The Pull List – March 23rd

It was my birthday over the weekend, but I got you a present: comics!

Batman Incorporated #4: I have to admit, I was amazed to see this issue show up. I mean, sure, they said it was going to be coming out, but I wasn’t going to believe it until I had it in my hands. The issue was pretty damn good, and Chris Burnham channels himself some Frank Quitely on art. I think I’d be okay with him taking over as the regular series artist. This issue feels a lot stronger than issue 3, and Burnham’s shifting art styles (each different time period in the comic has its own distinct style, and others have already mentioned the Benday dots used to color the stuff taking place in the past) really work. Morrison throws a bunch of stuff up against the wall, and a good chunk of it sticks.

Justice League: Generation Lost #22: It’s the final calm before the storm. Our heroes are joined by a ringer, Batman (the Bruce Wayne one), and Max Lord’s plan is finally revealed. I’m curious to see how this book ends, curious to see what comes out of it, and curious to see what Max’s final fate is.

Deadpool #34: The second part of Deadpool’s return to merc work is chock full o’ the sort of stuff you’d hope: bizarre plans, goofy humor, and lots of nonsense. His battle against Id the Selfish Moon is gonna be a doozy.

Deadpool Max #6: Deadpool hooks up with his baby mama. It’s bizarre and twisted and really messed up, and I can’t wait to see the next issue.

Power Man and Iron Fist #3: Twists, betrayals, and Power Man punching thugs. It’s a good time, folks, and you should be reading this book.

Thor #620.1: I don’t really understand a jump-on issue that has nothing to do with the current storyline and isn’t by the current creative team. it doesn’t make much sense. This is a nice done-in-one Thor story, and his solution to the problem in the book is clever and works (for the most point), but I am left wondering what the point of this thing is.

FF #1: So, the Fantastic Four becomes the Future Foundation. Spider-Man joins up, costumes are changed, and a plan to fix the world is set in motion. There’s an interesting new addition to the group on the last page, and it’ll be fun to watch what Hickman does with that in coming issues.

I didn’t grab any trades this past week, but it looks like my pull list for tomorrow will more than make up for that.

The Pull List – March 9th

I’ve re-read all of Transmetropolitan since Friday evening. Damn, if that isn’t a great book!

Batman and Robin #21: This issue is better than the last, with the characterization of Damian less grating this time and an interesting story shaping up. The idea of a guy who goes around killing the families of Arkham inmates as some form of reparations for their own horrible actions is interesting, and Tomasi’s script works well. Gleason’s art is growing on me a bit, but his characters still feel way too bulky and blocky for my tastes.

Doom Patrol #20: With this book building towards its conclusion, Giffen seems like he’s just decided to pull out all the stops and go nuts with it. The Doom Patrol spend most of the issue visiting different corners of the DCU trying to find a new place to live after Oolong Island evicted them at the end of the previous issue. Of course, it doesn’t go well, ’cause the easy way is not the Doom Patrol way. The last third or so of the book, with the visit and offer from an old villain, is clever and an interesting way to set up the last few issues we’ve got left of the book. I am sad this book is ending soon, but it looks like Giffen’s going out with a bang.

Justice League: Generation Lost #21: Speaking of books nearing their end, this issue is the calm before the storm of the final confrontation between Maxwell Lord and the JLI. There’s a lot of self-doubt running around in this issue, a lot of frustration and people on the verge of giving up. There’s also (spoilers!) the reveal that the big happening from a couple of issues ago was just a dodge. I’m sure it’ll be made clearer next issue. I am curious to see how this series is going to resolve, but I guess we’ll know that in about a month or so, right?

Booster Gold #42: This issue is an example of why I absolutely love Giffen and DeMatties working together: usually, this pair is all “Bwa ha ha” and more jokes and dialogue packed into a panel than you’d think possible. But they also do drama and tragedy really well. They can switch gears at the drop of a hat, and they can pull it off like no others. This is a darker, more sinister issue than we’ve seen in awhile, but it’s carried off with aplomb and heart. I really do hope they’re just taking a brief break from the book for the Flashpoint event this summer and will be back after that’s all done, because I love what they’ve been doing on the title since they took it over almost a year ago.

Wonder Woman #608: I do like that, since Hester has taken over on scripting duties, characters actually have individual, distinct voices and motivations for what they’re doing (and hell, they’re actually doing something!). This book is actually interesting again, and while it’s maybe not as good as the Gail Simone run, it’s a damn-sight better than when JMS was running the show all on his lonesome.

Batman Incorporated #3: Well, this finally came out. And it’s…well, there are bits that are truly clever (it’s Grant Morrison, there’s always gonna be something that’s clever), there’s some fun silver-agey stuff (exploding scorpions!), but for some reason it all just feels kinda…flat. Like there should’ve been something more to it if we were gonna have to wait three months for a new issue. There is the hint that this isn’t just a series of disconnected issues of Bruce Wayne traveling around the world to wherever Grant Morrison saw a travel poster for that month, but not enough build up yet for us to really know what to make of it. I’m gonna keep reading it, ’cause I trust Grant Morrison to do something interesting with the book, but I’m more than a little frustrated.

Birds of Prey #10: This book, however, is never a disappointment. Simone draws her “Death of Oracle” story to a close by…well, basically killing the idea of Oracle. By letting the criminal element think she’s dead, she can operate more effectively; or, as Barbara herself puts it, “If I’m out in the open, then criminals get cautious. And we can’t have that. Because my goal is that they never see me coming.” It’s brilliant, and there’s a nice metaphor (unspoken, but one I’m kind of assigning to the story anyway) of a mother bird pushing the babies out of the nest to fly on their own (the few pages of heroes calling in to Oracle and getting stony silence, then winning their own battles anyway). Plus, we’re promised the Huntress/Catman date next issue! How is that not going to be awesome?

I also grabbed the second trade of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, which was just as awesome as the first collection. I’m really upset now that Marvel decided not to let them finish this book. It’s sad that great books like this don’t get picked up on by more readers ’cause they “don’t matter” to the larger continuity. I am coming to hate continuity. This is, hands down, the best Thor book since Walt Simonson was writing Thor.

The Pull List – December 22nd

Yeah, we may’ve had a brief pause for the holidays, but we’re back and we’ve got comics!

Chaos War: Dead Avengers #2: Our resurrected heroes set up for a last-ditch defense against the forces of Chaos, we get some nice character bits, a few heroic moments, and some damn fine action. Good times.

Wonder Woman #605: We start to see who is responsible for Wonder Woman’s current condition. There are some interesting character moments (and start to see Wonder Woman as something more than a cipher, which is really all she’s been during JMS’s run), get a peek into the villains of the piece, and start to see the shape of this thing. Phil Hester does rather a better job with the dialogue that JMS has done, so I’m glad to have him aboard.

Batman Incorporated #2: Grant Morrison is knocking this one out of the park. It’s funny, over the top, a little bizarre, and lots of fun. Plus, hey, Batman of Japan!

Justice League: Generation Lost #16: This title continues to exceed expectations. We’ve got the JLI versus the Creature Commandos, a few more bits of Maxwell Lord’s plan falling into place, and our heroes are in a worse place at the end than they were at the beginning of the issue.

Deadpool #30: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: just when I’m ready to give up on this book, they put out an issue that is so spot-on and hilarious, I feel pulled right back in. We’ve got Deadpool protecting vampires against other vampires. I guess this is probably tied into what’s happening in that one X-Men book right now, though I’ll be damned if I know anything about what all’s happening there.

Invincible Iron Man #33: The conclusion to Stark Resilient is full of action and a nice setup for the next story arc. This title continues to impress and be one of the best books I read each month. I’m also pretty damn impressed with the fact that Salvador Larocca hasn’t missed a single issue yet. Most impressive.

I also grabbed the latest Blue Beetle collection, which I guess wraps up a few issues from his solo title and collects the backup feature from Booster Gold that was running late last year/early this year. Good stuff.

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.