The Pull List – December 29th

Hey, it’s the last comics of 2010! Here we go!

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #4: This title has grown on me. Kaare Andrews’s art is pretty damn good, Warren Ellis’s script is loads of fun, but those damn outfits are just painful. Seriously, the trucker hats? I really want them to go away.

The Flash #8: This issue revises the origin of the Reverse Flash, and uses time travel (something the Reverse Flash does quite a lot of, apparently?) in a pretty interesting way to do some honest to God revisionist history on his own life story. It’s clever, though Scott Kolins’s art leaves me kinda cold.

Action Comics #896: This is the first of a two-part crossover with Secret Six, and while it’s mostly just an extended fight scene, it’s a really well-done, entertaining extended fight scene. Cornell comes up with some great lines from the Six, stuff that wouldn’t feel out of place coming from Gail Simone’s pen. Good stuff.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #5: I’m still really not at all sure what’s happening in this book, but it always looks absolutely beautiful. This issue is no exception. We do get a pretty cool reveal at the end of the issue, and a few more pieces are lined up for next issue’s conclusion. Maybe it’ll all make sense after that? Who knows.

Detective Comics #872: The second part of the Black Mirror hits in this issue, and it’s pretty damn good. There’s a clever trap laid for Batman, some good character interaction between Batman and Harvey Bullock, and a nice twist at the end. I’m hooked into the story, and interested to see how the backup feature with Commissioner Gordon’s son will tie in.

I also grabbed the third Secret Warriors trade. It’s good, though I still only really recognize Nick Fury in terms of the characters in the story. The art is fantastic, though.

The Pull List – June 30th

This week was a week for big comics and comics I never expected to see. Ever. Let’s get to it!

Wonder Woman #600: Unlike the recent Batman #700, this milestone pulls several short stories from a variety of creative teams interspersed with a whole lot of great pin-up art. We get a nice little going away bit from outgoing writer Gail Simone, a quick story featuring dozens of the women of DC getting together to fight a threat. It’s a nice parting issue drawn by the great George Perez, and it does explore one of the basic traits of Wonder Woman’s character: that she’s one of the few people in the DC universe well-respected enough to be able to get a huge group of heroes together just because she’s the one asking. The story by Amanda Conner is funny and fantastic, featuring a team-up between Wonder Woman and Power Girl. The story by Louise Simonson seems well-done if rather inconsequential, and the one written by Geoff Johns just seems pointless and doesn’t really do anything. Then there’s the prologue to incoming-writer J. Michael Straczynski’s first story arc, Odyssey. As you’ve probably heard by now, JMS is changing not only Wonder Woman’s costume, he’s also revamping her origin and situation and apparently making her an 18 year old girl. I’m not sure I like the new direction the title is taking, but I’m going to give it a shot before I pass judgment. That being said, it looks like a halfway interesting premise, and it doesn’t seem like all the sweeping changes are permanent (I sincerely hope that ridiculous jacket isn’t), but we’ll just have to see.

Invincible Iron Man Annual #1: This is a pretty long comic, and despite the title splashed across the cover, it really doesn’t feature Iron Man at all. Instead, we get the Mandarin’s efforts to create a revisionist history of his own life. It’s a great exploration of truth, the power of storytelling, and one man’s willingness to do the right thing. There’s also a great reference to Invincible Iron Man at the beginning. The art by Carmine di Giandomenico is fantastic in an exaggerated, sketchy, expressive sort of way.

Astonishing X-Men #34: Holy crap, I almost couldn’t believe this comic had finally come out, even though I was holding it in my hands. There’s some great dialogue, fantastic art from Phil Jimenez, and a Leonard Cohen reference. I’m looking forward to seeing this story finish up soon (God willing).

Action Comics #890: Paul Cornell comes on board this issue and shifts the book’s focus to Lex Luthor, who apparently enjoyed having a power ring so much during Blackest Night that he’s become obsessed with finding one again. There are some nice twists in the story, a clever hook, great dialogue, and top-notch art from Pete Woods. I’m definitely going to be following this title.

Atomic Robo: Revenge of the Vampire Dimension #4: A week that features a new Atomic Robo is a great week indeed. And this particular issue is a perfect example of everything that’s great about the book: snarky robots, bizarre superscience, and unexplainable things going on when they shouldn’t. Not to mention the fact that this issue apparently takes place in the same week as all three of the previous issues in the current set, making it the worst week ever. The story itself is pretty straightforward and mostly seems to (I hope) set up a future story: Robo accidentally revives his greatest enemy. Kind of. Sort of. It’s awesome.

I also picked up the second Secret Warriors trade. Hickman continues to play a great game with this book, working the secret agent stuff and throwing in a lot of great plot twists. The art is great, including an issue drawn by the always-fun Ed McGuiness. All great stuff, really.