THUNDERBOLTS #110: This is the first issue of the "new direction" as written by Warren Ellis with art by Mike Deodato. Take several parts old Thunderbolts, add several of Marvel's favorite villains, toss in a few wildcards (such as Speedball-turned-Penance), shake and stir. These are the new, media-friendly, government-sponsored, ass-kicking Thunderbolts, who come complete with their own line of toys, and a mandate to bring down unregistered superheroes. Yes, the government is bringing out the big guns like Venom, Bullseye, Radioactive Man (in his swanky new containment costume) and the Swordsman to take down such threats to society as Jack Flag. Who? Jack Flag. He was one of Captain America's partners for about 5 minutes back in the '90s. Yeah, I don't see this ending well... a third-rate superhero versus six Thunderbolts, several of whom are psychotic menaces. Then again, what's the win/loss ration of Venom/Scorpion vs Spider-Man, or Bullseye vs Daredevil? Yeah. I will say that while I'll miss Fabian's run on the T'bolts, I am excited to see where Ellis goes with this. We got some good screen time with about half the team in this issue, so we have yet to see how exactly he'll take on characters like Penance. Cross your fingers. When Ellis is good, he's good. When he's bad, he's weird.
52 #36: Those bastards, they killed Animal Man. This makes me sad. I -liked- him. Ever since Grant Morrison totally reinvented him in his own series some time ago, he's been well, if not cool, interesting. Shame Lobo didn't bite it instead. Or even Starfire. I've always found her to be a bit dull. Meanwhile, the mystery on Supernova continues to unravel. Anyone still taking bets as to his true identity? Stay tuned...
Still enjoying this series, though I wonder how it'll look when it's all together and they release the trades...
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #2: The relaunch continues as the new Mr. America gets killed, the new Commander Steel's origin begins, the new Starman's true identity may or may not be revealed, Wildcat meets his illegitimate son, and Stargirl and Cyclone do some girlbonding. (JSA. Their new motto can be: "We have the cutest superheroes around...) Say what you want, but I am thoroughly enjoying the way the series is looking so far. I love legacy superheroes, a decent mystery, and the hints of greatness to come. Plus, a Kingdom Come refugee, perhaps? Dale Eaglesham's art is lovely.
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #16: Spider-Man concludes yet another fight against the Vulture. Maybe this time, they'll come to understand one another, and bond. Naaaah. Deb Whitman continues her escape from obscurity (remember her, fans? She dated Peter Parker back in the '70s, briefly...) Betty Brant shows signs of tweaking J.J.J.'s moustache. Heh. You can always leave it to Peter David to deliver action, comedy, and plenty of great character moments.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #8: Guy Gardner goes undercover as part of an elite black ops team loosely affiliated with the GLC. They fight the Dominion, who've found a way to supercharge evolution and create uber-powered Khunds. Mayhem ensues, and everyone dies. To be continued. I like this series, but it has some hit or miss moments, and I'm waiting to see how this storyline pans out.
AGENTS OF ATLAS #6: Loosely based on a What If? story involving Marvel characters from the '50s, this miniseries concludes as the bizarre team faces off one last time against perennial bad-guy, the Yellow Claw. Much is explained, and things are wrapped up. Which is really a bit of a shame, because this was a clever, quirky series that delivered surprises right up until the very end. And where else will you find the Human Robot, Gorilla Man, Marvel Boy, Venus, and Namora? Jeff Parker really did a great job of reimagining these characters, ironing out some of the worst details of their dated pasts, and making them viable once again. I just wish he could have used 3-D Man as well...
BATMAN #662: John Ostrander's storyline featuring the new villain, Grotesk, concludes. Thank god. I like Ostrander's work, but this story seemed to misfire on many levels. I was bored after one part, but obsessiveness kept me reading until it was over.
BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #2: Early Batman vs a powered battlesuit gone rogue. So far, so good, but it didn't excite me. But we'll see where Diggle and Portacio go with this one.
HYPERION VS NIGHTHAWK #1: The reimagined-for-the-new-millenium versions of the Justice League pastiches of Superman and Batman fight each other against the real world backdrop of the Darfur genocide. Thus, scenes of violence are cut with scenes of violence and infodump. It's a good start, but I'll have to read more of this miniseries before I can come up with more conclusive opinions. I will say, Marc Guggenheim's got balls to make this as much about a real world event as about the fictional characters. I hadn't realized the scope of what was going on in the Sudan, so he's already succeeded in opening some readers' eyes. But anyway, we'll see how this plays out.
WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY #2: Gail Simone's new comedy/drama/mystery series, set in a town that acts as a retirement village for old superheroes and villains, continues with its opening arc, a murder mystery. It's an interesting series, with some fun characters and a art style that adapts to fit the mood, sometimes without warning. I'm not excited yet, but I'm not bored, either.
WHITE TIGER #3: We've reached the halfway point in this miniseries featuring the new White Tiger, as writted by Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe. It's got a lot of energy, and I like the heroine. She's feisty. But does she really need to call Daredevil 1.0 or 2.0 depending on which one she's addressing? (Yeah, DD's still in jail at this point, while someone else runs around pretending to be him.) The action scenes are well-done, and the art is nice. It doesn't feel like a lot of progress is made in this issue, but that's okay, we have three more to go, and plenty of time for our heroine to get in a conclusive fght against the new Cobra. But did they really have to slip in the phrase "Creamy white goodness" to describe her?
WONDER MAN #2: This miniseries continues, as Simon Williams, Wonder Man, tries to rehabilitate a supervillain named Ladykiller, with the help of some friends. Peter David delivers a good script, but I hate Andrew Currie's art here. Wonder Man himself is horribly misshapen at times, Ladykiller's design doesn't inspire much of anything, and the Beast (Marvel version), looks like a Disney cartoon.
WOLVERINE ORIGINS #10: As we slog through a fight with Omega Red. Again. There's a '90s villain I've never liked at all. Jubilee gets injured, Wolverine gets shot in the head, and Wolverine's son shows up. Did the world really need a Wolverine offspring, one who sports 2 claws per hand, a bad attitude, and a hideous hairstyle? I don't think so. Sigh. Steve Dillon's art is totally misplaced here. He needs something like another Preacher, that would challenge him.
GREEN ARROW #70: Batman visits Green Arrow, Red Hood visits Brick. Wacky hijinks ensue. Judd Winick wastes an entire page (almost 2) on random thugs discussing random stuff.) I really want to like Winick's work, but this wasn't the best of issues. Moving along...
OUTSIDERS #44: Look, it's Winick again. And the Red Hood again. We're into a flashback detailing what happened to the team during the previous year, and I'm not sure I'm liking it yet. Is this the first we've heard about Black Lightning doing jail time for murder? Huh. I wonder if this is related to the guy he supposedly killed in Green Arrow a while back. Lackluster week for Winick, who can be so very much better than this.
G.I. JOE: AMERICA'S ELITE #19: Following the disastrous events of the previous issues, the team tries to get some downtime. Meanwhile, the mysterious General Rey enlists Duke to try and unlock the secrets of his past. I gotta say, how cool is it that Sparks, a character introduced in the '80s cartoon series and never given an action figure of his own, is getting screen time? Out of all the '80s comic revivals (Voltron, Thundercats, Transformers...) this is the one I've stuck with. Long as they don't bring in Big Lob...
JSA CLASSIFIED #21: It seems that Hawkman's been in space, still fighting the Rann-Thanagar war all this time. Good for him. As he goes up against Blackfire (who, like her sister Starfire, bores me), and engages in much mayhem. Walter Simonson delivered a decent story, but his artwork is... well, a bit loose for my likes. There's one panel where Hawkman's head is far too small for his body, and in all honesty, I can't remember if Simonson's art used to be better, or not. This makes me nostalgic for his run on Thor, back in the day.
MELTDOWN #2: This 2-part miniseries concludes as the main character, the Flare, literally goes out in a blaze of glory. Does he learn what it means to be a hero? Possibly, but not in time to save his life. But we knew that was coming. The interesting thing here is the statement the story makes on how superheroes inspire and affect other people. This was a nice series, but not spectacular. I have to wonder, would it have had more impact if the main character had been longer-established or better-known?
NEW EXCALIBUR #15: The storyline spotlighting the Juggernaut wraps up here. Yup, he's still a villain-turned-wannabe-hero. Yup, half the team still hates the other half. Yup, Frank Tieri is still killing time while Chris Claremont gets better. Not bad, not great, and I'm not entirely sure I like the things it adds into Juggernaut's backstory whereupon many people die. Though the idea of Xavier with the Ruby of Cyttorak would have been interesting, but wasn't that in a What If? once?
NEW X-MEN #34: Mutant teen angst continues, as Mercury's kidnapped, and X-23 and Hellion go to rescue her. I had to love the bit with Rockslide learning of the existence of the Young Avengers, and the snarky comments that ensue. Oh, and Mammomax dies. Those bastards! Aren't Kyle and Yost tired of killing people YET?
STORMWATCH: PHD #3: The team goes to Vegas to help train a new franchise of ordinary people dedicated to taking down rogue superhumans. Some great scenes with Black Betty explaining why she doesn't actively practice magic, and Gorgeous dissecting the interpersonal relationships in a room with a glance, and Paris explaining why he's such a badass, to Lauren's dismay. This issue had some wonderful character bits, and I'm enjoying how it's all coming together. Unfortunately, the art isn't always up to the task, and a crucial bit near the end is less than clear, in my opinion. But still, Christos Gage tells a damned good story.
GEN13 #4: The relaunch, as told by Gail Simone, continues, as Grunge discovers his powers and gets the opportunity to make out with a hot, yet strangely psychotic, winged woman. I'm not sure yet if this version of Gen 13 is better or worse than previous incarnations, but I trust Simone, so I'm in it for the time being.
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #6: Of everything I read this week, this is the one I question the most. Why didn't I drop this clunker of a series before it got this close to the end? Bleh. Just, bleh. Boring, messy, and the ending twist just makes me shake my head.
AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #4: The alternate-future version of Spider-Man's teenage daughter continues her relaunched career here, as she juggles schoolwork, webslinging, and personal life in an ongoing soap opera. And yet, I like this series, enough to keep on with it no matter how many times it avoids cancellation. Though "Mad Dog the Bounty Hunter" is a less than inspired choice of supporting characters.
TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #4: In the lead story, the new Spectre still struggles with his newfound status as God's pissiness... er, I mean, wrath. Batman shows up and kicks the Spectre in the chin. Seriously. But I'm not buying this series for the lead, I'm buying it for Brian Azzarello's drug-trippy story featuring Dr. 13, a professional skeptic in the DC universe. Where else will you find, and I kid you not, Captain Fear and his flying ship of ghost pirates, talking Nazi apes, Anthro the first boy on Earth, the Haunted Tank with the ghost of J.E.B. Stuart, I Vampire, and Infectious Lass from the Legion of Substitute Heroes? That's some wacky stuff, man. Truly wacky.
I also got NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC #2, reprinting the original series #8-17, and CHAMPIONS CLASSIC #2, reprinting the latter half of their original series plus crossovers and appearances. Ah, the good old days...
There you have it. I may or may not do this again. :>