the Pull List #33 – 12/9/15

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.
Contest of Champions #3

Script: Al Ewing

Pencils: Paco Medina

Inks: Juan Vlasco

Colors: David Curiel w/ Andrew Crossley

Letters: VCs Joe Sabino

Marvel

The battle begins in this months Contest of Champions as both teams take the field to fight and die for their masters, much to their chagrin.  Ewing manages to throw a few wrinkles into the opposing teams makeup that paints them as more interesting than I previously believed.  Rick Jones as an Immature Hulk is probably one of the funnier moments in recent memory and this version of Venom continues to unnerve.  On the part of the protagonists, we get some more Maestro machinations and find out how the Guillotine became the Guillotine.  The latter, though wonderfully scripted, does feel a little superfluous in the overall scheme since we already got a more revelatory backstory for her in the first issue.  Still the seen is wonderfully depicted by the art team, as is the rest of the book.  The double-page spread where the protagonists enter the arena feels straight out of Marvel VS Capcom (havent actually played Contest of Champions, so maybe its more like that) and looks gorgeous.  While things look set to really kick off next issue, the tension and drama built herein makes it all the more worthwhile.
Ultimates #2

Writer: Al Ewing

Artist: Kenneth Rocafort

Color Artist: Dan Brown

Letterer: VCs Joe Sabino

Marvel

The Ultimates take on Galactus, and its only the second issue!  Thats how big this book is.  Ewing guides us through the evolution of the World-Eater as Black Panther translocates across time and space to his world ship.  Tchalla narration is one of the high points of the issue as it shows just where the King of Wakandas head is at regarding both himself and the mission of the current team.  Ewing as takes a clever route in dealing with the Galactus problem, one that could possibly have major repercussions going forward for the Marvel U as a whole.  However, Rocaforts art is easily the star of the issue thanks to some glorious splash pages and dynamic paneling.  The scene of TChallas translocation is fantastic and jam-packed with detail, and somehow miraculously serves as the credit page without feeling at all cluttered.  Dan Brown brings Rocaforts pencils to life with some bombastic color choices.  Ultimates is an incredibly strong book, one that has a lot to live up to considering all that was accomplished in this two-issue opener.  
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Secret Wars #8
Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina

Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos

Marvel

THIS IS AWESOME! *clap clap clap-clap-clap* The penultimate (for real this time) issue of Secret Wars has arrived and its the Last Stand at Castle Doom.  Hickman packs the issue full of great moments. From Giant Thing (heh) and a Franklin-Richards-Von-Doom-controlled Galactuss throwdown to Peter Quills doomed yet character appropriate face-off with Black Swan to Doom finally getting his hands on (heh) the Mad Titan Thanos, the book had me grinning from ear to ear at its lighter, more awesome moments.  The writing also manages to turn on a dime and deliver some incredibly poignant dialogue in the foremost confrontation.  The art, again, is nothing short of amazing.  The quality hasnt really slipped over these past eight issues and every panel, particularly the last splash page, is of mythic proportions.  While a great deal of this is due to Ribics stellar lifework (he even uses his bug-eyed surprise face to great effectiveness), it wouldnt be half as amazing without Svorcinas moody colors painting every scene.  Secret Wars has been a hell of a ride and one that will likely go down as one of the better events in recent times. 
So what did you pick up this week? Were your choices as beautifully gloomy as mine? Agree or disagree with anything said here? Let us know in the comments.
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