Unlike last week, when Atom‘s spotlight on the digestive system put me off my salad, somehow I knew not to read Tales of the Unexpected #1 while eating. The Spectre lead (written by David Lapham, pencilled by Eric Battle, inked by Prentis Rollins) was sufficiently gory and filled with ironic punishments, but it seemed to take a while to get to the point and it wasn’t as philosophical — even indirectly — as the recent miniseries. On the other hand, the Dr. Thirteen story (written by Brian Azzarello, drawn by Cliff Chiang) was a neat start to what looks like an enjoyable little arc. Yes, the schtick of a guy who doesn’t believe in any of the fantastic things happening all around him strains credulity (appropriately enough), but this story was funny and I’d like to see more.
I think I may have mentioned my difficulties distinguishing between the two warring sides in the latest JLA Classified arc (#28 written by Howard Chaykin, pencilled by Kilian Plunkett, inked by Tom Nguyen), but I’m not that concerned about it. The zippy Chaykin dialogue really propels this story, driving home the point that the JLA needs to lie low and keep out of what can’t be a good situation. Of course, the plot keeps entangling the League more and more, so that by the end of the issue, everybody’s in some kind of costume, even if they’re not very colorful. I have to wonder too if Superman’s disguise is meant to reference Neo explicitly….
Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #30 (written by Stuart Moore, pencilled by Jamal Igle and Stephen Sadowski, inked by Keith Champagne) finds part of our happy little band attempting to infiltrate Hewitt Industries, while Jason and Gehenna check out a Hewitt lab out in the jungle. However, it all starts with a One Year Earlier prologue featuring Lorraine’s announcement that she’s running for Congress, and it made me wonder — will her unabashed liberalism spark a flurry of angry letters to the editor (“Keep your politics out of my funnybook!”), or does it have so few readers that they wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize its health? Anyway, that only lasts for a few pages, and the rest is some genial skullduggery on the part of Lorraine, Martin, and Mikhail, compared to some sweet-but-slightly-creepy flirting between Jason (who’s 19) and Gehenna (who has the body and mind of a 17-year-old but who’s chronologically only 6). I don’t see this book on DC’s January schedule, and I hope it’s just a temporary hiatus.
Green Lantern Corps #5 (written and pencilled by Dave Gibbons, inked by Michael Bair) focuses on Guy’s shore-leave misadventure, but takes an abrupt turn away from it to put Guy in the middle of another assignment, on a living-city planetoid with a newbie Lantern. The issue also catches up with some other ongoing subplots, including Soranik Natu getting some closure thanks to Mogo. That last contains an unfortunate visual transition from Mogo’s globe to Soranik’s … globe. It could have been just a Watchmen-inspired pun, but it’s still disturbing. Anyway, I’m interested to see how, or even whether, Gibbons will draw these threads together. I was looking forward to Guy pounding on Bolphunga once he got his ring back, and I got something else entirely.
Finally, it’s a few weeks late (for me, at least), but She-Hulk #12 (written by Dan Slott, pencilled by Rick Burchett, inked by Cliff Rathburn) was pretty good. If you’ve read it, you know about the climactic revelation, so I’ll just say that Slott and Burchett (and Rathburn too) are very complementary, much like Slott and Ty Templeton were on Spider-Man/Human Torch. Also, the revelation was explained so well that even I, the casual Marvel reader, could appreciate it.