Thursday, October 31, 2013

boston red sox win the 2013 world series.

The World Series began on Wednesday night with a blow out win by the Boston Red Sox. The Sox were widely expected to win the series, so the beginning of the best-of-7 set seemed auspicious at best. However, the St. Louis Cardinals came back on Thursday to squeak out a 4-2 win to knot up the ultimate contest for baseball. Then things got wacky.

St. Louis pulled into the lead after a bizarre win on Saturday night. There was no end to the analysis about the game-ending call: Opinion pieces were written as were some obligatory defense of the umps - by the umps, for what it's worth - inquiries. ESPN had the aforementioned 2 different stories on the event, and it even made the front page of CNN.com.

However, Boston took their turn eking out the same supposedly small victory, a 4-2 margin to tie things up once again on Sunday night. And with a defensive showdown in Game 5, won 3-1 by the Red Sox, the World Series was all but over. With Game 6 to be played at Fenway in Boston, there were reports of record prices being set for the city's first chance to witness a championship in a lifetime. The Red Sox famously hadn't won the World Series since 1918, but suddenly find themselves in the spotlight, winning twice in the last 10 years. However, the 2004 championship was a sweep, ending in Game 4 at Busch Stadium, when the Red Sox beat the Cardinals. Most recently, they swept the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies, finishing Game 4 in Denver. Thus, the people of Boston were amped for a closing win at home.

When the Cardinals had trouble with the plane getting them to Boston, it seemed as though things were primed for the Red Sox to close everything down for the season. Game 6 did indeed slam the door on baseball for the year, and Boston did it in near-dominating fashion. In the largest romp of this World Series since Game 1, the Red Sox won their 8th World Series title 6-1, holding the Cardinals scoreless until the seventh inning, at which point Boston was firmly in charge.

Nike sent out their obligatory tweet and the people of Boston celebrated like they hadn't seen this in 100-plus years, which, in a way, they haven't. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on winning it all.

Monday, October 28, 2013

comics for the week of 10/23/13.

Maybe on time comics?

Daredevil 32 - The Jester plays the part of a Shakespearean narrator to a T and I'm glad to to see that my confusion regarding last issue's ending was totally justified. Jester's reaction to Matt's non-reaction also illustrates one of the BEST things that Waid (and Samnee) have done in this run: they've shown that Matt is truly blind in such a variety of ways, and they've shown that his enemies (and even his friends) don't really understand that. It's such a weird divergence, but it's true. He is actually blind; he can't SEE things that most of us just take for granted. And when Jester's trap relies on "the whole Matt Murdock being a blind lawyer" thing being a ruse, it fails. Then there's the rest of the book, where it seems like Mark Waid is merely carving out a corner of the Marvel Universe for himself and using DD as his key to get things back, which is fun, in a way. The whole Sons of the Serpent angle has run its course through here as a throwback and now we get a Dr. Strange appearance, a mention of the Darkhold (which I wouldn't have even remembered if I hadn't just gone through my entire comic book collection - what up Spirits of Vengeance!) and then we get the ending that the cover promised and it's Halloween in an MU that knows how to have fun again! This book is so cool, Samnee is the perfect artist for it and I'm so happy to have comics like this still around. (And then, after I wrote that, the letters column makes me find out it's getting canceled. WTF? I'm fairly sure it'll relaunch, what with another movie coming out, but... Seriously?)

Mind MGMT 16 - I don't know how to process what I just read. This is...the best. It's operating on so many levels. The characters we think we know, the art, the bleeding edges, the text... I mean, this could go down as one of the best of all time. Seriously. So, here we have the backstory....maybe...of the Eraser? And a man? And a fictional set of stories? In the story? But she gets in trouble? Or she was born that way? Or, she was born that way and someone (or some organization?) made it worse? Or...things are just crazy around her all the time? Well, I don't really know, but I know that it'll continue to get more and more clear even as it gets more and more murky. That's what's great about this book is that it gets crazier even as it gives you answers. There's no endless quest for deeper and deeper mystery only, it's give and take. So, next issue will wrap up this arc, which has been balls out crazy and then I'll have to reread that whole arc to see if it makes any more sense.

Trillium 3 - Somehow I missed this when it came out, so here are my thoughts: Nika's ray gun is awesome. The world building continues to be fantastic. William's mental problems in his past are clearly going to contribute to the overall story. God, the way the pages flip; every time I think that's got to be the end of the innovation in technique in this book, they pull something else, huh? It's just an incredible idea and I'm loving the grand scale. I'm interested to see what happens next issue, if all those ships are going to make it through the portal into the past. We didn't get as much backstory with Nika this time, but we do find out that she built her own AI suit and that she believes enough about the year and the location to download old English, so there's a chance that next issue, the two protagonists will actually be able to communicate. Great, great stuff.

Ultimate Spider-Man 30 - WHY DO I KEEP FINDING OUT BOOKS ARE ENDING IN THEIR LETTER COLUMNS!?!? Damn. This was fantastic. So well drawn, so much fun, and the story really let the characters dig into each other. The two (three?) pages with Miles just hanging out with Roxxon, letting him do all the talking was where I finally gave in and shouted with joy. And then, the science brain trust shows up and the kids just demolish them. It's so much fun, it's so great, and it just feels like a great, old-fashioned kiddie comic book. I love the way this looks and feels and then I find out it's going away. Damn. I mean, I'd heard the Ultimate Universe rumors, but I had no idea this book was actually ENDING. Makes it all the more likely that things are winding down in this Universe, eh? That's a damn shame. This art, this style of Bendis writing, this Cloak & Dagger, even this Bombshell, the way she said they should text each other... It was so good. The only consolation I can take is from Spider-Woman's last line of dialogue and the fact that it certainly looks like they're setting the stage for a new team. These kids would make a great one.

Unwritten 54 - THIS IS IT! This is the climax I've been waiting for in this book. "Tommy was a dream." There is so much dream-breaking in this book that I don't even know where to start. Tommy's weakened state in the beginning. The death of the cubs and Snow White. The boys blue. Tommy's friends. "All worlds begin somewhere. And end somewhere." Holy moly. This book completely kicked my ass. It's incredible what's happening here and it's even more amazing that we're getting a break and then a true conclusion. The fact that this book exists and has been allowed to work how it wants to is a testament to the Vertigo line. I love the fact that the art kind of deteriorated as the scenes closed (before the white pages, obviously) and that we got the (almost?) full text of the poem. I love that Frau Totenkinder gave in to her base impulses as the last chance for Tommy to bring about the end of the world. And I'm so psyched for Apocalypse that I have no idea what to expect. But I know it's going to be good and I know they're going to get to tell the story they want to. That's worth the price of admission right there. Fantastic stuff.

Wolverine and the X-Men 37 - Welp. I'm over the fun aspect. This is too much, too ridiculous, too many teams, too many X-people, too many books I'm not reading, and too much bad art. This issue really suffered from that last aspect as, if it had a great penciller on it, I think I would have been a bit more into the ride. But when the characters look nothing like I've come to expect them to, and when major events happen, like Xavier getting crippled and Wolverine getting gutted, in books I'm not reading, well...I lose track and then I lose interest. It's nice to see that people are pretty well sorted out as to who's who, it's nice to see all the characters who can are fighting different versions of themselves and it's horrible to have so much cliche dialogue in one issue - at least 2 get out of my head!s, 1 hope you survive the experience, and 1 old Iceman take on the most interesting man in the world? As of now, it was fun, but I'm glad it'll be done soon. Here's to hoping when this book gets crossover-free, it'll get back to the fun experience it was when it started. But if it doesn't, there are definitely enough Marvel books out right now that are ready to take its place.

Young Avengers 11 - Loki changes! Man, this was a cool issue. Between the Loki changes, the page of the cell phone call going out and the last page with Hulkling, there were some serious events in store for the kiddos here. And they cashed allll the way in. Leah is getting her big-time revenge, Loki is firmly in control - though the Kid's still around in a brilliant touch, modified from its JiM form - and the gang is about to have an all-out battle that they thought they'd avoided more than a handful of times. The art is gorgeous, as usual, and the story kills, so what more do you want?

Book of the week goes to Mind MGMT. This is the comic every single person should be reading.

Monday, October 21, 2013

comics for the week of 10/16/13.

Duke City Marathon weekend. Loving the world right now.

Avengers 21 - "Emancipation" is the best of the big ideas that Hickman's had building (no pun intended) in these titles for the duration of his run. This is what I want to see: some gnarly changes to the Marvel Universe via amazing new characters who can literally change worlds. Here's to hoping some of them survive Infinity. Beyond the cosmic ramifications of the Builders and Engineers and Ex Nihilo and the Abyss, we get a little mini-Kree drama: Ronan smashed the Supremor with his hammer! Man, that's not gonna play well after this war is over. And then...it gets truly insane. They're winning, but not enough. So they turn to the suicide play, the Hail Mary: they unleash the Annihilation Wave. I know this was talked about before, but I literally put my head in my hands when I saw it. I can't believe that Cap would make this decision and I think it might do good things for the good guys, but boy is this planting some serious seeds that are going to come back and bite them all on the collective ass later on. Holy poop. And then, just pages later, my regret turned to absolute shock. The Annihilation Wave didn't do shit. But...lucky for the good guys, they've got God on their side. Not just Thor, a God. But maybe, perhaps, just maybe, what we all mean when we actually say GOD. The one who made everything. And when she wakes up, everything changes. The Builders know they're beat, but they won't leave without a little spite thrown in for good measure. Infinity finally seems to be living up to its name and its promise and I'm happy to be reading this.

Batwoman 24 - Amidst all the stupid drama going on with this title, I actually kind of forgot that it was being put out, which is a shame, because it was THE best thing about The New 52 for quite a while. For now, though, McCarthy is still on art and, if it finishes that way, it'll have to go down as kind of a failed experiment. I'm such a JH Williams III fan, and he's proved his writing chops (although the use of simps as a real word here is crazy), but the book is so much less of an entity when Williams isn't doing the art. And, ultimately, I don't want to talk about what could have been, just about what it is for now. The plan, drawn up by Bones, gone through with by Batwoman, to get Batman, the white whale, goes wrong. Of course it does. But Kate has some tricks up her sleeve and the fight gets GREAT and we've got the split panels with Flamebird's rescue reaching its climax and THEN..... nothing. It ends. We have the promise of Zero Year, which was so bad I stopped reading Batman because of, and then, they'll be gone. Man. What a disappointment of a book, what a horrible way to end this issue, this run and this promise from The New 52.

Fables 134 - God! Fables covers are one of the modern marvels of our art world. Seriously. They're fucking beautiful, month after month, and no one talks about it! And then, inside? OK, the tears fell. Yep. I want to give this issue to so many people. I love the way Blue talks, I love the start, I love the maturity with which Bigby handles it all, and I love the fact that he also questions not only going back but the big picture, too. And the ending? Holy moly. Almost perfect. This was a bizarre issue; if you had described it to me, I'm not sure I would have thought I was going to be a fan. But sometimes those turn out to be the best.

Hawkeye 13 - So glad to actually have it! I love this comic and you would too if you were reading it. And if you're not reading it, you're going to feel really stupid once you do start reading it. Because it's so so so so so so so so good, it's so personal, it's so close up, it's so worthwhile. This issue, we get to see the resolution of some things (Barney, Grills) and the beginning of some others that we've already seen play out a bit (Kate and her departure) but the main focus is on Clint Barton just generally not being a great human. He's a really cool hero, and he does amazing things, but he's very, very ordinary. He drinks too much and he makes mean comments and his friends are all usually pretty mad at him. And that's great. That's something we need more of in comics. So if you're not buying this comic, you need to. It's one of the few truly GREAT titles that's coming out nowadays. Support it.

Invincible 106 - A bunch of different threads, this is a set-up kind of issue, which is cool with me, but none of the threads felt particularly compelling. We start with Battle Beast being a badass, then have some silly drama with Mark and Eve and his mom and dad. Then we get to see Dr. Seismic (have we met him before?) and he gets taken out in an ambiguous manner. And last but not least, we get to see Monster Girl, still looking fine as usual, and start to worry about Rex more than we have even in the past. He seems totally at ease with the fact that his girlfriend looks at him with more than a handful of hesitation. While that's all we get from Robot and Amanda, the scene that's promised on the cover gets delivered and it's amazingly cheesy. I literally rolled my eyes as it was happening, but it did provide an intriguing end, which is always nice. Doc Seismic's story promises more in the long-term future, but the end of the book, with Battle Beast, is the story that I'm most looking forward to. It's clear that Thragg is going to destroy him and then it's going to be serious trouble time. Or, it could be that this will be Nolan's breaking point with Allen, which will be cool, too. Just a so-so issue, sure, but they can't all be home runs.

New Avengers 11 - "In our seemingly unending string of bad choices, this one, I think, has the potential to be our worst." I love the concept of the Illuminati. I like the Thanos' son stuff. I like the fact that Earth is at the center of two cosmic events and that Hickman's walking that line pretty well. But I hate the fact that this book, so solid a premise has faltered so badly. While mainline Avengers and the Infinity books themselves are getting great, this one is falling off HARD. I almost don't even want to read the next couple issues, just come back post-Infinity and see where the chips have fallen. Here we get alternate universe Builders and Engineers as well as alternate Ex Nihilo (and maybe an Abyss?) while Thanos finds the Black Swan and recognizes her as dangerous. After that...I don't really know? The alternate universe Builders decide to throw the Illuminati through the Incursion point? Or ask them to blow up their own world? I don't even know, but it's so dense that I'm not convinced it matters or that I should care about it. This started as an incredibly ambitious world-building project and a redefinition of a group that was bound for trouble. Instead, they're just a meandering, almost purposeless group of whiners.

Book of the week goes to Fables. I love the fact that they went for the gusto, so I have to give it to Vertigo over Marvel's (arguably) second best book and the resurgence of Avengers.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

us men's national team does mexico a favor.

On Tuesday night, the US Men's National Soccer team won a game, which wasn't a surprise, but the overall results of the night had an odd side effect: with a win in the match, against Panama by a score of 3-2, the United States helped their greatest regional rival - Mexico - retain hope of their own qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

For a long bit in the game, it didn't look as though the US - already securely qualified for the World Cup - would pull out the victory. Panama scored in the 18th minute, securing a lead for themselves that would last the vast majority of the game. When the Americans finally came back with an equalizer - Michael Orozco in the 64th minute with a sweet header off the vaunted set piece of the corner kick - it felt like the tide had shifted a bit. But Team USA was never able to fully capitalize and Panama continued to push the game in their direction. What seemed like the final blow came in the 83rd minute, as Luis Tejada put in a ball that had been deflected by American goalkeeper Brad Guzan in superior fashion, which the US defense was too slow to effectively clear. Tejada ran off the field, tore off his shirt and the country of Panama celebrated. This seemed to most observers to do two things: vault Panama into the World Cup matches and knock Mexico out, as they'd lost to Costa Rica just earlier in the evening.

But Jurgen Klinsmann teams have been taught to continue fighting and the Americans did precisely that, despite sitting some of their more established stars for this reason or that. (Whether the Americans were sandbagging the game or not does not seem truly important.) With three minutes of stoppage time added to the clock, Team USA was down 1-2 and, somehow, improbably, the Americans scored twice in that time span to send Panama into a tail spin and Mexico into a fevered frenzy, their chances still alive.

Graham Zusi absolutely nailed a header off one of the sweetest crosses in the 92nd minute and the game absolutely morphed into something else. Mere moments later, Aron Johannsson demolished the hopes of Panama with a bullet of a shot. Johannsson's goal resulted in the game's conclusion less than sixty seconds later, no hopes of extra time, no hopes of future games - at least not for Panama.

With the victory, the US Men's National Team racked up a record-tying 22 points in the qualifying stages and added some mojo back to their current streak. Earlier in the year, the Americans possessed the then-longest winning streak in the world - at 13 games - and the team will surely remember this game as a fantastic example of not folding when they could have easily done so. Team USA's next match will be an international friendly in Scotland on November 15.

Monday, October 14, 2013

comics for the week of 10/09/11.

There's some things going on. Luckily, I have comics to distract me.

Infinity 4 - Global Terrigenesis?!? Mjolnir?!? Black Bolt versus Thanos fight?!? Like Dave Jordan said: THIS IS THE BOOK I WANTED TO READ THE WHOLE TIME! This is where Infinity finally got it right. The bit with Thanos' son is (amazingly) still the lamest part of the book (get it? His son, the healer, becomes unto death...yeah, yeah...) but the galaxy-wide battle, never a favorite aspect of anything for me, is picking up steam too. Not only did we get the knock-down drag-out that we wanted between Black Bolt and Thanos, but we get to see Thor (via a Cap-designed plan) knock the shit out of some Builders. Incredible. The entirety of the scenes with Thor are the best of the book. The closeup of Cap's eye, gleaming with confidence in the God of Thunder. His getting off the ship. His prayer to Odin. His tossing of the hammer. The way he takes the slap from the Builder. His destructive hole. His dialogue with Ronan. The call of Ronan to the other Accusers. The splash of all of them raising arms. God yes. This is where it's at.

The Private Eye 4 - The Paul Administration, eh? The TV program with Flash, eh? Chief, eh? But the best part comes near the end, when we meet CG and hear about library records and see the true way in which privacy affects literally everyone in this world. It's all about the little details with this book: here's a normal man, having dinner with his family and he needs to put his mask on before answering the door. And while he seems to be a genuinely good guy, with the wife and kids, and he puts up that front of the sacred duty of librarians and protecting the records, he caves pretty damn quickly when PI talks about getting him in touch with his ex. It's a wacky world we live in (and that they do) where people are so truly, terribly fickle. I think his moral high ground speech on the search history might be as close to a thesis statement as we've got from BKV so far on why this world is the way it is. When they finally get to the library, of course, it's amazing. Martin is killing it on the art, and I love the Huxley callbacks to pneumatic tubes. Lady Nunchuk makes her triumphant return to the series and she connects with Raveena so quickly that it'd downright cute. The ending, of course, is a killer, with the juxtaposition between the flight and the wreck and the first real glimpse we've seen of DeGuerre. Honestly, one the things that makes this book, though, is the amount of time they put into not only the product itself, but the Afterword, too. It feels like the old Bendis letter columns.

Rachel Rising 20 - Oh man. All right. This story, already pretty epic scale just jumped up a few notches. This is really, really great work from Terry Moore and I'm not shocked by it, but I am shocked by how forthright it is, as well as how dark it is. I always thought Moore was more of a comedian than a tragedian, but this one is really making it hard to truly shake out. Here, Bryn Mary reveals some of her real powers, her boyfriend has trouble adjusting to his new body and Earl just takes it all in stride. Also, the cover is truly disturbing and Zoe makes a power play. Manus is revealed and the grand plan starts to get a bit more grand.

Thor: God of Thunder 14 - The Dark Elves are taking refuge with the Dwarves, Malekith proves he fights dirty against Wormsong and Garney's art still doesn't bother me too much. All in all, another win for Jason Aaron and this amazing run on Thor. The fact that we see Malekith in such gory battle last issue and her we see Senator Volstagg with the line of the issue ("They did wither before the fury of my filibuster!") illustrates how lucky we are to have a book that's so good in such a diverse way. But insofar as the actual battle and substance of the issue, it was pretty standard fare. It's elevated by Aaron's mix of humor and politics, but it's nothing we haven't seen a hundred times before. Standard story, told by a superb storyteller is better than average.

The Walking Dead 115 - Welp. That wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. Sure, we've got the start and I know there's something to be said for a real intro when it comes to a 12-part story, but... There was nothing, really. Rick leaves Carl in charge of the homestead. Andrea doesn't go with. Rick's got a fucking army. They look tough, for sure. But the end? I don't know. Negan's got a hostage from the Hilltop? He switches the odds? Kind of? Jesus still is the guy and I'm not sure that some random schmuck is going to change things all that much. But I do know that next issue things are going to get crazy and I know that the symbolism and foreshadowing are still there: Rick should die. That would be the way to make this as crazy as it's been billed. My friends and I have talked about it and, yeah, if Carl dies, that'll be gnarly, taking it up a notch, but if Rick died, that would be the best. In fact, I think a new guy suggested a radical departure: Kill Rick, flash forward ten (maybe 15) years and have Carl be in charge of a whole new group of folks under different circumstances. What better way to end All Out War?

Book of the week goes to The Private Eye. Infinity was finally great, but The Private Eye always has been.

Monday, October 7, 2013

comics for the week of 09/11/13, 09/18/13, 09/25/13 & 10/02/13.

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I'm keeping track of Infinity. But here's the thing: for as good as Marvel is doing right now, this one is kind of falling flat for me. Avengers and the Illuminati are still good in concept, but they haven't been solid for a while. I'm still floating on premise and that's just not good enough. Not when they're also putting out such sold stuff otherwise. Let's see if the latest issue can change my mind.

Avengers 19 - Whoah. All right. So...that was particularly bad. I'm still not loving the crossover, but I do see some of the bigger picture here. I think part of the problem is that space, in the Marvel U, has always been just this kind of interesting corner, and all of a sudden, it's the main event. And we have new characters and crazy old ones and some MU back history, and some radically long-term ideas and...well, it's just a lot. But here, we get two pretty basic storylines, and we are starting to see how they intersect. (The Thanos bit, as the third, in Infinity, is where it gets to be too much.) But I loved seeing Captain Marvel get to play such a large part, as well as the Kree respect for humans and Captain America in particular. I loved to see Ex Nihilo demonstrate his conflicted nature and I think we're in for huge things from him. This series has been up and down, sure, but this was an up. Plus, I mean, come on: that cover!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 25 - The closing of Season 9 was pretty much everything that it had to be, everything we figured it'd be, and everything we feared it would be. Magic is back. Everyone survived. There was no real tension. Dawn made it. Congratulations, I suppose? I'm already looking ahead to Season 10. I want to see how they're going to reconcile some vampires who pretty clearly realize they have some incredible new powers with the Fray Universe where no one had magic for 100s of years. I want to see if that's still the plan or if we're on divergent timelines now, which is really the only way to make sense of it. If they go with differing timelines, it'll free some of the book up from the worry of the future and it'll let them tell better stories. A lot of this season seemed either wasted (Billy and the pregnancy) or just like it was simply wrapping up loose ends (getting the gang back together and bringing magic back). I'd rather have some looser reins and let the creators tell some new stories.

Locke and Key: Alpha 1 - This is the best book ever, it's ending in the next issue, it's hella complicated and I'm not reviewing it for you. You should have been buying it all along. If you didn't, don't start here.

Rachel Rising - This is the best issue of this series so far. It's so incredibly good that I don't even really know how to talk about it without spoiling it. So, it goes from an origin story of Bryn Mary (?) to some modern-day glimpses of Rachel waking up. But primarily the issue takes place in the past, and it's about Lilith and the temptation of Rachel and the intriguing relationship they had and then...well, there's a boy. Of course there is, right? And the with trials are starting up and they love each other and there's a militia, a mob, and there's guns and then... Well, we already knew that Lilith's power was real. That's not the shock. But the shock is too good to really ruin here, so let me just say: this is a great jumping on point. You'll get it enough and you should get it, because Terry Moore has found his groove again.

The Walking Dead 114 - All Out War starts next issue and we finally get to see how they got to this point. Jesus annointing Rick as Saint Peter in some kind of odd reverse theological moment was the biggest laugh, but there were plenty of cries. It's clear that Rick and Andrea are headed for splitsville, and Carl will almost undoubtedly do some dumb shit like stow away in the big assault. Negan's people are idiots if they don't get the swinging dick reference and he knows that, so he's disappointed in them as he should be. Last of all, Ezekiel is still being underrated by everyone. Once he won me over, I'm riding hard for him. Have some faith, Jesus!

Book of the week goes to Rachel Rising. Yup, it was better than Locke and Key.

*

All right, so I'm behind again already. First of all, I bought a house, secondly, I don't have Internet yet, and thirdly, the job's killing me. Enough of the excuses, here are the books!

Daredevil 31 - Samnee, are you kidding me with this cover? Jesus, this guy just keeps getting better! The bits with Matt's head's shadow showing horns? A perfect touch! And then, we get to check in with Foggy again? He's part of what keeps this book as good as it is and I love the fact that his cancer wasn't just a single-issue, it's-done type of thing. I love even more that it's stretching on without getting melodramatic or over-the-top. It's a real life thing and I appreciate that Waid is treating it as such. The story is a great one and DD handles almost all of the obstacles thrown his way perfectly, but I'm honestly afraid of the last page; is that the Jester? I don't think it is, nor do I think it's Foggy. But it's someone from his group? So the villains still get to have their knowledge that Matt is Daredevil, it's only the good guys who have to pretend to look the other way? Man, this isa horrible world in which Matt is living and he's doing a good job to maintain his attitude during all these shenanigans.

Fables 133 - Rose Red turns savior, Snow White gives a disturbing backstory that we never really would have guessed at, no matter how dark this book has turned, the new knights find a star recruit, and the ending is a dagger. (Boom. Kinda.) It's fun to see some sisterly drama again, but I'm bummed by the concept of the two no longer working together. Bigby's being gone certainly seems like it's going to last longer than I thought it would, which is a bad thing, but is interesting for the sake of changing the story. The focus is kind of monolithic compared to what it's been in the past, but it wasn't a bad thing in this issue. I predict next time around that we'll see a bunch of tiny glimpses into the many stories we've got going on.

Infinity 3 - Yu's art is killer. The Spartax are a bunch of bitches. Starbrand is a badass mofo. And Black Bolt finally cuts loose. I'm not nearly naive enough to think he's taking out Thanos, but in this issue, the good guys won a few battles. And that was awesome to see.

Hawkeye 13 - Haven't been able to find it, still, even two weeks later. Did it come out?

New Avengers 10 - Fascinating to see the fractures happening to the group in real time. I mean, Namor JUST betrayed Black Panther (not to mention the whole world!) but here they are, chumming it up, as though everything's fine. This book is gooooood. Maybe too grand in scale for someone like myself, who doesn't really care for the space stuff, but, still... It's really good.

Powers: The Bureau 7 - Yeah, sure, that was fine. I like the echoes, I like the progress, I think I'll stop reviewing this. It doesn't feel like I've got much worthwhile to say about it. (OTOH, it doesn't feel like Bendis does either, heyooo.) Forreal, though, it's a good book. It's Powers as you've always known and loved it. And yes, the characters are kind of growing. Definitely Pilgrim. But she's already been through this (not exactly this, but a growth) before, and then it just disappeared. It's fun, it's good, I'm not disappointed, but I don't want to tread this ground every once in a while in this space when Bendis gets around to putting Powers out.

Thor: God of Thunder 13 - Every issue, I think to myself, this book is due for a let down. And every issue, it refuses to surrender. I thought for sure, when I saw Ron Garney's name on the art duties that this would be sub par. But Garney stepped up his game. The only place where the pencils still lacked was the close up of faces, but that's always been a pet peeve of mine with Garney. The story, of course, was still solid, and, sure, it's kind of a movie tie-in, but that's fine with me, as long as the stories are all this good. I love how menacing Malekith is made out to be (as he should) and I love the fact that he seems to be a step ahead of Thor and the Warriors However Many They Are Now. Jason Aaron is continuing to kill it.

Book of the week goes to Thor. This is too much to handle, I'm normally a Thor hater. But Aaron is conquering the world.

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And, before I'd read even a single issue from last week, another week has passed. Oops. Sorry guys. I know it doesn't matter, but I do try to keep up with this. Turns out, things are happening all around me.

Avengers 20 - "Rest easy. All is well." Echoes of the Blue Lantern Corps in a space story that I'm not really comprehending is not a good sign for my faith in Hickman. But the story takes it to a really great place. I'm getting more and more of what's actually happening and I'm psyched about that, because that means this is a character-driven story again, the thing we can all relate to. I'm a huge fan of the fact that we see the Ex Nihilo and his Abyss go to the meeting that seems to be something that's going to turn the tide of the overall plot? Meanwhile, Cap is really earning his stripes with the alien races with the control of the battle, but I'm not sure about this surrendering idea. I don't think that's going to really be his aim, but I don't know what it's going to be. It's getting better in this book, though, I'm hopeful that it'll keep up.

East of West 6 - Wow. Colonel Sanders really pulls a number on Bel this issue and the Keeper has some gnarly powers! Seriously, his hand turned into, like, a death serpent! WTF? And then...man oh man. We get some huge backstory from the Republic of Texas. We see some Rangers and what drove the primary one to become the man he is today. We see Bel asking him to take care of the Chosen and we see some immediate smarts from the Ranger. I like the fact that he knows but I'm scared of the fact that he says he's going to save Bel for last. He should be STARTING with Bel if he had any kind of real smarts. Instead, we now have more and more characters thrown onto the board. I'm still loving the story, but I'm thinking at this point that it might be worth it to read this story only in trade form. It'll cohere a lot more and I won't have to try to keep track of all these characters and their various motivations and relationships.

Mind MGMT 15 - Incredible focus on Henry Lyme, who is (maybe?) the real star of this book. I'm not going to claim that he's the main character, but damn if he isn't the star. We get to see some of his past, but nothing really that we haven't seen before. What we do get to see are his encounters with Meru from his point of view. And that stuff is fascinating. The amount of guilt this guy is living with at this point is overwhelming. The decision he makes with the Immortals makes a lot of sense, but it's super dark, and at the very end, we see the ramifications from it. This is a really cool idea to divide the story in this manner and I'm happy (as always) with Kindt and his style of storytelling. Another superb issue of a series that not enough people are loving.

Saga 14 - Hazel as narrator is one of the best choices BKV made with this book. Another is giving The Will a conscience and here we see it fully on display. He cares about Sophie, giving her that name. He cares about The Stalk - he's still got an APB out on her old vehicle. And, simultaneously, he's trying to move on. He's interested in Gwen and she seems to be interested in him, too, but the timing's just not right yet. The art is gorgeous, the relationship between Granny and the author seems destined to be a comedic one and we're finally going to catch back up to Prince arriving on Quietus. I love this book so much.

Ultimate Spider-Man 27 - The gang's all here! Bombshell (is that really her name, or am I misremembering?) and Cloak and Dagger and Spider-Man and Spider-Woman all team up to take on Taskmaster and, while they're ultimately successful, it's crazy how brutally he beats them all down before they finally learn/Cloak just takes care of things. I love Miles' narration and the fact that he's a young Spider-Man is something sorely missing from the 616 MarveluU, even after the horribly-implemented, editorially-mandated One More Day story. I also love the interplay between Miles and Jessica, as well as, OF COURSE, the art. This is almost a pure fun book, but the only niggling worry in the back of my mind as I read the issue is that all of this will, in the end, be for nothing. I hope that Miles gets to keep his book and that the Ultimate Universe continues to exist, in some aspect. I'm a fan of the idea of bringing him over to the 616, too, but I want the Ultimate U to continue as well. We'll see. Really great stuff here, with the ending promising that there will be some action with Roxxon next time around.

The Unwritten 53 - I think I've noticed this before, but in this issue, Bigby Wolf looks a hell of a lot like Wilson Taylor. I can't help but think that's purposeful. The Fables make their final stand against Mister Dark and Fly leads the troops into battle. The fake Boy Blue is one of the worst enemies, but the trick he pulls is horrible. The role that the Unwritten kids play cannot be overstated and I love the role we see Gepetto taking in this alternate universe. The ending, though, is what it's all about, and we'll see where this story goes from here. Obviously, Dark has to be stopped, but I don't know what's going to happen to Tom as a result.

Wolverine and the X-Men 36 - It's a shame that this book had such crappy pencils, but it's a good thing I read the ONE book that's happened in this crossover that I'm not normally reading, because I'm loving this story. I love that here we get the battle between Jean and a crew and Ms. Grey still takes them down. She's the best. Even when she "loses," she still wins. I love that Wolverine and old Cyclops have more a battle of words than any physical stuff and that it's young Cyke who can't help but lash out. I love that Logan calls them jackasses. I love that Scott threatens to go back in time and get young Logan. (These guys REALLY don't get that they're messing with the timestream, do they?) I love that we still don't really know about old Iceman. What I don't love is that Magik is jumping back and forth, we get the twist we knew was coming, but there are no tangibles! It's still just some crazy time-messed story. I get that that's kind of the gig here, but there needs to be something concrete at some point. Otherwise it just becomes What If overload. I'm all well and good with seeing some crazy alternate futures, but if that's all there is, nothing feels real. Let's have something real happen in the next issue or I'll have to get a bit less invested.

Young Avengers 10 - The first 2 pages are some of the most impressive, and simple, extensions of the medium I've seen in a long, long time. Is it brand new? No. Have I seen it before? Sure. But it's so clean, it's so pure, and it's in such a mainstream book that it feels groundbreaking. Then, we get some Leah revenge-mode story, leading Teddy around on a leash so opaque that it's shocking they didn't just draw it in for us to see. Leah is proving to be the perfect foil for Loki, whom, as we see here, is truly back to some evil ways. It's interesting to think that he'll probably be on the team for quite a while, since there will always be someone else for him to blame his scheming on and the team, in all likelihood, won't see through his lies, despite America's prejudice toward him. While we didn't get to see the ensemble this issue, it didn't feel like we got short changed, especially with more time devoted to pseudo-Patriot than in all his previous appearances combined. (Perhaps hyperbole.) Regardless, I'm loving the fact that Leah is here, now, and that she's got a serious grudge against Loki. Also, Mother was already enough of a problem; now that she's got at least two allies? This is going to get bad for the Young Avengers. (Also, the actual young revenge-seekers billing themselves as avengers? Hilarious.)

Before I get to book of the week, I do want to acknowledge that with Locke and Key ending, some people might be tempted to say the best book is off the market. Personally, between Saga, Unwritten, Young Avengers, Mind MGMT and [insert your favorite other book here], I think we're living in a new Golden Age of comics. The only thing that irks me is that DC proper is left out of this list, but they maintain with Vertigo. This is truly an amazing time. The best book of this week, though, has got to be Saga. Every time I think that it's "just" a fantastic story, it turns up a notch, like the page with Sophie and the Lying Cat. BKV - running this shit.

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A light week (only one book!) means that I might finally get this posted. However, as Tumblr doesn't appear to support read more tags anymore, I don't think I'll be cross-posting it anymore. I don't want people to have to scroll past all this, definitely not now, and not even next week, when it'll be a quarter of this.

All New X-Men 17 - X-Men is always at its best when it mixes pretty overtly with politics. Also, time travel never hurts. So while I was a bit overwhelmed at the last part of this crossover with seeing yet another team, I think starting this issue with some of the backstory of this team really helped, especially in the context of the politics of the future world and their obvious echoes of the first mutant president. Plus, OMG, the easter eggs! Jubilee goes by Wolverine! Quintin Quire goes by Phoenix! Illyiana and Colossus have a moment! Iceman turns out to be the real deal, as we always knew he would be! Jubilee and Peter and the ones in charge! There's still that pseudo-Iron Man on the team! However, I've gotta say, honestly, I'm kind of sick of the cliffhangers. I'm glad to not be reading every part, but I want to know what happens with this story just as a whole already.

No book of the week when I only read one, but let me say that Batman: Black and White is also coming out and if you're not buying that, you're really missing out.