The Pull List #50 for April 6th 2015

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.

Black Panther #1
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Color Artist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

Ahead of his exciting debut in the MCU, Black Panther returns to comics in a new solo series from new writer Coates and veteran comics artist Stelfreeze.  Returning to Wakanda as a former king-in-exile, T’Challa must grapple with the fallout of the recent tragedies faced by his country, such as the flooding wrought by Namor and the death of his sister, Queen Shuri.  It’s a talkative set-up issue, a necessary first step given the reliance on past events.  Coates catches the reader up well but never bogs them down with too much exposition at once.  Many subplots are created in these first pages, which makes for greater anticipation to see which comes into play first.  Stelfreeze’s art is fantastic.  From character designs to panel composition, Stelfreeze puts on a master class and the tease we get of his action sequences are incredible.  Martin’s color palette works extremely well with the nature of the book, as her use of darker hues is particularly standout.  All-in-all this is a good first step. 

New Avengers #9

Writers: Al Ewing
Artist: Marcus To
Color Artist: Dono Sanchez Almara
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

In response to the New Avengers’ actions against S.H.I.E.L.D., the United States Military has retaliated with their greatest, most ridiculous weapon: the American Kaiju!  It’s about as crazy as it sounds.  Ewing tempers the potential mayhem with some good character interactions between the remaining members of the team.  To remains a great addition to the book.  His actions are dynamic and the expressions are excellent.  The scenes with the aforementioned kaiju are some of the best the book has seen.  And the best part is, the monster’ll be in the next issue (hopefully).  And the better part is that this’ll be the first 3-issue plot the book has scene and the book has been all the better for it.

Spider-Women Alpha #1
Story: Dennis Hopeless, Jason Latour, Robbie Thompson
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Vanessa Del Rey
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Hey, look at that: two of my favorite books (Craig, now would be a really good time to publish my Top Comics List of 2015 kthanxbye) a crossover with a third to form a mini-event.  Neat.  Anyway,  this first issue mostly builds-up the relationship between the three heroines: Jessica is team mom, Cindy is the weird one, and Gwen is the taciturn one.  It’s a dynamic I wasn’t quite expecting and is a very good set-up along with the shadowy threat…er, shadowing the women as they take a journey to Gwen’s Earth-65.  The art, on the other hand, isn’t great.  Del Rey’s art is a shaded, gritty affair, one that looks fantastic when Gwen is foiling a robbery, but less so when the masks come off and the women head to get something to eat.  The faces are a bit of a mess and the backgrounds are so muddied that not even color artist superstar Jordie Bellaire can salvage them.  Despite a lackluster start, the premise of Spider-Women and the characters involved means I’ll be coming back for the next one.

Survivors’ Club #8

Writers: Dale Halvorsen & Lauren Beukes
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Clem Robins

Things get weird(er) as half of the cast deals with their own inner demons while the other contends with Mr. Empty inside the Muskagee House.  Halvorsen and Beukes’s script is fast-paced and moves from location to location fluidly.  Kelly gets to go nuts on this issue and it’s a wonder to behold as he embodies the panels with such a chaotic energy.  De La Cruz’s colors adjust appropriately depending on the setting and she and Kelly do a great job in making Chenzira’s video game world starkly different from the real one.  It’s one of the most exciting issues yet and there seems to be even better to come.

The Wicked + The Divine #18 

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: James McKelvie
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

They’re baaaaaaack.  In more ways than onnnnnnnnne.  Like at least threeeeeeee. Ahem, anyway, yes, once again, WicDiv returns, and there was much rejoicing.  McKelvie is back full-time on art.  Gillen, Wilson, and Cowles are up to their usual hijinks aka grade-A content.  I don’t really need to say more except the fact that the series’ first hardback is out.  So if you haven’t read this series yet, now you can find the first two trades in one convenient package.

The Woods #21
Writer: James Tynion IV
Illustrator: Michael Dialynas
Colors: Josan Gonzalez
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Boom! Studios

Good news!  The timeskip isn’t as jarring jarring because there really isn’t one.  Instead, we’re treated to a glimpse of Karen and Calder’s relationship during the past timeskip, while in the present the survivors of Bay Point try to regroup after the disastrous events of last issue.  Tynion’s script lives and breathes in the pages, thanks to the well-crafted character work, to the point where you aren’t seeing a plot but rather real people dealing and creating issues.  While the script doesn’t call for as many spectacles as the previous, Dialynas and Gonzalez still knock it out of the park thanks to some superb framing and character expressions.  The Woods is great and keeps getting better with every issue.

The Vision #6
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Haaaaaaaaaaa, well things certainly take a turn in this issue of The Vision, in that it turns off the dark road it’s on onto an even darker road.  While the narration is a bit too dense at times (even for this title), his plotting is fantastic and his decision are inspired and completely natural to this surreal world he’s created.  Walta and Bellaire continue to excel.  You’d be hard pressed to find a more talented pair of creators.  The Vision continues to impress and horrify. 

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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