Ultimates 2: Who Killed the Scarlet Witch? (Loeb / Madureira): Good lord, this was a terrible comic book. The story was essentially gibberish - a series of hop-skip-jump connected vignettes, each designed to show off a bustacular splash page and some 'cinematic' violence that made very little sense.
The continuity was rubbish - this was something out of the Chris Claremont school of cross-over action; unless you've read sixteen other, parallel, simultaneous titles, there's no sense to be made. On top of that, this was over-the-top mayhem, with no grounding in the real world, no maturity to the plotline, no sense of adulthood, drama, character development, cleverness or even the vaguest whiff of accomplishing something new. Ultimates 3 was, in fact, everything that the Ultimates universe was originally created to avoid. This may not be the first nail in the Ultimate coffin, but it certainly is the longest.
Laika (Abadzis): This lovely independent is drawn and written by Nick Abadzis, who painstakingly researched the (shockingly depressing) topic of Soviet space-flight for years before putting pen to paper.
The story centers around Laika, the first dog in space, but in following the adorable mutt, Abadzis reveals a broad cast of characters all involved in the program. Scientists, politicians, ordinary people are all caught up in the dramatic race to accomplish one of mankind's biggest achievements - against impossible odds, and no matter what the cost.
This is a beautiful book and perfectly illustrated. I'm curious to see what else Abadzis is producing - he has a unique style that fits this story perfectly.