Monday, July 30, 2012

comics for the week of 07/25/12.

"Sometimes murder's the price we pay to protect innocents." - X-Force is the best book (God, it's so good!) that I'm reading but not buying (shame) that isn't getting reviewed here. Marvel and DC have been chopped to all but the best, the Ultimate Universe and the Vertigo imprint. I'm satisfied with my decision.

Angel and Faith 12 - Diversion into Quor'toth, Connor shows signs of growing up, and the demons have a devil they fear. The worst thing, all issue long, for Angel? All the mention of Holtz, and the demon's belief that he's Connor's real father. Man, what a complicated universe. Willow's along for the ride, trying to bring magic back to Earth (my guess would be that she does, but then it's gone again? To set up the Fray universe? Maybe magic itself will end up being the big bad of this season of Angel and Buffy?) and Faith is having some bad times in the hell that makes your worst side come out. Back home, Giles' residence has been broken into by Whistler and his evil twins and it doesn't look so good for Giles' weirdo magical aunts.

Green Lantern 11 - A shining example of what DC can do when it ignores the reboot. (Animal Man & Swamp Thing serving as the examples on the other side of the greatness of it.) Here we get to see Hal and Sinestro leave Nok, Indigo promise a great battle with Sinestro, Sinestro's Batcave (very punny, Geoff!), Sinestro pretending not to care about the past and Abin Sur's daughter even though we know better, and a hint of things to come. The grand storyline in the Green Lantern Universe is an example of what Marvel is trying to do with their idea of turning books (and universes) over to creators, and though it's DC, not Marvel, and though Johns has lost a step, surely, it's a great sign of someone doing something that's a long term vision. And that's always a good sign.

Mind MGMT 3 - Page 12 is my new goal for original art work. Damn, this book is not only amazingly written, but it is so well-illustrated! Seriously, it's unbelievable. In this issue, Meru finds Lyme and is promised answers, but we are cut off before we actually get any. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because I know next issue is going to be amazing. Here, we have plenty of amazing to embrace as well: dolphins as secret agents who can speak and spell, the bad guys (maybe?) as hallucinogenic demons, Meru as a warrior-princess and the amazing notes in the margins, as usual. I'm not sure of the CIA's role, but neither is Meru, and, to be honest, I'm not even sure who's really who at this point. I mean, I'd assume that the demons were bad guys, but I'm going to be pretty careful about making assumptions when it comes to this series. Best book currently coming out? I think yes.

Ultimates 13 - Welllllll...as cute as it was to see the Big Three back together in the Ultimate Universe in this book, the art was god awful, the plot was loosely thrown together, and, honestly, without Hickman at the stead, I have no faith in this storyline. I had high hopes for the Ultimate Universe, with the Divided We Fall storyline bringing everything back together, and the last issue of Ultimate X-Men was good, but this is definitely the weakest of the bunch right now. There's no way I'll continue to buy this book.

Wolverine and the X-Men 14 - Another guest penciller. Another interception with the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline. I'm done with this book until this shit is over. (I'm hoping it's next month, because I've been loving it.) I just can't stand this. It's too bad because the Kitty/Colossus romance is one of the best the X-Universe has and this book wasn't bad. But I just can't keep going with this. I'll give it post-Avs.X to see if it makes the cut, if not, it'll join the rest of the mainstream Marvel & DC in being cut from the list.

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT. If you're not reading this series, you're going to feel like you did when you missed Preacher and Sandman and Y: The Last Man and all of the greatest series to come out in the last 20 years. Seriously. Step your game up.

Monday, July 23, 2012

comics for the week of 07/18/12.

The Dark Knight Rises consumes all my thoughts. It's all I can do to even write this. Thankfully, I had a LOT of REALLY great comics to get me through the last tough week.

Batwoman 11 - This book felt like it really got back on track to me. While, yeah, sure, the art still isn't anywhere near what Williams does, I feel like he's finally getting his legs as a storyteller. The breaking up of the story still isn't interesting to me, but this one felt well-paced, and had turns in the right places. Kane's revelations to Sawyer felt real, as did Maggie's reciprocation. The twist of last issue was revealed in a good way, and the play between Batwoman and the various baddies of the issue felt pretty authentic. All that being said, the next issue is really going to have to be amazing - and I don't mean just the art, cuz I know that will be - in order for this to stay in my read pile at all. I don't feel a huge need to attach myself to another character that DC is just going to banish in 6 months or a year or a year and a half when the sales aren't what they want them to be.

Fables 119 - Boy oh boy has this story picked up pace. Literally everything about this issue was better than the last and even better than the whole arc has been. The fall that Therese has taken, the progress that we see from Darien, the terrible, terrible end of the Tiger and the utter control the Queen has over her toys all truly set this issue apart. And then, we actually got somewhere in the Oz backup? It was incredible! The emotions, from seeing Therese dig in, to hearing Darien's conversations with his brother (who may or my not really be there, that'd be a cool trick, if they utilized the dramatic irony correctly), were high in this book. This is really coming along and I am anxiously awaiting the conclusion to see if Darien is going to be able to save his sister or if he's going to have to abandon her there - she might be too far gone.

Fantastic Four 608 - I'm happy Hickman is getting to tell the story that he wants to tell, but I don't care about the Black Panther or Wakanda at all and at this point, I'm officially off this book. I'm confident that I got to see the best Fantastic Four story that has ever been told and I want to keep it in my mind that way. If someone says there's an amazing issue that I have to read before he leaves, I will, but both this and FF are done, for me.

Rachel Rising 9 - This was probably the best single issue of this book's run thus far. The explanations that we got (and the great use of dramatic irony! Authors are really coming out to play this month!) about who was who and what was what were satisfying and felt real and did an incredible job of setting us up in this book for sooooo much more in the future. Terry Moore is really feeling it right now. There aren't many (any?) of the wasted pages I complained about in the past as we see Rachel and Jet getting prepared for a journey, the truth about Zoe, and quite a dig into the mysterious blonde woman, about whom it's reassuring to know that there are several people who are noticing her. At this point, I'm happy to say that we finally know what we're dealing with in this series and that our patience has definitely paid off. This is going to be a hell of a ride.

Saga 5 - Another master at the top of his game truly hitting his stride, BKV knocked it out of the park last issue and continues to do so with this one. The focus here is on the Prince Robot and his search for Alana and Marko, but we're given a little bit of his side as well. (Shades of issue 4.) We also see the continuing saga of The Will on that terrible little planet, and though the conclusion isn't satisfying, I don't get the impression that it's really the conclusion. The Stalk has an unfortunate encounter, but I'll believe that's final when it's formalized and we barely even see our main characters for the majority of the issue. However, when we do see them, it's clear that this is a love story: the way they talk to each other, we see there's history. The way they treat each other, we know that it's real. The way they're sacrificing for Hazel, we know it's going to be an amazing story. Way to go, BKV.

Unwritten 39 - Annnd, another home run! Despite hardly appearing in The Wound at all, Tom Taylor and his book are kicking serious ass right now. Also worth noting? The fact that my carefully drawn out theories all appear to be shit right now! I thought Danny was going to be the new Big Bad, but now he's working with the police on the side of good, and seems to be moving toward Tommy? Without a desire to hurt or kill? Savoy spends his time in the story entertaining in every way possible, and police lady Didge Patterson gets some good old-fashioned revenge. The priest of Tommy's religion turns out not to be quite so great (surprise, surprise) and the showdown is set for next issue. I'm extremely curious to see where this is going, but I'm in no rush either. If we can have a total redirection here, or only a partial pivot, I'm down to follow this book the whole way. It's sublimely brilliant.

Book of the week goes to Fables. For a book to be good this long, and still have the ability to knock one so completely out of the park astonishes me. Plus, Saga and Unwritten were so so good, and yet, I felt like I had to go with the Vertigo vet. That says a lot about where this book's been, what it did this month, and the confidence I have in it going forward.

penn state university punished.

The stench of crime has been associated with PSU since the Jerry Sandusky accusations were held up in court. The association of Joe Paterno, legendary coach and inspirational figure, has been one that many people have struggled with. The university tried on Sunday to take pro-active steps to dissociate themselves from a man who may or may not have aided in covering up these heinous crimes. But the NCAA announced on Monday that was not enough. Not even close.

The things that Sandusky has been found guilty of are undeniably horrible. No one disputes that. The University and its figureheads, according to Louis Freeh's report, did not do enough to stop these crimes. And now, the NCAA is taking unprecedented - and some say, illegal - action to punish both the athletic program as well as the university as a whole.

So now the question becomes: Is the NCAA in the right here? Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty in a court of law, and Penn State has been found guilty in the court of popular opinion. But where is the overlap between the two and what does the NCAA have to do with either of those two things? The NCAA bills itself as "founded...to protect young people from...dangerous and exploitive athletics practices..." The young men who were taken advantage of at Penn State were clearly in danger and were clearly exploited. Of this, there can be no doubt.

The rumors before the fines and sanctions were officially announced put the monetary figure in excess of 30 million dollars. Now, we see that the reality is twice that amount, plus an unprecedented number of wins that are being vacated - dropping Joe Pa from first all time in coaching wins to twelfth. Yet, despite universal recognition that there were terrible occurrences at Penn State, there has been an almost-instantaneous claim that, perhaps, the NCAA has overreached.

The money the NCAA is fining Penn State will go to an external program - or more than one program - that focus on sexual abuse or assisting victims of said abuse. The total is said to have been determined by one year's revenue from the football program, which will be handicapped for the next four years, including loss of scholarships and bowl ineligibility. The athletic department, finally, will be on probation for five years.

All of these consequences seem to send a clear message from the NCAA that they believe there was wrongdoing at Penn State. And there is little doubt in most peoples' minds that there was. But by taking this unprecedented step - and here we are not specifically addressing the money, the wins or the handicapping, but rather the new jurisdiction that the NCAA believes itself entitled to - we are entering into a new era, one where the governing body of athletics and academics might have tremendous power in not only those two fields, but also over colleges and universities as a whole.

Monday, July 16, 2012

comics for the week of 07/11/12.

SDCC weekend is a weird time to be a comic book fan, especially if you're not there. It's weird because you hear all kinds of news about things that you don't think that other people really care about, and mostly you see these images of people who you never see in the comic book stores. I like the fact that comics are popular nowadays. But it definitely still trips me out every once in a while.

Batman 11 - This is, unfortunately, the worst book in the new Batman run. The resolution of the brother issue is the worst kind of comic book dodge, the art was fantastically below what it has been in the past, and the whole story reeked of half-drawn conclusions. I'm still overwhelmingly happy with Scott Snyder as a writer, but that happiness comes, in large part, from Swamp Thing these days, as opposed to Batman. Maybe it's the pall of Dark Knight Rises, but this Batman is just not hitting the spot like it used to. The whole fight with Lincoln felt contrived and the ending was wretched; literally something we've seen time after time in the past. The best thing is that it's over, but I don't have the confidence that I used to.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen 2 - Wow. Now this was on some Watchmen shit. Darwyn Cooke is telling the best of the BW tales, there can be no doubt about it anymore. The other books have bounced between great (this one and Ozymandias, mainly for art) middling (the Silk Spectre, which is fun, but hard to justify its existence) and outright bad (neither the Comedian nor the Nite Owl series seem like they are going to get any better, either, which is sad). But with this issue, Minutemen leaps to the head of the class. The focus on the Comedian is probably what gets the gold star here, but the real coup is how rotten we can already see that Eddie Blake is. Terrible? Yes. But honest? Hell yes. This is the only one that seems to justify its own existence fully, and the ending, with the ambiguity of what's happening is a step in the right direction. People who are attracted to the Watchmen brand don't need things spelled out so literally for them and I hope there's more where this has come from.

Buffy 11 - This book is getting better, it's getting back on track after the atrocity of the pregnancy-abortion-robot debacle. It's still not better than Angel and Faith, which I finally read but am not going to break down. But it's getting back on track. It's weird to think that, with Spike out of the picture and the time-wasting robot storyline out of the way, we might finally have something worthwhile being told here. We might be building to an actual story. And what it looks like it's going to be is...a revisitation from Wolfram and Hart?? Really? I don't know. I loved the aspect of Buffy moving on from blindly jumping everywhere she seemed to be needed as a Slayer. I loved the inclusion of Kennedy as a voice of reason. I loved the direction of the ex-Slayers and what they're doing under Kennedy's guide. But...Wolfram and Hart?? Here's to hoping they're not going to be hilariously misused as they were in the last season of Angel, or in his IDW comic.

Resurrection Man 11 - This story needs to be wrapped up. It's awesome that they tried it out, but it's also clear that there's no backing for this kind of storytelling at the DCnU. Sure, the book's getting cancelled. I know that. So, yeah, it's got to wrap up. But damn. They could have kept going if they were really committed to it. But they're not. They just want to have 52 books a month, for some odd reason. So, we'll get some conclusion involving Mitch being a bad guy before, but finding out that he's a hero, and he'll get some redemption. Too bad DC wants to pretend that everything's part of some grand narrative, though, otherwise we could have some really fun one-off stories being told in this corner of the Universe. Getting to the Lab, the presence of Soder Cola, the return of the Body Doubles and the Transhuman are all the hallmarks of a quirky little book that could be fun. Instead, it's just rushing to get itself over and done with. Sad.

Spider-Men 3 - Bendis is continuing to make this book his baby. The hesitation of the first issue is a distant memory and Pichelli's art has picked up three or four notches. The fights that Mysterio puts Peter and Miles through are cool, if not very engaging. There's never a worry that anything terrible is actually going to happen from these fights, so there's not a lot of impetus to care too much. However, at the end, as Peter tries to figure out more about the Ultimate Universe and his place in it, the cliffhanger really, truly delivers. The way that we knew issue 2 was going to be great after we got the preliminaries of issue 1 out of the way is the same way I feel now: getting to see May and Gwen react to Peter - because this is REALLY Peter - is going to be incredible.

Swamp Thing 11 - Like I said above, in regards to Batman, I've got tons of faith in Scott Snyder, but the change in artist really hurt this book. This might have been the worst of the new line for Swampy, too, except for the tight integration of so many other plot lines coming together. Arcane is kind of defeated, Abby seems like she's got her evil side under control and Swamp Thing is finally in a good place, having been proved right to try to restart the Parliament of Trees. The ending, with Buddy Baker showing up will be nice to have this story bouncing back and forth between two capable writers like Lemire and Snyder, but the art was really, truly just awful in this book. It's my hope that Paquette can get back as quickly as possible, otherwise I'm not sure how much better the writing will have to get to compensate.

Ultimate X-Men 14 - Part one of "Divided We Fall" finds the kids on the road, trying to make it to the West Coast, or the Southwest, and inspire people to fight back, or to free mutants, or...something...? This was an all right start to what should be a great crossover. I wish it had come out the gate a little more strongly, and that I could brag more thoroughly about it, but it wasn't fantastic. The art, by Paco Medina, was, of course, gorgeous. But...other than that great art, there wasn't a lot happening in this book. The X kids leave Johnny Storm behind in the Morlock tunnels, which seems like it's not going to work out well and they're on their way to...go do something. This first part of the crossover not really getting anything actually done, but only setting things up is getting a little bit old. Let's have the next part, please.

Wolverine and the X-Men 13 - Enh. More of the same. Great art with a subpar story. This one, at least, I'm willing to admit, was more because of my bias and less because nothing happened. Plenty actually happened, with lots of great development of the Deathbird character and Gladiator getting his ass kicked, but I'm just not huge into the space aspects of the X story. I know with the AvsX storyline happening and the Phoenix coming in, though, they're unavoidable at this point. So, if we're forced to have these stories, at least they get to be pretty and give us cool developments of characters that have been underutilized thus far. AvX is killing Wolvie and the X-Men, so let's get off this soon, please.

Book of the week goes to Before Watchmen: Minutemen 2. There were some really, really weird books this week, and that's not to say that BW didn't deserve it, but some of the books that I've come to expect greatness from were merely mortal this go 'round. More power to Minutemen for filling that hole.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

on tim drake no longer ever having been robin.

I posted this on my nerd comic book Facebook group, but I wanted to have a copy of it here. Not because I think it's THAT good, but because I'm not sure who all can see the Facebook group, and I'm vain enough to try to draw the Google results. There might be people's names in here that you don't know, but I think the central point stands.

*

I'm trying to get all my thoughts out here, so I'm going to go on at length. If you don't really care about this, feel free to pull a Davey J and just ignore it, because apparently, some of you are really good at just ignoring things you don't like, and therefore, they don't exist to you. I am not good at that.

First of all, I tweeted at Dave that this is something that I envy in y'all who possess that ability. So I'm not trying to talk shit when I say any of this, nor is it sarcastic. I used the example of the Kardashians. If you seriously do not know who the Kardashians are, at all, or you are able to completely ignore them, and never think of them, they never influence your day at all, I envy you. That is amazing. I do not possess that ability.

But, I've thought about it more and that's a terrible example. Because I don't care about the Kardashians either. I rarely think about them. But I do love rap music. So I know about Rihanna. Because I know about her, I know about Chris Brown and the fact that he beat her up. I have intense feelings about Chris Brown and I wish I didn't. But I do. I am unable to ignore him, because he is an integral part of a thing that I love: rap music. He had a hit single and I loved it. But I wanted to hate it. Because I hate him. He performed at the BET awards and I didn't want to think about it/read about it, because I hate him. But I was unable to ignore those things. Because I love rap music and everyone was talking about it.

The best example, though, that I've been able to muster tonight is this: the Star Wars films. We're all nerds. I think we all love Star Wars. For some of us, myself included, it really, REALLY bothers us that Han now shot first. It bothers us that Qui Gon Jinn and midichlorians were retroactively inserted into a mythology that had never so much as mentioned them. It bothers us that ugly ass Hayden Christensen is now seen in hologram (ghost?) form at the end of Return of the Jedi. If it doesn't bother you, I have no problem with you, because we're all friends and we like many similar things, but I think that we probably value Star Wars (and, by extension, many things we love) in VERY different ways.

I like the story.

The history matters to me. Han shooting first was a part of his character. The Force was an amazing spiritual power, that didn't have (nor need) scientific explanation. And Obi Wan Kenobi was THE mentor. If I want that movie, yes, it still exists. I can watch the old versions. (Although this is debatable with Lucas being the twat he is.) BUT. I want those stories that I love to still mean something. I value the STORY more than I value the creator. George Lucas shouldn't get to keep changing things. At some point, a painting has to be done.

The thing about Tim Drake as Robin is that he was smart. He figured out that Bruce was Batman. He was Robin when Bruce's back was broken, he suffered through Azrael as Batman, he beefed with Dick, he felt emotional trauma when Jason Todd came back. Those stories still exist and I have them both in my memory and in hard copy. I will read them again if I want to, but I probably won't want to, and I probably won't read them again. That's not what it's about to me.

What it's about is this: I know that comics have almost always been made up as they've gone along. But I prefer storytelling that is finite (Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, The Sandman, Scalped, etc.). I know that super hero comics can't be like that. I understand that and embrace it, because I like a variety of stories.

But when they say: "We've got a plan. We know how things are. They're going to be different," and then it becomes abundantly clear that they (DC editorial) were lying through their teeth the whole time, that there is no master plan, that they are making it up as they are going along, that is what I cannot stand. I cannot stand being lied to.

And I love the genre. I love superhero comics. So, yeah, I still have Tim as Robin stories. But DC just shit on my time with them for no reason other than to fit their supposed plan into an artificial time line. There was no reason for this. It's just more, "Oh shit, grab more rope!" that they're forcing upon themselves.

As Jesse said above, if you want a reboot, DO A REBOOT! As I've commented, in agreement with Ben, continuity can be an albatross. I 100% support the idea of rebooting every ten years. But that's NOT what they've done. They're pussyfooting their way around, trying to have their cake and eat it, too.

It's people placing themselves ahead of the stories. And that, I cannot abide. Fuck DC.

Monday, July 9, 2012

comics for the week of 07/05/12.

I've also started reading Mind Mgmt, and it is AMAZING. Y'all need to hop on that book.

Animal Man 11 - Wow! This book just leaped miles ahead of its companion, Swamp Thing. Here we get to see Buddy Baker get a new body, courtesy of some hilarious twins inside the Red. We also get to see Buddy's body, taken over by the Rot, take on Socks, and ultimately get worked over by the new, revitalized Animal Man. With limited shape-changing abilities, this is one Animal Man who is extremely stronger than he used to be and is definitely not to be messed with. The inclusion of Cliff at the end felt a bit odd, but it's not bad, of course. It makes sense that both of his kids, after all, probably have some latent abilities and if Wing gets to the the uber-important totem, then Cliff better have some great bit parts as well. Swampy's coming next issue and things are only going to get better.

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 1 - Jae Lee is my favorite artist. I wish he did more work. His art here is exactly what it always is: beautiful, sublime, breath-taking. Etc. However, I've got to be honest and say that I think the story, by Len Wein, suffered a little bit. I know that he was probably trying to write in Veidt's voice, and there's some of that ego in there, but I just wasn't captured the way I wish that I always was when I'm looking at Lee's pencils. I'll definitely stay up with this one, purely for the art, in the hopes that the story gets better, which is more than I can say for half of the other BW titles.

Invincible 93 - First of all, wow, this issue came out quickly, right? I mean, the last issue of Invincible was only 2 weeks ago? Is that right? Dang. Having both Ottley and Walker on the book must be helping tremendously. So, with that out of the way, we get more about Rex and Monster Girl's time in the Flaxan galaxy. It seems like Robot would have to do a lot more convincing to appease Monster Girl to the idea of hanging out in this place for the long time span they've already been there, much less how long they're going to end up staying. Just saying. Also, were we supposed to know the guy at the end? The book is running very smoothly despite Mark's being relegated to a secondary character. I'm impressed. But I'm also hopeful that he'll be back to full time status by issue 100, if not sooner.

Ultimate Spider-Man 12 - So good! So so so good! The art is almost perfect. Pichelli is missed, sure, but David Marquez has become a more than capable replacement. The fight between Miles and Uncle Aaron is everything that we (and Ganke probably) expected it to be, and the only question is whether Miles followed through on his plan to tell his parents. The smart money says that he didn't, which will further the drama in a comic book. That's a little outside his character, though, so I hold out hope for the fact that he did the right thing and covered his butt. Speaking of not doing so, though, Ganke totally gave away Miles' secret to that girl who was following them. Yep, that's gonna come back.

Book of the week is Animal Man. Spider-Man was great, but the way that the story is being told in Animal Man, plus the unusual art that is now something I look forward to was just too much.

Friday, July 6, 2012

roger federer advances to 8th wimbledon final.

Winning used to be a pretty common experience for Roger Federer. He and Rafael Nadal would go back and forth, tossing the victories in world tennis competitions between themselves. It seemed like it would last forever. Then, Novak Djokovic came from out of nowhere, changed his diet and started to look unbeatable. It was a poor time to be Nadal, but it was probably harder on Federer, since he thought that he had seen the threat coming, in the form of Nadal, and had neutralized him.

On Friday, however, Federer took the first step toward getting back to that spot. He will play in the Wimbledon Final against Andy Murray. This Grand Slam final will mark the 30th in a row that includes one of the trio of Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, a remarkable record that stretches all the way back to 2005. To say these three are in complete control of the sport of tennis seems almost an underestimation. This is what pure domination looks like.

The semifinal match-up was, amazingly, the first time that Djokovic and Federer have faced each other on grass, and Federer endeavored to capitalize on this advantage. The match, however, was an incredible back and forth display of power on both players' parts. In triumphing 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 Federer showcased the old grit that has consistently made him one of the most difficult opponents to close out. Djokovic committed uncharacteristic mistakes that cost him the match, moving Federer to a record of 15-12 all time against the Serb.

The men's Wimbledon Final will be played on Sunday, and Federer will face tremendous pressure to clinch the deal, now that he's conquered Djokovic. However, Andy Murray is no token opponent and promises to be ready for the match. His defeat of Jo-Wilifried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 later on Friday sent him to his first Wimbledon final, where he will indubitably be itching to play the role of the spoiler.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

comics for the week of 06/27/12.

Thinking of dropping all Marvel and DC titles over the course of next year, during the move.

Angel and Faith 11 - I wasn't able to grab this issue this week. Did it actually come out? I'll tackle it next time.

FF 19 - I liked this issue, but I'll be honest: I didn't buy it. I'm happy with my decision to jump ship on the FF titles, as the Wakanda storyline still doesn't interest me at all. For what it's worth, I think this is cool, they're doing good things, but I'm just not interested in non-Hickman-written stories, in this case. Here, we get to see the kids audition another young girl, unbeknownst to anyone. She passes, it's fun, and the kids all have a grand old time. Nothing bad, just not for me.

Spider-Men 2 - This is what the book should have been from the get go. Peter was perfect, Miles played this exactly the way he should have, and that's going to frustrate me to no end in his own book, but cool, young Fury (as Parker put it) makes the right call, too. Mysterio looks to be the one from the 616 Universe after all, I'm totally willing to be wrong on that call last month, but that won't affect my enjoyment of the story. I'm glad this is happening. I'm glad Bendis is writing it. And I'm glad that Sara Pichelli's pencils appear to have picked up from last month, because this was a much more beautiful issue than last go round. Good work.

Ultimates 12 - This is what I was waiting for. Reed (seems) to get his comeuppance, Sue's back, Tony talking to himself is explained (in a totally Hickman/Ultimate Universe way) and the stories are coalescing once again. It's nice to see that Tony can back up his comments about being the real genius of the group and it's nice to see that Reed, in typical villain fashion, lets hubris get in his way. Thor's coming in, Sue's got Reed wrapped up tight and, hopefully, Cap's return is going to tie everything all together next month, the way it should have been this whole time.

Wolverine and the X-Men 12 - Ahhhh! This book was so disjointing! I'm not reading Avengers vs. X-Men, really, and I don't want to. I should know better than to expect anything other than being forced to when the book is called Wolverine and the X-Men, I know, but I thought I could rely on Jason Aaron to avoid the pitfall. I guess even he's got a boss. The good thing about this issue was the focus on Rachel Grey, who is an amazing character. I wish she and Hope could have more interaction and would be contrasted by more people. They're great foils and they have great potential. But, honestly, there was nothing in this issue for me.

Book of the week goes to the Ultimates for getting that Universe back on track, back to the way it should be, and hopefully serving as a spring board for the rest of the titles. Let's have some continuity!