Monday, June 15, 2009

What I Read This Week

Flash: Rebirth #3 -- With Barry Allen's touch revealed to be fatal, he is cordoned off and quarantined lest anyone else die at his hands.  But will the straight-laced, justice-minded Barry allow this to stand?  And once more we ask the age old question: who's faster, Superman or The Flash?  Johns and Van Sciver turn in another superior issue of what has been, to this Flash fan anyway, a superior series.  I know there haters out there, but I am really digging the mystery here.  And the big villian reveal on the last page may be "obvious," but as I find myself saying from time to time, sometimes the obvious choice is the right choice.  Van Sciver's trippy visuals as Barry treks through the Speed Force add bonus points.

House of Mystery #14 -- We're back to The Space Between, as Harry and Peter find themselves in some sort of wasteland, and the rest of the crew inside the house puzzles over what happened to the two of them.  Meanwhile, Rina is busy telling her story in a tale involving werewolves and suicide bombers.  Very thought-provoking "Weird" story, as one of the mysteries of the aforementioned House is revealed, as well as one a secret of a major character.  This title kind of flies under the radar most of the time, but it is a real treat to read each and every time out.

The Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #3 -- The first of two Phantom offerings this week from Moonstone closes out the End War storyline, as Arab "patriot" turned mercenary Kamil Kazi's plans to engluf the entire world in a war enters its final stages.  Can The Ghost Who Walks stop The Flame before it burns the entire world to cinders?  When Moonstone announced that they were relaunching their Phantom title, I was confused, since I didn't see the point.  It now has become clear that while this series is in continuity with the previous one, the split was done to provide a clean entry point for new readers into the world of The Ghost Who Walks.  I doubt many readers could read this initial story arc and not be impressed.  

The Phantom: Generations #2 -- Our other Phantom comic this week is actually an illustrated prose magazine moreso than a traditional comic book format.  The second Phantom finds himself between the war-bound tribes of Bangalla and an army of ferocious pirates, all while trying to rescue an innocent Spanish noblewoman from the Pirate lord!  While plagued by some production problems (notbaly, several typos, which have also cropped up in similar offerings from Moonstone), overall I am very pleased with this issue.  The story is fast paced but not lightweight, with a pair of strong setpieces which make for fun reading.  This format would work really well with just about any pulp-style or Men's Adventure hero, such as The Shadow, Mandrake, The Destroyer, or so forth.  Plus this entire series would look great bound up in a nice hardcover (with purple binding, of course).

Strange Adventures #4 -- On Hardcore Station, Comet, Eye, and Adam Strange set out to regain Adam's stolen wares, while the spectral Synnar gives them vague and cryptic hints about what is going on,  Starman investigates the vanishing stars, and Bizarro runs into the Station security.  What connects these people and why are they able to perceive the changes to the universe when no one else can?  More "throwback" style space opera from Starlin and company, which reads a lot more like a comic from the 80s than from the 00s, and I mean that in a good way.  More secrets are revealed regarding the Abberant Six, and the backup is put to good use in fleshing out the history of Lady Styx.  All around a strong issue of a strong miniseries.

Storming Paradise #6 -- While American troops are forced to patrol from village to village rooting out the resistance, the German/Japanese superweapon is ready for deployment.  But the Allies have gotten wind of it's existance and are on the hunt!  A sudden and surprising end to the series, one which strongly suggests (to me, at least) that this is the first chapter in a longer story.  The anti-climactic ending is a disappointment, but the issue (and the series) is still strong.

Warlord #3 -- Morgan, Shakira, and Machiste make their way to the stronghold of the "new god" in Skartaris, while Tinder makes contact with a newcomer to their world.  Grell's story builds in the standard S&S manner, and fills in some of the gaps which have been (intentionally) left in the first two issues.  So far I am really enjoying this series, which reads a lot like the original version and thus is a lot different than most anything else on the racks nowadays (again, similar to Strange Adventures).  

War of Kings #4 -- The war between the Shi'ar and the Kree rages on, as the cost of the massive conflict is becoming clear to both sides, even as the conflict grows with the addition of new players.  This event has a very different tone from both Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest (which simiarly had different tones from each other), and it is clear that DnA are really trying to push the envelope here.  When things come off the rails (in a good way) towards the end of this issue, the threat is palpable and the chaos raw.  This is an excellent piece of sci-fi comics.

War of Kings: Savage World of Skaar -- A one-shot tie-in of the best kind, as we get some time to focus on lesser members of the Kree ruling family (Gorgon) and the Shi'ar Imperial Guard (Firebolt) as they find themselves pulled through a cosmic anomoly and on the backwoods planet Sakaar.  A lot of fun but ultimately skippable, although the last page promises a return to this storyling at some point -- time will tell, I suppose.

The Pick of The Pile is a tough one, with lots of strong contenders from this batch.  I am going to give the nod to War of Kings, which just edges out Flash: Rebirth and Strange Adventures in the awesomeness department.

So what did YOU read this week?

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