Well folks, we have ourselves an average week on our hands. Don't get me wrong, there are a couple of top-flight books coming out, but the deep number average books are about equal for both of the major publishers, making this week an even race.
There are a few intriguing titles though. Let's start with Marvel's:
Of the few dangling plot threads at the end of the X-Men's "Messiah Complex," the one most ignored was the fact that Layla Miller was lost in a desolate alternate future. Frankly, I've been shocked Marvel let the story cool for this long, since Layla was the it-girl of the Marvel Universe following her debut in "House of M." Well, we finally get to see more of Layla's future life in X-Factor Special: Layla Miller. If that isn't enough to grab your interest, it seems this issue features Layla playing a role in "The Summers Rebellion," liberating mutants. As far as I'm concerned, this issue will be a success if we get to see this long-rumored uprising.
Another book that may not be on your radar is Moon Knight #21, an under appreciated book that is beginning a new six-part story titled "The Death of Marc Spector." That's right, move over "Batman R.I.P.!" Well, maybe not. But, the group that is supposedly causing that death is the Thunderbolts, which should make for a very good story.
On a related note, I wonder if this is the last "Initiative vs. Fugitive" story we're going to see. Personally, I think the "Secret Invasion" is going to end this Initiative in a big way quick.
There are, of course, good choices from Marvel that you probably already know about, too. Somehow Ed Brubaker is still moving with a head of steam in Captain America #41, a book that hopefully shows us if Sharon (and baby) is OK after being stabbed by Sin last issue. Uncanny X-Men #501 begins the "Hellfire Cult" storyline (what's with all the re-treads with a twist lately?), and, according to the solicitation, features "Scott and Emma do what Scott and Emma do best" ... they do it? Plus, two books tie-in to "Secret Invasion," Guardians of the Galaxy #4 and Incredible Hercules #120.
But, as I said, DC has an equal showing this week:
It all begins for DC this week with Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1, the first part of a five-part mini-series written by Geoff Johns. We've heard a lot about this series already, and if it all comes true, we're looking at some action-packed issues. There have been hints (I guessed it months ago) Bart Allen will return here. George Perez has supposedly drawn EVERY Legion Member ever. Johns claims this is Superboy Prime's story, but it is also the story of the Time Trapper finally succeeding and erasing Superman from history. Oh, and did we mention it all ties in to "Final Crisis?" There are so many great things this mini-series can be, if Johns strikes out here it will be a big disappointment.
Dwayne McDuffie has been doing his job well lately, and it should only continue with Justice League of America #24. McDuffie has two plot threads working right now, with Amazo's attack on the league being front-and-center. Personally, I wasn't a fan of that fight in "JLA #23," simply because I felt McDuffie really bent the rules of Amazo's abilities in order to make him unbeatable, but it was still a well choreographed fight. More than that, though, I am interested in the secondary plot, featuring Vixen's powers. Apparently, some sorcerer has linked Vixen and Animal Man, and the team is hopefully going to confront this wizard here, if the cover of the issue indicates anything.
Finally from DC, the book I am most eager to read, believe it or not ... Robin #177. Robin's two-issue tie-in with "Batman R.I.P." was stellar in my opinion, which only makes me more curious to see why someone is wearing the Red Robin suit on the cover of this week's issue and who it is. We know the first page to "Batman R.I.P." featured a Batman and a Robin yelling something like "Batman and Robin will never die," which I started to believe was Tim and Damien, but now we have this Red Robin character... what does it all mean and how does it impact Tim's future? I guess we'll find out a little here. You know, Nightwing has that reputation as being the darling of the fanboys -- well I got to tell you, I think Tim Drake is one of the best characters in the DC Universe right now. Hopefully they treat him right.