Detective Comics 854: Finally, the debut of Batwoman in her own series and it was worth the wait. It has the “Batman Reborn” banner, but it’s not connected to the other books at all except for a brief (intentionally vague) Batman cameo. The J.H. Williams III art is stunning. It jumps off the page like nothing else on the stands, and even changes style depending on which characters are in the scene. (Credit colorist Dave Stewart for this too, though my understanding is that Williams is involved in the coloring too.) We won’t get her origin until the first story arc is done, but Greg Rucka gives us our first real glimpse into her world, including her surprising support system. The Question backup is also an excellent start. Fortunately I don’t have to, but I’d pay $3.99 for this book without a discount.
Skaar: Son of Hulk 12: More Skaar on Earth hijinks, as he tries to confront his father but realizes that the Hulk’s personality is unstable and not what he expected. “Meanwhile, on the other side of the Universe”, we discover that a powerful and dangerous (and familiar) being is attracted to the “old power” that Skaar and the Warbound wield. This title splits into Son of Hulk and Incredible Hulk next month – Hulk will still be Red Hulk stories, I guess.
X-Force 16: OK, I’m officially annoyed. As far as I can tell, the crossover with Cable ended exactly where it started – Cable’s still protecting the girl, and Bishop’s still looking for them in the timestream. What was the point of all of this exactly? The X-Force specific parts of this issue – them trying to get home to finish the mission they were on when they went after Cable – are actually fine, so I’ll probably wind up dropping Cable instead of this book.
Amazing Spider-Man 598: Spidey’s survives last issue’s cliffhanger in a not-unexpected way, and Harry faces multiple betrayals (by him and to him) that may change him for good. I was against the return of Harry Osborn, much the same as I was against Norman’s return way back when, but I have to say that I’m pleased with the way they’re both working out. (Not that we didn’t have to endure a lot of crappy Norman stories until they figured out what to do with him.)
Dark Reign: Zodiac 1: There are a lot of these “Dark Reign” villain miniseries, so when they’re not about characters I already care about (The Hood, Elektra, etc.) then I have to be strict about evaluating them because there are too many to buy. So, Joe Casey’s new Zodiac doesn’t make the cut for me. It’s not terrible – it’s got kind of a Foolkiller vibe that could be interesting – but it didn’t hook me, and it’s not helped by the ugly Nathan Fox art. (I appreciate the skill that went into the artwork, but I just don’t find it aesthetically pleasing.) That said, this is quirky enough that some people might really like it – if you have access to a copy it wouldn’t hurt to read it and see what you think, but I can’t recommend that you pay for it.
Dark Reign: Lethal Legion 1: Like the above, without the redeeming qualities. OK, it’s not quite that bad, but certainly not anywhere near good enough to spend $3.99 on. However, I am intrigued enough by the surprise last page appearance that I might seek this out in trade depending on how it’s collected. (It’s only a 3-issue series, so I assume it will have to share a book with something else.)
Astonishing X-Men 30: Another one I agree with Mike about. As I said in my comment to his review below, “I agree that Ellis and Bianchi pulled it out at the end. The story wasn't about what I thought it was about, and I ended up liking it.”
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink 2: I liked the first issue of this a lot better than the other “Aftermath” books and I continue to be impressed here. At first I found the art a little confusing, but I’m warming up to it as I flip through it now. (It’s also colored in watercolor-like style that at least is different.)
Dark Reign: Hood 2: I don’t think they should be charging $3.99 for this, but as I said above this gets a pass because (a) I’m already interested in the character and (b) it’s good. Bendis only has room to show The Hood’s “business” persona in New Avengers, so I’m glad to have Jeff Parker’s look at the man inside and his family. There was a big status change for The Hood in the most recent New Avengers, which this series must take place before, so it’ll be interesting to see how that gets set up.
Dark Reign: Elektra 4: Fans of the original Frank Millar Bullseye vs. Elektra battle will find a lot to like here, and the mystery of her Skrull abduction continues to unfold. There are some good Norman Osborn lines too. (“If only there was someone I could torture a straight answer out of…”) The only misstep is that Wolverine’s appearance, which should be a surprise on the last page, is given away on the cover.
Guardians of the Galaxy 15: It has been pointed out to me that I rejected Buck Rogers #1 because of a talking bear, but I don’t seem to have any problem with a talking raccoon (this book) or a talking gorilla (Agents of Atlas). All I can say is that (a) I never claimed to be consistent and (b) it’s a freaking cyborg bear in Buck Rogers, give me a break. Anyway, the Guardians get attacked by both sides in the Kree/Shi’ar war this issue but they at least manage to convince one side that they’re doing damage to the structure of spacetime. There’s a talking tree in this book too, so take that, haters.
Superman 689: I was listening to Greg Rucka’s latest wordballoon.com interview in the car today, and he called James Robinson’s ongoing story in this book “elegant”. I think that’s a great description – it reminds me a lot of his Starman, especially in this issue where Mon-El takes a world tour and meets a lot of obscure existing and new international characters. (Will Von Hammer, private detective, is my favorite.) I could rant about the Black Lightning reference (he’s supposed to be in hiding in Outsiders), but I like this book too much to be annoyed at it.
I’ll finish up last week’s books tomorrow.