Ex Machina #17 (Bryan K. Vaughan/Tony Harris, DC/Wildstorm)
Vaughan, like he did with 9/11 in the first issue, takes real world events and tweaks them in an interesting way, this time focusing on the war with Iraq. It's a little strange at first to see Vaughan's superheroic characters mix with real-world political figures, but it does give his story a sense of urgency and importance, and I'm more excited about where this storyline is going than I have been in a few issues.
Noble Causes #16 (Jay Faerber/Fran Bueno, Image)
This has about three different twist endings piled on top of each other, which seems like something that would be annoying but actually works very well for Faerber's soap opera format. It's more about action than sex and romance in this issue, which is fine since we've been kind of low on that recently, but I'm happy to see some lip-locking on the cover for the next issue.
Runaways #12 (Bryan K. Vaughan/Adrian Alphona, Marvel)
After one overlong arc and one very short one, the sojourn to New York storyline wraps up in just the right amount of space, offering a satisfying conclusion, an ominous hint of what's ahead, and an apparent set-up for a new Cloak & Dagger series (something I'd love to see Vaughan writing). Vaughan uses some fun continuity references again and keeps up some of the simmering subplots. In short, another excellent issue.
Testament #2 (Douglas Rushkoff/Liam Sharp, DC/Vertigo)
I was sort of baffled but semi-intrigued by the first issue, and since I got it for free it seemed worthwhile to buy the second issue and see if it got any more comprehensible. The answer: nope. I mean, the primary plot with the authoritarian future and the people controlled by RFID chips, that was pretty straightforward (if sort of cliched), and I got it. But I still have no idea what the biblical parallels are supposed to mean, or what the weird little creatures on the sidelines are doing, and I don't really care to find out. Maybe Rushkoff is trying to create suspense and mystery, but I'm just confused and bored, and I'm not going to bother with the next issue.
Also out this week: Planetary #24, which didn't make it to my local shop. Given how infrequently that book ships, though, I don't think it'll be too big of a deal to wait another week to read it. And Generation M #3, which continues the mini-series on the path it's been going in a mostly interesting fashion.