Pull List Review: 12/21/11 Comics

First things first: the new Avengers trailer:

Boo-yah! Am I right? :D

Now for week 3 of my quickie December 2011 comic reviews.

Batman #4: Usually I don’t care for adding new stuff to an established character’s origin as if it’s been there all along, but I did enjoy the addition of Bruce Wayne, Lil’ Detective. The Greg Capulo art is getting better (or better with me at least, save for how all of his dark-haired characters look the same sans masks) and that last page incorporating the credits into the maze was neat.

Batman, Inc.: Leviathan Strikes! #1: Does anyone know why DC delayed the release of these two Batman, Inc. issues (what would have been #9 & 10)? Was it just the New 52 launch? Regardless, I got to see Stephanie Brown as Batgirl one last time and was by far the better story of the two in this $7 collection, though, speaking of the second story, was it really a surprise just who Leviathan was revealed to be? I was actually a little disappointed. Despite that, I will be getting this series when it returns later this year.

Daredevil #7: Love love love that cover–it’s so elegant in it’s simplicity. This issue is a nice change of pace from the story that’s been developing, but it was the Nelson & Murdock office party that was the best part of this. 1) Matt comes into the party wearing a “I am not Daredevil” shirt along with devil horns on his head. 2) When Kirsten McDuffie says hello, Matt offers to get her wine but “accidentally” knocks the bottle over so that when they both catch it, they end up touching hands (I bet Matt does this bit all of the time–he’s such a player!). The A story is fine, but really is just a respite before the next big plot.

Fantastic Four #601: Ok, bone picking time. This is how Marvel keeps down cost? A flimsy cover stock? As for the issue, there are some nice moments in it: Spidey’s reaction to seeing Johnny back, Sue’s tears of joy at the same, Ben shedding a tear as well, and Reed (of course) being able to tell Johnny exactly how long he had been presumed dead (2757 hours). By the way, just how much more can Earth-616 take? After the events of Fear Itself, and now this (and who knows what other apocalyptic events that have happened in other Marvel books), the poor populace has taken quite a beating.

Justice League #4: More lovely bits! Cyborg makes a full-on appearance, as does Aquaman, who quips to the assembled almost Leaguers, “I don’t see a leader.” To which Batman replies, “Then you’re not looking at me.” Later, when dick Hal accidentally (or is he copping a feel?) touches Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth and reveals he’s really just trying to impress people, Batman laughs (though not on panel). Oh, yeah, and Darkseid arrives. The art this issue seemed less clean, or maybe it’s just because there are a lot of explosions.

Nightwing #4: Just when I was enjoying the thought of Raya sticking around long-term, the first few pages spell it out: she tells Dick that their fling is just that, nothing more (and that sentiment is reinforced at the end as well). But to complicate matters for the former Boy Wonder, Batgirl shows up, but she does apologize for the way she treated Dick in Batgirl #3, so I liked that bit of continuity. And can we have a moratorium on using the body double trope? That is so hackneyed.

Wonder Woman #4: Cliff Chiang’s Diana is gorgeous! I love his rendition of the Amazon Princess more and more each issue. And Brian Azzarello’s take on the Olympians has grown on me to the point that I love them all so far. How refreshing to see War portrayed not as a megalomaniac bent on utter destruction? At the end though–did Hera do that to the Amazons? Based on how she was treating Hippolyta earlier, it doesn’t make sense, but then, Hera is known for her mood swings.

I also read Birds of Prey #4 (still liking this book, and the ending to this issue has me intrigued), Blue Beetle #4 (yawn), Catwoman #4 (why does Selina like wearing the red wig so much? And holy cow that last page!), DC Universe Presents #4 (we really have one more issue of this thing?), Lady Mechanika #3 (I love the look of this book, but the jokes are really lame), LSH #4 (yawn), Supergirl #4 (yawn), Thunder Agents #2 (I liked the Frazer Irving cover. The story is so-so.).

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Pull List Review: 11/30/11 Comics

Angel & Faith #4: I really liked that Angel knew that Faith was going to stop him if he crossed a line–Angel has been portrayed a little too oblivious? for my taste so far in this title. But then, he is apparently going insane or possessed by Giles, which is a plot point that the creative team should be very careful with. Also, the creative team should steer away from super-powered vampires–I had my fill when Angel was Twilight.

Daredevil #6: Mark Waid certainly knows how to up the stakes. How will ol’ Hornhead get out of having A.I.M., Hydra, Agencé Byzantine, Black Spectre, and the Secret Empire after him all at the same time (and I have never heard of those last three agencies)? Although, considering that the world at large thinks that Matt Murdoch is Daredevil, why would Matt put that data disk on his desk? Shouldn’t it be put somewhere perhaps more secure? Still a wonderfully fun superhero comic, and it’s no surprise that it’s landing on some folks’ Top lists. It’s certainly one of my favorite comics of 2011.

FF #12: I heard some buzz online that FF is becoming the Power Pack of the Fantastic Four “universe” and this issue seems to herald this since the focus of the (so far) year-long storyline shifts to the kids. But is this a sea-change for the title, or just a brief interlude? If it’s the former, then I’m dropping the title because, as much as I like the kids thus far, I want to read about the adults and their relationships (and yes, see more of Sue). Also, if the current art team stay, then that will only make my decision easier–that style is just not to my liking.

Star Trek #3: I don’t normally comment on this title because it’s essentially “reprint” material, but I do want to say that that whole “Spock never had a command of his own” comment from McCoy in the Original Series episode “The Galileo Seven” makes perfect sense in this retelling where it never did in the television series. McCoy’s crack always bugged me since how could anyone achieve the rank of Commander in any quasi-military branch (even a fictional one) without having commanded a certain group of subordinates? I just thought that was lazy storytelling on the part of the writer and producers of that episode serving only to create a false sense of tension. In this comic, and given the events of the last Star Trek movie, McCoy points out that Spock has his chance at command again, since that opportunity was taken from him by Kirk.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1: My exposure to the THUNDER Agents (the periods are hereby banished!) came from the 1984 comic Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 by Deluxe Comics, so when I heard that DC was putting out another version of the THUNDER Agents by Nick Spencer, I was intrigued until I read the premise, specifically, the bit about their powers killing them. I’m not sure why that take turned me off, but it did. Then my friend Oddfellow kept talking about how good the series was, so when DC stopped the series and announced it would return after the New 52 launched, I decided to try it out. After all, it would only be six issues. Plus, it would give me a chance to assess Nick Spencer’s writing. Like Scott Snyder’s work, I haven’t been overly wowed by Spencer’s comic writing, but I have recently come around to Snyder’s work on Batman, so maybe this title will cement how I feel about Spencer. With that, how was this return issue? Mmm, ok. I got enough back story to fill me in on the previous 10 issues of the title and make me curious to perhaps buy the trade if I can find it cheap (or maybe ask Oddfellow if I can borrow his copies :) ). The two agents in suits, Henston and Franklin, are the most intriguing of any character in this issue, with NoMan coming in second so far. And while the whole powers killing the agents bit turned me off before, I can see where this could lead to some interesting storytelling, sort of like how new actors come in to play James Bond or more appropriately Doctor Who. I like the Wes Craig art, though it reminds me of someone else’s work that I’ve seen recently, but I can’t quite put my finger on who yet. This title I think will be an interesting distraction for six issues.