James Robinson (a) Nicola Scott
“Tower of Fate” begins this month in Earth 2 #10 as James Robinson introduces Khalid Ben-Hassin, the all-new Doctor Fate. A quick flashback reveals that Khalid initially rejected the power he was destined to hold, though his encounter with the helmet containing said power left him with sporadic and uncontrollable spurts of magic, as well as some sort of psychological issues. Robinson is doing a phenomenal job building Earth 2 from the ground up, making sure to focus on the entire forest instead of just the trees of the yet-to-be-formed Justice Society. The villainous Wotan also makes his ‘New 52’ debut as the malevolent, yet surprisingly polite seeker of the power of Fate for himself. All of this combines to make Earth 2 #10 a strong and impressive opening salvo to “Tower of Fate.”
Stormwatch has been an oddity in the ‘New 52’ — it came out of WildStorm, it’s not a very high-selling title, and it sits aside from most of the DCnU proper. With Jim Starlin taking over the title next month — seemingly complete with a revamp of the title — Peter Milligan brings his final arc to a close by ending the Engineer and bringing some closure to Apollo and Midnighter’s relationship. Though it feels rushed, Milligan does a great job tying up some of the loose ends from his run, and we finally get to see that kiss between Apollo and Midnighter that’s been building since they met. I’ve quite enjoyed this series so far, and Stormwatch #18 is a great end to a awesome run.
Scott Lobdell (a) Kenneth Rocafort
And just like that, “H’el on Earth” meanders to a close as ridiculously as it began — with H’el no closer to his goals and us readers no closer to actually understanding anything about this inane new villain who felt more like a toy for Scott Lobdell to fling around and smack against things than a real threat worthy of any attention. I will always make time to mention Kenneth Rocafort’s exquisite artwork because, at this point, it’s the saving grace of Superman, akin to Michelangelo painting the musings of pimply teenager who think’s it’s funny to use ‘hell’ as someone’s name. “H’el on Earth” has been nothing but annoying, and Superman #17 takes the cake for it’s “payoff” of the coming of the Oracle, an entity teased for months only to sit there like a giant bump on a log and do absolutely nothing. In the end, it really should have been a Supergirl event seeing as she was the real focal point of the entire story with H’el, she helped him along the way and had to battle inner demons whilst doing so, then she makes a massive sacrifice in the name of justice — instead, the entire event was a cobbled together mess that made little to no sense and ended with a big, fat whimper.
Brian Michael Bendis (a) David Marquez
A whole lot happens in All-New X-Men #8: the two Angels have their weird you-are-me-and-I’m-you moment, the Avengers get savvy to what’s going on in X-Men Land, seeds of dissent are planted, and something happens on the last three pages that changes everything for this series going forward. Brian Michael Bendis again proves that his unique brand of interpersonal storytelling is perfect for the X-Men, and that his premise for the original X-Men living in the present is a lot more viable as an ongoing series than anyone anticipated. The emotional nuance present throughout All-New X-Men #8 gets down to the core of Bendis’ story: these young X-Men are here to stay, for better or worse, and with all the hurdles that come with it. All-New X-Men is one of the best series Marvel currently publishes and it gets better every issue.
Iron Man #7
Tony Stark’s tryst into deep space continues with a lot of talking and a trial — it’s not nearly as boring as it sounds. Charged with over a dozen different crimes concerning his part in defeating the Phoenix Force, Tony receives help from an unlikely source — a Rigellian Recorder designated 451 — and takes his chances in trial by combat against the best of the Voldi warriors, which proves to not be as difficult as Tony imagined. Kieron Gillen’s take on Iron Man is peculiar in it’s hit-or-miss quality; each issue either impresses with it’s wit and subtly, or fails at grasping what makes Iron Man so interesting. Iron Man #7 contains a bit of both, which leaves me satisfied at issue’s end, but not incredibly so.