Monday, August 18, 2014

funnybook of the week: August 6th, 2014

There were a lot of books this week that aimed high only to miss the mark. Right up until the top three, which all aimed high and got all of it.

Programming note: Delays will continue rather than fade into the past as my real life still gets put back together. Apologies.

13 - Original Sin #5.3 (Original Sin #5.2 - 5 out of 6 books)
I’m at a loss here. The secret origin of Heven is that they were mercenaries and horrible to Asgard, and then were mad at Odin for calling them on it? Where’s the gray area that gives Angela some base to stand on as she carves up Thor? Is there a point of this beyond gender-switching Loki so that the gender-switched Thor can have a lady-rival? Kind of a mess here.

12 - Original Sin #3.4 (Original Sin #3.3 - 4 out of 5 books)
Heh. Hmm. Okay, I think my question about Original Sin #5.3 is answered with the conclusion here. We fundamentally rewrote Banner’s origin to eliminate his hubris and involve Tony Stark, only to put us back to the original tragedy and the original hubris (only now beefed up by what could have been a warning rather than a tampering). That’s a nice way of putting the toy back in the box and eliminating a major complaint that I had.

So the question: do these convoluted retcons exist for any reason other than getting the characters ready for their next incarnation? The answer is no. This whole exercise was to give us the Extremis-fueled version of the Hulk that’s cunning and coming soon to our pages.

All-in-all not bad, but kind of the long way to get where we’re going, I’d say.

11 - Lazarus #10 (last issue - 9 out of 11 books)
Negotiating when you have nothing to negotiate with is a terrible idea, even if you’re rich and your name has carried weight your whole life. This was, I think, supposed to be an interesting look at privilege and what happens when the default isn’t the reality, but it didn’t quite get there.

10 - Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #5 (last issue - 10 out of 11 books)
The confrontation here is as unsettling as the sight of Danny’s broken and formerly iron fists. The reveal of who exactly this all is kind of disappoints in the face (get it?) of the repeated use of the word “champ” from a distorted memory. But the emotional impact is still there, even if the source of it has been a little diminished.

I’m a little more concerned about “Brenda” and her sudden proficiency in fighting, and find that her character has kind of been whatever each issue needed it to be moreso than consistent. Maybe all that will join up by the end of this arc though?

9 - Moon Knight #6 (last issue - 11 out of 11 books)
Warren Ellis’ final statement on Moon Knight and who he is comes at about 0.9 on the Brubaker Nihilism Scale. It’s an idea that you see explored throughout this short run, and one that I wish this team had stuck around to explore some more after it was explicitly stated. Alas, this is what we get, and we get it against such a zero dimensional character that it loses some of its power.

8 - Black Science #7 (last issue - 2 out of 7 books)
Rick Remender now sets out on what I’d have thought would be the thankless task of turning the villain of the first six issues into our new hero. A man who will admit to lying, sabotage, and cowardice, suddenly bound by a promise because of things that happened far in his past.

He nearly pulls it off, too. I never quite make it all the way to feeling for our new hero, not while the truly innocent characters teetered so close to the edge of death based on the arrogance of both him and our last hero. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s why the last page feels like such a let down rather than the gut punch I believe is its intention.

7 - Superior Spider-Man #32 (last issue - n/a)
Otto gets to play bully for some future-folk, in an issue that fans of both Spider-Man 2099’s original series and the Superior Spider-Man will find amusing enough, even without a lot of oomph(except the hologram Anna, which is just another tragic level of depth for Otto). That dovetails into a Spider-Verse prequel, which plays with some versions of Spider-Man to the whiny House of M version to the What If? Fantastic Five version all being hunted down.

Otto comes up with a strong plan, recruiting some of the more severe versions of Peter Parker (as well as Pavitr Prabhakar, for some reason), which itself dovetails into a background story on one of my favorite What If takes on a darker Spider-Man.

6 - Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14 (last issue - 2 out of 6 books)
The origin of Overdrive! The intentionally sad aspect of this poor guy works within the confines of this story, but Overdrive may be done in non-laughy titles after this. It does make sense, though, so kudos to Nick Spencer for the thought.

The issue itself promises no loose ends from its narrator, which is treated as a throwaway line to explain the school bus, but comes all the way around to the Shocker and Silvermane’s head...a subplot that’s been rather more suspiciously dangling.

5 - Rocket Raccoon #2 (last issue - 1 out of 11 books)
A lot more slapstick than the last issue, but still as clever even if the bent towards its more adult audience is suddenly much more clear. Rocket’s a dirty raccoon, which is fine. This book is anarchy on a page in the best possible way.

4 - She-Hulk #7 (last issue - 6 out of 9 books)
Honey, I Shrunk the She-Hulk. Behind the absurdness of the premise and the fun of seeing birds and cats as our primary villains, this was a sneaky-good issue where Soule explores She-Hulk’s relationship with Patsy and allows for murky trust issues among good friends.

3 - Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #4 (last issue - 5 out of 11 books)
The Green Goblin! Spider-Man! Someone else! The action here worked, and I mean really worked. This felt like the kind of kinetic fun that used to grace the title back when Bagley was working on it. The showdown and panel-after-panel of the before-and-after reaction to that was this title working as well as it ever has (that it’s this low on the list should speak to the insane quality of this week’s top books).

Bendis still gives us that extra oomph, though, giving us the teenage drama of “my parents hate my boyfriend” turned up to a power we’ve yet to see the magnitude of. Top notch, insanely good work.

2 - Bunker #5 (last issue - 10 out of 11 books)
I’m a sucker for time travel stories, when done smartly. That’s what suckered me in, and that’s what I loved about this issue in particular. If you go back in time to change things, how do you know you haven’t already changed things? Do we know if we’re acting for the good of everyone, or are we acting to ensure the ruined future?

Fialkov is asking these questions between his characters, letting them arrive at different and uncomfortable answers, and letting that last little bit about Billy that only the reader knows drive one of the oddest and best moments in the issue (Thai food is serious business).

1 - Nailbiter #4 (last issue - 3 out of 11 books)
Like a good episode of the X-Files, this series has eliminated all of the obvious answers about what caused a small town to be a hub for serial killers and now starts getting us into the realm of curses and secret rooms beneath empty tombs. And the way that the obvious is eliminated (or rather eliminates himself)? That’s your gateway into what’s next. That was just fantastic storytelling.

Yet the most intriguing bit comes in a quieter moment that may have been hinting at something more sinister than it even appeared at the moment, given what followed. Our title character is given a real, live offer that could mean so much more to the series. This is the issue where the book arrives.

Monday, August 11, 2014

funnybook of the week: July 30th, 2014

There were some high-profile disappointments, but unbridled fun at the top of the list. Fun is fun.

5 - Guardians of the Galaxy #17 (last issue - 8 out of 12 books)
...and then things resolved. Kind of. Except Flash is still missing and everyone is oddly okay (unsettled, sure, but okay) with that. Outside of some fun banter between Captain Marvel and Peter Quill, this was pretty forgettable, actually.

4 - Original Sin #3.3 (Oringinal Sin #3.2 - 5 out of 9 books)
There’s something extra. Something beyond what we’ve seen. We get Tony and Bruce each going to extremes to try to put together a full story (with some interesting science fiction, if you’re into that), but in a spinoff title that’s predicated on everyone’s darkest secret being revealed, there’s still a lot that neither of them seems to know.

3 - Fatale #24 (last issue - 7 out of 7 books)
I get what Brubaker and Phillips were going for here, but I don’t know if it quite hit the mark the way they wanted it to. Jo springs her trap and turns it all back on her tormentors, finding that all of the pain she’s caused as a result of her curse can be a weapon to finally end things. It’s a nice idea, but the result kind of neuters 24 issues worth of threat while seeming to come from left field.

I’ll give the whole series a reread one day, as Brubaker likely teased his MacGuffin in the first three issues, but for now it didn’t feel earned as a solution.

What did feel earned was Josephine’s eventual state. The freedom she finds in the end, that she didn’t feel she was capable of. And, true to the name of the book, that freedom claims one final victim. That’s closing the circle on this book in a meaningful way.

2 - Uncanny Avengers #22 (last issue - 12 out of 12 books)
Kang’s defeat came from doing the one thing he couldn’t have predicted form super heroes...confronting Kang directly? That odd wrinkle of storytelling aside, the time travel epic closed with a clear vicotry, but leaving behind far more questions than answers.

But. That’s good storytelling for an ongoing comic series. Wrap up your central conflict, but leave a child from another reality, a Celestial revenge warning, and the lingering Final Horsemen to play with another day.

1 - Red Sonja #0 (last issue - 5 out of 7 books)
I’m not sure why this exists, or what the meaning behind the timing was, but who cares? If you’re delivering quality stories, a #0 that doesn’t really add to the mythos when I’m awaiting the next part of an ongoing story is fine and dandy.

Gail Simone is looking at everyone’s skewed version of what’s honorable as Sonja comes back to a village to find she’s been mourned as dead, by none moreso than her husband (that she didn’t know she had...and for good reason). Even in an admonishment, Sonja doesn’t seem to mind lying for food, ale, and sex...just that the lie involved her name. No one’s fully in the right here, and honor is a word that’s just thrown about until a debt is finally paid.

But gleefully watching horrible people who think they’re morally obliged to what they want is what made the Secret Six so fun, wasn’t it?

Monday, August 04, 2014

funnybook of the week: July 23rd, 2014

6 - Storm #1 (last issue - n/a)
This felt more like a one-in-done issue of X-Men with storm as its focus than the launch of a new series starring Storm. We got a cursory going over of her history, and then she makes trouble for the X-Men by helping people after she’s accused of being a sell-out by a bratty kid who she later apologizes to for being right.

There’s nothing here that’s inviting me back for a second issue.

5 - Original Sin #5.2 (Original Sin #5.1 - 3 out of 6 books)
If people speaking in flowery language to basically say “kill them” and “I’d rather not fight you,” this is your jam. Loki’s dealing with the Angel queen is the only thing that exists outside of those parameters, and steals the issue as a result. Really feeling like I ditched the Loki title too soon.

4 - Amazing Spider-Man #4 (last issue - 5 out of 6 books)
Slott is doing his level best to reintegrate the Spider-Totem stuff that JMS introduced into Spider-Man lore (which gets a bad rap, by the by), and the introduction of Silk as a somehow more trained Spider-Person (somehow without the practical experience Peter has…) that he’s oddly attracted to because Spider-Powers is an interesting idea.

But most of what’s set up in this issue, both with Silk and the goings on at the lab with Catwoman’s plan, has more of a wait-and-see vibe to it rather than a this-is-awesome-now vibe.

3 - Saga #21 (last issue - 3 out of 12 books)
It’s hard living a nearly separate life from your spouse, and the perils of that are coming into focus even without the narration at the beginning of this arc that told us where we were inevitably headed.

What’s really interesting here, is the Robot Kingdom’s action. We don’t know what the tiny baby television’s purpose is in the kidnapping, but the violent takeover of a ship with a baby in a sling is compelling visually, and the broken Prince’s reaction to it all is wonderfully troubling.

2 - Transformers vs. GI Joe #1 (last issue - n/a)
The retro stylings of the art (even made to look like this comic is on the faded paper in the deep recesses of your longbox stack) and dialogue is fun and over-the-top, but seems like the perfect cover for some of the actual metatext of this issue.

Most notably, Spirit pointing out that the NiƱa, Pinta, and Santa Marie might not be the most positive association for strange visitors. There’s a subversive humor beneath the very straightforward alien invasion story that still allows the characters to react as human beings. I just loved this.

1 - Letter 44 #8 (last issue - 9 out of 12 books)

The on-the-ground consequences of President Blades’ reaction to the tech at his disposal are really being pressed here. Not just quickly winning skirmishes up to whole wars with sci-fi action, but the worries of what happens beyond that. The dilemma a man like Blades who, like his not-so-subtle real-life analog, campaigned on the promise of bringing troops home has when shown how we can outgun the enemy vs. what happens when the rest of the world figures out how advanced our weaponry has gotten is really smart, thoughtful writing.

Soule mixes that large idea with the small, local problem of Blades’ ego when dealing with his predecessor. Like the rest of the strongest issues of this series, that theme is mirrored by the space team. The small problem of their new babe not being 100% normal and the team’s decision about how to tackle the issue at hand are separated, but not entirely unrelated as each involves a decision on whether to act or not act in the face of an inevitable situation that renders those decisions ultimately moot.

So good.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

funnybook of the week: July 16th 2014

There were some misfires this week before things got really good. Full spectrum of putrid to great.

9 - Dark Engine #1 (last issue - n/a)
If an incoherent metal song came to life, this would be it. Pass.

8 - Original Sin #6 (Original Sin #5 - 8 out of 11 books)
I’m just having the hardest time figuring out what makes this an event comic. Secrets revealed and dealt with elsewhere? Dead watcher? Isn’t this just an extended Winter Soldier #0?

7 - Elektra #4 (last issue - 3 out of 7 books)
I’m not sure where this took a hard turn left into a longform piece about Elektra and Bloody Lips being separated only by the intent of their first kills, but it’s not a great look. We’ll probably right the ship next issue, this was a beautifully illustrated mess of an issue, though.

6 - She-Hulk #6 (last issue - 2 out of 10 books)
I can’t decide if Shulkie’s sudden dropping of the Blue File is an odd and abrupt ending to this story on an in-story quirk that was executed so matter-of-factly that it just seemed off. I’m guessing it’s the latter, but between that and the artwork that seemed to be in-the-style but jarringly off for this issue? Very distracting.

5 - Original Sin #3.2 (Original Sin #3.1 - 7 out of 12 books)
The storytelling here is really good, as both Banner and Stark find the same truth in their own ways. I mean, that’s some straight-up excellent execution from both the art and the writing to deliver an editorially mandated link between the Hulk and Iron Man from whole cloth, neatly fitting into Tony’s much-ballyhooed past as a drunkard.

BUT…

One of my favorite things about the Hulk is that Banner suffered for his own hubris just as much as he did because he needed to run out there and save Rick Jones from blowing up. Waid and Gillen work hard to keep Banner’s hubris in the story, his ego and ambition being part of what convinces an ill-of-state Stark that he needs to intervene, but I feel like we’re merely re-stating that Tony Drinking is bad while taking a big piece of Banner off of the table.

4 - The Wicked + The Divine #2 (last issue - 2 out of 7 books)
Lucifer offering immortality to someone in exchange for favors. And these two are presented as our heroes in the issue. That’s a hell of a trick to pull off (get it?), but Gillen and McKelvie are more than up to the task. You feel yourself getting sucked into this bigger, more exciting world at the expense of everything real. It’s pretty damn good.

3 - Rat Queens #7 (last issue - 3 out of 10 books)
Our Rat Queens’ stories start to collapse upon one another, as the big bad and the source of his power are revealed just as Dee’s spiritual crisis starts to come back on her. The storytelling is really strong, save for an interlude that I understand the importance of, but feels like it got too many pages in an issue where Betty and Violet so little space.

It’s not a huge problem, and I admire the ambition, but sometimes this book can cannibalize itself developing all of its characters at the expense of its stars.

2 - Ms Marvel #6 (last issue - 6 out of 12 books)
Nerdy super hero girl tries to take the fight to the bad guy, runs into the first round fantasy super hero team-up pick (while he’s still alive), establishes a good rapport, and meets the bizarre Inventor and gets cryptic clues. And the best part of the issue?

Kamala goes for spiritual advice from an unlikely source, because for all that the superhero elements are spot on, this is still mostly a story about a girl who happens to be a superhero.

1 - Stray Bullets: The Killers #5 (last issue - 2 out of 12 books)
The Amy Racecar issues of Stray Bullets are invariably my favorite ones. We don’t know how much of the narrative is based in real life, how much are just the flourishes of Virginia’s imagination, and how much is that same character working through her existential angst. But that’s okay, because the issues are always so much fun that you don’t mind re-reading them and parsing them out for clues and easter eggs. God bless Stray Bullets.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

funnybook of the week: July 2nd, 2014

Catching up. Covers to return...sometime?

11 - Moon Knight #5 (last issue - 4 out of 7 books)
Video game, boss levels, high concept but no meat.

10 - Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #4 (last issue - 3 out of 7 books)
I’m not 100% sure how Andrews thought mixing daddy issues with sex scenes should play out, but I imagine this was about as well as it could have?

9 - Lazarus #9 (last issue - 7 out of 10 books)
This felt like the action sequence finish to a highbrow movie disguised as a blockbuster, but then even the action wasn’t there. The conclusion to this chapter is just a reminder to keep caring about a few of these new characters.

8 - Original Sin #5 (Original Sin #4 - 4 out of 7 books)
Deep down inside, you need Nick Fury on that wall. I’m not sure what this has to do with the dead Watcher, but it was almost cruelly pedestrian. Like the real point of this story, to unearth a device for retcons in other books, has already been set loose and the rest is just Nick Fury talking.


7 - Thor: God of Thunder #24 (last issue - 4 out of 12 books)
I’m a little disappointed that Thor’s unworthiness is going to be based on something in the Big Event Comic and not his failure of Broxton. His ego led to a pretty wholesale gross destruction of a place he loved, and while he did his level best to make it up to those people in a grand gesture, there’s still a lot of damage.

There’s a lot of seed being planted for future Thor stories, though, and this epilogue is more of a portent of things to come than the falling action of the story we’ve just read.

6 - Sheltered #10 (last issue - 1 out of 7 books)
After last month’s realization that these kids are locked into a world view, it’s going to take a strong catalyst to get things to really shake. Part one of that is Lucas’ growing self-doubt, and part two is the ending of this issue.

Those are good ideas, but there was so much filler in this issue, including a protracted truck drive that has to lead to something. Right?

5 - Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #3 (last issue - 6 out of 7 books)
Norman Osborn is running free, berating ex S.H.I.E.L.D. directors for allowing plot holes, and waiting for a fight with a Spider-Man. Miles is giving away his secret identity, worrying for the safety of the real Peter Parker’s family (assuming, you know, clones), and generally being a young super hero. The Spider-Men are getting attention, most notably from a Bendis-lookalike cop who happens to be in a police station scene straight out of Powers. This was fun, and exactly what we needed after all the other Ultimate disappointments.

4 - Morning Glories #39 (last issue - 6 out of 7 books)
Remember Casey? Insofar as there is one, the star of our story? We’re addressing what she did when she went back in time, and what the biggest problem with her not remembering any of it is. It’s all about rivalries. Who her old rival was, who her current rival is, and what happens when it turns out they’ve been working with one another to bring her exactly where she is.

For all the power that Cassie has been given, she’s still unable to move past pawn...until Hodge tells he the way she can see Headmaster for herself.

3 - Nailbiter #3 (last issue - 2 out of 7 books)
The implication that’s just a little too on the nose is that our intrepid reporter went out to find out what about the town made people into serial killers, found the thing, but then also became a serial killer. But that’s too on the nose. We do have a copycat. A clumsy interpretation of the Nailbiter and then of the Book Burner after that. And it is connected to the investigation, and I hope it’s in a better way that the obvious.

The small-town rage at it’s reputation and those who have helped earn it, though, is a nice mood to layer over this, complicating things in both that everyone is a suspect and that everyone has a reason to obstruct any further investigation. Somehow, it keeps growing more personal for everyone else as well, which is just wonderful storytelling.

2 - Southern Bastards #3 (last issue - 4 out of 5 books)
When your hero wants to stand up to the powers that be in a small town, you’d best show exactly why the powers that be in a small town exist. And here we are. A man, his stick, and an empty room. Having fully misjudged the will of the people, what’s left?

More human than he’s been yet, Earl show vulnerability in small quiet moments and then in a very obvious last page that isn’t going to sit well with him when he finds out.

Moreover, though, this issue is about a reluctance towards change, even when it’s positive. Search no further than Coach Boss’ opinion of the hurry up offense for confirmation.

1 - Rocket Raccoon #1 (last issue - n/a)
Give me a fun comic, a genuinely fun comic, and I’ll reward you for it with my continued purchases for a long time. Skottie Young’s take on the mischievous Rocket Raccoon is wonderful, and not at all the just-for-kids fodder you’d expect from a book about a talking space-raccoon. It’s more along the lines of the book you’d expect from a character whose catchphrase is “Blam, murdered you.”

A sort of interstellar casanova who’s oblivious to the path of weirdly broken hearts he’s left behind, Rocket faces both a doppelganger that suggests he’s not the last of his kind as well as an army of mysterious people who want him taken down for, well, murder. Good times.

Friday, July 25, 2014

funnybook of the week: July 9th, 2014

An all-Marvel week. I either need to diversify the pull list more or this is just an aberration. We’ll see which soon enough, I guess. Although since half of these are Spider-Man family comics...

6 - Fantastic Four #7 (last issue - 11 out of 12 books)
Anger at the omission of the truth, a scientific process that can’t be repeated or whatever, and then a murder that doesn’t get committed. This is all trope and no development. I think we’re done here.

5 - Amazing Spider-Man #1.3 (last issue - 1 out of 12 books)
Early Spider-Man irritates future supervillain. This one was more by-the-numbers life-ruining than the last, and otherwise didn’t add a whole lot to the proceedings.

4 - Captain Marvel #5 (last issue - 1 out of 7 books)
The issue where convenient things happen, the full scope of the plot is suddenly revealed, and no one wants to do what’s right so Captain Marvel has to. Only the last part really worked, and that doesn’t pay off ‘til next issue.

3 - Original Sin #5.1 (last issue - n/a)
While I’m not sold on Freja’s emotional blathering or the addition of Angela’s Heaven as the 10th of the 9 realms, I am largely sold on the emotional core of this issue. Thor and Loki seeking out their long-lost sister, and an old Loki guiding the action.

This also makes me think I maybe didn’t give Loki: Agent of Asgard enough issues to sell me, because it looks like really interesting work being done with that title.

2 - Superior Foes of Spider-Man #13 (last issue - 7 out of 7 books)
The fun is back here. Mistrust and awkwardness for the bulk of the crew, and some fun with Speed Demon to top it off, but the real star of this issue was Silvermane and the Shocker fending off Hammerhead and his gang. I can’t remember exactly when the Shocker started becoming less of a threat and more of a punch line, but this issue is almost the completion of a characterization that goes back to the Deadly Foes of Spider-Man mini from waaaay back when.

Except we get more, and I’m okay with that.

1 - Spider-Man 2099 #1 (last issue - n/a)
Peter David understands that comics are, above all else, supposed to be a fun escape, and approaches his return to Miguel as a character with a fantastic amount of fun via a matter-of-fact mercenary out to set the timeline straight (and also set the tone and major foreshadowing for the series to come).

The laugh lines were there, a new reader could learn who Miguel was and what he was about, and the scripting was a tight one-in-done story that made you want more. This was a hell of a debut issue.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

funnybook of the week: June 25th, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man is amazing enough to win again.

12 - Uncanny Avengers #21 (last issue - 3 out of 5 books)
Ah hahahaha, Kang knew everything! Kang conquers all! Right?

Man, when rube goldberg supervillain plots go well, they really go well. But when there are this many moving parts even independent of the expertly sewn seeds at the start of this whole story? When it comes down to "I knew you'd know what they'd do and use it against them"? I just can’t…

11 - Fantastic Four #6 (last issue - 5 out of 5 books)
Oops and now I hate you. There was a valiant effort to save this with a section questioning the ethics of killing an android, but the Original Sin tie-in was just. Too. Yawn.

10 - All-New Ultimates #4 (last issue - 2 out of 6 books)
While I’m digging some of the characterizations, the amateur hour superheroics beach break seemed...off somehow. I’m sticking around to see what Bendis can do with Spider-Man, but it looks like this relaunch of the Ultimate Univers is leaving me the same way just about all the others did…

9 - Letter 44 #7 (last issue - 3 out of 10 books)
I grow weary of these books that stop a story to give you some deep background on the characters. I get why you can’t do that at the top of the story. You have to start where the action is, where the hook is. But maybe that’s my problem with these. They weren’t interesting enough to start your story with, and are they necessary enough to interrupt the story with once you’ve got the hook into the reader?

Did we need to know that two of our space team were brilliant? I think we’d already figured that out. A history that makes things happening there and a link between them were established and can feed into the main story just fine, but I think those could have been established in less space.

Maybe this will make eventual twists more vibrant? It was fine for what it was, I’m just not a fan of what it was.

8 - Guardians of the Galaxy #16 (last issue - 1 out of 5 books)
Wherein various members of the Guardians of the Galaxy get their grooves back. Venom and his special bond with the symbiote. Drax with his challenge finally answered. Gamora with a warrior-sister bond. And Peter Quill, the Star Lord by...exposing a space dictator as someone who doesn’t much like his family?

It’s kind of a reach as a plot point, and it really cast a bad shadow over the rest of what’s been a very enjoyable story.

7 - Original Sin #3.1 (last issue - n/a)
Standard reworking of an origin story to more closely link two characters, one of whom did an oopsie because of the drink (probably) which has led to some punching that’s totally earned. I’m trusting Waid and Gillen have a more interesting destination for this than currently seems in play.

6 - Ms Marvel #5 (last issue - 2 out of 5 books)
Points added for Kamala learning a life lesson that directly applies to her superheroing life. Points deducted for the thing where a hero leaves someone in peril while they montage train and time doesn’t seem to have passed at all with the imperiled party.

5 - Rachel Rising #26 (last issue - 3 out of 7 books)
This reset is so big it needed two issues. We’re re-establishing this book to be about a reincarnated witch, her friends and family, and the possibly evil and definitely ancient child who lives with them. Moving full tilt in that direction, we find Zoe’s old mentor is not as dead as we’d once liked, and Rachel has an unnatural attraction to the history of Satan’s sword. All interesting stuff, but a large reshuffling of the deck.

4 - Thor: God of Thunder #23 (last issue - 7 out of 11 books)
Thor scores some pyrrhic victories in the present and in the past, and it’s an interesting route to take because Aaron suggests in each that Thor loses a piece of himself with each claimed victory, but then shows how deep those wounds go. We’re on the way to seeing a god who is unworthy, and announcements and rumors swirling about the consequences are interesting.

The two eras seem to stand in stark contrast. Old Thor becoming a destroyer by choice and our Present Thor left to see destruction that isn’t his doing. Until you think of where this story started, and where the hubris really is. Aarron is just working on some next-level stuff that isn’t immediately apparent.

3 - Saga #20 (last issue - 6 out of 11 books)
There are a lot of characters going a long way to avoid some responsibility. In some cases, there’s the easily relatable story of Marko enrolling his daughter in dance classes to escape raising his child. For Alana, she’s participating in the very thing that prevents others from facing the responsibilities of the real world. We’re seeing the consequences of those actions slowly weave themselves into the story.

For a more immediate consequence, though, we look to our opening pages, where Prince Robot IV has been driven away, ditching the responsibility to his new family. The consequences there are pretty brutal, even as his distractions don’t seem to be enough.

2 - Stray Bullets: The Killers #4 (last issue - 2 out of 5 books)
David Lapham has gone out of his way to show us how fragile his characters are, but none moreso than a lovesick boy who’s afraid he’s overachieved romantically even as everyone around him tries to convince him otherwise. It’s a real teenage drama, but with that dark twist that leaves a lot of emotional honesty and really brings to light those early years when everything was the most important thing that ever happened to anyone.

1 - Amazing Spider-Man #3 (last issue - 3 out of 6 books)
Dan Slott’s spinning plate dance is amazingly entertaining this issue. Pushing Felicia’s new anger at the Spider and placing it against a Peter Parker who has to invoke the fear of his Ockterman days to keep from fighting a former lover and ally. It’s clever and fun, while still showing how deep Peter finds himself in Ock’s mess.

That includes back at work, where his partners want to keep the old fires burning, and in his personal life as Peter Parker, where he comes to grips with MJ’s moving on from the chaos that follows him.

Oh, and Ezekiel is around, too. In one form or another. I know there are a lot of bad vibes out there where this character is concerned, but given what’s around the corner, it seems pretty exciting to me.