The Pull List: Comic Book Reviews for 9/7/11

Another comic day has descended upon us this past Wednesday and she was a big one filled with MANY titles that I was excited about. Here is a full list of all the new comic released in stores on 9/7/11 as well as my reviews from last week’s releases.

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The Big Lie (Image Comics)

Story & Art by Rick Veitch

As a proud New Yorker who has spent my entire adult life with the taint of 9/11 I could not rightfully let the upcoming tenth anniversary pass by without making a mention of it in one way or another. When I first read this comic I had mixed emotions. Veitch had crafted a thought provoking tale of a Nobel worthy scientist who has gone back in time to save her husband from dying in the fallen towers, but was met with the type of real world skepticism that such a claim would provoke. Even as the various people in the room began to (slowly) connect the different aspects of what she was saying to the possibility that she is legit they all seemed more focused on her iPad than they were in the upcoming doom. The final scene was a fitting but expected ending with a shocking twist that was foreshadowed earlier in the dialog (and it’s not what you think).

The art is good too considering the story is all dialog until the very end scene. The story are very driven by what is going on in the dialog rather than the panels but the different characteristics feel human and familiar to real life. The destruction shown in the iPad was a mixture of iconic photos/footage and original angles as far as I can tell but it was not too obscene or glorified in any conceivable way.

The Bottom Line – I have read several papers and theories on what was behind this event and I admit that every once in a while I look at what the conspiracy theorists have to say, even entertaining the possibilities that what they say may add up. I say this because Veitch had brought up every question I have ever had through the voices of the men in the room who use logic to try and figure out what kind of a sick game is being played on them as they ask well crafted questions and eventually reach the answers themselves through various means. This book is damn good but because of the nature of the story it is not for everyone. I guarantee this will piss people off but it is done in such a great way that I feel it is THE must read of the week. B+

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The Boys #58 (Dynamite Entertainment)

Written by Garth Ennis, Art by Russ Braun

How do you bring down a superhero? Do you, A) confront him head on with some elaborate scheme? Or do you, B) Release a scandalous sex tape of him going to town  with a load of tranny hookers? If you chose B then you might be Garth Ennis! This issue was all character moments as The Seven discuss the repercussions of this public revelation and The Boys contemplate what the next hit will be as they prepare for the possible reciprocation brought upon by their actions. Also, Hughie does a little bit of extra curricular learning by digging into the Homelander’s history which unearths some twisted information. The ending looks  promising but I have seen this cliffhanger before and was disappointed. We’ll see though.

Any artist who teams with Ennis must know what he is getting himself into. Braun does a great job at delivering on this task too! The trannies look mannish, the Hughie looks as overwhelmed as usual, and The Homelander comes off even more pompous than usual. Also, I LOVE the way he depicts Butcher’s bulldog, Terror. That dog has visible personality.

The Bottom Line – This series has gone on long enough that an issue like this where not much action is present still provides entertainment. Much brickwork is being laid for the future of the series and it’s (what I assume/hope) explosive conclusion. It is still not to late for newbies to catch up with this series via trades then join the rest of us via floppies on the day of release! C+

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The Red Skull #3 (Marvel Comics)

Written by Greg Pak, Art by Mirko Colak

The head on collision of historic fact and character fiction that is this series finally comes to its boiling point in this issue as Johaan Schmidt and the Nazi party become one. Focusing on the communist party protests in Germany shortly after Hitler came into power, Johaan is forced to make some tough decisions between his “friend” and the boss that he works for. The interesting part to me is that neither of them suspect that he would turn against them all in the blink of an eye should it further his own means. The subtly of his deception is something that really hammers home who this kid truly is and foreshadows who he will be.

I enjoyed the artwork for this issue. It blended perfectly with the script and did not overpower the words on the page. The period clothing and style were represented loyally and the architecture looks like it was faithfully adapted from the history books.

The Bottom Line – This series is a fun read for longtime fans of Marvel Comics but the nuances of the character can be lost on those who are not. This story is reminiscent of Magneto: Testament in that for the most part they are strong World War II stories that only take a twist into fiction when the end approaches. I would go as far as to say that this could in fact be the opposite end of a bookend when coupled with Testament as one shows a young man’s struggle through the Holocaust and this one shows how a young man became a ruthless Nazi. Greg Pak is the Spielberg of comics. B-

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Terminator/Robocop Kill Human #2 of 4 (Dynamite Entertainment)

Written by Rob Williams, Art by PJ Holden

When a man-sized killer robot tells me that I have to come with them and have ten seconds to comply you bet your ass I am going to do as told. Starting off with a trip to the past this series took an unexpected turn (for me at least) directly into the events of Terminator 2 and what happens from there is magical.  When I first went into this series I had a feeling that I was going to be entertained but after this issue I admit that I am excited for issue three on a level that I usually reserve for birthdays and nights out with the guys. Rob Williams, you have done your homework on these franchises and it shows. The big references and even small nuances instantly highlighted without taking away from the pacing in a perfect marriage of playing to the established crowd and putting forth an amazing story that can draw new fans in.

The art department is no slouch either. There is something truly special about seeing a man unexpectedly being ripped apart from within by one of the Terminator’s signature time travel spheres. PJ Holden is genius in his effort to bring this rare sight onto the paper in the manner that he did. His action shots are full on cinematic too. I especially love his take on the famous scene from T2 where Arnold is just laying into the police with suppressive fire.

The Bottom Line – I was a bit surprised by this issue. In a week with relaunched DC titles and Marvel’s Spider-Island I did not expect this to be my book of the week but I have to give credit where it is due. THIS IS MY PICK OF THE WEEK!!! A-

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True Blood The French Quarter #1 (IDW Publishing)

Written by Mariah Huehner & David Tischman, Art by David Messina

There is a mystery killer on the loose staking vampires and Eric Northman is not going to put up with this sh*t any longer. The story starts out strong with Eric, Sookie and Bill investigating a murder in The Big Easy when the dearly departed is found with a Fangtasia matchbook on his person. Although I know this does not fit in with the present continuity of the show AT ALL it is still fun to see how Sookie deals with her desire for three men (Alcide is the third man). With the popularity of the show (and novels) I feel that this series is the start to a wonderful new medium in which die hard fans can get their fix of the characters in between the

The art felt a bit too “Land”, almost exactly traced at some points, but when there out countless images to draw reference from and when the likeness of the actors is not just desired but expected then that leave little to no wiggle room for artistic interpretation. Not that Messina is bad, quite the opposite actually. I enjoyed his work very much but when I showed by girlfriend who is not really a comic book fan she was a little distracted by how realistic the characters facial expressions were.

The Bottom Line – A strong opening with a hint of mystery and an explosive ending, this issue iss what I hope the show would be like sometimes. I thought the last series with the tainted True Blood drinks would be hard to top but it looks like we have another winner here. A

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Swamp Thing #1 (DC Comics)

Written by Scott Snyder, Art by Yanick Paquette

Picking up right after the events of Brightest Day this series does not seem to have changed much from what was set up in the recently deceased iteration of the DCU. I am very interested in where this is going since apparently Swamp Thing and his former human host, Alec Holland, exist as two separate entities and like an ex who just wont take a hint, the swamp keeps calling to Holland who just wants to live a normal life. Also, what’s the deal with the new bad guy monster thing and its twisted head followers?

I have been following Paquette’s career for a while now and I feel that this is his best work. He really nails down the freaky foliage and redefines “turning heads” with his work.

The Bottom Line – Typical first issue right here. Don’t get me wrong, it is interesting and entertaining but with the intention of introducing the characters to new readers much of the page count is spent trying to balance this with story progression. Since it did build off of Brightest Day with minimal changes I feel a little more comfortable in jumping into this but I hope for a pay off to hold my attention B

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The Lightning Round!

Here is a small number of the other books that were released this week and how I quickly rate them.

Animal Man #1 (DC Comics)

I honestly had no clue what to expect when I cracked this issue open. I have never read a solo Animal Man title before and even my limited exposure to the character only goes back to what I have seen in the pages of 52 but in keeping with the mindset of trying out new things I picked this up without a second doubt. I was glad that the story was not too heavy on the character’s back story and everything you need to know about him is revealed upfront. There was what I assume is a new development at the end setting up something big. The art was a little funky but I really dug many of the shots that were used and the dream sequence was different from what is seen in a typical “Big Two” book. B+

Men of War #1 (DC Comics)
When I heard that Sergeant Rock was being folded into the new DC I was curious as to how this iconic World War II military character would work in Superman’s world. The issue starts out with a bang and then immediately flashes back to give us the story of how we got there (very over done these days I feel). Aside from a very small but world changing cameo from a shadowed meta, this issue was a pure military story and was an enjoyable update to this oft overlooked character. Oh, and the cover is f*cking awesome! A-

Batgirl #1 (DC Comics)
This was my pick of the week during our new releases post. I still want to see why Barbara Gordan can walk again! They made mention to her handicapped time and her fear of ending up like that again is VERY realistic, so much so that she freezes up and second guesses herself during the worst possible times. I am happy with this issue, it is a strong introduction to what I hope is a memorable story arc. B

Batwing #1 (DC Comics)
As much as I love Judd Winick I almost did not finish read this book because of the strong action packed intro followed immediately by a “__ weeks earlier” flashback right when the action got really juicy. I am sorry but this is an overused practice in comics today that I have seen five times this week alone. Once I put that aside I enjoyed the rest of the issue but I was tainted from my initial response. B-

Cobra #4 (IDW Publishing)
I will never be Cobra Commander. I have come to realize this, but that does not stop me from enjoying the journey other candidates are taking to gain the title. The body count continues to rise as it is Major Bludd’s turn to do some damage. I think he is my favorite of the group since he is the most down to earth. A-

Irredeemable #29 (BOOM! Studios)
I really hate the Plutonian. He is kind of a really big dick, all destroying Earth and what not. Then he went away and the Paradigm started getting things back together but now that he is back it has all gone to hell. What does he have planned though? I really hope for an answer soon. Oh, and survivor has yet ANOTHER brother? Interesting. C+

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Graphic Novel Of The Week:
Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot (Fantagraphics Books)
An adaption of the classic novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette, this story was awesome! Taking place in the ’70’s, hit-man Martin Terrier is looking to retire but keeps finding himself being dragged back to the job. I don’t want to ruin the story for you guys but as a noir fan I was very pleased by the outcome and was very happy to have had this gem recommended to me or I would have missed it.






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