HUGE number of books out in the last two weeks. I spent half again as much as normal, and I still forgot to pick up Modok's 11, which means I'm going to have to make a special trip. And it's not just a lot of books out right now, they're all genuinely very good.
Starlord #4: Speaking of good, in my opinion the best of the Conquest minis ends on a high point. Mantis, Rocket Raccoon, and Captain Universe have especially good moments in this book, and the squad comes through mostly unscathed and ready for the main Conquest mini series. A good, high-concept read that makes me very sad to see Keith Giffen sign a DC exclusive contract.
Annihilation Conquest #1: A lot of stage-setting in this issue. Quasar brings Adam Warlock (and the reader) up to speed on the events from the prologue and the minis, while Ronan and Super Skrull try to secure an alliance with Ravenous. Of course, the real meat of the issue is the surprise appearances. First, I'll mention Xenmu, which is only interesting if you like old-school Defenders enemies as much as I do. Since you probably don't, it's the other two characters which count as shockers. Warlock going to see the High Evolutionary counts as pretty awesome, and really steps things up story-wise. And I won't spoil the identity of the secret villain behind the story here, but I will say that I think it's a great choice. It's a character who hasn't been out to play in the cosmic arena before, but who makes a lot of sense and has a lot of possibilities beyond just Conquest if they decide to keep him out there. It's also worth pointing out that if you read Abnett and Lanning's work on Legion of Super Heroes, you're going to recognize them cannibalizing elements of their first story on that book. It still doesn't come off as a complete repeat, and the cast of characters is diverse enough to make a difference. I can honestly recommend Conquest just as highly as I have Annihilation. If you haven't picked up this book yet, run out and get it.
Nova #8: Remember when I said that I hoped every issue was as good as number 7? Wish granted. This is easily as good as the last issue, and even though it takes Nova right out of Conquest (along with Drax and Gamorah, who do not appear in this issue), it has so many great ideas and "holy crap" moments that even telling you where the issue is set counts as a major spoiler.
Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
The issue is set at the end of the universe inside an observatory built into the severed head of a Celestial.
I mean, crap, if that doesn't make you want to buy this, I don't think the telepathic dog cosmonaut is going to do the trick either.
Captain Marvel #1: I won't lie to you. I'm not a Mar-Vel fan from way back. I came late to the party, I only read the Death of Captain Marvel last year, and the idea of resurrecting him in some capacity doesn't sting me like it does some other fans. Still, this first issue ain't great. I mean, I've heard the reasons why this mini isn't going to have the things I really want to see, and they make sense. He's going to meet Hulkling in the Young Avengers Presents mini, and he's locked out of Kree space due to the events of Conquest. But all he does in this issue is mope a lot (not even in a good, soul-searching way) and then he kills Cyclone. It's just not compelling. Still, it's only the first issue.
The Initiative #7: Featuring the Scarlet Spiders. The MVP story is really going somewhere now, and so is Justice. Slott also attempts to create some doubt in the public as to whether or not Peter Parker is Spider-Man. I'm on record as saying that the unmasking was stupid in the first place, but they're going to have to work harder than this to undo it in any credible sense. I understand that this story wasn't supposed to fix it all in one go, I'm just saying that it's kind of underwhelming even as a first step.
Iron Fist #10: This is a good read, but it almost feels like a filler issue. Overall, not very much happens, and it feels like either the fight between Bride of Nine Spiders and Dog Brother #1 could have been drawn out longer, or a lot of the other stuff could have been substantially reduced.
X-Men Die by the Sword #3: Apparently I missed the second issue somehow. Which actually speaks to the high quality of this mini that I didn't feel totally lost reading this issue. I mean, there are a couple things that I didn't understand, but overall the story makes sense and I can see how we got from issue one to here. I honestly think this is the best thing Claremont's written in years.
Uncanny X-Men #492: Messiah Complex part 2. Much more engaging than the first part. I really liked seeing Cyclops stuck in the middle of everything, and getting dissension from both Professor X. This issue also has some genuine action in the form of Wolverine, Colossus, Angel, and Nightcrawler knocking the stuffing out of some former Acolytes. Definitely better than the opener.
X-Factor #25: Messiah Complex part 3. I can say the same thing here. Forge enters the story here, which is awesome. We also get the return of Amelia Voght, who I always thought was a great forgotten character. We also see Cyclops getting flak from the New X-Men, which in addition to his argument with the Professor from part two makes the whole situation sort of a generational conflict.
Astonishing X-Men #23: What can I say? It's the same story that's been dragging on for the last year or so, with the same overall high caliber of writing. I find it hard to get excited about when it only comes out whenever it feels like it, but it's still a good read.
Suicide Squad #3: I've only known Rustam since last issue, but it was sad to see him go. The end of the issue also has an interesting hook going forward.
Wonder Woman #14: Gail Simone's first issue. Now, I know I'm not exactly unbiased when it comes to her writing, but I hope you can believe me when I tell you that this is a very good issue. I really don't have any interest in Wonder Woman as a character, and I'm not terribly familiar with most of her supporting cast. But I still enjoyed the book, and I didn't have any trouble getting into it or figuring out the status quo. If you like Gail Simone or Wonder Woman, I think you should find a place on your pull list for this book.
Atom #17: Speaking of Gail Simone and Wonder Woman, you can find both of them in this book as well. Most of this issue though, is devoted to a really great date sequence with Ryan and Giganta. Particularly great is Ryan's internal monologue during the date. I really hope it eventually works out between those two.
Booster Gold #4: Once again, this is a fantastic book. Booster finds out who stole the Supernova suit, and it is fantastic. While Booster fights Supernova, Skeets winds up fighting an evil security droid, and Rip Hunter fights an evil Time Master and kicks his ass. This is a fantastic book.
Hellboy Darkness Calls #6: Hellboy vs. Koshchei: Final Round. A good fight, with an epilogue that features an old familiar face. Minor complaint, we never see who it is that the witches claim as their new queen.
Lobster Johnson The Iron Prometheus #3: I'm not sure what to say here, except that it features a pulp hero fighting Nazi sorcerers who are using the power of ancient Hyperborea to create dragons.
BPRD Killing Ground #4: And in a very interesting development, it appears the stories of Killing Ground and Iron Prometheus are connected somehow. The last four pages are just fucking crazy, and I'm not at all certain what they mean. I cannot wait for issue 5.
Originally posted by Tenken347The Initiative #7: Featuring the Scarlet Spiders. The MVP story is really going somewhere now, and so is Justice. Slott also attempts to create some doubt in the public as to whether or not Peter Parker is Spider-Man. I'm on record as saying that the unmasking was stupid in the first place, but they're going to have to work harder than this to undo it in any credible sense. I understand that this story wasn't supposed to fix it all in one go, I'm just saying that it's kind of underwhelming even as a first step.
I also think that trying to force Peter Parker back in the closet in this manner is a little much. I did enjoy Jameson's "God, I hate clones" line, which I thought was supposed to be a wink-wink-nudge-nudge moment for the fans. I didn't think it was supposed to be foreshadowing! Damn you, Marvel!
Originally posted by Tenken347Booster Gold #4: Once again, this is a fantastic book. Booster finds out who stole the Supernova suit, and it is fantastic. While Booster fights Supernova, Skeets winds up fighting an evil security droid, and Rip Hunter fights an evil Time Master and kicks his ass. This is a fantastic book.
I'm eager to see what next month's visit into The Killing Joke brings. The implication that Barbara Gordon should never have been paralyzed is intriguing and I'm sure it'll also bring up the mind-numbing implications of creating time paradoxes. In other words, you COULD save her, but what does that mean for the Birds of Prey and her future battles with Calculator? What do you do: save her from getting shot by Joker's fateful bullet or do nothing and reap the benefits that came when Barbara reinvented herself as Oracle? This series can only get better from here.
Well, except for the news that between Issues #6 and #7, Booster Gold will revisit the events of Zero Hour. I thought no one was ever supposed to mention that abomination of an event again.
"Wocka Wocka...who wants to hear a funny-ass joke?"
Countdown to Final Crisis #14: The series' two most powerful (and annoying) villains clash at the end of this issue. We can only hope that Superman-Prime and Monarch obliterate each other next week. X-Men #207: Messiah CompleX ends with a bang...