In a fantastic week, there are a two or three issues that really stand out above the fray. This week, we have at least 4. This was a damn good comic week.
Batwoman 0 - It is incredible to me that JH Williams pencilled this entire book. He is the best artist working in comics right now and I know that I say that so often, but this book ALONE proves how valuable he is. The comic book industry needs him and it needs this book to be this good, month in and month out. There has not been a better zero issue from DC and there will not be another zero issue this good. It retells Batwoman's origin story in such a great way. First off, the art. You have to see it. It's like Manapul was on the Flash: it's worth buying, even if the story wasn't that great. But the story is that great here. The relationship between Kane and her father is the driving force behind a lot of the Batwoman stories so far, but that doesn't make it feel played out. On the contrary, the development of Col. Kane in this issue really makes us as readers empathize with him. Superb issue.
Before Watchmen: Nite Owl 3 - Man, Kubert's art just gets worse and worse. I really thought, with last issue, that this book was going to turn around and be one of the beacons of the Before Watchmen line. But now...it's just another poorly written, poorly drawn addendums, something that wasn't needed. No need to waste time on the plot, because it really doesn't matter. Don't buy this book.
Fables 121 - Wow. I'm hoping that we get a fitting epilogue next issue, and that it brings us all the way back around, but damn, what a fine issue. The saga of Darien and Therese is (kind of) over, but it didn't end the way I thought it would. Dare seems to truly be gone, and that's disappointing, yeah, but we've got a hell of a cast in Fables to work with, so it's not like we'll be hurting for characters. Therese is obviously going to have some explaining to do to her family, but then she's going back to Toyland, where things are genuinely getting better, thanks to her. So we're down two characters, and they had an amazing arc to see them out. There were times I tired of this story, but the end did a great job of wrapping it up, and I like the fact that we're going to see some maturity from Therese next issue, and that we already have in this issue. The Oz backups have bothered me at times as well, but this was the first issue that I was able to truly appreciate the pencils and colors of Shawn McManus. This is some truly gorgeous art, and I hope that he gets some good work in the future, beyond just four-five pages backups.
Revival 3 - This book is really, really good, and I'm happy to go along for the ride, but after the jubilation of the first issue, the last two have left me pretty convinced that it's something that's going to read better as trade. I think I'm going to leave off getting this monthly and just grab it in chunks. Here, we see more of the police force, the mystery, and the various characters are getting past their original set ups. This is a good thing, but it's just not enough for me at this point. I'm sticking with it, for sure, because Seeley is writing something incredible, but I can't do it monthly.
Spider-Men 5 - It was all a gigantic fan jerk, but it was a delightful one. Even this last issue didn't really have a point, it was just a victory lap. But it was so much fun. The advice that Peter finally gives to Miles, him giving his blessing, Miles getting to see the other side, Tony's playfulness the whole time, it was great. There were no heartstrings like last issue or issue 3, but there was a sense of joviality that came from the whole issue. I think Pichelli's pencils had a lot to do with that, but this is the first time in a long time that I feel like Bendis has been appropriately flippant. The book felt light and fun because it was supposed to, not because he was raging against the dying of the light. It was a lot of fun, and if you didn't read it, you should really pick up the trade. It's worth it.
Spike 2 - Again, I feel like this title really nails Spike's essence. The story isn't one I necessarily care about, but given the last page, I think it's clear that it's going to influence the main line books quite a bit, so I'm eager to enjoy the ride. Spike is a great character and he's at his best when we get to see his pithy wit, which, given the narration we've seen in both of the issues so far, is going to be the primary method of humorous delivery in this book. We get back to Sunnydale, meet a Succubus, look for the shard, and have some guests pop in at the end. We also see progression when it comes to the bugs, which is nice. Solid.
Ultimate Spider-Man 15 - Yeah, sure. This fit fine with the whole unified universe theory that I'm so adamant about, and it seems like Miles is going to get to make some difference in the world, so that'll be nice. I want to keep Ganke around, though, and I want to see more of Maria Hill working for NYPD (or was that just a SHIELD ruse so that they could let him know that he wasn't responsible?) but more than any of that, I want the reverse Uncle Ben to get his world flipped. He seems like a smart guy, but this anti-Spider-Man bias has got to go. Have Miles tell him or have him find out on his own, but this inexplicable disdain of superheroes has got to go. Sure, he hated the Prowler, because his brother was making poor choices. But putting on a mask and helping people can't be seen as the ultimate (no pun intended) stigma in all the adults' eyes of the Ultimate Universe. Plus, where's that girl? She clearly knows Miles is Spider-Man. Let's bring her back.
Ultimates 15 - Well. That was certainly different. And the thing is...I can kind of buy it. I'm hoping that the Ultimate Universe changes course, follows through with this bold decision and really finalizes the schism between this universe and the 616. It feels right that this is happening (I mean, I know things have been different in the Ult. Uni. for quite a while now, with the tidal wave, and Reed, etc., but...) while Spider-Men is wrapping up. We get a taste of the two mixing, and I hope that's it. After this issue, things should be different. Forever. And completely. The Ultimates have begun the fight, but every book is going to have a completely different tone now. Miles will be the kid on the street, the X-Men should continue the insurgency, bringing the country back together and the Ultimates? Well, they're the new Secret Service.
Unwritten 41 - Facing my first comic book crisis since moving to another continent, I haven't been able to find a copy of Unwritten yet. My copy is bought and waiting for me back home, but I'll not get to read it until I find one online. Sorry folks.
Book of the week goes to Batwoman. The way that JH kills when he is on is unlike anything I've seen in comic booking ever. I was gonna compare him to Joe Mad, but that was simply a hot artist when I was young and at the right place to be highly impressionable. JH is changing the game.