Monday, May 15, 2006

New comics 5/10

American Virgin #3 (Steven T. Seagle/Becky Cloonan, DC/Vertigo)
I feel like I'm repeating myself on this book, as with The Exterminators, but I've got the same reaction once again: I definitely think there's something interesting going on here, but Seagle has yet to really establish a central premise, and the lead character still seems sort of ill-defined. At the same time, it's that uncertainty about where things are headed that keeps me wanting to read, at least for now. This issue does make headway in developing Adam as a person, showing him struggle with his faith as he deals with the death of his girlfriend, and I like that the foul-mouthed, degenerate stepsister comes off as the voice of reason here. I do wonder how this can possibly last as an ongoing, but I'll at least stick around to see how this first arc plays out.

Cable & Deadpool #28 (Fabian Nicieza/Reilly Brown, Marvel)
It's kind of disappointing that Lan Medina already needs a fill-in penciller, given how long Patrick Zircher went without any guest artists. Brown's work is fine, if a little too cartoony at times. Apparently, we're getting a different guest artist next month (reliable workhorse Ron Lim), which is also sort of annoying. As for the actual story, it's a good start to the new arc after the relatively pointless Apocalypse storyline. Nicieza does a good job with Domino, who narrates the issue, and even if the reveal at the end is completely predictable, it's an interesting set-up for Cable's latest attempt to be the savior of a group of oppressed people.

Ex Machina #20 (Brian K. Vaughan/Tony Harris, DC/Wildstorm)
This was a powerful conclusion to this book's most brutal arc yet, and it's a shame that the scheduling worked out so that the first issue of the Ex Machina Special came out before this did, because it sort of distracts from this particular storyline. Vaughan makes some interesting comments on terrorism while also turning the story into something more personal for Mitchell and unique to this book. And he kills off a very likeable supporting character, which is pretty bold, although not unexpected given his other work. I'm a little worried that this came out after the first issue of the special, which was supposed to fill in the gap as Harris got back on schedule. Hopefully the next regular issue isn't too far away.

Fables #49 (Bill Willingham/Mark Buckingham, DC/Vertigo)
Willingham is finally getting back to Bigby and Snow, and while all of the stories he's told in their absence have been good, I'm happy to see them back as the focus of the book. This two-part arc has been mostly set-up, but what it's setting up looks to be promising, and I'm glad to catch a glimpse of Geppetto in this issue, showing that he hasn't been forgotten after the epic Battle for Fabletown and Homelands arcs.

She-Hulk #7 (Dan Slott/Will Conrad, Marvel)
Slott offers up an interesting and rather dark twist on Starfox, a character I never knew all that much about. He basically presents Starfox as a sexual predator who uses the superhero equivalent of date-rape drugs. Not exactly the light-hearted stuff this book usually presents, although it's presented in a fairly humorous way, and draws on continuity in the manner Slott is known for. Even though this might be seen as a retcon of sorts, it's really doing exactly what Slott always does, which is respect continuity while looking at it from a different, more realistic angle. It looks like this arc is going to have some lasting consequences, but I have a feeling they'll get pushed aside for a few issues as Civil War takes over.

Also out this week: Batman: Secrets #3, in which Sam Kieth continues to do his Sam Kieth thing, and mold Batman to whatever story he's interested in telling, and I like it.

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