Yeah, I'm a little late getting to these given that new comics come out today (and I'll be picking them up tomorrow, as usual) but here goes. I picked up three of the free comics and the last two issues of Runaways (now that I've caught up via the digests).
Runaways 25 and 26 -- Joss Whedon's run has begun and what better way to start than with the Kingpin and Punisher? Though it does seem confusing as I though the Kingpin was in jail and the Punisher was busy moping about the death of Captain America but I haven't really been following either character so who knows? Beyond that, Whedon's love of the characters is evident in that he doesn't miss a beat. Every character picks up just where they left off in storyline and in attitude. Perhaps you could argue that they've all seemed to have developed a quick whit to them and there's a few more clever remarks than before but I think adjustments always have to be made for a new writer. But the storyline picks up well minus the jump in story since last issue. You see, the reading order is Runaways 24, then Runaways saga (where they mention getting away from Iron Man and crew), and then Runaways 25. Unfortunately I read Runaways saga but figured the story was just a rehash, then Runaways 24 (in the digest), and now 25. So I forgot that they mentioned getting away from Iron Man and now I wondered how they got away (though I still kinda do). Ok, enough about my problems. The art is great in the book as well with the kids looking like kids (unlike how some covers portray them). And the highlight of the two issues has to be Molly's handling of Punisher. It's perfect for a kid with super strength who forgets that not everyone is super powered. Runaways continues to crawl it's way to the top of my reading list.
Free Comic Day Spider-Man -- Written by Dan Slott and drawn by Phil Jimenez (the rumoured team to take over Amazing Spider-Man this summer) this book is a fun story of Peter's responsibilities as Spider-Man and how it impacts the "little" things in life (like being there for Aunt May's birthday). On top of that, you get some fun interaction between the villains who take bets on whether the new guy/villain will beat Spidey or not. The writing is great for a free comic but might need a bit of a boost for Amazing (though with Slott's writing on She-Hulk I'm confident he can bring his game to the next level, it's his scheduling that may be a problem). And Jimenez's art is good for the most part though I'm not a big fan of going back to the McFarlane-esque swinging (Spidey bent over so far his feet are above his head). My gripe about this book is that I'm not sure where it fits in and in that way, it doesn't really serve to get new readers in. If they read this and think "Yeah, I want to read more Spider-Man" where do they go? It doesn't fit with any of the Spidey books that I know of. Maybe it's Marvel Adventures but it didn't really seem to be.
Free Comic Day Iron Man/Hulk Marvel Adventures -- Two fun little stories with these two Marvel heavy hitters. I was almost going to skip the Iron Man part due to my dislike of what they've done to the character in their main books but I finally got myself to read it. And you know, I actually kinda liked it. Both stories were pretty simple and not really anything new but they were still fun to read. It was nice to see both characters go back to what I felt was their cores. You had Iron Man, despite Tony being an arse, being a hero. And you had the Hulk in his usual scenario (blamed for something that's not his mess and saving the day). And you didn't have a grunting Hulk, he could actually talk to some degree. It almost makes me wonder if the kiddy books (the Marvel Adventures) are what I should be reading.
Lone Ranger/Battlestar Galactica -- Unfortunately I can't review the Battlestar Galactica portion of this book as I didn't read it. It didn't really make much sense to me to read it since I've never watched the new show and have no clue who anyone is. The Lone Ranger portion is okay though. It's a classic "Lone Ranger comes in to town and beats up the bad guys" sorta thing (which the comic has yet to get to) so it might be fun for some readers who may also be disappointed if they then pick up the book and find it much more mature. But at least they won't be surprised by the art as it's the same artist. Again, it's not a bad little tale, especially for a free comic. And it's not completely off from the series so it's not a bad piece of sales bait.
Overall, I'm impressed by just how much Free Comic Day is taking off. There are reports of some Free Comics being picked up rather quickly and in some cases it's not even the Spider-Man or mainstream stuff. The fact that the companies are actually getting decent talent to do new stories for it is a major plus. I prefer if they tie it in with an ongoing book so readers who enjoy the Free Comic can continue reading but I know that can also be tough. I'm looking forward to where they go from here.