Hi, everyone. I’m back for now and can at least get a comic book update out of the way.

All-New X-Men #3 – This issue jumps back a little to give some background on Cyclops’ team. It seems the Phoenix Force has had some major effects on them. When Scott and Magneto go to rescue Emma, Cyclops finds out that his powers are out of control. To top it off. Magneto is nowhere near as powerful as he used to be and Emma only had her diamond form now. She is no longer a telepath. Magik’s abilities were increased though so that she doesn’t just have the teleport disks to link to Limbo but she can tap the magical energies from outside Limbo too. Even as broken as they all are (both in powers and personal relations), they go out to gather mutants under them. It’s on one of these runs that we catch up to last issue and the original X-Men appear to confront them. I haven’t been following the X-titles in general but this has been interesting so far.

Avengers #1 – Like a lot of the relaunched titles, there’s multiple covers. I picked up the “kids” cover with the Avengers trying to get to the cookie jar on top of the refrigerator. For a first issue, it picks up a lot after previous storylines. There is talk about finding Hyperion (Is this the one from the Squadron Supreme, Squadron Sinister, or another one all together?), The Guard being broken (I’m assuming the Imperial Guard), and some “god” named Ex Nihilo and his crew. I’m totally lost. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow take on Ex Nihilo and fail miserably but he sends Cap back as a warning. Steve sends out a call for everyone available. On the last page, we see him with Spider-Woman, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Wolverine, Hyperion, a female Captain Universe (why does someone on Earth have the power now?), Cannonball (a guess given his blast power and confirmed online) and a bunch of characters I couldn’t recognize. (From looking online, it looks like it’s Eden from the Secret Warriors, Sunspot, Shang Chi in spandex, and a female version of Smasher from the Imperial Guard.) They have some sort of circular symbol showing symbols for all the members and there’s still a half dozen spaces left. I’m wondering how a cosmically powered character like Captain Universe who supposedly only gets powers for short times to different people as needed would become a regular member of the team. I’m not really impressed with this relaunch.

Dial H #7 – The do we’ve been following travels around the world looking for information on the dials. We get more uber lame heroes that pop up for a panel or two. They track down an organization that worships the dial. Overall, I’m getting bored with this title. I was a big Dial H for Hero fan (Whether Robbie, Chris, Vicki, or Hero from the Ravers) and even liked the later H.E.R.O. title. I can’t take much more of this though.

Earth 2 #7 – With the battle over, the results start falling out. Kendra tracks down Alan Scott to try to convince him to join her and Flash. Meanwhile, Khan rebels against the World Army and gets Sandman to help him kidnap Mister Terrific from Terry Sloan. The little war between Sloan and Khan should be interesting. I’m not sure if Amar Khan has a pre-New 52 incarnation to compare against. We get to see Red Tornado though it’s an incomplete female robot at this point.

Hawkeye #5 – It’s the second part of VHS tape storyline and only a couple weeks later. We find out the whole thing with the tape is a sham. The art and everything is is as bad as usual and to make matters worse, Nick Fury is black. Looks like someone doesn’t know the difference between the regular and Ultimate Marvel universes. As much as I love Hawkeye, this is the last issue I’m going to get of this title until things change.

Human Bomb #1 of 4 – As follow-up to the Phantom Lady mini-series, we get introduced to the new Human Bomb. Michael Taylor is an ex-Marine who happens to be around when some of what are called human bombs appears at his construction site. It appears Michael is Human Bomb 17 and he can’t be controlled like some of the others. (I’ not sure how many there are.) Uncle Sam and his department are in on this title right from the start so this is definitely tied all together. One interesting little thing I noticed in the book is that Michael wears a red ribbon on his yellow construction helmet. I really thought that was a cool minor detail just to pop in there. They don’t make a deal out of it; they just put it there for those who’d notice.

Kevin Keller #6 – This issue, we have a special guest star in the form of George Takei so finds out that Kevin wrote about him as an inspirational hero. This leads Kevin to a comic convention that George is at but he just misses him. It ends up that George makes an appearance at Kevin’s school though and they get to meet there. As usual, Kevin is his normal bumbling self, tripping on the stairs and not being able to talk when they meet. It’s funny once in a while but having Kevin fall all over himself all the time gets boring. There’s also the return of Brian from issue 1 who goes out on a date again with Kevin.

New Crusaders #4 – It took an extra issue but the team finally starts pulling together. Fireball and Comet come to and realize their powers, Jaguar finally stands up to the creature in the other realm and Steel decided to get into the bath of nanobots (they couldn’t say nanites?) and they all end up in costume training. The Brain Emperor is still around though and he’s breaking the bad guys out from a jail which can’t be good.

Phantom Stranger #3 – We get the history of the Haunted Highwayman and Terrance Thirteen as the Phantom Stranger reluctantly helps Terrance out. We also get some painful to watch scenes as the Stranger tries to socialize in his human guise. As tough as it is for him to have normal dealings, I wonder how he ever found a wife and had kids.

Shadowman #2 – Following the battle with Mr. Twist’s creatures and a very WTF morning after, Jack gets some background of what’s going on from Alyssa and Dox. It’s hard for him to believe but it’s not like he has a choice given everything that’s happened. Things are building up for Master Darque’s return and he needs to get ready. His next test is on the way though.

Stormwatch #15 – Harry Tanner, disguised as a Shadow Lord, pops up telling Stormwatch to go on a new path where they should take down all the heroes and even starts making up stuff to turn the team on Midnighter which they seem all too eager to do. I find it hard to believe that, given the issues they’ve had with the Shadow Lords stealing Adam early on and such they they would be all “Oh, ok. We’ll believe all these things that really don’t make sense and suddenly attack Midnighter instead of listening to him.” This whole thing is just not making any sense right now.

Well, it looks like I may have been right about reforming the Freedom Fighters. I can understand wanting a black character but I really like the old Uncle Sam better. (Not saying this one is bad but the traditional “Uncle Sam Wants You” guy was cool even if he was really old fashioned and powerful.) So, we’ve got Ray, Phantom Lady, Doll Man, and now the Human Bomb. I wonder who’s next. Black Condor had his own title in the past so maybe him. There’s also characters like Firebrand, Miss America, Neon, the Invisible Hood, Red Bee, and other minor ones. It should be interesting to see what the do.

Overall, this was a pretty good week. With only a couple undesirable titles, there’s some decent stuff to pick from. For my Top 3, I think it’s obvious Human Bomb will make it given the paragraph above. The other 2 will go to Earth 2 and Shadowman. I’m looking forward to see both of them flesh out even more.