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The Pull List: JUSTICE LEAGUE #23, TMNT #25, SKULLKICKERS #24 & More!

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!

Uncanny #3 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colorist: Bill Crabtree
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99

Dominic Weaver’s powers seem to bring him trouble no matter which path he chooses.

The people responsible for pulling him out of Singapore have shown themselves. Their meeting with Weaver is the most crucial part of the series thus far because we learn so much more about the scope of this particular universe. We also learn a lot more about Weaver which is fascinating on a number of levels.

His inner dialog provides most of the narrative and he hasn’t been completely honest with the reader. Active is the name given to those who have unique abilities and their existence is known only to a select few.

Most Actives believe they are the only one with powers, which is what Weaver thought as well. Andy Diggle’s script provides the answers that we have been looking for while producing more questions at the same time. The organization that recruited Weaver seems to be one step ahead of everyone else but it turns out that someone may be one step ahead of them, leaving you to wonder how and why.

Three issues in and Uncanny has been just that.

Grade: A-

The Flash #23
Writers: Brian Buccellato & Francis Manapul
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

One of the trademarks of this series is the pacing of the story.

So much happens in what appears to be so little time, that when you reach the end, you find yourself saying, “That was fast”.

This is very fitting for a Flash comic book and it speaks to the talents of Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul because they’ve pull it off so well for twenty three issues.  The battle between Flash and Reverse Flash serves as a high octane ride and the reveal of Reverse Flash’s identity spirals everything into chaos.

There were several different ways anticipated this going and the path they chose just blew my mind and instantly produces a plethora of questions that I’m dying to have answered.

My only gripe with the series, and it’s a small one, is Dr. Elias. His character is something that easily gets lost in the shuffle because he poses no real threat to The Flash and his reason for hating him doesn’t provide that emotional hook that sells you on his conviction. In this issue, he tries to subdue the Flash with a speed force extractor gun, which sounds like something that could be Kryptonite to the Flash.

However, the Reverse Flash is so hell bent on his objective that any other element of danger seems moot. This doesn’t take away from the story in any way, shape, or form, but it is something to examine considering what the big reveal means for the series going forward.

Grade: B+

Uncanny Avengers #11
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Daniel Acuna
Cover: John Cassaday & Laura Matrin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Uncanny Avengers has been a series that either hits big or misses big.

While the stories are well written and well-drawn, it’s the story’s mission statement that changes the complexion of things. Captain America created an Avengers team comprised of both mutants and humans to show the world that a peaceful coexistence is not so far fetched.

Remender has created a scenario that perfectly intertwines the task at hand with the much larger picture of the book.

A new version of the The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have come together and they all have a personal connection to each Avenger such as Daken, Wolverine’s son.

They have a prejudice toward humans and want to ensure mutant superiority. It’s a message we’ve seen and heard before with a different twist that is intriguing on a number of levels.

Daniel Acuna’s artwork is always on point and I really enjoyed the direction of the panels involving Scarlett Witch and the Horsemen because it gave off this vibe that one might be playing the other as they discuss their ideology in a dark room. Wanda is trying to make up for past transgressions and is tempted by what she is hearing even though she is verbally flat out refusing their request.

This arc has a lot of possibilities and with Remender at the helm, this can only mean that good things are in store.

Grade: B

Skullkickers #24
Writers: Jim Zub, Ron Marz, Adam Warren & Todd Dezago
Artists: Jeff Cruz, Lar DeSouza, Raney Mokhtar, Stiepan Sejic
Colorists: Misty Coats, Yinfaowei Harrison
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.50

Skullkickers is consistently one of the best times you will have reading a comic book.

The laugh out loud humor is inventive without trying too hard.

If you think you’ve seen this cover before, you’re right.

Jim Zub takes another shot at the mainstream order of things in comics by using the iconic Watchmen cover template to present four separate prequel stories.

The first story follows Kusia and her training as an assassin while Rex is dealing with some unique shenanigans involving a big ol’ cat, which was the funniest adventure in my opinion, but that’s like saying that foods tastes better at a Southern BBQ because it’s all good.

The artwork presents the customary cartoony style we expect from this series and doesn’t fail to augment the humor in the storytelling department. This is the perfect issue for old and new fans alike.

Grade: B+

Mind Mgmt #14
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Matt Kindt
Cover: Matt Kindt
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.99

It was only a matter of time before we dived into Meru’s past. It is hard to accomplish such a feat when the main character can’t trust her own memories.

Matt Kindt’s sleight of hand storytelling makes this plot point irresistible.

While we see glimpses of days gone by, some things are still shrouded in secrecy.

It’s doesn’t seem like a big deal but that is how Kindt constantly catches the reader off guard by making you think that less actually means less instead of meaning more.

As much as we learned about the past, it’s what we learned about Meru in the present that really puts things through a loop. Kindt’s artwork is clean, simple and brilliant for this type of story.

This was so close to being my pick of the week that I almost resorted to flipping a coin to determine the outcome.

Grade: A-

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #25
Writer: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz and Bobby Crown
Artist: Mateus Santolouco
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

This issue serves as the most volatile calm before what will be a deadly storm.

Leonardo is now second in charge of the Foot Clan while the rest of the Turtles are divided and then you have Master Splinter who makes a deal with the devil in order to save his son.

There is so much more that occurs in this issue but I don’t want to spoil it all for you.

The big reveal page reveal at the end marks the arrival of some popular characters in the TMNT mythology.

Leonardo’s turn is an interesting development for a variety of reasons.

One in particular is that he is more cunning and lethal than ever before even though faint memories of his past cause him to hold back a little bit. The possibility of a 100% turn towards the dark side, if you will, would just be amazing because the inevitable with his brothers will be epic.

My only gripe with this issue is in the art department. 99.9% of Mateus Santolouco’s work in this issue is outstanding but for some reason, Michelangelo and Donatello look like parodies of themselves. Colorists don’t get enough love and Ronda Pattison deserves some major props for her work not just in this issue but through her time on this series.

“City Fall” has been a great read since its inception and the latest turn of events could turn NYC into a theater of war.

Grade: A-

Justice League #23  (Disappointment of the Week)
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Colorist: Rod Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

I haven’t done one of these in a long time because I like to stay on the positive side of things.

However, I can’t this time.

The writing, art and coloring are all fine but I want to talk about the larger issue at hand.

This was supposed to be the big finale of “Trinity War” and it turns out that this miniseries event was nothing more than just a prelude to DC Comics “Forever Evil” event that kicks off this month.

I basically spent $23.94 over six issues just so at the end of the story Geoff Johns could tell me that this really didn’t matter because the real meat and potatoes will be served next month.

I know it’s all about making money and you need to promote you books accordingly.

Still, the ending really pissed me off and made me feel that it was all about cashing in. We all knew Forever Evil was coming months ago and it only made sense that this was the issue to get us there but the Crime Syndicate appears on the last page with a big note telling us to find out what happens in the pages of FOREVER EVIL.

I paid to see a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat but all I got was the rabbit randomly appearing on stage.

Grade: C-

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