The Dead Hand #5 – Higgins / Mooney / Bellaire / Cowles (Image)
Quite a lot of this issue is given over to explaining who Roger is and why there’s a whole fake American town hanging out in Siberia, as well as laying out more of the relationships between the principals of the story. It’s decent as far as it goes, but it’s kind of a weak, backward-looking issue with no real action to prick the present-day plot along. This book is at a real risk of getting bogged down. A lot will depend on how the cliffhanger at the end of this issue plays out in the next, which I’m still intrigued enough to check out.
Exiles #6 – Ahmed / Reis / Caramagna (Marvel)
Thank goodness this book is multiverse-hopping again. After a brief interlude of peace, Blink starts to feel troubled that she has lost track of her old team. As her new team resolves to help, the tallus yanks them into a version of the old west where Magneto’s Brotherhood is a gang of outlaws, with T’Challa on their trail. The conceit is kind of goofy but this team pulls it off with aplomb. Valkyrie comes off particularly well. Arc transition issues can be awkward, but this one is pacey and has great action.
My Hero Academia vol. 14 – Horikoshi (Shounen Jump)
The provisional hero license exam and the creation of “shoot style” were exceptionally weak chapters of this manga, to the point that I considered bailing after I finished vol 13. In this instance, I was well served by my habit of hanging on for a bit after I think a book has gone bad, because Horikoshi manages to turn it around. The starting brawl between Izuku and Kacchan is visually dynamic but emotionally a retread, so it’s fortunate the book basically ignores Bakugo’s existence afterwards, in favor of introducing a character who is a more natural fit to be All Might’s heir. While the book has spent a lot of time musing over Izuku’s physical inability to match All Might, it hasn’t really touched on the fact that he also lacks All Might’s emotional lightness and joy. It’s interesting to run into characters who highlight and resent that. The new villain seems boring, alas. Still, glad I stuck around.
Outpost Zero #2 – McKeever / Tefenkgi / Beaulieu / Maher (Image)
Well, considering the magnitude of the event that closed out issue #1, it’s to be expected that the bulk of this issue is focused on the crew’s reactions to that. I felt that the emotions of the characters were laid out really well, but the lack of action or revelations may make this issue seem a bit of a drag. A continuing sore point with this book is that one of the characters is almost laughably unsympathetic, and McKeever hasn’t really managed to pull off the trick of getting us to see why he behaves the way he does. As a standalone issue this is not great; this book may be one of those that’s best to grab in trades.
Titans #24 – Abnett / Peeples / Santorelli / Plascencia / Sharpe (DC)
At one point in Titans #24 a character says “I don’t care what you think but soon enough you will care by the time I’m done.” Not every line is quite as big a disaster, but… man, this book is a mess. The concept is worn, the action is poorly staged, the issue-ending twist is inexplicable, and it’s not clear if the people who made this book even read it. Sorry, BB, but this time hanging on did not pay off. I’m done with this one.