It’s time for another week of books so I need to get last week’s books reviewed. It was a pretty big week this time around. [Note: Yes, I know I’m not finishing this until the next morning. I wasn’t able to get the write-up done as I would have liked prior to my shift at work. But here it is now.]

Avengers Academy #31 – It’s yet another (and hopefully the last) tie-in to the Avengers vs X-Men storyline. Sebastian Shaw has the kids trapped on the beach. The telepaths can’t read his mind but when you have someone who can read body language, I guess you don’t need that. It turns out he’s just trying to help the kids. I guess you need to try to destroy the compound and beat everyone up to do that. Though, given that Tigra seems set to try do lock up every kid under voting age no matter what, I guess neither side is really using their heads over their fists. Things finally settle down and most of the non-academy mutants leave. The way they are writing Tigra lately is annoying and this whole story arc was pretty boring really. This title has a lot of potential but they really need to pick it up before they lose too many readers.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 of 6 – We finally have the first comic in the much talked about “Before Watchmen” story. Like the other titles, this is a 6 issue mini-series. It starts out with Nite Owl trying to finish writing a book about the Minutemen (Hooded Justice, Sally Jupiter, Nite Owl, The Comedian, Mothman, Dollar Bill, Silhouette, Captain Metrolpolis). Most of the issue is spent just explaining who all these characters even are with only about 2-4 pages given to each one. It’s really not all that interesting of a story and I’m not sure where it’s going. All I know is that it wasn’t enough to really want to make me get #2. At the end of the issue is the first couple pages of “The Curse of the Crimson Corair”. This is a story that they are putting in the back of each of the comics. Each one will have a couple pages of the story. I guess this is their way of trying to make you get everyone so you know what’s up with this story. Why they couldn’t have just put those 2 pages with the rest of the issue and print another book, I’ll never know because 2 pages of a story isn’t enough to draw me in or make me even bother reading it. It’s a really bad ploy in my opinion.

Defenders #7 – We start off the issue with Black Cat working her way into a company to steal an artifact. It ends up this is only a test to see if she’d be able to get another artifact. We also have the Defenders going off to Wakanda as a way to get to the Prince of Orphans who seems to have gone a bit psycho since Secret Avengers. (As if the killings in the prior issues weren’t a sign of that.) He is the one with some little frog statue that, of course, Black Cat is now after. On top of everything else, we see the Silver Surfer drink some trance herbs and see his head go all out of shape. *sigh* I’m sick of this “cosmic Powered Plastic Man” version of the Silver Surfer they created. I read Defenders for years in the original series. As much as later series didn’t hold a candle to that series, this is just worse on all levels. I’m afraid I’m going to end up dropping this title.

Dial H #2 – We get the main guy playing around with the dial again. There’s some interesting looking characters on the front cover but they all get a panel each as part of his playing around. The characters they do use are majorly lame. On top of it all, some woman with red hair wearing a cloak shows up who seems to know something about what’s going on. I loved the H Dial but that was back when Robbie or Chris and Vicki had it. It was even interesting when Hero had the belt version in Superboy and the Ravers or when it was back in dial form with Robbie chasing it in H.E.R.O. This just isn’t the same. I really hope this picks up some because it’s really ruining my fond memories of the item.

Earth 2 #2 – There’s a lot going on in this issue. Jay talks to Mercury and receives his super speed. He also gets a costume which he can apparently summon at will. His new outfit looks like a cross between the original one and that of Johnny Quick from Earth 3 (if he even exists any more). Jay has fun running around testing out his powers and stopping one crime before running into what looks like may be the New 51 Earth 2 version of Hawkgirl who it seems was waiting for him. (Very odd.) Meanwhile, flying out of his own failed series into this title comes Michael Holt, Mr. Terrific. (I guess they traded him for Kara and Helena.) And who does he run into as soon as he shows up but Terry Sloan, the original Mr. Terrific who seems prepared for him. I have no clue what’s going on there. And, of course, we can’t forget the big news part of the issue. We get to see Alan Scott meet, kiss, and propose to his boyfriend. (Given what’s going on over in Astonishing X-Men, it must be the month for gay proposals.) As for the acceptance of the proposal, well, we have a bit of a cliffhanger to hold that off for an issue. One thing that is missing this issue is Al Pratt. After being introduced last issue, he doesn’t appear this month. I guess they only had so much room with Jay’s origin, Alan’s coming out, and the introduction of Michael to Earth 2. It should be interesting to see what happens with all the new old characters. I can’t wait to see the redesign of Alan’s costume. That will definitely need an update… especially since no gay man would wear something as tacky as the old one. 😉

Green Arrow #10 – After the last bland storyline, we pick up with Green Arrow and there’s no mention of any of the issue around his disappearance and control of the company. It’s a while new story about some people with chips and other metal in their body who believe they are robots. While the story is actually a step up from the prior arc, it’s not a big step. There’s enough “WTF” to the story to make you wonder what the writer was thinking when they wrote this too. I don’t know where this title is going and I’m not sure if I care enough to find out.

Harbinger #1 – More of the Valiant universe returns with the second title of the line. Just like in the original series, Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek take a major lead in the title as 2 telepaths (mind reading AND control) who are part of an evolutionary jump for mankind. So far, Toyo is coming off as a good guy, trying to help protect Peter, especially when his friend is too stupid to keep from leading the group coming off as bad guys right to Peter’s front door. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

Night Force #3 & #4 of 7 – I missed issue #3 last month so I got to read both this time around. The story is still building up as the Baron and his crew try to figure out what’s up with all the baby abductions, birthmarks, and people messing around with events in Baron Winters’ house. While the Night Force tries to figure out what’s going on, the alien looking creatures continue to try towards creating a perfect 10th generation baby which seems to be the ultimate goal. These guys are just plain weird. By the end of issue 4, the main members are all in other places in time and one potential member has disappeared. Hopefully things will pull together for the team.

Red Lanterns #10 – As a follow-up to last month’s issue of Stormwatch, Atrocitus tracks down what he believes to be a corruption of a red ring. It turns out to be Skallox whom he ends up rescuing. It’s interesting that the red ring was able to break through into hyperspace and find Stormwatch’s station. Probably the best part was Dex-Starr vs. Midnighter. While Midnighter obviously won, it was still cool to see. We also have some continuation in the red lanterns looking for a solution to their problem as well as Rancor starting to stand on his own within the corps. I’m not sure what they have planned for him in the long run.

Stormwatch #10 – This issue revolved around the concept of secrets. The appearance of an artifact from Stormwatch’s past is used to explain some of the reasons that they keep themselves a secret from everyone. This is mostly for the benefit of Apollo who sees their hiding as an analogy to his previously having been in the closet growing up. Ummmm…. yeah. At least there’s still some amusement at the relationship between Jenny and Midnighter as well as how Jenny is figuring out her powers.

There are a few good books but there are some that are really going downhill too. Harbinger and Earth 2 are definitely at the front of the pack this week with good strong stories so far. For the third spot, I’d probably go with Red Lanterns. I’m looking forward to seeing where this will go. And, if nothing else, there was more Dex-Starr!!!