Wonder Woman 34: The tone lightens up a little bit as Diana starts to deal with the changes in her life from last issue, but still has to tie up some loose ends from the previous story arc. She recruits Black Canary for help, who of course Gail Simone has a lot of experience writing, which leads to some really funny disguises and dialogue. (BC: “The sexier the outfit, the fewer questions asked…but that means exposing our community’s second most famous bosom.” WW:“Wait. What was that about my bosom?” BC:“You mean you haven’t seen all the websites? Trust me on this, those things are considered like a national treasure.”)
Justice Society of America 29: Pretty much the shift in tone I expected to more of a “traditional” superhero book. So much so, it’s like they’ve been saving it up – the team is attacked by over a dozen villains. Still, I liked it just fine and Willingham and Sturges seem to have a good grasp of how these characters are supposed to act. I’m not sure I like the idea of splitting this into two books, but this was a good enough start that I’m willing to give it a chance. But if anything permanent happens to Mr. Terrific (see the last page), I’ll be annoyed.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink 3: This has been good so far, but it reaches up to the next level here as Mark makes a series of bad choices with good intentions – trying to live up to the DCU heroic ideal. (“This is what heroes do…they make the tough choices.”) He thinks everything is going to work out in the end, but actually his life is spiraling out of control. Very good, and the sketchy art by Fabrizio Fiorentino cleverly parallels the sketchy moral choices. The writer of this series, Eric Wallace, will soon be the new writer of Titans which gives me a little hope for that series too. (Although it seems to have little reason to exist with Donna Troy and Dick Grayson confirmed to be in James Robinson’s Justice League.)
Thunderbolts 134: As an original Thunderbolts fan there’s a lot in this issue I liked, as well as yet another surprising revelation about the “mole” that was uncovered (to the reader) last issue. It was revealed last week that Andy Diggle’s run on this book will only be 12 issues total, and at the rate things are unraveling I wonder if this book will end when he goes.
Secret Warriors 6: This is largely plot-driven stuff with secrets within secrets, so as we come to the end of the first story arc there’s not a lot I can safely say except that I loved it and that the surprises keep coming until the last page.
Dark Reign: Hawkeye 4: And now we come to the “Dark Reign” portion of our program this week. This book isn’t terrible, but it’s not as good as the people involved are capable of. Andy Diggle ought to know better than to have his antagonists pontificate in front of security cameras, and Tom Raney ought to know better than this bizarre perspective shift.
Dark Reign: The Hood 3: A very good issue, where Parker (the character) tries to escape from Dormammu for his family’s sake and Dormammu tries to pull him back in. Meanwhile, his family is in more danger than he thinks. There is a little extra poignancy in knowing what eventually happens in New Avengers, but I don’t get the sense that Parker (the writer) planned that way. I don’t know why Kyle Hotz doesn’t get more work – his art is always great.
Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man 2: The novelty’s worn off a little bit, but Brian Reed keeps it fresh by playing Venom’s narration against type. (“Needed an alias, and I figured the odds of him having read Kurt Vonnegut were pretty low. What? I went to college.”) The absurdity of the other characters (not to mention the J. Jonah Jameson situation) is fun, except for the Dr. Manhattan parody which I thought was over the top. But it’s mostly great, and Chris Bachalo’s art is as good as I’ve ever seen it.
Dark Reign: Young Avengers 3: Paul Cornell says on his blog, “I think Young Avengers might turn out to be my best comics work so far” and I’m inclined to agree with him. The “old” Young Avengers are trying to train the “new” ones, but their optimism is tested as some of the new characters are just not cut out to be heroes and some of the others are playing them. One of the things I like about this story is that it wouldn’t work with older, more cynical, characters but Cornell isn’t playing the young characters as naive either. Not only my favorite of the “Dark Reign” minis so far, but one of my favorite Marvel books overall.
I don’t have copies of Dark X-Men: The Beginning #2 or The Stuff of Legend #1 yet, so those will have to wait until next week.