I look up and smile, a picture of dissatisfaction: Graeme returns from the wilderness.

It's time to start the music! It's time to light the lights! It's time to get things started again after a weekend where Kate and I went camping with "hilarious" results (Read, wow, I'm not the biggest fan of that whole "sleeping bag in a tent" schtick). So, as sultry songstress P!nk once said, let's get this party started.

BATMAN #665: It's the real All-Star Batman, as Grant Morrison gives us a Batman that doesn't give up in his fight against injustice, a Robin that does stupid things like riding his motorbike into supervillains, along with romance! hookers with hearts of gold! and the promise of crazy science-fiction adventures yet to come! It's pretty much an antidote to Frank Miller's Divorce Therapy Batman Annual, and Goddamn, but it's a lot of fun. I'm sure that there are some grumpy frowning fans out there cursing the hint that all of the 1950s Sci-Fi weirdness is now not only in continuity, but also the basis of Morrison's entire run, but... Feh. This is really rather Good stuff.

EX MACHINA #28: Here's the thing - As much as I like to read this each and every issue, it's kind of depressing to realize that the book hasn't really changed or grown in the last twenty-seven issues. Which isn't to say that this particular issue isn't Good or anything (and it is), but it feels like, as a series, it's stalled and that's pretty much not a good sign. It should feel as if it's going somewhere, shouldn't it...?

FALLEN SON: THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA #3: The more I think about it, the more I kind of like this series. I mean, sure - It's full of stillborn dialogue (Yes, yet another character manages to work the title of the series into a conversation; this time it's Clint Barton: "I want to talk about Steve. The death of Captain America. And what the hell you're doing about it."), a plot that - by necessity - goes nowhere, and it completely screws with New Avengers continuity. But look past all of that, and you have a curiously old-school Marvel book (Say what you like about Loeb's work, but he does seem to understand what makes Marvel characters tick. Sure, he might not always be able to get it over to the reader, but still...) with some great artwork; John Romita Jr.'s work in this issue is particularly nice. A slightly guilty Okay, in that case.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #9: Brad Meltzer, please stop overwriting every single scene. Honestly, someone needs to tell him that not every scene in every book has to have the same kind of narration where someone not only explains what's going on but also the psychological reasons behind it. As much as this book has become solid I-grew-up-in-the-'70s continuity porn, it's the overdose of verbage that's killing it. Solidly Eh.

THE MIGHTY AVENGERS #3: Yeah, just a week or so after I was saying something about the way that Bendis's failures are at least interesting, he serves up this entirely Eh issue that doesn't offer anything other than Frank Cho's masturbatory horny Tigra scene. If it wasn't for that whole "lead time" thing, I would take that personally...

And, yes, I'm the one person who missed Brubaker when he was in town this weekend. Blame the camping and those results that are apparently "hilarious". Yet another reason to dislike those sleeping bags...