Comic Reviews: 8/28/06

Blue Beetle #6 Well, it's a step up from last issue, but we're only on issue 6 and we can't keep a regular artist? This issue Jaime and the gang bust into a hero prison camp that is not all that it seems to be. It sounds silly, but I liked it when Jaime was figuring out his new powers and hanging out with his friends and family. Now that he's running with a gang, I just don't like him as much anymore. Next issue promises to reveal what the Blue Beetle armor is all about, so I'll give this title a few more chances. Fables #52 We begin the "Homelands Strike Back" arc as the Adversary and company hold a meeting to determine what to do about the upstart fables. Fables is one of the few comics that can play with political intrigue without forsaking the characters.

52 #16 The marriage of Black Adam and Isis is threatened by a suicide bomber. I think the stories are moving forward a little better now as the authors put a little more meat into each issue. It helps that the god-awful History of the DCU backup is over and the story has a little more room to develop. I do agree with other critics that trying to make each issue represent an actual week was either a mistake or has been horribly mismanaged. Still, for all the grief this title gets, it keeps me interested.

Hawkgirl #55 This title, on the other hand, is just going nowhere. Heavyhitters Simonson and Chaykin just seem unable to make this work. Last issue was a brief ray of hope, but when the half-hearted subplots are better than the main storyline, you know you're in trouble. The only thing good here is the psuedo-cheesecake art.

Secret Six #3 Here's another book that unfortunately borrowed it's title from elsewhere purely for sales (although it's been at least 30 years since the original Six were popular). In any case, this mercenary band of villains is intriguing group, even though I'm not certain I know why they are together or what the point of the story is. It seems their main nemesis is Vandal Savage, a character I've never liked, who is detracting them from their main goal of making money. It's a mess, but I'm enjoying it nevertheless, as it wants to be the Suicide Squad for the new milennium.

Ultimates Annual #2 I almost didn't pick this up because it was not written by Ultimates' regular writer. But Huston and artist Deodato actually pull off a great story. Cap and the Falcon take on Arnim Zola as he tries to turn the Western world into his genetic slaves. The first few pages of this book are crap, but once Cap and Falc get on the road together, their uneasy alliance becomes an interesting journey into the state of race relations.

Jack of Fables #2 After the exposition-heavy issue 1, this one sped along at a much better pace. Although there's still exposition, making Jack the narrator makes all the difference. Jack is figuring out his prison camp and meeting various American myths. And while he's a bit more arrogant than I remember him being in the core Fables book, his roguish charm is what keeps the book from bogging down.