Worst to first: 1/31/07

A decent week, despite relatively few books coming out. Of six books, DC took three, Marvel two and Archaia Studios Press took one. As per usual, there are a couple mixed in that I simply missed during previous weeks. So, in case you were wondering, I’m still dumb. Of note: most of what I picked up are mini-series either hitting the last issue or nearing the end of a run. Now, to the reviews:

Six: 52 #39

We’re back in build-up mode, which means lots of little periphery stuff going on, but mostly just deepening-of-the-various-mysteries sort of stuff. Don’t take the low placement as a sign this was a bad book, though. It just faced heady competition. I like the interplay of mad scientists, though it still seems a bit under-baked. At least we get some potential superheroics from Magnus. I don’t like the chaotic “52 dropping” that just seems far too disparate. I do like that we’re soon to see Black Adam kicking ass. I also do like Luthor’s big reveal, just not that it was spoiled on the cover yet again. And, for the first time all series, the origin story was interesting enough for me to read.

Five: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #7

Last issue was just bad. This one takes a big step up, largely leaving the political grandstanding aside for a disappointingly minor fight but a solid build-up to the major fight to come in the penultimate (that means last, right?) issue.

Four: Criminal #4

Forgot to grab this last week and almost didn’t pick it up this week. I’m a harsh judge when it comes to following a series, and I don’t like to spend too much on comics. The first three issues were sort of back and forth, but this one is solid throughout. And, unlike some others, I find Sean Phillips’ art to be perfectly fitting of the desperate and seedy tone of Ed Brubaker’s writing. Also, the letters column at the back is worth reading to learn more of how one of comics’ elite writers goes about his job.

Three: Daredevil #93

I’ll post my thoughts on this one come Saturday, as it is our Book of Doom for the week. But, a minor spoiler: I liked it a hell of a lot more than Wolverine #50.

Two: Batman and the Mad Monk #6

Matt Wagner’s Batman tales go out with a bang, and some blood, and some trippy voodoo, and the typical casting away of Bruce Wayne’s ladyfriend. The final battle was a little quick, but Wagner worked in some nice moments for both Batman and his villain.

I really wonder how this series and Batman and the Monster Men will be remembered many years from now, when compared with Year One, Long Halloween and Dark Victory, the greats of early Batman stories. Right now, I’d say Wagner’s books lie just a peg below those, if only because Year One will always be revered as the “origin” book and Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s books are designed as epics.

One: Mouse Guard #6

I’m not sure when this came out, but I picked it up this week. This book has gotten a ton of praise, but every bit of it is deserved. David Petersen shows that you can spin a great comic out of a fairly simple plot, and he draws animals with the best of them. The great news is that if you missed the individual issues, Archaia Studios Press will be coming out with a TPB in April (it’s listed in the latest Previews). And even better, Petersen will also be putting out a second six-issue run called “Winter.”