Guardians of the Galaxy came out this week. It's great. Go see it.
Avengers 33 - Just Cap. A 2001 and Wizard of Oz reference in the first two pages. And then....more stuff I don't understand. There's so much scope (50,000 years, right?) at this point that I (we?) continue to have no choice but to sit back and let it wash over us and try to look back only in retrospect, in the future. (Which, I guess, is kind of a meta commentary on the story? Huh. I wonder if that's purposeful. Or if I'm just stupid and there are plenty of people who are getting this as it's happening.) The best/worst part, though, is the last page. I thought for sure that Cap was going to fall through fractured time and lose the Infinity Formula and we'd have some kind of resolution, both to this story as well as to the larger idea of how we're going to make the jump that's imminent (this is why I try to stay away from Previews. If I didn't know that jump was coming and Steve was going to be old, I wouldn't be trying to pre-rationalize it) in the Avengers World idea. But noooooo...we've got one more issue. However, I'm happy to see the words "To Be Concluded" which assures me that next issue actually will provide some sort of closure, whether I understand it or not. The biggest question? That sure looks like modern Tony, huh? It's cool, but I definitely don't get it.
Black Science - This book is the most bonkers book coming out in all of comics-hood. Seriously. The art is a huge part of it, with just totally cutting loose, but the coloring is definitely included, too. It reminds me of a 21st century take on the old four way colors. In this issue, I was lost in the best way. It all happened so quickly that I didn't even get to figure out who the narrator was until it was revealed. I should have caught it with the names, but I was happily surprised. With the way the characters are dying in this series, I think we've got to acknowledge that there's a chance the kids are dead, but I don't believe they are. I love the progression of all the characters and I loved the horse-fish, the sacrifices, the Shaman still being around.
East of West 14 - This book is close up there on the insanity meter. We've got Death looking for his son, but his ex-compatriots getting there before him. Before they do that, though, they check with their God-ish figure (Ezra [Have we seen him before?] is simply the Word's vessel, but I'm sure we're supposed to take him at his [pun intended!] word) to make sure it's OK. It's definitely not, and despite hearing that negative, the remaining trio of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse put their dastardly plan into action. Also, we see the Confederate States of America moving toward a new President and while it's no surprise who takes over the role, it's revealing to see the depths he descended to in order to get there. It's a confusing book, but there are huge things happening.
Hawkeye 19 - Oh man. I've loved this series as long as it's been going on and this felt like the perfect issue of the entire run. The only thing darkening its perfection? The realization that there's only two more (?) issues left. It's always felt like a comic that we didn't really deserve any more, at least not from one of the Big Two. When it came out, it was a revelation. It's still deserving of its spot in the sun, but I can't say that I'm surprised at its (inevitably too-soon) demise. This issue fully bought into the sign language and got us back to the truth of Clint as a deaf kid. While he's made strides getting over it (clearly) in the interim - I don't know if those were magical or superheroic or just plain old rectons out of spite for "weakness" - it's now got to be an essential part of him. If a lesser writer can't handle that wrinkle to this character, I'm just not sure they should get to write him. This has got to be Clint from now on, otherwise this sparkling run will mean nothing. This is a prime example of when continuity is important. Clint and Barney get back up after being knocked to the mat, they rally themselves (actually, it's more like Barney rallying Clint first, which is perfect with its tie to the past) and the troops (not just the citizens of the apartment building, but Clint's super pals, too) in order to take the fight to the gang that put them in this place. The last issues (the question mark in the beginning is to say I think I remember hearing there'll be two more, but that could be wrong...) are going to be incredible. As this whole thing (minus those two throwaway issues...) was.
Mind MGMT 24 - A lovely time for a break. It was a perfect little retrospective, giving long-time readers new clues regarding the life of Henry Lyme and providing a nice jumping on spot for new readers. I'm reassured by the fact that new comics like this are still coming out monthly (kinda) and that the hardcover collections are still readily available as well. There's not a lot to say in regards to this issue for a long timer, other than it was delightful to see some of the older adventures of Lyme and his once-upon-a-time partner. Also tragic is the inclusion of any other aspect, since we know they're all doomed: his marriage, his rescue of Meru, his time with the dolphins, with the artists, on the plane, etc. I mean, damn. Dude's lived a hell of a fucked up life.
New Avengers 21 - This was a masterpiece. I feel like we're in the worst/best kind of morality play, where Namor plays the Shakespearean role of villain embracing his heroic side in the most stark terms. It's a weird thing to say, but this mainstream Marvel superhero comic was on the level of some of the most impressive indie comics this week. When Namor started the battle between the Illuminati and the Great Society a couple issues ago, I wasn't surprised, but I was happy to see him fully embracing that role. This issue was even more than that and, ironically, I think it made him come off stronger. While all of the heroes have already clearly crossed the line, they're unwilling to take the LAST step. They've been perfectly content to walk all the way past the edge, but, Wile Coyote style, are still deceiving themselves that they're on solid ground. Only Namor is brave enough to look down and realize that he's overdue for a fall. I actually lost respect for Reed, Beast, Tony, etc. and gained some for Namor. Only Strange seemed fully aware of the price he's already paid. When the Great Society was first introduced, I was pissed off, because I felt like we were wasting time. But now that I've got the gift of hindsight, I see they were only a means to an end. And that end, amazingly, has been to put some kind of shine (whether it's of disgust or not) on Namor and slime up his Illuminati fellows.
Sandman: Overture 3 - Well. I don't know how to properly react to this issue because it feels like the true middle of the series. I'm not sure anything actually happened, but that's kind of to be expected from the Prince of Stories primarily just telling a story and wandering over some land, only arriving at his destination on the last page? I mean, he definitely met a companion who's going to be detrimental to his overall cause according to the Fates. And the art was gorgeous (duh) and the blending of our Dream and the Cat Dream became even better. But...the point of the story eluded me and the ending of the story just made me more anxious for the time to pass to get to the next issue. But the section with the bugs was amazing as was the little girl (Hope, love it) and her reaction to Dream's horrible, horrible laughter. That seems pretty accurate.
Spike: Into the Light - Yeah, that was cool. But nothing amazing. Just a Spike tale, pretty standard. I'm not sure it added anything to anything, at least for me. I was already a Spike fan, and I'd think anyone who's been on the series long enough is, too. But I'm glad Marsters got to write this, because it seems like he truly wanted to, and I'm glad the story of good Spike was advanced a little. There's not much more to it.
The Wake 10 - I'm disappointed to say that I was disappointed with the ending. It was appropriately epic in scope for a story that spanned more than hundreds of years (I mean, thousands, even millions, if you count the caveman stuff) but it felt so loose, so tenuous to the stories that I'd actually cared about in this book. The first half was Dr. Archer and her work and discovering the Mers and the second half was Leeward and her dolphin and her parents and the crazy new world she and her people inhabited. But that's the thing: we don't truly get resolution to any of those. We do, though, get a pullback by the camera, and a revelation that the picture was always much larger than we (or even Archer) suspected and a grander resolution. Which, I suppose, is good for Snyder, since it seems that's the story he wanted to tell. But for those of us who invested in the concept of the two protagonists, the only satisfaction we get is hearing Archer say she spoke with her son and that she gave him some good advice, which Leeward gets to use to bold effect on the gorgeous last page. Also, the turnout with the General and the Crazy Lady, which is the only bit of conclusion we see in regards to the future story. It was fine, but it felt like...not an ending?
Book of the week goes to Hawkeye. In a week of amazingly strong comics, there was a lot of competition, but I can't ignore the simple and most pure pleasures.