The Pull List – February 24th

Man, it was a full week this week. Let’s take a look:

Astonishing X-Men #36: A new creative team picks up with the team used by Warren Ellis. Daniel Way and Jason Pearson (both of Deadpool fame) give us a very different sort of story than we saw under Ellis: some monsters, a family tragedy, Wolverine going off to get drunk in Japan. It’s a quick, light story, one that seems set up to allow the X-Men to fight some big monsters. And honestly, I’m okay with that.

Deadpool #33: So Deadpool’s given up on the whole “being a hero” thing, and he’s back to merc work. In space. Honestly, I’m fully okay with this setup. There’s some great moments here, though I probably could have gone the rest of my life without seeing Deadpool in a bikini.

Justice League: Generation Lost #20: With only a few issues left, we take a brief pause here to examine the life of Maxwell Lord and see what drove him from ally and patron of the JLI to guy who wants to kill all the metahumans in the world. It’s nice that someone has finally given us a reason for the changes we’ve seen in the character over the years, but I am still very unhappy about the way issue #19 ended (which carries over to the end of this issue as well). Winick promises that much of the last few issues will be the final, knock-down drag-out fight between the JLI and Lord. I am curious to see what’ll happen.

Thor #620: Speaking of issues that’re just big fight scenes, that’s what we get here. It’s Odin and the Asgardian Blood Colossi versus the invaders from outside the nine worlds. It’s clearly a fight that’s meant to be epic, and individual moments and panels certainly seem to carry a particular weight and sense of “hell yeah!” to them, but the issue on the whole leaves me kind of cold. I don’t know why it’s off, but it is. We’ll see what Fraction and company come up with next.

Invincible Iron Man #501: Years ago, Tony Stark made a fool of Otto Octavius at a conference. While it wasn’t much of anything to Stark, it apparently made quite the impression on Doc Oc. And now, Octavius is dying, and he wants Tony Stark to fix him. Or else. It’s a neat story hook, and it’s nice to have Stark off doing something that’s not some huge, status quo-changing epic story that changes everything forever. This looks to be a good time.

Iron Man 2.0 #1: I don’t know how we went from having no Nick Spencer books from the BIg Two to having 60 million of them, but I’m not going to complain. This book is focusing on James Rhodes, a character I’ve never really felt anything in particular about. He’s just sort of…there in the Iron Man books. Oh, I know he’s had a few solo titles here and there, but none of it ever struck me as essential reading. This book looks to maybe change that. It’s fun; Spencer has a good feel for the dialogue and what makes Rhodes a compelling character. The supporting cast seems to be almost completely new, though the cameo with Iron Man at the beginning is pretty awesome. The rotating art teams was annoying and kept throwing me out of the story, but this still looks to be a promising book.

Skullkickers #6: This isn’t a book I’d ever heard of, but it had a story written by Brian Clevinger and another by The ISB’s Chris Sims, so I decided to pick it up. It’s a fun, light fantasy read, the sort of book I actually quite like. I’m half tempted to start reading the book proper now, and that’s definitely a point in the book’s favor.

Action Comics #898: I didn’t read any of the Green Lantern stuff where Larfleeze the Orange Lantern showed up, so I know next to nothing about the character. It’s to Paul Cornell’s credit that he introduces the character quickly and gets us up to speed without too much wordy exposition. The whole Black Lantern Energy story is really picking up here (and concluding next month!), and the big reveal at the end of this issue makes a lot of sense. I can’t wait to see how Cornell resolves all the plot threads he’s currently juggling.

Detective Comics #874: This issue picks up with the Commissioner Gordon backups that were running until a month or so back. It’s a creepy, disturbing issue, and Snyder carries it off well. There’s a bit near the beginning of the issue when Gordon’s son (the rarely-mentioned James) intimates that he’s killed someone in the diner bathroom. The art cuts to a shot of the bathroom door, and we get Gordon’s sense of foreboding, fear, and concern that maybe it isn’t a joke as his son states that it is. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. The second half of the book, featuring Batman and Red Robin, is the less-interesting half of the book, as it deals with the aftermath of last month’s run-in with the new villain.

Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #4: The action picks up again this issue, with Robo and company trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out who is behind the strange thefts. Like pretty much every other issue of Atomic Robo ever, it’s fantastic. Clevinger and Wegner keep putting out a fabulous book every time out, and the world is better for it.

I also grabbed the trade of Warren Ellis’s Astonishing X-Men story Exogenetic, which reads much better all at once rather than in the rather slow “whenever we can get an issue finished and released” schedule it was on.

The Pull List – August 25th

I was out of town all week, but I managed to pick up comics this week nonetheless.

Justice League: Generation Lost #8: Yeah, this is Winick’s gig now, no Giffen, which makes me quite sad (but has me hoping that Booster Gold will now move away from a parallel storyline with this title and go off in a new direction). The book’s not bad, and Lopresti’s art is great as always, but there is something just a little too rote about the proceedings. The reveal at the end isn’t telegraphed or anything, but it’s pretty obvious nonetheless; there is some good interaction going on between Fire and Rocket Red here, though.

Wonder Woman #602: Diana cuts loose on some soldiers and does some serious damage, finds some Amazons, and learns a little bit about sacrifice. It’s a decent issue and not as heavy on exposition as I feared it would be (it’s nice seeing Straczynski jump into action this early instead of having everyone spend the issue sitting around talking), but I’m still not sold on this “all-new Wonder Woman.”

Astonishing X-Men #35: This issue (finally) wraps up this storyline (and probably the series as a whole, since they’re switching the Astonishing line to mini-series), and while the art is good and there are some great Ellis lines (“Don’t be such a baby. You’ll almost definitely probably not die this time”), the whole reveal of who the “villain” is seems weak after the build-up we’ve had, and the whole thing just seems…kinda meh.

Detective Comics #868: Part Two of Impostors features more great art from Scott McDaniel, but the story itself is leaving me cold. I think my biggest problem is that it makes Batman seem ineffectual. That doesn’t really jive with everything we’ve seen about Dick Grayson (both as Nightwing and as Batman), and he seems to mostly be sitting around wringing his hands going, “Well, golly, I wish we could do something about all this.” We’ll have to see where it goes from here.

Batman #702: Part Two of Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel’s look at what happens between the end of Batman RIP and Batman’s crisis in time during Final Crisis. This is a pretty good issue, doing more than just filling in gaps: we get some nice mythology with the “God Bullet” that Batman shot Darkseid with in Final Crisis, further details on what the Omega Sanction actually is, and what’s happening to Bruce Wayne right now. It’s pretty cool, though I still really do not care for Daniel’s art.

Action Comics #892: This comic continues to be awesome. Luthor goes head to head with Deathstroke, finds some black ring energy, and basically proves that he’s pretty awesome. I really like the focus on Luthor as a character in his own right rather than as an arch-nemesis for Superman. Cornell and Woods are knocking this one out of the park.

Prince of Power #4: This issue concludes the mini-series and sets up the coming Chaos War. We get Amadeus Cho’s finest hour, a knock-down fight between Delphyne and Atalanta, and a (not-unexpected) return. This was really a perfect comic, with humor, epic battles, and some great character moments. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in this saga.

I didn’t grab any trades when I was at the comic shop this week, but I did order the first deluxe volume of Ex Machina and the fourth volume of Walt Simonson’s Thor from Amazon. I’ve started in on Ex Machina, which seems pretty cool, and you really can’t go wrong with Simonson’s Thor.

The Pull List – June 30th

This week was a week for big comics and comics I never expected to see. Ever. Let’s get to it!

Wonder Woman #600: Unlike the recent Batman #700, this milestone pulls several short stories from a variety of creative teams interspersed with a whole lot of great pin-up art. We get a nice little going away bit from outgoing writer Gail Simone, a quick story featuring dozens of the women of DC getting together to fight a threat. It’s a nice parting issue drawn by the great George Perez, and it does explore one of the basic traits of Wonder Woman’s character: that she’s one of the few people in the DC universe well-respected enough to be able to get a huge group of heroes together just because she’s the one asking. The story by Amanda Conner is funny and fantastic, featuring a team-up between Wonder Woman and Power Girl. The story by Louise Simonson seems well-done if rather inconsequential, and the one written by Geoff Johns just seems pointless and doesn’t really do anything. Then there’s the prologue to incoming-writer J. Michael Straczynski’s first story arc, Odyssey. As you’ve probably heard by now, JMS is changing not only Wonder Woman’s costume, he’s also revamping her origin and situation and apparently making her an 18 year old girl. I’m not sure I like the new direction the title is taking, but I’m going to give it a shot before I pass judgment. That being said, it looks like a halfway interesting premise, and it doesn’t seem like all the sweeping changes are permanent (I sincerely hope that ridiculous jacket isn’t), but we’ll just have to see.

Invincible Iron Man Annual #1: This is a pretty long comic, and despite the title splashed across the cover, it really doesn’t feature Iron Man at all. Instead, we get the Mandarin’s efforts to create a revisionist history of his own life. It’s a great exploration of truth, the power of storytelling, and one man’s willingness to do the right thing. There’s also a great reference to Invincible Iron Man at the beginning. The art by Carmine di Giandomenico is fantastic in an exaggerated, sketchy, expressive sort of way.

Astonishing X-Men #34: Holy crap, I almost couldn’t believe this comic had finally come out, even though I was holding it in my hands. There’s some great dialogue, fantastic art from Phil Jimenez, and a Leonard Cohen reference. I’m looking forward to seeing this story finish up soon (God willing).

Action Comics #890: Paul Cornell comes on board this issue and shifts the book’s focus to Lex Luthor, who apparently enjoyed having a power ring so much during Blackest Night that he’s become obsessed with finding one again. There are some nice twists in the story, a clever hook, great dialogue, and top-notch art from Pete Woods. I’m definitely going to be following this title.

Atomic Robo: Revenge of the Vampire Dimension #4: A week that features a new Atomic Robo is a great week indeed. And this particular issue is a perfect example of everything that’s great about the book: snarky robots, bizarre superscience, and unexplainable things going on when they shouldn’t. Not to mention the fact that this issue apparently takes place in the same week as all three of the previous issues in the current set, making it the worst week ever. The story itself is pretty straightforward and mostly seems to (I hope) set up a future story: Robo accidentally revives his greatest enemy. Kind of. Sort of. It’s awesome.

I also picked up the second Secret Warriors trade. Hickman continues to play a great game with this book, working the secret agent stuff and throwing in a lot of great plot twists. The art is great, including an issue drawn by the always-fun Ed McGuiness. All great stuff, really.