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Comic Book Pull List: June 13th

Comic Book Pull List: June 13th

With the hole that the ended Bendis books made, I’ve been sniffing around looking for some books to fill that void. There have been some nice surprises. Matthew Rosenbergs run on The Punisher has been an awesome surprise. The fact that Frank Castle got his hands on the War Machine armor and has been using it to put a dent into the supervillain community is dope as hell! I know it doesn’t have much longer to go, but this will be at the top of my stack for now on. Chip Zdarky’s stealth Fantastic Four book Marvel Two-In-One has been the best FF story since Hickman’s run. Bendis’ Man of Steel hasn’t really won me over yet… which is strange since DC’s Superman comics are my only consistent reads over there. But I have faith in Bendis, so I’ll stick around. Jonathan Hickman’s released the finale to his historical S.H.I.E.L.D. mini-series along with Dustin Weaver. It’s dope how Marvel gave him a chance to finish the second to this series he started back in 2011. Odinson gets a new hammer in Thor #1. I’m saving that Jason Aaron premier for last!

 

Comic Book Pull List: May 30th

Comic Book Pull List: May 30th

This is a light week, but a big weed due to the release of Brian Bendis’ first DC comic, The Man of Steel. Dan Slott finishes his epic 11 year run on The Amazing Spider-man. Saga and Lazarus topped my favorite indie books for the week.


 

Comic Book Pull List: May 22nd

Comic Book Pull List: May 22nd

This week marks the last stop on the Brian Michael Bendis tour with the released of Iron Man 600. We get all the dangling plotlines wrapped up in a nice little bow before he shuffles off to DC Comics to take over the reigns of Superman in Action Comics. It’s strange to realize the bulk of Marvel Comics I was reading were written by Bendis and now my future Marvel Pull List is looking a little bare. The Defenders, Jessica Jones, Miles Morales: Spider-man and Iron Man were my go-to books and now I’m left with an uncertain amount of reboots for all the characters.

Comic Book Pull List: April 4th

Comic Book Pull List: April 4th

Slim pickings this week. Another excellent issue of Spider-man on the Brian Bendis Farewell Marvel Tour. ‘Old Man Laura’ kicks off great in All-New Wolverine. The Walking Dead keeps bringing the storyline twists, but Avengers: No Surrender doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Comic Book Pull List: March 28th

Comic Book Pull List: March 28th

Brian Michael Bendis continues his Marvel Goodbye Tour with the last issue of Jessica Jones and the next installment of ‘The Search for Tony Stark” in The Invincible Iron man. He now has two more Marvel issues to write before he takes over the duties on the main book I’m reading at DC Comics, Superman. He might be the gateway for me to start reading DC books regularly. To be honest, DC’s refresh initiative has been going a lot better than Marvel these days. The Legacy initiative has been a bust, and the way they’ve handled the resurrection of both Jean Grey AND the original Wolverine have been horrible. Yet another relaunch is scheduled this year. The shining hope at this point is Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness streamlining the next Avengers book.

Rest of the Pack

Comic Book Pull List: March 21st

Comic Book Pull List: March 21st

For the past month, it’s been slim picking for comics. I think it’s because the companies (mostly Marvel) are prepping for the universal refresh. It seems like Marvel keeps doing this twice a year. But it’s cool. This current ‘Marvel Legacy’ status quo is pretty bad. It’s mostly a transitional status quo to try and appease the foundational fans who were outraged by the latest crop of female and minority replacement characters.

Pull List Musings

  • Biggest thing I’m looking for this week is the last stand of Jane Foster as  Thor. I believe this is the penultimate issue before Odinson gets the hammer back.
  • I’m still not really feeling the latest big event from The Avengers. But the Hulk is finally back, so that’s something.
  • The Hulk/Wolverine hybrid Weapon H gets his own series.
  • The biggest comic surprise of the moment is Tales of Suspense, the story of The Winter Soldier and Hawkeye searching for a recently resurrected Black Widow.
  • Curious about this week’s Justice League as they seem to have a Black Panther knockoff character called Red Lion on the cover. There’s a good chance that Marvel ripped it off from them. Who knows. I’m curious to see what they do.

Comic Book Pull List: February 21st

Comic Book Pull List: February 21st

So I use to do a weekly round-up of my comic book pull list on Fridays, with a review of my favorite book of the week. But there just isn’t time to do an in-depth comic review these days. But still folks ask me about what I’m reading from time to time, so I think I’m just going to post my weekly pull list on Wednesdays to satisfy a few folks out there. There won’t be reviews since I wouldn’t have read all my book yet. But I will comment on the expectations of my upcoming reads.  So lets’ see what we’re getting this week…

#Top10 Comic Book Series Of The Moment

#Top10 Comic Book Series Of The Moment

Even though I’ve been an avid comic book reader for a little over 20 years, I was a late bloomer to the books. Fresh out of college and on my first real job as a graphic designer at 24 years of age, I started to frequent the local comic book shop because it was across the street from my favorite hamburger joint, and I needed something more than magazines to read during lunch. I had dabbled with them when I was a kid, but they never kept my interest past the artwork. I remember the VERY FIRST comic I bought. It was Uncanny X-Men #304, the start of the X-Men comics crossover Fatal Attractions, commemorating the 30th anniversary of X-Men comics, and bringing Magneto back to power. From there, I was hooked on any and everything X-Men.

Twenty plus years later, I’m still grabbing my pull-list every Wednesday, but my books are a little more diverse. I’ve segwayed more over from X-Men to The Avengers and digital comics allows me to venture out past just Marvel Comics.. but not too much. By request, here’s my favorite comic series of the moment. (WARNING: This list of Brain Michael Bendis heavy).


Spider-man (Vol. 2)

I don’t know what the hell Marvel is doing with Peter Parker these days. The things that actually defined him have been removed and now he’s a filthy rich owner of a technology company and a global jetsetter.. similar to the currently comatose Tony Stark. As a replacement at the street level, Parker has passed the torch to Miles Morales. After the destruction of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Miles is one of the very few who were folded into the main MCU.

Brian Michael Bendis has been writing this character since day one and has kept Miles Morales and this volume of Spider-man as one of the best-written teen hero books out today. The cool thing about it is Bendis focuses more on Miles than his Spider persona. The trials and tribulations of the teen Morales as he balances his Spider life with school, friends, and family. Doesn’t sound that exciting, but the drama outside of the suit is so damn compelling. Bravo, Mr. Bendis.



Jessica Jones

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Brian Michael Bendis is one of my favorite comic book writers of all time. I was first exposed to him with a little-known book at the time called Alias. It was the story of Jessica Jones, a former (retconned) superheroine who retired and became a private investigator, focusing on super human cases. It was so counter Marvel, with a lot of sex and profanity. But the true draw was the extremely flawed Jessica Jones as she tried to work inside of the world where she failed miserably at.

After Bendis brought Ms. Jones (and her husband Luke Cage) in the Marvel mainstream, he went back to basics and launched this follow-up to Alias. Simply called Jessica Jones, it brings our heroine full circle. She’s quit the Avengers and is back to the P.I. game. Although not as racy as its predecessor, the version walks the fine line between respecting its roots and having some familiarity with the popular Netflix series of the same name.



The Walking Dead

Fourteen years ago, Rick Grimes woke up from a coma to find the world had ended and zombies were now walking the Earth. That’s all I needed to start reading Robert Kirkman’s comic masterpiece, The Walking Dead.

I was a big zombie movie fan, but never really thought it would translate well to comics. I remember the series was already a dozen issues in when I picked up issue 1. What I found was this book wasn’t about zombies. It was about the lives of a group of people who happened to be in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. It doesn’t sound much different, but it’s a huge shift in the storytelling. Now over a decade, the book is still going strong and at the top of its game. The few status quo changes Kirkman has done really breathed life into the book before it got repetitive. now with Rick and the group on the cusp of yet another big game changer, you have to ask yourself, how long and Kirkman pull these rabbits out of his hat?



Invincible Iron Man (Vol. 3)

There’s A LOT of criticism toward Marvel about the race and gender changes among its core super hero properties. Hearing the outcry of not enough reader representation within Marvel’s Comic Universe, the media company went crazy by replacing key superhero roles with minority and female characters.. which on paper sound good, but in practice seems to disrespect its core audience by replacing the characters they loved. Thor’s a woman, Captain America is Black, etc.. Although I don’t agree with the outrage, I do understand. It’s not a race/gender thing. It’s more of giving the reader a choice. Why can’t there be 2 Thor books to choose from– old and new? I totally understand.

Cutting through all the nerdtastic noise, there were some interesting ways Marvel tweaked their superhero franchise. Right before Tony Stark was beaten into a coma during Civil War II, Bendis had already started developing one of two Iron Man successors. My favorite was the teenage prodigy, Ri Ri Williams. The Super genius had already built her own suit of armor before Stark found her. Now with Tony out of the picture, Ri Ri takes the official mantle, along with an A.I. clone of Tony Stark as Ironheart. The best thing about this volume of Invincible Iron-Man is we get to see a young hero’s victories and failures as she tries to live up to the Iron Man name.



Black Science

This damn book here… I’ve never read a comic that travels at such a breakneck speed that I need to catch my breath after every issue. This Rick Remender tour de force feels like one-third Sliders, one-third Stargate SG-1 and one third bat-shit craziness. Brilliant Scientist Grant McKay discovers how to travel to different dimensions and accidentally strands his team and his two kids in the Eververse. What follows is McKay trying to find a way to get back to their own reality, in the midsts of intrigue and betrayal from within his own team.

The main thing to know about Black Science is nothings off the table. When you get a giant cuddly monster spouting lines like “Hot and sour! All mortal wombs boil with the bile of Har’Logh The Defiler!”, you know you’re ‘out there’ with the story. This is the best representation of a Saturday matinee you’ll get in a comic book. With constant character shifts and classic story cliffhangers, Remender makes this feel like he’s letting the story tell itself and not even HE knows where it’s going. Brilliant.



The Champions (Vol. 2)

When Marvel launched the All-New, All-Different Avengers as the flagship of it’s new diversified universe, they made sure the make this team the ‘rainbow coalition’ of super hero teams. (Black) Captain America, (Female) Thor, (Black/Latino) Spider-man and (Muslim American) Ms. Marvel joined the standard Iron Man and Vision to make up the roster. A good line up on paper, the Mark Waid book just didn’t feel right. Waid was an excellent writer, but the team didn’t really gel. Luckily Marvel was smart enough to course-correct. After too many clashes between heroes, and lack of confidence from the public, the younger members decided to step away from The Avengers and get back to what they felt superheroes should be doing. And The Champions were born. And I rejoiced.

After the first issue of All-New, All-Different Avengers I dreamed about a book where these fresh cool characters would be showcased. Mark Waid did just that. Joining the ex-Avenging Ms. Marvel, Nova and Spider-man, were the Totally Awesome Hulk (Amadeus Cho), Viv Vision (The Vision’s daughter) and time-displaced Scott “Cyclops” Summers (that’s a whole other story). This book is fresh in all ways. It’s a classic comic styled book, stripped of all he dramatic baggage and replace with a bunch of super powered kids saving the world and having fun. The voices of each characters are very defined and hints of a nice secondary rotation membership (read: Ri Ri “Ironhear” Williams, Ms. America and Kate “Hawkeye” Bishop), this has so much potential.



Superman: Action Comic (Vol. 2) / Action Comics (Vol. 2)

Yessir. Tihs guy is all-in on the Superman comics. No Joke, I’ve been enjoying the streamlined storytelling, exclusion of a convoluted status quo and just embracing the art of telling bombastic comic book stories. I started reading THIS version of Superman back when Superman: Louis & Clark launched back in 2015. While DC Comics had yet another universe altering event, CONVERGENCE and a new status quo, the pre-new 52 Superman, Louis Lane and their Son survived the upheaval and were resound to living off the grid in quiet. But when the current, younger Superman dies, the original Clark Kent feels the calling to once again regain his original mantle.

What I love about this comic is the simplicity. While we get the ongoing family stories over in the main Superman book, Action Comics focuses on great over-the-top stories. Is Lex Luther the new Metropolis Superman? Yet another Clark Kent in human form has appeared in Metropolis? The entirety of the Superman Rogue Gallery coming together to destroy him? Yes, please. This is what I want to read. More of this, please!



The Defenders (Vol. 3)

Thank God for Marvel’s Netflix Series line up. Because without he success of the tv shows, I wouldn’t get even more of Brian Bendis writing my favorite characters. Make no mistake, this was created to capitalize on the launch of The Defenders tv show. And in every way, it’s better than the tv series. Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Iron Fist are organically brought together to fight for the streets. While the Avengers are ‘up there‘, The Defenders fight for us ‘down here‘.

Again, Bendis takes is knowledge of these characters and showcases all of them with their own personality and great interaction. I think the cool thing about this book is the emphasis on how powerful they are together. Fighting villains on their own usually ends up with someone being shot, stabbed or blown up. It only seems to work when they fight together. The love and banter between each of the characters, the running jokes (ex. trying to figure out Daredevil’s identity. Luke thinks his name if ‘Gary’), and just… Jessica being Jessica. The Defenders takes he best of the most recent Power Man & Iron Fist series and turns it up to 11.



Infamous Iron Man

So.. how the hell did the Fantastic Four’s greatest enemy become the other half of the Iron successors? Quick recap… So, the creators of the universe decide to scrap the whole project and begin to destroy everything. Doctor Doom (of all people) tries to stop them. He fails, but not before killing them and taking some of their power. Before the end, he saves as much of the universes as he can and builds a new reality.. with himself as God (see: Secret Wars, Vol. 2). When the universe is restored, he’s returned to his former self.. this time without the scared face. He realizes the errors of his ways and decides to atone for his villainy (much to the dismay of the rest of the Marvel Universe) by honoring (his pseudo friend), the currently comatose Tony Stark as Iron Man.

How Bendis writes Doom as a hero without changing his villainous personality, I do not know. But watching Victor use technology and sorcery for his version of heroism is awesome. You could call it ‘Chaotic Good’, I guess. Now, it’s just sitting back and watching how this failed experiment will end. With Tony Stark already sponsoring Ri Ri Williams as the current Iron Man, it’s only a matter of time before the real Tony wakes up and they have to team together to stop Victor Von Doom from doing something completely evil in the name of good. Victor Von Doom is on the road paved with good intentions. And we all know where that leads.

 

 



Powers (Vol. 5)

I struggled to put this one on the list. I did have the Secret Empire crossover here, but I started writing this a month ago and things have changed. The reason I struggled is due to the infrequent releases. The most recent issue dropped in early 2017 so I still think it qualifies.

So Powers is the story of two cops who are assigned to investigate crimes committed by or involving super powered beings. A lot of sex, violence, and profanity in this one, folks. And it’s all awesome.

Sony’s PlayStation Network tried to turn this into a tv series, but it couldn’t seem to get the tone right, plus the casting overall wasn’t very good… especially for the role of Deena Pilgrim, probably one of the best characters in comics, in my opinion.

 


 

#Reading Uncanny Avengers, Volume 1: The Apocalypse Twins

#Reading Uncanny Avengers, Volume 1: The Apocalypse Twins

There’s nothing like a good comic book story arc. I don’t mean a quick one and done issue. I mean something that spans a lot of time with intricate elements and blending plotlines that show the writer had taken a lot of time to plot out the story. One of the masters of this style is Rick Remender. The man’s resume is a classic art of storytelling. Black Science (which I’ve recently started reading in issues), Uncanny X-Force (The Dark Angel Saga!!!), Tokyo Ghost, Secret Avengers.. just masterful storytelling, which seems to elevate characters by the end of his run (i.e. Deadpool, Havok, Ant Man). I’ve been going back and reading some of my favorite Rick Remender stories. I forgot how damn good his initial run on Uncanny Avengers was. Not just another Avengers team, Captain America put together what was supposed to be a ‘UNITY’ Squad to show the world that Mutants and Humans could work together to make the world better. Instead of playing it safe, Remender shows us how much of a failure Cap’s concept was. Classic storytelling– a two-year story arc that was epic with lasting ramifications and didn’t need yet another tiresome company-wide crossover event to do it. Bravo, Mr. Remender.

With All The Controversy, Captain America Has Never Been So Relevent

With All The Controversy, Captain America Has Never Been So Relevent

Comic book writer Nick Spencer has been on the firing line ever since he first took over the reigns of the Captain America comic franchise. Both Caps, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson we’re under his pen.

Captain America: Sam Wilson has the new Cap, an African American hero (formally Falcon) taking to the streets and fighting internal American issues that were hitting a little too close to home. Plus, A White man writing about the plights of Black hero under scrutiny from a mostly white establishment started rubbing a lot of folks the the wrong way.

Captain America: Steve Rogers was another story.. a much worse story. Apparently Spencer blasphemed against the comic nerds and revealing in his 1st issue the Steve Rogers.. the poster boy of American heroics was, in fact an undercover Hydra agent. The lashing dude got from the twitter-verse was epic. To me it was another major example of social double standards. For years we’d been crying for someone to do something different than the same old storylines in comic books. When someone comes along and does something super radical (story-wise), it becomes the end of all things great.

Personally, I was angry, shocked and then excited. I didn’t want to lash out at Nick Spencer. I wanted to praise him for taking a character who (for me) hadn’t been relevant since he battled S.H.I.E.L.D. on the Helicarrier, jumped out the window and rode a damn fighter plane to safety in the first issue of the original Civil War storyline. In a day and age where even the move casual viewer/reader is jaded by decades of rehashed storylines and repetitive shocking reveals, watching Steve Rogers say “Hail Hydra” left my mouth open with a serious ‘what the fuck’ look on my face.

Coming up next month is the culmination of Nick Spencer’s Cap run, Secret Empire. Captain America’s secret plot comes to fruition and Hydra takes over the country. Is it a coincidence that a lot of the ‘changes’ made to protect America are similar to our current Command and Chief? I don’t think so. I’m just praying that Spencer can give us a trilling story with an awesome ending.. something that’s been very short in supply that last few years.