Check out what I checked out this week.
Whether the comics are inspiring or disappointing, I read them all.
Welcome to The Pull List.
And, as always…Spoilers ahead!
Amala’s Blade #4 of 4 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Steve Horton
Artist: Michael Dailynas
Colorist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
From the first remarkable issue to this magnificent conclusion, Amala’s Blade has been nothing short of a true pleasure to read.
I’m so in love with this world created by Steve Horton and Michael Dailynas that I’m having difficulty finding the words that are required to write this review.
Yes, it’s that good!
The script phenomenally intertwines action, adventure, humor and romance while the beautiful illustrations and delightful coloring consume your imagination to the nth degree.
The reveal involving Lady Strawbale takes you by surprise because there was no foreshadowing, since it appeared that Amala’s well-being always came first, no matter who is whispering in her ear.
In the moment of truth, she goes from Mother Hen to Ann Coulter by spewing her Modifier induced genocidal rhetoric towards the Purifiers while attempting to break Amala’s heart and soul. The art and dialog perfectly set this up to deliver the desired result; giving it an air of gravitas that commands her demise.
The master assassin device is commonplace in comics, but what makes Amala’s character stand out is her back story and personality. She kills with a gun to her head and truly cares for those closest to her while exuding a charm that sometimes makes you forget her occupation. If that wasn’t enough, pesky ghosts follow her around and lend the occasional helping hand. Who would have thought that a character tucked away in a Dark Horse Presents series would find such a grand presence in their first solo outing?
The response to this series has been overwhelmingly positive so I think it’s safe to say Amala will be back.
For my money, it can’t happen soon enough.
Boston Comic-Con was the place to be this past weekend. While many of the elite comic book creators were on hand, the one guy, who by far, had the most fanfare was Scott Snyder. With his outstanding work on Batman, American Vampire, Superman Unchained and now The Wake being so well received, it’s not hard to understand why.
The futuristic scene at the beginning of the story sets an eerie tone for what ensues on the Ghost Rig in present. Snyder’s knowledge of marine science gives the book a cerebral quality that makes the reader deeply appreciate the gravity of the crew’s situation.
Snyder ups the ante by giving us a monster with vast abilities that no one could have prepared for.
The horror element sneaks up on you by presenting one distressing occurrence only to wake up from the nightmare and into more terrifying reality. The pacing of these moments are well executed and Sean Murphy’s artwork makes it all click. If you’re not on The Wake bandwagon yet, please jump on right now because it is a suspense filled ride you will not want to miss.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Cover: Chris Samnee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The last issue made my jaw drop because of the twist at the end involving the Serpent Society.
This issue does the same while maintaining the cleverness that makes this series on of the industry’s best. Matt Murdock is stuck in a court house that has been locked down and his client has been shot by a judge who is a member of the society.
Javier Rodriguez’s work shines in this issue and made me want to reach inside the panel and smack the judge when, with a pompous look on his face, he tells Matt that he can’t report what he never saw, as security rushes into the court room.
Mark Waid has proven that his writing is on another level and this issue is another example of why.
There are a couple of moments where Daredevil has to hide his blindness from someone that he is helping. They stumble upon a bomb, but Daredevil needs conformation so he looks to the guy and in a shocking tone and says “Please tell me that is not a bomb?”
This was brilliant and fun to watch unfold because on a smaller scale, it’s another one of those how does he get out of this moments that he not only figures out, but makes the reader wonder why we didn’t think of that. There is some racism involved that adds to the emotional spectrum but doesn’t override the overall tone of the story.
The ending leads to a much larger issue that sets up the series on its next big story arc and it will be one that will assuredly intrigue our senses.
Captain Midnight #1
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Fernando Dagnino
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Last month’s zero issue introduced us to Captain Midnight who is a super smart, double tough, World War II hero who inexplicably finds himself in 2013.
Joshua Williamson skips the frying pan and goes right into the fire. The book opens with a flashback where The Captain and his team commence a surprise attack on a secret Nazi castle at the North Pole.
Fast forward to the present where an F.B.I. manhunt tracks Captain Midnight to his now abandoned secret base.
Nazi agent Miss Shark presents an element of danger that will appeal to Midnight’s intelligence which is fascinating, because everyone fears his mental prowess over his combative prowess.
Fernando Dagnino’s art brings everything to life from panels of someone rock climbing to the aforementioned castle that teeters on the ridiculous with polar bears chillin’ in the background. Dark Horse has been growing it’s superhero roster with new ongoing releases such as X and The Black Beetle.
Captain Midnight brings something familiar and different to the table while giving fans a presentation that balances style and substance.
Bionic Man #22
Writer: Aaron Gillespie
Artist: Ray Villegas
Colorist: Thiago Ribeiro
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Dynamite’s Bionic Man is one of the more underrated books in circulation.
While there are other robotics good guys in the comic book stratosphere, why should we care about Steve Austin?
The answer is Aaron Gillespie.
Each month, he creatively finds ways of putting Austin in puzzling situations that require brains and brawn to overcome.
The last issue dealt with a strange computer hacker named Floyd David Turner who broke into the Bionic Man’s mainframe and took him on a bank robbing joy ride.
This is an act that would normally land you in prison for a very long time, but O.S.I. went the opposite route and gave him a job. Turner makes this issue worth while in a variety of ways.
His philosophical rant on why Austin can use bionic enhancements, but he can’t use chemical enhancement was crazy and fascinating at the same time.
On one hand, he was hired for his exceptional skills and needs a “boost” in order to perform at a high level. Austin wouldn’t be able to complete the kind of missions he is sent on without the use of his bionics. Besides, they pardoned him from a federal offense, so why not let more illegal things slide?
One of my favorite moments of the year occurred when Austin has a heated argument with Turner’s My Little Pony avatar. The way Ray Villegas captured this moment was priceless and needs to be seen to be believed. If you’re not reading this series yet, maybe you should start now.
This issue serves as a good jumping on point and will make you think and laugh at the same time.
The Flash Annual #2
Writer: Brian Buccellato & Nicole Dubuc
Artist: Sami Basri & Cully Hamner
Colorist: Stellar Labs
Publisher: DC Comics
“When Barry Met Hal” provides an inside look on their friendship over the years.
What begins in the past culminates in the present as the residual effects of a previous crime rears its ugly head. Of course, the residual is Green Lantern’s fault and while on the surface, there are deadly consequences but it’s really just Hal being Hal.
Brian Buccellato writes this in a way where the reader lives vicariously through Flash because we’ve all had that really good friend that has gotten us into a sticky situation.
You want to choke them out and swear you will never speak to them again, but in the end you have their back and the friendship becomes stronger as a result.
Batman and Superman’s legendary friendship is one of the things that make them a popular duo. Flash and Green Lantern’s bromance should be on the same pedestal because there are certain variables that makes it more relatable.
Nicole Duback penned a nice backstory highlighting how even a hero can’t save everyone all of the time, but you can help push things in the right direction. This was the right story to tell for this second annual because Hal is away on Oa running the Lantern Corps and Flash is doing his thing on Earth with the Justice League. It may be awhile before their shenanigans can entertain us again.