by Aaron Einhorn
Every week Aaron goes to The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio and spends far more money than his wife would prefer. He then comes back here and writes about the comics he reads that he thought were noteworthy. This isn’t everything he picks up, just the things that he feels merit discussion – either for being really good, or for having something really wrong with them.
Avengers: The Initiative 29
The Initiative is probably my favorite of the Avengers titles right now, just because it’s the most unpredictable. Seeing what Osborn is doing with the Initiative is tons of fun, and just like I enjoyed it in the original Thunderbolts, I like seeing villains realize that being a hero is, in many ways, preferable. So, I’m enjoying seeing Night Thrasher tempted to join Osborn’s crew, watching Tigra descend into a revenge-fueled rage, and most importantly, watching the tormented mind of Penance/Speedball. I was a Speedball fan from day one, and while I hated seeing him transform into Penance, each time Penance is given a cool moment, it makes me happy. So, I’m thrilled to see Niels. And I’m intrigued that they’ve moved forward with Trauma becoming Nightmare’s avatar on Earth so quickly.
Blackest Night: Titans 3, Blackest Night 4 and Green Lantern 47
The Blackest Night books were a mixed bag this week. Titans ended largely unsatisfyingly, but with some interesting and important developments. First off, I’m curious to see how things evolve with Donna being “infected” by a Black Lantern bite. She doesn’t have a ring, so how can being bitten matter – other than that it could kill her from infection? I’m also a little weirded out by Dove’s ability to destroy the Black Lanterns, and it sadly convinces me that by the end of Blackest Night, we will see Hal Jordan wearing one ring of each color, and acting as the White Lantern. Green Lantern was probably the strongest title, with Hal, Sinestro, Indigo and Carol facing off against the revenants of Abin Sur and his sister, and some very cool developments with Attrocitus and Agent Orange, as they both deal with the Black Lanters. I kind of love the idea that the Red Lanterns are, for all of their monstrosity, uniquely protected against becoming Black Lanterns. Of course, arguably, the Red Lanterns are already effectively undead, transformed into rage-zombies by their rings, no less than the Black Lanterns are zombified by theirs, but it was still cool to read. Finally, Blackest Night 4 brings the power of the Black Lantern to a full 100%, and Nekron and Coast City rise. There’s some great character moments involving the Atom, the combined Firestorms, Scarecrow and Alan Scott, as well, but the climax of the issue really paints the direction for the second half of the Blackest Night tale.
Detective Comics 858
I can’t stop gushing about this book. Williams artwork is visionary and breathtaking, and would make me break my rule about “I’ll read a book with bad art, but I won’t get a book that has a bad story, no matter how gorgeous the art is.” He would make me break that rule, but he hasn’t, because Rucka’s writing is fabulous. Even though we didn’t get any Batwoman in this issue, seeing a bit about how Kate became the heroine is still fascinating. Similarly, Rucka’s writing has kept the Renee Montoya/Question back-up feature from getting dull, and has actually made it the only one of the DC “co-features” that doesn’t annoy me.
Incredible Hercules 137
This is one of my guilty pleasure books, although it doesn’t have to be. Van Lente and Pak have managed to write some very amusing, but at the same time, quite serious and intense stories around Amadeus Cho, and we see it all start to come together here, as he faces down Pythagoras Dupree. Cho’s “superpower” is kind of amazing to watch, and I love seeing it in action (even if it does raise questions about who the other Smartest Persons on Earth are). Athena’s guidance of Cho and Hercules is similarly fascinating to see, and I can’t wait to see Cho and Herc back together again.
I hate devoting a slot to books that are bad, but sometimes I can’t help it. And Hulk is bad. I am sick unto death of the Red Hulk, and the introduction (but continuing mystery) of the Red She-Hulk doesn’t help. Neither does the appearance of the bad Doc Samson. The truth is, I want the mystery over, I want Banner back as the Hulk, and that’s the end of it. Red Hulk totally falls into the “we need to back a badder villain” trap, and I’m just done with it.
Also out, that I grabbed last week. I finally grabbed Batgirl 3, and saw Barbara pass the costume on to Stephanie officially, Astro City Special: Astra let the supergirl grow up, with heartbreak and loss, Gotham City Sirens took the girls up against the Joker – sort of – in a story that was fairly weak, Teen Titans 76 reminded us that Beast Boy is never going to be a leader, The New Avengers 58 managed to make the climactic battle between the New Avengers and the Dark Avengers almost completely uninteresting, Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars 2 continued Tony’s quest to track down his rogue technology, but oddly in a way that doesn’t at all line up with the events of Ultimate Comics Avengers 3, where the new team of Avengers is assembled to stop Captain America from going after his son, the Red Skull, and World’s Finest 1 brings Red Robin and Nightwing together in a strange mash-up of the Superman and Batman families, and their names, in a story that involves the Penguin auctioning off Flamebird.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!