Apocalypse Meow (Motofumi Kobayashi) - A complete series in three volumes (one, two, three), Apocalypse Meow is a curious manga that tells the story of a recon unit in Vietnam -- using anthropomorphic animals. The author never discusses why he used animals, though his first attempt at a Vietnam story used humans and didn't go as far, so I wonder if it was simply a "tactical" decision to make the story stand out from other war stories. Having made the decision to use animals, Kobayashi does get some value out of the choice -- different types of animals are used to represent different nationalities, much as Art Spiegelman uses them in Maus. In Maus, Spiegelman represents the balance of power by casting the Nazis as cats and the Jews as Mice. In Meow, some of the linkages are clear -- the Chinese are Pandas, the Russians are bears, Australians are kangaroos. Others are less so: Americans (rabbits), British (mice), various Southeast Asians (cats), Koreans (dogs) and Japanese (monkeys).
The story primarily follows the Americans, and features a series of missions that highlight different parts of the Vietnamese experience. One gets the impression that Kobayashi comes at his story very much from the "military geek" side of things, though he does have a lot of the social elements of Vietnam at the time down as well. He seems a bit too credulous about things that he pulled from message boards (e.g. thinking that fuel-air explosives cause an electromagnetic pulse). Overall, I enjoyed the work, and it has the advantage of being complete in three quick-reading volumes.
Justice League Adventures (Dan Slott, Ty Templeton, Fabien Nicieza, Josh Siegal, Christopher Sequeira, Min Ku, John Delaney, Chris Jones) - In a previous review I mentioned that Outsiders missed the mark of being a "traditional superhero book" by using brutality and gruesomeness as a way of attempting to ground the story in reality. In contrast, Justice League Adventures really does do a good job of being a traditional superhero comic while still bringing up some good real-world thought questions -- for example, the story "Cold War" asks the question "If villains take over a destitute nation and make it prosperous, should you stop them?" and "The Moment" is a very mature, touching take on moving on from a moment of tragedy. These are solid, interesting stories that are geared to all ages without dumbing themselves down. They are mature in the good, rather than negative, sense of the word. For traditional superhero stories that are touching and compelling, I'd have to pick books like this rather than Outsiders.