Happy Independence Day, Americans. Congratulations on getting rid of all those British bastards, other than those of us who came back years later because we, too, were sick of Britain. Do you mind if I take advantage of the day-later-new-comic-shipping to finish up with this week's books?
DAREDEVIL #98: Hey, look! She's not dead after all! Brubaker and team follow up on the advertised peril for Matt's wife Milla with a tense one-issue take on the "a hero pushed to the edge" theme that works because it is only one issue, and because it doesn't end the way you might expect. Good, but - and this is nitpicking - that cover was kind of generic and off-putting after some of the great ones we've seen lately, wasn't it?
FANTASTIC FOUR #547: Dwayne McDuffie, you are to be congratulated for taking a book like the FF, bringing it back to its old school roots and making it work - Finishing this issue with the explosion of... well, something, alongside a caption from the Wizard (of all people) proclaiming "the end of the Fantastic Four!" was a wonderfully welcome piece of cheese that capped off a pretty Good issue overall. McDuffie manages to convey the idea that the FF are an extended family rather than traditional teammates without having someone come out and tell the audience as usually happens, and the mix of comedy and drama here - ably handled by the equally old-school Paul Pelletier - feels more in tune with the series (and the Marvel Universe in general) than all of the police state nonsense happening elsewhere. I'm dreading what happens after this team leaves, though.
THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #6: Really, remarkably Excellent; I can't get my head around the fact that this book has become one of my favorite titles out there right now, but this final chapter of "book one" (according to the last panel of the issue) is a perfect example of the mix of action, humor and fast-moving mysticism that keeps me coming back issue after issue. The fact that David Aja's art is really something special (and keeps getting better) doesn't hurt either.
SHE-HULK #19: So, wait, this all happens after World War Hulk? Doesn't explicitly stating that a couple of times, kind of... I don't know... suck a lot of tension out of WWH, considering that the Earth seems to be pretty much the same as it did before the Hulk invaded, and Iron Man's definitely not dead and all? Not that I expected anything else, but it seems somewhat self-defeating to have one of your books come out and outright state those things before the second issue of your massive event comic has even come out. That said, I see why that swerve had to be done; it'd be hard to leave the series on the same comedic tone as you started within the current MU framework... Shame that the results are so Eh, however.
SILVER SURFER: REQUIEM #2: You don't need to read this (beautifully-painted, but essentially boring) comic; I'll summarize it thusly: "So, Spider-Man: Would you like to ride my surfboard?" "No thanks, but I'm sure my wife would." "...Okay then." "Awesome!" That's pretty much all there is. It's very pretty, but Eh on every other scale, cosmic or otherwise.
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #31: New writer Tony Bedard may think that he's tying up some loose ends from Mark Waid's run, but "where is Cosmic Boy" really isn't one of them - What happened to him in Waid's last issue was one of the best things about that issue, and it's depressing to see it discarded so quickly, especially in favor of what looks to be a pretty Eh new status quo.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS #1: The problem with this book isn't the execution - Jeff Parker's script is very cute, and Roger Cruz's art has some really nice touches (Remember when he was a Jim Lee clone? He's a million miles from that now, thankfully) - but with the lethargy about the concept in the first place. Monthly retro tales from when the series wasn't popular at all? How do you sell that to the legions of readers out there who would rather read about Wolverine's mohawked son? It's a shame, because this is a fun little book that deserves a wider audience than it'll probably receive, thanks to the crowded X-franchise and the not-especially-outstanding Eric Nguyen cover. For some reason, I think that digest collections will be where this series will prosper; charming one-offs seem more weighty in anthologies, if you ask me. Good, if light.
PICK OF THE WEEK is Iron Fist, and even if the whole comic hadn't been awesome, Misty's line about loving "that crazy white girl so much I could holler" would've probably gained the crown alone. PICK OF THE WEAK is Return To Wonderland, because, well, ick. TRADE OF THE WEEK for me is tough, because I've been working through Green Apple purchases, so for me it's probably been the Comics Journal Library Vol. 1: Jack Kirby collection of essays and interviews, because you can never have too much Kirby. Tomorrow: The New Comics Mainstream. Or something.