This Week in Comics: May 26

When I last did this feature, back for comics released on May 12, I mentioned that I might be able to skip May 19, since it looked like a light week. Well, I did skip May 19, but it turns out that there were a handful of books released then that I ended up buying. We'll get to those eventually, but let's start with the new stuff.

As always with "This Week in Comics", I'm going to go in alphabetical order, starting with "Amazing Spider-Man", which had two books released this week.

The Amazing Spider-Man #632
The "Shed" subtitle for this ongoing arc finally makes sense, as The Lizard sheds his original skin and evolves into something greater. I like the decision to do this, since most Lizard stories go the same way (Connors becomes Lizard, he and Spider-Man fight, Spider-Man speaks to Connors's humanity, Lizard lies dormant again), but this time they've made it so they can't write that same conclusion. Also, a Lizard that's dangerous in more than just a physical way is simply a better villain. The only thing that really bothered me about this issue was the shift in artist. The last few pages are drawn by Emma Rios who has a notably different style from Chris Bachalo. Bachalo's dark, styalized look had been perfect for this series, but Rios seems to have a more traditional take on the look. It's a weird shift within the issue itself, but Bachalo is supposed to be back for the next issue.

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37
The main story of this book, the tale of the first meeting between Spider-Man  and Captain America, is just okay. It's nothing special, and doesn't really add anything to either character. The back-up story, featuring an in-universe development of a Spider-Man comic, is way too tongue-in-cheek and self-referential for my tastes. Unlike last year's annual (which was bloated, but at least had a major set-up at the end), this issue is entirely skip-able.

Angel #33
I keep reading the "Angel" books despite the fact that I haven't enjoyed them for awhile. I'm not saying they're bad -- they're not -- they just don't feel like the type of "Angel" stories from the TV series (of course, many people have made the same complaints about "Buffy Season 8", which I love). However, this issue started to get things back on track. #33 features a reveal that fallen angel James is actually a demon who's been harvesting other demons using human hosts. The good guy/bad guy switcheroo is something "Angel" has done in the past with great success. Also, I really liked Elena Casagrande's artwork. My biggest frustration with the issue was the written exposition, with James's letter correspondence with his demonic sister being placed in the same panels with dialogue. Trying to follow both stories at once was a little confusing. Still, the reveal of the soul-eater at the end made it worthwhile.

The Guild #3
There was only one bad thing about this issue: it's the last one (for now). "The Guild" was always planned as a three-part prequel arc to the ongoing web series, and it's a shame that it had to come to an end. Still, Issue #3 was the strongest of the three issues, since we got to see Cyd fall more into her addiction to the game, and we finally got to see the titular guild come together officially for the first time. The concluding joke of the arc is actually great, since it leads into the primary conflict of the first season of "The Guild". I can't give the book too much credit for capturing the feel of Felicia Day's character, since it's written by Day herself, but that's one of the things that makes it so strong. Also, Jim Rugg's artwork, particularly on the in-game stuff, is really nice.

That does it for the new releases. Now, on to the "old" stuff...

The Avengers #1, the relaunch of this flagship series, came out last week. Marvel made a big deal about this issue, and bringing The Avengers into The Heroic Age, but I wasn't that interested. I changed my mind at the store this week, mostly because I figured something by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr. would have to be good. I wasn't right, but I wasn't entirely wrong either. There's SOMETHING there for this series, but Issue #1 didn't get it there, and I'm not even sure it got me hooked enough to buy the next issue.

Invincible Iron Man #26 came out last week too (which just goes to show you can't trust every release list you read) and feels like a callback to some of Tony Stark/Iron Man's origins without being a complete reboot. We've got villains (in this case, the Hammer girls) using Stark tech for evil purposes, and Tony using his old technology (in this case, 9 old Iron Man suits delivered by Steve Rogers) to build something new. Despite the throwback feel, the book holds up pretty well, and I still love the newest edition of the Iron Man suit, which is stored inside his body.

I also picked up Ultimate Avengers 2 #2, which is really #8 of this series (they did a renumber after six issues for some reason). It's an average effort at best, and I may be done with this series. As for Jennifer Love Hewitt's Music Box #5, I thought this one was the best issue since the first one. In the past couple issues, the Music Box has been used against people who didn't really deserve its wrath, but this time, the main character of the story is such a douche that you're actually rooting for the box to work its evil mojo on him.