- Countdown #51 of 51 (counting backwards), by Paul Dini, Jesus Saiz & Jimmy Palmiotti (DC)
- Jack of Fables #10, by Bill Willingham Matthew Sturges, Tony Akins & Andrew Pepoy (DC/Vertigo)
- Nova #2, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Sean Chen & Scott Hanna (Marvel)
- The Secret History Book Two: Castle of the Djinn, by Jean-Pierre Pécau & Igor Kordey (Archaia Studios Press)
Countdown kicks off in the wake of 52, and it involves a cadre of Monitors (from wa-a-ay back in the days of Crisis on Infinite Earths in the mid-80s), one of whom has gone rogue and is out to kill people who have jumped between parallel universes. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – yet. But it’s early going.
Ah, now I remember why I like Abnett and Lanning at their best: They don’t always take the obvious route. Rather than a big fight between Nova and Iron Man (as suggested by the cover of this month’s Nova), instead Nova is brought up-to-date on what’s happened during Marvel’s Civil War, has an uncomfortable reunion with his parents, and learns what happened to his former partners in the New Warriors. And since apparently the other heroes in the Marvel Universe have gone insane and actually support this “Initiative” that Iron Man has cooked up to keep the heroes in line, Nova seems quite reasonable in feeling very uncomfortable with it.
Nova already feels very believable as a young man with the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders, and yet still stuck between being a teenager and an adult, in the sense that he has the sense of responsibility, but not yet the experience to manage it. And given his power level, if he snaps, it ought to make for some exciting comics. Now that I think about it, Nova could turn out to be the series that Ms. Marvel should have been.
Book two of The Secret History isn’t as good as book one: Kordey’s art is still excellent, but I found the story confusing. I’m not familiar with many of the historical references, and I felt like I needed to be to follow the story (which I didn’t in the first book). The narrative didn’t flow as smoothly, and I sometimes had trouble figuring out what was going on in a page. Overall it felt like a lot of running around without much of an outcome, so if there isn’t something sneaky here which is going to inform the series’ eventual outcome, then I’d say this volume felt superfluous.