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Hey Kids! Last Week's Comics!

Okay, okay. This is long overdue. But the reality is that between catching up at my day job and sorting through all my convention stuff, I had to re-think how I approach reviews. And after the DK2 opus, I realized I was getting way too wordy. So from now on, I'll only go into mini-essays when a book really warrants it, instead mainly throwing around much more concise praise and brickbats.

Let me know what you think.

Alias #13

Once again, Bendis and Gaydos deliver another thought-provoking chapter in the ongoing sage of Jessica Jones. As she searches for Rebecca Cross, Bendis throws in a little of the small-mindedness that some religious figures can develop. He also makes an interesting point with a piece of bathroom graffiti, at least one fit for the Marvel Universe: Jesus was a mutant. Well, yes, in Marvel terms anyway. But what has made this whole thing interesting for me is the effect of mutant bigotry (occasionally a thin plot device elsewhere in the MU) on ordinary people.


The Authority: Kev

Is he the luckiest most incompetent agent on the face of the planet, or is it all an act? Garth Ennis and Glenn Fabry don't quite answer the question, but we'll get more chances to find out, as allegedly the folks at Wildstorm want more Kev. After reading this book, you will, too. It's good to see The Authority back in action, and it's even better to see Ennis and Fabry working on them. This title suits Ennis to a tee.


Detective #773

Okay, so at Comic-Con the Batman writers claimed that Bruce's crappy treatment of Sasha is intentional (on the writers' parts, not Bruce's). In their minds, he's still grieving over losing Vesper. Fair point. Finally, though, Sasha gets pissed about it, refusing any help in her appeal. What kind of a screwed up world is it when an alleged murderer gets exonerated, but his convicted accomplice remains in prison? An all too real one. Rucka adds a twist, and with the McKenna's inks, this is the most assured job Lieber has done on the book yet.


Doom Patrol #11

Stuck in their own private hells within Hell, the Doom Patrol finally reveal more about themselves than in the previous ten issues. Arcudi finally brings the book all together, balancing the weirdness with the unique characterization that should make us care about these guys. As always, Huat delivers quirky visuals to match, with a cover and inside baddie that I guarantee will make Michael Goodson refuse to read it. For those who are not terrified by the slightest suggestion of spiders, this issue also makes an excellent jumping on point.


Exiles #16

In a bittersweet tale, Winick jumps around in time and space to fill in the blanks on the relationship between Nocturne and Thunderbird. Though both the readers and the rest of the Exiles missed it the first time around, Winick gives us careful vignettes that show a growing love and respect. It also reminds us that with these characters, we can miss a lot between issues. And that's okay, as long as what we do get is as well-done as this. There are no battles, and no particular demonstrations of superpowers (except for Morph). All in all, it makes for an excellent interlude.


Hawkman #6

With just a few panels, Robinson and Johns fix a small whole in post-Crisis continuity. Nobody really cared about the Seven Soldiers of Victory the first time around, but it's nice to see the Golden Age Green Arrow finally replaced. As for the present Green Arrow, he and Hawkman have their hands full against the new Spider. The creative team delivers great action, and a slightly unexpected change in the relationship between Carter and Kendra. If there's a gripe, it's in the overly detailed line work of Rags and Bair; even the whites of the eyes look like they're carved from wood. I mistook several characters for hypnotists.


Rising Stars #19

Those in political power have schemed against those with real power. What they didn't count on was that "The Specials" would have prepared for just such an emergency. As we reach the final stretch, JMS ratchets up the tension. Though Poet rightly points out that the opposing forces could just wait for the specials to die of natural causes, it's obvious that no, those with less than the public good on their minds can't wait. This can only end badly. And that's good.


Superman #185

A guest-team steps in to tell this story of a somewhat random battle between Superman and Major Force. Even though it sort of moves a subplot along, the thing that saves it from being a yawn is the characterization by Geoff Johns. Taking place at a Little League game, the whole thing is reminiscent of an Astro City tale, with Superman remembering that he doesn't stop often enough to do the little things. In short, when was the last time you remember Supes having fun? The Astro City comparison continues with art by Brent Anderson, which is the best that Superman has looked all year.


Ultimate Spider-Man #25

Bendis lays the groundwork for an Ultimate Venom (just pay attention to what the Goblin's hallucinations tell him). As a knock-down drag-out slugfest, this issue works. And the team puts a couple of new spins on storylines we thought we knew. But I have to admit that some things are starting to bother me.

With rare exceptions, the approach on this book has been to put new spins on storylines we thought we knew, instead of breaking real new ground. (Ultimate Marvel Team-Up took a different tack, but then, the original Team-Up stories were largely forgettable excuses for trademark renewal.) Whether under Jemas' influence or not, Bendis has fallen prey to Batman the movie syndrome - too many villains are closely tied to Peter Parker. Granted, John Byrne pulled that crap on the initial revamp a few years back, but we rejected it then. At least Bendis is too good a writer to make it too obvious. Let's just see more new adventures that really are.


Derek McCaw

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