- 52 #40 of 52 (DC)
The long-running Luthor/Steel/Infinity Inc. storyline apparently comes to a conclusion here. Oddly, it seems entirely disconnected from the rest of the series’ storylines, so either there’s something else going on, or not everything is connected. The latter would be kind of lame, I think.
- Justice Society vol. 2 TPB (DC)
The completion of the reprint of All-Star Comics from the 1970s. This was and still is one of my all-time favorite superhero series (starring the Justice Society of America). Although in some ways too blunt and not very sophisticated, this was the seminal series exploring relationships between multiple generations of heroes, and was one of the first series to consider that heroes will eventually retire. A lot of series in the decades since owe a lot to the ground this series covered. If it has a downside, it’s that Joe Staton’s pencils in this volume (following the Wally Wood-dominated first half) seems a little too cartoony and simplistic. It’s still a fun read, though.
- Astro City: The Dark Age Book Two #2 of 4 (DC/Wildstorm)
The halfway point in this lengthy series (which will consist of three 4-issue series), it’s running a little late. I’m starting to wonder where Kurt Busiek is going with this particular story; although it focuses on the pair of brothers – one a crook, one a cop – and their lives in the 1970s, there’s a lot more that I hope gets resolved here. I think it will end up being either very ambitious, or rather scattered. But based on the series’ track record in the past, I’ll hope for the former.
- Fantastic Four: The End #5 of 6 (Marvel)
- The Incredible Hulk #92-95 (Marvel)
I’ve heard good things about the “Planet Hulk” storyline which begins with these issues, so I decided to pick them up. (They’re about a year old now, so I have some catching up to do.) The Hulk is exiled by other heroes to a peaceful but uninhabited world, but something goes wrong and he lands on a barbaric world with a variety of creatures, and is captured and turned into a gladiator. But clearly as he regains the strength he lost from his journey, he’s going to become a player.
It’s not a terribly subtle story, but writer Greg Pak keeps his eyes on the prize: The Hulk is entirely self-absorbed, doesn’t trust anyone, but isn’t (any longer) a fool, either. Which makes him a very dangerous contestant who’s not willing to play by anyones rules. (This also explains why the Hulk isn’t taking part in the Civil War “event”.)
So this seems like a promising beginning to what they say will be a 14-issue story. I suspect it will have the usual disappointment in that eventually the Hulk will have to return to Earth and leave behind anything he’s gained on this other world. But that’s the downside to ongoing series.
- Ms. Marvel #12 (Marvel)
The first year of this series has been extremely haphazard, in large part because the Civil War disrupted it a great deal. Writer Brian Reed says in the letter column here that the second year will take the series in a different direction, as our heroine comes to grips with the less-than-ideal conclusions of some of her battles. I’d be happy if it just becomes a more cohesive series with more direction.
- newuniversal #3 (Marvel)
- Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink: Id. Ego. Superego! vol. 1 TPB (Dork Storm)
This is a collection of the very funny superhero satire by John Kovalic (Dork Tower) and Christopher Jones. Kovalic leaves no turn unstoned among the mainstream heroes, with both obvious and subtle humor worked in. Jones’ artwork straddles the line between dynamic and cartoony, and although it’s not stellar, it has some fine moments. (It’s reminiscent of Michael Avon Oeming’s work on Powers, actually.) The book is dedicated by Bob Newhart and Kurt Busiek, and it certainly feels like a twisted reflection of Busiek’s Astro City.
The collection features a mix of 2-pagers (or thereabouts) and a few long-form stories; the latter are by far the more successful, as the short gags get a little repetitive after a while. But it’s still a fun little package, and it’s in color, yet! I’ll certainly be on board for the second collection.