Whew, I fell behind on my comics-reading while I was getting ready for (and recovering from) Wizard World Philadelphia. Let’s take a quick re-cap of some of the best and worst of the past couple weeks of comics. If you can’t read the words, click on the image for a larger view.

Best Confession

Amazing Spider-Man #598

Aside from a nice little nod to water-boarding in the metahuman world, we have this beautiful exchange between Spidey and Bullseye — who loses the Hawkeye threads to do some old-school torture on the Web Head. Spidey is wearing a special costume that Reed Richards designed for him that allowed him to infiltrate the Dark Avengers in Avengers Tower (“unstable molecules, blah, blah, blah…”). Osborn wants the mask off, but he needs the password — which Bullseye is offered $10 million if he can get it out of Spider-Man before dinner.

After the aforementioned meta-water-boarding, Parker confesses. The secret password is:


…Psi – isad…


You say it all together,” Spider-Man reveals.

Worst Confession

I bought Avengers / Invaders #12. I now have the entire set. And I haven’t read more than four pages of the entire series. What the hell is wrong with my head?

Best Frontal (Assault)

Avengers: The Initiative #25

They’ve done it about three times, but Moonstone tugging at her thong and complaining about the costume design for Ms. Marvel never fails to get a chuckle out of me. This issue takes it one step further.

Tigra slashes Ms. Moonstone in a getaway attempt. The divine Ms. M yells, “–Surprised me, but it’ll take more than that to hurt me, you little–“

But Tigra escapes as Ms. Moonstone is surrounded by paparazzi. It seems Tigra’s frontal assault was also a sneak attack.

Speaking of “sneaks,” check out the viewfinders on the photographers’ cameras.

This book is a must-read right now. Remember that little episode of naked shenanigans between Tigra and the Skrull Hank Pym during Secret Invasion? You were wrong if you think that was just a little something to throw to the furries in the audience. Tigra’s pregnant. And Norman Osborn wants the kid — dead or alive, pre- or post-birth — to run experiments on. He wants to develop shape-shifting technology. She wants to protect her unborn child. This should be epic storytelling.

I have to make my second embarrassing confession, here. I’m stuck completely against this whole pencils-only trend in comics. I like pencils-then-inks. Always. Always-always.

Except when Humberto Ramos is behind the pencil. The pencils-only visuals in this book were simply astounding. I might even admit that they were better than if they’d been inked.

I Might.

Worst Frontal Assault

Fantastic Force #3

“Oh dear god, will you let my mother put something on…?”

Bruce Robert Banner, Jr.

Ugh. This title went from intriguing to unintelligible in a single issue. I’ve read it twice and I still don’t know what the heck is happening. I’ll give it another ish, and then it’s on permanent “Pass” status.

Best Use of Spheres

Mighty Avengers #26

When Mr. Fantsastic finds himself covered in ants, courtesy of the Ant-Man, he pulls a move we simply don’t get to see Reed pull often enough…

This issue is full of nice moments like that. For example, Reed protects a crucial piece of equipment from Hank Pym (whom Reed considers as unstable as the molecules covering Sue’s invisible kiester) in a room that is built on the “dichotomy paradox of Zeno of Elea” which states:

“…that a traveller must always cover half the distance towards a goal before reaching it. Then half again. And so on to infinity. Thus the goal can never be reached,” explains Richards.

Pym solves the puzzle with a sonic extractor:

“Typical Reed. Builds a room nothing can cross…

…except the sound of his own voice.”

Best Use of Spheres, runner up

Amanda Conner and Adam Hughes, for the cover of Power Girl #2

‘Cause it made me buy issue #2 after skipping issue #1.

Hey. At least I admit it.

But I’m glad I did, because this is a wonderfully written and beautifully drawn book. And the story has an excellent hook. Put it on Pull, if you haven’t already.

That way, you won’t miss out on moments like the one in a flashback in which a kinky Satanna suggests a little furry love with the newly-minted Ultra-Humanite. (Hey, it worked for Marvel with the whole Tigra thing, right?)

Best F***in’ With Somebody’s Head

Dark Avengers #6

The cool, calm way that Norman Osborn hands a petulant Prince Namor his fin-covered arse ought to be required reading for anybody who has to manage hot-heads. I don’t think anyone is as well equipt to keep ol’ ankle-wings in check as Norman.

And if you think that’s impressive. He keeps an impatience Dr. Doom in line with a single sentence.

Doom, reacting to not being the center of attention during the Osborn-Namor bout chafes, “Why was I called here for this?”

Osborn: “Because, Victor, if I didn’t invite you to this meeting, you’d be asking why I didn’t invite you.”

I’m really digging the abilities of artists Mike Deodato and Will Conrad to communicate the raw emotions on Osborn’s face during this series, by the way. During Norman’s single outburst at Namor, I practically felt the page vibrate. That’s good art.

Worst F***in’ With Somebody’s Head

Hulk #12

The Defenders vs Offenders match-up ended pretty much the way everyone knew it would. Since the main characters were all pulled from different dimensions, it was pretty painless for writer Jeph Loeb to wrack up a body count in this series.

Painless for Jeph.

Painful for almost all of the others who got snuffed in this issue — most of whom met their ends by losing their heads. Tarrax, Namor, Silver Surfer, Dormammu all fall to head trauma. But none of these “headless cases” were as notable as Psycho Man’s curtain call.

Best Showdown

Dark Reign Fantastic Four #4

Venom vs. Valeria Richards.

The poor guy doesn’t stand a chance.

Valeria also showed her moxie in neutralizing Amadeus Cho in Mighty Avengers #26.

She set a feedback loop to his Ant-Man helmet: “EPIC FAIL! xoxo xaleria.richards@fan4.com

Hercules was so impressed, he composed a ballad on the spot.

There was a boy named Cho

whose most amazing foe

had blonde tresses

and wore dresses

wrapped in a pink bow.

Hercules had better hope she never decides to set her sites on him.

Unless he wants to find himself trussed by those tresses.

Hey! In god we trussed! I gotta save that for Saturday!

Lightning Round

Thunderbolts #133: Pretty standard Act Two issue. The scene is being set and the characters are being put into position. The invisible/intangible Ghost spies on the Black Widow II (actually the real deal B.W.) during a workout: “Show yourself,” she snaps.

“Hehh. How did you know it was me?” replies the Ghost.

“I could hear you breathing. And Ant-Man would have been breathing harder.”

Lethal Legion #1: I had this as a qualified “Pull” last week. The first issue is pretty good, and the story seems to be building. It’s still too early to tell, but it was actually way better than I had expected. But this is a three-issue series, which means things had better start happening soon.

Green Lantern #42: The Orange Lantern saga winds to a close (and not a moment too soon), setting up the Blackest Night storyline. I have very high expectations for this.

New Avengers: The Reunion #4: (The real) Hawkeye and Mockingbird are reunited, and back in a relationship. They’re not married, but they are in charge of a special black-ops-style team of West Coast Avengers. Same diff.

Ms Marvel #40: To quote Eric Burns, “you had me and then you lost me.” I loved the last issue. I can’t make heads-or-tails of this one.