The Helmet of Fate makes its final stop across the DCU with an agent of God in The Helmet of Fate: Zauriel #1. Now I know that demons are supposed to be so much cooler than angels because they're all badass rebels and such, but this one-shot really proves that even a "do-gooder" angel can be an interesting and downright funny character to read. It was particularly amusing to watch Zauriel get bamboozled by a horde of ten-year-olds with questions about God. Good stuff.
Outsiders #46 continues its flashback story when Black Lightning was incarcerated and the Outsiders debated breaking him out. There wasn't a whole lot of action in this issue except for Captain Boomerang getting beaten up in prison, but the dialogue was fantastic. The post-sex dialogue between Grace and Thunder about the nature of her bisexuality was great for character development and it was ultimately very touching. No pun intended. Hooray for inter-racial superhero same-sex bisexual romance!
A great mini-series came to an end with Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters #8 of 8, and I was really sorry to see it end. It takes some solid writing to make an interesting hero out of an old Army recruitment poster, and this mini-series did just that. Black Condor and Human Bomb have to be my favorite of the new team, even though the busty and often-drunk Phantom Lady's real name makes me giggle every time I read it. Stormy Knight. Hee hee. My only problem with the conclusion to this series was that a huge national conspiracy reaching to the very top levels of the United States government that had been built up for eight issues was basically deconstructed and wiped out in about four pages. I have no problems with tying up all loose ends at the end of a story, but I feel like it could've been stretched out a little longer. Ultimately this was a very enjoyable mini-series with great characters, witty dialogue and awesome artwork. If you haven't been following the single issues, pick up the trade paperback when it comes out. You won't regret it.
It's the showdown with the big baddies in Justice League of America #6, which finally brings together the new roster of this classic superteam. While he's got one hell of a stupid name, Amazo is certainly an impressive supervillain for the entire Justice League. I for one enjoyed the impact of Vixen's entrance, though I found her inner monologue to be a bit corny this issue. This title has some great writing, downright awesome artwork (yay gratuitous butt-shots) and a roster of classic superheroes and newcomers. Pick this one up.
The All-New Atom #9 floored me. It floored me last month and the month before. I don't know how this series keeps getting more enjoyable as it goes, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. This issue stands out for me because of the spot-on portrayal of school life as a nerd, outcast, target and lovesick schoolboy. Combine that with the growing cast of extremely unique and likeable characters (the floating alien head roommate and the anagram-dropping taxi driver), fantastic writing and the old-fashioned goodness that comic books are made of, and you have one title that you absolutely cannot afford to miss. I absolutely love this book. Gail Simone, if you're reading, I'd kiss you if you'd let me. Mwah.
The jaw-dropping Planet Hulk saga is nearing its conclusion in The Incredible Hulk #104. This issue makes use of one of the great tricks of writing... build up something absolutely beautiful and good so when you smash it into a million pieces it's that much more affecting. It's been a real treat to watch the Hulk rise up from slave to gladiator to rebel to empire-toppler to King and rebuild a war-torn alien world. Things were looking so good. Really. Until that very last page. Oh man. No wonder World War Hulk is on the horizon.
SHAZAM! & The Monster Society of Evil #2 is a real treat to read. The great thing about Captain Marvel is that he's an honest-to-goodness superhero that represents everything wondrous, fantastic and magical about the superhero genre. While I'm a fan of reality in my comic books, not every freaking superhero story has to be so mired in gritty realism that they lose their, well, superhero-ness. This issue has talking circus monsters, a benevolent tiger mentor, and the discovery of Billy Batson's little sister. It was really enjoyable to watch her embrace her new role without a lot of pesky inner monologue and doubt. Just a simple "Oh cool!" and it's off we go. That's the spirit of this series, and it's a breath of fresh air. Say the magic word already! SHAZAM!
But speaking of dark and gritty stories, week fourty-four of 52 is altogether tragic, foreboding and unfortunately expected. As compelling a character as Black Adam is, I really didn't think his utopian Kahndaq would last. It was still painful to watch everything come crumbling down around him in one freaking day. That's been the most affecting thing about this series... after spending fourty-odd weeks with some of these characters, it's that much more disturbing when they're simply and suddenly killed in the span of one page. Still, as sad as I am for Black Adam, it was a bit nice to see that "I am going to kill everyone in the world" look back on his face again.