I've been binge-reading ever since I got my library dues out of the way, and chezkevin's got a whole new menu! We've got three trade paperbacks for you today! Read 'em and weep!
I found this gem from 2002 nestled away in the comics section of my local library. The entire thing is written, drawn, colored by Christopher Moeller. It's more a Wonder Woman story than a JLA one, as she visits the Oracle of Delphi, who foretells that the JLA will fight the last dragon on Earth, Drakul Karfang Serpentis Voldemortem, and will perish in order to defeat it. What follows is Wonder Woman taking down the entire JLA so that she can be a "league of one," and sacrifice herself against Drakul Karfang Ekans Kobra. It's lushly painted, paced well enough and certainly a Wonder Woman story with flair. The story is passable, but the style is irresistible. She even turns into a mermaid!
Remember that time Orson Scott Card decided to do a Marvel comic? This one is his first volume of Ultimate Iron Man, and it's crummy with extra crum sauce. It's literally the origin of Ultimate Tony Stark, from the day he was born to the day those mean dudes in boarding school stuck him in a furnace to burn. The problem with the five issues is that they're not focused. Why devote an issue to Zebediah Stane's douchey-ness, to bring it up 2 issues later? Why send Tony to boarding school when he'll be in nerd school in 10 pages? The details are too scattered, especially when you only have 5 issues - 110 pages to tell them. The ending isn't even a real ending, somehow leading into Ultimate Iron Man 2: Electric Boogaloo. I love the Ultimates -- I have their first two hardcovers -- but I really find it hard to accept this as part of it.
Ultimate Spider-Man: Clone Saga collects Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley's issues 97-105 of Ultimate Spider-Man. The two redo the much-maligned Clone Saga from the 616 universe, which spanned over 4 titles and 3 years. I've never read that one, but this one is a blast. Ultimate Peter Parker is witness to a spawn of clones, like the Scorpion clone, the Tarantula clone, as Nick Fury tries to contain the situation in a militarization of Midtown. The whole nine issues play out like a tight action thriller, increasing in plot twists and cliffhangers. Oh snap, is that Gwen? Oh snap, that dude's a clone! Oh snap, that clone's really ugly! Oh snap, is that Ben Parker! I thought he was dead! Oh snap here comes Nick Fury with his Spider Slayers! To be a spider-fan and watch as Peter's life unravels before him is amazing. If ever you've read Ultimate Spider-Man, don't miss this one.