From worst to best of what I paid money for.
The Amazing Spider-Man #14
Ultimately, this event went wrong for me on the simplest of grounds: it turns out that when half your cast is wearing an identical full-body costume, the story gets kinda hard to follow in spots. In any case, this felt muddy and half-formed, and I’m more interested in the epilogue than I was in the actual conclusion, simply because I expect it’ll be nice to get to character beats and not tableaus of Spiders. That said, the use of Peter Porker was brilliant.
The degree to which I like the new Thor as a character continues to run hard into the degree to which I find the “keeping her identity secret” plot irritating. This is an interesting issue, but consists of setup and moving pieces around the board in a book that’s overdue for some payoff. My patience with it is wearing thin.
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
I was less than enamored with Black Vortex when it was announced, as it’s a crossover affecting three books I buy that flatly requires picking up issues of four books I don’t, plus the two bumper books, and the premise – dark versions of characters – bores the shit out of me, not least because it’s just a conceptual rehash AXIS, which I also didn’t buy. For all of this, I’ve actually rather enjoyed the first two parts of it, though I’m still kind of waiting for the bottom to fall out.
Captain Marvel #12
A solid installment of a book I should probably drop. I feel like everything interesting about this take on Captain Marvel can also be done in Bitch Planet, and more interestingly, leaving this a kind of hollow riff on Marvel’s sci-fi tropes. That said, I really did enjoy this one pretty well. Carol’s move with the shields was cheeky sci-fi fun.
All-New X-Men #36
Hallelujah, the misbegotten Ultimate Universe crossover is over. Clearly this proved a tricky arc for the book, since it’s now going to get released out of order to get its Black Vortex crossover working. And it seems unfortunate that the last few months of Bendis’s run have to get consumed with a dumb crossover. But in any case, this was pretty good, and the Jean Grey/Miles Morales moment was sweet.
After a first issue that left me very cold, G Willow Wilson’s X-Men story finds its gear here, hitting a wonderful tone of being both weird and somewhat silly. It’s clearly a filler story running out the clock until Secret Wars, but at least it’s looking like fun filler, as opposed to mildly disastrous filler. The art is still crap though.
Darth Vader #1
A fun intro to what Gillen plans to do with this book, but a relatively insubstantial first issue. Gillen seems to mainly be playing Vader straight, although there’s a certain camp glory to a few of his quips, most obviously “I have only killed two. Do not make me reconsider my generosity.” And a nice tacit homage to Alan Moore’s Vader story. This hasn’t straightforwardly made a case for itself, but it’s a fine start.
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #8
Surprised to see Ewing wrapping up a two-parter that started with a Morrison issue. But this is what we’ve come to expect from this comic – high concept zaniness wedded to emotional storytelling that really evokes the Eleventh Doctor well. This is a story that would only work with this incarnation of the Doctor, but that’s true in what are mostly small and subtle ways. And I continue to love with Ewing is doing with Alice’s depression. Plus some David Bowie jokes. A delight of a book, basically.
I increasingly find that I like Gillen best when he gets to play a long game. He’s one of the most structural and formalist writers working right now, and seeing him reach a turning point in his dismantling of superheroes and war comics is tremendously satisfying. It’s not a huge turning point – Gillen admits in the backmatter that this was a deliberately quiet arc, whereas the next one will be sound, fury, and presumably signification. In any case, this is still one of the most fascinating comics being made.