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.

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!

Comics to Heal the Soul

C’mon, get happy! It’s new comics time! Possible spoilers (but only if you haven’t been paying any attention to interviews from the writers or, well, the internet), so you’ve been warned!

Incredible Hercules #141: I’m sad this is the last issue of this title. Sure, I only started reading it in single issues at the start of the current Assault on New Olympus storyline, but I’d read everything else (except the apparently awesome Incredible Thorcules story) in trades and felt this was a title worth following monthly. And it was. We get some interesting twists here (the new chief deity of the Olympians makes sense, but she turns out to be just as cruel and calculating – more so, really – than Hera ever was), a couple of deaths that were telegraphed from quite a ways back (Van Lente and Pak have been telling us that a certain Prince of Power would die). There are a couple of choice bits that were interesting: finding out who was really behind, well, essentially everything that’s ever happened in Hercules’s life, Amadeus Cho’s resigned acceptance of his new role, a couple of nice sound effects. However, Herc’s defeat of the big baddie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (I mean, the Aegis plate bounces the kinetic energy of his attack back at him the first time, but doesn’t three pages later? Seems a little off to me, fellas). This isn’t the end for these characters (there’s a two-part Fall of an Avenger thing coming out in the next couple of months, which will lead into a new title, Prince of Power, staring everyone’s favorite self-proclaimed “Seventh Smartest Person in the World”), so it’s good to know there’ll be more from this creative team with these characters. The Agents of Atlas backup feature was decent, too, and the ending to that had a decent little twist, too, and tied things back into the original miniseries (what with Venus’s assumptions about her identity) rather nicely.

Joe the Barbarian #2: The pace really picks up in this issue and we’re thrust right into the action. Deathcoats are hot on our hallucinating hero’s trail, he’s joined by a samurai rat name Chakk (actually Joe’s pet rat, Jack), and Captain Pickard gives him a pretty useless phaser (well, seems useless so far. This is Grant Morrison we’re talking about here, so you have to assume everything was done for a reason). Sean Murphy’s art is beautiful, and with the able assistance of Dave Stewart on colors and Todd Klein on letters, this is one of the best possible creative teams you could hope for in a comic. Loved Joe’s interaction with Lord Arc, whose “The journey – arduous, companions on the way, et cetera! Traditional rules apply!” had me laughing out loud. Morrison is using something of a stock fantasy plot here – young man falls into a world not his own and must make a journey to save the world and get himself home – but it’s the twist of this just being the kid’s hallucination (or is it? Again, it’s Morrison, so who knows what’s really happening just yet) that adds an interesting dimension to an otherwise standard plot. Morrison’s always playing around with storytelling conventions and metafiction, always tweaking little things and playing with the basic notions of narrative, so I’m interested to see where he takes this.

Deadpool #19: This issue felt kinda flat, and not just because of its use of Hit Monkey as a plot device. No, it was the characterization of Spider-Man; things just felt off, and Peter Parker seemed to have way too much anger and not nearly enough snark in him. And Deadpool just didn’t bring the crazy funny in this issue. There’s a chance for hijinks next issue, sure, but as the opening issue of a story, this just didn’t draw me in.

Atomic Robo: Revenge of the Vampire Dimension #1: Hot damn, new Atomic Robo! Any week that features Atomic Robo is a good week. In this case, we get to see one of the current Tesladyne’s employees on his first day, which also happens to be the same day a dimension full of “vampires” break through into Tesladyne and Robo and his team have to contain them. Well, I say “Robo and his team,” but it’s really all about the force of nature that is Jenkins. Brian Clevinger throws in some great lines (“Action geology.” Heh), and Scott Wegener’s art is fantastic as always. This issue was essentially done in one, which leads me to wonder what they’ll do with the other three issues in this mini, but I trust in Clevinger and Wegener to steer us right. They haven’t let me down so far.

Trade this week was the second volume of J. Michael Straczynski’s run on Thor. There’s some decent stuff going on in this title, between the machinations of Loki (and the revelation about Loki’s female body is a nice twist) and the trick to kick Thor out of Asgard. I’m actually really interested now to see what Matt Fraction does when he takes over the title post-Siege.

You want comics? I got yer comics right here!

Another week, another batch of comics! Small set this week, but let’s jump in, shall we?

Joe the Barbarian #1: A rather slow, sedated start to a comic from a writer who usually jumps headlong into the action from panel 1, but with art this beautiful, who am I to complain? And the fact that it looks to be such an interesting story (diabetic kid goes into hypoglycemic shock and has to make it to some food before he, y’know, dies, and oh he happens to be hallucinating something fierce on the way) is gonna go a long way to helping me feel good about picking up this 8-issue miniseries. Plus, hey, first issue was only $1. Thank you, Vertigo!

Incredible Hercules #140: The Assault on New Olympus continues with some nice twists, great moments between Herc and Amadeus Cho, and the as-usual awesome sound effects. This series is consistently awesome and you should all be reading it, even if it is slated for cancellation in the very near future.

Also picked up the latest Captain America trade, Road to Reborn. Brubaker writes a very compelling Cap, and I’m half-tempted to start following this one in single issues instead of just trades (probably not, though. It’s one of those stories that just reads better in large chunks).

Comics Cavalcade

Yesterday was New Comics Day, the greatest day of the week! Get ready!

Detective Comics #860: The completion of the origin of Batwoman. This was definitely a stronger story than the opening arc, and seeing Kate Kane’s motivation for becoming Batwoman really made a lot of sense and felt pretty good. JH Williams III continues to knock it out of the park artistically, coming up with amazing page layouts and fantastic little details (the subtle changes in Kate’s physical appearance to the more jarring changes, such as her pallid skin and the dark circles around her eyes) make this book a pleasure just to look at. I’m sad this issue ends his run on the title, but there’s apparently hope of further collaboration on the character between Williams and Rucka in the near future (yay!). Rucka’s writing is pretty solid; this is the kind of story he can write in his sleep. And the Question backup was lots of fun, too, which is what I want out of a wise-cracking faceless crimefighter comic.

Incredible Hercules #139: The Assault on New Olympus isn’t going well as we finally find out what Continuum is. This title continues to be pure, distilled awesome (favorite sound effect: Maceindaface!), and I’m glad that I’ve started following it on a monthly basis instead of just waiting for the trades. The Agents of Atlas backup fits in well, and is appropriate considering the Agents are attempting to infiltrate New Olympus themselves for their own ends.

Wonder Woman #39: I heart Gail Simone. Her taking on this title was the whole reason I started following any comics on a monthly basis instead of just trade-waiting everything, and she hasn’t disappointed (neither has Secret Six. Damn, that’s an awesome comic!). We finally see why her bracelets have been acting all wonky, Alkyone gets the smackdown she’s been deserving, and the Amazons prove why they’re awesome. Also, Zeus apparently gets a little humility and does some stuff he should’ve done ages ago (and those weird space suits the Olympian gods have been wearing since their return are explained finally). Good stuff.

Trades I picked up: Incredible Hercules: Dark Reign (I love me some Herc), Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign (there’s like a pattern here or something), and the More Than Complete Action Philosophers! (one of the most awesomest titles ever). Seriously, with one floppy and two trades by Mr. Fred Van Lente, it was definitely Van Lente Week around here!