Action Comics #828. DC. Gail Simone (writer); John Byrne (penciller); Nelson (inker); Guy Major (colorist); Rob Leigh (letterer).
Okay, we all know why you’re picking this up: Byrne. Sure, he’s not writing it this time around, but Simone’s not doing a bad job here. Giving Dr. Polaris a nice psychotic break and amping up his powers (messing with the electromagnetic spectrum and cutting Supes off from solar radiation)–a very nice touch. But, Byrne. Byrne’s work looks better here than it has in a long time. The art is extremely crisp and clean and the “camera shots” are superb. I don’t know art, so forgive me if I’m botching this up, but I think he’s gone back to a thinner line and that’s why everything looks so sharp. Byrne can be solid as hell on his own but paired with Nelson’s inking, the whole damn thing is pretty good. Much better than the title’s been in a long while.

Atomika #3. Speakeasy. Andrew Dabb (writer); Sal Abbinanti (penciller); Buzz (inker); Christian Strain & Beth Sotelo (colorists); Dave Sharpe (letterer).
Okay. Yeah. I don’t get it. And Abbinanti’s art isn’t helping. Imagine if Bill Sienkiewicz and Sam Kieth had a kid and they couldn’t draw a character’s face the same way twice.

Fables #38. DC/Vertigo. Bill Willingham (writer); Mark Buckingham (penciller); Steve Leialoha (inker); Daniel Vozzo (colorist); Dave Sharpe (Todd Klein).
Boy Blue continues his path of carnage on his way to kill the Emperor. And of course, there are some lovely surprises along the way because, frankly, Willingham knows his shit. Buckingham’s art is still very solid and Leialoha’s inking style has never been more transparent–which is good. This title continues to be the current flagship for Vertigo, when all else is lapsing into mediocrity or just plain boredom. Nothing but surprises here and like most issues, I can’t wait to see what the hell’s going to happen next. Read it if you’re not already.

The House of M #1. Marvel. Brian Michael Bendis (writer); Olivier Coipel (penciller); Tim Townsend (inker); Frank D’Amata (colorist); Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). It’s no secret that Marvel had a great success with Age of Apocalypse. So much so that they yanked Blink out for Exiles and revisited the 10th anniversary recently because, frankly, they haven’t had such an attention-getting event since. And yes, I’m counting the movies. Anyway, we all know it’s all about the marketing, and despite the fact that Avengers Dissassembled was hilarious ass, I tried to give this a read. It’s predictible. From the moment I picked up the book I knew that the reality-altering stuff was going to take place at the end of the first issue and the hook would be a final page where you get a clue as to what exactly has happened. It’s too early to tell if the book will rise above its intent, but the good news is Bendis has worked out the writing-for-a-team kinks that he was exhibiting while blowing up the Avengers and the dialogue in here is nice. He does know how the characters work, and an exchange between Spidey and Wolverine as to how berserk heroes should be handled is pretty much on the nose. Coipel’s artwork is basically what would happen if Chris Bachalo were a little less fantastic in his work, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyway, it all depends on where the series goes from here. It’s a helluva lot better than DC’s morass of “event books,” though.

The Ultimates 2 #6. Marvel. Mark Millar (writer); Bryan Hitch (penciller); Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary (inkers); Laura Martin (colorist); Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). Watching Hank Pym have his life go down the shitter is amusing. The Ultimate Defenders are amusing. The Valkyrie punchline was very amusing. But why oh why do we have to have a traitor to the team? I don’t mind that plot bit in itself, but isn’t it kind of sad when you’ve got the same thing going on over in New Avengers? I mean…don’t you guys have meetings?