Avengers #3: I could try to explain what I think happened here, but I won't, because I honestly have no idea. Somehow the Wasp returning the baby to the future undoes the time paradox Vision created when he kidnapped the baby in the first place, and everyone goes home happy..., well, everyone except for Kang. Apparently the Priests of Pama feed on time paradoxes, so they consume Kang and the Scarlet Centurion. However, the Avengers are apparently going to go to war with Kang next issue, implementing a plan Sam has. Yeah, I don't get it either.
Batman #14: King confirms what we've known all along, that Catwoman didn't kill 237 people. However, for some reason, she's committed to going to prison for life for the crime, after Amanda Waller abides by her agreement with Bruce and has her sentence commuted. My guess is Selena is covering for the orphan who did kill these people, but we'll get there at some point. In the meantime, King delivers a beautifully terse issue that lets Gerards' amazing artwork do the talking. We're treated to a two-page splash of the starry Gotham night that foreshadows the diamonds Selena later gives to Bruce to fund an orphanage. But, the scene is beautiful in its own right and really sets the stage for the two of them eventually making love on the rooftop. (It's a rare acknowledgement that Selena knows Bruce's identity, something thrown into question at the start of the DCnU if I remember correctly.) It's just a perfectly paced story from start to finish, conveying the melancholy and regret both characters feel. Rarely does the art and script work together as beautifully as they do here.
Black Widow #1-#6 (TPB): I first considered getting this series when I heard Bucky would be appearing at some point. Bucky's relationship with Nat was one of the best parts of his time as Captain America, and I was devastated (really, I still am) when they erased her memory of him. I was actually so mad at comics that I stopped really enjoying them for a few weeks. But, Comixology was having a sale on TPBs, and I got this one. I'm still trying to pare down my pull list, not expand it, but, after reading this arc, someone else is going to be on the chopping block. At some point in the letters page, the editor acknowledges that one of the questions running through Waid and Samnee's run is whether Nat's really knowable. I feel like I came the closest to doing so during those "Captain America" issues where she's in a relationship with Bucky, but maybe it wasn't the real her. Maybe she was too happy. Waid and Samnee explore that idea here, and it's amazing. To be honest, my appreciation of Nat outside "Captain America" larges comes from Scarlet Johansson's portrayal of her in the MCU, and Waid and Samnee preserve that dry sense of humor here. I particularly loved the sequence where she mumbles to herself about Tony mocking her skills...after she took him by surprise and knocked him unconscious to access his vault. Doubting her, indeed. Moreover, Waid and Samnee have given Nat two formidable pairs of enemies in just these six issues: the Weeping Lion brothers as well as the Recluse and her mother, Nat's former Headmistress at the Red Room. The mind boggles where we're going to go from here.
Midnighter and Apollo #4: Orlando leaves us with a mystery here, as Apollo seemed to have stumped Neron with a question about why he calls himself Apollo. But, Neron later appears to have imprisoned Apollo, implying Neron guessed correctly (despite him obviously having guessed incorrectly that Apollo named himself after the Roman god). But, the most interesting thing to me is the revelation that Apollo was human at some point. I always thought he was an alien, but we learned here that he was abducted by aliens trying to make their own Superman after he told his parents he was gay. Long-time readers might have known that, but I didn't. Orlando uses this revelation to maximum effect, as Apollo basically laughs off Neron's attempt to break him, stating people have tried that many times before. It's a reminder just how bad-ass Midnighter and Apollo are separately and together.
Nova #2: "Your fans are...intense." We are, Kamala. We totally are! I knew I trusted these authors when they evoked an argument Rich made during the original "Civil War," when he berated Iron Man for fighting the Civil War while he was busy fighting the Annihilation Wave. They get it. I'll also admit I totally cried fanboy tears when the bar on Knowhere toasted Rich, a sign that Earth might not remember his heroism but space does. Originally, I wanted this series just to be about Rich, but I can't deny Sam adds something. First, Rich and Sam's banter is great. I loved when Rich started getting upset when Sam questioned him about his origins, and Sam responded by observing his father was a clone who tried to kill him. Rich's response? "Fair." Perfect. But, Sam's youth reminds us that Rich has now entered senior hero status and not just because Sam tries to defend himself by citing his ability to grow...."hair." The authors draw a line under the point when Rich meets the Champions and asks if every superhero is a twelve-year-old. If he is Rich and he's going to stay, he has to operate in the new Marvel Universe. He's no longer a New Warrior, but an honest-to-fucking-God hero, as the toasting denizens of the bar remind us.
Spider-Man 2099 #19: Well, Peter David really stepped it up a notch, didn't he? I mean, sure, I didn't really buy that "Mother" (or whatever her name was) forgot about Elektra, allowing Elektra to kill her while she was delivering a monologue to Miguel and Roberta about why America has to fall. But, it doesn't matter...because Tyler Stone is back in action! He's clearly going to turn Tempest into some sort of terrible monster, maybe like the one she became when Miguel cured her cancer. Whatever it is, it seems unlikely Miguel is going to be happy with the result. (For the continuity folks out there like me, Tyler specifically refers to the fact that he was also previously paralyzed, adding to the information we have about where we are in Miguel's original timeline.)
U.S.Avengers #1: Reading Bobby's speech about how the American flag is his flag and their flag regardless of how the people afraid of them feel about it the weekend of Donald Trump banning Muslims from entering the United States makes me think Al Ewing can predict the future. I was going to cancel this series in favor of "Hawkeye" but decided to give it a whirl because I love Sam. Well, after reading it, I'm all on board with Bobby and his desire to reclaim the flag for the rest of us.
Also Read: Captain America: Sam Wilson #17; Champions #4; Hawkeye #2; Moon Knight #10; Nightwing #12; Unworthy Thor #2