Okay, many of these are current, many I just got around to reading after lengthy stays in my pile. Take them for what they're worth! Of course there are some mild spoilers, you know.
Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1
Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert
For some reason, Wolverine and Spidey have been tossed back in time to the cave ages. Yes, this idea does indeed sound a little "batty", so to speak, but this is Jason Aaron, which was my main draw. Adam Kubert's art is nothing to wince at either. It's interesting to see that they've kept their distance in the past, but somehow I get the feeling they'll be working together to get out of the certain doom that seems to be approaching. Peter Parker's Swiss Family Robinson tree house is fun to look at as drawn by Kubert. Also, in present day, I was exposed to Orb and his gang, all of whom look very Silver Agey, but as drawn by the artist, they look awesome and fun.
The Flash #2
Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul
Francis Manapul makes Flash look amazing while he's running around. The scene of his reconstructing the apartment after rushing in to get everybody out was really visually stunning. I'm afraid the shortfall here comes in the writing. For years and years I've listened to people complain that Barry Allen is the one true Flash while I've been enjoying stories about Wally West. He's been back for awhile now, but I have yet to see what makes Barry Allen interesting, and I think that should have been priority number one. I'm going to keep reading this one for a few more issues, but only because I want it to be better. If it wasn't for Manapul, I probably wouldn't keep buying it.
Birds of Prey #1-2
Gail Simone, Ed Benes, and Adriana Melo
Man, this has been perfect so far. Gail Simone often has to deal with what she's handed on this book from editorial. You know she cringed so hard when her independent and confident Dinah Lance went back with Green Arrow after he'd been cheating on her so much (although in GL, I must admit it was handled convincingly). And here she is dealing with the break-up. But she does it wonderfully. She handles Babs, Dinah, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk like she never left, and now she has Hawk and Dove in tow as well. The opening scene of the first issue had my heart thumping, and I hope this is how this book will continue. In two issues, Barbara and the Birds' worlds have all fallen apart and now they're on the run. I love that they have the Penguin with them too. I almost get a Brave and the Bold feel from the characters Gail tosses together. As long as she continues to do it with her trademark humor mixed with the darker drama and action we see here, I will be around indefinitely.
Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth, and Rico Renzi
Rucka is a maestro of writing tough women who make dubious choices and pay the price. This is a private eye story that reminds me a lot of Ed Brubaker's Scene of the Crime with the investigative approach. Everyone in this book is flawed, but also somehow likable. The art by Matthew Southworth is wonderfully gritty and realistic--not cartoony exaggerations here and they would be inappropriate in a story like this one. Dex Parios is a single mom with a sarcastic mouth and a right hook that get her into as much trouble as they get her out of. I can't go on enough about how great this book is. If you like non-superhero detective stories, you can't go wrong with Stumptown.
Ted McKeever and Emma Rios
Wow, talk about tough women. I normally find Ted McKeever to be an okay writer, but this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Aided and abetted by Emma Rios--one of my new favorite artists--this is the story of a college age girl who is apparently in cancer remission. It makes me want to read more of the character and I wish this wasn't a one-shot. It's a simple one-off where she faces an old high school rival and makes some semblance of amends, but the art and the likability of the titular character make this a charmer.
Siege: Secret Warriors
Jonathan Hickman and Alessandro Vitti
This was the only one of the Siege tie-in books that I read between issues 3 and 4. I thumbed through it at the store and thought it looked interesting. I was right, even if it wasn't a necessary part of the mini. The strongest thing that came out of this is the scene between Ares and Phobos. That relationship has been handled extremely well during the whole Dark Reign deal, it was the majority of this issue, and it's well worth the price I paid for this issue.
Transformers Spotlight: Prowl
Mike Costa and E.J. Su
For awhile there, I was all about the Transformers. For about three or four months, I was ravenously eating up any comic book featuring the Transformers. (Well, except for the movie tie-ins...) But I'd heard that these spotlight issues were really strong, and I loved the Bumblebee miniseries, so I thought I'd pick this one up, seeing as how it was written by Costa and art by Su (Tech Jacket). Prowl, the police car Autobot, has integrated himself into society as a full-time cop car. The Transformers have all been in hiding on Earth for awhile (long story), and are met with fear when exposed. This is a great story showing the "human" side of a giant robot and his mission to serve and protect. It's a nice little story even if the content is a little slim. And E.J. Su's art is very nice.
Len Wein, Andy Kubert, Joe Kubert, J.G. Jones, Scott Kolins, and J.H. Williams
Man, does writer Len Wein ever show us that he can still spin a wonderful story here. In the first issue, we are introduced to two grade school-aged buddies, one of whom turns to a life of crime in 1930's New York City, and the other decides to stay on the side of the law. He has the verbiage of the times down (at least the version used in the movies), which makes awesome scenes of gangsters and heroes like the Crimson Avenger and the Sandman. In issue 2, there is a wonderful scene featuring the Newsboy Legion and the Guardian. The back-ups are nothing to sneeze at either. The one in the first issue is drawn by J.G. Jones and features Dr. Fate and the Spectre as they deal with the paranormal baddies of the time period. The second issue has the Seven Soldiers of Victory, done using one of J.H. Williams' trademark styles, where he features different characters drawn in different styles within the same panels. He somehow uses eight different styles for eight different characters, and then has them all side-by-side in the final sequence. It makes me wish he would draw about five or six titles a month. The only bad thing about these books is Scott Kolins, whose work I've always liked in the past. But here he's begun using a chalky kind of painted style which covers up his beautiful lines, and it's ugly.
Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel, David Finch, Andy Kubert, and Frank Quitely
It's no secret that I'm in love with Grant Morrison's writing. This one-shot has everything in it you could want in a Batman story. Crazy time-travel helmets, all the villains you could ask for, and a very likable portrayal of Batman in all his versions. First off, this is the best Tony Daniel art I've ever seen. I like how he did the Adam West version of the costume without making it dorky or even campy. I wasn't once tempted to read Batman's words in West's voice. When Frank Quitely comes in, it's beautiful as always. I love the lanky way he draws Robin and the grace of him and Batman while they're strutting up to fight off the Mutants. But it looks like Frank wasn't able to complete his part of the book, because here comes Scott Kolins in his chalky form again, which almost (almost) ruined that part for me. But I'll forgive it, because it has quite possibly my favorite Dynamic Duo scene ever, showing them sharing a pizza while out on the town, taking a little break from the case. This really says everything you need to know about the difference between Dick and Bruce. Then we have the future Batman--the Damian version--continuing this case in the future. I do wonder if by the time Morrison is done with Damian, this version of the future will be moot. Still, I'm a big fan of stories from this era, and Two-Face-Two is a fantastic villain. Then the future-future, wherein we're looking at the Batman Beyond version, is drawn by David Finch. Pretty cool work, but I'd like to see him on something even more substantial. This closes out with a version tens of thousands of years in the future with the DC 1,000,000 version of Batman and Robin. The rest of the issue is filled with filler, but the main story is great. It leaves the reader something to discover with repeated readings, and gives us all something to chew on for awhile, while giving lots of clues for upcoming story lines.