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Ratings

Story: How well the issue worked as a story of its own.

Art: How well the art fit the particular story being told. Not necessarily a measure of how “good” the art was.

Fun: An incredibly subjective measure of the number of surprises in any given issue. Bonus points if there’s anything that makes me chuckle or gasp while reading it. Minus points for cliches that the writer and/or artist don’t try to do anything new with.

Continuity: How many other books you have to have read to get everything out of it. With a “1” being a book you can pick up and everything you need to know is between the covers, and a “5” being something that requires flowcharts or a handbook of some kind to fully appreciate.

DOKTOR SLEEPLESS #2

Warren Ellis’ enigmatic mad scientist lives in a world that’s not so much a possible future as an alternate present. DOKTOR SLEEPLESS is a sci-fi book, but one that takes lots of small, plausible jumps with our current technology, rather than a single large one.

This issue explores a bit more of the good Doktor’s past, and sets up some mysteries about who he is. All we know for sure is that he’s brilliant and probably insane. Which is entertaining enough on its own, but the two issues so far have given the impression that there’s a lot more going than we’ve been let in on.

In a lot of ways, this title is vintage Ellis. The tangent about “Shrieky Girls” in particular feels like early TRANSMETROPOLITAN with its hymns to technology and human potential. Although it’s mixed with an equal amount of disappointment about what we haven’t done, but could have. And it’s those kinds of thoughts that keep Doktor Sleepless up at night.

Story: 5
Art: 4
Fun: 3
Continuity: 1

SHE-HULK #21

Dan Slott ends his run on SHE-HULK by going out with another of those one-off stories that made the book such a gem in the first place. This time around, Jen Walters (aka She-Hulk) meets She-Hulk (aka Jen Walters) in the middle of a lawsuit involving a parallel universe identity theft ring.

Slott’s best trick on this book (and the unfortunately short-lived THE THING), is his ability to cram in unbelievable amounts of trivia and continuity and still be fairly accessible to new readers. Even on a big wrap-up issue like this, he throws in enough to keep the casual reader entertained as the nods to Marvel history go flying over their heads.

SHE-HULK has been one of Marvel’s most consistently enjoyable books for a long time, although it did seem to flounder a bit during all the crossovers. It’s good to see the title get back on track for the last few issues of Slott’s run.

Story: 3
Art: 4
Fun: 4
Continuity: 5

METAL MEN #2

A good part of the appeal of the original Metal Men was the fact that the comics were just bat@#$! crazy. Actually, that’s the appeal of a large chunk of the Silver Age of comics, but the Metal Men refined their own special brand of insanity. (My favorie cover of all time illustrates this perfectly.)

The new Metal Men miniseries seems to be getting that right so far. It moves at full speed even in the quiet moments, cramming the story and art with dozens of interesting little details. Like the Balloonatic, a kind of inflatable version of Chemo that gets defeated by a science lesson. Or the creepy guy in a wheelchair with his darkened mansion full of curiousities.

As with the other “based on ideas by Grant Morrison” titles (THE ALL NEW ATOM and UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS), there are a lot of ideas that fly by at incredible speed, which can be dizzying at times. But Rouleau’s charming presentation makes the book likable on its own terms.

Story: 3
Art: 4
Fun: 5
Continuity: 2