First up from Image, we have Skull Kickers #6. Titled Four Tavern Tales, this issue gives us a few short stories about our favorite blundering, mid-evil mercenaries. I enjoyed this little break before the series goes into another arc in May. Despite being handled by a bunch of different talent, the characters maintained their patented humor I enjoy. Of course bringing this book up again forces me to mention Marshall Dillon, the letterer of the series, who's work really makes every issue worth my cash.
Next up is Uptight #3, from Fantagraphics. Staying true to form, we are presented with two new stories (the first chapter in a tale of a couple drifting apart and one about a child's adventures when kicked out of class) along with a great cover. So far, this is my favorite issue of the series with the two stories presenting a nice contrast in both art and style that really appeals to me. Looking forward to picking up the fourth issue at my local shop next week but I think that is the last one they have.
Heading over to DC we have Justice League: Generation Lost #20. After last issue's killer ending, this one splices in large chunks of Max Lord's past as the League looks to avenge their fallen comrade. Really liked Judd Winick's story that let us into the past of the "villain" but the art was not the best of the series. While nothing is final in comics, I really didn't except the book to take this turn of one of them dying and am looking forward to what it closes with in the home stretch.
Teen Titans #92 is our only other book from DC this week, finishing up the crossover with Red Robin. The team confronts Calculator prime causing bad blood on both sides to come to the surface. Overall, I didn't really enjoy this issue or the crossover. The dialogue felt a little hokey and hammed up while the art was fine in some places but terribly rough in others for no reason. I am interested to see how the resulting cast change effects the book though, even if I didn't particularly want it to happen.
Moving on to Marvel we have Secret Avengers #10. Eyes of the Dragon concludes as the team enacts their plan to rescue Shang Chi and take down the Shadow Council. Dig the art here, from Mike Deodato and Will Conrad, but the slow build from Ed Brubaker's story just didn't have a satisfactory pay off for me.We get a lot of action but little character development which is more of what I was looking for in the book. It's not a bad title but I feel like it might read better in trade form, so I might try that for the next arc.
Stepping into the Age of X we have the first two chapters of it, X-Men: Legacy #245 (ch.1) and New Mutants #22 (ch.2). In Legacy a familiar, yet different, group of mutants defend their citadel from human attackers but not everyone survives the encounter. I think this was a great beginning for this X-over between Legacy and New Mutants. At first I was a little annoyed by some of the less obvious characters not having their names properly shown but grew to love the detective work of finding out who they are. Really liking the world Mike Carey is creating here and the art of Clay Mann that is being used to fill it. Over in New Mutants, Legacy (the character) starts doing a little detective work of her own, trying to find out what their escaped prisoner was looking for outside Fortress X's defenses. Much like ch.1, I like the world Carey is building with his story, something of mystery for both the reader and Legacy. Unlike the first issue though, I was not to fond of Steve Kurth's pencils here but they weren't really deal breaking either. Overall, I'm sold on Age of X and am looking forward to next month's installments. Also, wanted to give Marvel and the X-editors a commendation for toning down the scope of this event. It is, at most, only 3 issues each month and that is something I wouldn't mind seeing more of in future events.
In the non-Age of X land, Uncanny X-Men continues it's Quarantine storyline with issue #533. Shaw and Frost get a bit physical while the only other X-Men not sick on Utopia crash Lobe's investor party. Just the opposite of Secret Avengers, the slow boil of this story line starts to pay off here and will most likely continue through the end of the arc. Fraction and Gillen's narrative seemed a bit over packed in the first couple issues but it is making for better resolution in these final ones. As usual, Greg Land's art gives us something pretty to look at and only adds to the appeal of this book.
Concluding Fantastic Four, we have the final issue #588 (although it will probably change back somewhere down the line.) The first part of the book presents a month of mourning for the remaining members of Marvel's first family, done without any dialogue, while the back-up feature has Spider-Man consoling Franklin Richards over what it's like to lose an uncle. While I really liked the Uncles story (written by Hickman with art by Mark Brooks), the main feature was just ok. Parts of it were enjoyable, while others felt forced or unnecessary especially in the art department. Don't think I'm going to be picking up the new FF series regularly but I might give #1 a shot.
From IDW we have Kill Shakespeare #9. Hamlet, the prophesied Shadow King, comes face to face with the title bard. Another fantastic issue in this limited series! While not to much physically happened, Andy Belanger's art and panel structure looked great doing it. Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col's introduction of Shakespeare and the part he will play in the rest of the series wets the appetite just as much and I look forward to the last few issues.
Vertigo brings us a one and done tale in the American Vampire universe in issue #12. Skinner Sweet takes in a road show which brings back fond memories of his time in the wild west. Not my favorite issue of the series, but still a fun one. Scott Synder's adds a little humanity and depth to Sweet without detracting from his blood thirsty persona. Danijel Zezelj's art was a descent fill in but I'm looking forward to getting Rafael Albuquerque back on interiors next issue, when our favorite blood suckers get involved in WWII.
Going from one bucket of blood to gallons of the stuff, we have Crossed: Psychopath #1. Meet Harold Lorre, one of the few humans left who hasn't Crossed, as he joins up with a group of survivors. The problem is, however, Harold is psychotic already (he is the title character, don't you know) and adept at hiding it. Being the big fan of the Crossed universe that I am, it should come as no surprise that I really enjoyed this book. The aspect that sets it apart from previous Crossed issues and other post apocalyptic works, is us seeing it from the mind of someone already deranged. David Lapham (the writer) knows how to keep the Crossed world new with fresh ideas and I can't wait to see what else he has in store for us in this crazy book.
Narrowly beating Crossed out for the top spot this week is Namor: The First Mutant #7. Continuing his voyage through Hell, Namor is losing his way but his allies (now including Doctor Doom) aren't about to let him go with out a fight. This book, and this issue in particular, manage to do everything right with a solo superhero title. Month in and month out Stuart Moore presents us with interesting stories that not only get to the core of who this character is but also build a supporting cast that is just as interesting. In perfect harmony, Ariel Olivetti's art visualizes this world and characters superbly while getting a little help in that department from Phil Noto's great covers. I said it earlier this week on twitter, but this is seriously the best mainstream title no one else is reading or at least not talking about if they are. So next time you're in your local shop, pick up an issue so we can keep this gem on the stands.
That is it for this week but as usual comments, critiques, and suggestions can be left below or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Looks like I am going to have a short stack next week so I might grab something new to check out for the blog.