The Pull List – March 9th

I’ve re-read all of Transmetropolitan since Friday evening. Damn, if that isn’t a great book!

Batman and Robin #21: This issue is better than the last, with the characterization of Damian less grating this time and an interesting story shaping up. The idea of a guy who goes around killing the families of Arkham inmates as some form of reparations for their own horrible actions is interesting, and Tomasi’s script works well. Gleason’s art is growing on me a bit, but his characters still feel way too bulky and blocky for my tastes.

Doom Patrol #20: With this book building towards its conclusion, Giffen seems like he’s just decided to pull out all the stops and go nuts with it. The Doom Patrol spend most of the issue visiting different corners of the DCU trying to find a new place to live after Oolong Island evicted them at the end of the previous issue. Of course, it doesn’t go well, ’cause the easy way is not the Doom Patrol way. The last third or so of the book, with the visit and offer from an old villain, is clever and an interesting way to set up the last few issues we’ve got left of the book. I am sad this book is ending soon, but it looks like Giffen’s going out with a bang.

Justice League: Generation Lost #21: Speaking of books nearing their end, this issue is the calm before the storm of the final confrontation between Maxwell Lord and the JLI. There’s a lot of self-doubt running around in this issue, a lot of frustration and people on the verge of giving up. There’s also (spoilers!) the reveal that the big happening from a couple of issues ago was just a dodge. I’m sure it’ll be made clearer next issue. I am curious to see how this series is going to resolve, but I guess we’ll know that in about a month or so, right?

Booster Gold #42: This issue is an example of why I absolutely love Giffen and DeMatties working together: usually, this pair is all “Bwa ha ha” and more jokes and dialogue packed into a panel than you’d think possible. But they also do drama and tragedy really well. They can switch gears at the drop of a hat, and they can pull it off like no others. This is a darker, more sinister issue than we’ve seen in awhile, but it’s carried off with aplomb and heart. I really do hope they’re just taking a brief break from the book for the Flashpoint event this summer and will be back after that’s all done, because I love what they’ve been doing on the title since they took it over almost a year ago.

Wonder Woman #608: I do like that, since Hester has taken over on scripting duties, characters actually have individual, distinct voices and motivations for what they’re doing (and hell, they’re actually doing something!). This book is actually interesting again, and while it’s maybe not as good as the Gail Simone run, it’s a damn-sight better than when JMS was running the show all on his lonesome.

Batman Incorporated #3: Well, this finally came out. And it’s…well, there are bits that are truly clever (it’s Grant Morrison, there’s always gonna be something that’s clever), there’s some fun silver-agey stuff (exploding scorpions!), but for some reason it all just feels kinda…flat. Like there should’ve been something more to it if we were gonna have to wait three months for a new issue. There is the hint that this isn’t just a series of disconnected issues of Bruce Wayne traveling around the world to wherever Grant Morrison saw a travel poster for that month, but not enough build up yet for us to really know what to make of it. I’m gonna keep reading it, ’cause I trust Grant Morrison to do something interesting with the book, but I’m more than a little frustrated.

Birds of Prey #10: This book, however, is never a disappointment. Simone draws her “Death of Oracle” story to a close by…well, basically killing the idea of Oracle. By letting the criminal element think she’s dead, she can operate more effectively; or, as Barbara herself puts it, “If I’m out in the open, then criminals get cautious. And we can’t have that. Because my goal is that they never see me coming.” It’s brilliant, and there’s a nice metaphor (unspoken, but one I’m kind of assigning to the story anyway) of a mother bird pushing the babies out of the nest to fly on their own (the few pages of heroes calling in to Oracle and getting stony silence, then winning their own battles anyway). Plus, we’re promised the Huntress/Catman date next issue! How is that not going to be awesome?

I also grabbed the second trade of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, which was just as awesome as the first collection. I’m really upset now that Marvel decided not to let them finish this book. It’s sad that great books like this don’t get picked up on by more readers ’cause they “don’t matter” to the larger continuity. I am coming to hate continuity. This is, hands down, the best Thor book since Walt Simonson was writing Thor.

The Pull List – December 15th

Ah, the waning days of the year! We’ve still got comics comin’! Here we go!

Deadpool Max #3: Okay, so this is what this book should be like. Baron Zemo, reimagined as a white supremacist bent on making the U.S. “pure” again. The writing is clever, the violence fits, and the Lapham uses racial slurs and horrible, horrible terminology to great effect. If more issues are like this one, I’ll definitely be continuing to keep it up.

Batman and Robin #18: We get the origin of The Absence and a couple of really cool visuals (that closing page is fantastic), though some of the villain’s motivation seems a little off somehow. Decent, but not the best Cornell’s managed. We’ll see how it turns out next issue.

Birds of Prey #7: Barbara Gordon’s got an ambitious plan to keep her friends and allies safe: she’s going to kill Oracle. The art for this issue ain’t bad, and Gail Simone’s script is solid (the bits in the strip club are hysterical), as per usual. One request, though: can we please get Nicola Scott on this book? Please?

Chaos War: Thor #2: I’m not entirely sure about the real purpose of this book. I mean, it’s not a bad book, and there are some really interesting concepts at work in this issue. But there does feel like there’s something slightly off about it.

Chaos War #4: Things look pretty grim, but that’s par for the course when you’re talking about event comics and cosmic stuff. Hercules does not want to give up, Athena tries to be clever and fails, and Amadeus Cho comes up with a neat idea. I’m curious to see how Pak and Van Lente will pull off the win in this one, and where it’ll take the iHerc crew next.

I also grabbed the fifth Booster Gold trade, which rounded out Dan Jurgens’s run on the title, and the first trade of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, which is one of those books I kick myself for not having gotten into earlier (especially now that it’s apparently going to be canceled after the 8th issue).