Cable & Deadpool #24 (Fabian Nicieza/Patrick Zircher, Marvel)
Deadpool fights Spider-Man, and that's pretty much it. I like that this is a stand-alone issue, and it has plenty of Nicieza's trademark humor, but it's not much of a story. It also features another Nick Fury appearance, and I really wish Marvel would get his continuity straight. Is he in hiding after the end of Secret War? Is he back in charge of SHIELD? What? I suppose it's possible that this was resolved in some book I don't read, but I doubt it. It doesn't seem that hard to just send out a memo or something. Also, on a more positive note, this is Zircher's last issue, and he's put in quite the impressive run on this book, almost two straight years with I think a single half-issue fill-in and no lateness. That's quite the feat for an artist these days, and he'll be missed.
Daughters of the Dragon #1 (Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray/Khari Evans, Marvel)
This has gotten some negative reviews elsewhere for its cheesecake art and cavalier approach to continuity, but since I'm not all that familiar with these characters I didn't notice any continuity discrepancies, and I found the art to be mostly in good fun (although a little over the top, certainly). This book reminded me most of all of Danger Girl, with its emphasis on action, sexy women and jokey dialogue. There was what to me seemed like a good use of some D-level Marvel villains and underused supporting characters, and a fun little story. Not great, but entertaining enough for me to pick up another issue.
Desolation Jones #5 (Warren Ellis/J.H. Williams III, DC/Wildstorm)
Even though there is a four-page sequence in the middle of this issue in which Jones explains what has happened so far in this storyline, I still have only a vague idea of what's going on. I imagine that some of that is intentional, given Ellis's homage to the nigh-incomprehensible The Big Sleep, but still, I think this whole thing has dragged on a little long, and I'll be glad to see it wrap up next issue so that Jones can get on to doing something new. Spending a whole year on one storyline (thanks to the bimonthly shipping schedule) has been a little much. At the same time, this was still a good read, thanks to Ellis's weird ideas, Williams's inventive artwork and an illuminating sequence at the beginning that explains some of Jones's origin.
Fables #45 (Bill Willingham/Mark Buckingham, DC/Vertigo)
This is a sort of anticlimactic end to this storyline, with the Arabian fables kind of getting shuffled off to their own little world, and taking King Cole with them, who emerged as a much more interesting character in this arc. I have no doubt that they'll all show up again in due time, but for now this was a disappointing issue, even if it does set some subplots in motion for the future.
She-Hulk #4 (Dan Slott/Scott Kolins, Marvel)
After last issue's giant-sized extravaganza, I suppose this was an inevitable let-down. Juan Bobillo takes a well-deserved break, and Kolins makes for an acceptable fill-in, even if his art is a bit mushy. The story, however, is a little too earnest and straightforward, filling in a gap between the two volumes of the series and playing off events from Geoff Johns' Avengers run (which I never read). It's not bad, but it's kind of dull and pat, and lacks much of the humor that this book does so well. The end finally introduces the time-tossed Avenger that was teased last issue, and he looks like he'll add some spice to the book, so that's promising, at least.
Also out this week: DMZ #3, but even after planning to give the series one more issue to spark my interest, I just couldn't muster enough enthusiasm to buy it. It's too bad that all of these recent launches from Vertigo have been so lackluster (even the best, The Exterminators, wasn't spectacular), because I like that they are trying new genres and new talent and wish the pay-off was more satisfying. I'm still holding out hope for Steve Seagle's American Virgin, which launches in March, I believe.