DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH #4: This comic is fun. Now this is the way ya do a second-to-last issue of a miniseries! (Don't prove me wrong by turning the series into #5 of 6 next issue, Marvel!) Doc faces the architect of his troubles and it's a retcon (or is that continuity implant?), but it's done with such flair and a neat sideways knife twist that I've got no problem with it. Marcos Martin's art is a wonderful homage to Steve Ditko's but firmly original and innovative on its own, and I'm really enjoying the Night Nurse: I get a kick out of the supporting characters and "working stiffs" of the Marvel Universe. (Bring back Damage Control!) And oh no...I'm biting my hooves over the final page! Say it ain't so, Marvel! Well, it's comic books, so it never is so...but that won't stop me from being jittery all month long waiting for the conclusion!
HEROES FOR HIRE #6: This comic is fun. Remember those great Marvel Comics of yesteryear that challenged you on the cover to identify the story's bad guy? "You'll never guess the identity of this issue's villain!" But for every absolutely far-out villain-identity revelation that you never woulda guessed and totally blew your mind there was a dozen that goaded you that you'll never guess the identity of the guy who had the exact sillhouette of the Puppet Master. (Bruce Timm lovingly parodied this on the cover of his brilliant Avengers #1½.) What's all this got to do with Heroes for Hire? Simply that it takes a lot to surprise me these days in comics, and the revelation of the surprise supervillain deadly robot hit me like a ton of bricks. (Okay, make fun of me for not realizing it even after they suggested his first name.) I guessed that the Headmen were going to guest-star, but never the guy who pops up in the rat-infested, garbage-strewn West Side Highway overpass. Speaking of Marvel Manhattan, this ish also kicks off with a wonderfully detailed and realistic panel of the Diamond District that looks more like real New York than most anything in Marvel since the days of John Romita Sr. I'm enjoying the heck out of this book, and what the hey, for surprising me and making me giggle out loud in delight at the revelation of the bad guy's ID, let's call HEROES FOR HIRE #6 the most fun comic of the week. (Although Misty looks awful short on the cover, don't she?)
X-FACTOR #15: This comic is fun. in between the surprise villain I just hinted at, and M.O.D.O.K. poppin' up all over the place, and Ego making a return visit, and Hydra being a big part of this current X-Factor storyline...I hereby declare 2007 the Year of the Supervillain! An' it can't come a moment too soon for me...after a year of heroes acting like jerks, it's nice to see the villainy back on the side of the guys who cackle and rub their fingertips together. You get two plots for your dime (warning: a dime does not actually buy a comic book) in this issue: Madrox being interrogated and brainwashed by Hydra while M and Siryn face off against anti-mutant mobs in Paris. (Between Ben Grimm moving to Paris and this issue, there's almost the beginning of Avengers Europe here, ain't there?) Don't worry, Madrox fans: Jaime escapes via a dandy (tho' macabre) twist at the end. (Now that's something you'd never see Wolverine doin'!)
52 WEEK 38: This comic is fun...sorta. A whole lotta trudging through the snow for Montoya and
FUTURAMA #29: Good news, everyone: this comic is fun! A comic book story where the heroes are shrunk with no parody of Fantastic Voyage? That's gotta be a first in comics! But there's plenty of pop-culture pokes-in-the-eye in this lightweight but giggleworthy tale from the year 3007, including a Bottle City of Kandor parody, a quick but funny guest-appearance by Professor X and Horton (of "Hears a Who" fame), a riff on Logan's Run, and the ever-klutzy antics of Amy Wong. (Plus, are they printing this on better paper now or am I just imagining it?) All that and The Best Line of the Week: Leela: "I was winking!" Bender: "With you, how can we tell?"