Finally caught up to this year even though I’m still a week behind. Let me just say that third shift really messes with your life. I can’t even blame gaming or something for being behind on this. I can blame a serious lack of good sleep though. So, I guess I should get this done so I can try to get some sleep tonight. (Maybe if I’m really tired enough, I’ll be able to sleep.)

Avengers Annual #1 – After the Annual a couple months ago, Wonder Man and his crew make it across town to Tony Stark’s building. (Hell, I could have walked there faster than that!) After a little destruction, the Revengers hold a press conference and Steve Rogers shows up with a Helicarrier and a bunch of Avengers. Iron Man takes down Wonder Man non-violently by using a device to absorb his energy while Thor takes the rest of his team out of the middle of the city where the Avengers take them down. Each one briefly explains why they followed Simon while Simon explains why he started it. Part of it is about the Scarlet Witch and how they let her get out of control and how he might not be real in the first place. In the end, once, everyone is gone, he disappears and you have to wonder if he really wasn’t real all this time or if this Simon was the real one in the first place. Lots of questions which may or may not get answered.

Avengers Academy #24 – One by one, Reptil bring the heroes on the academy campus to Hybrid to re-energize him. It even turns out that Hybrid can drain Butterball without killing him. On top of that, White Tiger’s amulets interfere with Hybrid’s powers and we learn a little more about her and her lack of control over the amulets. Reptil finally shows some guilt about what he’s doing but it may turn out to be too later as he falls under Hybrid’s thrall just as the others discover what’s going on. I’d really like to know what he’s trying to do in the past in the first place.

Defenders #2 – The Defenders take on Prestor John and the creatures of Wundagore Mountain, but they aren’t very successful. With their powers nullified, She-Hulk reveals that the way for her to change back and be able to escape their jail is to be scared back into being Betty. The others have no powers to be scare her with so, in one of the best scenes in the book, Doctor Strange whispers something in She-Hulk’s ear causing her to freak out and change back. She then says to him, “I don’t like you,” and later calls him “the creep.” LOL If the book will have little things like this, it’s going to be fun. So, they make it to Prestor John and discover his plans involve the black Hulk that they were there to stop. We’ll have to see what happens when he gets there. I’m glad to see they are keeping up with the old time comments at the bottom of the pages. It makes me very nostalgic.

Green Arrow #5 – In this issue, Midas (the creature that’s been in the shadows in Blood Rose’s parts of the story recently) takes on Green arrow for hurting Blood Rose. We get a brief origin and see Green Arrow fight to take down a nigh indestructible creature. Of course he succeeds eventually, but not much before Blood Rose shows up to sneak up behind him. No wonder he needs help in the new series. He’s really no good at watching his own back any more.

Hawk & Dove #5 – Hawk and Dove try to work on their partnership as they try to track down Condor, Swan, and the captured Deadman. They manage to find them just after Condor takes out his own partner to transform in an actual humanoid condor. Dove uses some unknown power to take him out and free Deadman, but Boston decides he and Dawn shouldn’t see each other any more. (This is all for the best as far as I’m concerned.) Hopefully they will start explaining more about what’s going on soon as it seems there are some differences with the New 52’s Hawk and Dove from the old versions and I’m confused. I’m also really over Rob Liefeld’s art.

Red Lanterns #5 – Atrocitus and Bleeze have a battle that has been long coming when he blames her for Krona’s disappearance. It turns out that he may have escaped on his own though so Atrocitus has Bleeze pull out the three lanterns that he tossed into the blood lake. The red lanterns pull together to start the search for Krona or whomever took him. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the story of the 2 battling brothers culminates with the revelation of who will be a red lantern as one gets killed and the other gets a ring. The new lantern definitely has and interesting look. Most importantly, there’s a cameo by Dex-Starr. I think he should be that star of this series. 😉

In the back of each of the DC books is a “Sneak Peeks 2012” 2 page section. This has one page about Batman and another revealing this universe’s Captain Cold who may have innate powers and seems to be younger, sporting a vest look instead of the old full costume.

Overall, nothing too spectacular this week. Red Lanterns is shaping up pretty well as is Avengers Academy so those will make the Top 3. I guess I’ll give the third spot to Avengers Annual since it was a pretty solid story and seems to lead to some interesting things in the future. The others still really need to do some growing into their own space.