Best from the past week: Manifest Destiny #6 – This issue capped off the first story cycle of Manifest Destiny in fine fashion.  The action was snappy, the art is wonderful and the ideas are pretty cool.  If you’re remotely interested in the idea of Lewis and Clark exploring an odd version of the Louisiana Purchase complete with minotaurs and alien plant zombies, this is well worth checking out.

Most anticipated this week: A LOT of quality at the top of the list

1. American Vampire: Second Cycle #2 – The first issue back for this series did a LOT of work.  It effectively recapped the series to date as well as laid out this compelling mystery of Who is the Gray Trader? I’m intensely curious to know more about this Gray Trader.  Who is he?  Why does he prey on vampires?  Will it continue to fit into Scott Snyder’s use of AV as an allegory for the maturation of the United States?  You won’t find a comic with smoother writing and better art.

2. Batman #30 – The Zero Year story is getting very close to its finale.  It hiccuped a little bit at the beginning, but has since become a powerhouse.  Imagine that: A Scott Snyder written Batman being a powerhouse.  It only happens every time he begins a new Batman story.  Greg Capullo’s art isn’t too shabby either.

3. The Unwritten: Apocalypse #4 – It’s amazing that this 12-issue “finale series” is already on issue #4. Last issue introduced Pullman, who was really the last relevant character from the first Unwritten series.  Now I hope that we can plunge headlong into the resolution of this outstanding story.  If you haven’t been reading along, this would be a poor place to jump in, but I can’t recommend the series highly enough.

4. Amazing X-Men #6 – Yay!  The fuzzy elf is BACK!  And not that silly Age of Apocalypse travesty either.  Jason Aaron seems more interested in the 80’s X-Men dynamic between Wolverine and Nightcrawler and that suits me fine.

5. Uncanny X-Men #20 – Because this has been a strong series.  I really enjoy most of what Bendis does with his X-books.

-Dean Stell