The Pull List – December 8th

New comics! Get excited!

Booster Gold #39: We see Booster coming to grips with the death of Ted Kord, and while it’s not an easy thing for him to do, he does finally recognize why it needs to happen. Giffen and DeMatties manage to avoid too much sappiness here, though there is a sense of sentimentality that feels right. Not a “bwahaha” issue by any means, but there’s some nice character moments here.

Detective Comics Annual #12: A fairly interesting story (even if it’s a little pedestrian: there’s a killer out there who’s giving cryptic clues as to who their next target will be, and Batman has to try to figure out who’s in danger and protect them). There’s the inclusion of The Question (I do love me some Renee Montoya, and I’m glad to see she’s not just sitting on a shelf since Greg Rucka left) and an introduction to a new character (will he just show up in this annual and next week’s Batman Annual, or will he be someone we see again later?), so it’s not bad, and the art is all pretty solid, too.

The Flash #7: This issue spotlights the resurrected Captain Boomerang and gives us a brief rundown of his history. It’s decent enough, even if it is very tied up in playing connect the continuity dots.

Justice League: Generation Lost #15: We find a hole in Max Lord’s plan (whatever that is), and it makes him quite unhappy. We also get some nice character moments with just about everyone, and Booster Gold mans up (and tells Captain Atom to do the same). I’m surprised at how well this title is going.

Knight and Squire #3: Our heroes versus Richard III and a host of other villainous kings from England’s past! This comic remains unrepentantly British, and I think I love it for that. I am surprised that DC is putting out a book like this, that doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of continuity ties and it doesn’t feature anyone dying horrible deaths and changing the DC Universe forever.

Thor #618: I like Fraction’s writing a lot, but I have concerns about his Thor. Things seem to be happening here without any sort of rhyme or reason. I mean, it’s great to bring Odin back and all, but (1) how does it happen and (2) why does it happen? Do we really need Odin around? That being said, I’ve got faith Fraction will give us a good story, so I’m sticking around to see what happens next.

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #6: So here ends another Tranquility miniseries. There are some nice moments here (I especially like when Thomasina works it out so that everyone in town gains Maxi-Man’s powers), but I feel like things in this particular miniseries just weren’t up to snuff compared to the first two. Part of it’s the art (Domingues’s art isn’t nearly as strong as Googe’s was in the first couple of series), part of it’s the fact that the story just doesn’t feel like it was that unique or that it necessarily needed to be told. We’ve had plenty of “the child of the great hero is a horrible villain” stories (or variations thereof) before, and while Simone tells the story pretty well, it just didn’t click for me. I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we see of Tranquility or its superpowered occupants, because I really do like the characters and the very idea of the series.

The Pull List – December 1st

Late, but not forgotten! Here’s last week’s comics:

Action Comics Annual #13: A couple of short stories from regular series writer Paul Cornell featuring a young Lex Luthor. They’re not quite as good as the stuff he’s been doing in the book, but we do get some neat insight into young Lex’s thought process, what drives him, and we get a couple of neat interactions with Darkseid and Ra’s Al Ghul.

Doom Patrol #17: I am absolutely loving the recap pages Giffen’s been doing in each issue of this book lately. They’ve got a lot in common with the recap pages we were getting in Incredible Hercules (in that they do a decent job of reminding you what’s come before and are funny and clever). This book has only gotten better as it’s gone along, though this particular issue felt disjointed at times. It moves a few plot points along (the nationalization of the Doom Patrol, for instance) and gives us some great character moments, plus it sets up one of the oldest jokes in comedy (but in a good way). Good stuff.

Secret Six #28: The conclusion to the “Reptile Brain” storyline hits here, and it creates some serious changes for the team. There’s plenty of violence here, some great lines from Ragdoll and Shark (God, I’m glad it looks like he’s gonna be around at least for a little while), and a change in the status quo for the group. Plus, we get a couple of nice character bits (the bit between Giganta and Dwarfstar felt like comeuppance for the dismal treatment of poor Ryan Choi). It’ll be interesting to see what Simone does with this next, though it looks like we have the chance of a rotating cast of awesome characters for her to play with. Good stuff.

I also grabbed the final trade of Planetary. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of this series here.

The Pull List – November 10th

The wife’s family was in town visiting this weekend, but that didn’t stop the comics!

Booster Gold #38: This was really the first issue of this title since Giffen/DeMatties took over that hasn’t worked for me. As a character, General Glory doesn’t work particularly well for me (I think the same idea has been done better before, possibly even by these guys), and their usual schtick with muttered asides just felt…tired, I guess. The art is strong, and the idea behind the issue is interesting, but this felt like a misstep.

Justice League: Generation Lost #13: Magog versus Captain Atom! There’s pretty much no one else in this issue, though I can applaud the end of it (I’m pretty sure the character who dies is not gonna be missed by anyone). Too bad it’s the only person outside of the JLI who knows about Maxwell Lord and his plans.

Chaos War: Thor #1: JM DeMatties steps in for this Chaos War tie-in, and while it’s not at all essential to the main story, it’s still a well-done Thor story. Our POV character is a woman without connections to anyone, and Thor (who spends most of the issue amnesiac and in the guise of Donald Blake) tries to form some relationship in a single day while also not getting killed by the mad god Glory. Interesting, but not really necessary.

Thor #617:Thor has brought Loki back to life, but Loki doesn’t know who he is. This looks like it could be a new, not entirely evil beginning for the god of mischief. Also, those evil dimension-hopping guys get one step closer to Asgard’s old realm.

Birds of Prey #6: It’s Huntress versus Shiva! There ain’t nothin’ wrong or bad about that, either. Simone continues to do awesome things with this book, though I’d swear I’ve seen her use this idea before (and with Huntress as well) in the Justice League Unlimited show (y’know, the one where Black Canary is doing pit fighting for Roulette while under hypnosis. God, I loved Justice League Unlimited). It’s interesting to see Simone putting these characters through their paces and getting used to the rhythms of the book again, though I do notice that we still don’t have Benes on art (not that I’m gonna complain about that too much).

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #5: An issue that mostly deals with flashback looks at the relationship between Sheriff Lindo and Derek Fury when they were kids. It also reveals the source of a plot point from back in the first Tranquility miniseries, which is interesting. I do have a question, though: are we ever going to figure out what the deal is with Mr. Articulate’s resurrection? I mean, it seemed at the beginning of the series that that was going to be the focus of the story, but the focus instead has been on Derek Fury. Weird.

Knight & Squire #2: The Morris Men! Quite possibly the most British villains ever. There’s also the great scene that opens the book (a shop clerk directing a super-villain to find Knight and Squire in London while Squire – in her civilian guise – looks on, bemused) that really reflects the more laid-back attitude Britain seems to have towards…well, pretty much everything.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6: Batman is back, baby! There’s a sense of sentimentality to this issue, a feeling that this is almost a love letter to the character of Batman and a change of his attitude toward his fellow heroes. I don’t really want to reveal the ending, but it’s almost heartwarming seeing how he thinks of other heroes and their roles in his life.

Atomic Robo: The Deadly Art of Science #1: A new Robo mini is always a cause for celebration, and this one is no exception. Clevinger and Wegner offer up yet another great issue full of wonderful little moments. It’s great to see a more adolescent Robo, one who isn’t particularly interested in actual science but is all about pulpy action and punching bad guys. Jack Tarot and his daughter are immediately interesting characters, and it’ll be fun seeing Robo as the enthusiastic sidekick rather than the more-jaded leader he’s become in the present.

I also grabbed the latest Thor trade, which collects the last of the Keiron Gillen issues on the book as Thor and the gang start to pick up the pieces after Siege and Thor goes to Hell to protect the souls of the dead. Good stuff.

The Pull List – October 13th

Back to buying my comics week by week. This is the Pull List: get excited!

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5: As Bruce gets closer and closer to the present, things get stranger and stranger. Here, he’s pulled into a murder investigation…for his own parents. Everything that Grant Morrison’s been doing for the past several years with Batman – the Black Glove, the Club of Heroes – is all coming to a point here. Ryan Sook’s art is fantastic and a perfect fit to the moody, noir-ish plot for this issue. Good stuff.

Booster Gold #37: There’s a brilliant moment here – when Booster hops a little into the future (but still in the old JLI days) to ask Ted Kord how he survived an incident – and it’s absolutely perfect. The plot for this book may be kinda thin, what with all the deviations from it and asides and tangents and all, but it’s a fun book, which is what it should be.

Justice League: Generation Lost #11: Ice, Fire, and Rocket Red versus the alloyed Metal Men! And Tora’s got an icy mad on goin’. Meanwhile, Booster, Blue Beetle, and Captain Atom run around trying to uncover more of Maxwell Lord’s plot, only to run into a factory they certainly weren’t expecting. This book’s finally starting to click for me.

Knight and Squire #1: This book is unabashedly British through and through. There’s everything from rhyming slang to a team of heroes based on cricket players (it somehow never caught on in the US). Paul Cornell’s story is pretty light – about a pub that’s neutral ground between heroes and villains – but the book itself is a delight.

Casanova #4: Casanova finally puts on the big boy pants and proves himself to be…well, if not exactly a hero, at least a protagonist we’re gonna root for. Cross and double-cross abound in this issue, the final installment of the first storyline. Good times.

Invincible Iron Man #31: If you can’t bring Mohammad to the mountain, bring the mountain to Mohammad. That’s Tony Stark’s idea after a tech conference he was going to present his car of the future at gets canceled (because of his planned attendance, natch). But things go from bad to worse when the Hammer family decides to strike at Stark’s own exhibition.

Thor #616: Yeah, I bought three Matt Fraction books this week. This seems a little like a retread of issue 615, with a human scientist trying to explain to yet another Asgardian (this time, Thor) his theory about nature abhorring a vacuum. Thor seems uncharacteristically angry with the human, and it struck me as a bit odd. I mean, sure, the guy’s home just got destroyed in the Siege and all, but threatening a human with his hammer just ’cause the human tried to explain something that’ll be important to him? Weird. And that last page…stranger still.

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #4: When you’re going up against one of the most powerful – and psychopathic – beings on the planet, you gotta bring the right people along. Someone who’s already dead and can’t get much deader? Probably a good idea. Even though it turns out not to be. Simone keeps ratcheting up the creepy factor in this book, and it’s pretty awesome. I do miss Googe’s artwork, though.

I also grabbed the last trade of Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman run. Honestly, I think time will bear out that Simone’s run on Wonder Woman was easily one of the best the title’s ever seen (the same will not be said for JMS’s run, I don’t think).

The Pull List – August 25th

I was out of town all week, but I managed to pick up comics this week nonetheless.

Justice League: Generation Lost #8: Yeah, this is Winick’s gig now, no Giffen, which makes me quite sad (but has me hoping that Booster Gold will now move away from a parallel storyline with this title and go off in a new direction). The book’s not bad, and Lopresti’s art is great as always, but there is something just a little too rote about the proceedings. The reveal at the end isn’t telegraphed or anything, but it’s pretty obvious nonetheless; there is some good interaction going on between Fire and Rocket Red here, though.

Wonder Woman #602: Diana cuts loose on some soldiers and does some serious damage, finds some Amazons, and learns a little bit about sacrifice. It’s a decent issue and not as heavy on exposition as I feared it would be (it’s nice seeing Straczynski jump into action this early instead of having everyone spend the issue sitting around talking), but I’m still not sold on this “all-new Wonder Woman.”

Astonishing X-Men #35: This issue (finally) wraps up this storyline (and probably the series as a whole, since they’re switching the Astonishing line to mini-series), and while the art is good and there are some great Ellis lines (“Don’t be such a baby. You’ll almost definitely probably not die this time”), the whole reveal of who the “villain” is seems weak after the build-up we’ve had, and the whole thing just seems…kinda meh.

Detective Comics #868: Part Two of Impostors features more great art from Scott McDaniel, but the story itself is leaving me cold. I think my biggest problem is that it makes Batman seem ineffectual. That doesn’t really jive with everything we’ve seen about Dick Grayson (both as Nightwing and as Batman), and he seems to mostly be sitting around wringing his hands going, “Well, golly, I wish we could do something about all this.” We’ll have to see where it goes from here.

Batman #702: Part Two of Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel’s look at what happens between the end of Batman RIP and Batman’s crisis in time during Final Crisis. This is a pretty good issue, doing more than just filling in gaps: we get some nice mythology with the “God Bullet” that Batman shot Darkseid with in Final Crisis, further details on what the Omega Sanction actually is, and what’s happening to Bruce Wayne right now. It’s pretty cool, though I still really do not care for Daniel’s art.

Action Comics #892: This comic continues to be awesome. Luthor goes head to head with Deathstroke, finds some black ring energy, and basically proves that he’s pretty awesome. I really like the focus on Luthor as a character in his own right rather than as an arch-nemesis for Superman. Cornell and Woods are knocking this one out of the park.

Prince of Power #4: This issue concludes the mini-series and sets up the coming Chaos War. We get Amadeus Cho’s finest hour, a knock-down fight between Delphyne and Atalanta, and a (not-unexpected) return. This was really a perfect comic, with humor, epic battles, and some great character moments. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in this saga.

I didn’t grab any trades when I was at the comic shop this week, but I did order the first deluxe volume of Ex Machina and the fourth volume of Walt Simonson’s Thor from Amazon. I’ve started in on Ex Machina, which seems pretty cool, and you really can’t go wrong with Simonson’s Thor.

The Pull List – August 11th

The rain falls outside, hopefully dropping our temperature, but that doesn’t stop the comics from being read!

Booster Gold #35: Booster continues his misadventures in the good ol’ JLI days with Blue Beetle, Big Barda, and Mister Miracle. There’s plenty of the trademark banter, bwa-ha-ha moments, and even a couple of touching character moments. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a comic written by Giffen and DeMatteis. Also, the one page featuring Rip Hunter and Rani is both adorable and funny as hell.

Justice League: Generation Lost #7: Apparently Giffen wasn’t involved in this issue at all, which is weird. Is he still on the book? I hope so. Things start to get interesting here, as we discover that all isn’t as it seems with Maxwell Lord and the newly-(sorta)-reformed JLI infiltrates the Checkmate castle in an effort to capture him. There’s some great moments in here (Bea and Tora shouting Communist slogans as the Checkmate guards complain that they’re not all capitalists was particularly entertaining) and the action is really starting to pick up after a slow start to the series. Definitely worth following.

Invincible Iron Man #29: Pepper Potts gets behind the metaphorical wheel of a new armor, Tony sets his company up in Seattle, and a gala event takes place in this issue. Dunno what’s going on with that ending, but I trust Fraction to do something interesting with it. It’s also neat to see a Tony Stark who is not exactly cool and confident about everything; it’s humanizing without necessarily going against the established character. Good stuff.

Birds of Prey #4: Since my copy of issue 3 was missing a few pages, I’m caught a little flat footed on some of the stuff that’s happened here, but Gail Simone does a bang-up job of catching us up without it feeling like heavy-handed exposition. There’s a great reveal on the identity of the White Canary that makes perfect sense and recalls one of Simone’s best stories from her first run on BOP, we get to see the determination of the team as they pull together to survive their first mission, and Oracle does some awesome stuff that not only involves
talking her way out of a bad situation but hurling herself out of her wheelchair. If you aren’t reading Birds of Prey, you have my pity, because you’re missing one of the best damn books on the shelves.

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot In the Grave #2: Speaking of awesome Gail Simone books, this one is cranking it up. We’re only on the second issue, but there’s already been twists, surprise revivals and reveals, and cold gravy (no, not cold gravy!). The art still isn’t quite as good as I’d like, but the story is shaping up to be awesome.

I also bought the second Scott Pilgrim collection this week, and I think it was definitely stronger than the first volume. I still have some problems with the character and the book (so we’re supposed to identify with him but not like him? It’s weird), but I’m definitely excited for the film and I’ll probably end up getting the rest of the series at some point.

The Pull List – July 14th, July 21st, & July 28th

So, long time out of commission, I know, but I picked up all my comics yesterday and today and managed to read ’em all already, so let’s see what’s been going on, shall we?

Batman #701: Grant Morrison reunites with artist Tony Daniel to tell the “Lost Chapter” between the end of R.I.P. and Batman’s “death” in Final Crisis. As with R.I.P., I don’t really care at all for Tony Daniel’s art. It’s too sketchy, too lacking in polish, too inconsistent. It mostly deals with Batman trying to figure out whether or not Dr. Hurt survived the helicopter crash at the end of R.I.P. (which anyone who’s been reading Batman & Robin knows he, y’know, did) and decide whether or not Hurt is who he claims to be. This seems like a pretty inconsequential story, honestly, and I’m not sure why Morrison felt it was necessary to do it. It’s not exactly bad, per se, but unnecessary.

Justice League: Generation Lost #5 & 6: Issue 5 gives us the reconstituted JLI standing around trying to decide whether or not to go after Maxwell Lord (they decide to, of course) Issue 6 deals with Captain Atom jumping into the future after absorbing too much energy and jumping into the future, where he discovers that if they don’t stop Max, things’re gonna get real bad. We’re about a quarter of the way through the series now, and we really haven’t seen much happen as of yet. It’s all been setup, getting characters into place, establishing motivation, and making Max not just a credible threat, but someone who really needs to be stopped to prevent something horrible from happening to the world.

Booster Gold #34: Booster goes back to the ol’ JLI days again to try once more to get evidence to pin on Maxwell Lord and prove to everyone that Max even exists. Booster spends a good chunk of the issue ruminating on the fact that he’s not the same guy he was back then, and his sister and the young child he rescued from the future spend some time getting to know each other. Giffen steps in and pencils a couple of pages this issue, and the shift between his work and Batista’s is pretty significant. Overall, it’s another solid issue from this creative team.

Invincible Iron Man #28: Posturing between Iron Man and Mrs. Hammer, more folks get hired for Stark Resilient, and Tony starts to tie some things together. This comic is on a slow build, but Fraction’s payoffs are usually pretty solid, so I’m willing to ride out the talky issues in anticipation of those payoffs.

Deadpool #25: Cross and double-cross, switched identities and changing alliances…I’m not really quite sure what the point of those particular storyline was, though it does seem to set up a new (albeit temporary, I’m sure) status quo for Deadpool as a guy with a (gasp!) job. It lacked the manic energy and non-stop gags we usually get in the Deadpool book, but the backup story (written by Duane Swierczynski) is pretty awesome (and the first time I’ve really enjoyed the “Pool-o-Vision” gag).

Green Hornet: Year One #4: In the past, the Green Hornet and Kato arrive in the United States, while in the present (well, 1938, at any rate) they continue their assault on Chicago’s mobsters. There’s some decent character work here by Matt Wagner, and Aaron Campbell’s art remains moody and fitting for the time period and subject matter.

Atlas #3: I was tremendously sad to hear that this title will be canceled after issue 5, as I’m really digging the story. Bad guys that can possess people’s bodies, a legacy hero who’s the only one who can see them, and some great art and well-crafted dialogue make this a solid book. The back-up story, featuring more detail about the origin of M-11, is also solid, though it just adds more details to what we already know.

Prince of Power #3: Amadeus Cho and Thor go into the Egyptian Underworld in search of the next piece of the recipe for eternal life, only to find that they’ve played right into Vali Halfling’s plans. The trademark humor and sight gags are in place and as hilarious as ever, and the lioness goddess of destruction turning into a LOLcat is pretty damn hysterical. It’ll be interesting to see how they wrap this up next month and set the stage for the Chaos War.

Welcome To Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #1: This mini picks up right where the second collection left off. Mayor Fury is released from prison, and Sheriff Thomasina Lindo doesn’t seem to be too happy about it. Simone builds on previous Tranquility stories, teasing out existing stories and characters and setting up some new plot lines. The return of a character at the end of the issue is a nice twist, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes next. Horacio Domingues’s art is decent and not too far off from Neil Googe’s style, though some of the lines seem too thick and make the characters come across as too blocky and kind of blurry.

Birds of Prey #3: I’d love to say this issue was fantastic, but there was a printing error and the middle 1/3 of the issue was actually from an issue of Batgirl. This is clearly another “nothing is as it really seems” sort of issue, and I’m more than happy to wait and see what Simone has planned, but I really do wish I could have read all of the issue (it’s pretty clear that there’s some important plot points in those missing pages).

Wonder Woman #601: This issue kicks off JMS’s Wonder Woman run, and it really just picks up right where the prologue in Wonder Woman #600 left off. Every vibe I get from this book is that this major status quo change has to be temporary; the very dialogue in this issue indicates that things shouldn’t be this way and that success will be measured by achieving a revival of the old status quo. All that being said, this isn’t a bad issue; there’s actually some plot developed (and not just in the plot dump/exposition vein of things), Wonder Woman finds her motivation and purpose, and we’re introduced to a shadowy new villain.

Action Comics #891: Mister Mind, that worm with a big brain, attempts to trap Luthor in his own fantasies so he can do…something to Luthor’s brain. For someone we don’t know. The worm fails, because you just don’t mess with Luthor’s mind, but the fantasies themselves are fantastic (Luthor as Dr. Frankenstein, a gunman in the wild west, and as a caveman stealing fire from the gods a la Prometheus). Cornell and Woods are really knocking this one out of the park.

Detective Comics #867: David Hine continues his run on Detective, this time with art from Scott McDaniel. McDaniel’s art is cartoony and recalls the old Batman: The Animated Series look without being a slave to it. He also manages to maintain a strong sense of kinetic energy and good storytelling mechanics. The only real problem with the story is that it’s pretty mundane: a group called the Jokerz are using a variation on the old Joker Venom running around causing trouble, and Batman and the GCPD are trying to stop them using minimal force. When a cop gets killed in retaliation for a dead member of the Jokerz, things get strained, and an impostor pops up at the end that will definitely cause trouble next issue. It’s standard fare, but well-crafted.

Batman: The Widening Gyre #6: This is the first half of Kevin Smith and Walt Flanagan’s planned twelve issues, and it’s a double-sized issue that ends on a hell of a cliffhanger. We get plenty of action, some nice interaction between Batman and Silver St. Cloud, and a surprise marriage proposal. The twist at the end I’d actually pegged well before it came around (if you’ve read Smith’s previous Batman min, Cacophony, you probably spotted it early, too), and there’s a tragedy that anyone who’s ever read a comic where Batman falls in love with someone could’ve predicted easily. It’s decent, if not great, and I am curious to see what Smith and Flanagan do next.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4: Batman the cowboy! Honestly, that should be all you need to know, but it’s not really all that great, I’m sad to say. Morrison’s script is solid enough, though I’m not sure what the hell is going on with the bad guys, why they’re doing what they do, or anything like that. Georges Jeanty’s art is pretty awful; characters aren’t consistently rendered, adults often look like children in terms of stature and appearance, and it’s hard to tell characters apart sometimes. I’m definitely going to have to re-read this (and, really, the whole series) to truly be able to follow what all’s happening.

I also picked up two trades: X-Men: S.W.O.R.D. and Cowboys and Aliens. S.W.O.R.D. is pretty good so far; I’m definitely becoming a fan of Kieron Gillen’s work. I haven’t dug into Cowboys and Aliens yet, but it was only $4.99 for a pretty substantial chunk of comic (way longer than the same-priced Batman: Widening Gyre #6), and it’s written by Fred Van Lente.