With the end of some questionable books, either by design or lack of readership, I've added some new titles to my reading. Some of them are the result of successful FCBD promotions. One is a recommendation by Jim. One is an addition because the writer has garnered my interest in another title. All that being said, I found that this month's selections were largely on par with one another. There's not a bad one in the bunch.
1. Fairest 15 - A new story arc this month. The Return of the Maharaja doesn't surprise in who the Maharaja is, even though he isn't seen until the last page. That's because he's on the cover. Between the hero, Nalayani, whose tale told to Charming is the currency of the issue, and the return of Charming, Fairest went to the top of the List of what I enjoyed reading this month. Nalayani's story is one of strength and determination in the face of perilous danger. Charming is his expected charming in his brief moments in the book. Nonetheless, it's great to see him again. I haven't read any stories with him since he died in the pages of Fables.
3. Fables 129 - Hoo-rah! Snow's in kick ass mode and Brandish is down for the count! Of course, no battle goes without collateral damage, and this is no exception. Ok, I for one don't believe this damage is permanent. We've seen the damage Jack can take and Snow herself was shot by Goldilocks in the early days of the book, with a wound that would have been fatal to a Mundy. Willingham, Buckingham and Leialoha have nicely dovetailed the end of this story with the end of the Therese arc, as she shows up at the door in her adult form just as she did at the end of her story. Clearly there is no shortage of stories in these guys' minds.
5. Sex 3 - Considering not a lot happens in this issue, I quite liked it. Really, not much plot advanced. The Alpha Brothers do a little cleaning of a mess. The old man is crazy as hell and pulls a guy's teeth out to make sure he doesn't have a transmitter in them. Our young couple have some nice sex and our Catwoman stand in enjoys a favorite toy while remembering/fantasizing about a past meeting with our Batman stand in. It's just that the characters are so interesting to watch, whether or not they're having sex, that it's a fun read without a lot of action. Can't say there's no action, as a guy gets shot in the head and teeth get pulled, as well as the aforementioned sex, but it's not wall to wall slugfest or anything.
7. Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventurs 8 - Annie Oakley and Wong Kei-ying blow up a train. Do you need more description than that? Ok. It's a near constant battle throughout the issue. This is your high action book, with a couple of pages of nefarious plotting thrown in for good measure. The backup story about Robo and crew in Egypt is brief and amusing, with the rest of the pages taken up with a preview of the returning Neozoic (which came out before this book). Aside from wanting more pages in the main story, a very enjoyable read.
9. Thor: God of Thunder 8 - Gorr's boy explains the rationale for the god bomb. Can you say god bomb and not enjoy the sound of it? I can't. Throw in Thor's trio of daughters and young Thor's Tarzan look and you've got a great looking book, too. Oh, don't forget space sharks. Who doesn't like space sharks? Best line of the month: "Nay. The time for words has past. Now we let the hammers talk."
11. Damsels: Mermaids 1 - This was one of the books that was the result of a successful FCBD promotion. Despite the cover this is no T&A book. Or T&F in this case. There's a very good fantasy story here, written by Matt Sturges with art by Jean Paul Deshong. A depressed mermaid and a deposed prince become companions and allies and set off on adventure. Wizards and goblins appear at different points. I like our lead characters already, so I'm going to see where this goes.
12. Memorial: Imaginary Friends 3 - Thus concludes a brief story in the Memorial 'verse. I don't think the story forwarded the larger quest that M is on, but it was a nice little story all the same.
13. The Bounce 1 - Because I'm enjoying Sex I decided to give this Casey title a look, too. It has some similarity to Sex in that it's a superhero world that works off the Big Two premises but takes things in a different, unfettered direction. There's no retired hero here. This one is more Spider-man-esque with his banter and quick movements. There's some grand conspiracy going on with some dude who eats small lizards whole guiding things, if not in charge. An interesting start.
14. Ten Grand 1 - This was the Jim recommendation I tried. A good recommendation, too. I may actually come off my reluctance to read JMS penned singles if this book continues at its level of quality and comes out with some regularity. Ben Templesmith's art doesn't hurt matters, either. A veteran hit man who charges $10k for each job and who is taking jobs to redeem himself to one day be with his dead girlfriend is an intriguing premise.
15. Neozoic: Trader's Gambit 1 - It's been years since the original Neozoic came out. It was a great book, and it did at least conclude its opening arc, but there was clearly a lot more to tell. This issue is jumping on where the original left off. It's planned for 4 issues and is starting off well. I just hope there isn't such a long gap to the next arc after this one.
16. Bodie Troll 1 - Red 5 has more on my list this month than it has ever had. This is another FCBD promotion success, as this 4 issue series is going to be a lot of all ages fun. Can a too cute troll overcome the limitations of his appearance to become a scary troll? Probably not because his personality matches his appearance. Bring on the floor rolled roots for lunch!
17. The Shadow: Year One 3 - Dynamite's making a good showing this month, too. Doesn't hurt to have Matt Wagner writing a book for you. Dr Zorn looks like the opposite number to The Shadow. The funny thing is that the name seems like an actual name rather than a nom du guerre. If you like good girl art, check out the covers for the next issue, too.
18. The Massive 11 & 12 - I'm not sure how I ended up with two issues this month. Then again, I don't know how environmental distress brings the return of a Megalodon, either. Issue 11 featured the ongoing search for The Massive but with Mary handing the reins of Cal's captaincy to Lars in anticipation of Cal's demise. Something of a land shark moment in the book, too. Stretch credibility a bit. Issue 12 has more of a mental demise than physical for Cal. It also shows some of Cal's origin, all while the Kapital is stuck in polar ice. Mary may have made Lars captain but she's in charge now.
19. Dark Horse Presents 24 - Blackout is previewed this issue. It's a beautiful book with a good hero premise. Alabaster, Bloodhound, King's Road, Nexus, and Brain Boy all continue, too. The most interesting thing for me, though, was the return of Ron Randall's Trekker. I have the original issues from back in the '80s, when black and white was the thing. I thnk Randall's writing and art have both improved in the intervening decades. It's good to see Mercy St Clair back again.
20. Batwoman 20 - Ah, a truly comic book superhero, or in this case supervillain, return to life. I'll let the magic sarcophagus bit go because I want to see more about Alice, but it's this kind of thing that makes superhero stories so impermanent.