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 – August 4th

It’s pouring down rain right now, but that won’t stop the comics (though it might delay the posting of this)!

Batman: Odyssey #2: Neal Adams is weaving a story of a young, inexperienced Batman that is downright weird. Anyone used to the prepared-for-everything Batman will find it rather jarring, but it’s an interesting alternate take on Bruce Wayne. Adams’ art is still kinda sketchy, but there’s solid storytelling and a shirtless, hairy-chested Bruce Wayne giving us a recap of the first issue. It’s still not clear exactly what Adams hopes to achieve with this miniseries, but I’m definitely willing to go along for the ride and see what he’s doing.

Doom Patrol #13: This issue focuses on Rita Farr, aka Elasti-Woman, as she discovers the secrets behind her resurrection and we just get further confirmation of what a bastard the Chief is. Giffen puts a good twist on the usual “superhero brought back from the dead” thing, and manages to make her character that much more tragic (and rather in line with the rest of the members of the Doom Patrol). We also get a confrontation between Rita and Mento, a fight that promises to be pretty awesome in the next issue. This title has gotten better as it’s gone along, finally finding its rhythm and a sense of what kind of stories will fit the characters best.

Hercules: Twilight of a God #3: Herc spends the whole issue in a coma, so his buddy Skyppi the Skrull takes center stage in an effort to help resolve the problem of the Galactus Black Hole that threatens the whole galaxy. There are some fun moments, snappy bits of dialogue, and good pacing: this is a solid comic from some of the most consistent, legendary creators in the business.

Deadpool #1000: An anthology of short Deadpool stories from a variety of creators, this is (as with most books of this type) a mixed bag at best. Some of the pieces are fun (“Canada, Man” is easily the best of the bunch, though “Luck be a Lady” is solid-if-mundane and “Silentest Night” is a fun little send-up of the distinguished competition’s recent event), and the art varies from typical superhero fare to indie comix style and a bunch of stuff in-between. The last quarter or so of the book is given over to more than two dozen Deadpool-centric variant covers that ran in different Marvel books over the course of the last year or so. All in all, not a bad book, but not necessarily worth the $4.99 price tag unless you’re really into Deadpool.

Casanova: Luxuria #2: Casanova goes on a mission (and counter-mission) to an island of sex robots. Yes, it’s as awesome as that sounds. There’s some weird sexual tension with his kinda-sister, some weirder sexual tension between a large Scotsman and a creepy mutant robot woman, and a naked man psychic fight. Good stuff.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #3: The antagonist is revealed, and we find out that he’s a man who will do whatever it takes to do his duty. Weaver’s art is fabulous throughout, and Hickman’s script gives us lots of information and details without feeling like a giant data dump. We don’t get to see much of Leonid and Da Vinci in this issue (they pop up in one panel on the last page), but next issue promises to be a knock-down, drag-out fight.

Secret Six #24: Our “heroes” are in the Wild West, and while everyone’s basic characteristics are the same, that’s pretty much the only similarity to the team of degenerates we know and love. The six end up banding together to protect a town from Ragdoll’s sister (who’s back along with her henchmen Aaron and Tig), so you know there’s gonna be carnage and blood. And man, is there. The roles everyone plays in this town in the past make sense: Deadshot’s a bounty hunter, Jeanette runs a bar/brothel (and the bathtub scene? Damn, Gail Simone’s a dirty woman), and Ragdoll does a Punch & Judy puppet show (which is just as wrong as it sounds). There’s also the fact that they team up to take down Slade Wilson, a gunslinger working for Ragdoll’s sister, which seems like a small nod to fans of Ryan Choi (a character written by Simone who was himself killed by Wilson in a recent issue of Titans). Definitely a good issue; can’t wait to see what Simone does next.

I also grabbed the ninth Fables trade, which so far has been setup for a final battle between the Fables in exile and the armies of the Adversary. Good stuff.

The Pull List – June 2nd

Pretty thin this week. In fact, the only comic I picked up wasn’t even one I’d planned.

Hercules: Twilight of a God
#1: This feels exactly like an old-school Marvel comic. And with writing and inks by Bob Layton and pencils by Ron Lim, that’s really no surprise. The comic was a lot of fun if a little confusing (why the hell is Hercules in the Andromeda galaxy, anyway?), but I figure things will become clear as we go along.

I did pick up a couple of trades this week. First, I found the Incredible Hercules: The Incredible Thorcules trade, which I’ve been looking for other the past month or so. Great fun. I also grabbed the latest Agents of Atlas trade, which is also pretty awesome. Not to mention the four Iron Man Marvel Adventures books I ordered from Barnes & Noble this week (at a nice discount; four books for less than $20 is awesome). So, despite very few actual single issues, this was still a pretty awesome week for comics.