The Expatriate #2 (B. Clay Moore/Jason Latour, Image)
It may end up being a problem that the least interesting character so far is the protagonist. I still like this book, especially Latour's stylish, noir-style art, but I think we are going to have to get to know the title character much better before he becomes worth caring about. The plot in this issue was a little tough to follow, but all that aside, I still think this is a good read with a promising concept and I'm sticking with it for now.
Girls #1 (Joshua Luna & Jonathan Luna, Image)
I heard many good things about the Luna brothers' Ultra, and I plan to pick up the trade on that one at some point. In the meantime, I thought I'd get in on the ground floor of their new series. I have to say, I am not at all impressed. Even their sort of ethereal art, reminsicent of Joshua Middleton's work, which was a big part of what looked interesting about Ultra to me, falls short in this issue. It even looks rushed in places. The dialogue is stilted and unrealistic, and the main character is highly unlikeable. I'm not sure if this is going to take a supernatural turn or stay grounded in everyday life (the ending was a little ambiguous), but I'm not sticking around to find out. A definite disappointment.
The New West #2 (Jimmy Palmiotti/Phil Noto, Black Bull)
I really liked the first issue of this two-parter, and the wrap-up is a little less enjoyable. The great noir tone (this book actually has quite a bit in common with The Expatriate) sort of takes a backseat to an orgy of violence in this issue, coming off less Sam Spade and more Dirty Harry. Which is fine, but it's not exactly what I was hoping for after the first issue. Noto's art is still wonderful and stylish and pretty much unique in comics; I can't wait to see what he does next (a guest stint on The Expatriate would be great). It's too bad that Palmiotti basically destroys the unique world he created for the story at the end of this issue; it'd be an interesting setting for future tales.
Runaways #4 (Bryan K. Vaughan/Adrian Alphona, Marvel)
This was a stronger issue than the last two, with Vaughan taking what appeared to be odd characterization of some of the Excelsior characters in the last issue and showing it to be character evolution. I really hope he either keeps those characters around or gets to write them into their own book. The dialogue was crisp as ever, and the revelation about Victor's parentage, while not a huge shock, does open some interesting doors.
X-Men #170 (Peter Milligan/Salvador Larroca, Marvel)
This issue wraps up one of the most disjointed story arcs ever in a very anticlimactic fashion. Paul O'Brien says it well: I want to like Milligan on this book, but he's nearly unable to tell a coherent story. I planned to drop the book if the first arc failed to impress me, but it's been so up and down that I'll give it one more issue before I decide.