The Pull List – March 2nd

Winter had its last hurrah here last night (snow?!), but that didn’t stop last week’s comics!

Deadpool #33.1: Another of Marvel’s “Point One” comics. It does a decent enough job of introducing Deadpool and the conceits of the current Deadpool book (the dueling caption boxes, breaking the fourth wall, etc.). It’s not the best issue of Deadpool ever, but it’s not bad and it does a good enough job of telling you what the character is all about.

Power Man and Iron Fist #2: I missed this one last week for some reason. It picks up with our heroes encountering the Commedia dell’Morte (which is an awesome team name) and deepening their investigation of Crime Buster’s murder, and it introduces another villain for the piece that looks like he could’ve just stepped out of the pages of a mid-90s Garth Ennis book. Good stuff.

Wolverine and Hercules #1: This was in my subscription box (’cause I like Herc), so I figured I’d go ahead and pick it up and see what I thought. It’s not a bad comic, per se, but it’s not particularly interesting or original. I don’t think this is one I’ll be following.

Joe the Barbarian #8: It’s been…well, quite some time since we saw issue 7 of this book. This issue wraps things up nicely, and Sean Murphy’s art is spectacular as usual. Morrison’s script is well-paced and great fun, and the switches between the real world and Joe’s hallucinations really reflect the serious nature of both sides of his problem. The resolution to both stories is pretty cool, and the final splash page is downright fantastic. This was a great series; I wish Morrison would do more stuff like this.

Secret Six #31: Man, never, ever underestimate Ragdoll. I mean, there’s a reason each of the Six is on the team, and he’s not there just for his twisted, screwed-up sense of humor and perverse view of the world. The Get Out of Hell Free card that was the focus of the first story arc rears its ugly head here, and nothing good will come of it. Gail Simone is consistently upping the ante on this book, and damn if it isn’t one of the best books I read every month.

I also grabbed a digest of the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man written by Paul Tobin. It’s pretty solid Spider-Man fun, and it’s nice to see an all-ages book that’s this much fun even for an adult.

The Pull List – June 23rd

Ah, the last week of school is finally over! And we celebrate with comics!

Justice League: Generation Lost #4: This title has started to really pick up. The dialogue has gotten much better, and the fight with the Rocket Reds is well-done. I’m curious to see where they’re going with this now, as apparently “getting the band back together” is all part of Maxwell Lord’s plan. And really, wanting to see what happens next is kinda the point, right?

Joe the Barbarian #6: Sean Murphy’s art continues to dazzle, and Grant Morrison’s script is strong and fun. We’re seeing elements from each world bleed over into one another (including a couple of characters seeing a world they weren’t expecting), and it’s becoming increasingly unclear what is and isn’t real. Definitely cool.

Detective Comics #866: A one-off written by Batman legend Denny O’Neil and drawn by the always-awesome Dustin Nguyen? You’d have to fight me to get me not to buy a comic like that. It’s a neat comic that uses flashbacks to one of the original Batman and Robin’s first cases (and with the Joker, no less!) done in a great faux-Silver Age style intercut with the current Dick Grayson Batman doing a follow-up investigation. It’s not a story of great consequence or anything, but it’s fun and well-done and well-worth the $3.99 price tag.

The Return of Bruce Wayne #3: Speaking of worth the $3.99 price tag, two words: Pirate Batman. He spends most of the issue fighting Blackbeard the Pirate and exploring the Batcave, basically giving you the comic book version of the Dread Pirate Roberts. Bruce Wayne is slowly remembering more of his past, while in the present the heroes are trying to figure out how to save him. Not to mention we have the promise at the end of Batman versus Jonah Hex. I’m not gonna lie to you: that is going to be absolutely awesome.

In terms of trades, I grabbed the fourth collection of Peter David’s X-Factor Visionaries and the 5th volume of Brubaker and Phillips’ always-fantastic Criminal. The fourth X-Factor collection is so far mostly just crossover issues with the X-Family X-Cutioner’s Song. They’re not bad, but they’re not particularly interesting because of their involvement in the big crossover. Haven’t had a chance to dig into Criminal yet.

Also, my comic shop had a sale today, so I grabbed a couple more trades: the first volume of Preacher and volume 8 of Fables. Preacher is definitely interesting, and I’ll probably end up continuing to collect the rest of it.

The Pull List – April 21st

I actually managed to pick up my comics on Wednesday for once, so let’s get to it…

Joe the Barbarian #4: I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on in this comic, but apparently it’s more than just a kid whose blood sugar has dropped too low hallucinating. Which probably shouldn’t surprise us much, as this is a Grant Morrison comic, so there’s always more going on than you’d think. Sean Murphy’s art continues to look absolutely fantastic, we’ve got the introduction of a new ally to the group, and the bad guys are hot in pursuit. Simply put, this comic rocks.

Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #2: This is a much better issue than the first. We’ve got a throwdown between Amadeus Cho and the champion of Apollo, important decisions are made, and there’s some decent jokes. This issue mostly just sets up the comic miniseries Prince of Power, but there’s a nice twist at the end and the comic was pretty fun despite its piece-moving nature. The art still bugs me and doesn’t really do a whole lot for me, but it was serviceable.

Captain America: Who Won’t Wield The Shield? #1 (One-Shot): This one was dropped into my box by my LCS guy, and I decided to go ahead with it just for giggles. It’s an anthology of sorts, I guess, with two short stories and a fun framing story. Matt Fraction and Brendan McCarthy give us a psychedelic take on Captain America called “Doctor America” that features my new favorite word: “Ditkirbanko.” Seriously. Roll that around in your mouth for awhile. Tastes right, doesn’t it? The second story, Golden Age Deadpool, falls a little flatter. While part of it is a pisstake of the over-saturation of Deadpool, it doesn’t really have a whole lot going on and feels too slight. The best part of the book is definitely the framing story, which features Forbush Man getting angry at the writers of Marvel comics (he actually kills Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, and Brian M. Bendis, along with editor Stephen Wacker) and basically having a good laugh at Marvel’s own expense. I’m a fan of metahumor, so this works for me.

For trades, I grabbed the latest volumes of X-Factor and Sandman Mystery Theatre (Matt Wagner does this 1930s noirish stuff so well, I wish he’d just write comics like this forever…granted, at least we’ve got these trades still coming out and his work on Green Hornet: Year One) and Mike Mignola’s Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels. All of which look like they’ll be a lot of fun to read.

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).