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The focused totality of my psychic powers: Graeme finishes off 10/17.

Graeme McMillan

If it’s Tuesday*, it’s the last minute round-up of other things that I’ve read this past week. Not everything that I’ve read, of course, because I don’t think anyone wants to know the fruit of my “I must read lots of Claremont X-Men from when I was a kid” labors but, you know. Thank heaven for small mercies, and all that. Still – Hey kids! Comics!

COUNTDOWN #28: And now, almost halfway into the entire series, comes the first “I didn’t see that coming” moment of the entire thing (A fact not helped by the fact that so much of the series to this date was revealed in advertisements, solicitations or interviews ahead of time). It wasn’t even something I didn’t see coming at all, just something that I didn’t see coming for awhile; Monarch capturing the “challengers of the beyond” or whatever they’re called (and Grant Morrison should complain about his name being stolen, bastardized, and used for such an uninspiring group of characters, really). For a second, I got optimistic about the rest of the series, thinking “Maybe now, things will start to happen and it’ll start to be interesting,” but then I thought about everything else that happened in the issue, and realized that this was probably just fluke. For now, in that case, this remains pretty much Eh.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #31: Ed Brubaker steps into Chris Claremont’s favorite world of mind control – I’d forgotten how much he loved Malice from the Marauders, you know – and produces something much more disturbing than women turning evil and telling everyone around them how freeing it feels (For me, it was Sharon being the nurse; there’s something about that that really unsettled me, for some reason). There’s a lot to be said for the way that Brubaker’s turned this book into an ensemble piece since the death of Steve Rogers, and the cliffhanger of this issue makes me wonder whether the “new” Captain America that we’re being promised is going to be a new good guy protagonist, or a mind-controlled Bucky that the rest of the cast are going to have to deal with. Very Good, still.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #14: Is Dwayne McDuffie really apologizing for Ed Benes’ art a couple of times, or am I reading into it? First, you get Lex Luthor’s “It’s unconscionable, isn’t it?” following the double-page spread of Wonder Woman, Black Canary and Vixen tied up and displaying tits and ass, and then, following a panel where Black Lightning zaps two women, causing them to arch their backs and, again, display t’n’a to the audience, he says “It looks a lot worse than it actually is.” If that’s just a coincidence, it’s a weird and amusing one. Outside of that, this was a slow third chapter to a story that hadn’t really built up that much momentum to begin with, with a central idea that we’ve seen too many times before. It’s still better than Brad Meltzer, but somehow I expected more than just Okay.

MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 #1: Dammit. I wanted to dislike this book on principle. It shouldn’t work, after all; there’s no real plot to think about, and everything runs on dark humor and a sense of comedic foreboding instead of any kind of plot logic, but somehow, it’s still enjoyable even though the joke stopped being funny a long time ago… I don’t understand why, but surprisingly Good.

X-MEN: EMPEROR VULCAN #2: Hey, it’s the old “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” plot! Good to see the X-Men books reuse this old and somewhat tired trope, and arguably better to see that it still works, to an extent; this may be a firmly B-list spin-off book, but it’s nonetheless solidly Good. Maybe Annihilation: Conquest and Green Lantern have put me in the mood to read more space opera, or maybe my Claremont-immersion is starting to skew the quality control of my mind…

But what did the rest of you think?

(* – I had originally written Monday. Even though I know it’s Tuesday. Apparently a lack of sleep and posting first thing in the morning doesn’t help me with my calendaring.)

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