Title gets axed. Another title makes it to the top for the first time. It's the circle of life.
12 - Avengers Arena #3 (last issue - 12 out of 18 books)
The lack of a central character or anything beyond the basic premise linking these books together is just crippling when the focus character of an issue isn’t all that likable. Three issues is longer than I thought this would last, but I need a better story than is being told even if I did like the character pieces in the first two issues.
11 - Walking Dead #106 (last issue - 8 out of 9 books)
Negan spends more time torturing Carl with “what am I going to do with you?” We see a little more of his cartoon kingdom, as well.
In the meantime, we’re also given an odd beat with townsfolk describing Rick’s newfound playalong even as we see him go to break that game (only not?). Nothing really clicked in this issue for me, the beats were like they were for different stories. The teaser at the end, though? That might get me to the next issue.
10 - Wolverine & the X-Men #23 (last issue - 17 out of 18 books)
Well, this story is over. When even the characters seem aware that “character repurposing” is well-worn territory, we’ve maybe landed in the wrong direction. The Young Frankenstein’s journey over the last two issues was actually quite interesting and fun, but all this noise in the background was just kind of unnecessary. But we get to move on now.
9 - Detective Comics #16 (last issue - 8 out of 8 books)
The Joker makes people crazy. Or attracts them. Batman is paranoid and has been anticipating this kind of nonsense. This was a fine Batman story that hit all the right notes, but the backup featuring the Emperor Penguin taking advantage of this all was far more interesting.
Overall, though, I feel like we’re waiting to get to the other side of the crossover, which is never a good feeling to have.
Origin issues can be rough. This was kind of a Clarissa Explains it all if Clarissa is the discarded favorite of the demons in this world and “it all” is how the bad guys came to be and who exactly our poor heroine (barely in this issue) might be.
There are still some strong points. The jilted sidekick angle, the previous relationship to Ghost and the big bad, and the cliffhanger (curiously before the flashback) were good, just not good enough to make this issue a stand-alone must-have.
7 - Thunderbolts #3 (last issue - 14 out of 18 books)
Still onto something - enough to get me to the next issue - but still missing something I can’t quite put my finger on. Way is using Deadpool in an interesting way here, making him the loudmouth conscience of the group in a characterization fitting right in with where he was left in Uncanny X-Force.
There’s still some solid characterization missing for Venom and Elektra barely gets any panel time (but that’s according to Ross’ chessmatch, so Rulk - and by extension Way - may be saving some big stuff for her). And I’m not finding the plotting to be the tightest in the world.
But man, that last page is hilarious.
6 - Animal Man #16 (last issue - 6 out of 8 books)
There’s a real heightening here, after being fooled into thinking that the good guys were finally making some headway. Lemire keeps finding ways to make the lowest point even lower and finally bottoms out here before next issue’s “final battle.” I mean that in the best possible way. It looks really bleak for all involved, save Maxine’s undying faith.
Broken record: the past Buddy left behind is more interesting than the future. I’m honestly ready for this book to get back to smaller stories about Buddy and his family.
5 - Superior Spider-Man #1 (last issue - n/a)
Slott writing Ockter-Man is going to be an entertaining ride. The working in of the villainous dialogue as Spider-Man facing the Sinister Six combined with Stegman's great poses and facial expressions for Peter Parker for just the most unlikely amount of fun you could imagine. That's the good news.
The bad news is the hook. The thing that's going to bring you back to the book. The way you're going to get around the obstacle of having to root for Otto Octavius. It's almost entirely what I was afraid of, something that will always remind you of Peter Parker without letting you start to slowly root for the guy moving the body to finally get it.
It can go well, and it's an intriguing hook, but I do wonder what it means for the long-term sustainability of the book.
It’s one thing to have a reluctant hero, but Yost adds a newer and even more tragic dimension to Kaine when he shows the reluctant hero trying to stop an unstoppable line of evil against every facet of his better judgement. Kaine’s every movement seems to come with the question “why?” even when he knows the answer.
In this fashion, Kaine who was Peter Parker is a far more interesting hero than Peter Parker who is Otto Octavius. Kaine is a fallen Peter trying to become the man he never truly was rather than Otto trying to fill the shoes of a man he still sees as inferior. Point Kaine.
Now if we could clean up the unnecessary “knows too much” aspect of the villains, we’d be onto something golden.
3 - Transformers: Regeneration One #87 (last issue - 4 out of 8 books)
Robot biology. Seriously. And it’s kind of a neat idea. Grimlock’s deal with the devil comes with some new allies who are less inclined towards feelings of guilt. Speaking of feelings of guilt, we’re left without a Prime again as he decides against the people of Earth’s wishes and hangs out. Which is a good thing because Galvatron and mute Starscream are still afoot, and found something huge. The leadership gap is to be filled by Hot Rod, who’s off on a Matrix quest of sorts while deserting the Autobots to be vulnerable to Grimlock’s deal with the devil.
This is good comics.
2 - Supurbia #3 (last issue - 4 out of 9 books)
Grace Randolph is telling several really interesting stories here (why am I always a sucker for crazy Lois Lane analogues when I don’t really like Superman that much?), bringing several of Hela’s conflicting interests to a head. This is our first real glimpse at her at her best and worst when they’re placed side-by-side, and it’s great.
The Batu story is starting to bleed into the larger title while keeping its own momentum, and the soap opera of the love triangle gets a confusing twist - still away from the rest of the action, though. There’s a really engaging read in here, and I don’t know if I’m really digging the characters (pretty sure I am) or just the soap opera aspect (which I’m definitely a little embarrassingly into). Maybe both?
The supporting cast is non-existent. When characters share time with Thor, it’s to give him someone to talk to for the sake of exposition. That is all. The action between the protagonist and antagonist takes on mostly the form of posturing. There’s unexplained time travel.
And yet I love this book. The god butcher’s ultimate revenge on King Thor, his trap for present-day Thor, and the edge he has on Young Thor are all pitch perfect. It’s not that it soars as a book in spite of these problems, it’s that those problems all contribute to a thoroughly entertaining bit of comics.