Various stuff I've read over the last few weeks:
Maybe I'm just in a grumpy mood (I probably am) but it felt like most of the lead-in minis ended rather unsatisfactorily to my mind. Wraith in particular gets the old Annihilation gang back together (including Super-Skrull's fabulous robot girlfriend whose name I can't spell but who I adore), which had me squeeing, but because it's ostensibly about Wraith we got this "OMG I'm an outsider" stuff to finish off with that made him sound like such an emo. Quasar I was annoyed turned into "look! Adam Warlock!" because I care very little about him, and the writing out of the Annihilus taint in the Quantum Bands disappointed me because it was a good limitation on her power. I did like the big-comics-fight equivalent of Kirk talking the computer to death that we got to deal with the Super-Adaptoid though. Nova ended nicely, in the sense of taking him off the board so his ongoing can go on, but whacking the Phalanxised Drax and Gamora in there too. And Star-Lord had the best ending of all, with the whole "[completely awesome and hilarious] team ready for another mission" thing, but then they didn't appear at all in the first ish of the main series, which made the little bit of text at the end of Star-Lord #4 a lie. (So when I say "most of", I mean "half".) Speaking of Conquest #1, I thought it was entertaining overall, a bit too much Warlock but he was with Quasar and more of her is always fine and definitely not enough Peter Quill's Dirty Half-dozen, but the last page reveal disappointed me because I cannot stand it when faceless collectives get a face. Yes, I'm looking at you, Borg Queen.
This seems to have bogged down a bit now it's all started to focus on Earth. I like GL for the high concept cosmic stuff. Now that we're back on Earth all these Sinestro Corps ersatz Supermen seem to be taking over a bit. (I knew very little about these characters before I started reading this; AFAICS Hank Henshaw is a DCU Reed Richards who gets a bad ending [in some sort of "hah! as if radiation doesn't kill you! silly Marvel!" thing?]) and Supes-Prime is a satire on comics fans [quite a good one actually, all that whining about people not being pure and Golden Agey enough and X not being the real X].) I did like Kyle getting more back to being a regular Lantern after being de-Parallaxed (not planning to follow him to Countdown, though, as I am a completist and it seems to be getting its tendrils into absolutely everything and I just don't have the money), though I'm a bit confused as to how the timeline's working on that, because Guy still seems to be off in search of the painting in things that may or may not be subsequent. And the Blue Beetle tie-in was quite entertaining, though for some reason I'd forgotten Ted Kord was dead and it took me a few pages to adjust my expectations.
I liked this; Faith continues to be yay and the fact that it's set in exactly the same England as the terrible movie version of The Avengers still isn't bothering me, somehow. But I really hope they're not planning to return Buffy/Faith to its mid-late S3 status, because there's been way too much water under various bridges. And all the nudity did seem rather gratuitous, even by my standards. Don't thinking I'll be buying the Chen cover for #9.
And today I bought:
Now, the thing is I should admit that I only started reading this because it had a prominent role for Doctor Strange back in #2 and #3. I care little for the Hulk in general (though I did pick up the Planet Hulk TPB entirely so I could see if I believed Hiroim had the mojo to take on Doc; I'm still only halfway through so my jury's still out, but I am enjoying that story overall). I care even less for The Sentry as anything other than the Silver Age mickey-take that he first appeared as. So the fact that it ends up as Hulk vs Sentry in a battle to the philosophical end and Doctor Strange got (as far as I can tell) no dialogue and about two appearances in panels was not exactly to my taste, but it's what I was expecting (admittedly, most of the Illuminati are sidelined for the Sentry and the Rick Jones, Miek, etc. stuff but at least Reed gets to have a bit of willpower about the obedience disc and Tony the Douchebag gets to do his Extremis thing). Now the thing is, outside WWH I'm not up to date on the bits of the Marvel U that hasn't been cut off by the Phalanx, so I don't know if Doc is a Skrull or not, but this really feels like it might be pointing to him being, and I wouldn't like that. 'Cos I luff him. Also, that final page made me think that someone somewhere has gotten confused between Hulk and Swamp Thing (the fact that everyone in the bit of Planet Hulk I've just read was making a fuss of vines growing where Hulk's blood splashed isn't helping on this one).
I've also decided that I don't actually like the way JRJr draws the more human superpeople's faces (he does great ones for Hulk, Thing, etc. though). This probably makes me evil. But everyone's jaws are so ridiculously square. And I really honestly can't tell them apart when they're in the arena with their shirts off. So maybe there was loads more Doc in there than I thought and I just couldn't tell, I dunno.
So Nova is off the gameboard for Annihilation: Conquest, though for some reason this gives me the feeling that he might well be making a Triumphant Return at the end of #5, say. But this is great, throwing him all the way to the edge of the universe (I love love love that this doesn't even vaguely attempt to make the Marvel U's cosmology tally up with what we think we know right now; it's exactly the right approach for a universe so full of stuff beyond human understanding) with a Celestial's decapitated head, a talking Russian spacedog and a weird menace accidentally unleashed by heroes from another planet. Excellent weird-ass space comics, would be my favourite of the three things I bought this week if it weren't for ...
So this is a mini about the backstory of a very convoluted and ultimately quite silly alternate reality that was retconned away at the end of its crossover ages ago now (I got a rosy glow of nostalgia from it starting with the Exposition ex Wanda's Glowing Vagina, how weird is that?). And it's written by Christos Gage, who strikes me as not great at dialogue. It really really shouldn't be as absolutely awesome as it is. And yet it is, absolutely awesome. The alt-history is well worked-out but not overlaboured, because it's all told through Luke Cage's personal story. And of course here is the truly awesome thing -- Luke Cage! In his proper yellow jacket and everything! And although the final page is one of the worst bits of As-you-know-Bob infodumping I've seen in a long time, I don't care because OMG Misty Knight. Best last panel of the three, definitely.