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!
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #2
Writer: Tom Scioli, John Barber
Artist: Tom Scioli
Colorist: Tom Scioli
Publisher: IDW Publishing
At the lunch table back in the day, my friends and I would argue as to who would win a fight between G.I Joe and Transformers.
Everyone brought up some great points in order to support their position but of course, I was the one who was hyper-analytical when discussing the dream matchup between these two titans of 80’s childhood nostalgia. Would the robots in disguise win simply because of their size or would the military might of our military heroes shout “yo Joe” in victory?
Tom Scioli and John Barber waste no time getting things underway as the Joes land with boots to the ground on Cybertron.
The in-your-face action, coupled with colorful 1980-looking illustrations, presents an off-beat adventure that is hard to ignore and easy to enjoy. All of the characters have the look and dialog of the classic cartoon and toy line, while telling a self-contained story of invasion and conquest.
The Constructicon “Longhaul” was the first Transformer I ever owned, so I’ve always been a Devastator fan, and seeing him swat at the Joe’s spacecraft “Defiant” was a fun moment for me personally. The most surreal visual of the book has to be the Kirby-style image of Megatron sitting on his throne and barking orders, wearing Bumblebee’s head on a gold chain.
There are a lot of moving pieces in this issue and some I’ve spoken to felt it bogged down their experience. While I can understand that, for me, the never ending plethora of content kept saying “Oh, there’s that guy” or “Wow, I forgot about that character” which increasingly enhanced my experience.
While this formula has a potential to grow old fast with future installments, the second chapter sets a great tone for what lies ahead.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
The Flash #34
Writers: Robert Venditti, Van Jensen
Artists: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Publisher: DC Comics
Flash finally meets up with the Mashup killer, Barry tries to get Wally West to shape up, and the future moves backwards in electric fashion.
Venditti stumbled a little bit when he took over this series, but he has found his comfort zone while setting his own version of the fast-paced adventure fans have come to expect.
Wally’s inclusion into the New 52 is still taking some getting used to, considering this incarnation is a complete departure from the version many of us grew up with.
I’m all for change, but the only thing currently going for the character right now is the legacy of something that no longer exists.
This makes me believe that Wally could be nothing more than a utility player to add some sort of shock value to the forthcoming events in DC’s weekly crossover, “Futures End”, and nothing more.
The artwork truly augments every facet of the story while matching its rapid pace. There is one set of panels where Flash has issues with the Speedforce and gets hits with nails from a nail gun. The pain and confusion on his face fooled me into thinking, for a split second, that something was wrong and that he may not get out of this one. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids, and the good guy always come out on top.
Flash #34 brings a lot of things into the limelight. The first half is great and if you are a “Futures End” fan, the second half is even better.
Score: 4 out of 5
Evil Empire #4
Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Ransom Getty
Colorist: Chris Blythe
Publisher: Boom! Studios
The only thing I need to say about this issue is “Holy Shit.”
There is no amount of me telling you how crazy the big twist is that will prepare you for how crazy the big twist really is.
Max Bemis has a penchant for making you think one thing and then taking a sharp, sudden u-turn into the shrewdly bizarre.
The country has been on the verge of chaos in previous issues, and this latest chapter sets it all into motion.
Reese is the heart and soul of the story, and Bemis does a tremendous job of making her strong and vulnerable at the same time.
She is not just some rapper talking trash to get mentioned on the news cycle, she is a musician with a real message.
This, in a way, makes her the only genuine beacon of hope amongst piles of cultural corruption. Ransom Getty’s character work serves this particular story well because emotion, facial reactions, and body language is what has sold the pivotal moments through the series. Real talk, if you will, is something that Bemis prides himself on. He’s not trying to shove his views down anyone’s throat, he’s just providing comic book fans with an entertaining cautioning of a what-if scenario should society slip down the rabbit hole of despair.
Score: 5 out of 5
Mega Man #40
Writer: Ian Flynn
Artists: Jamal Peppers Ryan Jampole, Gary Martin
Colorist: Matt Herms
Publisher: Archie Comics
When it comes to my loves for the blue bomber, I’m old school.
8-Bits, fighting robot masters in a strategic order, and frustrating levels of side scrolling game play is how I get down with Mega Man.
The character, however, has evolved over the years with a loyal following which is how he has stood the test of time in various mediums. This issue serves as the final chapter of a time-traveling, era-spanning adventure between the original Mega Man and Mega Man X. Despite Mega Man having to constantly save humanity from Dr. Wily, the series had an uncanny ability to be fun and not take itself too seriously.
The world of Mega Man X is a little more extreme.
Technology is more advanced, society has changed, and threats are bigger. Ian Flynn flawlessly tells new and exciting stories while keeping core essential elements of the characters and mythos intact. Two different times with two different tones reads very well and doesn’t take the reader out of the experience.
The publisher promises a shocking twist and delivers in spades at the very page where Xander, the anti-robot extremist of the Mega Man X period, makes a big statement with a particular set of drawings in his jail cell that will make you giddy with all sorts of guessing games and conspiracy theories of what’s to come.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Clayton Crain
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Rai has finally learned the truth about his parentage and his creation which makes things even more interesting in this rich and complex world built by Matt Kindt.
A protagonist discovering a personal deep, dark secret is nothing new, but the way Kindt crafts the story with intricate plot points makes it feel like new ground. Rai is not just given an ultimatum, he is given a mandate which history dictates that he obliges.
The real fun of this issue was trying to figure out if Rai could carve his own path or succumb to the pressure of what is expected. The complexity of Valiant’s books makes the reader question everything, which makes the outcome tough to predict.
Clayton Crain’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous and is a cover-to-cover display of illustrated excellence in the genre. I love how futuristic Japan looks, and it makes me hope that Crain’s vision is a prophetic sign of a reality to come.
The only bad thing about this book was the very end where it said that Rai returns in December. I’m inpatient and I really don’t want to wait that long. However, I’m all in on this series and will be the first person in line when the second arch hits shelves this holiday season.
Score: 5 out of 5