American Virgin #4 (Steven T. Seagle/Becky Cloonan, DC/Vertigo)
The first story arc wraps up, and I still have no idea where Seagle is going with this, but it's pretty exciting. He puts his protagonist through hell but lets him retain his religious faith, and I hope the book continues to explore how he keeps that faith in the face of trials and tribulations rather than turning him into an ex-Christian with an ax to grind. A well-rounded, interesting and sympathetic devout character is so rare to find in almost any medium, so it's refreshing.
Cable & Deadpool #29 (Fabian Nicieza/Ron Lim, Marvel)
This makes three artists in the last three issues, which is a bit annoying, although Lim is always a reliable fill-in and does a serviceable if unremarkable job here. Nicieza surprisingly ends this story arc not with a return to the status quo, but with Cable becoming essentially the benevolent dictator of a small nation, a wrinkle that should lead to some interesting stories once they get the obligatory Civil War crossover out of the way in the next few issues.
Ex Machina Special #2 (Brian K. Vaughan/Chris Sprouse, DC/Wildstorm)
This turned out to be one of the best Ex Machina stories Vaughan's written, easily as strong as anything in the regular book. The animal-based villain is supremely creepy, and I was a little disappointed to see him blown up at the end so that he didn't have the potential of returning. This was probably the most superhero-esque story this book has ever done, and very light on the politics, which might disappoint some people, but it was far from a conventional superhero tale. Vaughan's really a master of suspense, and he shows off those skills admirably here.
Fables #50 (Bill Willingham/Mark Buckingham, DC/Vertigo)
Bigby and Snow finally return to the center of attention in this issue, but I fear that their fairy-tale ending, while appropriate for characters from fairy tales, may mean that they're now fading into the background for good. It's interesting that after spending five or six issues chronicling Boy Blue's mission to the Homelands in great detail, Willingham dispatches a similar mission for Bigby in one over-sized issue. It does feel a little rushed at times, like he's anxious to tie up loose ends and throw the fans of these characters a bone before moving on to new things, but I do think that Willingham has genuine affection for Snow and Bigby, and I hope we'll see them again sooner than later.
Marvel Westerns: The Two-Gun Kid (Dan Slott/Eduardo Barreto, Marvel)
I'm not really that excited about the whole Marvel Westerns event, but I bought this because the main story is basically an extra issue of She-Hulk, with a framing story of her and Two-Gun Kid leading to a flashback for the Kid set in the Old West. The flashback story is amusing and forgettable, but the framing sequence contains some major developments for She-Hulk, which seems like sort of a cheat for regular readers but doesn't really bother me any more than if they just published an actual extra issue. There are two back-ups, also: A lame joke story by Keith Giffen in his "bwah-ha-ha" mode that so many love but I can't stand (with admittedly lovely art by Robert Loren Fleming & Mike Allred), and a reprinted Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Rawhide Kid story (why not a Two-Gun Kid reprint? Beats me) that is just as ridiculous (living totem pole!) as you'd expect.