Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

This week, I review Astonishing X-Men #25 as a bonus!

American Dream #5–The mini series comes to climactic finish and can you guess the focus? American Dream versus a giant crystal monster! Sure, they don’t burst through the ground and fight above the city. The conflict is the draw and it happens to be the final one in the issue. Comics from the week of Independence Day and this one makes it in the first stack. Kinda cool.

(not full cover)

Astonishing X-Men #25–Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi pick up the X-Men after the events of “Messiah Complex”. The X-Men have moved to San Francisco and are still trying to figure out their new method of operation (which readers can figure out if they read the recap page at the front). Due to this, and probably the likelihood of people buying the title simply because of a change in creative team, Ellis spends the first half of the comic introducing us to the characters, their relation to each other, their respective roles on the team, and how they’re adjusting to San Francisco life. My only complaint here is that nearly everyone is funny, even when they don’t seem like they’re supposed to be (such as Storm describing how she got permission to be on the team).

Bianchi’s art is decent, and the odd layouts work well enough. However, there are no real dynamic sequences for him to draw. The art works well for this issue, but can Bianchi handle a more action-packed issue?

There are clever concepts (such as the secret of Chaparanga Bay) and nods to continuity. But as character issues go, since that is essentially what this it, it’s nothing exceptional. I give it a 3:5. And, no, the cover doesn’t make the first stack.

Batman #678–The cover shows Batman standing in the city underneath a psychedelic light. It probably is meant to show that Batman is somewhat insane inside, which he might be. The cover is a bit symbolic that way. However, there are other important aspects and, well, that thing on the cover looks to me like an attack from above more than it does psychosis. Close, but not quite.

Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam! #1–Here, Captain Marvel is depicted as slowly turning into Billy Batson. Or maybe vice versa. Either way, this is both an inaccurate depiction of the character, and says little to nothing about the story.

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #5–From the cover, one can see that in this issue there should be a confrontation between these two guys and that the one on the right wants to kill the one on the left. More or less, that covers the first half of the story. First stack, away!

Dynamo 5 #14–The first third of this issue deals with a mysterious new protector of the city named Vigil. (And if you check out the back cover, that name is provided.) She does fight a strong guy and a guy with an electric fist. Good enough, but just barely.

Grimm Fairy Tales #28–The story is about a girl’s life as influenced by the tale of The Ugly Duckling. The cover seems to express this simply by including a group of ducklings and a swan. However, the focus of the cover is a bikini-wearing-girl that is presumably the mysterious redhead that essentially guides the story. So, I can interpret the cover going backward. But just looking at the cover itself beforehand, I’d assume it’s a standard poster wannabe.

House of Mystery #3–The cover depicts a shadowy figure standing in front of a skull. The figure in question appears toward the end, but has little impact on this issue specifically. Death is an important concept here, as well. However, learning important details about the story is nigh impossible.

Legion of Super-Heroes #43–The team above are trapped on Rimbor, on the run, and getting shot at whenever they make their whereabouts known. So, yes, they do flee from the sewer while hiding and, yes, Colossal Boy gets shot. It’s not a pivotal moment of the issue, but it is relevant and does adequately express one of the plots. I’ll put it in the first stack.

Nightwing #146–“BURIAL AT SEA”, it reads, while showing Nightwing surrounded by corpses. That scene isn’t that important, and is handled within the first two pages.

Noble Causes #35–I’m going to be lenient and let this one into the first stack. The Nobles confront the metallic guy on the cover, and his machinations are in pretty much every part of the issue. It would help if the cover showed everyone that attacks Crucible (said metallic guy), but I won’t be picky.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #3–The main characters are in the clutches of a villain! (He’s named Deacon Dark, but you can’t know that from the cover.) Within the issue, they are, but they aren’t. Dark himself plays a small role in the issue, but it’s what he does and has done that’s of more relevance.

Star Trek: Enterprise Experiment #3–The cover shows Captain Kirk fighting a Klingon. It doesn’t happen. Nothing close does, actually.

Trinity #5–In a surprise twist, Trinity’s cover actually does fit into the first stack. Not only does Wonder Woman fighting the big monster (Konvikt), but that fight (though not depicted accurately here) is a crucial event.

This week, American Dream, Dark Tower, Dynamo 5, Legion of Super-Heroes, Noble Causes, and Trinity fall into the first stack. That makes the Count this week 6:8.