Best of the past week: Black Science #5 – This issue won’t contend for “Issue of the Year”, but it was the best thing I read last week.  The thing that held this back is that it was a little light on action, but it still hit some interesting and important story notes.  Most of the attention was grabbed by the appearance of a Grant from another reality, but I think the more important theme was the idea of abandoning The Pillar.  This item of technology is malfunctioning and keeps jumping the group into dangerous situations…..but their only hope of really going HOME is to stick with the Pillar and try to repair it.  On the other hand, they could settle for a nice reality when they arrive in one (like they are now), but that means never going home.  It’s a neat thought.

Most anticipated this week: 

1. The Walking Dead #125 – This is the penultimate issue of All Out War.  Kirkman usually opts to put his most shocking events in the finale, so this issue might be kinda on the quiet side, but it should give some guidance about the shape of that finale.  How this event concludes is pretty important to the future of the series.  Kirkman was teasing the death of a major character, but seemed to be flinching away from that and now it is anyone’s guess how this battle between Rick and Negan resolves itself.

2. Royals: Masters at War #3 – I guess the floundering mediocrity of many recent Vertigo launches chilled my enthusiasm for Royals, but it’s been really good.  I don’t think it’s an all-time classic, but it’s a nifty alt-history of World War II and who doesn’t enjoy alt-history?  The story is entertaining and the art is very solid.

3. Manifest Destiny #6 – I love how this series simultaneously feels like it is really moving along rapidly, but also feels like it has a lot left in the tank.  The creators haven’t lingered on any of the threats faced by Lewis and Clark so far, but we’re also barely exploring what kind of weirdness is going on with Sacajawea.  An entire forest of plant-zombie animals awaits in this issue.

4. East of West #11 – I’m really losing track of the plot in this series, but I remain transfixed by it.  I enjoy it when I’m reading it and can’t remember anything about it after I close the issue.

5. Batman Eternal #1 – I really don’t want another Batman series in my life.  I’ve been down the path that leads to reading ALL the books in a family and it just leads to comic misery.  So, I feel like I’m too smart to get sucked into reading ancillary series.  However, Scott Snyder has been so good with Batman proper (and Detective before that) that this is worth a look even if he isn’t doing it alone.  I’ll read it until it betrays me…

-Dean Stell