The Book of Lost Souls #1 (J. Michael Straczynski/Colleen Doran, Marvel/Icon)
I've been sort of hit and miss on Straczynski's work in the past; I really enjoyed the Midnight Nation series he did with Gary Frank for Top Cow (in no small part because I love Frank's art) and I liked the first few issues of Supreme Power, although I thought it was sort of slow and stopped picking it up (I'll probably read it in trade at some point). But his recent Icon one-shot Dream Police was awful, and I've never had any interest in his mainstream Marvel work. This is a new creator-owned ongoing series, with some very similar themes to Midnight Nation, and lovely artwork by the versatile Doran. Like Straczynski's other work, it's very slow, so it's hard to get a sense from this issue what the series is even really about. However, it's got the same forces of good and evil battling for the soul of a brooding protagonist that Midnight Nation had, and a wisecracking cat to boot, so I'll stick around for a little while and see if things pick up.
Jack Cross #3 (Warren Ellis/Gary Erskine, DC)
After three issues, I definitely think this is the weakest of the new creator-owned series that Ellis has launched recently. Especially in light of how excellent Fell is, this just comes off as sort of uninspired. I also remain baffled at Ellis's decision to forego sound effects in an action book. This issue has a lengthy fight scene that just plays very stiffly without any accompanying "bam"s or "pow"s, which people often think of as silly but generally effectively convey kinetic movement in a static medium. I'll keep reading, because the protagonist could be interesting, and the twist at the end of this issue sets up an intriguing conflict that explores his dual nature, but I'm not all that excited about it.
Loveless #1 (Brian Azzarello/Marcelo Frusin, DC/Vertigo)
I only read this in a black and white preview from DC, and I'm glad I didn't spend the money to buy the actual comic. I don't think I've read any of Azzarello's stuff before, but 100 Bullets always seemed like something I might like. This, however, isn't all that great. It was really hard to follow (I had to read it twice to get a rudimentary sense of the plot) and seemed constructed out of a bunch of Western genre cliches, and the main character was distasteful and unlikable. The reveal at the end was sort of interesting, but not enough to make me want to read another issue.
Revelations #3 (Paul Jenkins/Humberto Ramos, Dark Horse)
Not much new to say: Still find this an intriguing mystery, still find Ramos's art annoying. I've gotten good at not paying attention to the fact that all the characters look like children with growth hormone problems, but there is also some confusing storytelling in one sequence in this issue. Even so, the writing remains interesting, and this is probably the best thing I've read from Jenkins since the original Sentry mini-series.
Silent Dragon #4 (Andy Diggle/Leinil Yu, DC/Wildstorm)
Once again, a fun and exciting issue with great Yu art, and some very inventive character designs. The plot is turning into your standard revenge thriller, but Diggle throws in enough clever sci-fi elements and snappy dialogue to make it seem new. And every panel of Yu's art only reminds me of how disappointed I am that he's off to Marvel to draw Hulk and Wolverine, about which I do have some thoughts coming soon, I swear.
Young Avengers #8 (Allan Heinberg/Andrea DiVito, Marvel)
Christopher Priest fans who read The Crew (all two of us) will be happy to see that Heinberg picks up on continuity elements from that series in this issue. Like Runaways, this book takes advantage of its characters not being established icons to really mess with the status quo regularly, and it adds greatly to the sense of excitement and unpredictability of reading it. I am always excited to see what Heinberg will do next, and that's the most appealing thing about serialized storytelling (something that gets lost in the pacing-for-the-trade world). Once again, DiVito's art is fine but sort of generic (sometimes his figures even look a little like Rob Liefeld's work), and I'll be pleased to see Jim Cheung return next issue.
Also out this week: Noble Causes #14, but my local store never got #13 for some reason, so I'm waiting for that to show up before reading them both.