Since I have a lot of thoughts on some things that need to be said this week that won't make it to the column - and since I'd like to have something special for my fans on LJ - starting today, my brief thoughts on whatever books I read each week are getting posted here.
There will be some spoilers, so be warned.
52 WEEK #44 - Nice to see why Black Adam went back to being a bad-ass in One Year Later. The Four Horsemen are seriously underwhelming. And I still don't care about "Next Question".
CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 - Am I the only one struck by the irony of a Captain America comic with such a strong anti-authority message featuring a GO ARMY advert on the back? Regardless, this story - which is making headlines in the mainstream non-comic press - is one of the best so far this year. I don't expect the events to actually stick - but even before that moment, this book had me thinking that as much as I hated Civil War, Marvel Comics isn't completely hopeless yet. That's Reason Number One.
DETECTIVE #829 - (sung to the opening line of "Money For Nothing") I want my Paul Dini. And it's still way too early to be doing "terrorist-blowing-up-financial-centers" storylines.
FANTASTIC FOUR #543 - As Ben says, "If you think Cap has given up, you don't know him at all." Between that line and the crowds of people showing up to support Cap at his trial, I think THAT is the real reason Cap allowed himself to be taken into custody. He can't beat Tony and the pro-registration forces by beating them up - but he can damn well make them look bad and put their "New World Order" to the test as we see how they go about throwing the man most consider the greatest hero in the world in a secret prison for trying to help people. All this, Dwayne McDuffie setting up a chance to write the two most prominent Black heroes at Marvel AND a classic Stan Lee story with Mike Allred art. Reason Number Two Marvel Comics is not totally doomed yet.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #6 - Lot of the same flaws as Identity Crisis - way too scattered (what the hell was with the GeoForce scenes?) and as much as I dig the use of Vixen's powers, that was still WAY too Deus Ex Machina - which doesn't seem a fitting phrase for a fight in which a god-like machine is destroyed by a woman with the speed of a falcon and the weight of a dinosaur... but it's all I've got. Still, a damn sight better than anything done with the JLA since Mark Waid was writing it.
RED SONJA #20 - This book, too, is becoming far too scattered. The title is Red Sonja. I want to read the adventures of Red Sonja. Not see the mooks she's traveling with being put on trial ala Planet of the Apes. Not seeing some mysterious pirate wench (whose name is too close to that Howard heroine Valeria but is obviously not Valeria) running about dealing with impending disaster. Not seeing random villagers turning to barbarism - well, a more bloody barbarism, at any rate. Sonja is in danger of becoming a supporting player of her own title, being in barely half the pages of this issue and a majority of those being splash pages with little to no dialogue.
SHEENA PREVIEW - I picked this one up for three reasons. First, the price (99 cents). Second, I figured my girlfriend - who loves tough girl comics - might get a kick out of it. And the third - well, call me a sucker for anything inspired by the work of Will Eisner. And make no mistake - this book is Eisner-worthy. No pin-up book this, this book leaves the feminist and conservationalist leanings of the original Jungle Queen character pretty much intact. And while the series appears to have been modernized in some respects - Sheena now protects the Amazon rainforest from a corrupt Banana Republic government and loggers rather than the Congo from poachers and cannibals - the base idea of a woman who protects nature through the help of her animal friends and her own animal cunning that was the heart of Sheena, The Jungle Queen is still there. Highly reccomended.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #106 - I rag on Bendis a bit, but then he does an issue like this that reminds me of why Ultimate Spider-Man was such a breath of fresh air when it first came out. And after the sheer depressing weightiness of some of the Marvel books of late, it's a pleasant surprise to read a book where Peter Parker's biggest worries involve Kingpin buying the rights to his name, talking his way into keeping his job and a Kitty Pryde/Mary Jane Watson love triangle. Reason Number Three Marvel Comics is not totally doomed yet.