by Michael Brown, staff writer

Welcome back to The Pull List for the week of March 5, 2014. It was a busy comics day. Last month saw the series finale of Wolverine and the X-Men, while this week saw the Marvel NOW! series premiere of Wolverine and the X-Men. Elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, Moon Knight does Manhattan in his self-titled first issue; Magneto #1 returns the Mutant Master of Magnetism back to his murderous roots; and Loki tries speed dating in Loki: Agent of Asgard # 2. Over in the DC Universe, Forever Evil is keeping DC’s heroes and villains busy with tie-ins aplenty, and The Walking Dead vol. 20 trade paperback made it to comic book shops.

TR01_0Written by Gail Simone
Penciled by Nicolas Daniel Selma
Inked by Juan Gedeon
Colors by Michael Atiyeh
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Dark Horse Comics

This actually came out last week but I’m reviewing it now because I was actually in the middle of the game and didn’t want to read the comic and spoil it for myself. So I binge-played the game, then I read the comic, and I’m glad I waited!

This first issue picks up right after the events in Tomb Raider: the video game, and while you don’t have to have played the game to enjoy it, since Gail Simone sets up the story and explains What Has Come Before, the emotional burden of Lara Croft won’t be fully appreciated. The aftermath of the events of the video game resonates throughout the story, and while Ms. Simone does her best to convey that to the reader, part of me wonders if I would have been as emotionally invested in the characters if I hadn’t played the game and watched that story unfold. And an event in the first issue is really rather heartbreaking, but it seems like it wouldn’t come across the same if one hadn’t played the game. Now, I’m not saying play the game and come back and read it. It’s enjoyable on its own. But to fully understand the emotional and physical toll Lara and company are enduring, I would suggest it.

My only complaint is that, even after the events of the game, Lara still comes across as sweet, loving, caring … not hardened at all … and still more than a little naive. But Simone has said that Lara will eventually be a complete badass.  I’m a longtime fan of Gail Simone’s work (all the way back to Marvel’s Agent X which was really Deadpool, but Marvel was in a fight with Rob Liefeld over the property) and I’d follow her into Apokolips itself. She says stay, I’m staying. Overall, a good read … slow with the build up … but I’m eager to see issue 2.

 

Moon-Knight-1-coverWritten by Warren Ellis
Art by Declan Shalvey
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos
Marvel Comics

Marvel’s newest wave of Marvel NOW! titles hit shelves Wednesday, along with the much anticipated return of Moon Knight. When last we saw Marc Spector, the Fist of Khonshu, he was in Los Angeles where his Multiple Personality Disorder now included Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine, driving him even further insane. But Moon Knight has gotten better, in a sense, and has returned to New York … reinvented. Gone are the cape and cowl we’re familiar with. Now, Moon Knight dons a white suit and mask and, as writer Warren Ellis has said, is going back to his horror roots as he explores and investigates the shadowy corners of the Marvel Universe.

Warren Ellis’ Planetary, The Authority, and Global Frequency have all garnered Ellis critical acclaim and are some of the best stories in comics, and he’s among the top names in the industry. It’s been years, in fact, since he’s done anything for Marvel and his name alone should make Moon Knight a top seller this week. Fortunately, his name isn’t all comics fans have to rely on. Ellis has said his primary goal now is to make Moon Knight a good book and not worrying so much about team-ups and crossovers. Peeling back but not discarding What Has Come Before. Ellis has said that he wants to take Moon Knight back to his horror roots, and investigating a slasher who is apparently weak but killing fit, strong men is a good start. Ellis also expands on Moon Knight’s role as Khonshu’s avatar, and the definite price for that job, and there is one. This first issue is hard, gritty, spooky, and as Ellis was saying he was going for, “weird”.

Fans of Daredevil and Superior Spider-Man should be able to fall in line and like this book. And Warren Ellis is one of those writers, like Gail Simone, that I will entertain. I do want to see where he goes. I liked the book, but his new costume will take some getting used to. But it looks like Ellis has something up his sleeve. I hope so. Moon Knight was originally put out there to be Marvel’s version of Batman. But Batman was already Batman and not many people latched onto Moon Knight, so he became a C-Lister than everyone experimented with but couldn’t make last. But he does have his fans, and I hope this version of Moon Knight will attract readership.

 

DIG017375_2Written by Charles Soule
Art by Javier Pulido
Lettered by Clayton Coules
Marvel Comics

The owner of the comic shop where I hang out has a saying. “The first issue snags you. the second issue keeps you.” And that’s what She-Hulk has done. I’m still not won over by Pulido’s art, but Charles Soule has something good going here, with a couple of genuine laugh out loud moments. Jennifer’s just opened her practice with no clientele, although a mysterious “blue file” that names a number of significant players in the Marvel U., including herself, in a lawsuit, has come into her possession. She’s hired a creepy new paralegal, Patsy “Hellcat” Walker shows up, and … well … no spoilers. Soule uses this second issue to expand on She-Hulk‘s supporting cast and I think this book is going to take off. And next issue looks to be just as good. A short review on this one, but She-Hulk is one to read.

And that is The Pull List for this week. As always, leave any comments below, or send me an email at michaelbrown@kryptonradio.com, about my reviews and whether or not you agree or disagree. Let me know what you guys are reading and let me know if there’s anything so awesome, I need to be reading it. But please be kind and respectful if you do. We’re just talking comics fans talking comics.

Happy reading, and keep those folders empty.

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