The Dead Hand #4 – Higgins / Mooney / Bellaire / Cowles (Image)
This is a hard issue to say much about because it’s mostly absorbed with the plot mechanics necessary for Harriet to finally see who the dead hand is. Higgins smartly inserts the shootout in the spaceplane hangar between scenes of Harriet walking out on her mother and Harriet hiding in the back of the truck, because the logic of the whole thing doesn’t work particularly well. I loved the color work in the shootout, although again the amount of gunplay seems a little high. Nonetheless, the tension is ratcheting up nicely, as the town’s secrets start to get exposed, Roger’s systems begin to fail, and the spies draw nearer.
Exiles #5 – Ahmed / Rodriguez / Lopez / Caramagna (Marvel)
The real draw of this series has been the loopy alternate universes Blink’s team has gone to visit, and the absence of that sense of the bizarre is keenly felt in this arc-capping issue. The Exiles have found the villain who has been eating the multiverse so there’s no time to explore alternate realities. That alone would probably make this my least favorite issue so far, but I also just didn’t care for some of the events. Sabretooth’s cameo should have been skipped, and Khan’s death felt like a box-ticker rather than something supported by the drama or necessitated by the plot. The final assault with an army of Blinks and the pirate crews is great, as is Lil’ Wolvie, but overall I felt this was a weaker issue than the previous four. I’ll look forward to the next issue, when this book gets back to the universe-hopping it does best.
Outpost Zero #1 – McKeever / Tefengki / Beaulieu / Maher (Image)
A sci-fi tale set on a failing human colony on an icy planet that has lost touch with human civilization (if that even exists anymore). The focus of the story is a group of kids who are just about to be pushed into working for the colony. There’s an interesting subtext in that most of them are taking “aptitude tests” but somehow they end up doing the same jobs as their parents. The issue does a good job of drawing the kids and showing their relationships and motivations, except for the blond jerk. It also sets up mystery boxes it doesn’t need and that I frankly don’t care all that much about. That said, it’s got its hooks in me and I’ll be picking up the next issue.
Titans #23 – Abnett / Peterson / Plascencia / Sharpe (DC)
You can blame this on my lingering weakness for Beast Boy, without whom I probably wouldn’t have pulled this issue and despite whom I’m unlikely to pull any more. This new run kicks off with a sort of bare-bones motw that sends the power levels over 9000 to come up with a villain that threatens this multiply-redundant team of powerful heavy hitters. Nightwing has nothing to do this issue other than spar with Miss Martian over the fact that this is his team, consarn it, and he’ll give the orders. Despite having everybody in everybody else’s head thanks to MM’s telepathic link, no other interesting interactions really come up. This book needs to either come up with cool problems or interesting team dynamics and neither of those is in evidence. Without them, there’s just no hook, and considering the art style isn’t my taste, this is a probable drop.