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There’s gonna be a loser and you know the next goal wins: Graeme finishes off 11/7.

Graeme McMillan

Watch for the symmetry in the reviews below. I wish I could say that I planned to begin and end on the same franchise, but really, it was just a trick of that goddamned alphabet…

ASTONISHING X-MEN #23: You know, that flashback where a scene from the previous issue is revisited, but this time you get to find out what really happened, would have worked much better if I had remembered that it was, in fact, a scene from the previous issue and not just a randomly double-lettered couple of pages. Of course, that would’ve meant that it would’ve had to have appeared in a timely manner, and that’s not so likely with this book. Which is a shame; the dialogue is still enjoyable and John Cassaday brings the pretty, but no matter how Okay it is, almost all of the plot momentum is entirely gone by this point and it feels less like an event than an afterthought.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON ZERO #3: The character moments are getting closer to those on the show, but the plot still feels far too generic without the interpersonal relationships between the core characters being as screwed up as they are by the time the show starts. Maybe there’s just no interest in this world before their apocalyptic event, because I just don’t really care that much about a prison break and Starbuck showing her ass to her comrades. Okay, but I want the Cylons back already.

COUNTDOWN SPECIAL: JIMMY OLSEN #1: And in less than eighty pages, Jack Kirby shows everyone how Jimmy Olsen stories should really be done – Fast, frantic and kind of dumb adventures with a boy who has no fear but just a lick of common sense. For all the unavoidable clunkiness in dialogue, these are comics that just sparkle with invention and color and joy; putting them under the Countdown banner does a disservice to both books – Countdown seems dull in comparison, and Jimmy Olsen deserves better than the fate he’s being given in that series. This one-shot, though? Very Good.

THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #10: Like Casanova, my only problem with this book is pretty much that it’s not weekly. I was tempted to make a joke about being able to tell that Brubaker’s involved by the fact that the lead character is missing throughout the entire issue and you barely notice, but the truth is that I am happy enough reading the weird martial arts fights, the business jokes (Oh, Hogarth…), and the mysterious, overblown narration without Iron Fist making an appearance. Danny can take his time coming back if it means more of this Very Good pulp stuff.

ROBIN #168: In which Peter Milligan makes the title character look like a jerk, and doesn’t quite manage the subtlety of characterisation of Batman’s son that Grant Morrison brings (Morrison’s Damien is whiny, yeah, but there’s still some sense of entitlement behind his whining; Milligan’s version just seems to miss out on the brattiness of the character at times). Otherwise, the second part of the Big Bat Crossover is as fluffy and Eh as the first – if you want to enjoy these books, you could, but there’s nothing compelling in them for others to really get their teeth into so far.

UNCANNY X-MEN #492: I’m not sure where Ed Brubaker’s subtlety goes when he writes the X-Men – the scene with the Beast in this issue practically sings “I am foreshadowing” in three-part harmony – but it works for him, nonetheless. As with the first chapter of Messiah Complex, this reminds me of nothing as much as a mutant books crossover from the 90s done right, with the overflow of generic characters not even seeming as offensive in the execution. I mean, I know intellectually that the new mutant child is pretty much a McGuffin at this point, but the melodrama and soap opera scenes of Cyclops and Xavier fighting is enough to pull me through the slugfest scenes. Only – for the second issue of this crossover, interestingly enough – the Predator X scenes feel like a bum note. A cautious Good, even if I don’t really find myself that bothered about the story itself.

Tomorrow: An embarrassment of riches, seriously. I don’t know what I’m more excited ab – Okay, I do. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together is going to make me very, very happy indeed.

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