It seems like I'm alone on this, but I pretty much hated the conclusion to the Death of the Family. DC has fallen off in a huge, huge way for me.
Batman 17 - It's frankly embarrassing how far this book has fallen. Like I said last week in my Swamp Thing review, I've still got faith in Scott Snyder, but he's turning into a premise-only kind of writer, someone who simply cannot live up to his own press. The Death of the Family arc concludes with a hell of a whimper as opposed to any kind of bang. Again, I'll offer this disclaimer that I didn't read any of the tie-in books, so maybe the fault is mine, but I'll go back to a standard argument against that too: if I need to read more books to understand a plotline in a book that I'm reading, it's not a great idea. This is the mainline book. I should be able to get the story from here. All I got was the following: the Joker is twisted (we knew that), Bruce (maybe) found out the Joker's identity (before he became the Joker?), the Joker does not know (or maybe just doesn't care) that Batman is Bruce and ergo doesn't know who all the rest of the family is. However, the family does seem fractured, with all of them canceling on the meeting that Bruce calls. Alfred seems fine, but he's always been an outlier. And the Joker? He's probably not dead. Yeah, he was scary in the first issue of this arc, but at the end? He's the same as he's always been. Nothing amazing here, certainly not worth the expectations that were thrust upon the book after issue 1, nor after the Joker's re-introduction.
Buffy 18 - All right, we're getting better here. Buffy figures out that the Siphon has been after Illyria this whole time, Dawn's got some serious problems, Xander turns to the one person he can actually reach during this crisis to try to help her, and Billy's still doing some amateur detective work. I still don't care for the Billy angle, but I'm glad that he's actually doing something now, as opposed to simply being an agenda-driven character. The Council and Illyria are turning into actual characters, too, instead of just templates, which is always nice in a comic that's renowned for the people. The dialogue also is back, especially in the shortening of expos (that's a nice little nod) and the way that Andrew Star Treks Dawn out of the hospital. We had to figure that Illyria's plan to get Buffy and Eldre Koh out to help her wasn't going to work, so now we've got a serious cliffhanger. This is the first time that I've felt genuinely enthralled by the ending of the Buffy book since she went through her (false) pregnancy scare and I'm really excited. Here's to hoping that as they continue to move us toward a conclusion, everything can continue to pick up. I'd love if this book would finish at a high level.
Wolverine & the X-Men 25 - I know there were some people who were really looking forward to Perez's art on this book, but I've gotta say, for me, it's a huge step down. The characters all felt flat. The backgrounds were nice, but the faces, the bodies, all elements of motion? They felt really lacking, especially compared with the hyper-detailed artists we've had on this book in the past. Plus, the story didn't do much to help. We start with a reference to Wolverine: Origin, move to the Savage Land, see Broo with Idie and have that semi-explained by Beast, which moves us into the good parts of this book. I love to see Logan and Hank still talking like friends. Their conversation (and the reality of the fact that most of the 'adults' in this school have known each other for 20+ years and treat each other as such) is the best part of the book. I also love seeing Doop all over the place, fulfilling random duties. He's a great character and even though we're not getting to see him in action, it's still wonderful that he's neither gone nor forgotten. The main issue, though, is that this book feels like it could and should be Quentin Quire's tale. It's always been about him. But the way-too-wild swings back and forth from uberresponsible to anarchist are hard to hold on to, even if we believe he's a child and prone to over the top swings. The ending matching the beginning was an obvious one, and I didn't care for it, but I'm definitely willing to see how it plays out next issue. The playful touches at the back of the book remind me that this is a keeper even if I didn't care for the art nor the story.
Book of the week goes to Buffy, but kind of only by default. I didn't think it was a phenomenal issue, but for me, it was way better than either of the other books I read this week.