Pull List Review: 12/14/11 Comics

Here’s week 2 of my quick and dirty Pull List reviews for December 2011. There were many issues from that week, so let’s get cracking!

Batgirl #4: So, Batgirl outwits and defeats her first new villain of the DCnU. Yeah, yeah. (As you can tell, I wasn’t all that jazzed about Mirror.) What’s interesting about this issue is the Spot the Bat app that Hugo Strange (I presume it’s him–the thug only says Hugo, but who else could it be?) released to help criminals. I really appreciate the writers (or artists–it is a collaborative effort, after all) delving into the technological side of this younger DC Universe. In Batman, we are introduced I think every issue so far to really cool tech, and I’m glad to see that it’s not just the heroes taking advantage. Although, I think I’ve read this before and recently, but regardless, I’d like to see more of this across the line. Finally, I don’t know much about Barbara’s mother pre-DCnU, but here, she’s back in Barbara’s life after having abandoned her some 8-10 (?) years earlier. I smell some mother-daughter angst coming, and Gail Simone is good with that.

Batman & Robin #4: This continues to be one of the most solid Batman books, and that includes both story and art (for the most part). A lot of the DCnU books have introduced new villains and they haven’t been that interesting, but Nobody works because there’s a connection to Bruce’s past, then add in Damian’s angst and anger and you have a hella lot of story potential. Again, though, Alfred steals the show with his soliloquy about Damian realizing how human Bruce really is. Bruce may be Damian’s father by blood, but it is Alfred who continues to be the father figure to the Wayne household. I just hope Pete Tomasi continues to play with that trope.

Batman: Brave & the Bold #14: This issue had Ragman, an all-time favorite of mine, so of course I had to get it. It’s a simple tale about faith restored (in more ways than one) and a hero’s conviction renewed. Nothing ground breaking, but what do you expect from this line? And that’s not a slight–just remember what age group DC’s going for. I usually ignored the Johnny DC line but having bought a few of this title and the Tiny Titans, I may have to go back and get some more issues. For my kids….

Batwoman #4: I go from a comic rated E to a T+ book. I don’t know that I needed that one panel (“HUHlinhAAaaaaaaa…”), but juxtaposed with the one where Flamebird is bleeding out in the snow does give it more weight than mere titillation. Regardless, another good issue from the creators. Poor Flamebird. She doesn’t get any respect no matter what DC universe she’s in. And after reading about Agent Chase in this title, I may have to go pick up that Chase trade that DC recently released.

Buffy, Season 9 #4: I’m getting real tired of Xander’s and Dawn’s disdainful approach towards Buffy. My daughter will not like me saying this–yet again–but we see for perhaps the dozenth time that Spike is the guy Buffy should be with. The only thing about Season so far that I’m not sure I like is the real-world intrusion, a la the police getting involved. Normally, I’d want that kind of realism to intrude every so often in a fantasy story like this, but it just doesn’t feel right (just like it didn’t in early Highlander episodes).

Demon Knights #4: Another solid book, this time focusing on the Shining Knight. How much fun the creative team must be having in confounding the characters and us as to whether the Knight is man or woman. Sometimes, the art clearly shows a male, other times, the features morph slightly and the Knight looks more girlish. Of course, Merlin speaks in the issue of the Shining Knight’s dual nature, but then we see the Knight looking a lot like a vampire (and there is that whole drinking of blood thing earlier), so what exactly is the “dual nature” of which Merlin spoke? Man/woman? Good/evil? Both? (And in no way am I implying that there is a connection between those dichotomies: man does not equal good and woman does not equal evil, so don’t go there.) If it weren’t for my love of the Justice League characters, this would be my favorite book of the DCnU.

Green Lantern #4: Have I mentioned before what a great buddy cop story this comic has become? I love love love Sinestro as a Green Lantern and being “over” Hal at the moment. But it is Hal that gets Sinestro to break beyond the Korugarian’s limitations with his human penchant for thinking outside the box. After all, Sinestro has always been about order and control (well, since Geoff Johns took over as Green Lantern historian), and Hal has been about rule breaking and having fun with the ring (think of them as Murtaugh and Riggs from Lethal Weapon). Finally, that page where Hal creates his last construct and it is of Carol was touching. Is Johns setting up Sinestro to be THE Green Lantern in Green Lantern?

Magdalena #10: This is probably one of those comics where the idea outweighs the execution, so I may not be long with it. This reads a lot like Buffy in different trappings, and I have little interest in that. Ron Marz needs to focus on the character and not the plot as much to keep me around. I did buy the first trade, so I’m anxious to see if it’s more of the same of the last two issues I’ve read.

New Avengers #19: Why does Norman Osborne look like Tommy Lee Jones in this book? I love that Peter is an ass to Victoria Hand. Usually Pete is so … ok with things, but this, this he knows (from his perspective at least) to be a wrong thing and he takes every opportunity to point it out to Hand and the rest of the New Avengers. Also, do not mess with Madame Hydra. She will cut you. Seriously. Plus, she’s damn funny here. :)

SHIELD #4: Remember how I mentioned last issue that I felt a little ripped off because the issue was 18 pages of battle sequences and a couple of pages of dialogue? Well, this issue we get three repeated scenes with only the setting changing. I understand narratively what Hickman’s going for, but come on.

Suicide Squad #4: Still liking this comic. I will say it: I like this depiction of Harley Quinn. I like Deadshot (and perhaps even more than I did when he was on the old DCU in Secret Six). I like Diablo. I like what Deadshot did to Captain Boomerang. And I still like the endings to this comic: so far, every issue ends with the Squad needing to pull yet another job in a limited time frame or they’re dead. However, that trick’ll get boring real fast. Not to mention, these guys need to sleep some times, right?

I also read Resurrection Man #4 (again, love the angel/demon angle, but still do not care for the title character), Shade #3 (this really just served to get us to the next plot point), Star Trek/LSH #3 (Well, at least the two groups are working together at the end of the issue. This has been a disappointment from go. At least the Phil Jimenez covers are nice to look at.), and Unwritten #32 (the sacrifice of the Frankenstein’s monster was touching).

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Pull List Review: 11/23/11 Comics

Alpha Flight #6: What the hell does someone having four toes have to do with Unity? I liked it when Marrina said her oft-spoken (and increasingly annoying) “Die human scum!” line because this time she prefaced it with “Catchphrase!” :) Oh, and Logan makes an appearance (like we didn’t know that was going to happen in this series). This just might get my vote for most disappointing series of 2011.

Aquaman #3: I wonder how much patience Aquaman has left with these condescending land lubbers, but I like how he basically ignores them and does what he wants anyway. The most interesting part of this issue is Aquaman’s interaction with a man from his past, Mr. Shin. Geoff Johns gives us just enough details to know exactly what this guy is about and what his relationship to Arthur is. And who is the “he” that Shin mentions who is the former owner of Arthur’s trident? This title just keeps getting better.

Fantastic Four #600: Once again I am amazed that Sue isn’t considered one of the most powerful individuals in the Marvel U. And she’s bad-ass as well! (I think I’m in love.) Everything that’s been building in FF for the last 11 issues continues in this issue containing 100 pages of several stories, including the return of someone that we all knew would return sooner or later (I thought it would have been later). I really enjoyed the back story in the Negative Zone and the worms(!), though the jail-break part was pretty run-of-the-mill. So what does this person’s return mean for Spider-Man in the FF? I’ll be picking this title up for a while just because Hickman’s been doing a bang up job with these characters.

GL: New Guardians #3: Hmm, already most of the rings that Kyle has inherited have been destroyed? What was the point of that plot point then? Also, why repeat the idea that the power ring won’t come off a GL’s finger? And why do the Guardians need to wear power rings? I thought they were imbued with the green energy (or is that a pre-DCnU idea)? I’m thinking this title won’t be on my pull list for much longer.

Magdalena #9: My first pull list issue of this series. I’d read number one a while ago and was intrigued even before that by the premise of the series, but for some reason didn’t pick this title up until now. The plot starts off well enough with the mission that the Magdalena goes on with her partner, but the story ends with an obvious non-cliffhanger (will she die?! Dun dun dun! Umm, no.).

Seraph #1: I actually bought a Pilot Season issue from Image. Of course, it was the angelic angle that drew me in since I love stories about angels and demons and especially depicting those characters not in their usual, stereotypical ways. And I get some of that in this one-shot (for now?). I like the idea of a suicide being given angelic powers to fight evil, and the guy’s guardian angel is probably the most interesting character in the comic so far. The fight with the spidery demon was pretty standard, though. I’d buy the first arc of this title if it becomes a series.

Shade #2: Huh. I would have hoped for a more . . . interesting way out of that “death” scene from issue one, but I suppose it makes sense, and shows that the Shade is a smart guy (but we already knew that, right?). This issue introduced me to Will Von Hammer, who is an interesting guy it seems, and now ally of sorts to the Shade. James Robinson has tweeted that the sales for this series has been low–it would be a shame if it didn’t get to go the full twelve issues.

Teen Titans #3: Is it me or is Bunker mildly annoying? There are two interesting things in this issue. One is that wonderful two-page spread showing Bart zipping from room to room to room in order to free Solstice. I didn’t even mind the numbers telling us how to read that sequence–in fact, it reminded me of the arrows that would appear in comics when I first started reading them pointing me to the next panel. Is it bad page design? Maybe, but I don’t care. The second interesting thing is the appearance of the DCnU Solstice, who looks very different from when we last saw her. I have to wonder if DC introduced Solstice in the previous volume of Teen Titans in anticipation of her appearance in this title, or is because there was enough interest in the character to keep her around? I have to question that idea because Solstice doesn’t seem like the same one, and it isn’t just her powers that made her an interesting character before (or was she interesting to you?).

Voodoo #3: Well, we’re entering more familiar superhero territory with Kyle Rayner showing up this issue, but the story is fast losing my interest, despite the pretty art by Basri. Just that simple walking sequence on page 4 was elegantly done. So, if this is how aliens are on Earth, no wonder there’s that general distrust of superheroic aliens that I’m reading in other titles. Again I say, I don’t care for that subplot in the DCnU.

I also read:

  • All-Star Western #3
  • Firestorm #3
  • I, Vampire #3
  • Justice League Dark #3
  • Savage Hawkman #3
  • Sixth Gun #17
  • Superman #3
  • Unwritten 31.5