Whether the comics are inspiring or disappointing, I read them all.
Welcome to The Pull List.
And, as always…Spoilers ahead!
Star Wars: Agent of the Empire – Hard Targets #5 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: John Ostrander
Art: Davidé Fabbri & Christian Dalla Vecchia
Color: Wes Dzioba
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Jahan Cross is too smooth for words to describe.
His ingenious nature keeps him four steps head in every situation when the savviest scoundrels are only two steps ahead of the game.
Hard Targets serves as the ultimate political cat and mouse game of galactic espionage. Everyone shows their hand in this explosive finale as a young Count Dooku’s life hangs in the balance. If things weren’t complicated enough, Boba Fett is in the mix and he is hell bent on bringing Dooku in.
However, does the expert bounty hunter truly know who he is working for or is this all part of a larger conspiracy?
John Ostrander has done it again with a superb story surrounding the most intriguing new character in the expanded universe. The art and coloring was truly at its finest with jaw dropping fight scenes and excellent pencil work across the board. Vecchia and Fabbri truly captured the essence of Cross’ smug nature as he nonchalantly divulges his entire plan to the enemy.
Expanded Universe continuity is not the official cannon so I think Cross is the perfect character to break new ground with in a certain Star Wars movie scheduled for a 2015 release. I’m going to get the ball rolling with this campaign. #JahanCrossforEpisode7
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Art: Carlos Magno
Colors: Michael Garland
Publisher: Boom! Studios
While it doesn’t appear anywhere on the Diamond Comic Distributors top 100 list, Deathmatch has been a surprise success in 2013.
Unlike those who bastardize the Battle Royale concept, Paul Jenkins brings intriguing drama and real stakes in this fight to the death free for all. Heroes who live by a no kill code have compromised their values in order to survive this horrific nightmare. Clues are beginning to filter in as to who is responsible for keeping them captive while a certain villain, just like in the real world, has found a way to play by their own rules.
Dragonfly, the Batman/Spider-Man of the good guy contingent, is the central character and the most level headed of the bunch. In this universe, none of the good guys know each other’s secret identity, but Dragon’s was revealed when they were all taken captive, so it is even harder for him to navigate the waters. The artwork and coloring helped make this comic stand on its own instead of the generic feel it was expected to have.
If you liked the first two issues, then you will thoroughly enjoy this one as there is a lot of meat on the bone in this book.
Uncanny Skullkickers #1
Writer: Jim Zub
Art: Edwin Huang
Colors: Misty Coats
Publisher: Image Comics
Read the banner on the cover “We Figured Out What Our Series Was Missing: Adjectives!” This perfectly sums up the wacky exploits of the Skullkickers.
This new installment serves a fantastic jumping on point as the first two pages recap the entire series. Jim Zub produces the right mixture of comedy and adventure. There is a hilarious running gag at the bottom of every page that is too funny to be spoiled and truly must be seen. Edwin Huang’s cartoony artwork shines as always, and the coloring of Misty Coats makes everything pop.
What makes Skullkickers special is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is very clever at doing so.
The cleverness in it all is what makes this book more enjoyable than most that travel down the leisurely path of poking fun at the competition recent trend of renumbering and rebooting their books. All in all, there is always room for more Skullkickers and this new title will no doubt harvest many laughs for years to come.
Batman Incorporated #8
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Chris Burnham & Jason Masters
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: DC Comics
Twenty Four years after Jason Todd felt the cold hand of death, Damian Wayne is now a member of the dearly departed.
The New York Post, in conjunction with DC Comics, leaked the news two days before the book’s release. This caused a mad dash to the comic shop and many are reporting that the book was sold out in minutes. Stores that requested extra copies didn’t receive enough or didn’t get any at all.
At first, I thought spoiling the ending was the wrong call, but Grant Morrison’s script changed my mind.
Ever since Bruce Wayne came back into the fold, Damian has been on a mission to prove himself as the superior Robin. Seeing him and Nightwing fight alongside each other was the feel good moment that made you wish the end wasn’t near. The art tandem of Burnham and Masters produced some strong images, including the Boy Wonder’s final moments, and perfectly captured the emotion of a grieving mother in Talia.
It’s weird that I kind of felt bad for her considering she is responsible for her son’s death. We all have come accustomed to the death and resurrection cycle in comic books. Still, we rush out and buy a copy because it will be worth a lot of money someday. I’m not passing judgment since I did the same exact thing but it makes you think about what we look for in our comics. Do we want well written and well drawn material, or just shocking events that will get people talking? The bottom line: If you are a collector then you should grab one and if not, check it out for the sake of being in the loop.
Punisher: War Zone #5
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Carmine di Giandomenico
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Greg Rucka has written some of the best Punisher material to come down the pipe. It’s only fitting that his swan song with this character breathes new life into another he created, Rachael Cole-Alves.
After all, Frank Castle’s end game was her redemption because after all, we knew and he knew that he was never going to beat the Avengers. Iron Man took Punisher lightly for the duration of the arc and paid for it in spades which was a nice touch was considering how smart Tony Stark is supposed to be. There were some nice visuals throughout the book including Castle’s last stand, using a vast array of weapons against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Another thing that made this finale stand out was how each Avenger got an equal share of the spotlight since they each had their own book months before. It not only showed them working well as a team but it also highlighted how dangerous their adversary can be.
While we don’t know what’s next for the Punisher, it’s not the last time bad guys will face the wearer of the white skull shirt as they are looking down the barrel of gun.
Writer: Chris Roberson
Art: Dennis Calero
Cover: Alex Ross
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Dynamite’s pulp crossover continues and packs a mean punch as the pieces of the puzzle start to come together.
The Spider gets more than he bargained for as he discovers the governor is not the puppet master behind the Justice Party. The Shadow and Green Hornet are getting organized and the Mask of Zorro finally emerges. One of the great things about Chris Roberson’s writing is that nothing is squandered and everything means something.
The small details accentuate the story in a manner that heavily suggests the story is going to take a dark turn.
The dialog is very enjoyable and I’m a sucker for those old school good lines like “Prepare to taste true Justice, Evildoers.” While Alex Ross set a very high standard in the first issue, Dennis Calero is coming along nicely as this is his best issue of the series.
Dynamite has a real good thing going here and I can hardly wait to see what happens next.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: David Aja & Annie Wu
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Marvel Comics
It’s Valentine’s Day in the Marvel Universe, and all the single ladies hope Hawkeye possess Cupid’s arrow.
The superwomen of Clint Barton’s past visit him at Avenger’s Mansion as they witness some touchy feely shenanigans with a meddlesome redhead named Penny.
This leads Barton on a wild goose chase to help her procure a safe from the tracksuit jersey Mafia goons he has encountered throughout the series. What makes this series so great is that Matt Fraction keeps Hawkeye grounded the wide array of real world situations such as overthrowing a drug dealing slum lord and dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
David Aja just might be showing off some of the best artwork in the game today. Once again, Hawkeye hits the bulls-eye in spades and anyone not reading this series needs to jump on the band wagon, like yesterday.
Here are some titles that didn’t makes the list but may just tickle your fancy.
Aquaman #17 (DC Comics)
Aquaman finally takes his rightful place as the King of Atlantis but treachery lurks all around the Justice Leaguer.
Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 (Marvel Comics)
These guys have a movie coming out next year and this is the book you got to have if you want to learn more.
Jennifer Blood #23 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Jennifer Blood is finally in prison and her life sentence may be short lived.
Nemo: Heart of Ice (Top Shelf)
Almost made the list but it was missing that little something. Alan Moore fans will absolutely dig this new League of Extraordinary Gentalmen tale.