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Remember comics?: Graeme starts out this week rather later than intended.

Graeme McMillan

To give you an idea of how today has gone, I wrote this at 6am this morning, and am only now getting around to posting it, 16 hours later. If this continues, expect the second half of this week’s releases sometime around Christmas.

ACTION COMICS #859: I have to admit, I don’t know quite how Geoff Johns got his groove back, but I’m really enjoying this current run of Action Comics. Managing, somehow, to make all the Legion nostalgia work even if you have no idea who the team are – with the overextended flashback last issue paying off here, giving extra weight to the opening and capture of the original three members of the team now that everyone knows who they are – and using a political allegory that’s so large is is both ridiculous and apt, this is pretty much the best Legion story I’ve read in a long while, even though it’s clearly a Superman story guest-starring the characters; a darkening of the team that doesn’t destroy the characters as much as pull them into another world. Gary Frank’s art continues to impress, as well, although he definitely likes to make characters do the “Oh!” face with lots of teeth, doesn’t he? Nonetheless, this is Very Good stuff.

ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL #1: Capturing the wonky dystopia feel of the TV show better than the Buffy comic does, I think – although maybe the Buffy comic is a better comic overall? – this was another happy surprise. It’s in no way perfect; there are things that I think need to be clearer, both in terms of writing and art, and jumping into the middle of the story with the intention of clearing things up afterwards makes for a slightly dizzier ride for those of us who don’t remember exactly how the show ended, but it’s Good enough to make me want to try the next issue out.

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #8: I’m not sure how many ways that I can continue to say that this is an Excellent book without boring people and sounding repetitive but, well, it’s an excellent book. Mark Waid manages to introduce both the current Flash family set-up and rebooted Doom Patrol to new readers fast enough that there’s also space for a one issue adventure with threads that stretch backwards and forwards throughout the series, while George Perez’s art just pulls the reader through the story beautifully. This is really how all superhero comics should be.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #32: …Apart, of course, from superhero comics like this. Ignoring the pouting Black Widow cover and you’re left with a book that’s becoming more and more like Ed Brubaker’s Sleeper every month. That’s not a bad thing, though; this is probably the best superhero ensemble book around right now, even if it’s less superhero and more spy with every issue. Steve Epting’s artwork, too, is a wonderful blend of grit and dynamism, giving you a Very Good book that kind of makes you hope that Steve Rogers is never coming back. Also, hypnotized Sharon? Kind of scary.

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #23: When even Newsarama is comparing this book to a snuff movie – seriously, check out Matt’s interview with Dan Didio from last Friday – then you know that something’s gone wrong. This issue, it’s giving over almost the entire issue to two characters who have barely been seen in the series before and trying to make us believe that they’ve been very important to the more-than-half-the-series that they’ve not been in. It’s so out-of-left-field, and so poorly executed, that it just doesn’t work, and makes you wonder whether we’re going to see even more pointless cameos and new characters show up if reception to the book continues to be bad. Awful, despite Tom Derenick’s better-than-usual art.

Tomorrow: Who is? What is? What If?!?

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