Little Black Books: Graeme's Marvel Self-Importance Round-Up for 6/13 books.

It's become a common - and arguably meaningless - sight along the top of Marvel's superhero books lately: that black "The Initiative" stripe. And, while I've already covered one of the Initiative books this week, it's time I caught up with everything else that Marvel's telling me is important, don't you?

NOVA #3: Unlike Hibbs, this book seemed especially Eh to me, reading as if it was something that the writers felt as if they had to deal with and get out of the way before writing something that they actually cared about. Every conflict and resolution felt underwhelming and unconvincing, and pretty much a cheap way to explain why Nova stays out in space playing Kyle Rayner instead of going home to his friends and family. Doesn't he know that there's apparently an invasion from aliens going on there under his nose?!? Didn't he read New Avengers this week?

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #8: I can't believe that it took me this long to realize that Frank Castle is essentially the red state Judge Dredd - A violent, unchangable idiot who you can drop into satirical dark-humor-filled stories pretending to be adventure fiction. I also can't believe that the Punisher seems to be be one of the more interesting characters in the Marvel Universe these days, at least the way that Fraction writes him. The pacing may be off - the issue starts and stops awkwardly, but in such a way that the trade will read wonderfully - but there's still a lot to enjoy in this Okay issue.

SUB-MARINER #1: You know what's awesome? That Namor's armor include little holes for his ankle wings. Sadly, that's about it for this latest "Initiative"-bannered book (Which, really is meaningless, other than announcing "We want to keep this Civil War branding for as long as possible." It's not as if it's got any real currency - New Avengers isn't telling the same story as Punisher War Journal, for example. And why does Captain America have an Initiative banner, when Fallen Son doesn't? And so on...) - The story drags and seems like a cynical attempt to be politically relevant, the art looks like a strange marriage of early Byrne and mid-Pat Broderick, and overall, I'm bored of the supervillainy-as-terrorism meme that Marvel's been aggressively pursuing for the last year or so already. A dull Eh.

Meanwhile, looking at this week's ship list (in Bri's post below), good GOD, that's a lot of books this week... including the not-as-controversial-as-I-expected Flash #13...