Everybody Gets The Cold Sometimes: Graeme returns to do 2/6

This one is for Ian Brill, who complained to me last night that we here at Savage Critics weren't being timely enough any more. It's true; I didn't mean to disappear for a week, but I got both a cold and swamped down with everything else and left you all to wonder just how good the latest issue of "Brand New Day" was, and I apologize for that. On the plus side, it was a slow week...

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #549: Marc Guggenheim takes over the writing reins on the reboot Spidey and manages to make it even more of a trip in the Way Back Machine. Never mind the return of thought balloon exposition (which, possibly because of my age, worked better for me that caption narration last issue), look at the captions written in fluent 1970s Marvel: "So set your tongue on waggin'"? Really? Nonetheless, it's fun enough, with Sal Larocca's artwork less annoyingly photoreferenced than it was in, say, newuniversal. A high Okay, in other words.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #11: If only for the fake-out with the itchy neck, Good. Luckily, the rest of the book lives up to that scene, with Whedon and Jeanty managing to do a fine done-in-one that also introduces the new big bad of the season. Buffy as a character is much less annoying without the presence of Sarah Michelle Gellar, as it turns out.

CLANDESTINE #1: More old school from Alan Davis, this book fights it out for the title of "Most Chris Claremont Influenced title" with UNCANNY X-MEN #495. Whereas Davis does his best to create intrigue and tension with his cast of mostly cyphers, there's little here for anyone outside of his impressive art; the story is muddled by trying to cram in too much backstory and not enough plot, with dialogue that is Claremont-esque in the wrong way (too stylized, but without his rhythms). Depending on your feelings about Davis as an artist, you may or may not find it as Eh as I did. Uncanny X-Men, on the other hand, sees Ed Brubaker reaching out to a few Claremont/Byrne era ideas (The image inducer for Nightcrawler? The Savage Land?) but using them in such a way to remind you why the series used to be so awesome. Yeah, the speedy reveal that - hey! The X-Men haven't really broken up at all! They're just on vacation! - made me feel, again, like Messiah Complex's lasting effects were all on the marketing side of the franchise instead of story, but this was still a plain old-fashioned, fun, Good read.

METAL MEN #6: In the running for "densest read on the superhero racks" right now, this book feels completely impenetrable when not read alongside earlier issues for the most part... but when it is read with them, it's wonderful, a rare case of something exceeding the Morrison concepts it was built on. When it's a trade, people will love it; as a serial, it's confusing as all hell. Okay for now, then.

TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE #2: Back when we did Pick of The Week here, this would easily claim the crown. It's not just Amy Wolfram's scripting, giving each of the characters their own personality in a couple of lines (I love the cowardly Aqualad, for some reason) and letting them react to each other and the situation organically, but Karl Kerschl's truly outstanding artwork, cartoony and kinetic, fits the writing and the characters to a T. Really feeling like an all ages book instead of something written for kids and/or fanboys, this is Very Good and something that more superhero comics should try and take a leaf out've.

Next week: Is it wrong of me to be really, really excited by the prospect of Booster Gold crossing over with Zero Hour? Or the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby "Lost" Fantastic Four? And if it is, do I want to be right?