Secret Invasion: Dark Reign -- I'll begin by apologizing to Bendis a bit...his Doom was good here...I really had no complaints with how his role was portrayed; other than that...meh; just one of those typical all-talk, little-to-no action Bendis specials, where 95% of the book is one long conversation; the brief action we do get is Norman hoisting Swordsman on his own petard (or sword...whatever), which is an obvious look into Osborn's insanity; the rest...eh, the idea of this Dark Illuminati sounds good in theory, but if Dormammu really is the power behind the Hood, what good does this do him? What good can Osborn do Loki REALLY? And would those 3 plus Emma and Namor REALLY be that scared of the Sentry? Doom's toppled the Beyonder by himself for God's sake...add those two mystic heavyweights and I just don't see it; basically the set up's nice but don't put too much thought into the why's and wherefore's; as for the art, I will NOT apologize to Maleev; this is some of the worst-looking art I've ever plunked down money for; Namor's normally sharp widow's peak has been photo-referenced as a receding hairline, his normally sharp angular facial structure has been doughed up to look like pudgy little Bendis, and mixed with his chin stubble makes him look like a fat balding wife-beater; Loki and Emma are fugly, Norman looks more like James Franco's Harry from the movies than anything else...and the whole book is ensconced in the usual Maleev murkiness...hideous; on the whole, the idea is much better than the execution, and I was a bit disappointed.
Final Crisis #5 -- and this just remains helter-skelter, poorly-written garbage; the opposite of Dark Reign, Morrison throws us in 18 different directions with little to no bridging between scenes, trying to create the illusion of important stuff happening; sometimes, too much chaos is too much chaos; if you've read the preview pages on Newsarama featuring the GLs you've already seen the coolest part of the book; we see what Checkmate's up to (7-day Biomacs), we finally revisit the lost Monitor (who I still don't care about), we see Supergirl fight Mary Marvel after she beats the crud out of Black Adam and Freddy, we see Darkseid kill some goons and take over the world, and we see Mr. Miracle tell the remaining heroes to paint Metron's sign on their faces; art's pretty (but Pacheco's is much more so than Jones's), but the disjointedness of the whole thing and the random scattershot inclusion of so many disparate elements make for what has remained an unenjoyable reading experience; I'll put it this way...the next issue box proclaims that next issues bigger event (presumably) is discovering Batman's fate...so what? Bats hasn't even been in the book since issue 2, and was probably in a total of 5 pages in those first issues and none since; FC and Morrison could've REALLY benefited from addition by subtraction here; didn't like it.
Nightwing #151 -- best book I read of the three, and even it was below par by Tomasi's recent standards; great fill-in art by Mahnke though; anyway, I'll blame this one on having to fill time before the forthcoming Battle for the Cowl and Dick's almost-assured ascension to the mantle of the Bat...it's a loose-ender type issue; we see that Dick faked Carol Bermingham's death (fixing the one "mistake" from Tomasi's run so far), then Dick talks things out with Harvey in Arkham (the highlight of the issue, if a bit reminiscent of the Xavier-Magneto scene from the end of the first X-Men movie...I just love the new direction they're giving the Dick/Harvey relationship, just as personal as Harv's with Bruce, but with none of the guilt/belief in Harvey's better nature), breaks up with his recent romance du-jour, begins interring dead metas in the new gravesite beneath the Hall of Justice along with Supes and John Stewart, breaks 4 world free-fall records, and then spends a quiet evening at home with Tim and Alfred in Wayne Manor, in a low-key slightly somber ending; not a lot of action, but some great art and solid character work; not Tomasi's best issue, but I liked it.