The Pull List – January 26th

Man, it was pretty much a snow week here in Northern Virginia, but that didn’t stop me from getting my comics!

Wonder Woman #606: This feels like a completely different book than the one JMS was writing by himself. I dunno how much of that is Phil Hester’s doing, or how much of it was planned by JMS himself (I’m guessing more the former than the latter), but it’s turning into something I actually want to read. Diana actually seems like a character with some personality now rather than a cipher for whatever boring-ass story JMS was wanting to tell. Sure, we’re still dealing with the “someone messed up Wonder Woman’s timeline and now she’s in this alternate timeline where everything is different but not really all that different look Wonder Woman’s wearing pants isn’t that new,” but at least it’s interesting now.

Justice League: Generation Lost #18: We get a battle between a confused Power Girl and the JLI, Blue Beetle gets tortured a bit more by Maxwell Lord (who also spends some time rambling about “what is good and evil, anyway?”), and things are being moved into place for a final confrontation (there’s only six issues left now, y’know). I’m really, really hoping they do not kill of Jamie Reyes; he’s easily one of the most interesting characters introduced into the DCU in the past ten years (alongside Ryan Choi, but we all know how that went). This book is keeping my interest and making me look forward to the next issue, which is never a bad thing.

Deadpool #32: Deadpool versus the galaxy’s most unstoppable bounty hunter! No, not that intergalactic bounty hunter – he’s part of the Distinguished Competition – but the inspiration is pretty clear. And inspired is a pretty good word for this issue: it’s fun, gives us some great gags and visuals, and it doesn’t get too bogged down in trying to be funny (which is a problem I’ve noticed with this character and title before: when it doesn’t work, it’s because it’s trying too hard to be funny rather than letting the humor flow naturally out of the situation or characters). It’s a solid, done-in-one story that’s a light, fun read. What more could you want?

Detective Comics #873: A quick complaint/question: the cover to my copy of this issue has all sorts of streaks and smudges on it. Was it supposed to look like that? Or was it just a byproduct of printing dark colors on a white background? Regardless of this quibble, the issue inside is fantastic. Jock’s art has a sketchy, angular look to it that suits the comic well, containing just enough detail, and Scott Snyder’s script makes excellent use of the fact that Dick Grayson as Batman is not the same as Bruce Wayne as Batman. Had it been Bruce Wayne in this situation, it would’ve played out much differently (especially because, given the current tendency to show Bruce Wayne as the guy who plans for every single possible situation, he wouldn’t have ended up in the same predicament that Dick did), but Dick learns a few things about being Gotham’s protector and saves the day at the end. I am sad to see they didn’t finish up the Commissioner Gordon backups in this book so they cold “hold the line at $2.99,” but I guess we’ll get the resolution to that in a one-shot down the road (kinda like they’re doing with the Jimmy Olsen backups from Action Comics).

Action Comics #897: Speaking of Action Comics, this issue felt like a bit of a letdown, honestly. Lex Luthor’s confrontation with the Joker could’ve been much zanier than it ended up being; I mean, haven’t these two interacted before? Doesn’t Lex know enough to keep his cool when the Joker is razzin’ him? And beyond that, how is the Joker in Arkham? I seem to recall he was still on the loose after his appearance in Batman and Robin. Ah well. All that aside, we do get a couple steps closer to the resolution of Lex’s search for the Black Lantern energy, we find out his Loisbot might have some sinister ulterior motives, and there is a magic pony who sings.

Chaos War #5: This event ends in probably the only way it really could. Of course we know the Chaos King will be defeated; otherwise, this would’ve seeped over into the rest of the Marvel Universe line a whole hell of a lot more than it did. We get some folks resurrected permanently, while others don’t (which was kinda weird, but probably handed down from editorial), and the solution to the problem is deus ex machina in a very literal way. At the end, we do get the promise that this isn’t really the end of Hercules’s adventures, but rather the beginning of a new era of adventures.

I also grabbed the Batman International trade, which features a couple of stories written by Alan Grant (one of which was illustrated by Frank Quitely, which might be why I bought it) and another written by Mark Waid. They’re good stories, and it’s fun to see more Batman kickin’ but in places like Spain and Scotland, but it’s ultimately not an essential read by any means.

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The Pull List – December 15th

Ah, the waning days of the year! We’ve still got comics comin’! Here we go!

Deadpool Max #3: Okay, so this is what this book should be like. Baron Zemo, reimagined as a white supremacist bent on making the U.S. “pure” again. The writing is clever, the violence fits, and the Lapham uses racial slurs and horrible, horrible terminology to great effect. If more issues are like this one, I’ll definitely be continuing to keep it up.

Batman and Robin #18: We get the origin of The Absence and a couple of really cool visuals (that closing page is fantastic), though some of the villain’s motivation seems a little off somehow. Decent, but not the best Cornell’s managed. We’ll see how it turns out next issue.

Birds of Prey #7: Barbara Gordon’s got an ambitious plan to keep her friends and allies safe: she’s going to kill Oracle. The art for this issue ain’t bad, and Gail Simone’s script is solid (the bits in the strip club are hysterical), as per usual. One request, though: can we please get Nicola Scott on this book? Please?

Chaos War: Thor #2: I’m not entirely sure about the real purpose of this book. I mean, it’s not a bad book, and there are some really interesting concepts at work in this issue. But there does feel like there’s something slightly off about it.

Chaos War #4: Things look pretty grim, but that’s par for the course when you’re talking about event comics and cosmic stuff. Hercules does not want to give up, Athena tries to be clever and fails, and Amadeus Cho comes up with a neat idea. I’m curious to see how Pak and Van Lente will pull off the win in this one, and where it’ll take the iHerc crew next.

I also grabbed the fifth Booster Gold trade, which rounded out Dan Jurgens’s run on the title, and the first trade of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, which is one of those books I kick myself for not having gotten into earlier (especially now that it’s apparently going to be canceled after the 8th issue).

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.

The Pull List – October 20th

It’s time once again for the internet’s laziest, least-interesting comics review! Get excited!

Green Hornet: Year One #6: Part of me wants to stop getting this book in single issues, ’cause it’s clearly going to read much better in a big trade-sized chunk. It’s not that it’s a bad book, mind, just that reading it issue by issue kills the momentum of the story. We finally get to see the Green Hornet piece together his modus operandi and take on some thugs on a moving train. The art is good, though there are some storytelling problems during the train scene that make it hard to follow the action and tell who ends up where and how.

Deadpool #28: So the villain of this particular storyline is “Doctor Bong?” And he’s got a bell for a head? That’s just downright weird. The story is good, though, as the real Secret Avengers show up and lots of fighting ensues.

Chaos War #2: The Chaos King invades the afterlife, anyone who isn’t a god gets put into a magical comatose state, and the all-new God Squad is gathered. This issue doesn’t move with quite the same fantastic pacing that most Pak/Van Lente joints have, but it’s clearly just setting the stage for the awesome things to come. I do have a complaint about Khoi Pham’s art: everything looks kinda plastic. Like, the people do. I dunno if it’s the inker or the colorist or Pham himself or what, but it’s distracting.

Batman and Robin #15: The reveal on the final page of this issue was awesome. And, despite my usual misgivings about Frazer Irving’s art, he really knocked it outta the park on this issue. Everything is finally coming together, and the final showdown between Batman and Dr. Hurt is nigh. Will we finally figure out just who the hell Dr. Hurt is? Or is this just gonna be one of those bits that gets left dangling for ever until someone else comes along and tries to explain it away as a clone of Thomas Wayne or something equally ridiculous? Who knows.

I also picked up a couple of trades this week: Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, which seemed like an excuse to have George Perez draw the hell out of as many members of the Legion of Super-Heroes as possible (not that I’m complaining) and may’ve finally removed Superboy-Prime from the gameboard as a character we ever have to see in anything ever again. I also grabbed the latest volume of X-Factor, which was pretty cool and featured a great story involving the Fantastic Four (also, I would buy the hell out of a series featuring Ben Grimm, Shatterstar, and Monet running around cold wreckin’ stuff. It would be beyond amazing).

The Pull List – October 5th

Let’s see what the first week of October had to offer, shall we?

Batman: Odyssey #4: Batman wigs out when he thinks a little girl’s been killed and goes to town on the guy who did it. How many times have we seen the “Batman snaps and nearly kills a guy only to be talked down” thing? Also, since when do EMTs and the police and the freakin’ Batman all just assume a person’s dead without checking for vital signs? Kind of an epic fail here, Neal Adams.

Chaos War #1: The Lion of Olympus is back, but all is not well. There’s danger a-comin’, in the form of the Chaos King (our good buddy Mikaboshi, who just happened to not return to Earth with the rest of the God Squad at the end of Sacred Invasion). Herc has to convince everyone he’s not crazy and that there is danger, which is no easy task. Good thing he’s got Amadeus Cho on his side.

Doom Patrol #15: It’s the Patrol versus the Chief! And the Chief is increasingly unbalanced, it seems, ’cause trying to graft Kryptonian DNA onto your own just isn’t a good idea. Plus, there’s that fantastic intro with Ambush Bug. I kinda want all comics to recap the plot like that.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4: Things are getting even crazier, what with da Vinci birthing something in the heart of the sun (and let’s not even get into how he’s surviving being in the sun), Leonid getting a deeper look at his own role in things, and a not-quite-a-confrontation between da Vinci and Newton. Also, Nostradamus, who has some serious emotional problems after letting himself be locked up for several centuries. Interesting stuff and fantastic art as always.

Secret Six #26: Bane is not someone you mess with. At all. Skartaris doesn’t stand a chance, unless Scandal Savage’s Six can stop him. This comic, month in and month out, is one of my favorite reads. Simone delivers again!

In terms of trades, I grabbed the third Secret Six trade, Danse Macabre, which was quite solid (especially for a Blackest Night tie-in). Definitely some good stuff this week.