Wednesday, October 29, 2014

funnybook of the week: October 15th, 2014

The previously rolling Spider-Verse stuff is starting to grind a little bit as we stall for the story to actually begin...

8 - Spider-Man 2099 #5 (last issue - 6 out of 10 books)
You know what I don’t like? When the story of Miguel building a life for himself in the present day is interrupted so we can have a crossover.

7 - Edge of Spider-Verse #5 (last issue - 10 out of 10 books)
So this is another interesting idea that gets interrupted before it can really be explored. This time, though, we didn’t even get an entire (but truncated) story the way we did with Spider-Gwen or the murder mystery.

6 - Ms Marvel #9 (last issue - 3 out of 9 books)
Kamala exploring her inhumanity is kind of a tedious sideshow, but Kamala deciding that she’s responsible for her community is everything right with superhero comics. But that tedium...

5 - Hulk #7 (last issue - 7 out of 11 books)
I really enjoyed Skaar getting a real chance at a life, the idea that Doc Green really can possibly be curing people of a curse rather than depowering bona fide heroes. With two Hulks off the map, what happenes next, knowing that there are at least two Hulks who aren’t going to be kind about things?

That’s what I really want to find out. This book excels at being an okay narrative that makes you really want the next part.

4 - Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #6 (last issue - 2 out of 11 books)
There are some interesting ideas about Spider-Men, Goblins, and who lives and dies that could very well make things a lot less interesting when our heros find themselves in danger. But I think there’s one more curveball coming.

3 - Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead #3 (last issue - 6 out of 11 books)
It’s a story as old as time itself, enemies that come together to face someone more annoying than one another. One Knight of Solomon and one Swordsman of Abraham (do we think those are the sigulars?) find themselves facing down an honest-to-gosh god of death. Or at least, they will next issue.

2 - Axis #2 (last issue - 2 out of 7 books)
An interesting thing happened after Civil War. Tony Stark became the center of the Marvel Universe. Then a funny thing happened, they stopped that part of the MU’s history, but Tony Stark has remained the fulcrum of everything through it all. And now we get a POV story that shows how sociopathic Tony Stark can be, calls him out on it, and then shows it doesn’t work.

Oh, and for a second issue in a row, Remender gives us the good guys bringing it together only to fall short. He loves messing with us, eh?

1 - Superior Foes of Spider-Man #16 (last issue - 2 out of 10 books)
A plan comes together, and this has been a story about Boomerang going after the score that would get him what he really wants deep down the whole time. And it’s not having the best super-gang, it’s not underworld superiority, and it’s certainly not obscure treasure that can’t be spent. What it is is perfectly in character and wonderful. There’s not much more to say about this than that it’s a perfect issue to close out a comic.

Of course, it’s not the last issue, because Boomerang can’t finally get what he wants. Right?

funnybook of the week: October 8th, 2014

Been too long...

7 - Black Science #9 (last issue - 6 out of 8 books)
I may need to give this one a re-read, but I think that aside from the ending, this issue is exactly why you can’t remove the heart of a story from a story. I don’t care how pretty the art is.

6 - Amazing Spider-Man #7 (last issue - 5 out of 9 books)
Kamala coming and learning from the veteran super hero Spider-Man should have been a bigger deal than this, even discounting the always-strange disconnect between the public mistrust of Spider-Man and how whatever non-Punisher drop-in thinks of the wallcrawler. Instead, it felt throwaway with the oncoming Spider-Verse story and the backup explaining the origin of Captain Spider, or Spider-Britain or whatever.

5 - Captain Marvel #8 (last issue - 7 out of 9 books)
I don’t get it with the cats, internet. This was cute, but just cute.

4 - Rocket Raccoon #4 (last issue - 7 out of 10 books)
Speaking of cute, we have this. Wrapping up the story with requires less of the pure anarchy and some more focused moments. It’s fun, but the shine is coming off.

3 - Transformers vs. GI Joe #3 (last issue - 3 out of 8 books)
There are more misunderstandings in this issue than a typical episode of Three’s Company, but the overall fun is still there. From the censored exploding head, to the “Dread not…” tattoo, to Starscream’s Decepticobra eye patch.

2 - Axis #1 (last issue - n/a)
In case you didn’t get that the Avengers used to be chums, the first few pages here really bring that point home. Lots of banter. Useful, though, because we quickly get the opposite of that banter as well as a portent of things to come beyond that. Really, though, this story reads like an old-school crossover. The good guys take on a superduper powered nazi, the cavalry arrives just in time, and then the bad guy makes his move instead of all the quipping good guys getting the big win.

And that’s just the start. I haven’t done this justice, but I really enjoyed this opening issue.

1 - Wytches #1 (last issue - n/a)
The thing about Scott Snyder on horror comics is that he’s really good at them. We all remember Severed, right? The thing about Scott Snyder and Jock is that the last thing I remember them working together on was a Detective Comics run that could have easily been tweaked out of a Batman story and into a horror story and it was incredible.

So here we are, the two of them doing a horror story and it’s all I could have wanted. A few legitimate “don’t turn out the lights” moments, an unseen and unspeakable evil, a bullied heroine who thinks she may have been the cause of that unseen and unspeakable evil taking out her greatest rival, and the chance that she just. Might. Be. Right.

The idea of being pledged, not that it’s a choice you make, but one someone else makes for you, and what that could mean hangs in the air, as this horror, these Wytches, could be called upon to take you not because you crossed them, but because you crossed someone who wished for them to get you hard enough.

Monday, October 13, 2014

funnybook of the week: October 1st, 2014

Some books I had high hopes for fell short, while one book that's had a rough patch of issues really got me good. Comics surprise me. Constantly.

10 - Edge of Spider-Verse #4 (last issue - 9 out of 9 books)
I want to make a distinction here, because I think this was really well-done. This list isn’t about technical perfection, so much as what I do and don’t like. With that said, I didn’t like this very well-done book. If you’re ready for a Tales from the Crypt style story about a creepy perv with an awful family who happens to become a Spider-Man, this is for you. But it missed the mark with me.

9 - Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1 (last issue - n/a)
This started out with a lot of promise. Bucky glibly continuing the journey Nick Fury started. Bringing Daisy on board because 1) she has no where else to go, 2) Bucky doesn’t want to be alone, and 3) Bucky needs someone to play off of if this is going to be worth reading. There was a lot of promise in those opening pages.

Then things fell apart. The narrative that Bucky was the secretive man on the wall fell apart as character after character seemed to be let in on the secret. The cleaning up of the extraterrestrial drug ring found a conclusion that was sloppy to read and the best possible reading of it is the most dull as well. I may give this a pass and eat my words later, but this one doesn’t seem like a keeper.

8 - X-Men #20 (last issue - 5 out of 10 books)
All of that fun character work from the previous issues takes a break here and Guggenheim tries to flesh out the nature of the threat. The problem with that is that they still have a very vague objective and we already knew Manifold Tiger was one of we essentially got the same cliffhanger two issues in a row.

7 - Thor #1 (Thor: God of Thunder #25 - 9 out of 11 books)
In case you were wondering, this is still currently He-Thor’s book, with the new titular character not showing up until the very end. Still, Aaron does an admirable job showing how low He-Thor has fallen. The unworthiness to lift his hammer, the effect that has on him both as a character and in combat is given a considerable amount of time, so the former Thor looks to remain a fixture in the book with his name on it, even if someone else is using it.

Some problems: The gimmick here seems to be the withholding of the identity of the new Thor (though we’re given our first too-obvious-to-be-anything-but red herring) as well as the whisper that left the former Thor unworthy to be mysteries. That’s a dangerous rope to walk, especially if you want us to get behind this new Thor as a character. “What does she have that the old Thor doesn’t?” is a question left blank in two parts right now.

6 - Spider-Man 2099 #4 (last issue - 9 out of 10 books)
Actual headway in the quest to make a better man out of Tiberius Stone comes in as Peter David also does some heavy lifting to restore some gravity to the Scorpion as a villain. Some of it seemed a little forced, but this was still a ton of fun and sneakily ran with some commentary about the disasters of arming one side of a war and hoping for the best.

Mister President.

5 - Morning Glories #41 (last issue - 9 out of 9 books)
These are character pieces that take place against the backdrop of the big, mysterious thing that is Morning Glories Academy. As long as you remember that, you aren’t worried about who Headmaster is and what he wants, but you are thoroughly interested in Guillaume’s plan to upset the rule of the Headmaster that you kind of forget how shallow it is. Even as a symbol.

4 - Captain America #25 (last issue - 8 out of 10 books)
This was a lot of fun. You tend to forget that Remender, who can read as purely nihilistic sometimes, has a firm handle on levity and brought it out now as the Avengers are presented as a bunch of friends giving each other a hard time about who can and cannot take a joke in advance of the unveiling of the new Captain America (with a meta joke about how the reveal wasn’t surprising at all).

There’s no attempt, outside of what was supposed to be an impromptu eulogy in the early goings, to define yet again what Captain America stands for - just a clean and fun passing of the torch with some backmatter that sets up a betrayal to come. Wonderful stuff.

3 - Nailbiter #6 (last issue - 10 out of 10 books)
A little respite from the main story that sheds light on one of its characters we need to know more, but also builds the legend of our little Serial Killer-Spawning Berg a little more. There’s more to a teenage girl with a brooding problem than we’ve been led to believe, as she struggles with the town and a soon-to-be mother hellbent on infamy. This was really well-done.

2 - Rat Queens #8 (last issue - 3 out of 9 books)
Violet gets a character focus, as we get - more or less - her origin story. Simple ones are often the best, and the story of a girl who wants to go against the expectations of tradition is well-worn but still important to tell. Weaving in the inherent silliness of the dwarven culture as established in this world just wrapped a layer of fun around a book where the climactic scene is the shaving of a beard. And it was wonderful.

1 - Uncanny Avengers #25 (last issue - 10 out of 11 books)
I don’t know how many people remember the act of desperate violence that originally created Onslaught, but it all came from Chuck Xavier being so ticked off that he shut down Magneto. So here’s the Red Skull, with the power of Professor X, goading Magneto into the same kind of act. And we all know why, because we remember the epilogue from the first arc.

The Scarlet Witch narrates the action for us, because we need to understand how angry Magneto is and how neglectful he is of his actions because of that anger. If he’ll neglect a daughter, of course he won’t remember the catalyst for one of the 90’s biggest sales successes/story disasters.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

funnybook of the week: September 24th, 2014

Spider-Verse took a fall, but there’s a lot to like this week. An awful lot to like.

9 - Edge of Spider-Verse #3 (last issue - 3 out of 11 books)
The problem with an anthology series like Edge of Spider-Verse is that sometimes you have to tell several issues worth of story in one issue. With Spider-Gwen, though, that worked out okay because you could fill in some of the missing beats because it clung closely enough to the established Spider-Man story. With something like this, which is a very different take on Spider-Man and a different thing that makes him tick, you have to introduce that world, and then form a mystery, and then tie it all back to Morlun in the span of 20 pages. So it takes a lot of what could have been a very nice three-issue story and ham fists a lot of the points home, eventually becoming far less readable than it probably felt like at the pitch stage.

8 - The Sixth Gun #43 (last issue - 7 out of 10 books)
The hands are being played, and this feels like we’re building to a definitive conclusion, or a brand new start, whichever one Bunn wants to bring us. A fine issue, but a little bit of a big picture issue, making sure that all of the proper pawns are in their place on the board.

7 - Red Sonja #12 (last issue - 9 out of 10 books)
Sonja has found herself a veritable family, loyal and trustworthy, in her gathering of the artisans. And that comes across as true and wonderful as she confronts those who would not keep their promises. The problem is that I simply do not understand the impulse to leave that family, once cultivated.

But the last page was rather worth the journey.

6 - Saga #23 (last issue - 2 out of 8 books)
The story of how Hazel’s parents split up is really the story of how no one can be trusted, especially the people they’ve been trusting. If the first arc was about the building of a little family, the second is how dangerous everything outside of that family and that love and that trust is. It’s a nihilistic lesson, that walking out the door of your home can change you into something horrible, or that all of the something horribles can follow you back home. Bummer. But a well-constructed bummer.

5 - Amazing Spider-Man #1.5 (last issue - 5 out of 9 books)
This was a nice wrap-up, to show a version of Peter Parker that’s outgunned and outmatched, and finds something from his family to push him through while also giving us the origin story of Spider-Mans wisecracks. As a story, I think this maybe took too many issues, but as a single issue here, I think Slott did a lot of things right.

4 - Guardians of the Galaxy #19 (last issue - 8 out of 8 books)
This was far more interesting than the last issue. That I don’t particularly care about Richard Rider going into it makes no mind. This isn’t about him anymore. This is about Peter Quill, in a dimension where no one can die, cursed to fight Thanos (and some others) for all eternity until something gives. This is drama, and this is what I want to read in a super hero cosmic story.

3 - Rachel Rising #28 (last issue - 7 out of 10 books)
You know that issue of a book where you know who the killer is, but the main thrust of the issue is the good guys figuring out who the killer is? It’s always just kind of a perfunctory thing that has to happen, but doesn’t do much for you because you have this information already.

If that issue is just Rachel, Zoe, and Aunt Johnny hanging out in the morgue after hours and everyone just at the height of their character with Terry Moore guiding the dialogue, it’s a really good issue that’s better than it has a right to be.

2 - GI Joe #1 (last issue - n/a)
This one is going to be polarizing. A lot of people want their GI Joe stories to have guys in it that work as wrestling gimmicks suited to the mission at hand. This is different. This really takes a long, hard look at what the political realities of having a GI Joe team would actually look like. The expense, the civilian oversight, and the enemy doing their part to make themselves the good guys on a global scale.

It’s really something else. Scarlett’s frustration mirrored with a young Cobra recruits frustration over the way it’s “supposed to be,” leaving one to think like a politician and the other to think like a revolutionary. If this keeps up, we have a really nice book shaping up that some longtime Joe fans might sadly miss out on.

1 - Letter 44 #10 (last issue - 1 out of 8 books)
The ramifications of the earthbound politics come home to roost in a big way for this issue. Blades’ arrogance/Blades’ desire to do right with the technology he’s been given/the combination of the two hurts the larger process in a profound way and opens a lot of questions.

Those questions are possibly even rendered moot by the discovery in space that perhaps an aggressive posture isn’t the best thing to take with Death Star-building aliens. We don’t know that for sure, but as a major part of what seemed like an inevitable clash is blown off of the table maybe the game has changed beyond the need for those things?

The script has me guessing in all the right ways, and I love it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

funnybook of the week: September 17th, 2014

Hulk hangs perilously close to the edge of cancellation, especially if I get the feeling another of theseannuals might ever be on the way.

11 - Hulk Annual #1 (last issue - n/a)
I think the Vista character is going to come into play later, which is too bad because this was just an overly wrought origin story that I actually skipped pages of because it was so drawn out and dull.

10 - Uncanny Avengers #24 (last issue - 2 out of 5 books)
Rogue sees dead people. The trapped Simon as a plot point followed by the jail break seemed awfully rushed. That’s not like Remender, who usually can pack a ton of storytelling into an issue while still giving things some time to breathe.

9 - Thor: God of Thunder #25 (last issue - 7 out of 11 books)
More of an Annual with a villain origin story than a book to cap off what’s been a tremendous run and turn the page to the next chapter - which I think was the intention. The origin story itself was a fine take on a villain, showing how Malekith came to embrace chaos and war. It’s a nice read, but not the cap-off or lead-in I really wanted here.

8 - Original Sin #5.5 (Original Sin 5.4 - 4 out of 8 books)
Well, this was a utilitarian book. It basically set up that Odin is back, Angela is related to Thor and without a sense of home, and that Loki’s daddy issues are really something. Oh, and a few more references to Thor’s worthiness, which we know won’t be carrying over.

7 - Hulk #6 (last issue - 5 out of 10 books)
I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this story. So far, Doc Green seems to be mildly on the up-and-up about what he wants. The disagreement with Rick Jones/A-Bomb felt real, like no one was right but no one was wrong. So I really can’t put my finger on what made it uncomfortable. The Red Hulk chapters of this story are really going to make or break it.

6 - Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead #2 (last issue - 4 out of 10 books)
This one felt closer to the main title than the last book, and I think that it somehow suffered for it. Bringing Drake in to remind us that he wasn’t always an angel is nice, but ill-timed at a moment in the parent title where we’re the most behind him.

As a story itself, though, this was a perfectly fun extension of the world and characters brought from the first issue. If I had no working knowledge of The Sixth Gun, this would still be a very good story.

5 - The Wicked + The Divine #4 (last issue - 3 out of 4 books)
We get our through character back, and things improve dramatically back to the quality of the first two issues. Funny how that works out, yes?

4 - Superior Spider-Man #33 (last issue - 7 out of 13 books)
There are some pretty major things going on here, in what could be dismissed as a throwaway prequel. We now know the nature of the threat to the Spider-Verse and a little more about the nature of Morlun and HOW COOL IS IT TO SEE ALL OF THESE SPIDER-PEOPLE AND HOW THEY INTERACT WITH ONE ANOTHER AND OTTO IS SUPER IN LOVE AND HIS LIFE IS TRAGEDY AND WE ALREADY KNOW IT BUT ALSO HE’S SOMEHOW THE LEADER OF THE SPIDER-FOLK! Hit’s all my nerd stuff in all the right spots.

3 - Edge of Spider-Verse #2 (last issue - 2 out of 9 books)
This version of Gwen Stacey had already amassed a ton of love based on character design before anything happened, but her version of the power-and-responsibility story is so good that the sustained love-fest for her seems retroactively useful. Would have been the book of the week if not for two super strong entries and the same ending as the last Edge of Spider-Verse book, where another Spider-Man goes recruiting.

2 - Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #5 (last issue - 3 out of 13 books)
Miles learns what it really is to be Spider-Man. Again. And that’s to be shot at by itchy police. That’s to take on Norman Osborn. That’s to find the one person on the force you can trust when you need them the most. That’s to have unanswered questions about who that other guy in the Spider-Man outfit is.

But if you want to read Bendis at his best, J. Jonah Jameson gets an interview with a rather lucid Norman Osborn. And those panels are breathtaking work.

1 - Stray Bullets: The Killers #7 (last issue - 2 out of 4 books)
This whole volume has been about Virginia and Eli, and how he’s been really good for her given all she’s already seen, but is still a kindred spirit in that they have the same sorts of history where accidentally evil keeps coming into play. And then this issue comes along and you see just how different Virginia is because of how much darker it’s actually gotten for her over the years. You know this doesn’t end well, we’ve seen that.

This is how it gets there. With a girl who still comes to her dangerous life. The kind of girl who fantasizes about being Amy Racecar. And a boy who can’t understand it, and resents it because that’s actually a sane thing to do - too bad it’s an insane world. This issue is perfect.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

funnybook of the week: September 10th, 2014

9 - Morning Glories #40 (last issue - 4 out of 11 books)
Ooof. Talking heads debating/learning about the meaning of existence? No thanks, I’m here for the mystery, not the theoretical fake science that will probably be important to the story in a vague way stuff.

8 - Powers Bureau #11 (last issue - 3 out of 11 books)
Complaints about the slow release of each issue aside, this issue brought a lot of threads together hard, but without really being able to explore the ramifications of some of the smaller ideas. The big bad reveal was kind of abrupt (do Walker & any of his partners ever solve a case or does the answer always just walk to them?) and didn’t let us stew in the idea that Pilgrim and Walker have trouble find them more often than not. There are so many good ideas, thrown out in such a random order, it makes Powers feel like it’s no one’s top priority anymore.

7 - Captain Marvel #7 (last issue - 10 out of 10 books)
This one skirted the too cute/cute enough line and then danced over it, and then came back so many times I’m not sure how much I actually enjoyed what should have been a very good book. A fun story bookended by references to Carol being afraid of being unable to protect the people she loves the most. It’s a fine storytelling device, and I really should have liked this more than I did and hope that you’ll like it just enough.

6 - Sheltered #11 (last issue - 6 out of 11 books)
While the fallout of the shot, and the questions surrounding Lucas’ leadership all come to a head in the compound, it’s what’s going on with the adults in the outside world that really take this issue. Missing persons reports that bring people to the scene of an actual crime, and then one fantastic reminder that these kids were once part of a world larger than the one that Lucas or even their paranoid parents had concocted.

5 - Amazing Spider-Man #6 (last issue - 5 out of 8 books)
I want so desperately to be on board here. I want to be on board with Slott’s use of Felicia Hardy as a new Queenpin of Crime, motivated by having everything taken from her by someone, anyone in a Spider-Man suit. There is a bit of that ruthlessness in some old versions of the character, but I’m somehow not digging it. I can’t quite put my finger on why.

What I am digging, is the machinations behind Glorious Founder Peter Parker’s back. All of the things that make Peter Parker an actual Superior Spider-Man (power and responsibility and all that) make him the worst head of a for-profit company, and that’s great.

4 - Bunker #6 (last issue - 2 out of 13 books)
All that talk of being caught in a loop turns out to be more than theory as Grady starts mucking with the past to ensure his own future. Mucking is the wrong word. Recreating. You’re left with the distinct impression that there is no actual history any more, just what was manufactured. And what’s that going to mean to our characters in either era?

3 - Ms Marvel #8 (last issue - 1 out of 4 books)
Well, we know that the Inhumans don’t have much crossover appeal for Avengers fans, maybe Marvel should take note before they commit too hard to the movie slate. This issue was terribly fun, once again committing to its thesis that it’s about a young girl who happens to be a superhero more than anything else.

2 - Edge of Spider-Verse #1 (last issue - n/a)
The return of Spider-Man Noir, one of my favorite alt-reality characters, made this issue worth picking up all on its own. The story would have made for a fun little one-in-done for an anthology, bringing Mysterio and an obsession with cult sacrifice into the mix. Of course, it didn’t get the ending it deserved (though did set up a thing or two for later, if need be) because it needed to tie back into upcoming Giant Spider-Man Story, but it was great for what it was.

1 - Lazarus #11 (last issue - 11 out of 13 books)
Rucka calls back to the first arc, and the initial questions about who Forever is and whether that really amounts to being a flesh and blood Carlyle. All this as we see the grand political staging of the Conclave of the families that split up the world and how the Lazari formally represent their families and speak with one another. It’s all politics and etiquette, with who knows what plays in the back pockets of each of the competing families.

When the rich have dominated the world, all that’s left is to feud with each other. And now it begins.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

funnybook of the week: September 3rd, 2014

Really solid week, with a couple of frustrating exceptions. And more Charles Soule being the best thing going in comics.

10 - Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #6 (last issue - 10 out of 11 books)
The stock on this title is falling fast. Brenda being a too-convenient weird stalker kung-fu fan, Danny being sexied out of bed to start training to defeat someone that just handed his ass to him after burning down his home, killing one father, and wearing the skin of another (like, seriously, how does a super hero need a weird bedside encounter to get up for a rematch like that?), and the daddy-issues dependent rebuilding of Rand Tower it’s just…

I need #7 to really wow me the way the first couple of issues did to stay on board.

9 - Spider-Man 2099 #3 (last issue - 1 out of 10 books)
I’m a little confused about how we got here from where we were. Does Liz still suspect “Mike” is Spider-Man (2099)? How is she pulling his strings, exactly? I feel like there was an issue 2.1 that I didn’t buy. I’m also way not into the Hero And His Alter Ego Show Up in a Foreign Country at the Same Time And No One Figures Anything Out deals.

But the dialogue is still charming enough to keep this out of last place.

8 - Captain America #24 (last issue - 2 out of 10 books)
I’m not entirely certain what we’re supposed to make out of a cliffhanger ending where the life of someone solicited to appear in umpteen comics in the coming months appears to be over, but I guess that’s the modern comics industry. That last page would have really been something if Marvel didn’t have some stuff to promote.

Unfortunately, they did, and I still read the internet so I know what things are on the horizon that I might be interested in reading, and it kind of undercut the best part of an issue that was the big action finish leading to one emotional moment.

7 - Rocket Raccoon #3 (last issue - 5 out of 13 books)
My attention deficit disorder loved this issue. My critical eye found it a little too busy. Still, the “Bugs Bunny goes to Tatooine” feel of the issue was too entertaining to focus on abrupt narrative jumps and awful fish-based humor. Right?

6 - Nailbiter #5 (last issue - 1 out of 13 books)
Everyone is a suspect, nothing is as it seems, and the tourist attraction feeds the murdering which feeds the tourist attraction...but then there’s a killer no one was expecting in on the action and okay, this issue was a game-changer.

5 - X-Men #19 (last issue - 8 out of 10 books)
Here it all is. The pieces I mentioned last time, particularly how the characters relate to one another and function as a team, came together far better here. Guggenheim spins a lot of plates in this issue: Rachel’s discovery about and manipulation of her Shi’ar allies, a space station collapsing, Abigail Brand (criminally underutilized as a character and now would be a great time for Keiron Gillen to get another crack at S.W.O.R.D.) being immense amounts of fun, a few brood references, and a mystery all get time to air out without making it seem like too much. If this is what to expect from this run, I’m in.

4 - Southern Bastards #4 (last issue - 2 out of 11 books)
Oh, did you want a feel-good story? This is a story about a man who goes home to a place that doesn’t want him to find himself trying to live according to the father he didn’t like to save a town that doesn’t want to be saving. And that result finally came to a head, and Coach Boss is shown to have more teeth than you would have thought based on his previous appearances. Yes.

3 - Original Sin #8 (Original Sin #7 - 3 out of 10 books)
If #7 was where the emotional core was found, then #8 was where it solidified. Cap’s sense of betrayal. Fury’s potential successors mistrust of their “mysterious boss” and one another finally paying off for more than macho posturing. I cared about the job as much as Fury did, I felt the guilt over the first thing he did that he couldn’t justify to himself fully. About as satisfying an ending for an event comic as I’ve ever seen. Well done.

2 - Superior Foes of Spider-Man #15 (last issue - 6 out of 13 books)
In case you were wondering if these foes were truly Superior, they win their fight. Nick Spencer bookends this issue with the same woefully hollow speech about working together as a team in a wonderful issue that shows us how exactly in-over-their-heads each of these villains are.

Of course, the piece de resistance of this is how quickly that hollow speech is proven to be exactly as hollow as it sounded.

1 - She-Hulk #8 (last issue - 4 out of 13 books)
This is probably the most charming issue yet, with Soule taking the way every character in the Marvel Universe falls all over themselves for the love of Steve Rogers and putting it into the quirky courtroom drama mold that his She-Hulk works best in.

The dialogue and characterizations were so wonderfully spot-on, I didn’t even care that the twist ending was telegraphed (probably because it wasn’t to surprise, but rather just to be an interesting story). Just a book that did everything possible as well as possible.