Posted by Matt
Mostly new business with the X-Men as the rest of the comic world shakes off that last crossover...
AVENGERS ACADEMY 21 - I loved most of this issue. The plot is that the team of teenage superhero students has been so damaged by the Fear Itself event that they move west, reopen the Avengers West Coast compound, and invite a lot more people to join them, leading to significant paranoid jealousy on behalf of the original students. We're also treated to the shocking beginnings of a murder mystery and some great villains on the cliffhanger page. The part I didn't love was that the team paid very little attention to introducing the new team members. I know who Lightspeed is and am a little familiar with the new White Tiger (I think), but I could still use a refresher like a description of powers and a brief summary of their career thus far. Still, really looking forward to where this great new direction takes us.
NEW MUTANTS 33 - Most of this issue is spent with the team debating about whether to stay with Cyclops's team or move east with Wolverine after the two big guys get their bro-divorce. I'm not sold on all of the characterization, but the issue did a good job of building tension about the decision, and once the team gets their next assignment (finding one of my all-time favorite Age of Apocalypse refugees), the rest just becomes prologue.
UNCANNY X-MEN 1 - Cyclops's team got a weird deal here. They got the better writer, they got to keep the status quo setting which I have enjoyed, and they kept a couple of my favorite characters like Magik and Emma Frost. But overall, the team has some of the more boring characters, like Namor and Danger and Storm, and this book had a tough time keeping my interest. I still think I'm Team Cyclops, but I hope they find a way to get some new recruits and fast.
VILLAINS FOR HIRE 0.1 - Heroes For Hire was one of my favorite things to crawl out of Shadowland's rubble, and this issue sets the shift from a consistently entertaining team book to a new spin on the Thunderbolts. None of the Villains are actually mentioned beyond the Purple Man, so it feels like this issue is about saying goodbye to the old guard, and I'm surprised that I'm already missing them.
MOON KNIGHT 7 - The reveal in this issue of the new Kingpin of LA left me pretty nonplussed - I know the character, I don't especially like the character, but it's not a bizarre role for him. The writing and art on this book (beloved team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev) keep it running smoothly, and I forgive many things for the chance to let these two men tell me stories.
FEAR ITSELF: THE FEARLESS 2 - Valkyrie hunts down Hulk's hammer, only to find that the new team of supervampires has it, and Sin helps Crossbones find the Gargoyle's hammer in Paris. This high-energy scavenger hunt miniseries is not going to set the world on fire, but it's zipping along, covering lots of locales and characters, and demonstrating consistent storytelling from artists Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier. It's not going to be anyone's favorite book, but I really like reading it.
FEAR ITSELF 7.1 - Captain America finds out that one of the major deaths of Fear Itself is already invalidated, and though I do roll my eyes at how quickly that happened, this issue could fit seamlessly into Brubaker's best story arcs of Captain America, and as an issue, it works very well.
X-MEN 20 - I'm a little unclear what differentiates this book from Uncanny X-Men since the team has some distinct characters (like Jubilee and Domino) and some from the other title (like Storm and Colossus). This issue has Domino in trouble far from home, a team sent out to rescue her, and War Machine trying to keep them from starting an international incident. It's not a bad set-up, and I think I like the team a little better than the Uncanny team, but the other book has the better writer and artist, so I think this book comes in second. Still worth reading, but save it for later.