DMZ #23 (DC/Vertigo):
Brian Wood further demonstrates that he's got a lot of tools in the toolbox when it comes to his DMZ offerings. Rather than jump straight into another arc featurnig Matty's exploits, we're treated to a stand alone (will the whole arc be comprised of stand alone stories? please?) story that does not feature Matty or any of our familiar cast of characters. The tale runs a nice dual narrative that shows us life just before, and just after, the war breaks out, all from the perspective of a local graffiti artist. Though the final reveal is a bit telegraphed, it's beautiful nonetheless, and provides some nice commentary on the value of contemporary art, particularly when society at large seems to be in decay around you. Grade A.
Casanova #9 (Image): It's official that I do indeed prefer Gabriel Ba's art to that of brother Fabio Moon, but you can't fault Ba for picking up the work on the upcoming Umbrella Academy over at Dark Horse. I think Ba's lines are cleaner and tighter, and I just personally prefer his style. Nonetheless, you can't beat the Casanova (and Fell) price point of $1.99 for rolicking, manic time jumping sexual marathon spy robot multi-armed regional candy fixated adventure. Grade A.
The Lone Ranger #8 (Dynamite Entertainment): For some reason, this issue didn't resonate as strongly with me as others have. I came into it feeling like I'd missed an issue as it played like "all middle." Cariello's usually strong art work felt a little hurried, a little flat, with minimal backgrounds, and minimal panel rendering. By the end, the script sorta' made up for it with a strong villain and some nods to the theme song and titular character references. Grade B.
Fear Agent: The Last Goodbye #3 (Dark Horse): Though it does read quite dense with the crowded panels, and claustrophobic with the volume of characters at times, it's been a treat to get the origin of Heath Huston. Like Casanova before it, anything featuring moon base warfare is an idea that is too seldomly used and welcome in these parts as it opens up all sorts of fun possibilities. Grade B.
New Avengers #34 (Marvel): This book is one of those books that stays pretty fun if you don't think about it too hard. And I must have been in a pensive mood this week, because it felt a little light. Feels like this arc is being drug out too long, like all we did was rehash the "who trusts who" content from the last issue. The Skrull business isn't even resolved yet and we're now introducing Spidey Venom Clones attacking Avengers Tower? I sense impending dangling plot threads. And yeah, Doctor Strange's two page spread of the inner character astral projections was fun and all, but why didn't he do that already? I am pleased to see that Yu's art is keeping up with a (mostly) monthly schedule and that a creative team can stick with a book for more than 5 issues, but I think Bendis needs to focus just a touch more to avoid that not so fresh, phoned in feeling. Grade B-.
Suicide Squad #1 (DC): I say this as a fan of the original and all of the previous incarnations of the Squad, but this was pretty boring. Even stalwart characters like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang weren't all that engaging. I really never got the Rick Flag story because him not being present at Jotunheim at the end made the intro narrative feel like a deceptive cheat, like we had an untrustworthy narrator (ala: The Usual Suspects, but without any sort of payoff whatsoever). I'm just not getting what the point of all this is. I dug Javier, err... Javi Pina's art on Manhunter, but it feels really mis-proportioned and flat here. Grade C-.
I also picked up;
Hellboy: Volume 7: The Troll Witch & Other Stories (Dark Horse): An eclectic mix of small little two issue mini-mini-series and some misc. short stories from the Dark Horse Book's Of ______ make for a nice collection.