I need Damage Control to clear out my in-tray: Graeme finishes off last week.

Making it to the finish line just in time...!

ASTONISHING X-MEN #24: This series has become some strange theoretical exercise – when something this slow takes this long to get done, at what point does everyone stop caring at all? In both lateness and terms of decompressed story, this really does seem like a throwback to the Marvel of a few years ago, and the execution of the whole thing makes it seem as if the creators’ enthusiasm didn’t make it through to 2008. Dull and Eh.

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #14: See, I like Evil Dick Superboy (Yeah, yeah, Superman Prime, whatever) pretty much as a character when Geoff Johns is writing him as Fanboy Extreme, but even the sudden, re-write-smelling, addition of him to this series fails to inject that much interest into what’s going on here, because he’s being played as generic omnipotent bad guy, adrift in a sea of generic bad guys fighting with each other. I can’t quite tell how any of this is going to end up tying in with the Final Crisis series, but that doesn’t make me want to read any more of this series; it just makes me want it to be over, already. Crap.

SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #11: Hey, it’s the oft-delayed last part of Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale’s secret origin of kryptonite storyline! And it’s... not really worth the wait! It’s not really the fault of the creators, because this was clearly meant to be a fairly low-key conclusion that could never stand up to a six-month wait, but at the same time, for the creators involved, this was sadly underwhelming. Maybe it’ll read better in the trade. Eh.

WORLD WAR HULK AFTERSMASH: DAMAGE CONTROL #1: Surprisingly enjoyable, in large part because of the art, which looks as if Steve McNiven and Ariel Olivetti had a particularly cartoony baby, and manages to make this comedy look as if it fits in the current, grimacing, Marvel Universe. Dwayne McDuffie plays the concept relatively straight – well, as straight as it could be, anyway – and it’s still a good concept after all these years. It’s definitely not the kind of thing I’d want to read on a regular basis – too much self-referencing in-jokery is never a good thing - but as a refreshing change from the mighty Marvel sturm-und-drang that’s never ending, it’s a Good thing.

X-MEN #207: And talking of mighty Marvel sturm-und-whatever, I definitely cannot be the only person who feels as if the ending of Messiah Complex not only came from nowhere, but also is exceptionally pointless and sensationalistic if Professor Xavier isn’t actually dead as a result. “Look! He’s been shot! We have to break up the X-Men because his dream is dead!” Wait, why, exactly…? It felt as if, instead of this crossover having any kind of ending that fit the story, it was rewritten at the last minute to set up something else down the line, robbing the crossover of any sense of climax or meaning. Eh, sadly; the rest of the crossover was better.

Next week, of course, is a biggie: New Captain America! Last Y: The Last Man! Big Star Wars crossover! Alex Ross tells us that Golden Age superheroes are the bestest one more time! Can you handle it, Earthlings?