Amazing Spider-Man #11: I've read a lot of time-travel stories. Most of them I don't like, because they're either too confusing or they fail to think through the impact of characters' actions in the past on the present. This one? This story takes the cake. Vernon reveals himself to be the grandson of the original Scorpio and uses the Zodiac Key and the Orrery to open up a doorway that allows him to see a year into the future. (Slott doesn't explain who created the doorway. He just tells us that the other Scorpios didn't use it is because it required a specific alignment of the planets to open. We do learn that the Zodiacs are ordinary civilians turned into Scorpio's henchman via masks, though I was pretty sure that Slott had hinted in previous issues that they were LMDs "related" to Scorpio.) Spidey doesn't know what he should do, so he simply shoves Scorpio through the door, allegedly a year into the future. [Sigh.] Can he maybe just fight the Shocker next issue?
Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill - Omega #1: As I mentioned in a previous review, I haven't really had much to say about this event, since it's been extremely well done. The ending is no less satisfying. The World Council finally seems ready to hold Maria Hill accountable for her remarkable string of disasters, Wendell Vaughn (one my favorite characters from the '80s) has returned to train a new Quasar, and several classic Avengers villains -- namely Baron Zemo and the Red Skull -- have returned to prominence. Most importantly, the series has brought together the two major Avengers teams, with Steve Rogers realizing the importance of looking past their differences and working together. (Just in time for "Civil War II!") The only remaining question hanging over the series is that I'm not entirely sure if Spencer ever explained why we had two Maria Hills, though I'm just going to chalk up that oddness to Kobik. But, given that most of these events end with me having no clue what I just read, one loose end is pretty much an A+ on the curve.
Batman #51: This issue is like something you'd read in "Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, Part IV" a one-off tale focusing on the legend of Batman. It explores the role that Batman plays in Gotham, picking up the theme from "Superheavy" of Batman inspiring people to be their own heroes (as opposed to scaring villains into going straight, as he's normally portrayed). The most notable part of it, though, is Bruce exhibiting something akin to a sense of humor. The narrator of the issue refers to Gotham as having gotten lighter since Batman came on the scene, and this remark seems to Snyder's way of driving home the idea that Bruce himself may be lighter after his "death." It seems that it's not just the physical scars that have gone. The issue also wraps up Snyder and Capullo's run. I've been pretty open about the fact that I found Snyder's time portraying Dick Grayson as Batman to be a much more compelling run. I never bought into his view of Batman as functionally incompetent, as we often saw him be during events like "Night of the Owls" and "Death of the Family." But, in the wake of "Batman and Robin Eternal," I feel happy at least with the way that Snyder is leaving him. He's whole for the first time in a long time, both in terms of his emotional and physical well-being as well as his relationships. Onwards and upwards!
Grayson #19: Again, this issue isn't exactly full of heart, but Lanzing and Kelly give us the answers that we wanted, for the most part. Dr. Dedalus has taken over Helena, revealing that his plan was always to be resurrected (and not to pass on his title to one of his daughters, as they thought). That said, Luka shoots her sister to earn the right to join him as Leviathan. However, she eventually has enough and attempts to assassinate him, to take her place at the center of the web. Of course, he expected that and (a little too easily) throws her from a train. Meanwhile, Maxwell Lord reveals that he created Mr. Minos (a "radical Wikileaks wannabe" to whom he anonymously gave resources) in order to get the identities of the Justice League members. A dying Dr. Netz's last act is to destroy the archive, bringing this series full circle. (Hilariously, Lord describes Minos creating the Justice League gestalt as Minos going mad with power, dismissing a plot from early in the series that still doesn't make much sense to me.) Meanwhile, Tiger is revealed to have been a Checkmate agent focused on stopping Dedalus from the start, and he and Dick fight to get to Helena: Tiger to kill her, Dick to save her. We'll see which one wins next issue!
Justice League #49: Is Darkseid Superwoman's baby daddy? Is that the threat to Mobius? At this stage, we still don't know why Mobius wants to return to his chair and, presumably, become the Anti-Monitor again. But, to make matters worse, Johns adds another layer of confusion here, as we learn that Grail believes that the Anti-Life Equation can do something other than destroy. (I believe Myrina hinted at that in the "Justice League: Darkseid War - Special" #1.) Honestly, it's getting hard to see how Johns is going to wrap up this "event" in three issues.
Star Wars #18: Seriously, I don't know how many times I can say it, but this series continues to be the best one on the market, hands down. I don't know how Aaron does it, but, after 18 issues, he still manages to get the characters' voices exactly right. Even new characters, like, Dr. Aphra and Sana, "sound" like I think they should sound. Moreover, everyone reacts to situations the way that you'd expect them to react: Leia remains determinedly in charge even as chaos erupts around her, Han is confident in his bravado, etc. Aaron also constantly shows us that it's only the tip of the iceberg. In this issue alone, we've got Leia trying to discover the identity of the guy that took over Sunspot Prison as well as the mysterious beef that Aphra and Sana have. Aaron makes it clear that it's a big galaxy with a lot of great stories.
Also Read: Batgirl #51; Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4; Ms. Marvel #6; Spidey #5