The Pull List #67 – August 1st 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.

Harley Quinn #1

Writers: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Chris Hardin
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Dave Sharpe

Gonna be honest in this opening salvo: I never read the previous volume of Harley Quinn, and, perhaps more importantly, I’ve never cared for the comics adaptation of the B:TAS original.  I dunno might have something to do with her specifically targeting and killing a bunch of kids, but who knows.  So maybe that’s colored my review, but I did not enjoy this book.  Whereas other Rebirth #1s have felt like the start of whole new stories, this simply feels like the start of a new arc, perhaps because the writing team is the same as the last volume.  I’ve heard relatively good things about Conner and Palmiotti, but frankly the humor hear induced more eyerolls than chuckles.  Furthermore, a huge chunk of the issue is spent recapping Harley’s entire relevant history past and present (they leave out the blowing-up-kids part though), and introducing her supporting cast, which must number at least in the several dozen, almost all of whom are completely forgettable.  The only good parts of this are the art (Hardin and Sinclair do an excellent job depicting the plethora of nobodies), the opening sequence featuring Harley and Poison Ivy (again, B:TAS), and Red Tool’s dialogue bubbles being shaped like a variety of tools (not sure if this is a writing decision or a lettering one, but, since I so rarely talk about letterers on this column (and I’m a tad bitter), I’ll give this one to Sharpe).  Don’t expect to see this title back on the PL anytime soon.  

Animosity #1

Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Colorist: Rob Schwager
Letterer: Marshall Dillon

Welcome to what is likely going to be the Break-Jake’s-Heart book of 2016.  Why do I do this to myself? Okay, essentially, Animosity has the premise of “what if animals everywhere suddenly gained human consciousness and most of them wanted to kill humanity (justifiably so if you think about it) except for the pets?” It’s a premise that Bennett uses to display equally effective notes of horror and black humor.  The heartbreak comes in that the book follows young Jesse and her faithful, goddamn saint of hounddog, Sandor.  Seriously, I cried just thinking about it.  Admittedly, some points of the issue don’t make sense (the run to the roof, the catch and crash, why a tigeress is flirting with a dog) but the highs of the issue are more than enough to make up for its lows.  De Latorre and Schwager are a perfect team to handle this story, nailing the rapid change in tone and pacing.  This won’t end well, but I’ll be damned if I won’t be there for the rest of the ride.  

Silk #11

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artists: Tana Ford
Color Artist: Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

After last month’s anticlimax of an issue, Silk needed to come back in a big way.  Good news: it did.  In one of the series’s strongest issues, Silk has a chat with her therapist about the current state of her life.  What follows is legitimately one of the most engaging and heartfelt character experiences in recent memory.  Robbie Thompson absolutely nails every aspect of the comic, including the potentially shark-jumping reveal of Spectro.  Hell, the issue’s so good it even makes up for Ford on art.  Maybe it’s because I was riding that elation, but none of the faces were too ridiculous and the body language was excellent (though, in fairness, Ford’s generally is).  Best of all, this issue is a perfect jumping on point for new readers.  So pick it up yourselves, and see whether I’m full of shit about how good the story can be and/or how not great the art can be.  

Batman #4

Writer: Tom King
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Sandra Hope & Matt Banning
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: John Workman

Insert that one .gif of the Rock clapping in admiration.  What an issue.  Hugo Strange and Psycho Pirate finally make their play and Batman is left struggling to fix it before everything goes terribly terribly wrong.  King ramps up the action and drama to eleven after three issues of well-worth-it set-up.  The art team expertly convey the horror and tension in every scene and the opening shots are beautifully gory.  I have a general rule of not supporting books that I know will do fine without my dollars.  If Batman’s going to be this good, I’ll prolly have to break that rule.  

Moon Knight #5

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Greg Smallwood, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla, and James Stokoe
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire, Michael Garlan, Francesco Francavilla, and James Stokoe
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Moon Knight has finally reached the top of the pyramid, only to find his last foe…is himself.  It’s a bit of a headtrippy conclusion in the best possible way.  Lemire expertly links separate story strands as well as Marc Spector’s fractured past into an incredible story.  Every member of the art team is an all-star and plays their part to perfection.  But as great as that all is, the best thing about this issue is that we get another one right after.  MK is back in a big way, baby.

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.

Nightwing #2

Writer: Tim Seeley
Art: Javier Fernandez
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
DC Comics

This week, Raptor & Nightwing continue their uneasy alliance. There are some really cool concepts introduced about the nature of being a superhero that haven’t been addressed in other books. Raptor is really becoming a fleshed out character but not in the traditional sense of an origin story. It’s almost like Seeley is backwards engineering his story if that makes any sense. He’s introduced as a villain and the more the curtain is being pulled back, more of his motives are coming to light. A very engaging and entertaining book.

Green Arrow #4

Writer: Benjamin Percy
Art: Juan Ferreyra
Colors: Juan Ferreyra
Letterer: Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT
DC Comics

It’s a comic book that acts like a comic book! Hooray! There’s uneasy alliances, character growth, betrayals, kidnapping and gearing up for the big battle for redemption for Oliver Queen! Fans of the show will be happy to see John Diggle back in action. Fans of the classic comic will be happy to hear a lighter tone in Ollie’s voice. The severity it there: the Ninth Circle (the most dangerous bank in the world) must be stopped, but it’s not “Batman with a bow” it’s the Green Arrow at his best. I love this book.

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Art: Jorge Jimenez
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: Rob Leigh
DC Comics

Tomasi & Gleason really like going back to the rich history of Superman characters and pulling them into the comic. Krypto, the Eradicator, and now Bibbo Bibbowski (trust me, he’s cool. Hell, he even teamed up with Lobo once. No, it’s totally true. You look it up though. Daddy is writing a review, pumpkin.)! This is an action packed issue through and through. Everyone gets their moment to shine, even Lois (who until now really took a back seat to “Superman & Son”)! There are so many things going on in this issue that it can’t really be summarized without one detail spoiling the next. Good amount of triumph and desperation going on here. Still a great book.

Writer: Rob Williams
Art: Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandu Florea
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Travis Lanham
DC Comics

In a week of winners, there most sometimes be a second place. Sadly, that’s Suicide Rebirth #1. I know this is a jumping off point for a lot of readers, but seeing all the iterations of this group the same way, Waller talking to the President about Task Force X is beginning to feel like a walk down crime alley or a small craft leaving an exploding Krypton. Also seeing as how trailers for the Suicide Squad movie are all over the internet and TV, we get it: bad guys doing good. In this issue, we get an intro to Rick Flag (not on the cover), Deadshot, Captain Boomerang (not on the cover) & Harley Quinn. Killer Croc & Katana (on the cover) are the “other members at Flag’s disposal.” The book honestly feels like Youngblood #1 in that it feels very early 90’s Image. it’s an intro to a violent super group who are badass and live by their own rules. If #1 of the regular series does not turn it around for me, this forgettable book may be dropped.

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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