The Pull List – March 16th

I have acquired a new computer and new comics! Let’s do this thing!

Fear Itself: The Book of the Skull #1: The Red Skull’s daughter has fancy plans, even if they are daddy’s old plans. There’s an ancient weapon of immense power, a double-cross, and some nice setup for this summer’s Fear Itself event. To be honest, I probably could’ve done without this issue, though really I won’t know for sure until I dig into Fear Itself in the coming months and see how this feeds into it.

Knight and Squire #6: The Joker (the real American one) has arrived in England with an axe to grind. Jarvis Poker, the British Joker, is along as a witness. The issue brings up an interesting dichotomy between these laid-back British heroes and villains and their American counterpart; nothing in this series so far has seemed all that serious or grim. Instead, we’ve had a lighthearted, whimsical romp through the British countryside. The Joker’s rampage is jarring, but our heroes’ solution is very British and in keeping with the series as a whole. All in all, this was a fun miniseries, and I’d love to see more from some of these characters.

Casanova: Gula #3: Zephyr kills everyone. Like, everyone. But don’t worry, most of them get better. Fraction has crafted a bizarre and engrossing tale of betrayals, double-crosses, puzzles, and synthetic humanoids who used to be sex slaves. It’s got me hooked and I can’t wait to see how he ties it all together next month.

Invincible Iron Man #502: Tony Stark is in a bit of trouble, here. Doc Ock has him in a classic hero dilemma: in order to save innocent lives, he’ll have to heal the broken-down brain and body of the villain. Add to that the promise of Pepper Potts versus some Spider-Man villains, and we’ve got a pretty nice setup for some good ol’ fashioned tights (or armor) and fights next issue.

Iron Man 2.0 #2: The plot thickens, and James Rhodes gets some help from an old friend. Nick Spencer is writing a pretty decent comic here, but the rotating art still bugs me.

Ice Man and Angel #1: I will read anything Brian Clevinger writes. Period. The art isn’t really my thing, at least in regards to the way Juan Doe draws our two “heroes,” but his take on Goom, the Thing from Planet X, is perfect. Hands-down my favorite comic this week.

I got a couple of trades in the mail this week. The most recent Captain America collection, Two Americas, wasn’t too bad (even if it was a bit heavy-handed with the “we live in different Americas!” stuff). I also got the Jason Aaron Ghost Rider Omnibus, which was damn good comics.

The Pull List – February 24th

Man, it was a full week this week. Let’s take a look:

Astonishing X-Men #36: A new creative team picks up with the team used by Warren Ellis. Daniel Way and Jason Pearson (both of Deadpool fame) give us a very different sort of story than we saw under Ellis: some monsters, a family tragedy, Wolverine going off to get drunk in Japan. It’s a quick, light story, one that seems set up to allow the X-Men to fight some big monsters. And honestly, I’m okay with that.

Deadpool #33: So Deadpool’s given up on the whole “being a hero” thing, and he’s back to merc work. In space. Honestly, I’m fully okay with this setup. There’s some great moments here, though I probably could have gone the rest of my life without seeing Deadpool in a bikini.

Justice League: Generation Lost #20: With only a few issues left, we take a brief pause here to examine the life of Maxwell Lord and see what drove him from ally and patron of the JLI to guy who wants to kill all the metahumans in the world. It’s nice that someone has finally given us a reason for the changes we’ve seen in the character over the years, but I am still very unhappy about the way issue #19 ended (which carries over to the end of this issue as well). Winick promises that much of the last few issues will be the final, knock-down drag-out fight between the JLI and Lord. I am curious to see what’ll happen.

Thor #620: Speaking of issues that’re just big fight scenes, that’s what we get here. It’s Odin and the Asgardian Blood Colossi versus the invaders from outside the nine worlds. It’s clearly a fight that’s meant to be epic, and individual moments and panels certainly seem to carry a particular weight and sense of “hell yeah!” to them, but the issue on the whole leaves me kind of cold. I don’t know why it’s off, but it is. We’ll see what Fraction and company come up with next.

Invincible Iron Man #501: Years ago, Tony Stark made a fool of Otto Octavius at a conference. While it wasn’t much of anything to Stark, it apparently made quite the impression on Doc Oc. And now, Octavius is dying, and he wants Tony Stark to fix him. Or else. It’s a neat story hook, and it’s nice to have Stark off doing something that’s not some huge, status quo-changing epic story that changes everything forever. This looks to be a good time.

Iron Man 2.0 #1: I don’t know how we went from having no Nick Spencer books from the BIg Two to having 60 million of them, but I’m not going to complain. This book is focusing on James Rhodes, a character I’ve never really felt anything in particular about. He’s just sort of…there in the Iron Man books. Oh, I know he’s had a few solo titles here and there, but none of it ever struck me as essential reading. This book looks to maybe change that. It’s fun; Spencer has a good feel for the dialogue and what makes Rhodes a compelling character. The supporting cast seems to be almost completely new, though the cameo with Iron Man at the beginning is pretty awesome. The rotating art teams was annoying and kept throwing me out of the story, but this still looks to be a promising book.

Skullkickers #6: This isn’t a book I’d ever heard of, but it had a story written by Brian Clevinger and another by The ISB’s Chris Sims, so I decided to pick it up. It’s a fun, light fantasy read, the sort of book I actually quite like. I’m half tempted to start reading the book proper now, and that’s definitely a point in the book’s favor.

Action Comics #898: I didn’t read any of the Green Lantern stuff where Larfleeze the Orange Lantern showed up, so I know next to nothing about the character. It’s to Paul Cornell’s credit that he introduces the character quickly and gets us up to speed without too much wordy exposition. The whole Black Lantern Energy story is really picking up here (and concluding next month!), and the big reveal at the end of this issue makes a lot of sense. I can’t wait to see how Cornell resolves all the plot threads he’s currently juggling.

Detective Comics #874: This issue picks up with the Commissioner Gordon backups that were running until a month or so back. It’s a creepy, disturbing issue, and Snyder carries it off well. There’s a bit near the beginning of the issue when Gordon’s son (the rarely-mentioned James) intimates that he’s killed someone in the diner bathroom. The art cuts to a shot of the bathroom door, and we get Gordon’s sense of foreboding, fear, and concern that maybe it isn’t a joke as his son states that it is. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. The second half of the book, featuring Batman and Red Robin, is the less-interesting half of the book, as it deals with the aftermath of last month’s run-in with the new villain.

Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #4: The action picks up again this issue, with Robo and company trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out who is behind the strange thefts. Like pretty much every other issue of Atomic Robo ever, it’s fantastic. Clevinger and Wegner keep putting out a fabulous book every time out, and the world is better for it.

I also grabbed the trade of Warren Ellis’s Astonishing X-Men story Exogenetic, which reads much better all at once rather than in the rather slow “whenever we can get an issue finished and released” schedule it was on.