Generation M #2 (Paul Jenkins/Ramon Bachs, Marvel)
I still have some reservations about this book, but I very much like the way it's taken the big events of House of M and the editorially-mandated changes in the Marvel universe and made small, personal stories out of them. The scenes with Stacy X in this issue are emblematic of the kind of affecting, interesting stories that the whole crossover could engender. Unfortunately, they're still framed by the adventures of the somewhat annoying Sally Floyd, and I'm not much looking forward to the day she becomes the star of The Pulse. Bachs's art is also a little lumpy and indistinct at times, although it captures the gritty feel to the story well enough. I'm also interested enough in the murder mystery (Jenkins is an excellent mystery writer; just read Revelations) to keep reading.
Infinite Crisis #3 (Geoff Johns/Phil Jimenez, DC)
I would never in a million years buy this, but DC has been sending out each issue to their press list like they did with Identity Crisis (actually, they've only sent me issues two and three, oddly enough), so I figured I'd give it a shot. As expected, I only understood about 60 percent of what happened in this issue, but the central story about the imprisoned refugees of Earth-2 breaking out and trying to take over is interesting enough. I'm just not sure what all of the other stuff that was bulit up in the lead-up mini-series has to do with it, or who most of the characters are. I'm not a longtime DC universe fan, so I'm not the target audience, but I still can't shake the feeling that the whole story is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. I will say this, though: There is like ten times as much happening in this issue as there was in four issues of House of M.
Runaways #11 (Brian K. Vaughan/Adrian Alphona, Marvel)
Damn, this was a good issue. This has pretty much everything this book does well: crisp, clever dialogue, deft yet subtle use of continuity, soap opera-like intrigue, unexpected character development and a whopper of a cliffhanger. I am so in awe of Brian Vaughan it's ridiculous. I think I'd been a little complacent about this book over the last few issues, but firing on all cylinders like this reminds me of just how great it is.
Testament #1 (Douglas Rushkoff/Liam Sharp, DC/Vertigo)
Even after reading and pondering this issue, I still don't quite know what to make of it. The main plot is your standard "the government is out to get us" sci-fi story set in the near future, and it's okay for such a thing. But I don't understand what the biblical parallels are supposed to add, nor do I see how the connections are going to feed into a larger story. Right now I'm alternately confused and uninterested. Still, Rushkoff is obviously going to tackle some big issues, and I've liked Sharp's work in the past (although he's such a stylistic chameleon that I don't know that I would have even recognized it if his name wasn't in the credits). This was a free review copy from DC, so I can at least buy one more issue to see if things play out in a more coherent and engaging fashion.
X-Factor #1 (Peter David/Ryan Sook, Marvel)
This was out last week, but I didn't get it until now. I'm really happy to see Peter David back with an ongoing Marvel book starring some of the characters from the excellent Madrox mini-series. Like Paul Jenkins, he's made good use of the aftermath of House of M, and I'm really curious to see if he can make Layla Miller a useful and not completely pointless character. It's interesting to me that Bendis handed off this supposedly awesome new creation to another writer. Sook's art is appropriately moody, and I love Wade von Grawbadger's thick inks. Plus there's a nice cliffhanger ending. I'm adding this to my pull list posthaste.