Crossing Midnight #1 (Mike Carey/Jim Fern, DC/Vertigo)
Despite his general acclaim, I've been sort of lukewarm on Mike Carey's work in the past; I read the first collection of Lucifer, which didn't do much for me, and I thought My Faith in Frankie was awkward and sort of dopey. But I tend to give new Vertigo launches the benefit of the doubt, even if most of their recent ongoings have been sort of underwhelming. This falls into the same category in that it's sort of scattershot and I have no real sense of what the series is supposed to be about after reading the first issue, but Carey's thrown enough ideas out there about Japanese mysticism and alternate dimensions and superpowers and teenage angst that something's bound to stick, and the horrific ending definitely leaves me wanting to know more. I also like the art from Jim Fern, who's sort of a stylistic chameleon and has illustrated everything from Batman and Uncanny X-Men to Transformers and Fables, always blending into his surroundings. His art here is simple but conveys a lot, and the always excellent colors from Jose Villarrubia and letters from Todd Klein add up to a very nice-looking book that, for now, has potential.
Nextwave #10 (Warren Ellis/Stuart Immonen, Marvel)
Ellis spends the bulk of this issue on bizarre alternate realities for each of the main characters, showing just how many throwaway weird ideas he has floating around in his head, and also that he could probably write strange and effective series about each of these characters that were at least mostly serious. So this is a less humor-focused issue than most, but there are still some good jokes, as well as the most interesting use of Forbush Man, um, ever. I do hope someone picks up on it in some other series, but once again, I think ending this series two issues hence is still the best way to go out on top.
Powers #21 (Brian Michael Bendis/Michael Avon Oeming, Marvel/Icon)
Oh my, is there a lot of bloodshed in this issue. Limbs and heads and whatnot getting ripped off left and right, and while this effectively ups the stakes on this arc, some of it does feel a little gratuitous (and everyone's attitude toward it a little blasé). Even though it's been way too long since the last issue and I had to read the "previously" box to remind myself what the hell was going on, I got sucked back in pretty quickly, and I think this is a more interesting arc than we've seen in a while.
Savage Dragon #130 (Erik Larsen, Image)
Sometimes you don't realize over the course of reading the same series for 130 issues how convoluted stuff can get, but when Dragon spells out all the alternate-reality shenanigans and various doppelgangers (in 15- and 16-panel pages, no less), just exactly how tangled everything has become gets very clear. Every time Larsen tries to simplify things, he seems only to make them more complicated, and I'm pretty sure the additional Dragon running around this issue is actually the third different one we've seen in the series. At the same time, Larsen's also able to make the ridiculous continuity either somewhat understandable or not entirely relevant, and brush it off to the side for some fun action, and admittedly the scene with Dragon and Angel (the original one, I think) going over all the alternate realities is pretty entertaining. But, man, if you tried to diagram the continuity of this series, it'd probably look like quantum physics.