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.
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.
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!