Planetary #24 (DC/Wildstorm): You can sort of feel the series culminating with some much needed exposition from Elijah Snow as this builds toward a final confrontation. Not much to say, the usual amazing art from John Cassaday and great scripting from Ellis. There are some long awaited reveals about Jakita's origin which play nicely. The intricate plot will obviously read better in trade collections, but I need my fix since it ships so erratically. I'm basically waiting for the series to conclude so that I can buy the final oversized Absolute Edition and read it all over again in one sitting. Grade A.
Green Lantern #7 (DC): I had a very mixed reaction to this. On one hand, it's executed very, very competently. Great, consistent art from Pacheco and some nice ideas sprinkled all about in the story by Johns. Even the Infinite Crisis continuity references aren't too in your face, which is much appreciated. I grew up on GL in the 70's and 80's and have a fondness for these characters. But, it feels like recent issues have just been strong individually, yet totally random in sequence with no logical connection or throughline. They're dancing all over the place introducing villains and plot points that aren't continued or resolved. Mostly, I just can't get into this book for some reason, despite it's obvious good qualitites. Solid, but not exciting me. Grade B.
Ex Machina #17 (DC/Wildstorm): This issue takes an introspective stance as the Mayor of New York City struggles with his job and focuses on the difficulty of supporting someone’s right to protest when you don’t support their position. The self-aware presence of his pseudo-girlfriend is much needed as she attempts to provide Mayor Hundred a safe haven. Many of the supporting characters in this series vie for position as informal sidekick and she is no exception. Like many troubled souls, the one person he truly needs is the one he pushes away. This issue is filled with altering perceptions from a priest, a soldier, and the Mayor’s own cabinet members. While differing, all points of view are valid and their only unifying theme is supporting the theory that resolution through conflict should be the last option. Artist Tony Harris renders a spectacular cliffhanger ending as Mayor Mitchell Hundred begins to address the timely topic of balancing individual rights against the collective safety of the citizens he has sworn to protect. Grade A.
Infinite Crisis #4 (DC): *Finally* some shit is starting to happen and it's pretty cool. I was almost giving up hope. The return of the multiverse, or a few distinct worlds it would appear, becomes a little more clear. There is some appreciated exposition about all of the pre-crisis jibba jabba that went on in the various series and mini-series that explains some out of character actions and seemingly random struggles in the DCU. Great art depicting scenes that still feel shoehorned together, but at least flow a little smoother than previous issues have. Favorite moment had to be the return of a more "normal" Batman who isn't a perpetual asshole. Enjoyed his human and more believable interactions with Dick Grayson/Nightwing and the fact that Grayson's inherent goodness seems to be a fulcrum point on the decision to abolish the post-Crisis Earth. Bludhaven seems to be playing into the conflict pretty significantly. And holy cow, was Superboy killing people left and right! Awesome sequences as the Titans, Doom Patrol, and assorted members of JSA try to take him down, only to succeed with the intervention of all of the Speedsters. Grade B+.
All-Star Superman #2 (DC): Really dug the new side of Lois, who is a little insecure regarding her place in Supes/Clark's life now that she knows they're one in the same. This realization, after years of assuming it, cracks her a bit and forces her into assuming some dark things and to react pretty crazy. Which yet again, is a fresh take on an old property that Morrison should be really proud of. Tough to be original with an icon that's gotten as much play as The Last Son of Krypton. Morrison could probably do whatever the hell he wanted though, including eliminating the dialogue altogether, and I'd still buy this just to drink in Quitely's delicious art. It is absolutely worth the price of admission alone. It seems that his style is evolving a bit, he offers up a softer, more realistic and finished look without losing it's distinct style, edge, and detail. Grade A.