the Unwritten and crazy creatures are always jumping out from one corner onto center stage. I like that we're expanding the universe and I loved that Tom dealt with the bomb crisis in a totally rational manner, flustering Filby in a way he never expected, but I'm also hopeful that, with Richie arriving via plane, and Didge having word (apparently?) from Lizzie, that we'll get to tie back into the main storyline. Bonus: How much did everyone delight in the fact that Tom was reading the story of Mr. Bun? This book is so layered that it's going to be impossible to process it all in one read, especially monthly. But it's too good not to be buying monthly.
Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT. This is something truly special and if you're not reading this book, you are going to regret it.