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 – September 2010

Man, getting through September without getting to read comics was tough! I did it, though, and ended up picking up all my September stuff the first week of October, so that wasn’t so bad. Let’s see what we missed, shall we?

Hercules: Twilight of a God #4: The finale to this miniseries gives the Prince of Power a right proper sendoff, letting him go head to head with a blackhole and, well, winning (even if he does give his life for it). Great art, solid if not particularly original story, and just a fun little ride all around.

Secret Six #25: Holy crap, Gail Simone is just downright evil. Catman attempting suicide by lion is pretty awesome, though, and the promise of Six vs. Six from this issue is gonna rule.

Batman and Robin #14: This issue was downright creepy. I kinda knew what to expect going in, what with having seen the preview and read reviews and such, but it was still a damn well done issue. I’m not a huge fan of Frazer Irving’s art, but Grant Morrison’s story is dead on. In the hands of a lesser team, Professor Pyg would just be ridiculous, but Morrison (and Irving, I have to admit) have me downright terrified of the guy. He ain’t right in the head.

Batman: Odyssey #3: I just…I don’t really know how to feel about this title. Sure, it’s Neal Adams and it’s Batman, but…it just doesn’t feel right. Everything is very over the top, everything is very exaggerated, and that’s fine and all, but…I dunno. The story’s a mess, the art’s not up to his usual high standard, and everyone…talks…like this!

Booster Gold #36: This title continues to be awesome. The cover is frankly fantastic, and the continued antics of Booster in the JLI days is hysterical. Also, I realize now I miss Ted Kord, even though I wasn’t really reading comics when he was still alive. Sad, really.

Doom Patrol #14: So the Chief just decided to keep a Kryptonian around to do experiments on? And now he’s all superpowered and crazy? Okay, sounds like a wild ride. I’m in. Giffen continues to make this a hell of a book.

Green Hornet: Year One #5: I don’t think I’d really realized it before now, but apparently this title isn’t a miniseries, it’s an ongoing. Which is awesome. Matt Wagner does period stories better than just about anyone, and seeing the young Britt Reid coming to terms with his place in the world and realizing the limits of working within the law to bring evil to justice…it’s great.

Invincible Iron Man #30: Tony Stark has a confrontation, a couple of cars blow up, and Pepper Potts comes to the rescue. Is there anything about this book that isn’t great? Well, I could probably do with a different artist, though Larroca’s art is far from terrible (just not terribly interesting to me).

Justice League: Generation Lost #9: I was skeptical when I saw that Judd Winick was running the show solo now, but it’s going pretty well, I think. We get more infighting among our heroes, Maxwell Lord hints at his plans and goals, and it’s just an interesting book still.

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #4: I have mentioned Gail Simone is evil, right? ‘Cause she ups the ante here, pitting the villain of the piece against everyone’s favorite aviatrix, and that fork featured on the cover? It ain’t there just to look cool.

Avengers & the Infinity Gauntlet #2: So we’re already halfway through this miniseries and they’ve only just left Earth and filled up their space rig with gas. They’ve got two issues to defeat Thanos and save the universe. Sure, I think that they’ll do it, and I’d be willing to read an ongoing series by Clevinger about Spider-Man and Doom bantering back and forth, but I fear the ending of this is gonna be kinda rushed. We’ll see.

Birds of Prey #5: Black Canary is in deep trouble. So deep, that her friends are probably gonna regret trying to help her out of it. Things get worse for the Birds in the aftermath of the first arc, and Simone keeps things moving so quickly here that it’s almost disjointed and scattered (which I kinda think she did on purpose to leave the reader feeling off-balance, just as the characters feel). I find it interesting that Ed Benes already needs a fill-in artist. Let’s just go ahead and put Nicola Scott on this book and be done with it.

Deadpool #27: Steve Rogers sucker punches Deadpool. ‘Nuff said.

Joe the Barbarian #7: Joe’s grasp of what is and isn’t real is as tenuous as ever, though that may be because what is and isn’t real isn’t staying the same. This book is still pure, distilled awesome, from Morrison’s writing to Sean Murphy’s art to Dave Stewart’s colors and Todd Klein’s letters. This is like a comics dream team here, folks.

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #3: A face-off between the X-Men and a ruler who will do what it takes to protect his country, the use of a decades-old plot device from Excalibur, and the usual no-good-choices scenario that Warren Ellis writes so well…it’s a decent comic, and I’m kinda glad I’ve stuck with the series.

The Flash #5: The plot thickens as we discover that villains turned allies probably aren’t as friendly as we thought. Things go from bad to worse for the Flash, and look like they’re not going to improve anytime soon. Love the art in this book, too, even if Barry Allen is still something of a cipher.

Justice League: Generation Lost #10: Can I just say that Cliff Chiang’s cover for this book is absolutely perfect? Admittedly, all of his covers for the series have been great, but there’s just something about this cover in particular that really grabs me (it’s probably Batman).

Thor #615: Matt Fraction comes on board to write with this issue, and it’s pretty great. I love the basic concept – that if you leave a space empty, something else will just fill it up – and the art is great. There’s a cartoony feeling to it that I love and much prefer to the hyper-realistic art that seems to be more of Marvel’s house style lately.

Action Comics #893: Lex Luthor vs. Gorilla Grodd. Lexbots. This book continues to be pure awesome. And the Jimmy Olsen co-feature is perfect. I would read the hell out of a Nick Spencer Jimmy Olsen ongoing. Get on that, DC!

Atlas #5: I’m really sad that this is the last issue of Atlas. I was digging the title. I do like that it’s open-ended enough for the team to return down the road, maybe, but it still annoys me that this book basically gets killed off right as it’s finding its momentum each time. That said, it’s a pretty great sendoff for the team; everyone gets their moment to shine, the good guys win (of course), and there’s a nice little moment between Jimmy Woo and the spirit of his former enemy/mentor, Master Plan, that’s pretty great. Also, we should totally get a Ken Hale ongoing, because he is the single greatest monkey ever.

Casanova #3: Things get real funky here with an island of superintelligent cavemen and Casanova starting to realize he needs to grow up and grow a pair. Why have I not read this book before now?

Detective Comics #869: This story continues to irritate me. It’s implied that this is the Bruce Wayne Batman, but if so, he’s the most ineffectual we’ve ever seen him. Batman basically sits around shrugging the whole time, saying, “Well, what the hell can I do about all these impostor Jokers and impostor Batmen running around?” Then he kicks his feet up on the Bat Computer and eats a bag of chips. Lazy, useless Batman is not Batman. The art is still pretty great, though.

Wonder Woman #603: JMS’s take on Wonder Woman continues to do a whole lot of nothin’ for me. I mean, I’m still not even sure what the point of it all was. Why change her history? Why change her situation the way he has? It hasn’t really added anything to the story. This could’ve been done with the star-spangled shorts and tiara just as easily as the useless jacket and stretch pants. We’ve really gained nothing with these changes except for some publicity (which was probably the point) and some exasperation. Mostly the latter.

The Pull List – May 26th

It’s a new week, which means new comics! Here we go!

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2: Batman runs around in the age of Puritans, hunting witches and fighting giant tentacle monsters. Frazer Irving’s art is kind of hard to follow sometimes, as Bruce Wayne looks an awful lot like his antagonist in several panels and it’s not always clear who is who, but this is still a fun comic. The stuff with Rip Hunter and his Time Masters was interesting if kind of confusing; I’m definitely curious to see where this is headed next.

Detective Comics #865: A pretty cool little story with the Black Mask/Jeremiah Arkham. The art is solid, and there’s some neat little twists with what’s real/isn’t real, who Arkham really is, and an ending that (while not particularly original) still sets up future interesting stories. We also get the closing chapter of the Question backup feature. The ending is ambiguous, and I’m not really sure I care for it, but I did enjoy Cully Hamner’s art and Rucka definitely put in some interesting ideas. I’m not sure if I’ll keep following Detective Comics now that Rucka, Batwoman, and the Question are all gone, especially with the price staying at #3.99 despite the loss of its backup feature.

Justice League: Generation Lost #2: I keep expecting this to be more like the old JLI stuff. Maybe that’s not a fair comparison to make, but when the main characters are all JLI stalwarts, one of the key members of the creative team was behind the old JLI stuff, and it’s using the JLI as a key feature in the setting and plot…well, such comparison are bound to come up. There are some neat ideas here – discrediting the few people who do remember that Maxwell Lord even existed, the way that those who have forgotten Lord can’t even process when they see images of him – but this still feels like it’s just setup, and the art is kind of bland. Still, I’ll look forward to what comes next, ’cause it looks to be an interesting story at least.

Wonder Woman #44: Gail Simone’s last regular issue on Wonder Woman ends the run on a high note. There’s good spotlight moments for everyone from Etta Candy to Steve Trevor, the gorillas get their due, Achilles and Hippolyta lend a hand, and Wonder Woman gets to use cleverness and her brains to solve a problem rather than just punching something. It’s a good end to Simone’s run, though I will be sad to see her go. Next issue is the specially renumber #600, which will feature a story by Simone (with George Perez on art!) as well as stuff from incoming Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski. We’ll see how that goes.

Green Hornet: Year One #3: We finally get to see how Britt Reid and Kato met, not to mention seeing the two back in the States taking down a gambling club and upsetting some gangsters. Wagner and company continue to crank out an enjoyable comic here, though it’s nothing groundbreaking or that unusual from his other period comics work (I’m lookin’ at you, Sandman Mystery Theatre, and it’s a look filled with love).

I also picked up the Thor: Latverian Prometheus trade. It’s Kieron Gillen’s first few issues on the title following J. Michael Straczynski’s departure from the title. I’m not real far into it, but it’s pretty interesting so far. There’s the promise of a throwdown between Dr. Doom and Thor which should be fun.

The Pull List – April 14th

Comics! Really, that says it all.

Booster Gold #31: I didn’t actually intend to pick this up (I wanted to start getting the series next month, when Giffen and DeMatteis take over with all the “bwahaha” that entails). It’s the last issue written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, and it’s really just a send-off for him. There’s not a whole lot of substance to the story: Booster fights against some nameless mooks, there’s some collateral damage, Booster feels frustrated about it, and then everything ends up getting fixed up nice by the end. It’s a straight-forward end to Jurgens’s run, but it’s a nice end.

Secret Six #20: Catman gets mad and starts tracking the folks who threatened to kill his son. It ain’t pretty, the Six split over what to do about Catman running off, and you generally get the sense that there’s going to be some hell to pay in the issues to come. Another fantastic issue from Simone, though this one does lack a lot of the trademark humor we’ve come to expect from the title.

Green Hornet: Year One #2: A little more back story on the original Green Hornet and his companion, Kato, and a couple steps closer to their inevitable first meet-up. Plus some mobsters get beaten up. Wagner’s script doesn’t do much of anything new (especially if you’ve read any of his Sandman Mystery Theatre), but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. The art’s fantastic and fits perfectly, too.

Atomic Robo: Revenge of the Vampire Dimension #2: Atomic Robo continues to be one of the best reasons to read comics. Great dialogue, giant monsters, a mecha with a rail gun…what’s not to love? I’m not sure how this connects to the first issue in this particular series, but I’m sure all will be made clear by the end.

This week, I also picked up the fourth volume of Fables and the second omnibus of Starman. Both are fantastic, and the Starman collection includes a crossover with Sandman Mystery Theatre (see how I brought it all back around full circle?).

The Pull List – March 17th

St. Patrick’s Day was indeed a day for green, as the second of five (!) new Green Hornet titles from Dynamite came out. Apparently my LCS guy thought I might enjoy it, so I found a copy of Green Hornet: Year 1 #1 in my box. Here’s my thoughts on it and the rest of the stuff I pulled this week.

Green Hornet: Year One #1: I really dig Matt Wagner’s stuff set in the 1920s/1930s (really, the only other thing I can think of off the top of my head is his work on Sandman Mystery Theatre, which is absolutely fantastic), so I’m down with this. The Year One subtitle is a little bit of a misnomer, as Wagner bounces around between the early childhoods of Britt Reid and Kato and their early efforts as masked heroes. What we get is the beginning of a nice little examination of how Green Hornet came to be, and some solid moments of characterization for each character. We haven’t seen how the two will get together just quite yet, but hey, this is just the first issue. I may not have originally planned on pulling this book, but I’m glad it made its way into my box and I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue.

Joe the Barbarian #3: This book just keeps getting more awesome. Sean Murphy’s art is easily the best thing about this title, but that’s not to say Grant Morrison’s script isn’t cool as hell. The parallels between Joe’s hallucinations and the real world are well-done and add some great depth to the story, and things are starting to blur together in a pretty exciting way. Plus, we get a new addition to the group, the rather large son of a pirate guy who brings some fun to the proceedings. This is one of the funnier books I’ve ever read by Morrison, and I’m enjoying it immensely.

Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1: So we get a nice little send-off for Hercules here, with folks getting together and telling stories about their experiences with the Prince of Power. Thor’s tale is pretty great, a couple of solid little jokes about Herc’s sexual exploits, and an interesting set up at the end of the issue. I do have a couple of problems with the book: first, the art is just bland and boring. Things look washed out, and the women all have the same exact face. The Agents of Atlas backup works pretty well, featuring Venus going around and closing out Hercules’s accounts in what ends up being quite funny and warm. The book’s worth picking up, if for no other reason than to set up the new Prince of Power book that’s starting up in a couple of months.

As for trades, I picked up the new Hellboy trade, which admittedly came out last week, but which I could only find this week. Huzzah for Hellboy!