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.

funnybook of the week: August 27th, 2014

Let’s just start giving Charles Soule every book. All of the books. Letter 44 is so great...

8 - Guardians of the Galaxy #18 (last issue - 5 out of 5 books)
An Original Sin tie-in with no clear tie-in to Original Sin outside of the structure of a buried secret coming to light, we get the re-telling of the end of one of the Marvel Cosmic Events that I didn’t read that’s supposed to clarify why certain people are dead and alive while asking us to feel sorry for Star Lord’s inability to control a large amount of power. Not a good look, here.

7 - Sixth Gun #42 (last issue - 7 out of 10 books)
The character work with Drake and Becky is great, but having our hands held and explaining that the magic weapons want Drake to burn down the world explicitly is kind of disappointing.

6 - Black Science #8 (last issue - 8 out of 13 books)
We undid the great tragedy of the last issue, which may be why I still feel like this book has lost its core following the death of its central character. Remender tries to re-establish that this issue, but I was so non-plussed by the abrupt take-back that I don’t think I could appreciate it.

5 - Amazing Spider-Man #1.4 (last issue - 6 out of 10 books)
I really like the dueling stories here of Spider-Man further discovering his responsibility and his knockoff discovering quite the opposite. The lines are going nicely, and the cute little nods to Jonah’s obsession are a nice touch too. Nothing is standing out as can’t-miss, but I’m glad I’m reading it.

4 - Original Sin #5.4 (Original Sin 5.3 - 13 out of 13 books)
Dear everyone in comics, stop trusting Loki. Now that we’ve established that, this is much improved from the last issue. Things make sense, all of those things I took at face value show themselves to be a little deeper, and the imprisoned chess player came as a surprise, if only because I’d already had it pegged as someone else. This was big action, Bianchi’s best work in a long time, and Loki spinning mischief. Good. Times.

3 - Transformers vs. GI Joe #2 (last issue - 2 out of 6 books)
Not as charming as the last issue, but still pretty fun stuff beneath the retro-silliness. Hints that the Decepticons have won, but possibly the same kind of victory the Joes seem to have won over COBRA in the last issue. Misunderstandings and sacrifice, Megatron sitting in a throne room in a dinosaur city’s mouth, DEVASTATOR. Yep. This is a pure joy.

2 - Saga #22 (last issue - 3 out of 6 books)
This is what horrible breakups look like. Everyone is wrong, no one is right, and the side you pick depends on who you like personally more rather than whether you think long hours and drugs use are a worse violation than an imaginary (?) but wished for affair. Then, as coincidences start gathering, one final piece that can either wreck what’s left of the happiness that these characters who we thought were going to conquer all through love, or it will be the crucible through which they grow back together.

But it’s probably the first one, because earlier narration gave it away. And that’s crippling in the best way.

1 - Letter 44 #9 (last issue - 1 out of 6 books)
The aliens have built a Death Star. The Chandelier is a Death Star. A mouserflocking Death Star. And in the face of that, our hero astronauts have to decide whether or not they’re still optimistic about their chances of succeeding in their mission, let alone finding an alternative fuel source and getting home with the new baby.

And the best stuff is STILL happening on earth, as the former president courts new backers and confesses to perpetuating war and wrecking the world’s economy in the name of saving Earth. As the first lady makes an offer to keep the wrong people from asking the right questions.

Holy crap, this book is good.

Friday, September 12, 2014

funnybook of the week: August 20th, 2014

Short week means a quick post, with a 1 and a two flip-flopping their positions.

4 - Elektra #5 (last issue - 7 out of 9 books)
The big finish to the first arc, setting up an interesting future for Elektra, hinged way too much on a mysterious target talking too much and telling Elektra exactly what to do to beat him. But the

3 - The Wicked + The Divine #3 (last issue - 4 out of 9 books)
I feel like I’m missing something here. A lot of posturing and god-like magics that I wasn’t totally with because I apparently haven’t spent enough time making myself familiar with all of the pagan gods out there and what their collective deals are.

Still, bits like the head puns and Lucy’s rundown of who is and isn’t a suspect were nice and fun beats.

2 - Stray Bullets: The Killers #6 (last issue - 1 out of 9 books)
This was a sweet look at the budding young lovebirds, but through the lens of Stray Bullets, which causes poor Eli at one point to frustratedly wonder if EVERYONE in his life is somehow evil. Golly, I enjoy this title.

1 - Ms Marvel #7 (last issue - 2 out of 9 books)
The thing about how you should never meet your heroes is an overrated trope. Ms Marvel gets to meet Wolverine and you suddenly, over the course of one issue, remember that Wolverine has a great history with teenage girl sidekicks and this could have been another great pairing if it needed to be.

Plus: Giant aligator.

funnybook of the week: August 13th, 2014

Hey. Look. I’m back. And I’ve read some things.

10 - Captain Marvel #6 (last issue - 4 out of 6 books)
I don’t think this is Kelly Sue DeConnick’s fault so much as Marvel’s editorial not talking to itself, but I think this is now the third issue in at least as many months, if not fewer, where the Spartax king is taken down via bad PR.

9 - Red Sonja #11 (last issue - 1 out of 11 books)
The band of artisans that Sonja has gathered actually has some fun chemistry, and we get to explore that a little bit in the front half of the issue with a great return. The downside is the second half, where the last of her collection leads Sonja on a mission where she learned...something...about faith. But that something is ill-defined, especially when paired with the defeat of the issue’s super-religious villain.

8 - X-Men #18 (last issue - n/a)
Guggenheim’s work during the Brand New Day era of The Amazing Spider-Man gets him a lot of leeway, and he needed it for this issue. Some of the basic ideas were there: showing how this team functions as a unit, showing how they care about each other, and establishing an emotional stake for Rachel right at the start. The plot didn’t quite find itself clear enough, as there was too much cute and MacGuffin (in the form of a paralysed Deathbird) to wade through. Still, the pieces were good enough for another issue.

7 - Rachel Rising #27 (last issue - 5 out of 12 books)
Terry Moore’s characters interacting with one another is always a selling point for a book, even a book where not too much actually happens. Zoe is becoming my favorite Terry Moore character, so watch out, Katchoo.

6 - Amazing Spider-Man #5 (last issue - 4 out of 6 books)
Felicia Hardy as a criminal who feels wronged works. Felicia Hardy lashing out at someone she trusted works. Felicia Hardy taking what she wants “because she’s a thief” works. Electro at her side? Still feels off.

The soap opera that is Peter Parker’s life seems to be what’s really stealing the show. Anna Maria having to walk in on “googling,” running a Parker Industries he didn’t even start, and seeing Jonah as a talking head on a cable news network were all fantastic set pieces.

But they’re all pieces. From word go, the title’s return to ‘Amazing’ has been more about setting up the next big thing than telling its own story. That’s not a bad thing, but does make it more difficult to enjoy single issues.

5 - Hulk #5 (last issue - 4 out of 7 books)
This is an interesting direction for the Hulk, er, Doc Green. We have a new writer who seems to be ushering in a clearing of the deck for the Gamma-powered characters with a new and brutally smart Hulk. It remains to be seen how long this remains an interesting idea.

The new Doc Green persona is smart, but also cold and distant in a way that makes it hard to root for him as a reader. Gerry Duggan has given us a strong enough tease, but we need a through character or a more sympathetic Doc Green or this can’t work as well as the idea seems it should.

4 - Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead #1 (last issue - n/a)
I think the best compliment I can give this is that it felt like a launch of a whole new series rather than supplemental to the parent title. Characters that all had their own motivations outside of the Six (even though their specter looms large), a unique threat, but still the same fantastic world that Bunn has built. Well done.

3 - Original Sin #7 (Original Sin #6 - 8 out of 9 books)
Finally, the missing piece of the puzzle this whole time wasn’t that there wasn’t enough action (though it certainly helped that business picked up with this issue), but rather that the emotional core of the whole thing was missing. This was the issue where I finally cared about Fury’s job and how necessary it was. This is where it all started coming together.

2 - Captain America #23 (last issue - n/a)
Coming back for the two final issues of this volume seems to have been a smart choice. All of those payoffs seeded in the epilogue of Remender’s opening epic are doing just what they’re supposed to. I feel like I haven’t missed a thing, even though I’ve missed several issues. I want to go back and see Nomad show up again. I want to see the aging of Steve Rogers. I want to, but I don’t need to. This book did its job.

1 - Spider-Man 2099 #2 (last issue - 1 out of 6 books)
There are some definite twists here, not in the CATACLYSMIC GAME-CHANGING NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME sort of way, but in the more important “I have no idea where you’re going with this, but I like it” sort of way. Miguel’s new status quo is stretched and challenged right away, with a couple of surprising moves from both of the women in his life as well as a deft “the truth will set you free” moment from the man himself. With a few accents.

What could have been a phoned in nostalgia title waiting for a quick cancellation is actually one of the more clever books Marvel has going now, and that’s fantastic.

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.