The Pull List #60 for June 15 2016

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.

Justice League #51

Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

Welcome to the Strapped-For-Usual-Content edition of the PL, hence the random issues that follow.  Still, each chosen title holds a certain appeal, and this issue of Justice League is no exception, because it’s Dick Grayson’s first encounter and team-up with the Justice League.  Taking place right after the book’s initial arc with Darkseid, Batman brings Robin along to help the team deal with seemingly-random phenomena happening in Metropolis.  While there’s nothing particularly mind-blowing or nuanced about Abnett’s script, the tale delivered feels like a classic team-up which is what this story needed.  Similarly, Pelletier’s pencils are the standard superhero fare, but he and the rest of the art team manage to deliver some fantastic and clean visuals that are dynamic in execution.  For fans of Dick Grayson and of vintage team-up tales, Justice League #51 is a good scratch for them itches.  

Star Wars #20

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Mike Mayhew
Colors: Mike Mayhew
Letterer: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos

An issue basically bought on cover art alone (I thought it was Kenobi v. Space Gorilla (when it turned out to be Black Krrsantan I was disappointed until I remembered that Wookies are basically Space Gorillas (…pretty sure that’s racist))), this one-and-done tale is an excerpt from the journal of Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was watching over Luke on Tatooine and the fearsome bounty hunter sent to track him down.  Aaron’s script wisely lets the art takeover when establishing the Wookie bounty hunter and instead focuses on the guiding narration of Kenobi as he details his struggle to save Uncle Owen from the villain’s clutches.  Mayhew’s art is a perfect fit, as his photo-realistic style contours itself nicely to the mostly-movie-depicted universe and his soft colors graft themselves well to the climes of Tatooine.  His choreography is excellent and his framing is a good mix of wide-screen cinematic and bold, stylistic shots.  Tales like Star Wars #20 are exactly what should be seen from the new Expanded Universe.  

Transformers: Till All Are One #1

Writer: Mairghread Scott
Art: Sara Pitre-Durocher
Colors: Priscilla Tramontano
Letterer: Tom B. Long

If there’s one thing I like, it’s giant, transforming robots mixed with political intrigue, as evidenced by The Top Ten Graphic Novels from two years ago.  Picking up after somewhere after the last Robots In Disguise volume I read, Starscream, former Decepticon, has brought together a Council of Worlds, uniting the Lost Colonies of Cybertron under a unified, badgeless banner.  However, not all are happy with this turn of events, and some secrets refuse to stay buried.  Scott’s scrip does a decent job of catching new readers up to the swirl of circumstances surrounding the book, though it can be a bit much a times (understandable given the relative mountain of continuity this book is built on).  Her dialogue keeps the reader from slipping too far under as it’s lively and expressive.  The art is serviceable Transformers fare and never feels rote or overly cluttered.  Despite the somewhat shaky introduction, TTAAO (yes that’s what I’m calling it) holds a wealth of promise.  

Batman #1

Writer: Tom King
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Matt Banning
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: John Workman

A crashing plane arrives in Gotham, and only Batman has a chance to prevent a staggering amount of casualties.  But can he save them all, let alone himself.  The story from Tom King…kinda falls flat.  What should be a tense story is lessened by an overabundance of technical dialogue.  Essentially everyone in the issue is reduced to a voice in Batman’s ear piece and any drama regarding the Caped Crusader’s fate is rendered hollow because this is the first issue of a new series.  At this point, one has to hope that the Rebirth primer issue was a better indicator of the value of this series than this #1.  The one redeeming quality of the issue is the art, more specifically Finch’s pencils.  The script plays to his strengths, giving us dynamic visuals and that classic Gotham cityscape while avoiding Finch’s tendency to over-muscle and same-face.  The rest of the art team however, does not fair as well.  This might be a total misjudgment, but one could posit that Banning’s thick and heavy inks and Bellaire’s normally-vibrant but here-muted colors are at cross-purposes.  Perhaps this is a case of me expecting something different than I should have, but Batman #1 does not feel like the strong start it needed.

But wait, there’s more!

CharlieDanger82 is helping out this week to cover some the new titles for DC Rebirth. Think of it like a backup story in your favorite book, just with less talented writing.

Green Arrow #1

Writer: Benjamin Percy
Art: Otto Schmidt
Colors: Otto Schmidt
Letterer: Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT
DC Comics

Remember all that hope and fun and freshness that I absolutely loved from Green Arrow: Rebirth #1? Yeah, by the end of this issue it’s pretty much gone and the start of a path down the grim and gritty CW crap starts here! While investigating the source of the Homeless Auction that he stumbled across last issue, Ollie finds out not everything in his life is what it seems to be. A sidekick is introduced who more or less telegraphs the return of an older Green Arrow character from a mile away if you’ve read anything from the Mike Grell era of books (or if you look at the cover). The dialogue is well written, but there is a transition in the middle of the story that had me scratching my head about their use of a strong female character and whether it remotely made sense. I want to see where this leads, just not as much as I did after Rebirth #1, which is unfortunate.

Superman #1

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Art: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray
Colors: John Kalisz
Letterer: Rob Leigh
DC Comics

Conversely, after a lukewarm Superman: Rebirth #1, This is a great start to the series. The old Superman is ready to take up the mantle of the fallen N52 Superman with his wife, Lois Lane, who is writing things in hiding under an assumed name (since there’s still another Lois Lane in this world) and his son, John, who’s just learning about his powers. Tomasi and Gleason are doing a great job of making Clark into a mixture of Superman and Jonathan Kent. Every writer (comic writer, that is. not “screw everyone, hide and let people die, hey is that a tornado?” writers like the guy currently destroying the DC universe on film who’s name sounds like Jack Ryder) through the ages has treated Pa Kent as the one great humanizing element in what essentially is the life of a god. Pa Kent teaches Clark a love for this world and it’s people as well as the need to help them, while still also teaching him to hide his powers while he’s not ready to use them yet. It also feels like a shared book. Of course it shows Clark and his decision to take up the mantle and give this world a Superman, but there’s also a strong emphasis on John learning his powers, the consequences of using his powers, the importance of keeping who he is secret and how he sees his father and people like him. I am very much looking forward to issue #2.

Titans: Rebirth #1

Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
DC Comics

Fun Fact: I was looking forward to this book almost as much as I’m looking forward to Blue Beetles. Although I had collected comics since I was 5, I never truly appreciated them. I never read them, I just looked at the art. When I was around 9, I was in the supermarket with my Grandfather one day and we had a long car ride to go on or something so he wanted to keep me entertained. There were this Digest sized books at the register so I grabbed a couple Archie Double Digests and a Teen Titans Digest version of the wedding of Donna Troy and Terry Long. I read that thing for weeks and it truly made me appreciate the medium. I started going back and reading the countless books I had and it made me a true fan as opposed to an observer. So let’s skip to 2016 where I get to review the beginning of of a new Titans book starring everybody I knew and loved from the old guard (would’ve liked to see Cyborg, Starfire, Beast boy & Raven, but the original line up suits me just fine. Also, Holy crap, Lilith on the team? That is a deep pull). This book had a lot to live up to in my eyes and it did not disappoint. Wally is back and he has to try and get his friends to remember him. Not an easy task seeing as how 10 years have been stolen from them. This is an awesome story about memory and the bonds of friendship that tied together a group of extraordinary people. It’s a story we can all relate to and i can’t wait to see where the series goes.

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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