by Michael Brown, staff writer
Hey comics fans! Welcome back to the Pull List for the week of May 7, 2014. Assuming you’ve read the 60 comics you got on Free Comic Book Day and had time to read the books in your own pull list.
Over at Marvel this week, someone’s killed the Watcher and the game is afoot in Original Sin #1; Miles Morales is back in action in the new Ultimate Spider-Man #1; and Scott Summers leaves the X-Men behind to join his space-pirate dad in Cyclops #1.
In the New 52niverse, Terry McGinnis, also known as Batman Beyond, makes his official DC Universe debut as he travels from his time to the present to to fix his future in Futures’ End #1; Gail Simone’s The Movement reaches its final issue in issue #12; and The Outsiders War concludes in Green Arrow #31.
IDW delivers a jive tale about a powder keg of black fury that’s about to explode in Black Dynamite #2; and at Dark Horse, Mal and the New Resistance crash the facility where River was being held, while Zoe is captured by the Alliance in Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4, picking up where the movie Serenity left off.
So you may have heard that Peter Parker is back from the dead and is once again the web-slinger. In celebration of this event, writer Dan Slott and penciler Ramon Perez tell the story of a time in Peter’s early days as Spider-Man. In Learning to Crawl, Uncle Ben’s death is only days old and Peter and Aunt May are struggling with bills, and Peter is doing side jobs with his brand new powers to help raise some cash to pay the bills. This was a fun “untold story” of Spidey’s early days, and Slott’s love for the character continues to come through in this early tale just as in his modern stuff, as he gives us his take on Peter’s early exploits. And we see some of Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery before they became who they are today. Quentin Beck in his pre-Mysterio days as a special effects technician on a show Spidey is appearing on, for example, trying to keep Spider-Man safe, in a twist of dramatic irony.
But, as previously mentioned, Slott writes another good Spidey tale, focusing less on action and more on Peter trying to maintain some normalcy, using his powers to keep his family afloat, and the slow journey to the revelation that he is something … well … amazing. And Ramon Perez, whose art graces issues of Wolverine and the X-Men, is fresh and clean and easy to look at. His take on Spider-Man reminds me a lot of Steve Ditko’s in that way that Spider-Man’s eyelets always seemed to be half closed. If you’ve ever seen any Ditko Spider-Man art, you know what I’m talking about.
A lot of comics readers aren’t fans of the “early tales’, since a retcon is always looming on the horizon. But I liked this story and would very much like to see where Slott takes it. And as Dan Slott fans know, he likes to foreshadow and bring the big payoff on down the road. I recommend this one, if nothing else to see what Slott has coming.
Marvel’s new event has arrived, and, in my opinion is much more engaging than what has come before. Avengers vs. X-Men, while not a favorite, did lay some important groundwork for both books, while Age of Ultron was a complete waste of time, with plot holes big enough to fly a Shi’ar battle cruiser through. In Original Sin, someone has brutally murdered the Watcher and taken his eyes, propelling Marvel’s heroes into a murder mystery of galactic proportions. Nick Fury has come out of retirement to lead the investigation, sending select teams of heroes to follow up leads and track down suspects. And whoever has killed the Watcher has taken some very powerful alien weaponry and super-tech with them, as well as access to everything the Watcher knows. Every dark and dirty secret.
This has the potential to be the event of the year. Jason Aaron, who did some time on the X-books, will write the eight-issue miniseries, with Mike Deodato on the art chores. My favorite thing about this first issue, and the series perhaps, is the teams that Col. Fury (the original, by the way) organizes to aid in the investigation. And I think that is where half of the fun will come from. Disparate teams like Moon Knight, the Winter Soldier, and Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy. Which excites me to no end because I’m a fan of all three of them. And what may be the oddest buddy-cop tale ever, Doctor Strange and the Punisher.
This was a really good, really strong first issue and the plot takes off immediately, with some great scenes that, while funny, emphasize the seriousness of the situation. There’s a great scene with Ben Grimm, Spider-Man and a Mindless One with the Ultimate Nullifier that is just as tense as it is humorous, which is why Jason Aaron is one of my favorite writers. My only real problem is Mike Deodato’s art, at least as far as Original Sin is concerned. I’m a fan of Deodato. His work on Amazing Spider-Man back when J. Michael Strazcynski was writing it was beautiful. But Deodato’s art is dark, and blocky, with little or no detail. And dark. And shadowy. And while it’s true that’s necessary to set the tone for a dark murder mystery, it’s the lack of detail that concerns me. Something that may cause the reader to miss a clue if he’s trying to solve it along with the cast.
I definitely recommend this one. I think it will be too much fun to ignore, along with what I perceive as some some pretty serious ramifications for the Marvel Universe to come. And some of the tie-in stories happening in individual titles look like too much fun to pass up. A second spider bite victim from the spider that bit Peter Parker; a secret 1970s team of Avengers; Thor and Loki’s… wait for it … sister. And still more. It looks like Marvel will have fun with this one. And did I mention Doctor Strange and the Punisher as buddy cops? Yeah.
There’s also a neat trailer that Marvel put together to coincide with the release of the first issue, and I’ve included that for your viewing pleasure.
And that is The Pull List for this week. I hope everyone had a productive Free Comic Book Day. Feel free to comment on any of the above or send me an email. I’d love to know what you guys are reading.
It’s a good time to be a comics fan. Happy reading!
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