Fables #38 (Bill Willingham/Mark Buckingham, DC/Vertigo)
Buckingham really shines in this issue with his depiction of the capital city of the Homelands. It's got amazing detail and appropriate epic scope. We get another step closer to finding out who the Adversary is, and the seemingly invincible Boy Blue finally meets his match. Another excellent issue.
Gravity #1 (Sean McKeever/Mike Norton, Marvel)
Marvel launches another great teen book, this one focusing on a novice superhero in New York City. It doesn't have the innovative premise of Runaways or the ties to established characters of Young Avengers, but it's firmly grounded in the Marvel universe, making nice use of former New Warrior Rage (the New Warriors are everywhere this week) and the general superhero atmosphere of Marvel New York. It reminds me strongly of Kurt Busiek's Astro City, but not in a rip-off way; it just has the same grounded tone mixed with a sense of wonder and anchored by a likeable main character. Norton's art is clean and bright, perfect for this traditional superhero style. A really good beginning.
New Warriors #1 (Zeb Wells/Skottie Young, Marvel)
I imagine that a lot of hardcore New Warriors fans are upset about this book (they're probably much more pleased with Rage's appearance in Gravity). It does make some serious changes to the concept and look of the characters, but at the same time Wells does a good job writing them consistently with how they've been portrayed in the past, and even making nods to Warriors continuity. While I enjoyed the original Warriors series and I love the concept of a team of C-list teen heroes, I'm not such a purist that I didn't like Jay Faerber's revival a few years ago, or that I can't like this new series. Wells puts the Warriors on a reality TV show where they help people around the country, and Young's kinetic, graffiti-influenced style has the characters looking like they've never looked before. At the same time, Wells knows how silly his concept is, and uses that as part of the plot. The Warriors are suspicious of Night Thrasher's motives for putting them on TV, and it seems like there is more than meets the eye here. Young's style is different, sure, but he uses classic designs for most of the characters, and the Warriors were theoretically always about youth anyway. On top of that, the issue is funny and tells a complete done-in-one story. Hardcore fans can scoff, but it's a pretty good return for the Warriors as far as I'm concerned.
The Pulse #9 (Brian Michael Bendis/Michael Lark, Marvel)
I am so bored with this book. This issue, the Secret War crossover finally wraps up, we learn absolutely nothing of interest, Bendis continues to turn Jessica into a helpless whiner, demonstrates how much better she was in Alias when he could use swear words, and writes Wolverine way out of character (or so it seemed to me). Next issue? A House of M crossover. That's five straight issues of crossover. I'm pretty sure House of M only lasts one issue, but if the next storyline isn't fantastic, I'm done.
X-Men #171 (Peter Milligan/Salvador Larroca, Marvel)
I said I would drop this book if Milligan's first story arc wasn't any good, and it wasn't, really, but I'm still here. And now this issue is all about the overwrought romantic tensions that Chuck Austen created and that I totally don't care about, plus introduces a lame new femme fatale character with the awful name Foxx (Milligan must love X's; there's also a new character in this issue named Onyxx). Still, Larroca's art is always nice, and Milligan is a better writer than Chris Claremont, and with Astonishing X-Men on such an erratic schedule, this is really the only monthly X-Men fix I get. I should drop it, but I might stick around a little while longer.