The Pull List – November 24th

I ate way too much on Thanksgiving, but I still read some damn fine comics!

Justice League: Generation Lost #14: I’m surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed this title so far. This issue sends Captain Atom hurtling 100 years into the future, where he gets a few more pieces of the puzzle (the puzzle being “what the hell did Max Lord do?”) and teams up with the Justice League of that time (which features some neat legacy heroes and a couple of long-lived folks from his own time). The twice-monthly release schedule is working out well for this book, ’cause a tangent like this doesn’t seem to derail the momentum of the main story.

Deadpool #29: Every time I think, “maybe I should just go ahead and stop picking up this book. I can wait for the trade,” they do an issue like this that’s just damn funny and rather clever, and I think “I’m glad I’m getting this in singles. I would’ve deprived myself of this joy.” But really, this was a solid conclusion to the “I’m Your Man” storyline, with Deadpool running around killing folks and blowin’ stuff up. His interactions with Steve Rogers are funny as hell, and the last couple of pages actually had me laughing aloud.

Detective Comics #871: Scott Snyder takes over as regular writer with this issue, and he sets up a nice little mystery for Dick Grayson Batman to solve: someone is selling old supervillain stuff that’s being used in new crimes. I particularly liked seeing how the interactions between Commissioner Gordon and Dick out of costume and in costume were so different. Clearly they are much more comfortable with each other while Dick is Batman (though Gordon doesn’t know it’s the same person. Or does he? Who the hell knows with stuff like this). There’s also a backup (also written by Snyder) starring the Commissioner that digs into a question I’ve had for a long time: what the hell happened to his son? Didn’t he have a son? I get the feeling the backup will eventually tie into the main story (we’re already seeing elements cross over, such as the birds that kept popping up).

Invincible Iron Man #32: Finally, some action! And it’s pretty darn good action, at that. Everyone gets in on the fighting, from Pepper and Rhodey to Tony and even his employees (though they’re not actually fighting, per se, just trying to save their boss and their jobs). It’s a fast-paced issue with plenty of excitement, though the actual battle between Detroit Steel and Iron Man seemed…off, somehow. Like it wasn’t really a fight and we didn’t really get a sense of “Detroit Steel is a credible threat,” though they keep saying he is.

Batwoman #0: It’s only 16 pages of story, and that 16 pages really only reintroduces the character for people who didn’t follow/don’t remember her run in Detective Comics awhile back, but that is 16 pages of JH Williams III art (well, half him, half Amy Reeder). It looks…spectacular, honestly, but what else can you expect from Williams? The issue does a good job of setting up the main conceit of the character – she’s socialite Kate Kane, but she dresses up like a bat to hunt down criminals – and we see Batman basically staking her out and preparing to maybe even recruit her (Batman: The Return seems to indicate that he does eventually do so). It’s short and simple, but the layouts and art are just breathtaking. I’m looking forward to the regular series.

Action Comics #895: Luthor versus Vandal Savage! Except…well, not really, ’cause Luthor is one of the smartest guys on the planet, and even though Savage tries for years to draw Luthor into a trap that’s been planned for centuries (the references back to previous continuity, such as their time off-planet during Salvation Run and whatnot, are pretty damn funny. I would read an entire series of Luthor blowing off Vandal Savage for stuff he thinks is more important), Luthor just slips in and does what he needs to do. There’s the promise of the Secret Six in the next issue, and I think a Six/Luthor crossover is exactly what the comic world needs. On top of that, the Jimmy Olsen back-up continues to be freakin’ awesome, as Jimmy hatches a plan to bore some aliens to the point that they don’t hold a world-shattering party on Earth. Very clever.

Batman and Robin #17: Grant Morrison may be gone, but Paul Cornell has stepped up to do a three-issue fill in until the next regular writer on the title comes up. And it’s a thing of beauty, lemme tell ya. Cornell introduces a weird new villain, Batman and Robin argue over who gets to spout the one-liners, and we get a sense that Dick Grayson is way more comfortable being Batman now that Bruce Wayne is back. Scott McDaniel’s art is a little rough in some spots (there’s one panel early on where Batman has no neck, and lots of folks have mentioned the Amazing Size-Changing Robin), but the cartoony look really suits the story.

The Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet
#4: The final confrontation between the Avengers and Thanos! One-liners! Wizard of Oz references! And only your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man remembers everything! I love that last page, too. This was a terrific all-ages book, and I’m glad to see Clevinger will be doing more work in this vein at Marvel.

I also grabbed the latest Northlanders trade, The Plague Widows, but I haven’t had a chance to dig into it yet.

Advertisements

The Pull List – November 17th

I’m a bit late, but here are last week’s comics nonetheless!

Chaos War: Dead Avengers #1: My usual indifference to tie-in comics, but this one seems to have the right idea: connected to the main story, but not wholly dependent on it. With the majority of people in the world – including most of the heroes – out for the count because of the Chaos King, and the dead being brought back to life for much the same reason, it’s up to several heroes who’ve all called themselves Avengers to protect the comatose bodies of thousands of people. Van Lente keeps the pace clipped and Tom Grummett’s art is pretty solid. All in all, a much better book than it has any right to be.

Deadpool Max #1 and 2: Issue 1 was in my subscription box a few weeks ago, but I passed on it at the time, figuring one Deadpool book was enough for me. When #2 showed up this week, I decided to give them both a shot (it was a light week, really). I can say this: it’s crazy. Really damn crazy. Lapham definitely takes advantage of the Explicit Content label and throw sex, insane violence, and language onto the page in huge swaths. Issue 1 deals with an infiltration of a gangster’s hideout, while issue 2 deals with a black market organ harvesting organization. It’s decent, I guess, though I really find that I don’t care much for Kyle Baker’s art, which is probably some sort of sin. I don’t think I’ll be keeping up with this book.

The Flash #6: The finale of the opening arc hits here, and the Flash sews everything up quite nicely. The art continues to be fantastic, and Johns’s writing is solid. Barry Allen is starting to get a little bit of personality finally. Also, there’s lots of setup for future storylines and character arcs, and even a little reference to the current craziness in Wonder Woman (God, will that never end?).

Batman: The Return #1: This book is basically a setup for the new Batman status quo. We get some nice character moments for lots of folks (Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, Selina Kyle…the list really does go on), an introduction to what the whole Batman, Inc., thing is gonna be all about, and the introduction of a new villain. There’s also a lot of bonus stuff in the back half of the book, including Grant Morrison’s script and some uncolored art. Good stuff.

Batman Incorporated #1: I get the feeling this is the sort of Batman book Grant Morrison’s been wanting to write since he took over on Batman several years ago. Batman and Catwoman head to Japan to recruit a new hero to the cause, but end up fighting tentacle monsters. Plus, the villain is Lord Death Man, which is just a giant slice of awesome. There is nothing about this book that wasn’t great.

I also grabbed the latest Agents of Atlas collection, which gathers together the two-part X-Men crossover and four-part Avengers crossover. Any excuse for more Atlas is alright by me.

The Pull List – November 10th

The wife’s family was in town visiting this weekend, but that didn’t stop the comics!

Booster Gold #38: This was really the first issue of this title since Giffen/DeMatties took over that hasn’t worked for me. As a character, General Glory doesn’t work particularly well for me (I think the same idea has been done better before, possibly even by these guys), and their usual schtick with muttered asides just felt…tired, I guess. The art is strong, and the idea behind the issue is interesting, but this felt like a misstep.

Justice League: Generation Lost #13: Magog versus Captain Atom! There’s pretty much no one else in this issue, though I can applaud the end of it (I’m pretty sure the character who dies is not gonna be missed by anyone). Too bad it’s the only person outside of the JLI who knows about Maxwell Lord and his plans.

Chaos War: Thor #1: JM DeMatties steps in for this Chaos War tie-in, and while it’s not at all essential to the main story, it’s still a well-done Thor story. Our POV character is a woman without connections to anyone, and Thor (who spends most of the issue amnesiac and in the guise of Donald Blake) tries to form some relationship in a single day while also not getting killed by the mad god Glory. Interesting, but not really necessary.

Thor #617:Thor has brought Loki back to life, but Loki doesn’t know who he is. This looks like it could be a new, not entirely evil beginning for the god of mischief. Also, those evil dimension-hopping guys get one step closer to Asgard’s old realm.

Birds of Prey #6: It’s Huntress versus Shiva! There ain’t nothin’ wrong or bad about that, either. Simone continues to do awesome things with this book, though I’d swear I’ve seen her use this idea before (and with Huntress as well) in the Justice League Unlimited show (y’know, the one where Black Canary is doing pit fighting for Roulette while under hypnosis. God, I loved Justice League Unlimited). It’s interesting to see Simone putting these characters through their paces and getting used to the rhythms of the book again, though I do notice that we still don’t have Benes on art (not that I’m gonna complain about that too much).

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #5: An issue that mostly deals with flashback looks at the relationship between Sheriff Lindo and Derek Fury when they were kids. It also reveals the source of a plot point from back in the first Tranquility miniseries, which is interesting. I do have a question, though: are we ever going to figure out what the deal is with Mr. Articulate’s resurrection? I mean, it seemed at the beginning of the series that that was going to be the focus of the story, but the focus instead has been on Derek Fury. Weird.

Knight & Squire #2: The Morris Men! Quite possibly the most British villains ever. There’s also the great scene that opens the book (a shop clerk directing a super-villain to find Knight and Squire in London while Squire – in her civilian guise – looks on, bemused) that really reflects the more laid-back attitude Britain seems to have towards…well, pretty much everything.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6: Batman is back, baby! There’s a sense of sentimentality to this issue, a feeling that this is almost a love letter to the character of Batman and a change of his attitude toward his fellow heroes. I don’t really want to reveal the ending, but it’s almost heartwarming seeing how he thinks of other heroes and their roles in his life.

Atomic Robo: The Deadly Art of Science #1: A new Robo mini is always a cause for celebration, and this one is no exception. Clevinger and Wegner offer up yet another great issue full of wonderful little moments. It’s great to see a more adolescent Robo, one who isn’t particularly interested in actual science but is all about pulpy action and punching bad guys. Jack Tarot and his daughter are immediately interesting characters, and it’ll be fun seeing Robo as the enthusiastic sidekick rather than the more-jaded leader he’s become in the present.

I also grabbed the latest Thor trade, which collects the last of the Keiron Gillen issues on the book as Thor and the gang start to pick up the pieces after Siege and Thor goes to Hell to protect the souls of the dead. Good stuff.

The Pull List – November 3rd

There weren’t a whole lot of comics this week, but quantity was offset by some really high quality! It’s comics time!

Doom Patrol #16: This was the weakest book of the week, and even it was pretty damn awesome. Keith Giffen stepped in and drew this issue as well as co-writing it with Brian Keene, and his art is simple, clean, and as solid as ever. The Saturday afternoon horror movie intro is pitch-perfect, and the story itself draws on Patrol history once again to good effect. This title has only gotten better as it’s gone along, and this issue shows just how good it can be.

Chaos War #3: I’m confused. On the cover, it says #3 of 4, but the checklist inside shows there will be an issue 5. Color me confused. Anyway, the art here is better than last issue, losing some of the plastic look to the figures from issue 2, but there’s not a whole lot going on in this issue. The God Squad go head to head against the resurrected gods of earth and the Chaos King himself, but things don’t go well (as you could well surmise on your own, I bet). Fewer great moments than last issue, but still pretty solid if just rather pedestrian.

Batman and Robin #16: The finale to Grant Morrison’s run on this book is so full of important resolutions and great character moments, it’s kind of a lot to take in. The art duties are split between Cameron Stewart, Chris Burnham (whom I’ve never heard of but who does a great Frank Quitely impression while still maintaining a distinctive style of his own), and Frazer Irving, who each get a set piece to draw (Stewart on the stuff happening in the 1700s, Burnham on the fight between Batman and Dr. Hurt, and Irving on the Professor Pyg and Joker stuff and the bit at the end). The issue ties up a lot of loose ends while still leaving enough plot points open for future writers to play around with stuff, and of course it sets up (as you’d know if you get on the internet at all) the new status quo for the Batman Family (or should I say Batman, Incorporated?). Definitely a solid finale, though it would’ve been nice if Quitely had been able to come on board to draw a few pages. It does feature a shot of Commissioner Gordon in a dress, so there’s that.

Secret Six #27: The cover to this issue – Bane riding a dinosaur – really says it all. Gail Simone takes what could be a confusing mess and makes it an awesome ride full of double-crosses and Amanda Waller being downright badass. King Shark also manages to out-creepy Ragdoll, and that is not an easy accomplishment.

I also grabbed the latest volume of BPRD, King of Fear. Haven’t had a chance to crack it open yet, but I do love me some BPRD and Guy Davis art.