Um. I'm in Cairo now. It's really, really, really weird. I began downloading comics a while ago, but I hope it's not a huge crime here. Cross your fingers for me?
Angel and Faith 13 - Man. This book is so much better than Buffy. The interaction between everyone feels so much more genuine. The dialogue is so much more B:TVS-esque. (Whedonesque?) The story is so much more compelling. The role of Whistler is still one I'm trying to figure out, but I'm loving the direction he's taking. Willow's blindness to what was inevitable is a bit troubling, but not out of her character. I look forward to how they all deal with her next issue. They're obviously going back to Earth, probably at the end of next issue, after struggling around the (incredibly powerful) roadblock that has now been put in their way. Connor and Angel always make me happy, and Faith and Angel's developing relationship seems just right. They're never going to be lovers, which is a great thing, but they could easily fall into that familiar couple-type atmosphere. This is a really good book.
Before Watchmen: Minutemen 3 - Holy cow. This was...everything that every comic should strive to be. The amount of implications, the layering, the paneling, the pencils, the story: pretty much everything was perfect. Hollis' storytelling feels super genuine, he is becoming the character I think we all thought he authentically was. He is a stalwart, but even the best intentioned man makes mistakes. Here's where we're truly digging into those. And while Hollis is the most well-intentioned of them, he's not the only one whose mistakes we're digging into. Man. If this was the only Before Watchmen book coming out, I think the praise would be superlative. This would be the sole focus, people wouldn't have the others to drag the average down... It's really that good. It stands on its own, and it will for a long, long time. Can't wait to finish this book up and see how obsessively Darwyn Cooke truly crafted it. This is superb.
Locke and Key: Grindhouse - A great nod to some of the horror comics of the past, but it was nothing to do with anything I care about. Unless the mouth key (nice idea!) comes into play in a huge way in the next series, this won't really affect the overall arc. But I can't believe that to be true. Joe Hill has proved himself a super capable writer and I think that there's going to be more to this story than what we saw. I do find the idea of a family that fully utilized the keys (and note that the adults did so, too) a very intriguing one. Despite its one-off nature, regardless of whether it impacts the overall story, I'm always happy to see Locke & Key on the shelves.
Ultimate X-Men 14 - Enh. I just don't care about these characters the way I did when the book relaunched. Happy with the last page, happy to see some development between Kitty and Jimmy, but I have to repeat, honestly: I just don't care. They make it to the Southwest, they meet Paige Guthrie in a nice little nod, and there appears to be forward motion on the idea of a story. But there's no reason for me to continue with this. So I won't be.
Wolverine and the X-Men 15 - Wow. So glad I stuck with this title. This is the type of tie-in book that proves they can be done well, dealing with an overall arc in the Marvel Universe, but focusing on the characters we've come to know and love. The school features prominently in this book, and there's a little bit on every character, which is so nice to see. The bit with Rachel and Xavier was one of my favorites, but Toad and Husk get an honorable mention, too. This, to me, seems as real as war can get. People saying their goodbyes before they go off to fight. The only note that felt a little bit off to me was Gladiator's dismissal of Warbird. I can understand his taking his kid, who obviously is not going to stay gone, but why did big Poppa let the bodyguard go? What'd he see that made him doubt her? And what's her role going to be, if not with Kid Gladiator? Maybe this is just setting something up for them in the future? The second to last page, with Henry looking back at the old pic of the original five, was heartbreaking in the best kind of way.
Book of the week goes to Minutemen. As much as the nerd in me loved Angel and Faith, there's no denying that BW is purely better. Phenomenal.