Desiato’s Top Ten Single Issues of 2008

I did this last year (obviously before the blog existed), and even though I’ve got a pretty durned big DCBS box coming next week (25 books. Yay!), I don’t necessarily expect them to crack this top ten, so I’m just going to jump the gun and publish my list now. Ha ha! It begins…

Going to skip putting the cover images on here because I am lazy and it takes up too much space.

10. Fables #75
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Mark Buckingham
DC’s Vertigo Imprint

Ah, Fables. If there’s one thing you do well (and believe me, it’s a lot more than one thing), it’s big milestone anniversary issues. You could argue that this book had a lot to live up to considering the quality of issue 50 and its positioning as the climax of the War and Pieces arc. I love the way Willingham and Buckingham depict war (the March of the Wooden Soldiers trade pretty much assured that I’d be reading this book until it ends), and this issue caps off the arc while giving us a window into what else we get to look forward to.

9. Kick-Ass #3
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Marvel’s Icon Imprint

Is it late as hell? Yup. Is Millar more interested in the movie than the comic? Probably. Doesn’t change my opinion of this issue. This book revels in being over the top, and does not pull any punches in the violence and blood department. There’s more to it than that crazy final battle sequence, but we shouldn’t exactly be looking for a lot of depth in a book like this. Review is here.

8. Thunderbolts #121
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Marvel Comics

Ah, watching the Green Goblin go nuts. Who hasn’t seen that before? Well, me, honestly. Never really read much Spider-Man, mostly due to lack of time. This issue is the last of Ellis’ run, and it delivers on what we’ve been wanting to see since he started writing the book post Civil War. And that’s not all of course. You’ve got Bullseye with one of the best lines of the year, and the rest of the inmates attempting to run the asylum while Norman flies all over the place and just throws pumpkin bombs indiscriminately. Fantastic stuff.

7. Terry Moore’s Echo #3
Writer: Terry Moore
Artist: Terry Moore
Abstract Studio

Most of the awesome in this issue came from the last page reveal, which is that kind of true holy crap moment that gives you a little glimpse of what could be coming over the months as this series continued. We have a new character introduced out of the blue, all kinds of craziness and over the top dialogue. It forces you to pause and try to cope with what you just read, and the only words you can think of are “Damn. Didn’t see that coming.” Contrast that with a crushing interaction between the main character and her sister, and you have a wonderful issue of a wonderful book. Review is here.

6. Nova #15
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciller: Wellington Alves

Yes, I love Galactus. Yes, this was one of the better Galactus stories I’ve read in recent history. Any of the three issues of the story arc could have been on this list, but I think the way that the Harrow B plot was resolved was a great moment. Wellington Alves did a great job with the big G, and the way he was used as this disinterested party hovering in the background of panels was excellent. Review is here.

5. Superman/Batman #51
Writers: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
DC Comics

You can only read so many depressing ass comics (and considering my top four could all easily fit in that category except Iron Fist) before you need a break. And what works better as a break than the madcap fun of the two issue “Little Leaguers” arc from Superman/Batman? Not much at all, really. Super fun silliness that just makes you feel good inside. Sure, either issue could have been put here, but I went for the first because I flipped a coin. These things need to happen sometimes. Review can be found here.

4. The Twelve #6
Writer: J Michael Straczynski
Artist: Chris Weston
Marvel Comics

This is probably the best issue of this series so far (and this is pound for pound the best mini series that has come out this year, despite delays), mostly because JMS really poured on the despair in a way we hadn’t seen yet or since. That’s really what this series is about: despair. It’s another very quiet book similar in style and scope to Thor (and really, this is where JMS seems to be most at home). This issue features the actual fate of Rockman, and dear lord is it heart-wrenching. Check out my previous review for some more insight.

3. Thor #11
Writer: J Michael Straczynski
Penciller: Olivier Coipel
Marvel Comics

More JMS love here. This is a recent one (and oddly enough, takes the same place on the list as Thor #3 last year), and I might be high on this one because it’s fresh in my mind, but the quality is there nonetheless. I LOVE what JMS is doing with this book. It is nothing like what someone would necessarily expect from a character like Thor, but it perfectly fits into his world. Gods with flaws as an interesting literary device dates back to the tragic plays of Ancient Greece to me, and that’s the same kind of feel that I get from this Thor run. It’s such a quiet, slow burn. This issue is similar to that third chapter that I loved so much, in this case we’ve got Thor getting some closure concerning the death of Steve Rogers. He wasn’t around when it happened, so in this book he manages to contact Steve’s spirit and just talk to him for a bit. Coipel’s art in these pages is gorgeous, and he really makes such a simple story device sing. You’ve also got the continuation of Loki’s manipulation of Balder, as well as a callback to the fate of Lady Sif. Fantastic storytelling in every way.

2. The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California (One-Shot)
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Guiseppe Camuncoli
Marvel Comics

This to me was just a beautiful throwback to the 1920’s noir style starring a character I’ve enjoyed quite immensely since his creation by Fraction and Brubaker. Swierczynski had written some Iron Fist work prior to this, but I think this issue is what really made me believe that he would be a worthy replacement for the original creative team. I think this ended up being better than Fraction’s Green Mist of Death one shot simply due to the layered references to Pygmalion and Metropolis, as well as the general feel of the book being more akin to what I look for in an Orson Randall tale. Here’s the review.

1. Casanova #14
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fabio Moon
Image Comics

If anyone read my ridiculously over the top review gushing like crazy about this book back when it came out, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is my top choice of the year. I’ve gone back and read it probably 15 to 20 times, and it never ceases being absolutely and totally incredible in every possible way. It’s the perfect ending to a story arc. It’s the perfect twist that completely changes (without being cheap) everything that came before it. I think I wrote enough in my review to justify my feelings, so I’ll just point you there. This book is covered in the combined souls of Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Transcendent.

Review: Superman/Batman #52

Disclaimer: The story doesn’t matter. I’ll say it’s fun and cute and we’ll move on.

This is the world of the Lil’ Leaguers:

Heh, I don’t actually want to review this comic. I just want to post my favorite moments, like this one: Joker discovers giant-sized violence in this giant-sized world.

And this one: I call it PUNCH IN THE JUNK!

(Sure, he doesn’t nail him exactly in “the junk”, but it’s close enough, and clearly, the intent is evident.)

Or this one: Batman’s on monitor duty… whether he likes it or not.

All that stuff was great, but the Batman/Lil’ Catwoman scenes were my favorites:

But truth be told, this issue wasn’t all fun and games. There was some serious stuff too. “Super” serious, to be exact. After Lil’ Superman sacrifices himself to save both Leagues, we’re treated to this sad lil’ series of panels:

You see, in our world, when heroes die they don’t wake up. Um, wait, what? Well, that’s not entirely true, but I can forgive the writers the obvious lie since needlessly addressing the “continuity” or “pray for resurrection” debate kind of misses the point. And then this next panel, GOSH, I almost cried:

OH MY GOSH! LOOK AT THE LITTLE “SUPER-COFFIN”!!!

After the Lil’ Leaguers leave, Bats and Supes have a little heart to heart and the main storyline of the arc comes to an end… but wait, there’s more! Lil’ Joker! You cad! Hey, what’s up with the “FOR NOW…” at the bottom of the page? Just how many freaking Jokers we got running around the DCU?

DC editorial, clean up your toys! Is Joker turning into the new Wolverine? Maybe they’re all Skrulls…

Green and Johnson have been kicking the crap out of this series since the “Kryptonite” arc and I could not be happier, and the sudden appearance of talented writers makes me glad I sloshed my way through all the terrible stories between their run and Jeph Loeb’s. The K trade should be out soon, so if you liked anything you saw here, be sure to check that out. Next issue is the start of a new arc, “Super/Bat”, with art by Rags Morales. The synopsis implies that Batman and Superman switch powers? Very interesting. I love me some what-if stories told in the classic World’s Finest tradition.

Quick Note: Actions Comics, Superman (it’s not terrible), Supergirl, Detective, Batman, Superman/Batman… all solid reads, yes? Can anyone remember the last time this many Superman and/or Batman books have been this good? I think it was never ago.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #49

Air #1 (-)

I can’t really review this book… I have no idea what happened!!! Somebody, anybody… please to explain!!!

The Amazing Spider-Man #568-569 (*****)

“New Ways To Be Awesome” is more like it! Dan Slott, what took you so long to land this gig? Your Spidey rocks! These first two parts did not disappoint, the Mark Waid Venom story in the back did, but that doesn’t detract in the least from the overall story. You could just not read it, or if you’re like me, immediately foget you did. DCBS was thoughtful enough to send me the variant covers for these issues, and usually I could care less, but I like this story so much if they don’t follow through on the variants for parts 3-6 I’m gonna be mighty sore!

Jack of Fables #25 (*****)

,

Yes, indeed, my good friend Prof Dresser… the funny is back! Although, I don’t think I buy Robin Page falling for Jack. It’s funny, but seems way out of left field, even with the labored 5-page explanation. However, I do like Priscilla Page finally growing her metaphorical balls. That was cool. The Book Burner? Kind of “meh” on that guy. But still, Jack’s final word balloon of the issue totally made up for it. Heh.

Superman/Batman #51 (****)

I just really loved the art. I loved the 5th dimensional impiness of the Lil’ Leaguers. This is another one of those books that works so well (now that Green and Johnson have taken over) BECAUSE it’s out of continuity… for the most part. It may not have the prestige of Action Comics, but it makes up for it with “Super Funtime Stories”. Isn’t that what comics should be?Yes, I think so.

Quick Hits:
• Action Comics #868 (*****): Another solid issue in the Gary Frank run. Brainic is frightening and cool. Finally.
• Daredevil #110 (*****): It’s hard to believe how mediocre this book used to be. Will the quality change survive Rucka’s departure? Never can tell.
• DC Universe: Last Will and Testament #1 (*): A complete and utter waste of time. I wouldn’t have minded it if the story was even remotely cool or interesting. It wasn’t, so I did mind its terribleness. I minded it very much.
• Doktor Sleepless #8 (****): The quality of this story has steadily been on the rise. My favorite scene in this issue was when DS basically told his ex-gf that he was, in point of fact, not sane. I kept waiting for some hint that the good Doktor was still just playing the part of “Cartoon Mad Scientist”, but no such hints were forthcoming. Great choice, Ellis. I’m finally on board for the duration.
• Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge #2 (*****): WOW. Best. Comic villains take note, this is how you villain it up, dudes. I love this mini, but I’m glad it’s only three issues. Thanks, Johns.
• Gravel #4 (****1/2): Gravel continues to be the best title Ellis is writing and at the same time not writing.
• Justice League of America #24 (*): As of a month from now, this title is dropped. DO. NOT. CARE.
• Justice Society of America #18 (****):
This, on the other hand, could not be better. KUDOS.
• Robin #177 (***): I like the writing, but color me confused? RIP is still running, isn’t it? Red Robin isn’t Tim or Jason? Methinks lame.
• Superman #679 (***): The less “super” of the two Superman books. James Robinson, why do you suck? Is it a style choice? I just can’t get into this book, it feels like it’s trying to hard. The Lois/Clark conversation/pseudo spat and the “…avenger me!” line were ludicrous. Although, I did really like the final page, and I’m not even a dog-lover!
• Ultimate Spider-Man #125 (***): Bendis continues with this tale I could give two tugs of a… right, I didn’t play the game, but still, that doesn’t mean the comic has to be boring. Am I right?!?
• X-Force #6 (****): Everything we expected to happen happened… and then something unexpected happened to boot. Um, Rhane EATING her dad? There’s no way anyone expected that. If you disagree with me, you are made of lies.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #32 – THE GROANERS!

“Ah, I’m so lazy this week.” – Billy Zonos

Instead of doing the usual coverage of my twice-monthly DCBS shipment, I thought I’d split my remaining reviews into separate Roundups divided by overall quality: The Groaners, The Mediocres and The Gooders. This, obviously, is The Groaners. For those that have read the following books, yes, I feel your pain. For those that have not, yes, you dodged a bullet and your wallet thanks you.

Anna Mercury #2 (**): OH MY GOD. This one is awful. Forget every nice thing I said about the first issue. This series reads likes it’s based on an idea that’s 10 years old. You got me, Ellis. Oh, you bastard.

Dreamwar #3 (**1/2): Things are not looking up. Finally, we get some kind of explanation… well, no. We get Superman crying after Batman is killed, “Hal… Ollie’s dead. Why didn’t it matter to us? What are we doing?” Yeah, I’d love the answer to that one too. Please? Thanks. Oh, wait… Zealot killed Batman:

Justice League of America #22 (*): One. I hate the Amazo story from the opening arc. Two. I still hate it. Three. Why does every woman that Benes draws look like a total whore? Four. Black Canary serves it up fresh. Wait, that was awesome! Five. Red Tornado… don’t care!!!

The Programme #12 (-): To be honest, I skimmed it and then read the end. Of what I read, I have no idea what this book was supposed to be about and I don’t really care to ever know.

Runaways #30 (*1/2): It could have been worse. If you skip the first 15 or 16 pages, the wrap-up is kind of nice. My favorite/best part of this travesty? Finding out just how fucked up Nico has become.

Amazing Spider-Man #563 (**1/2): Note to Bob Gale – Stop telling cheesy jokes. This has been a message from your readership.

Superman #677 (*): Um, is this supposed to be in continuity? Superman talks like a fucking idiot! Misogyny? Check. Naiveté? Check. I mean, shit. The guy talks about his dog like a 7-year old would. How lame is this? I thought Robinson was this huge talent? And who the heck is this lame-ass Atlas character? GAH! I didn’t think it could get worse than the Busiek Superman run, but this one has shown me the error of my ways.

Superman/Batman #49 (**1/2): I’m surprised how bad this was as compared to the other 5 parts of this story. The end just didn’t work for me. I don’t buy Lana Lang trying to poison the earth with Kryptonite in order to force Supes to leave, never mind the fact that she has been behind this plot the whole time. This is just ludicrous to me. This story is definitely out of continuity. I don’t see Johns or Robinson paying much attention to this particular change in the Clark/Lana dynamic. Oh, but I did like that final page (with Batman inside that vault filled with all types of Kryptonite): Yep, Bats is a douchebag.

Trinity #3-4 (**): This book is boring. And ugly. Bagley doing DC characters just doesn’t look right. As much as I hate doing it, I’m dropping this book. Maybe if the plot picks up later, I’ll jump back in. For now, I’m just gonna ignore it. Sit it out like my pal, Superman.

The Ultimates #4 (*): I don’t know what bugs me more? The awful plot or the “ripped straight from cheesy movie” dialogue? “Come with me if you want to live.” Really? REALLY?!?!

Uncanny X-Men #499 (**1/2): I loved the first 4 parts… this was a jumbled mess. The A and B plot did not sync up well, every cutaway was painful, and the revelation that the mysterious hippie woman was Mastermind’s daughter was actually a non-event. Meanwhile, back in Russia… their faces: priceless.

Wolverine #66 (*): MOST OVER-RATED BOOK OF THE YEAR. Everyone is literally jacking off into each other’s mouths over this one… I just don’t see it. This book is atrocious. So atrocious, someone needs to give it a red power ring. DING. I mean, BIG DEAL, Millar is adapting “Unforgiven” and using Wolverine to play the role of William Muny. I don’t care! Why!?!? Why is this a good idea? (And I like westerns…)

X-Men: Legacy #213 (**): Are we ready for some super-retcons? So, let me break this one down: Mr. Sinister has a machine that in the event of his death will transfer his essence into the body of Professor X? 

And on that note… I’ll post The Mediocres tomorrow, maybe. Hey, it’s the Fourth of July, I may be busy. Like, drinking and stuff.

Bruce Castle Archives: Superman/Batman: Supergirl HC

You know how when a movie star dies they have a big chunk of their movies playing on TCM in a few days? Well, since there isn’t a TCM for comics, I decided to do something similar myself and reread a book with the late great Michael Turner’s art. You can’t find much of Michael Turner’s art sadly because of his illness. Even rarer to find is a book with Michael Turner interior art. Well, I own one of the few and that happens to be the second Superman/Batman trade.

This story is basically the reintroduction of Kara Zor-El into the DC universe. You know, the Supergirl that is Superman’s cousin. The old one died in Infinite Crisis way back when. So, I guess Jeph Loeb decided to bring her back. That is pretty much the plot of this book. First off, I love Michael Turner’s art and it looks wonderful here. A big reason why I like this book is because of Turner’s art. However, even if you don’t like Turner’s art, you can still have a fun time.

This is a Jeph Loeb story and if you know anything about the man’s writing, you know pretty much what to expect. It’s not the most complicated story, nor is it the most intelligent, but it is still fun and even a bit heartwarming. I’m not sure if it’s as emotional as Jeph Loeb intended, but it’s still a pretty nice kind of coming of age superhero story. There are a couple lame moments it’s true, but I feel that there are more than enough awesome moments to tip the balance in favor of good comics. If you’re looking for high brow stuff, this comic isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a fun stunningly beautiful book that features a great cast of characters, you’ll definitely want to check this out.

3 stars

Foilball’s Review Roundup #25

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 (*****)

I loved this book. Shit, everyone did. I’m so late with the review on this one that I’m not even going to bother with it. I just wanted to put it up at the top so that everyone would know how much I love this book. 2nd greatest X-Men run of all-time… and that’s only because Whedon built so much of his structure on the foundation that Grant Morrison laid. Yes, eat a dick Morrison haters… this run could not exist without Morrison’s run! HAH!

Avengers The Initiative #13 (****)

Better than Dan Slott’s run? Maybe! Gage just shines here. This bunch of lovable losers is even more lovable than the last. And more losery. Butterball is my favorite new character of the last year. He’s like the ultimate fanboy. I love Yellowjacket’s expression when Butterball asks him about Captain America. And then Prodigy’s coughing comment is laugh out loud funny. I even liked the 5-6 pages with Taskmaster explaining why Butterball was a washout from start to finish. This is great character writing, the kind of writing most writers don’t bother with anymore. Even guys like Bendis, who used to be so good at this type of stuff. Even though they send Butterball home in the end, I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.

Robin #174 (****)

AndStephanie’s back. BOOYA! I think I’m happy about this, but I don’t feel happy. Batman, obviously knew all along (oh, then why the HELL didn’t he go look for her?) so his response was pretty blasé. But Tim, his awkwardness was pitch perfect. They’re doing a Robin/Spoiler special to explain all this shit and show how Tim’s dead ex coming back from the dead will affect him. I just hope Tim acts realistically in it. If I was Tim, I’d totally go off on this chick. How the hell could she live with herself? Fooling her mom and Tim, making them think she was dead all these years. UGH. The way this was handled kind of makes me hate Stephanie, but only a little.

Superman/Batman #48 (***1/2)

I’ve really been enjoying this run. Call me lame, but I also really like the character design for “All America Boy”. It’s Doomsday but with Kryptonite for bones and blood. Awesome. Why didn’t Dan Jurgens think of that? Chirst, but what an unfortunate name he’s got, right? But, aside from that bit of jank, the “K” arc has been good. Two issues to go till #50… are they canceling this book? Hope not, it’s just starting to get good again.

Quick Hits:
Batman and the Outsiders #7 (***): This issue left me empty. Nothing much happened in regards to the plot… it felt like a flimsy continuation of the last issue. More filler than forward momentum.
Green Lantern #31 (*****): WOW. That’s it. That’s the only way I can describe how much I love this book. So, this arc is around six issues in length? For me, that’s not long enough. I want more old school Lantern good times.
King-Size Hulk #1 (***1/2): Surprisingly good, I think. The Art Adams and Frank Cho art was killer and I didn’t even mind the Loeb stuff that much. Maybe that’s because there was actual WRITING in this book, unlike the main Hulk series. The retelling of the Abomination origin was also cool… hmm, wonder why they felt the need to include that one? Maybe it’s because Hulk Red is actually–
Justice League of America #21 (***): SIGHTINGS! Well, this is the book that explains how Manhunter met his end in Final Crisis #1. I don’t get it, this came out before FC#1, yet everyone was bitching about how there was no lead up to his death outside of FC. I guess there really isn’t anyone reading this book but me. HAH. Anyway, McDuffie seems to be repeating himself. The “secret chamber” thing reminded me of an episode of JLU. Did the Big Three seem out of character to anyone else?
Wolverine Origins #25 (**): Let Down. I was totally on board for this arc when it was just about Deadpool and Wolverine duking it out. Now, Way tries to make it about Daken? FUCK YOU. Wolverine’s explanations about his master plan left the story limp. Have I mentioned how much I HATE Daken? Seriously, does anyone like him? Stupid mohawk… and Bucky as Winter Soldier!?! How far behind is this book?
• X-Men: Legacy #212 (***): Professor X as detective with Gambit riding shotgun? Okay, I’ll bite for now. I’m kind of sick of Gambit, but maybe Carey is finally the one to make him cool again. I love plot twist toward the “Sinister” …too bad he died at the end of Messiah Complex, or, did he?
• Young Avengers Presents: Stature #5 (*): Very weak when compared with the rest of the series.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #17

Rating System: The Best of Jim Starlin

5 Stars: WARNING: The Infinity Gauntlet
4 Stars: Adam Warlock and the Infinity Watch
3 Stars: Cosmic Odyssey
2 Stars: Dreadstar
1 Star: Marvel Universe: The End

Avengers: The Initiative #12 (***)

Once again, Iron Man compromises his position on the SHRA and allows a group of fugitive super heroes to “escape”. I just don’t understand editorial’s inconsistent stance on this. In a shared universe, you can’t just abandon bits of story and character development every time a creator writes himself into a corner. For those of you who would say that Iron Man’s resent behavior IS a sign of character development, I say, “I don’t think so.” I don’t feel the writing here, or in the other books where he isn’t the title character, would support that argument. I think it’s just editors letting writers do their own thing. Would Tony really act like this? He fought a war over his beliefs and he got his best friend killed. If that honestly changed how he felt about registration, he’d have gone rogue already and we’d probably see him fighting to repeal the Act. He hasn’t and he’s not. I expect this type of shit from DC, not Marvel… the masters of continuity.

Ms. Marvel #26 (*)

I’m really starting to dislike this book. Too much exposition and too much useless dialogue. It’s Reed aping Bendis, and he’s aping him badly. I want to drop this book, but I really like Carol Danvers. But I’m also pretty sure I only like her when Bendis is writing her. Dilemma!!! Oh yeah, and this issue doesn’t feel like it fits in with Secret Invasion at all. I know that’s kind of a ridiculous thing to say, because there’s a bunch of Skrulls in here… but these Skrulls aren’t acting very Skrully, that is to say, their Skrulliness isn’t consistent with how Bendis has set them up in Avengers and SI. Like, this Skrull chick is way too forthcoming with the infos. I want to like Reed and his Ms. Marvel, but this book is less fun than it used to be and now I’m starting to wonder if it was ever any good. And another thing, pretty convenient for Reed to introduce this Agent Sum guy’s background information a couple of pages before it’s relevant to the story. UGH. So bad.

Rann-Thanagar: Holy War #1 (**)

I didn’t preorder this, but I picked it up on Wednesday because back in the day, Starlin and Lim were a creative team to be reckoned with. I went in with semi-high expectations, I tried very hard to keep the nostalgia factor in check, and the book failed to exceed them. Actually, it didn’t even come close. I was bored; bored to tears. That’s about the worst thing you can say about any piece of art. Sorry, guys. This sucked. Oh, but I did laugh at these two pages. Robin sits there completely invisible till the very last panel where he gives Starfire permission to go on the mission. Hold on, Robin is still a kid, right? Starfire’s the adult? HAHAHAH… stupid. I won’t be reading #2.

Superman/Batman #47 (***1/2)

Hey FYI, Busiek wrote this idea already over on Superman. I don’t remember the specific issue number, but it was about six months back I think. The idea: a team designed and trained by the US government to take out Superman if he ever goes rogue… been there, Green. But it’s okay, since surprisingly, Green does a better job with this idea than Busiek. You don’t have to be original all the time, most of the time we’ll settle for interesting. And this, this Doomsday kryptonite creature, this thing is interesting… to me at least.

Ultimate X-Men #93 (***1/2)

So… a reboot? Yeah, I can live with that. Does this mean Fantastic Four is the Ultimate book on the chopping block? I hope so. Does anyone like Ult. FF? About the issue: the fight between Apocalypse and Phoenix was just long enough to satisfy my need for cosmic violence without boring me. Also, thank you Robert Kirkman for reversing the “Dark Phoenix” expectations we were all… expecting. We don’t see Light Phoenix very often and it was a welcome surprise. There was some lame here, mostly due to the super-muscular art. UGH-UGH.

Quick Hits:
The Mighty Avengers #12 (****): Nick Fury, you fool! I wouldn’t kick that Skrull out of bed, she was the super hots! Maria Hill is one of the best, most complex characters Bendis has ever written… too bad she’s almost surely a Skrull. The meeting between Spider-Woman and Fury on the bridge was perfect. I think I’m looking forward to this story more than Secret Invasion proper.
The New Avengers #40 (****): I think I’m 4-starring this mainly for the Jimmy Cheung art. The story was neat too… and I loved how pissy the Skrull King gets. What’s also neat? Plenty of Skrull art to steal for some future Vs. set.
The Immortal Iron Fist #14 (****): So much fighting in this issue! Just when you think the fights over, Fraction and Brubaker toss out a dozen more fist-pounding panels! Have I mentioned how much I love how they print the names of the special moves in big white font? HEH.
Justice League of America #20 (**): I wasn’t even aware Flash wasn’t in the JLA right now. I mean, I’ve been reading the book for over 10years, but it’s been so forgettable lately I just had no clue. Apparently the editors felt we needed reminding. Thanks editors!!!
The Order #10 (**): A decent ending to a mediocre series. I’m glad the Order hasn’t disbanded, but I don’t care about them much past that.
Teen Titans #58 (-): Dropping this book. Now that we won’t be making any DC sets for a while, it’s finally safe to drop all the DC titles I can’t stand.