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!
WWE Superstars #9
Writer: Mick Foley, Shane Riches
Artist: Paris Cullins
Color Laurie E. Smith
Publisher: Super Genius
There is a rumor going around that at next year’s WrestleMania, John Cena, age 37, will square off with a 61 year old Hulk Hogan.
The predetermined nature of professional wrestling allows for certain dream matches to occur that otherwise wouldn’t happen in Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts.
However, what if this match and others could happen when both men were in their prime?
Mick Foley and Shane Riches give us a look, through a bizarre prism of what they would look like.
Wrestlers from different eras are being pulled into combat across a myriad of battle fields from the Roman Colosseum to pirate ships of the Seven Seas.
Present-Day Daniel Bryan and Rowdy Roddy Piper from 1986 join forces to discover the evil puppet master behind this constant mayhem.
We are treated to several other matches and some of them deviate from their assigned “programing” which causes things to be even more hectic.
This incarnation of Roddy Piper is from the 80’s and doesn’t know who Bryan is but Bryan knows everything about Piper, which adds a level of intrigue to their partnership. Foley, known for his wrestling exploits, really makes this book stand out from just another wasted wrestling title with more substance than style. He knows the wrestlers so he is able to insert all of their signature catch phrases and dialog and at the right time instead of just incorporating it for the sake of a cheap thrill.
The art in the previous issues left a lot to be desired where some characters were hard to identify Paris Cullins is a much welcomed hand in this series as his illustrations are clean, full of energy and are fun to look at.
Wrestling comic books tend to suck, but this Legends event is different and should more than hold its own while producing pages of body slamming entertainment. Randy Orton vs. Jake “The Snake Roberts, Ultimate Warrior vs. John Cena, Hulk Hogan vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, what more could you ask for.
Score: 4 out of 5
Batman & Robin #35
Writer Peter J Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray
Colorist: John Kalisz
Publisher DC Comics
Damian Wayne’s body is on Apokolips, Batman is furious and travels to the fiery planet in order to get answers and retrieve his son.
He has an armored up Bat-Suit but that still doesn’t evoke the confidence of Alfred and others. Batman is a cool and calculating individual that is normally two steps ahead of everyone else.
However, Damian is the one thing that changes him from world’s greatest detective to a brutal fist flying soldier that takes no prisoners.
Peter J. Tomasi has done a great job is showing the grieving father who is super vulnerable.
Bruce is constantly questioning his decision to let the Damian fight alongside of him. In the real world, one might not have as much sympathy because letting children fight crime, way past their bed time, mind you, is a big no, no.
However, Damian was different, raised to be an assassin from birth and his blood lust couldn’t be channeled through therapy and playing Little League. Red Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl dosen’t trust Bruce’s judgment this time. They take upon themselves to go get him back and Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray subtly show a lot of pain and despair through their imagery as the team hates what they have to do in order to accomplish their objective.
Of course, they inject some light-hearted moments such as Alfred feeding Batcow. I think the reason why this series works so well is not only because the creative team is so in sync, but because Batman is not the focal point of the story.
It’s about Damian, it always has been. Even after Damian died and various villains took his spot on the marquee, Batman was trying to, in his own way, fill a void in his life. Now with that loss seemingly about to be found again, Tomasi is having Batman walk a very slippery slope.
Score: 4 out of 5
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #2
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorist: Laura Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Axis is the culmination of everything Rick Remender has been building to in Uncanny Avengers. Red Skull stole a deceased Charles Xavier’s powers and has upgraded them, causing worldwide chaos. Skull goads Magneto with hateful rhetoric into killing him and unleashed The Red Onslaught. If that’s not enough, he has assistance in the form of two Sentinels created by Tony Stark.
Rick Remender brings a lot of good ideas to the table, but it seems as if the story is going through the motions. Big plot twists fail to carry that shock and awe which prevent the story from feeling like anything out of the ordinary.
Iron Man and Magneto are the two most interesting characters.
However, they seem to be the only two that matter. Everyone else, so far, has been interchangeable with no voice or anything important to contribute. Adam Kubert’s artwork was horrible in the last issue and this time it’s a little better.
Still, all of the illustrations seemed rushed and all over the play with very little rhyme or reason.
While Remender is able to convey the gravity of the intense situation our heroes face, it falls a little flat while yearning to be much more. Crossover events are supposed to highlight many characters instead of focusing on the small handful. This is not the worst book in the world, but with two issues in, I expected more from Marvel’s big event.
I really want to like this series and hopefully, things will pick up soon.
Score: 2 out of 5
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Sandy Jarrell
Colorist: Kevin Volo
Publisher: Oni Press
The name of this book makes me constantly think of Robert Townsend’s 1993 film Meteor Man.
The first few pages made me forget all about that as this original graphic novel explores our reaction to if we are alone in the universe.
On a summer night, the largest meteor shower in human history occurs. Normally, these space rocks don’t hit land.
This time, hundreds of them do, all over the globe, bringing travelers who will change the world.
The protagonist is a teenage boy named Alden Baylor who watching the shower in a field, along with the rest of the town.
A meteor lands on his farm and everyone wants a piece of the action. Alden is a good kid who had to grow up faster than most due to the death of his parents. His maturity makes is you like him right away. Certain elements of the story leave Alden exposed to harm or other wrongdoing, and I found myself emotional vested in his well-being.
I really enjoyed how Jeff Parker made Alden’s increasing connection to one of the aliens coincide with the government’s rising concern which leads to them taking drastic action to ensure our survival. Sandy Jarrell’s artwork was absolutely perfect for this kind of story. Jarrell’s made Alden’s encounters with the alien seem very peaceful and soothing considering that if I saw an alien on the street, I would probably run. Kevin Volo is a colorist with a diverse hand who masterfully set the mood in every panel.
It’s beautiful work across the board. Jeff Parker puts a fresh spin on a story that has been done before by examining our humanity under a microscope. Fear consumes us as we find answers we’ve been searching endlessly for. Meteor Men is truly something special and I urge everyone to indulge in this phenomenal read.
Score: 5 out of 5
Evil Empire #6
Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Chris Blythe
Publisher: Boom! Studios
President Sam Duggins has been revealed as the real face of the Evil Empire and Reese Greenwood will not go quietly into the night.
Max Bemis has taken us on quite the trip and he is not accustom to pulling punches when talking about societal issues. He expands on this through a gritty and disturbing lens. Duggins wants the world to burn and is trying to accomplish this under the guise of empowering the people to think, feel, and do whatever that want.
If you’ve always wanted to punch your boss in the face, do it, and don’t stop there.
Throw that S.O.B. out the window.
Bemis’ always present wit lends itself to some interesting page layouts on how the “bad guy” came to be so evil in a way that almost mocks itself. Andrea Mutti is back in the artist’s chair while her style is something I personally wouldn’t enjoy in a superhero comic, it’s perfect for this particular tale.
This issue is new reader friendly enough to get you interested, but I recommend going back and reading the previous issues them in order to appreciate the scope of what Max Bemis has laid out in his Evil Empire.
Score: 3 out of 5