The New Deadwardians is rapidly becoming one of my favourite books on the market, and each issue cements it further. It is certainly my favourite work of Dan Abnett to date. A history steeped in colonial massacre, the aristocracy and the working class separated by blood and a Christian vampire at its heart, doing his duty and examining himself, all the while surrounded by revolution, prostitutes and prejudice. Absolutely breathtaking.
FF may be treated as the poor cousin of Fantastic Four, but this issue shows why it's clearly superior. A mission to the Negative Zone, where Johnny Storm is still considered a major leader gives us an allegory of the way the USA treats the rest of the world. By fighting wars, settling peace treaties, encouraging democracy… but then getting very upset when democracy goes in a way that they no longer approve of. And the cycle begins again. And it's one being observed by children… who themselves come from interesting stock. Utterly rewarding.
It would be easy when talking about America's Got Powers to concentrate on the art, Bryan Hitch portraying the world and its vast array of characters in a thoroughly convincing fashion. But instead, here's a sample of the pure writing. With headlines ripped from today's newspapers and given the superchildren filter, mixing both the post-911 Western policies, centred on "hoodies" with the fascist policies of Nazi Germany branding its Jewish citizens with stars. Jonathan Ross' wife and children are Jewish people, he's talked about conferring with his wife over storylines, he wonn't have used this association of star branding by accident.
He also shows us that Bush lost his second Presidential election… but not to whom.
Grim Leaper, new from Image this week, is such a high concept. Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap meets Final. A man who is dead, reliving the life of someone else in his town – for the few hours until they die as well. Just what is going on? Will he find a way to escape this rather restricted reincarnation? And has he really jumped into the body of one of Britain's most famous TV magicians? (No).)
It looks like Wolverine And Uncanny X-Men also prefer a Captain America who keeps his shirt on, as we get another reprise of the scenes in Avengers Vs X-Men from a couple of weeks ago. Ostensibly to illustrate why Wolverine isn;t a bad guy from his own perspective. But mostly giving us a mix of snikty/non snikty behaviour over the various issues, that isn't exactly consistent…
While X-Men Legacy at least gives us some explanation as to why this comic has a hope of fitting into continuity with everything else. And a rather mean Hulked out Rogue. Lots and lots of Rogue but, again, a strangely superfluous Gambit.
And here we go with a new status quo for The Hulk. With Steve Dillon on art, making a rather fine PunisherMAX reunion for Dillon, Aaron and The Punisher. I hope we stay like this for some time, reversing the Bruce Jones take and having a Hulk trying to stop changing to the mad scientist Bruce Banner and wondering where he is every time he wakes. And giving us some Crank-like scenes to keep him with a green hue…
In this week's Animal Man Annual, we get a story from the past, with a nineteenth century Swamp Thing, alongside a fresh avatar of the Red, in a fight against the Rot that happened over a century ago.
And in the midst of the transdimensional shift of the different realities, we get a glimpse of what is to come. And, for Animal Man fans, it's not pretty. With flashbacks to that never-reprinted Marvelman Summer Special from Warrior…