Nextwave #6 (Warren Ellis/Stuart Immonen, Marvel)
This issue is light on wackiness and heavy on action, which Immonen does a good job with, but it's not exactly the book's forte. Of course, it's not like Ellis abandons the absurdity, and I especially liked this issue's Atomic Puppies ("yap yap bang"). Now that the team has faced off against Dirk Anger for six straight issues and sort of defeated him at the end of this issue, I hope they move on to some new villains that aren't just sent as distractions by H.A.T.E., and maybe get some motivation and purpose other than just stopping Dirk Anger. Also possibly more Atomic Puppies.
Runaways #17 (Brian K. Vaughan/Adrian Alphona, Marvel)
It's good to see Karolina back, even if it might just be so she can be the one who dies in the next issue. My guess is that the character who gets shot in this issue's cliffhanger is the one person guaranteed not to die next time, since that would be a little too obvious. Once again, I'm struck by how much of a loss it will be no matter which of these characters dies, and that's a testament to how well Vaughan's developed them, but it also means he'll have to tell a great story next to make whoever's death it is seem worthwhile.
Savage Dragon #127 (Erik Larsen, Image)
Larsen does his own take on "One Year Later," taking us far ahead in the world ruled by Mr. Glum. I like the way he's committed to this storyline, and that this totalitarian society is different from the one ruled by Sebastian Khan that came about back in issue 75. The whole world is brainwashed to attack Dragon on sight, and even if we know he's going to triumph eventually, it's still a pretty dire situation for him. Larsen also shows how his commitment to telling stories in real time brings about real change, as Angel is now far from the cute, inquisitive kid she was when Larsen first introduced her, and she's now clearly entering puberty and experiencing romantic feelings (for Mr. Glum, which is a little disturbing). Although Angel's blunt little kid bit was always entertaining, I respect Larsen for sticking with his established formula and letting it go by letting her grow up. Once again he proves, even after 127 issues, that he's capable of taking things in new directions.
X-Factor #8 (Peter David/Dennis Calero, Marvel)
This is a Civil War crossover, but David integrates it pretty seamlessly and keeps on with all his other major plotlines - sometimes it seems like he's the only writer at Marvel still paying attention to the repercussions of House of M. I've still yet to be convinced that Layla Miller is a real, worthwhile character, but she's getting there, and I'm curious to see what David does with Quicksilver. I didn't read Son of M, but I heard good things about it, and David had an interesting take on the character back in his earlier X-Factor days.
Young Avengers #12 (Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung, Marvel)
Finally the first season wraps up, and it does feel like a finale in many ways. Heinberg resolves most of the long-running conflicts, gives the team a definitive lineup and codenames, and sets them on their way. After all the fanfare and high quality this book debuted with, it's sort of petered out a bit, and honestly I'm not that disappointed to see it take some time off. It's still a fun superhero book, but the lateness has hurt and the sense of excitement has waned a bit - this issue is a big fight scene, mostly, and a nice little coda, but that's it. I'm hoping the time away will find the creators returning with renewed energy. This issue also has a weird random back-up strip by Karl Kesel and David Hahn about some new character called the Masked Marvel, which is basically a really long and not very funny comics industry in-joke. It's kind of cute and has nice art by Hahn, but I'm not exactly sure what the point is, since this character seems like more of a one-note joke than a potential new star.