My LCS has a 'used' graphic novel shelf, where GNs can often be had for half price or less. (I put 'used' in quotes because I suspect that in addition to used items they also use the shelf to get rid of overstock.) It affords me a good way to keep up on Marvel titles I wouldn't normally pick up, such as the three volume 3's below:
Elektra, vol. 3: Relentless
by Robert Rodi, Sean Chen, Tom Palmer & Sandu Florea
The first two stories in this collection are of Elektra stalking the same victim--once from the victim's viewpoint, the other time from Elektra's viewpoint. This process is repeated in the next two installments, but them continues into a concluding chapter and an aftermath. It's all competently done, both in writing and in art (and may I say how nice it is to see the same artist throughout a collection--the last Elektra collection was marred by vastly uneven art, changing right in the middle of a story). The biggest problem is that, as written, Elektra has no soul and no character--she's just a non-stop killing machine. It makes for a rather empty and repetitive reading experience.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)
Captain America, vol. 3: Ice
by Chuck Austen, John Ney Rieber, & Jae Lee
Although Rieber's name is in the credits, his touch is nowhere to be found in the story. Rather, it's the stink of Austen that permeates the pages. Cap has doubts about his origins, is stalked by the agents of a Lemurian interrogator (for reasons that are never clear), and treats his latest lady like dirt. Jae Lee's art is good, but his dark and inky style is a poor match for a Captain America story.
Rating: 2 (of 5)
X-Treme X-Men, vol. 3: Schism
by Chris Claremont, Salvador Larocca & Arthur Ranson
Giving this a surface read, it's fairly standard Claremont X-Men: lots of words, lots of action, sometimes both at the same time. But this can actually be read at a deeper level, as Claremont's reaction to Morrison's New X-Men. The tales in this collection feature both Claremont's X-Treme team and members of Morrison's group, and long stretches of exposition are devoted to reactions to the events that were occuring in New X-Men at the time. (It's interesting to note that Morrison pretty much ignored all other X-books in his own book.) Particularly, Claremont features Emma Frost, a villain from his day that Morrison brought into the X-Men fold. Larrocca's art is good as per usual, and Ranson's chapters (from the X-Pose mini) fare well most of the time.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)