Brightest Day #5 (DC)
Geoff Johns/Peter Tomasi/Ivan Reis/Ardian Syaf/Joe Prado/Vicente Cifuentes/Peter Steigerwald/Rob Clark Jr (covers: David Finch/Scott Williams/Steigerwald, Reis/Chuck Pires)
what we learned: Katar and Shiera fight the Thundercats. and some winged creatures. also, Hank Hall is rapidly supplanting Guy Gardner's as the DCU's #1 douche. and Aquaman finally does something about the Gulf Coast oil spill. kinda. contrary to certain reports.
oh shit moment: what? Mera has a backstory?? get out!!
what's next: what's really going on in Hawkworld? will Aquaman be a swinging single soon?
oh snap! well, that certainly changes things ...
Invincible Iron Man Annual #1 (Marvel)
Matt Fraction/Carmine Giandomenico/Matt Wilson/Joe Caramagna (cover: Salvador Larroca)
what we learned: acclaimed Asian film director Jun Shan (Ang Lee, is that you?) gets kidnapped by the Mandarin to film his life story. who knows if this is will be his new origin, as i like the Knaufs' story of his resurrection much better. by the way, nice nod to your Iron Fist run, Mr. Fraction.
oh shit moment: Jun Shan thinks he can escape with his zombie wife, but alas, that is not the case.
what's next: of course he's coming back in the pages of Iron Man. what i'd like to see is how to incorporate him in the Iron Man movies, beyond the Ten Rings terrorist organization. Prometheus CEO, anyone?
and Robert Downey Jr. nails the part ... again!
X-Force #28 (Marvel)
Craig Kyle/Christopher Yost/Mike Choi/Sonia Oback/Joe Caramagna (cover: Adi Granov)
what we learned: X-Force returns from the future, thanks to the magic of Cable's techno-organic virus, now given free rein. left to his own devices, Bastion goes mano-a-mano with Hope (who's displaying all the powers of existing mutants, but apparently Bastion thinks its new and unclassified). well, ain't you the smart one.
oh shit moment: the Cable ... is broken. also, the Golden Gate bridge.
what's next: is Bastion dead? will Hope bitch slap Cyclops, leading to a catfight between her and Emma? place your bets!
well, its about goddamn time ... oh wait, too many people have already died. so, no.
Fantastic Four Annual #32 (Marvel)
Joe Ahearne/Bryan Hitch/Andrew Currie/Paul Mounts/Rain Beredo/Rus Wooton/Chris Eliopoulos
what we learned: heeeeeere's Johnny! and heeeeee's a daddy! wonder why it took that long. Joe Ahearne takes his Dr. Who experience and translates into a Fantastic Voyage for our heroes. turns out the Psycho-Woman (wait, that's her name and not another of Johnny's one night stands) engineered the whole thing so she can create an army of cosmic warriors based on Johnny's tissues. why can't Reed just build Johnny his own artificial Friday Night Zone?
oh shit moment: the egg donor, Amy, jumps into the timestream. presumably to stop what was going to happen, but if Reed can't say for sure, how do we really know?
what's next: have any of y'all seen Jonathan Storm Jr? blond, blue eyes, about this height?
yes. especially David Lee Roth.
Shadowland #1 (Marvel)
Andy Diggle/Billy Tan/Matt Banning/Christina Strain/Guru EFx/Joe Caramagna (cover: John Cassaday/Laura Martin)
who wants to beat up Bullseye? you, Daredevil? step right up! wait, what are you doing with that sai? no, you can't -noooooooooooooo! oh crap.
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1 (Marvel)
Ed Brubaker/Dale Eaglesham/Andy Troy/Joe Caramagna (cover: Carlos Pacheco/Tim Townsend/Frank D'Armata)
what we learned: his name is Rogers. Steve Rogers. MGM may put the Bond franchise on hold, but here's a worthy alternative. Rogers, suddenly adjusting to the new world, takes on multitasking to a whole new level as S.H.I.E.L.D. boss, Avengers commander, leader of his own Secret Avengers, and going on his own private missions. how does he do it? how does he sleep? anyhoo, Prof. Erskine's grandson has cracked the Super Soldier formula and he's selling it to the highest bidder. only it turns out he may not be aware of the latter fact.
oh shit moment: was Steve Rogers really as thin as DJ Qualls back then?
what's next: sleep is overrated.
no, Steve, that would be so cliché.
Scarlet #1 (Marvel/Icon)
Brian Michael Bendis/Alex Maleev/Chris Eliopoulos (variant covers: David LaFuente/Mike Deodato)
what we learned: there is no escape from Bendis (well there is, if you stop following any of his work). Scarlet is the creator-owned collaboration from these Daredevil maestros, and it already reeks of aiming for Hollywood. not to say that its not good, but let's have a fully-hashed storyline before we give it the Kick-Ass treatment, yeah?
oh shit moment: when you have to stand up for your rights and take it to the law because you know what's right.
what's next: how did a slacker become an assassin? there's hope for us!
remind me not to go biking in Portland.
The Boys #44 (Dynamite)
Garth Ennis/Russ Braun/Tony Aviña/Simon Bowland (cover: Darick Robertson)
what we learned: religion and truth and justice don't really mix. Hughie and the Butcher make up. kinda.
oh shit moment: The Homelander. John Travolta. Staying Alive. Ha-ha-ha-ha ... stayin' aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive. oh, and Hughie learns the truth.
what's next: ever attended a religious rally?
sounds like 2006's Civil War.
Batman & Robin #13 (DC)
Grant Morrison/Frazer Irving/Pat Brosseau
what we learned: am glad Grant Morrison is still having fun with this title (coupled with the Return of Bruce Wayne). Oberon Sexton, unmasked as the Joker, has some agenda not yet in play, as events from the beginning of this series still have impact. also, Batman has his own subway station that is much better than the average New York MTA deathtrap.
oh shit moment: how many you want? Thomas Wayne shooting Batman, Robin laying serious whupass on the Joker, or the return of Pyg?
what's next: can we keep Frazer Irving on this book?
"and that's for Jason Todd! just kidding."
Secret Six #23 (DC)
John Ostrander/RB Silva/Alexandre Palamaro/Jason Wright/Travis Lanham (cover: Daniel Luvisi)
what we learned: an earlier story patterned after The Most Dangerous Game and Battle Royale. hey, it was about time we put the Six through their paces. yeah, well, Catman can still smile here.
oh shit moment: actually, that part is the realization where this thing wasn't a challenge for the Six. at all. i thought it would have been a two-parter or something. whatever.
what's next: we want angry Catman!
how Nero ended up after he burned Rome down.
Scalped #39 (DC/Vertigo)
Jason Aaron/RM Guera/Giulia Brusco/Steve Wands (cover: Jock)
what we learned: except for a few issues, this series is always intensely angry. with a new story arc "Unwanted", Aaron delves into parenthood and the realities and responsibilities of assuming that state, this time from the point of view of Carol Ellroy. turns out she was unwanted by her mother, and now pregnant (again) as well, the apple don't fall far from the tree. plus, RM Guera is up there with the detailed artwork (especially grubby trashed rooms) with George and Phil.
oh shit moment: Dashiell Bad Horse vs Shunka. no contest. also, Dashiell's dad shows up.
what's next: we want a Bad Horse/Shunka rematch!
Dashiell Bad Horse would like to change his name to Easily-Beaten-By-A-Sissy.
Rawhide Kid: The Sensational Seven #2 (Marvel)
Ron Zimmerman/Howard Chaykin/Edgar Delgado/Jeff Eckleberry (cover: Dave Johnson)
what we learned: with a lot of Western nods (Deadwood, the Lone Ranger) and witty dialogue, this book has me in stitches. the fab Rawhide Kid assembles his seven (i didn't realize Lobo was the seventh) and goes to stop the Hanging of the Earps.
oh shit moment: Seth Bullock. a literate Red Wolf. Two-Gun Kid in his pre-Avengers/Kang days.
what's next: man, i gotta stop playing Borderlands, and get on with Red Dead Redemption.