The Pull List #29 – 11/11/15


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.

Ultimates #1

Writer: Al Ewing

Artist: Kenneth Rocafort

Color Artist: Dan Brown

Letterer: VCs Joe Sabino

Marvel

You know its a jam-packed week when a book featuring Miss America Chavez and Monica Rambeau  written by Al Ewing is the first book on the list.  The Ultimates is a group formed to fix the new universes most ultimate problems and, as such, its a team comprised of some of the most powerful individuals on the planet.  Al Ewings proven hes a writer that can take the biggest and zaniest of ideas and break them down into fun, delicious chunks and this issue is no exception.  Although we dont exactly understand what this teams first mission is, we get an excellent idea of their mission statement from the examples were given.  From Doc Brashears presentation of a frightening new substance to Rambeau and MACs battle on an alien world, you get a sense of what this team is about.  Honestly, the reason this is so early on the list is I wasnt sure if I would like the art style, having never read a Rocafort book to my recollection.  Im glad to say my reservation was unfounded as both he and Brown to a fantastic job with every aspect of the book.  Utilizing some dynamic paneling choices to intricate environments, Rocafort and Brown are more than a match for whatever weirdness Ewing throws at them.  With a great cast of characters and a unique mission statement, Ultimates is going to be a damn great series to read.
All-New Hawkeye #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Ramon Perez

Colors: Ian Herring

Lettering: VCs Joe Sabino

Marvel

Spinning directly out of the events of the last volume, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop (Team Hawkeye) must find a way to overcome the gap thats cast between them and work together again.  Only, they dont.  For years, as evidenced by the books second half, a flash-forward to the future where Kate Bishop has turned the Hawkeye name into a peacekeeping entity and Clints self-sabotage has left him friendless and alone.  Its an interesting choice of story, one thats a bit trickier to pull of than the books usual choice of showing us stories of the past.  But Lemire pulls it off and hints at a bunch of things in the future that sound incredibly fun.  Its just too bad the art isnt up to par, which is a strange thing to say considering how its the same team that was killing it on the last volume.  Whereas Perez representations of the past were watercolored-esque and astounding, his choice of style for the future storyline is sketchy in the total sense of the word.  While its definitely a thematic choice, it leaves the product with an unfinished and subpar feel.  Perhaps as a result, the present storylines art also appears to suffer from a lack of quality, though in fairness hes not given a whole lot to work with there.  The last volume of Hawkeye was able to get out of the shadow of the Fraction run and become an incredible story in its own right, which makes it so strange that it seems unable to do so to itself in this new volume, especially because nothing has changed on the creative team.  Subjective as it might be, thats the impression I get from this lackluster #1. 
The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #7

Writer: Kurt Busiek

Artist: Benjamin Dewey

Color Art: Jordie Bellaire

Lettering: John Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft

Image

Its baaaaaaack.  After the earth-shattering (see what I did there) events of last arc, we find Dusty and Learoyd stranded in the wilderness, separated from the rescued group of city-dwellers that have their own problems to deal with.  It is the former plot that we mostly deal with, as Dusty struggles with his faith in the Great Champion who is still coming to grips with being a man out of time.  Busiek hasnt missed a beat and effortlessly weaves in exposition in character work as Dusty explains more about the nature of the Autumnlands (also why its called that, so yay!).  This is accompanied by a wonderful series of illustrations by Dewey and Bellaire.  From the explanation of magic to the haunting departure of Seven-Scars, the art in this book is top-notch and beautifully complex.  Ah Autumnlands, its been too long and Im so glad youre back. 

Secret Wars #7

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Marvel

Still happening!  Thats right, the penultimate issue of Secret Wars is here and Dooms kingdom has come crashing down around him.  With enemies marshaling on all sides, the Doom struggles to keep his world intactdespite the fact that we already know it doesnt stay that way.  Yes, some of the punch has been taken out of the story now that we are aware that it seems All-New All-Different is so all-new or all-different, but Secret Wars is still a pretty fun crossover event.  After all, in this issue we get to see Apocalypse throw down with an army of Thors and Baron Sinister versus the Goblin Queen.  Hickmans tightly plotted script keeps the reader entertained, thanks to some snappy dialogue and its ability not to take itself too seriously.  Ribics art continues to amaze and thankfully there are no overly cartoonish expressions this time around.  He and Svorcina do an excellent job of selling the carnage and despair of the worlds last battle.  Theres only one issue left, and it looks to finish as strong as the rest of the series. 
Southern Bastards #12

Writer: Jason Latour

Artist: Chris Brunner

Color: Jason Latour & Chris Brunner

Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

Image

A shift in the creative team this month sees things get really weird in this issue of Southern Bastards.  We circle back to deal with the fallout of Earl Tubbs death, focusing on the beating of his young friend Tad Ledbetter as well as one of Coach Bosss flunkies, Materhead.  As such, its kind of a mishmash of an issue.  The two stories connect at the aforementioned beating and its consequences, but the issue still feels a bit disjointed.  However, despite Latour subbing in for Aaron on writing duties this month, the dialogue is as strong as ever.  On art, Brunner is guesting on this issue, and while his style is a bit more cartoonish than Latours, its a good fit for an issue that features a gloriously chaotic sequence involving a brain damage/drug-induced hallucination involving a cartoon chicken.  Brunner can also pull of the sinister scenes that Southern so often calls for.  Owing to a set of disparate stories, the third arc of Southern Bastards seems a bit more disjointed that the previous two.  However, all that is set to change as it appears were finally going to get to see the climactic showdown of Wetumpka and the Rebs next issue. 
Superman: American Alien #1

Writer: Max Landis

Illustrator: Nick Dragotta (Matthew Clark)

Colorist: Alex Guimaraes (Rob Schwager)

Letterer: John Workman

DC

Pretty sure this is the highest a DC book has ever been ranked on the Pull List.  Superman: American Alien #1 gives us a brief snapshot into the life of Clark Kent and his adoptive family as Clark struggles with his blossoming powers.  The result is heartwarming and one that doesnt back down from the drama.  Landis makes you feel the trepidation of the Kents as they deal with their superpowered son and the sadness and disappointment of a young boy grappling with who he is.  Its just a feel-good comic that doesnt try to add anything crazy to the Superman mythos other than making you emphatically empathize with everyone involved.  Meanwhile, Dragotta and Guimaraes provide a soft touch to the tale with rounded lines and delicate colors.  The action is conveyed well, and while some of the yelling expressions are a little much, every other one speaks volumes.  Itll be interesting to see where the series goes from here, what with skipping along the timeline and a rotating cast of art teams, but it certainly is a strong start. 
BOOK OF THE WEEK
The Wicked + The Divine #16

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Leila Del Luca (Jamie McKelvie)

Colorist: Mat Lopes (Matthew Wilson)

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Image

With the Morrigan imprisoned, we take some time to learn both her and her wayward boyfriends backstories.  While its generally what youd expect thanks to the hints and teases dropped along the way, theres still enough to surprise the reader and make the whole enterprise entertaining.  Gillen has a field day hamming it up, both with early the Morrigan (Marian) and her present self, that is simultaneously sincere and self-mocking.  He also injects a healthy dose of emotion, as one would suspect, that naturalizes the whole experience.  Leila Del Luca, of the much-loved Shutter, is on art this week and providing very expressive work, and is therefor a perfect fit for the issue.  From facial expression to body language Del Luca nails every scene.  Lopes works nicely on colors to as while the present in Wodens Vahalla is a bright and shiny affair, the Morrigans past is suitably drab and mundane.  Song still marches on as WicDiv remains effortlessly strong.
So what did you pick up this week? 
Agree or disagree with anything said here? 
Let us know in the comments.
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