Silent War #4 (Marvel): Wow. There is all kinds of shocking information coming out of this title! Medusa and Black Bolt have a son!? Medusa betrays Black Bolt and kisses Maximus!? Did Black Bolt just let an insane scream out into open space from the surface of the moon!? Medusa receives a... *note* from Black Bolt!? Terrigenesis is lethal to humans!? Black Bolt just ordered a full out Inhumans attack on the Pentagon!? Wow. Wow. Wow. This is some dramatic stuff, the best I've seen the Inhumans portrayed, both thematically and visually, in quite some time, maybe ever, at least since that nice Paul Jenkins & Jae Lee mini-series a few years ago. This is a real writing lesson in "put your characters where they'd least like to be" in order to get maximum drama. Frazer Irving's pencils (and the coloring!) have never looked better and are boiling over with the type of emotion that fuels this type of writing. This is like... the perfectly rendered book, where all aspects of the creative process, from writing, to penciling, to inking, to lettering and coloring, all unite to achieve the desired effect in perfect harmony. Grade A+.
Powers #24 (Marvel/Icon): I feel that my worst fear about this title is now being realized. Has it... jumped the shark? I feel like it's now bordering on Lost or X-Files territory, where instead of resolving any of the long-standing plot threads, we're just being strung along as Bendis continues to throw in every partial, random idea he's been collecting and can't work into a mainstream Marvel title. I sincerely hope that it hasn't jumped the shark, that Bendis has a clear end in mind, and that he wraps this up while he's still strong, like in the next arc or two. It's getting repetitive, losing its charm, and I want to see it go out on top, with clear, unfettered-by-the-ravages-of-time resolution around these characters I've invested years in. I think it's time to put Powers to bed. Grade B.
Wisdom #5 (Marvel/MAX): Hrmmm. I really enjoyed the first couple of issues of this mini-series about a fictitious MI-13 that deals with the mutant, paranormal stuff beyond the ability of real world MI-5 and MI-6. However... it's now starting to feel a little manic, like the creative team is wildly channeling their inner Morrison, Ellis, and Moore (martians, really? that's really where you want to take this? really?) and what started as an innovative, fresh, witty, unique concept, now feels a little too derivative of earlier/better work. Cautiously optimistic that they'll refocus and pull this out. Grade B-.
52: Week Fifty-One (DC): Surprisingly, this issue actually contains more of what I originally expected from the series. But, as this point - it's too little, too late. We get some reasonable explanations about Robin's new costume, Kid Devil's participation in one of the Titans incarnations, more appearances from Rip Hunter, Booster Gold, and Skeets, but this should have been happening all along, not as a sudden surge in the second to last issue. And sorry Joe Bennett, but your panel to panel storytelling ability just isn't up to par. I've reviewed the Starfire-at-the-Baker-residence scene about 5 times now and I still don't get what happened with Kory. Did she zap those bad guys who knocked on the door? Why would they (and by extension, the Lady Styx thing) have been included if they'd be dismissed so easily? Did she faint because she saw that Buddy was actually alive? Did Ellen react without thinking, hitting her because she thought she was an intergalactic stripper? Was she tired from her long bout of space travel, collapsing once she'd finally reached her destination? No idea; it was totally unclear. Mister Mind? Lobo? Some thoughts on that: who cares? It's also interesting to me that in the JLA backup feature, Geo-Force is called out as a full member of the JLA (not that I mind that per se, I quite like him in fact), but over in the JLA book, that hasn't been stated. He's just been lingering around 'cuz I guess his powers are acting up, and he's done little more than have throw-away lines with Mari, Black Lightning, and Sand from the JSA, let alone been offered full membership as I recall. And with all the hullabaloo about who's in and who's out (it did take Meltzer like 7 issues to settle, after all), wouldn't Clark and Diana have an issue with Batman stacking the deck and having 2 former Outsiders (assumably loyal to Bats) on the team? Once again, hello editorial department, what do you guys do for a living? Silly me for assuming it was coordinating the consistency of messaging in all the various lines and titles. Grade D+.
I also picked up;
Runaways: Volume 7 (Marvel): This digest sized trade collects issues 19-24, the final Brian K. Vaughan arc, leading up to the present Joss Whedon helmed issues. I've followed the series in trades alone, so I'm anxious to see what's happened since (my last) issue 18.
Agents of Atlas: Premiere Edition (Marvel): This was a very solid mini-series from Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk that I may not have picked up a "normal" collected edition of. But, when you cram it full of bonus material, behind the scenes goodness, *and* reprint a bunch of 1940's and 1950's first appearances of the characters, that is really something special. This is a unique package that transcends the trappings of the original mini-series. Definitely worth a look, and a steal for a $24.99 hardcover.