DCYou and You, Week Three

Big week for DC this time around - third weeks always seem to be huge - but were the comics any good? Go below the cut ... if you dare!

Black Canary #1 ("The Most Dangerous Band in America") by Brenden Fletcher (writer), Lee Loughridge (colorist), Steve Wands (letterer), Annie Wu (artist), Dave Wielgosz (assistant editor), and Chris Conroy (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC.

I like Brenden Fletcher and I like Annie Wu, so I'm not quite sure why I don't like Black Canary more. The premise, which comes out of Dinah's guest starring role in Batgirl, is that she, like Barbara, has been de-aged and completely shorn of her history - one would think someone would remember Dinah's time with the Justice League - and put her in a band, and evil scary things are tracking her down. The premise itself is pretty brilliant - why wouldn't Dinah join a band, with those pipes of hers? - but the execution, at least in this issue, is off. Last week I was against the fact that Starfire acts like a complete stranger to Earth despite the fact that Conner and Palmiotti remain relatively true to her history, and I find myself having the same problem with this. Dinah isn't exactly anonymous in the DCU, even the DCnU, and Fletcher at least hints that her marriage to Ollie is still in continuity, although I don't know when or if they actually broke up. People have taken me to task for caring too much about continuity in the past, which is laughable considering how little DC and Marvel I actually read, but it's not that I care about continuity, it's that if writers are going to keep bringing it up, they need to respect it a little. If DC wants to pretend that this is a brand new character, that's fine. But it's not. It's just a weird little thing that bugged me. It's not really what kept me from enjoying the book.

The problem with the book is that it wants to be much cooler than it is. The premise is hard to pull off - any time you venture into subjects where there are levels of coolness, you run the risk of failing to reach them, and hip indie bands are one arena where "cool" matter almost more than anyplace else. I don't know how old Fletcher is, but I'm going to assume he's cooler than I am, but even he seems to be trying too hard with regard to the band's coolness. Whenever you deal with something that doesn't translate well to comics - and music is probably the ultimate difficult medium to translate - it becomes harder to let the reader feel the coolness without telling us how cool they are. Fletcher veers close to that trap, and it drags me out of the story. With something like Phonogram, where the music is baked into the story, Gillen gets away with it because he's using real music, so even if you disagree with his conclusions about it, you can listen to the music and understand why it means something to someone. With something like Jem and the Holograms, we actually get lyrics to the music (like Phonogram, whether you like the lyrics or not is immaterial to a degree), and the way Campbell and Robado draw the music gives us at least an idea of how it "sounds." We don't get any of that in this comic, just a few press clippings about how awesome the band is. Granted, this issue is more about Dinah being a distraction because she keeps fighting people, but it still doesn't feel, to me, like a comic about a band. All those people holding instruments are just standing around holding instruments. That might just be my opinion, however. And the superhero plot - that weird demon things keep attacking, and they're after the band's young guitarist (who's that girl's guardian, by the way?) - just isn't good enough to hold my interest right now.

It's more of a shame because Wu's scratchy lines are pretty well-suited for the punk aesthetic the book is going for. She does a good job with the characters, especially the way they interact with each other, and her very few concert scenes work well. She also falls a bit into the trap of telling, as when Fletcher gives us the press clippings about how Dinah has finally learned how to connect with the crowd, Wu either doesn't want to or doesn't get to draw it - the concert scene is so brief that we don't get a lot of it. Wu does a nice job with what we see, but we don't see enough. It's the restrictions of a 20-page comic, I suppose.

This has the feeling of a comic that would work better as a trade. A lot of comics are like that these days, but they make use of the single-issue format better than others. It seems like Fletcher has a big plot in mind, but he also wants to get a bunch of characters and characterization into it too. With this issue, he doesn't quite get the balance right, and if he's going to use a band setting, he and Wu have to figure out how to make it more "musical," for lack of a better word. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. We shall see!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Doctor Fate #1 ("Blood of the Pharaohs") by Paul Levitz (writer), Sonny Liew (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), Nick J. Napolitano (letterer), Amedeo Turturro (editor), Andy Khouri (editor), and Brian Cunningham (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC.

No one remembers Fate very fondly except me, because it was motherturducken awesome and nothing you can say will make me change my mind!!!! More people remember the brilliant J. M. DeMatteis/Shawn McManus Dr. Fate series (and the Messner-Loebs run that followed it, which I haven't read), but it's still not necessarily what you think of when you think of Doctor Fate. For better or for worse, you think of Kent Nelson (if you think of Doctor Fate at all, which, let's be honest, not many people do). He's not as inextricably linked to the character as Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent, but I would argue that he is more linked to the character than Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, for instance. Yet DC seems to really like making other people Doctor Fate. I certainly don't have a problem with it, but it's strange that DC thinks this iteration of the new character will sell. Maybe they just assume that all the people who think of Kent Nelson as Doctor Fate have finally died off or given up on DC comics. Who's to say they're wrong?

Levitz is an interesting writer to tackle the character, as his heyday is far past, even more than many of the war horses that DC keeps employing. I've read Levitz's work before, but he's never left much of an impression - he's the Legion of Super-Heroes guy, and I am less interested in the Legion of Super-Heroes than I am in almost any other group of characters published by DC or Marvel. So I simply don't really have an opinion of Levitz. However, he does get this book off to a fairly rousing start, as there are ancient Egyptian deities running around causing and/or delaying natural disasters. Khalid, the new Fate, is the typical skeptical superhero - a ghostly apparition offers him the helmet, but he rejects it until his cat starts talking to him. That does it, apparently. In between, Levitz gives us a fairly creepy avatar that may or may not actually be Anubis, who walks around in a hurricane that threatens to destroy New York. It's a classic stereotypical set-up, which is fine, because Levitz gives us an interesting main character - Khalid is a medical student, he's heroic but still reluctant, and he - as yet - has no inciting tragedy in his life (his father appears to be in some peril at the end of the issue, though, so stay tuned!). Levitz cleverly links Khalid to the past, as his last name is, naturally, Nelson - although how that works when his father is Egyptian and his mother is the American in the couple is beyond me (I suppose the father could have taken the mother's name, because he's just that progressive?) - and we'll see where that goes. It's not a great issue, but it works quite well.

A lot of the credit does go to Liew, who's one of these cool artists that DC has decided to employ. DC is trying to catch up to Marvel, apparently, and has begun trying to get artists who don't fit into their House Style, and Liew is just another one of those nifty people. He helps Levitz's script quite a lot, as the strange creature wandering around causing havoc gets weirder and weirder looking as the book progresses, for instance. When Khalid becomes Doctor Fate, Liew really takes off, as he draws a creepy Bastet (who is Fate's ally, but that doesn't mean she doesn't look creepy) and a wonderful page where Khalid kind of melds with the helmet. Liew probably wouldn't be the best person to draw a straight superhero book (it was a weakness of The Shadow Hero, but that wasn't quite a straight superhero comic, so it didn't matter too much), but his angular, spindly work creates a neat atmosphere for a slightly oddball comic. Loughridge does a very nice job with the colors, using a lot of sickly greens to give everything a watery look, even when there's no water. It makes the entire comic look soggy, which is pretty neat. I also dig Napolitano's lettering for the statue in the beginning of the book - it's nifty.

I do have to laugh at the censorship on the comic. I don't know what DC's policy is on bad language, but it seems pretty clear they're letting writers get away with more - the creature that may or may not be Anubis uses "bitch" on the first page, but of course DC still doesn't let writers use much stronger language than that. However, when Khalid rescues the baby in the subway and hands her back to her mother, the woman says "G-d bless you." Fuck the heck? I know that in Victorian novels, you'll often see "God" written "G-d," and I always figured it was because their delicate (public) sensibilities wouldn't allow them to use the Lord's name or something dumb like that. I can't believe that DC is behind this, so is Levitz? I don't know anything about Levitz, so maybe he also doesn't want to take the Lord's name in vain. So why put it in the book at all? The woman could have said "Bless you" or, you know, nothing at all after thanking Khalid. If you don't want to write "GOD" out, that's fine. But don't use "G-d." It just looks stupid.

Anyway, this is a good comic. That's keen.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Doomed #1 ("Doomed, I Say!") by Ulises Arreola (colorist), Corey Breen (letterer), Javier Fernandez (artist), Scott Lobdell (writer), Andrew Marino (assistant editor), and Paul Kaminski (editor). $2.99, 20, FC.

As with many of these DCYou books, Doomed #1 is a fairly standard superhero introduction comic - as I've often noted, it's all in the technique, and these days, Lobdell seems as bland as someone like Dan Jurgens, where you know you'll get a serviceable job but nothing really stands out. That goes for Fernandez's art as well - it's perfectly fine, in that slick, overly rendered way, but it doesn't really grab you, either. Lobdell gives us a student named Reiser (I guess that's his first name) who interns at S.T.A.R. labs, and on his first day, he takes off his helmet in a "clean room" for just a second and later turns into a weird, red-skinned, and apparently molten-in-some-way creature. It's not really about the destination, it's about the journey, and Lobdell gives us all the signposts along the way, taking his page right from the Steve Ditko/Stan Lee playbook. Reiser is already a college student, so he doesn't live at home, but he visits his elderly aunt in the suburbs because he's her only living relative anywhere near. He works at a place where hinky experimentation is going on. He apparently gets affected by one of those experiments. He lives with a couple of dudes who fit into stereotype slots. He meets two attractive women, one of whom is a bit scornful of him, one of whom seems to be far too interested in him to be for real. It's not that it's bad, it's that it's familiar. Familiarity is comfortable, certainly, but it's also dull. Doomed is like a CBS police procedural.

Lobdell isn't a terrible writer, so he adds a few nifty touches - Clark Kent lives in the same apartment building as Reiser, S.T.A.R. labs is a weirder place than we usually see, Reiser's transformation doesn't make him completely a monster, but it's still not a great scene - to his story that raise it up a bit. Much like a lot of DC books in this latest initiative, Lobdell is finally trying to make DC as diverse as they claimed they would be back in September 2011 - Reiser is black, while Clarice and Jayne are ... indeterminate. This makes the fact that Reiser has an Italian aunt kind of strange, and I can't decide if it's Lobdell celebrating the fact that so many families are mixed race these days or if it's Lobdell not letting the racial diversity get, you know, too out of hand. I mean, there have to be mostly white people, right? It's still refreshing to see Reiser and someone like Khalid from Doctor Fate, even though it's one of those things where you wonder what took them so damned long. Baby steps, people!

Doomed might be part of the DCYou initiative, but like a lot of DCnU books from 2011, it really does feel a lot like "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." It's a competent superhero comic. That's about it.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 ("Extrastellar Exploitations") by Amanda Conner (writer), Justin Gray (writer), John J. Hill (letterer), Paul Mounts (colorist), Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Stéphane Roux (artist), Dave Wielgosz (assistant editor), and Chris Conroy (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC.

The pairing of Harley and Kara comes about, I assume, solely because Conner and Palmiotti (and possibly Gray) like both characters, and since Harley is selling and Power Girl hasn't done great in the past, it makes sense, sales-wise, to team them up. The writers use the old hoary chestnut, amnesia, to explain why PG would team up with someone like Harley, which is fine but can't really stand up to a long-term thing, right? I mean, I haven't checked to see if this is a mini-series, but I imagine the shelf life isn't very long for a team-up like this.

Anyway, Conner and Palmiotti, who seem like good hedonists, really like Vartox, because he shows up in this comic, too (I suppose he's really the only memorable PG "villain," too, so there's that), but this time, as a victim of a "cosmotyrant" who wants to "cleanse the universe of hedonism." Well, that sucks. Vartox has, as far as I know, always been a condescending sexist, but he's never been truly evil, so setting him up as a victim of a humorless bad guy makes sense, because then we can enjoy his buffoonery without necessarily rooting for him to fail. It's a clever little ploy, even though it's still somewhat paper-thin. Basically, the entire plot is just an engine to get Harley and Kara to play off each other - even with amnesia, PG is more serious than Harley, so Harley gets to crack the jokes while PG acts as straight man. It's fairly humorous, and the writers have a pretty good handle on both characters, and the fact that Harley has a straight man makes her far less intolerable, which she usually is. So that's nice.

Roux has altered his style a bit from when I last saw it - he's usually very refined and even slick, which is beautiful but often a bit soulless. His lines are scratchier on this book, and while his sense of style is still there, it's tempered enough by the roughness that it really works well. He cleverly gives us a bit of gratuitousness when it comes to Power Girl without being too obnoxious about it, and his facial expressions and body language are very well done, as the art helps heighten the comedy nicely. Roux doesn't strike me as the fastest artist in the world, so I wonder how long he'll last on this book, but this is a very nice-looking comic, and it helps get it off to a good start.

I'm not terribly interested in either of these characters, but the tone Conner, Palmiotti, and Gray are going for feels like it's kind of in their wheelhouse (I should say Palmiotti and Gray, as I haven't read enough by Conner to know her style very well), so it works nicely. It's a solid comic, slightly above average simply because no one takes it all too seriously even though Oreth Odeox, with his hatred of fun, does at least represent a somewhat serious threat. I don't know how serious the writers will get with him, but at least the threat is there!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Justice League of America #1 ("Power and Glory Part One") by Jeromy Cox (colorist), Andrew Currie (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Daniel Henriques (inker), Bryan Hitch (writer/penciller), Alex Sinclair (colorist), Wade von Grawbadger (inker), Amedeo Turturro (assistant editor), and Brian Cunningham (editor). $5.99, 48 pgs, FC.

If you like Bryan Hitch's "detail porn" art and enjoy his wide-screen action, I guess this delivers. It's great that it's actually more than double-sized for only 6 bucks, and you get your money's worth when Hitch decides to draw a comic, although the parade of inkers occasionally makes different pages stand out oddly. The fight between the JLA and the Parasite is pretty cool, although because Hitch, weirdly, doesn't use "wide-screen" action too much for the fight, occasionally it's blocked strangely. Parasite's growth happens instantaneously, which is kind of odd. It also takes seemingly far too long for them to figure out how to beat him - I thought it was SOP when fighting an energy leech to overload him and make him blow out, but only Batman (and Cyborg, to a lesser extent) figure that out. Oh well - it looks pretty keen.

The story is fine, too - someone or something is killing alternate-dimensional Supermen, and some punk scientist claims he wants Superman's help in stopping it, but of course he has a hidden agenda blah blah blah. Oh, and Rao shows up. Years ago, Hitch drew a story about the Justice League fighting, basically, God, and I guess he dug it so much he had to do it again! It's not a bad set-up, but the only reason we get 48 pages of story is so Hitch can show pages and pages of the League fighting Parasite. The story could easily have been set up in 10 pages, tops. But that's what you get when you buy a Bryan Hitch comic! I'm a fan of Hitch, but he usually draws things that I don't want to read, and I'm not terribly interested in his Justice League. But that's just me.

Hitch has been working on this for a while (Batman is Bruce Wayne, for instance), and I'm sure DC is just hoping he can get the entire thing out in a timely fashion. I'm much more interested in what Hitch might be working on after this comic ... but I've said too much!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Martian Manhunter #1 ("Weapon!") by Eddy Barrows (penciller), Gabe Eltaeb (colorist), Eber Ferreira (inker), Tom Napolitano (letterer), Rob Williams (writer), Harvey Richards (associate editor), and Brian Cunningham (editor). $2.99, 21 pgs, FC.

Rob Williams is one of those interesting British writers that occasionally show up over here with a neat comic, so it's nice that DC is letting him write an ongoing, because it's just another example of them perhaps learning the lessons of the Great Non-Reboot of 2011. I have never been a fan of Barrows's Image-founder-lite artwork, but either he's changed his style a lot or Ferreira is a great inker, because this book looks terrific, and Williams brings the weird to the Martian Manhunter, with a strange homeless man (who happens to be green), a horrific shape-changing murderer, and J'onn asking someone to kill him. Williams is good at weird, and so despite this comic being set deep within the DCU (there's a cameo by denim-wearing Superman, for instance), it definitely has a disturbing vibe to it. There's always a potential for that with J'onn, because he is a Martian and because of his powers, but Williams really goes for it nicely. Existential threats are always a good way to go if you can pull them off, and while it's clear that Williams is thinking big with the "epiphany," it's also localized enough with regard to J'onn that he might be able to get away with it without involving more heroes. In a shared universe, that's always a tough line to walk, and it seems like this threat is very much tied to J'onn, so perhaps Williams will be able to keep the Justice League out of it.

As I noted, Barrows's art is really good. His Mr. Biscuits is creepy, sure, but he also has a casual elegance that would make him interesting to kids but also heightens the weirdness about him. Barrows does a wonderful job when he draws J'onn as a giant dragon saving a plane (has J'onn always been able to add mass like that?), and the murder of the sheikh in Dubai is really nicely done - it's witnessed by what appears to be a cat burglar, and we see the shape-shifter change from her point of view before Barrows gives us a cool scene where it lets her know she's been seen. The coloring is slightly over-rendered, but unlike some books from smaller publishers, Eltaeb and Barrows work pretty well together - Barrows has been around long enough that he seems able to lean into the digital coloring and not let it overwhelm his lines. I hate the computer-generated ocean when J'onn saves the plane, but such is life. I haven't seen enough of Barrows's art to know if this is career-best from him, but it's still very good work.

Williams has some interesting ideas in his writing, and this just seems like the latest one. Turning J'onn into a figure of fear has been done before, but not too often, and it's always a fascinating idea. This is one of the better comics of the DCYou, which, had you told me that Eddy Barrows was drawing it, I wouldn't have believed. Who knew, right?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Prez #1 ("Corndog in Chief") by Ben Caldwell (penciller), Travis Lanham (letterer), Jeremy Lawson (colorist), Mark Morales (inker), Mark Russell (writer), Brittany Holzherr (assistant editor), and Marie Javins (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC.

I'm a fan of Ben Caldwell's art, and I'm very happy he's getting to draw a mainstream DC comic, even if it is a limited series (which, like some others we've seen from this non-reboot, is probably smart, as the concept really doesn't have too long a shelf life). Caldwell's cartooning skills are wonderful, and his style works really well with the satirical nature of this comic but he also does well with human emotions, so when Beth gets her hair stuck in a fryer early in the comic (which makes her an Internet sensation and jump-starts her political career, unbeknownst to her), Caldwell does a great job showing the various emotions she goes through as she works hard to clean the grill, gets scared because her hair gets caught, and then becomes resigned because she knows it's going to go viral pretty quickly. Caldwell does this throughout the book - he takes a, frankly, ridiculous script and manages to give it some humanity, as when Felipe Alvarez realizes what he has to do to win a game show that will help him bring his family to the United States, and Caldwell shows his fear, determination, and pain to take what could have been silly and make it poignant. Caldwell updates Boss Smiley really well, as he and his cabal have human faces that they hide behind computer-generated avatars, making them more real than in the original but also keeping the sinister aspect of the giant smiley face. Caldwell brings the world of 2036 to life very nicely, as he shows the bombardment of advertising and pop culture that has become more and more constant becoming even more intrusive. It's a beautiful comic in the service of a less than great story, unfortunately.

Russell wants to write a satire, and that's fine. Satires are really hard to do effectively, because if you're not obvious enough, people take it too seriously and then defenders have to fall back on the "Frank Miller defense," which is that we shouldn't take his misogyny and homophobia seriously because of course he's doing satires! Russell doesn't want to be subtle, but if you're not doing a subtle satire, it becomes strident and dull, and this book veers too far into that area. Russell wants to point out how stupid the American electorate has gotten, which is fine, but he does it in as facile a way as possible - he takes the worst parts of our culture and extrapolates them out to a logical extreme, while ignoring the more noble areas of the culture. It's easy for writers to do this, and it lets them make fun of the banalities of everyday life and laugh at the idiots, but it's not terribly good satire and it's not usually a good story. Beth's plight - her father is deathly ill and she can't afford the experimental therapy to save him - is tonally off from the rest of the comic, which makes both feel bizarre. Russell can't go fully into the satire because he's trying to make Beth a sympathetic figure, but in doing that, he takes a good deal of the bite out of his story. Meanwhile, he never considers that people might be smarter than he thinks. His targets - corporate politics, pandering to the electorate - are worthy, but he goes after them in such a ham-handed way that even the concept of a decent person like Beth becoming president simply because she's a viral sensation and in 2036 people can vote on Twitter isn't as clever as it should be. An earnest satire has no teeth, and that's what Russell has written. No one should be spared - not Beth, not Felipe, not even Beth's dying father - but Russell is unwilling to take the final step. That's why satires are so difficult to pull off.

It's frustrating, because the idea of a neophyte teenager as president in a corrupt world is certainly appealing. Beth is a passive person so far, so it's impossible to really get a good sense of what she brings to the table. The bad guys might as well be twirling mustaches, and the blonde newscaster might as well be naked. It would be more ridiculous, but it would also show that Russell is going all in. Prez is a bit mealy-mouthed for a first issue, and that's a shame.

The art is very nice, though!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Robin: Son of Batman #1 ("Year of Blood") by Patrick Gleason (writer/penciller), Mick Gray (inker), John Kalisz (colorist), Tom Napolitano (letterer), Rebecca Taylor (associate editor), and Mark Doyle (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC.

Patrick Gleason must really like Damian, because here he is, writing and drawing a Damian solo book after working with the character for the past few years. I'm not that interested in Damian as a character, although he's good for some comic relief because he's such a douchebag, but if Gleason likes him, more power to him, I guess.

The draw of this book, perhaps not surprisingly, is the artwork. Gleason hasn't changed much since I first saw his art back on the earliest issues of Noble Causes, but that might be because he was already so damned good back then. He has a wonderful mix of cartoonish stuff and more "realistic" stuff, so he can draw a giant flying thing (it's not Man-Bat, as Damian repeatedly stresses) but he can also do some brutal violence. He draws a creepy Nobody, Damian's "arch-villain" (although this one is a bit different than the original) and a terrifying vault, but he also is fluid enough to do wonderful fight scenes. Ironically, perhaps, he's weakest at simple human interactions, so Damian's dream at Talia's grave is the weakest part of the comic, even though that's a relative term, as it's still pretty nice-looking. Gleason really is a great artist, and the book looks terrific.

His story is fine - Damian has done horrible things in the past, and now he wants to atone, and the original Nobody's daughter has taken up his mantle and will presumably cause trouble for him. And Talia's alive. Is that a new development? I'm glad she is, because Morrison's handling of her was a major problem in his Batman run, and I hope she goes back to being the sort-of villain but not really that she was back in the day. That would be nice. It's a decent enough story, but it definitely takes a back seat to the art. But that's okay.

It's nice that Gleason gets to write and draw his own comic, and the idea of Damian atoning is perfectly fine. I'll probably get a trade of this when it shows up, if only to check out more of Gleason's art!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

You might notice that this post is ridiculously late and that it doesn't have any images. I'm not going to get into the troubles I've been having with my Internet over the past week, but suffice it to say that I'm full of rage right now. I don't have Internet at home at this moment, so I'm finishing this post at the local library, where I can use their wi-fi. I'm also not going to have time to review the other books I bought last week, so I'll write a bit about them here, if you don't mind.

Archie vs. Predator #3 continues the entertaining series, although the survivors for the final issue are a bit predictable. Kurt Busiek does a good job showing how "Sticks" can finally join a band in Astro City #24, which isn't surprising as he usually does a good job with the comic. The finale of Ei8ht made me grumpy, because while Albuquerque wraps up the main plot, he also leaves far too many threads hanging, and who knows when he'll get back to the series? After a dull second issue, The Infinite Loop #3 is a cool issue, explaining some things about what's going on and giving Elsa Charretier a nice explicit sex scene to draw. Things keep getting worse in Letter 44 #17, which isn't surprising. It's still a gripping comic, though. Lumberjanes #15 is a typical issue, which means it's awesome. In Manifest Destiny #15, Lewis and Clark find out that their captive bird can talk (which isn't too surprising, actually, as they were bound to meet something intelligent), and it just gets weirder from there. Shit really hits the fan in Mind MGMT #34, but considering that there are only two issues left, that's not shocking. Ms. Marvel #16 was pretty cool, but that might be just me, as I love comics that show what the regular folk are doing when the world is going to shit because of yet another villain's plot or something like that. Secret Identities continues to kick ass, as we get a backstory of Luminary but Faerber and Joines also move along the treachery plot nicely. David Lapham closes the noose in Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #5, and he does that kind of thing so well that you're on the edge of your seat wondering how anyone will make it out alive. Greg Rucka comes up with the most Portland plot ever (even more than the soccer one that preceded it!), as Dex gets involved with the high-end coffee trade in the new Stumptown arc. Ales Kot decides to skip talking directly to the reader in The Surface #3 and talks directly to ... well, himself. Warren Ellis spends a lot of time doing nuthin' in the latest issue of Trees. And there's more drinking in Valhalla Mad #2, but what's this? A plot! That might get in the way of the gluttonalia! Sheesh, Mr. Casey, what are you doing?

I apologize for the tardiness and brevity of this post - I hope to have Internet access back tomorrow morning, and then there will be no stopping me! If it weren't for the new DC books, I probably would have just skipped this week, but I wanted to get to those, because I'm all about customer service around here, people! I'll be back ... sooner than you think!!!!! Have a nice day!

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