We all have pretty long pull lists and every week there are a few titles we read that we simply don’t have time to give a full review.  Some are good and some are bad…

Uncanny X-Men #531 – Fraction’s script of the second chapter of ‘Quarantine’ moves along rather nicely. The addition of Keiron Gillen to writing duties, while welcome, doesn’t seem to rock the boat much and that’s just fine.  Pretty much all of the X-Men are locked up on Utopia as a precaution, to avoid possibly infecting any other mutants on the mainland.  Meanwhile, a ragtag squad of X-Men are attempting to keep the peace in San Francisco and Emma Frost, along with Fantomex and Kitty Pryde, continue to debate about the fate of Sebastian Shaw.  There are some interesting bits here (the clever cliffhanger, the Drunken Trucker School) and the structure of the plot is solid, but there are still a few hiccups.  I’ve found myself over the last few months wishing the Sebastian Shaw subplot would just get it’s own dedicated issue so it could finally end and this month, that feeling continues.  There’s also a lot of Kavita Rao info-dumping on the reader and it doesn’t make for a particularly dynamic experience.  And then, yep, there’s Greg Land’s artwork to make it that much more unpleasant.  All in all, not bad, but could use some tightening up. Grade: B- — Joe Lopez

Ultimate Spider-Man #151 – Bendis and new-ish penciller Sara Pichelli knock another one out of the park here and, boy, is it welcome.  I’ve had the feeling that Bendis has gotten a second wind on this title ever since the Chameleons arc and that wind continues this month as we’re given some set-up on what looks to be a team-up of the Black Cat and recent big bad, Mysterio.  There’s also plenty of great character moments, such as the Amazing Friends’ first meeting with Lana or Aunt May’s touching phone call to Gwen Stacy.  Speaking of Gwen, I have to admit that Gwen’s return so soon after her departure feels like a misfire.  Bendis sort of shoots himself in the foot there and robs a powerful moment of a few months ago of its weight.  I’m also a little annoyed that the “Superhero school” plot just gets around to showing up at the cliffhanger, despite it being led into heavily in the last issue.  Despite those minor complaints, this issue is a fair reminder of what Ultimate Spidey has been doing so well for the past 10 years. Grade: A- — Joe Lopez

The Incredible Hulks #619 – This was Part 2 of the tie-in with Chaos War and it continues to be really well done.  It actually explained some things (that were probably in Chaos War-proper that I’d missed) having to do with the fact that “death” has been conquered by the Chaos King in our universe and that’s why dead guys like Abomination are coming back.  Lots of good action with hulks smashing crap and a good cliffhanger ending.  The star was the Tim Seeley back-up about the Savage She-Hulk, Lyra, and her relationship with Banner and Jen-She-Hulk.  For some reason I find the She-Hulks way more interesting than the boy-Hulks. Grade: B — Dean Stell

Traveler #2 – Pretty good second issue of this newer “Stan Lee” series from Boom!  If you like time travel and time paradoxes, this will be right up your alley.  Mark Waid writes a really action packed issue showing the Traveler (or Kronus or whatever his name is) fighting with the Split Second Men.  There’s nothing grand or epic here….it’s just a very quality new super-hero book that seems to be willing to go places that Marvel/DC wouldn’t go.  Or at least it isn’t going to be as predictable. Grade: B — Dean Stell

Justice League of America #52 – In part 3 of this story dealing with the JLA fighting with the Crime Syndicate of American (from Earth 3, I think….can never keep that crap straight), we see the tone shift as the JLA and CSA must team-up to fight the Omega Man before he can destroy both of their worlds.  But, will any of their number turn traitor?  I’m starting to really enjoy Robinson as a writer much more.  Even when his stories aren’t the “issue of the year”, I really appreciate that he doesn’t insult the single-issue comic buyer by writing something “for the trade”.  He has a page with the team run-down and a page of so reminding you of the situation from the last issue.  That kind of stuff is the bane of collected editions and I love that Robinson thumbs his nose at that and just writes the best single issue comic he can.  Not a huge fan of Bagley’s art on this title, but he’s leaving soon to go to Marvel anyway. Grade: B- — Dean Stell

X-Men Legacy #243 – The primary feeling I’m left with after putting this issue back down is that I’ve just been prepared for something more to come down the line.  That’s not a bad thing, mind you, but it is fairly obvious.  Carey and Davidson conclude their two-parter begun last month centering on Hellion’s confrontation with Omega Sentinel.  It turns out that despite Karima not being in control of herself, Hellion still puts her down with extreme prejudice and leaves her in a coma.  The X-Men, and Cyclops in particular, are not pleased, leading to the character presumably detaching himself from them.  The fight was pretty, but the stand out moments in the script are Hellion’s confrontation with Scott Summers, especially when Julian calls Cyclops on his own recent lapse in morals.  I found myself agreeing with Hellion much of the time here, and also being left with the conclusion that Scott is heavily in hypocrite-mode.  I mean, you don’t see them threatening to detain Wolverine despite knowing without a doubt that he kills his enemies.  It’s a welcome battle of ideologies that Carey is setting up, and I’m hoping it’s followed through.  (Wouldn’t it be cool if Hellion was invited into X-Force?)  I’m not sure if the X-office is that coordinated these days, but one can hope. Grade: C — Joe Lopez

Punisher: In the Blood #2 – This is a tale of two books.  The actual Punisher portions of this book are just great as he kicks the crap out of a endless stream of criminals trying to get the location of Microchip and Jigsaw.  Unfortunately, the parts of the book dealing with the actual Jigsaw and his interactions with Henry are just long.  They are well written, but it is just a few too many words for a part of the story that isn’t that interesting.  The art is fine.  My only comment is that when art is in this looser style, I like to see a bit more frenzy of emotion coming from the art than I got here. Grade: C — Dean Stell

Skullkickers #4 – Another enjoyable romp through a pseudo-D&D universe. This picks up right where issue #3 left off, and finds our Dwarven hero in a very, very dangerous spot and at the mercy of an extremely nasty necromancer. The action is fast and fun, as is the pair’s reliance on brute force rather than forethought. The book ends with a fantastic cliffhanger, and a twist worthy of the best sort of evil-genius Game Master. That, in a nutshell, is what makes this series so much fun to read, especially for us roleplaying types: not only is this a fun fantasy book in its own right, it feels like exactly the sort of adventure you’d play through with your friends around a kitchen table (coming from me, that’s a complement.) The fact that the stakes are considerably upped by the end of the issue only adds to my anticipation for #5. If Zub and company continue to deliver the goods like this on a consistent basis, I’ll be in for the long haul for sure. Grade: B -SoldierHawk

The X-Files/30 Days of Night #6 – A disappointing end to a pretty dark good mini series. While you won’t find me making the argument that this is one of the better books on the market today, as a huge X-files fan still suffering withdrawal after the series’ long, painful death, it was doing a good job of delivering the sort of classic Mulder and Scully adventure I love. And then…this issue happened. While the art is still very moody and quite good (thank you Mr. Mandrake!) and Niles’ writing itself is decent enough, the actual plot conclusion feels clunky and rushed–as if the creators suddenly realized they only had 30 more pages to tell the story and had to quickly bring it to a close. A shame too, because the slow burn and sudden but measured violence of the first five issues was doing both tie-ins justice. Seeing everything wrapped up so abruptly and messily feels like a nasty burn, after gamely plunking down $3.99 for six months to follow the story. Grade  C- -Soldierhawk


Logan’s Run: Last Day #5 – As a fan of both the Logan’s Run movie and book, I’ve really been enjoying this series (which follows Nolan’s original novel far, far more closely than the movie ever did.) While the characterization of Logan as an essentially single-minded, dedicated Sandman comes straight from the book, its the incorporation of the stunning visual style from the movie that really help make the book essential for any fan of either version of the story. The depiction of Logan’s world is rich and detailed, and great fun to experience. We’re actually nearing the end of the storyline from the first book (in fact, it should be wrapping up in the next issue at this pace), and I’m hoping they’ll continue on with the storyline for Logan’s World. If they actually manage to finish a comic book adaptation of all three novels in the series, it will be a fantastic accomplishment, and a great boon to Nolan fans everywhere. Grade: B- -SoldierHawk

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Conclusion