Iron Man #28 -- The finale to the ongoing Mandarin story which has been brewing pretty much since Tony took over SHIELD, the Knaufs De La Torre deliver the goods in all the double-sized goodness the story demands. We see Tony on trial at the UN, the return of a beloved old armor, and the (final?) showdown between Western Technology and Eastern Mythology. If you haven't caught on by now, let me repeat: this title is simply amazing.
Batman And The Outsiders #6 -- Dixon keeps the pedal to the metal as the Outsiders move directly from their failed mission last time to trying to hijack a rocket of their own! The only problem? That would be the fact that the rocket in question is deep in Mongolia. One thing which I am really enjoying about this series is how Dixon is portraying each character -- everyone's voice is distinct and viable, from Geo-Force's slightly dim arrogance to Green Arrow's overconfidence to Grace's cynicism. It also helps that Batman's role in this series is not entirely different from his role in the old title: the taskmaster and general, directing his troops like a chessmaster. Rodriguez's art is a great fit for the action heavy crew, a mix of frentic dynamism and solid storytelling. This is not the most high profile title DC publishes, but I do very much look forward to it each month.
Iron Man: Legacy Of Doom #1 -- The dream-team working on this miniseries alone would be enough for most fans to pick it up, but the set-up is priceless as well: Doctor Doom summons Iron Man to help him storm Hell itself! Only things don't go so well for our hero, as the inevitable double-cross leaves him between a rock and a hot place. Way-cool retro action from Bob&Dave, with Ron Lim ably handling the pencils. As a final chapter to the Iron Man-Doctor. Doom trilogy, so far this is shaping up quite nicely. Bonus for Iron Fans: A variant version of the classic Space Armor, this time sporting a solid fuel rocket!
Flash #239 -- Flash must fight a public relations battle as Spin steps up his efforts to turn the good people of Central City against their hero. I like where Peyer is mining here; taking shots at fear-mongering "news entertainment," while addressing some questions we'd all probably be asking if we lived in Central City ourselves. I do have to wonder, though, is Wally simply in denial, or did some things not happen the way I remember them? Still, another good issue with a twist on the classic Flash-motif. I liked the cameo from Red Arrow, but I feel bad for him at the same time.
Annihilation Conquest #6 -- Or, the spit really hits the fan. As Ronan the Accuser prepares to rain death upon his homeworld up in the orbit around Hala, down on the planet, it's a desperate fight with Star Lord, Bug, Rocket Racoon, Adam Warlock, and Quasar (plus a few surprises) against the unending legions of Ultron. Everything just gels here, from the return of a few heroes who have been absent to the final showdown and quiet epilogue; this is grand space opera in the best sense. It's been a heck of a ride once again, and with Guardians of the Galaxy continuing it, it looks like the trend will continue for the time being.
Superman #675 -- Kurt Busiek's final outing on the title isn't exactly subtle, as Big Blue and power-siphoning baddie Paragon have to fight a trio of fanatical Daxamites clerics who want to capture the heretic Lar Gand. It's big and bombastic, as I imagine you pretty much have to be when you have a golem made of outer space show up. A bit too long, but otherwise a fine and fun story, which also acts as a nice capstone for Busiek's run, as he ties it back to the "growing darkness" predicted by Arion all those months ago. Super-Fans could do a lot worse than this one, and Robinson's upcoming run (coinciding with Johns' work on Action) looks like it's going to be quite cool as well, even if budgetary reasons are forcing me to drop the series.
Captain Action #0 -- When your world is being invaded from within by microscopic, mind-controlling alien parasites, who do you call? Captain Action! But with the invasion defeated, and the world grown complacent thanks to the emergence of the superheroes, what good is an anacrhonism like the Captain? That's the philosophical question Fabian Nicieza and Mark Sparacio ask here; at least, before the midway point when everything comes off the rails. The world, I mean, not the narrative! With the old ACTION Directorate destroyed, and Captain Action dead, everything now hinges on his son, heir to the title. As a setup, this is pretty standard, but it's done in a good way. The Captain seems to be played as a mix of 60s super-spy with a Nemesis-esque master of disguise, which works for me. I really like Sparacio's clean, smooth lines for this property. This preview was good enough to convince me to check out the upcoming "novella" First Mission, Last Day, and we'll go from there.
The Pick Of The Pile goes to Annihilation Conquest, just edging out Iron Man. Both are insane, double-sized, action-packed blowoffs to major stories, but AC eeks out a victory this time.
So what did YOU read this week?