Thursday, April 14, 2016

Weekly Comic Pull #1: Gwenpool Edition!

Welcome, everyone, to a new weekly series I'm going to be doing called the Weekly Comic Pull, where I'll be going over and giving short thoughts on everything in my pull list this week. Fortunately, I happened to pick a week where I have a few new #1's in my pull (including one that I may or may not be excited for that you might've guessed by the title), and this is week #1! How appropriate. I won't be going into these issues in any real particular order, so without further ado, let's move on to the issues!

A-Force #4

Written by Kelly Thompson & G. Willow Wilson
Art by Jorge Molina

A-Force #4 caps off the end of the first story arc for this book, and somehow manages to probably be the best issue so far. Thompson and Wilson have basically gotten down the repertoire of these characters, especially some of the ones with the bigger egos.. She-Hulk in particular has been and continues to be the standout in the book, which I suppose makes up for the lack of her own solo book. Much of the first half is comprised of the climactic final fight against the big bad of this arc, Antimater, as he tries to destroy the always-lovable Singularity, a character I was unfamiliar with having not read the Secret Wars A-Force series, but fell in love with over the course of this series. A lot of the battle gives Jorge Molina the chance to turn in some stunning art, with a particularly beautiful splash page at the book's climax. Much of the rest of the book spends time setting up the next arc, which promises to be more of a globe-hopping affair. And with THIS team (both in the book and on writer/artist duty), I look forward to seeing the A-Force take on some new threats in exotic locales. This is definitely one to watch.

Tony's Score: 8.5/10

Batman/Superman #31

Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Doug Mahnke

I'll be upfront about this, but I've not been a huge fan of a lot of the recent Superman stuff really since the New 52 began. This story though, Super League, seems to be trying to make up for lost time, and fittingly so. For anyone who read last week's Superman #51, which this is a continuation of, Superman's dying, and he wants to make sure the world is in good hands when he finally passes. In this, part 2 of Super League, he enlists Batman to help him find his cousin, Kara Zor-El A.K.A. Supergirl, before he finally kicks the bucket. The story is fairly slow, and refreshingly somber considering the subject matter. There's a wonderfully written and tender scene in the Batcave where Batman and Alfred are silently coming to terms with the reality that Superman might ACTUALLY die. And for what it's worth, it's convincing. The book's sprinkled in with small moments that hint at some growing crisis, but for now, it's an issue that is mainly moving pieces around for the coming story, set to continue in next week's Action Comics #51. Doug Mahnke does as admirable job, a few awkward faces aside, and in one particular moment late in the book, really sells that Superman's getting weaker every day. For a character that I haven't been very invested in, they sure are doing a good job at killing him.

Tony's Score: 8/10

Black Canary #10

Written by Brenden Fletcher
Art by Moriat & Sandy Jarrell

When I heard that, as part of DC Rebirth, Black Canary would be getting cancelled, I was at first really sad about that. The first 8 issues or so, I really really enjoyed. At this point, I'm just waiting for this series to finally go away if it keeps going the way it's going. 
Coming off of a mediocre filler issue, #10 gets back on track with a storyline that, frankly, I never found interesting. The book never sold me on this story about finding out secrets about Black Canary's family, and the more I find out (in some less-than stellar exposition), the less I care. Batgirl shows up here, but she somehow manages to act even less like the Babs I know and love than she even does in her regular book, and at times acts like a 14 year old. The art ranges from passable to awkward. The style is cool, but the execution is sloppy, and I counted at least two noticeable errors wherein the artist apparently forgot whether they were drawing Batgirl or Black Canary. The filler issue from last month was mediocre, but at least had some bits of fun. This issue feels like it's going through the motions. Really, the only thing about this issue I like is the cover, because man that looks awesome. The story inside, meanwhile, is less so.

Tony's Score: 6/10

Darth Vader #19

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca

How funny that this arc started with a premise that I'd find extremely boring and ended up being another stellar Vader arc from Gillen and Larroca. In this, the final chapter of the Shu-Torun War, we pick up where the last issue left off, with Vader's forces surrounded, and with Vader himself facing two treacherous allies-turned-enemies. The battle is perhaps disappointingly short, but the show of brutality that follows is appropriate for the Dark Lord and shows how efficient he can be. The rest of the issue is essentially watching the dominos that are Vader's opposition slowly fall as he ends the conflict on this mining planet near-single handedly. Larroca's art is as consistently fantastic as ever, especially with all the lava and the sense of scale of some of these pages. And while there aren't any HUGE surprises this issue, Gillen gives us a last page tease that things are about to get VERY interesting for Lord Vader, and that old mistakes may be coming back to haunt him. I await the next issue with bated breath.

Tony's Score: 8.5/10

Guardians of the Galaxy #7

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Valerio Schiti

The short version? This issue ain't gonna teach you anything, but it's fun as hell. The long version? This arc seems to be an excuse for Bendis do pair off members of the Guardians and put them on different, tangentially related adventures, which at first seems odd to not have the whole team. But honestly, with #6 being as touching as it was, and #7 being this fun, I don't mind. This issue sees Rocket Raccoon and the Thing teaming up to free a bunch of prisoners (Rocket included). And really, that's it. It's not a story heavy issue, devoting most of its pages to wall-to-wall action, chiefly by the Thing. And, for what it's worth, it's fun. Schiti does a great job with the Thing, just having him obliterate anything in his path while protecting enslaved aliens, and even finding himself a sweetheart among them. The parts that aren't the Thing punching dudes is filled with banter between him and Rocket, which is as enjoyable as it sounds. I wasn't expecting the Thing to so naturally fit in among the Guardians before this issue. Next issue promises to be a Venom/Groot team up, which sounds pretty unorthodox, so here's hoping it's as good as this.

Tony's Score: 8/10

The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1

Written by Christopher Hastings
Art by Gurihiru & Danilo Beyruth

Is it gimmicky? Sure. Does it work? Oh yeah. I never got around to picking up any of the earlier appearances of Gwenpool, but the concept was interesting enough that I thought it would be worth picking up, if only just for Gurihiru's adorable art work. So, does Gwenpool manage to extend its gimmick into a full issue? To a surprising degree, actually. Gwenpool is fun, it's constantly poking fun at its own concept (in ways I assume are lifted quite a bit from Deadpool), and it's just wacky enough to work. I mentioned it before, but Gurihuri's art is fantastic, perfectly encapsulating Gwenpool's personality and the bubble gum aesthetic that makes the book so charming, though Bryruth's prologue story is no slouch in the art department either. Christopher Hasting doesn't write a super complex story, but it's enough of a story to put Gwenpool in some fun situations that she's CLEARLY not prepared for, a point that surprisingly comes into sharp focus at the end of the issue. The book ends with a last page that really took me by surprise with maybe one of the darker and sadder caps to any issue I've read in a while. It also teases that the Unbelievable Gwenpool might not be going where you think it's going. We'll see. If a comic's job is to get me to buy the next issue, then it's succeeded, if only just to know where the hell it's going.

Tony's Score: 8/10

The Legend of Wonder Woman #4

Written by Renae de Liz
Art by Ray Dillon

The Legend of Wonder Woman has, so far, been a pretty enjoyable retelling of Wonder Woman's origin. It's no Batman: Year One, or anything, but it IS fairly well done. This issue sees Diana becoming acquainted with the outside world, a world that, until now, she thought to have been consumed by the evils of man. We also get introduced to Etta Candy, a Wonder Woman supporting character who's appeared off and on throughout the years. Here, she turns out to be a pretty fun addition to the cast. She's spunky, she's bright, and she provides some explanation for the setting. Unlike the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, the Legend of Wonder Woman decides to take the period straight from the Golden Age, setting it in World War II, and setting Diana up to eventually take her place in the fight. There's quite a bit of writing that's unfortunately taken up by exposition, which especially drags the issue down towards the end, but Ray Dillon's art is consistently excellent. It's a strange, maybe slightly juvenile art style, but it's one that works in 1940's America in a way that it perhaps didn't work as well as on Diana's home island the same way. This issue stays the good, if not quite great course. There's potential for something great to be done here, especially if the book does something new with the WWII aspect, but right now, the Legend of Wonder Woman is comfortable just being good enough. For now.

Tony's Score: 7/10

Moon Knight #1

Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Greg Smallwood

Moon Knight's always been a character I've WANTED to like, but never got a chance to read anything about. I know the general idea, which is honestly why this new #1 appealed to me. What else would you do with a superhero built on multiple personalities but start making the reader question if it even really happened? And really, this book makes the most of that premise. Jeff Lemire is constantly doing everything he can to keep the audience on their toes, because what's interesting is, even by the end of this issue, we still don't REALLY know for sure if Marc Spencer really was Moon Knight or if it was all a fantasy. The other thing that this book does is back that sense of doubt up with some absolutely stellar artwork. Greg Smallwood turns in some magnificent pages here, in particular at the start with a highly stylized art style that makes things gritty, grimy, and dreamlike. Even in the majority of the book, which takes place in a mental hospital, the art sells that something isn't quite right. Whether or not it's something wrong with Marc or with the hospital, time will tell. Everything about this comic tells me one thing: if nothing else, this will be one series that you won't forget anytime soon. Let's hope Lemire and Smallwood deliver.

Tony's Score: 9/10

X-Men '92 #2

Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Art by Alti Firmansyah

This book has a mutant teleporter named U-Go Girl. I just want to lead off with that because that basically sums up the tone that we're dealing with here.
I was a pretty big fan of the X-Men show when it was on (not as much as the Spider-Man show from the same time, but still), but I don't remember it being nearly this silly or self-referential, and honestly, I'm okay with that. The story continues from last issue with Jubilee having been attacked by an living Soviet weapon unleashed by the Hellfire Club to destroy the X-Men, and has Wolverine going after him in retaliation. As silly as this gets, these are still the same characters from the show, so Wolverine has the same sane of protectiveness over Jubilee, so that's nice. Jubilee's story ends up by the end of the issue going where I didn't expect it to go. And even if you could guess where it was going, I don't think anyone can guess exactly how far they were gonna go with that idea. Much of the rest of the issue is either fight scenes or fun banter between either the X-Men or students at Xavier's school, which makes for a good time. It's silly and it's all in good fun, especially when characters start pointing out the differences between this book and the show it stems from (sort of a half-fourth wall a second wall break...I guess?). It's enjoyable, I look forward to seeing what happens with Jubilee, and the last page promises that it's only gonna get crazier from here. I look forward to it.

Tony's Score: 8/10

And that does it for this week. I'm glad you could all join me for what I hope becomes a regular series.Next week is shaping up to be another week full of new comics, so if you enjoyed this, be sure to come back next week. 

What's on your pull list? Have you read any of the titles in this list? What did you think of them? Let us know in the comments and make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

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