The Pull List #47 for March 16

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.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #4
Script: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Carmen Carnero
Inks: Terry Pallot
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Dark Horse
Working for the Inquisition and transferred to the Hissing Wastes, Marius and Tessa are tasked with rooting out Venatori presence in the area.  In order to do that, they’ll need help from one Dorian Pavus and the Bull’s Chargers.  It’s a rollicking issue, rife with Tessa’s witty and charming narration.  Rucka nails Dorian (hmmm), perfectly capturing the braggadocious mage’s speech pattern and style flawlessly.  He’s also got the Charger’s idiosyncrasies down.  Essentially, Rucka gives us the perfect guest appearance issue.  The art, quickly becoming the high point of an already exceedingly good series, is up to its usual spectacle.  The opening pages are sweeping landscapes and the climax is moody and tense, thanks in no small part to Atiyeh’s excellent pallet.  Magekiller is quickly becoming essential for any fans of Dragon Age, not for its necessity to canon, but rather for its delightful celebration of the world it inhabits and the effortless stories it weaves in it. 

Silk #6
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Tana Ford
Color Artist: Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Silk & Black Cat vs. The Goblin Nation!  How far will Silk go to maintain her cover in Black Cat’s gang?  Silk #6 is an issue that hits all the right beats plot- and character-wise.  Cindy’s actions and the fallout of them feel deserved and natural, and the dialogue in the issue flows well.  Hell, Thompson even does a bit of redeeming of the Black Cat’s character, showing the first glimpse of a character rather than caricature since her disappointing (meta-wise) fall from grace.  It’s just a shame that when the script is reaching its high point in terms of form, the art plummets.  So, bagging on artists, all of whom are far more talented and accomplished than I will ever, ever be, is not something I relish or even feel comfortable doing.  However, in terms of review the book as a cohesive whole, it must be said that Tana Ford’s art is distracting to the point of detracting.  While the faces are not at their worst this issue (some are still bad), it is the character’s proportions that suffer this issue, and not in the Humberto-Ramos-exaggeratedly-cartoony kind of way.  More in the why-did-you-leave-it-like-this-this-is-inconsistent kind of way.  There’s not even a great action sequence, one of Ford’s better attributes, to salvage the outing.  While the art may not be to my liking, the series has done a good job of making me care about the character enough to look past it.  For now, at least. 
Superman: American Alien #5
Writer: Max Landis
Illustrator: Francis Manapul
Letterer: John Workman
Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  No, it’s…Mister Metropolis…er, Flying Man…uh…Sky? Man? Ok, so maybe the name isn’t locked down yet but the early days of Superman begin in this stellar issue from Max Landis and co.  Building of the events of the previous issue, Clark Kent starts superheroing part-time.  This is something readers may have seen before, but it certainly doesn’t detract from the wonderful script Landis gives us this week.  Clark’s conversations with his parents and Lois Lane are a delight as they all examine the different aspects of Clark’s latest undertaking.  There’s just a classic feel to the comic that has to be experienced, thanks in no small part to Manapul’s excellent illustrations.  Manapul’s lines are wholesome and picturesque, even in moments of great turmoil.  His colors deal largely in shades of blue, an interesting choice given that Superman is bathed in black due to his slapdash costume.  Everything, from the action to the conversation to the framing, is a perfect fit for the issue.  It’s been said that this is the only real Superman story of the series, which is a small tragedy, as it’s one of the better ones, and, in a series this good, that’s saying quite a lot. 
Rat Queens #15
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist: Tess Fowler
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Ed Brisson
As the cover would suggest, shit gets real bad in this issue of Rat Queens.  Hannah’s past and nature has been revealed to the Queens and not everyone’s walking away unscathed.  Wiebe’s script is fraught with drama and anxiety as the plot races toward it’s bloody conclusion.  It’s a hard issue to take, which speaks to its quality as well as the quality of the series as a whole.  Fowler and Bonvillain’s art compliments the script nicely.  The pages are filled with a chaotic energy that bubbles through the character’s posture and expressions.  The conclusion of Volume 2 leaves Rat Queens in a strange place going forward.  What lies ahead is both intriguing and worrisome. 
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciller: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenburg
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
After conquering the terrible adventure known as pregnancy, Spider-Woman faces the next greatest challenge of her life: being of mother.  It’s a pitch perfect issue from the team, one that deftly explores the new reality of Jessica’s situation.  It never shies away from the nitty-gritty, as evidenced by Jessica’s exasperated opening monologue.  Hopeless has a great command over all character’s involved, from Hawkeye to Captain Marvel to Porcupine.  It’s been said before and it’ll likely beside over and over again, the Spider-Woman art team deserves some kind of award from the tour de force they put on each an every issue.  Rodriguez’s pencils and layouts are flawless and Lopez’s inks always enhance and never intrude.  Rosenberg stepping in on colors these past few issues has been a boon to the production overall, as the style hasn’t missed a beat.  In specifics, there’s a sequence midway through the issue told entirely without words, relying only symbol balloons and posturing.  It’s glorious and it’s not even the best sequence of the issue.  Spider-Woman is criminally underrated and a true gem of the Marvel line. 

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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