Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #7 (of 8) — Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray; Art: Daniel Acuna
The Celestial-style antogonists here seemed a little…Morrisonesque, and sure enough, at the end of the credits there’s a note: “Based on ideas and concepts developed by Grant Morrison.” Otherwise, it’s pretty to look at, and there are a ton of powered-up characters running around bouncing off of one another, but it’s also one of those “If this is taking place in the DC Universe, where are all the big guns?” plots that makes no sense. (This isn’t helped when those big shiny Morrison-concept bad guys just kind of get…dismissed by a hitherto-unknown power demonstrated by one of the heroes.) OK as a diversion, but there’s no compelling reason to actually keep it.
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight # 214 — Writer: Christos N. Gage; Art: Phil Winslade
Winslade’s had a following ever since he did that Las Vegas thing with Steve Gerber, the one with the chorus girl and the ostrich. There’s nothing quite that outre here — it’s a Batman/Deadshot battle of wits, with a solid but unspectacular plot and an OK resolution, redeemed by its just-quirky-enough-to-be-interesting art. If this is the last issue of LDK, it’s a good ending, representative of the better one-shots of the title’s run.
Annihilation #5 (of 5) — Writer: Keith Giffin; Artist: Andrea Divito
OK, I read this so you wouldn’t have to, so SPOILERS after the jump…
…Here’s the new status quo: Thanos dead, an event that would have more impact if Marvel hadn’t just revived Captain Marvel. The Silver Surfer back as a committed herald to Galactus (conveniently resetting things in advance of the Surfer’s pending movie debut). Nova powered-up, battle-tested, and ready for his new series. The Skrull and the Kree…um, I forget, but to be honest I don’t think that anyone else remembers, either, which sort of sums up the problem with this series. It helps that, for a cosmic event, it’s been a remarkably unpretentious story, delivered professionally and on time (and a tribute to Giffen, who’s managed, with deceptive ease, to juggle both this and similar duties on DC’s 52 for the last year).
Ion #10 — Writer: Ron Marz; Penciller: Greg Tocchini; Inker: Jay Leisten
I was sorting out and restocking Green Lantern back issues a few weeks ago, and I got to the Marz run, from around Kyle Raynor’s debut to the early 100’s. They’d seemed OK when they came out, with new villains and romantic entanglements and character developments, but none of it had mattered in the end, and now the memories of all those stories run together into a fuzzy, four-colored blur. I suspect that’s going to happen with these, too, although I can see why some people would be attracted to them — using the “bleed” concept from Warren Ellis’s Stormwatch and Authority runs to allow crossovers with obscure corners of the DC multiverse (the Tangent line? For the 20 of us who bought it the first two times?) has a certain fascination.
Hawkgirl #60 — Writer: Walter Simonson; Art: Renato Arlem
What happened to this? Simonson and Chaykin should have worked, dammit! Instead, the book just kind of sat there, unremarkable and unloved, throwing off no sparks. Now, Chaykin’s gone (except for a striking, oddly-posed cover), and Hawkman’s back, and so is the same old Egyptian-karma uberplot, with some Apokalyptan hardware from Simonson thrown in. Another title that’s OK, but which offers no real incentive to buy it.
Pieces For Mom: A Tale of the Undead — Writer: Steve Niles; Art: Andrew Ritchie
If you like one-off zombie tales, with suitably gruesome art, here one is. Better than many of the other ten zombie books this month, I suppose, but that’s deliberately faint praise.
Ms. Marvel Special #1 — Writer: Brian Reed; Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli; Inker: Lorenzo Ruggiero
An inexplicable book — was it an inventory story? A showcase for the artists? Some legal need to cover-feature the “Binary” character for obscure trademark reasons? And, why a stand-alone special, instead of a fill-in for the regular book? And, why introduce another reality-altering character at this power level? It’s not a horrible story, but it’s not a compelling buy, either; it has no particular reason to exist.