Jack of Fables #4 (Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges/Tony Akins, DC/Vertigo)
I think this is the first issue to really capture the tone of the main series, with clever banter, exciting action and fresh takes on familiar characters. I like that the story is moving forward, and Jack isn't going to be languishing in the prison camp. I hope that if he gets out and heads on the road he takes some of this supporting cast with him, since most of them are honestly more interesting than he is. Akins shines in this issue with some inventive character designs and well-paced storytelling.
Nextwave #9 (Warren Ellis/Stuart Immonen, Marvel)
I was actually sort of relieved to read last week of this book's cancellation after issue 12, since I felt like the premise was wearing thin, but in this issue Ellis manages to do something new, creating a whole alternate superhero history out of parody characters from Not Brand Echh and even making Forbush Man interesting and sort of menacing. Forbush Man! Is there nothing this guy can't do? Not to mention an exchange that finally helps differentiate Tabitha from Elsa, and some sharp humor after the last few issues have been lagging. I still think it's best for the book to go out while it's still fresh, but this issue reminded me that I will miss it when it's gone.
Planetary #26 (Warren Ellis/John Cassaday, DC/Wildstorm)
I think I remember reading somewhere that there is actually one more issue after this one, a sort of epilogue, but this definitely wraps up all of the plot threads and serves as a pretty definitive ending for the series. I realize that as every issue comes out I say the same thing, that it was a decent read but I don't remember enough of the plot to say more than that, and I'll have to go back and read the series as a whole someday. That's still true, but as the series wraps up it occurs to me that in the early days I wouldn't have had to remember what happened in the previous issue to understand each installment, and Ellis got away from the self-contained genre exercises to tell a long conspiracy storyline that turned out to be less than fascinating. It's still a good story, and Cassaday's art is wonderful as always, but for the first time this issue, as everything came to an allegedly momentous climax, I realized how little there is to this story. Maybe I'll feel differently reading it all at once, but for now I feel like all the waiting and delaying should have added up to something more significant.