Ms. Marvel 38: First issue featuring Karla (Moonstone) Sofen as Ms. Marvel, now that Carol Danvers is “dead” and Norman Osborn is in charge. If you haven’t been reading this lately, Brian Reed’s writing has always been good but he stepped it up another level starting with the Secret Invasion issues. That continues here when the government orders psych evaluations of Norman’s
Avengers and he assigns Karla to go first, since she’s also a trained psychologist. Mayhem ensues.
Uncanny X-Men 509: I still like the tone of this, and Matt Fraction’s characterizations are fun, but there are so many stories being juggled here (every 2-4 pages, by my count) that it feels like there’s no forward motion. I’m not a gigantic fan of the Greg Land art either.
Amazing Spider-Man Family 5: This is the new home of “Spider-Girl”, so if you were buying that book you’ll want to start getting this. (Those of you who prefer a married Peter & MJ might like it too.) The creative team is the same and the story is a full 22 pages, so it’s just like the old book except that it doesn’t come out as often. The rest of the anthology is filled by a story of Peter interviewing for a photographer job with his CSI friend (fun, because Peter has seen a lot more crime scenes than the average cop), a story featuring new villain Screwball (forgettable), and “The Sensational Swiney-Girl” (which I am not making up.)
Sherlock Holmes 1: I was bored with this at first, but the twist at the end of the story by Leah Moore (yes, Alan’s her dad) & John Reppion hooked me enough to come back for more. The art is fine, but not as good as in the Zorro or Lone Ranger books by the same publisher.
War Machine 5: Not as good as Grek Pak’s other books (Skaar, Hercules, World War Hulk) but good enough to hold my interest. All the scenes with Ares, who considers War Machine a disciple, are great. It’s a little unclear, but the premise seems to change at the end of the issue to where Rhodey is still a cyborg but all the Iron Man trappings (armor, satellite, etc.) have been jettisoned.
Runaways 9: Not terrible, but the story that ends this issue went on one issue too long and the art is a little too manga for my taste. The last two pages, however, are great. Very much looking forward to the new creative team, though.
Dark Reign: The Cabal: A better than average anthology featuring Doom, Emma Frost, The Hood, Namor and Loki in separate stories. The Loki story takes place between Thor 600 and 601 and I think it’s essential to understanding why some of the events in 601 happen. I also loved the Namor story, where he acts like an actual king which we rarely get to see. The Emma and Hood stories are nice character pieces. For me, the Doom story was fatally flawed because I was honestly confused about whether we were being shown actual events a year in the future or just Doom’s fantasy. (Other online reviews I checked did not seem to have this problem, so it may have been just me.)
Avengers/Invaders 10: Getting more and more pointless, as it’s a no-win situation – either the story can’t change the past (which makes it a waste) or it does change it (which would piss us off.) Looks nice, though.
Captain America Theater of War: A Brother in Arms: Good, but kind of preachy story about how Cap and an Army unit treat a German POW. It’s well enough written, and not well enough “acted” by the art but there are no surprises here.
Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular 2 (of 2): I only got the first issue for the final “Mini-Marvels” story, and if I had been thinking I wouldn’t have gotten this one at all. The Luke Cage story gets Jessica’s character all wrong (she doesn’t want to be involved in superhero fights), the “Galacta Daughter of Galactus” story (which I am also not making up) is just dumb except for some clever Twitter references, and the Elsa Bloodstone story is not as interesting or funny as her appearances in NEXTWave. Plus, there’s supposed to be an online poll for best story (over both issues – I wanted to vote for Mini-Marvels) but I can’t find it on marvel.com. (Maybe they want to forget this too.)
Thunderbolts 131: Wow, this last part of the Deadpool crossover went completely off the rails. I don’t mind Deadpool winning, but he makes the Thunderbolts seem weak, incompetent and ineffective to the point that it damages the premise of the series and makes Norman Osborn (who is supposed to be formidable) look ridiculous for recruiting them. And Deadpool survives being decapitated, which is just stupid. Maybe this could have worked in Deadpool’s book but it’s a disaster here. First Thunderbolts issue from Andy Diggle that I did not like. “Epic Fail”, as the kids say.