Uncanny X-Men 515-518: I’m pretty happy with the post-“Utopia” direction – for a long-time reader like me, it’s fun to see Scott try to live the leadership role he’s been groomed for all these years. I also like that Xavier, freed of the responsibility for the X-Men, finally has decided that he doesn’t have any patience for Magneto but Scott, who’s now responsible for all the mutants, feels he should hear him out. (And having Namor in the mix should certainly lead to some fun scenes, since he has no love for Magneto either if I remember correctly.) I’m not sure how I feel about the Void stuff, but I’ll see how that ends before I criticize it. I liked Greg Land’s art in #515-517 better than usual – it didn’t seem as artificial for some reason – but I wish the Dodson’s could do more issues because their style better suits the book, in my opinion.
Justice League of America 80-Page Giant: An 0ld school JLA story where the membership splits up into different chapters and comes together at the end. This time the gimmick is that they’re scattered through time, meeting various DC characters of the past. My favorite is the Black Canary/Zatanna story, not just for the fishnets but for the (new, as far as I know) tie between Canary’s family and the Crimson Avenger. I could quibble with most of the other stories – Firestorm, who should be black, is colored a pinkish-red for some reason, and it’s more than a little unclear why Wonder Woman thought becoming a sexy pirate captain was the appropriate response to being stranded in the Black Pirate’s time – but on the whole they’re kind of fun so I won’t bother. Not the kind of thing you’ll probably be happy spending $5.99 on, but worth catching if it makes it to the discount box.
Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant: Similar to the above, but more of an anthology as the stories are not chapters of a whole but separate stories tied together by a framing sequence. Actually, because of the mystical nature of the threat in the main story, it’s unclear whether some of the stories “really” happened at all or were just hallucinations. Still, I liked James Robinson’s story of Ma Hunkel and the original Mr. America, Kevin Grevioux’s Amazing Man story set in New Orleans, Jerry Ordway’s Wildcat story, and the surreal art by Scott Hampton in the Damage story. (This is all before “Blackest Night”, presumably.) I think the end of the framing story has a misunderstanding of the current Dr. Fate – he’s not supposed to be as cosmic and all-knowing as his predecessors – but it’s only a couple of pages so it’s a minor point. Another decent half-price purchase, if you can find it.
X-Necrosha: It’s really unfortunate that this mini-event of dead mutants returning is shipping during “Blackest Night” because it invites comparison, even though they were developed independently. From the reader’s point of view, both stories depend on the emotional reaction of the regular characters to their dead friends & family. In “Blackest Night” that’s also the plot, where here it’s just that Selene is up to no good. It’s a decent opening chapter, although I had to flip through it again to remember most of it, but this really will succeed or fail based on the individual books…
New Mutants 6-7: …And by that criteria, they’re off to an excellent start. The reunion between Prof. X and the team in the first few pages of #6 is touching, and them being observed by the returned Doug Ramsey, who can now read body language, takes it to another level. (“I have anxiety being around you as an adult, and desire reassurance you have not changed.” “I sense your anxiety and want to reassure you.”) I always liked Warlock and the Hellions, so it’s fun to see them back too.
Doom Patrol 3-4: This is finally starting to click with me. As I get a better sense of what’s behind Giffen’s characterizations I like them better, and the Mento stuff in #3 is off-the-charts creepy but still in character. I was actually a fan of the “New Doom Patrol” in its day so I enjoyed seeing them come back in #4, which I thought also had an ending that will make people want to come back and see what happens. (Not as compelling as the one in REBELS, but still a great idea.)