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Apr 032014
 
Written by Warren Ellis Penciled by Declan Shalvey Colors by Jordie Bellaire Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos Cover art by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire Marvel Comics

Written by Warren Ellis
Penciled by Declan Shalvey
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos
Cover art by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire
Marvel Comics

by Michael Brown, staff writer

This is The Pull List for the week of April 2, 2014. Over at Marvel this week, Ultimate Spider-Man reaches issue 200; a cloud of Terrigen Mist is transforming regular people into “inhumans” with amazing powers in Inhuman #1; The New Warriors continue their fight with the High Evolutionary in New Warriors #3; and in Spider-Man: Family Business, Spider-Man’s been targeted for termination by the Kingpin, and Spidey’s only hope is… his sister?? 

At DC Comics, Superman confronts Lex Luthor after the events in Forever Evil, but Lex is the hero and Superman is the villain in Action Comics #30; the Outsiders War continues in Green Arrow #30; Joker needs Catwoman’s help with his newest crime, and the Dynamic Duo are going to need some Batgirl-sized help of their own to stop them in Batman ’66 #31.

Gail Simone continues chronicling Red Sonja’s quest in Red Sonja #8 by Dynamite Comics; Frankenstein’s monster arrives in London and clashes with Jack the Ripper in Monster and Madman #2 from IDW; Valiant brings us an epic clash between Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot, and the H.A.R.D. Corps in Archer & Armstrong #19; and Dark Horse Comics kicks off a new Star Wars series and a new season of Angel and Faith.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I was told many years ago as a young new comic book reader that the first issue hooks you and the second issue keeps you there. Moon Knight #2 is that kind of second issue. This one has the Fist of Khonshu chasing a sniper who is murdering seemingly random people, and written the way that only Warren Ellis can write it. And there’s actually less writing and more scripting, giving penciler Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire a chance to shine. And shine they do, in a definite dark and gritty kind of way. Some of the best artistic storytelling can be found in this book and Shalvey and Bellaire are brilliant, and Moon Knight has never looked better. Working off of Ellis’ script, Shalvey and Bellaire deliver an almost dialogue-free chase across New York City’s rooftops. And once Ellis’ set-up ends, this issue is fast-paced with enough action that once you reach the end, it’s like stopping just short of a brick wall and wondering what the heck happened. Great issue with Moon Knight at the top of his game. If you are a Punisher or Daredevil fan, this will make your list, too.

Written by Charles Soule Penciled by Javier Pulido Colors by Muntsa Vicente Lettered by VC's Clayton Cowles Cover Art by Kevin Wada Marvel Comics

Written by Charles Soule
Penciled by Javier Pulido
Colors by Muntsa Vicente
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Kevin Wada
Marvel Comics

She-Hulk continues to be one of my favorite books. It’s fun and charming, two words that are almost anathema in comic book production these days. In this third issue, Jennifer is hired by none other than Doctor Doom’s son, who is seeking political asylum because he likes to party and just doesn’t want to be the next ruler of Latveria. Of course she agrees, because her practice is still new, she still needs the money, and she can rely on her unique skill set. And she’ll need her skill set because getting Doom Junior to the judge on time is going to be tricky when she’s pursued by hordes of Doombots as she tries to get across the city.

Writer Charles Soule and penciler Javier Pulido deliver a fun, chuckle-worthy, fast paced issue, and a great nod to the John Byrne breaking-the-fourth-wall She-Hulk series that Shulkie fans know and love. Soule and Pulido work well together and I couldn’t imagine a better team for this book. And even with my initial hesitation over Pulido’s art, much like my early feelings about Dan Schoening’s work on IDW’s Ghostbusters, his artwork is the perfect comedic visual punch this book needs.

After you’re finished with your grittier books like Detective Comics, Punisher, Moon Knight, and Green Arrow, take a breath, clear your head, and have some fun with She-Hulk. It’s like eating a fabulous steak, then following it up with a perfect dessert. A perfect comics meal.

And that’s my pull list for this week. Next week brings us Chris Claremont’s return to the X-Men with his new Nightcrawler series, a new Batman book for DC, Daredevil’s 50th anniversary celebration, Iron Fist’s return to monthly comics, and still more!  Awesome and exciting stuff. It’s a good time to be a comics fan.

Happy reading, Kryptonics!

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Mar 272014
 

by Michael Brown, staff writer

Welcome to The Pull List for the week of March 26, 2014. Folders should be emptied and comics read and put away in long boxes. This is your comics water-cooler, and I’m the guy leaning up against it, not getting anything done, on the cusp of getting fired because all I want to do is talk about this week’s comics. Dancing With the Stars?! That’s nothing. Did you see what happened in the new Superior Spider-Man? Whoa, baby. That’s the stuff that matters. Let’s get started, shall we?

Over at Marvel this week, the Sentinel of the Spaceways returns to monthly comics in Silver Surfer #1,  a teenage mechanic from East L.A. channels the Spirit of Vengeance in All-New Ghost Rider #1, New York burns and things get serious in the penultimate issue of Superior Spider-Man, and Jim Rhodes leaves the Secret Avengers and flies solo in Iron Patriot #1.

DC Comics gives us the second issue of Neil Gaiman’s return to Sandman; Justice League Dark and A.R.G.U.S. take on the Crime Syndicate as the Forever Evil event starts to wrap up; and Superman and Starfire must find a cache of alien weapons, if they can stop fighting each other first in Superman #29.

IDW continues the 30th anniversary celebration of Ghostbusters with Part Two of Mass Hysteria, and we reach the end of The X-Files: Conspiracy. And over at the hallowed halls of Image, All Out War continues in The Walking Dead #124.

Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage Penciled by Giuseppe Camuncoli Inked by John Dell and Terry Pallot Colors by Antonio Fabela Letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Penciled by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inked by John Dell and Terry Pallot
Colors by Antonio Fabela
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick this issue up is the thickness. That’s the Black Widow preview in the back. Not more Superior Spider-Man. So let’s get that out of the way.

If you’ve been reading Superior Spider-Man, you either love it or you hate it. In addition to being the penultimate issue of the series, issue 30 is where it all comes to a head. When Marvel says it’s all been coming down to this, they aren’t kidding.

Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man has been all about one-upmanship and redemption. Otto has set out from the first issue to prove that he can be the better hero, and at the same time, honor Peter Parker’s name. We’ve seen Otto take some pretty drastic measures to do just that, including killing his enemies. But the center hasn’t been holding and all of Otto’s deeds are not going unpunished.

Part four of Goblin Nation has Otto Octavius and Spider-Man 2099 fighting desperately to save New York, and themselves, from an army of Goblins and rogue Spider-Slayers.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Goblins have Otto’s girlfriend and are taunting him with her. And Otto’s having trouble with being the hero so he’s having some difficulty making heroic decisions while trying to save the woman he loves. And when this issue’s over, the last decision our Superior Spider-Man makes may indeed be his last.

Writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage, and penciler Giuseppe Camuncoli keep the series’ next-to-last issue fast paced and desperate. New York is burning, things are as bad as they’ve ever been, and Otto is up against the wall with no answers, with what’s left of Peter trying to maintain order in Otto’s head. We’ve pretty much known that Peter was going to fight for a return to his body at some point, and this where all of the speculation comes to an end.

The end of this one will have you grinning and on your feet for the final issue’s final showdown. But let me make myself perfectly clear, here. And I hope I’m not spoiling. If you’re one of those readers who are tired of SpideyOck and you’re just biding your time waiting for Amazing Spider-Man #1, go pick this issue up, anyway. This is where it all starts. Right here.

 

Written by Christos Gage Art by Rebekah Isaacs Colors by Dan Jackson Lettered by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

Written by Christos Gage
Art by Rebekah Isaacs
Colors by Dan Jackson
Lettered by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

This one actually came out last week but it somehow missed my list. Shame on me. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #1 picks up almost instantly where Season 9 left off, with Earth’s magic restored, the zompire menace dwindling, and the repercussions of certain events, like Xander’s betrayal, still weighing on everyone’s minds.

All of the original cast has returned, including Anya, Xander’s former vengeance-demon-turned-human-fiancee, who was killed at the end of Season Seven, and is now a ghost and serving as Xander’s ghostly conscience of sorts. Some new cast members are introduced and it’s a good thing because the Scoobies definitely need all the help they can get against a tougher breed of vampire: able to walk in daylight and shape change. We’ve seen this kind of power before with Dracula, but we are quickly reminded that this isn’t Dracula mojo. This is something else.

This is a good kick off to a new season. Joss Whedon is back on board as Executive Producer, edging Buffy into a more character-driven series that mirrors Season 9, after the harsh feedback received for Season 8, which fans found too fantastical and “cosmic.”  And that’s often the trouble with licensed comics. Publishers and writers realize they’re under no budget constraints, so they feel the sky’s the limit. To a point, that works. And it’s exciting to see licensed characters do things they might not have been able to do under other monetary and special effects constraints.

Buffy and crew are getting back to basics, with vampire-slaying the norm this season rather than the exception. Christos Gage is excellent as the startup writer for Season 10, and the good thing about Buffy is that Whedon manages to pull some great talent for this book. Writers like Gage, Brian K. Vaughan, Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard, who wrote for the TV series, and novelist Brad Meltzer have written story arcs in past seasons, and even Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander in the TV series, will write an issue of Season 10. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

 

And that’s The Pull List for this week. As always, I encourage you to comment below or email me. What was in your Pull List this week? What books totally bombed this week? Are you excited about Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What’s better? Arrow or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Happy Reading, Kryptonics!

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Aug 022013
 
truthinjournalism

The Marvel villian character Venom is meant to show us the darkest side of having superpowers.  This new guerrilla-style short film Truth in Journalism asks the question, “what would happen if the animal took over?” True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten takes on the role of iconic Marvel villain Venom in the new guerrilla-style short film Truth in Journalism, directed by Knights of Badassdom filmmaker Joe Lynch.

The lines between fan films and professional work blur when you get to this level.  The gritty black-and-white tale is presented as found footage of a journalist-turned-vigilante who wants a documentary crew to immortalize his achievements, and isn’t clear on the concept of right and wrong himself.

The roughly 16-minute short was produced by Adi Shankar, whose credits include the big-screen films The Grey, Killing Them Softly, and the comic-book adaptation of Dredd starring Karl Urban. Last year, he produced another rogue short, Dirty Laundry, based on the Marvel character The Punisher, starring Thomas Jane (who played the character in the 2004 feature film.)

The short is set in the mid-to-late 1980′s.  Lynch’s film borrows not just from the Marvel universe, but spoofs the disturbing 1992 Belgian crime faux-documentary Man Bites Dog, about a serial killer whose twisted spree is accompanied by a film crew. It’s dark, both visually and thematically, and there are parts of it that are pretty horrifying – so if you’re sensitive to that, be warned now.

It’s a superhero movie, of sorts.  And while there isn’t much that’s uplifting about it, it’s a remarkable piece of filmmaking and resonates.

See what you think.

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Jun 192013
 
by staff writer Michael Brown

1-f61e173804-e7128-610x999Spider-Man: Family Business

Marvel’s next original graphic novel will introduce a new character to the Spider-Man mythos. The House of Ideas has announced that Mark Waid (Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day), James Robinson (Fresh from DC Comics and most recently known for his work on Earth 2 and The Shade) and Gabrielle Dell’otto( Secret War and X-Force: Sex + Violence) will collaborate on a new graphic novel titled Spider-Man: Family Business which will introduce Teresa Parker, a woman who claims to be Peter’s long-lost sister. The two are thrown together on a globetrotting adventure as Kingpin begins a new wave of criminal expansion that will affect the Parker family directly.

Writer Mark Waid describes Teresa as very much Peter’s opposite, comparing her to super-spy Modesty Blaise. “He has every reason to be skeptical about who this woman is and who she says she is.” said Waid. “It seems very bizarre to him that Aunt May never mentioned anything about this woman, who’s about his age and the resemblance is there. Pet er wants to try to figure out what this mystery is all about but basically they’re running from a crime syndicate out to kill them both throughout the novel, so there’s not a whole lot of time for Spider-Man to sit and relax and slowly suss this out.”

The story will also reportedly include new insight into Peter’s CIA parents, Richard and Mary Parker, and the circumstances of their deaths. “It really is a focus on Peter drafted into the spy James Bond-ish, super-secret-agent life that his parents left.” ” most interesting when he’s as ordinary as possible, except for the spider bite. There’s the one freakish thing that happened to him.”

Waid went on to  describe Peter as ” most interesting when he’s as ordinary as possible, except for the spider bite. There’s the one freakish thing that happened to him. One of the reasons we haven’t explored a lot of untold secrets behind his lineage is the danger is obviously there to make it a little too convoluted and take away the everyman aspect of Peter.” But Waid explained that he feels they’ve “successfully sidestepped this in this graphic novel.”

 Family Business is set before the events in Superior Spider-Man so the story will be entirely about Peter Parker “to make it a “a little more outside-audience friendly,” Waid explained. “If most people are asked on the street who Spider-Man is, they may know Peter Parker. We dodge continuity that way to make it a little more timeless.”

Spider-Man: Family Business is scheduled for May 2014.

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May 172013
 

Comic JungleAttention all mini-geeks,parents, and grandparents of mini-geeks! The Los Angeles Zoo is hosting Comic Jungle on Saturday, June 1, 2013, and Sunday, June 2, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come to the zoo dressed as your favorite comic character. During the day, there will be opportunities to meet Marvel heroes, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man, and special activities all around the zoo. Learn which animals at the zoo have “super powers” like flight, night vision, and super strength!

Although the zoo’s website says the event is “free to all GLAZA members with paid admission,” we were able to verify with a zoo representative that the event is open to all zoo attendees on June 1 and June 2, and GLAZA membership is not required.

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Apr 252013
 
spidermanBadDay

Everybody has a bad day once in a while.  Even the Amazing Spider-Man.  This is the first of a series of animations by Stan Lee’s World of Heroes depicting superheroes having the worst days of their lives.

If even superheroes can have days like this, maybe you’re not running your own life so bad after all.

Enjoy.

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