X-Men – Divided We Stand 2: Wow, what a piece of shit these two one-shots turned out to be huh? The Beast story is the best written, and I like that it brought the disembodied brain (Martha?) back. Seeing as how it was written by Mike Carey though, it should at least be decent (although I really didn’t like the his Cannonball story in the last issue). The other stories…wow. Not so decent. Forge is crazy-brain damaged and obsessed with being a shut in and making weapons? Laaaame. Havok alone in a hole in space – boorrrrring. I do want to see the end of his arc though, so I hope it comes soon. Typical counselor session btw. Dani & Nori with ugly art. And an Illyana story. I guess she’s the “real” one now, somehow. Whatever. She worked better dead. Annoying. Don’t buy this, unless you are a big Beast fan.

Mighty Avengers 14: This issue introduces the first (of what will probably be many) glaring continuity contradiction error into the Secret Invasion thing. Well, or maybe it brings it more strongly into focus. Anyway, I thought we knew that in order for the Skrulls to be undetectable they had to completely subsume their Skrull personalities until the point of emergence…and yet here we see all the known Skrulls meeting in a warehouse. I’m really surprised Bendis did this…as he’s writing all the related issues. WTF? Other than that bit of silliness, they plot catches up to present day and we focus on the Sentry and have a very interesting ending that I’m hoping will be picked up in SI 2?

Oh, an aside – is anyone else amused by how easily these Uber-Skrulls are being beaten after the first two had to be nuked by Iron Man? Captain Britain punch one’s head clean off in CB&MI13.

I started reading Casanova recently after reading a review somewhere. Dammit if it didn’t have a HUGE spoiler though and the ending of the series is ruined for me…but I’m still enjoying the ride & will be picking up the trades soon. I suggest you check it out if you enjoy a good mind fuck and/or spy-on-spy action and/or mild Morrison-like weirdness.

Ultimate X-Men 94: Innnnnteresting. I won’t spoil the surprise here for you, as it’s actually pretty surprising and worth picking up if you like the title…not that it really makes much sense (or would have gone this long without being noticed). I’m not sure I like the eventual power-change this will probably lead to for one character, but the last page sure is interesting – Angel would actually be interesting if he was more like that! The inevitable mutant arms race this predicates looks to be somewhat silly though. Now any mutant bad guy can get super-super-charged with no apparent ill effects….so the plot point looks rather weak and half-thought out from another angle but it really depends on how they resolve it.

And don’t think I didn’t catch what they’re doing with Colossus and the needle.

Ultimate Fantastic Four 54: Not much going on here. The pencils looked all muddy and kind of threw me, making the rest of the presentation hard to enjoy. There’s not much of a clue where this is going yet so I’m not voting one way or the other on it.

Fantastic Four 557: I get tired of saying how overrated Mark Millar is, but I’ll say it until it doesn’t need to be said I guess. The giant robots thing is stupid. The fact that it is used as …I dunno what the technical word is but it is used to maneuver Reed & Sue into some interesting relationship questions…that part is serviceable. Reeds 1st gift to Sue is stupid and selfish – and reeks of something from Millar’s Authority run. His 2nd gift seems a bit out of character – since when is Reed into frivolous time travel (and how would Sue NOT HAVE NOTICED stepping through a time portal or whatever)? Oh right, since Millar’s first issue. I know it fits the general stereotype of “adventurer scientist” so I’m ok with it, really. That’s a character trait change I can handle, because I think it makes the series a lot more interesting. It’s just that this first arc was not very interesting. Johnny’s incredibly out of character (or maybe in-ultimate-character) behavior is also somewhat interesting BUT – he’s been a hero for a really long time, would he really hang out with someone who says stupid things like “I just robbed a bank, does this mean you have to arrest me?”.

Oh, and we have Doom again. Already. *sigh*

X-Factor 31: Nothing special, but a decent continuation of the ongoing collapse of X-Factor, their home turf, and their role. Looking forward to that Layla Miller one-shot….I’m guessing that’s how they get her aged up to marry Madrox.

New Exiles 05

Don’t be tricked by the Alan Davis cover!

Oh my god! The pencils…stabbing my eyes out…alternating between anime knock off and horrible Davis knock off. I’m sorry Roberto Castro, but if you can’t even stick to one style to knock-off, please don’t try. You’re going to give me an ugliness seizure. I really hate singling out individuals and calling their work bad – but this stuff is painfully irregular. The script isn’t particularly strong, but it would be fine with serviceable pencils. Since it doesn’t have those, the book sucks.

Death of the New Gods 08

Talk about talking heads! But that’s ok I guess. What I think was really shoddy was how the “character” of Orion changed so much btw. this and Countdown 2…he can’t talk at all then suddenly he can yell prophecies.

Superman-as-Jimmy-Olsen was kind of amusing, but overall I think this issue just fell really flat. Having the finale blunted/broken by Countdown 2 didn’t help things much either.  The whole continuity jar-up is really annoying (Orion DID die…and Darkseid knew the Source had resurrected his “spirit” already…except that was the real Orion and not just a spirit. DUM dah DUM DUM D-U-M-B) and seems like it could have been fixed too, but whatever.

Justice League of America 20

Wow, if this wasn’t a phone-it-in-issue I don’t know what was. Maybe I’m just not a fan of done-in-ones because the seem so out of pointless – as this issue certainly does – or maybe this one in particular just sucks. The pencils are pretty middling too (not as bad as New Exiles above), which doesn’t help. Not to say that they are bad, but nothing “pops”. All the red coloring in the first section is really boring too – even though it’s a fire scene it doesn’t have to be so damn RED! (Leave that up to the new Hulk please). The panel of the side of Wonder Woman’s face on page 12 or so, bottom right is fucking fearsome.

Here, I’ll save you from buying/browsing this painful issue. See obvious pic at right. What the hell is that? She looks like a devil mannequin from the 14th layer of hell. You’ll know it when you see it. Scary isn’t it?

Hulk 03

This one went too fast. I don’t think I’ve ever been a fan of Loeb’s writing, but I didn’t find this one particularly bad, just strangely paced – it felt like it only took me 2 minutes to read it.

Secrets are closer to being revealed, but nothing yet.

Oh, well Banner is back to dumbass Hulk again. Yeah, that’s awesome. After Pak spends so long building us a wonderful new Hulk incarnation, we’re back to dumbass Hulk. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it, but there’s a reason I’ll buy Pak’s Hulk hardcovers and won’t touch this (or anything Loeb writes really) with a 14.3 foot pole.

Uncanny X-Men 497

This arc’s not bad, it’s a decent diversion. Nothing to get excited about though, at least not yet. I’m not digging the plastic-y looking pencils. Hmm…maybe it’s the coloring I don’t like? I’m not “artsy” enough to be able to tell – basically, everything just looks like it’s coated in a layer of plastic and slightly muddied up.

Young Avengers Presents 04

Some cute character work here, but it’s been so long since I saw them in action I don’t remember Vision’s story. Going to have to re-read some trades I guess. Pencils weren’t bad here :).

Thor 08

The whole package here – great writing, a bit of violence, and beautiful pencils and colors. I’m really liking the JMS take on Thor, just like I liked his take on Spider-Man (it was the only one I’ve really liked since I started reading comics and now, unfortunately, it’s all wiped away. So it goes.).

Ultimate Fantastic Four 53

I’m loving Tyler Kirkham’s pencils and the green hair. Carey’s plot is pretty decent, almost old school, ff-stylings. I’m wondering if he wiped the other heroes memories…because they were killing a loootttt of people.

Mighty Avengers 12

Since Avengers members only appear in scattered panels, I’d call this more of a Marvel Spotlight on Nick Fury/Secret War, and not “Avengers” so much, but hey it’s all Bendis so it’s a mesh anyway right?

We find out how Fury found out, and get a little tie-back into that Secret War thing from a few years back, not to mention get left with what is supposed to (I think) be a nasty cliffhanger – but I suspect it’s mostly red herrings. No way Wolverine & Spider-Man are Skrulls, sorry, that would be too stupid and really, really not make any sense. Lockjaw I buy…hmm…ok wait, flip it. Maybe the faces that are circled are the ones he knows are not Skrulls. That I buy. Still, Lockjaw. I miss that guy (remember, he’s actually an Inhuman, not a dog!).

I’m not buying Spider-Woman as cool or interesting though, sorry Bendis. Maybe with a new name or something that makes sense for her powers. The costume + flying & energy blasts + name is just too much cognitive dissonance for me I guess.