The Pull List #6 – 5/6/15

A weekly column in which Jake gives short blurbs about the comics he’s picked up that week. Reviewed in the order read, which varies but generally by increasing anticipation.  Disclaimer: he knows very little about art, at least not enough to considerably honor such tremendous undertakings, so…yeh, there’s that.

Spider-Woman #7

Writer: Dennis Hopeless

Penciler: Javier Rodriguez

Inker: Alvaro Lopez

Colorist: Munsta Vicente

Letter: Travis Lanham

Marvel Comics

Spider-Woman finally gets to the bottom of the mystery of the C-List super villainsloved onesabductions (hmmm, could probably have phrased that a bit neater) and, like any good mystery, its not what she or the readers expect.  Hopeless has Jessicas voice down to a T and the dialogue exchanges in this issue are master-grade work.  Hopelesss scripting has always been one of the titles stronger suits, but with Rodriguez, Lopez and Vicente on the title the scripts shines all the stronger.  The art teams commitment to detail is fantastic, whether it be in the setting of the town of Moons Hollow or the way Jessica disguises  her costumes jacket into a facsimile of a purse.  On the penultimate page, theres a moment that could have easily come off as jarringly ridiculous, but the way the art team sells it makes it the most dramatic points of the issue.  The closing page is fantastic as well, with a neat bit of carryover from the previous into the cliffhanger text.  Spider-Woman continues to roll on strong, and hopefully, someone at management is taking notice and gives this book another volume after Secret Wars. 
Spider-Gwen #4

Writer: Jason Latour

Artist: Robbie Rodriguez

Color Artist: Rico Renzi

Letterer: VCs Clayton Cowles

Marvel Comics

Spider-Gwen takes a break from the eponymous super-heroines endeavors to focus more on the emotional state of Gwen Stacy.  With her father staying at the Parkers place after the Vultures attack last issue, Gwen is forced to confront for the first time the surrogate parents of the boy whose death she caused.  This issue hits hard.  Weve been in Gwens head fairly consistently for some time now and, while the mopeyness before was starting to wear thin, the payoff from the conversation with Aunt May is supremely cathartic and satisfying.  None of Latours words feel hokey or overwrought, which would be a very easy thing to do given the nature of the conversation.  Rodriguez and Renzi are in fine form here, hitting just the right notes on expressions.  Theres a splash page halfway through the issue that unconventionally yet expertly shows all the emotions Gwen is feeling as she sits in the Parker house going through the scrapbooks and pictures of Peters life.  Last time this title was on the Pull List, I wished that the title would pick up the pace a bit.  While I intended that to be plot wise, the emotional core of this book has been exposed and enriched by this issue.  Hopefully that means good things are on the way for this book.

Ant-Man #5

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Ramon Rosanas

Colors: Jordan Boyd

Letters: VCs Travis Lanham

Marvel Comics

Scott Lang goes toe-to-toe (or sometimes just toe) with his age-old arch-nemesis Darren Cross to save the life of his daughter Cassie.  Spencer drops the lighter tone for most of the issue as Scott fights the tougher and rejuvenated Cross, and as he deals with the ramifications of his involvement in Cassies life.  A single scene with the ever funny duo of Machinesmith and Grizzly keeps the humor in the book, but for the most part this is a action-heavy and drama-filled issue.  Rosanas and Boyd do a particularly great job during the fight, using perspective and panel-sequencing to show-off the size-changing feats of the Ant-man franchise.  After a heavy reliance on Scotts past, Spencer appears to be moving the book forward into new territory, which can be only a good thing given how well the recent additions to the title have worked out.  
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5

Writer: Ryan North

Artist: Erica Henderson

Color Artist: Rico Renzi & Erica Henderson

Letterer: VCs Clayton Cowles

Marvel Comics

Several Squirrel Girl tales for the price of one?  You cant beat that deal.  Well, its not a deal at all really, since they arent full tales and instead are just hilariously incorrect stories of Squirrel Girl told by hostages trapped in the Statue of Libertys head much to the chagrin of Nancy, Squirrel Girls roommate.  North manages to get in some great jabs across the issue at everything from the Clone Saga to grim-n-gritty comics.  Henderson and Renzi join in with aplomb, shifting their style to reflect the time period of each tale.  Particular standouts include the 1950s adventures of Squirrel Girl and Captain America, as well as the alternate future Squirrel Earl.  Unbeatable Squirrel Girl continues to be one of the funniest books in comics and shows no signs of slowing down. 
The Wicked + The Divine #10

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Jamie McKelvie

Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Image Comics

As the cover image would suggest, Baphomet prepares to get bloody as the biggest concert of the year, Ragnarock, is set to begin.  The issue starts out with the stunning sequence of Baphomet and the Morrigan shrouded in darkness, something that the comic has seen before but is used for a unique bit of gravity given the situation.  Gillen, notorious for his able writing of shit-heads, handles Baphomet well.  How he shows Baphomet convincing himself to carry out his plans is both clever and tellingly pathetic.  McKelvie and Wilson are also given ample opportunity to stand out.  From the first performance of the Norns to the Battle of Ravens, the art team continues to impress.  WicDiv is a unique book in that, while on the surface its about a seemingly odd pairing of gods and pop music, at its core its just about people and the cruelties of their fates.  In sum: its a great book and well past worth the cover price.
Secret Wars #1

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina

Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos

Marvel Comics

This is how the world ends.  No, really, this is how everything ends.  The Ultimate Universe and the Main Marvel Universe (616) collide in the final showdown of reality.  With the destruction of both worlds imminent, doomsday plans are put into action on both sides, with 616 Reed Richards attempting to finalize the last desperate plan for a reality life-raft while is significantly more malevolent Ultimate-counterpart hatches a scheme of his own.  Hickmans Avengers runs have been something Ive kept a light tab on, but even without that scant knowledge, he does an amazing job of guiding the reader through the action and plot.  He does not waste any time, either, as the book is firing on all cylinders from the get go.  Ribics foray into more mainstream super heroics (than at least Ive experienced) is fantastic, with each explosion and hit as palpable as if you were a bystander to this clash of worlds.  Svorcinas colors shine in all aspects of this issue, both the rare quieter moments and the bombastic display of colliding worlds.  Eliopoulos also brings his veteran lettering to bear, as his choice of script and placement in this issues opening and closing enhances the impact of those moments.  Secret Wars was something I was sure I was just going to check out on the periphery, but curiosity had me pick up this book just to see where it was going.  I was not disappointed.  The final battle of the Marvel universe may be over, but the real War starts in the next issue on Battleworld.

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