Detective Comics #956: This issue wraps up the arc better than I thought it could, but Tynion still leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions (and not necessarily in a good way). We learn Shiva left R'as al Ghul after she learned what his true intentions for the League of Shadows were, but we don't get told why it was necessary for the League of Shadows to exist separately from the League of Assassins in the first place. We learn Bruce once walked a dark path of magic and he'll need to walk it again since it's what al Ghul used to make him forget about the League. But, we still don't know why al Ghul wanted him to forget about the League. Bruce also now realizes the Colony was more involved with the League than he thought, but we don't have any idea why. Were they originally allies and the relationship went bad? Does the Colony support al Ghul's original plans for the League? As Bruce said, all we really do know is Shiva's defection from al Ghul forced him to reveal more than he intended. This arc has felt like butter scraped over too much bread, as Tynion avoided giving us any answers to the mystery at the heart of it. But, hopefully he can fill in the gaps now that Bruce is on the hunt.
Ms. Marvel #18: Yup, I totally cried. The cover implies we're going to see some sort of interaction between Bruno and Kamala (pet peeve #1), but Wilson actually focused solely on Bruno and his attempts to adjust to his new life in Wakanda. Wilson grounds the story in reality in a way we don't usually see in comics: Bruno isn't suddenly going to have a cybernetic hand and leg. He doesn't get the deus ex machina superheroes get. Bruno has to earn it, and he does, with the help of his classmates who he now realizes are his friends. It's not hard to see a great lesson in perseverance in the face of obstacles here, the type of story we're often denied when the aforementioned deus ex machina magically makes a problem better. (I'm looking at you, Cosmic Cube.) Like the rest of us, Bruno will be facing the consequences of his actions for a long time.
Uncanny Avengers #23: Honestly, this series is the best team book on the shelves. Duggan does a great job of conveying honest-to-goodness emotions on almost every page, from Synapse learning Cable stayed with the team to be her mentor to Rogue wistfully looking at the photo of the team in happier days. In fact, Rogue and Synapse have really been Duggan's signature characters, as much as you'd expect it to be Deadpool. We learn Synapse eventually became the Shredded Man in the future Cable tried to prevent by returning to our time, and his words of encouragement to her -- about how that future is no longer possible and how she makes her own choices -- really shows how far she's come as a character. Rogue's feelings about the team are also instructive. She's lost a lot recently, as Duggan reminded us in the previous issue where she contemplates Xavier's death. It's probably the first time we've seen Rogue committed to this team as a team and not just as the X-Men's plant on it. It's a great moment, and it's made all the better when she, Johnny, and Synapse agree to travel with Brother Voodoo to New Orleans to take care of his brother and the Hand. In so doing, Duggan shows how he's really made this series an integrated narrative, as past events aren't just conveniently forgotten when we move to the next arc. I'm thrilled it's still going strong, if only because I'm hoping we get some sort of Deadpool and Wonder Man buddy-comedy arc as they try to get back Simon's money. (Did I mention Deadpool lost all of it? Apparently he had some cash flow problems and figured Simon was dead...)
Youngblood #1: According to my comic-book database, I own issues #0-#4 of the original run of "Youngblood." (I believe the only two Image comics I collected beyond ten issues were "Wild C.A.T.s" at 12 issues and then "Stormwatch," at ten issues exactly.) Similar to my experience reading "The Wild Storm," I don't really remember much the original plot. All I really remember is the ginger Hawkeye was hot. (My recollection of "Wild C.A.T.s" similarly revoked around the hot ginger.) Knowing Liefeld, I probably wasn't missing much. The good news is Liefeld got someone else to write the story this time and, even better news, it's not too bad. Bowers quickly establishes that Youngblood ended when a hacktivist group called the Bloodstream revealed the behind-the-scenes dirt about the team, "a litany of criminal activity, illicit sex scandals, assassinations, and government cover-ups." In the present, superheroing appears to revolve entirely around an app called Help! operating like Task Rabbit, if you will. However, one of its stars, Man-Up, has gone missing. His friend, Gunner, is looking for him, but she doesn't know anything about the "real" him. She eventually recognizes his photo on a missing poster and meets his aunt, learning his name is Horatio and he's a 19-year-old kid who got his powers after a chemical spill at work. Gunner pledges to find him and comes to the attention of President Diehard and his wife, Vogue, when she (Gunner) starts using Vogue's look and name. Diehard is in the process of negotiating a deal with Help!, essentially to replace Youngblood. However, he decides to send Shaft and Badrock, both incarcerated, to arrest Gunner and her friends, because he disapproves of vigilantism (likely because the new Vogue and her friends are working outside Help!). Bowers doesn't establish what motivates Gunner to leave Help! and become Vogue, but I'm sure we'll get there. The challenge for Bowers is going to be not just wallowing in nostalgia. Warren Ellis is doing amazing work in "The Wild Storm," and Bowers, whether he likes it or not, is competing with that. The art is solid here, though, again, Jon Davis-Hunt is doing spectacular work over there. (Also, is that supposed to be Shaft at the end? He looks...12 years old.) At any rate, it's a high bar for Bowers and Towe to clear, but it would be exciting if they did, to have life breathed into both these franchises.
Also Read: Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1; Titans #11; X-Men Blue #3