Thursday, August 11, 2016

Weekly Comic Pull #15: Lunatics and Time Travelers

Greetings, one and all, to the latest installment of the Weekly Comic Pull, the show where I take a dive into the world of comics and talk about what I fished out. This week, we've got some great stuff ready for me to review. Some good stuff, some not so good stuff, but all worth talking about. So, without further delay, let us begin.

Superman #4

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

With this issue, Peter Tomasi takes a bit of a much needed break from so much emotional stuff and decides to indulge a bit in the action. This issue is mostly the fight between the Eradicator and the duo of Superman and Johnathan Kent, a fight that ends up in Metropolis and reveals an interesting secret about the Eradicator. Much of this issue is essentially a showcase for Patrick Gleason to show how good he is as an artist. Some of the panels can be a bit busy, but much of it still looks fantastic. Especially his character models, there's something about them that I really really adore. In this issue, we also get some elaboration on what the Eradicator is there for, as well as the return of another character famous for his appearance in the Death and Return of Superman, this being a minor character, Bibbo. As meaningless as Bibbo's appearence is in the grand scheme of thing, as a fan of the Funeral for a Friend section of the Death and Return of Superman, it was really cool to have Bibbo back. It's a relatively simple issue, but the wrinkle that the Eradicator's secret adds gives this story that extra bit of tension that makes it all the more interesting. Tomasi is writing a Superman arc for the ages, and I can't wait to see how it ends.

Score: 8.5/10

Paper Girls #8

Written by Bryan K. Vaughn
Art by Cliff Chiang


If I could say one thing for certain about Paper Girls, it's that, if you ever think you know exactly what's going on, there's always something new to pull the rug out from beneath you. After last issues' heart-wrenching revelation of Mac's impending death in her future, we pick up with the two groups of girls, Mac and Tiff trying to find help, and the two Erins investigating the location that the mysterious future Apple product gave them. All the while, a mysterious girl who looks like yet another Erin makes her way through town with destruction following her every move. Bryan K. Vaughn knows how to keep his audience guessing, because I can never quite get a real grasp on where the book is going, and I'm enjoying every twist and turn that he feeds us. This issue, in particular, ends on a HUGE cliffhanger that raises many, many more questions than it even begins answering. I loved it. The art is every bit as good as its ever been, with that 80's neon feel even though we've transitioned to 2016, and with the sci-fi coming in even more with every issue. I can't wait to see how her impending death will start haunting Mac in the next several issues. I'm looking forward to the nest issue for a lot of reasons.

Score: 9/10

Moon Knight #5

Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Greg Smallwood, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla, & James Stokoe

Unlike a certain book that I reviewed last week (and will review again this week), THIS issue uses its four artists well, taking advantage of all of their different styles. In this issue, Marc Spector faces off with the force who transformed New York into a wasteland...Moon Knight! Or is he? More than any other issue, this one places everything that happens under an uncertain lens. Especially with the way it ends, where I'm unsure WHAT we're supposed to take away, I'm not sure if Marc was maybe just insane this entire time or if there's more at play here. Lemire doesn't compromise by giving us a clean, clearly spelled out ending to this arc. Another reason is that, in this issue, we see different levels of Marc's psyche on his quest to stop this figure who may or may not be the real Moon Knight. Brilliantly, each level of Marc's psyche has a different artist doing the pencil work, giving a really interesting layer to this adventure. Longtime Moon Knight fans will quickly notice that most of these layers are themed after characters that Marc has been connected to since his inception. All of the guest artists bring really interesting takes on Moon Knight while still keeping the book looking incredible, and Greg Smallwood is no slouch either as the regular artist. The twist (or series of twists) at the end of this issue sets this book on a very strange, but very interesting, path going forward. Lemire and Smallwood are still set to be on this book for the forseeable future, so, wherever we go from here, it will be interesting to see, and I'll absolutely keep buying.

Score: 8.5/10

Daredevil Annual #1

Written by Charles Soule & Roger McKenzie
Art by Vanesa Del Rey & Ben Torres

This issue contains two stories, a main story by lead writer, Charles Soule, and a back-up by old school Daredevil writer, Roger McKenzie. Soule's story might just be the laziest and most generic story I've ever read from the guy. This story features a guest appearance by Echo, a character who supposedly died 4 years ago, though we don't even get around to explaining why or how she's back. And either way, Echo doesn't really get much to do in this story, which mostly centers around Ulysses Klaw using sound to turn people into sound-based drones. The story's short, flies by at the speed of sound (pun intended), and is entirely unmemorable. The art is bland, the story is boring, the characters could literally be anyone in the Marvel Universe, and it's a black mark on the track record of a writer I generally quite like. Roger McKenzie's story, meanwhile, is actually quite interesting, reintroducing Melvin Potter AKA the Gladiator to this run of Daredevil. In this story, we explore Potter's multiple personality disorder, which has turned him into a lethal fighter who is taking revenge on anyone who crosses him. The story is fairly typical, if still enjoyable, but what makes it worth reading is the art by Ben Torres, which is gritty without being too dark. His action sequences in particular are really cool to look at. And, fittingly considering how far back McKenzie and ol' hornhead go back, this story has Daredevil sporting the classic red outfit instead of his current black. It's a fun story, but it's far too short given it's only a back-up. All in all, considering how much I'm liking this run of Daredevil, this was a very disappointing Annual. I'm still interested in seeing where the main book goes, but this Annual just felt phoned in.

Score: 5.5/10

Silk #11

Written by Robbie Thompson
Art by Tana Ford

In this issue, we finally pull the veil back on the mysterious figure who's been following Silk for the past several issues. And...well, turns out, it's not THE most interesting thing in the world. This mysterious figure has been revealed to be Silk's ex-boyfriend, Hector...and really, it doesn't go much further than that. We get the reveal, we get a nice moment between them, but other than that, it doesn't seem to add much to this ongoing story so far. The bulk of this issue seems to be dealing more in the mounting issue of Silk's ongoing anger issues, which is very nicely explored using Silk's therapist as the framing device. Her therapy sessions have been some of the more interesting parts of this series recently, so it's interesting to really get to see more of it for once. Lastly, the thing that I LOVE that they didn't start dragging out was Silk's friends knowing who she was. They discovered it a few issues prior, and it began to worry me that they would pad things out between them, especially since Silk's been flying solo for the longest time. It's a development I've been waiting for, and I'm really glad to see that we're really progressing in this series. On the art front, I've made it known previously that I do not like Tana Ford's art, but one thing I noticed is that, with this issue, Ford has noticeably been improving. I still don't like her style, but her models and her faces are far better here than they've usually been. All in all, it's an issue that feels like a bit of filler, but also that gives a bit of breathing room after the action of the last few issues dealing with the Black Cat. I look forward to what the future will bring for my favorite web-slinger.

Score: 8/10

Batman #4

Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

In this issue, Gotham and Gotham Girl fall victim to none other than the dangerous duo of Doctor Huge Strange and the Psycho Pirate. In doing so, they've set Gotham on a path that leads to a clash between him and the Caped Crusader himself. The thing I like about this is how this is basically where I expected this story to go, but not in the way I expected. When this arc started, I'd assumed that they'd take the opportunity to try to tell a story about Batman being effectively left behind when a superpowered hero decided to take control of the crimefighting in Gotham City and see the ensuing clash; hero against hero in a desperate fight for the soul of Gotham City, if you will. Instead, as many good Batman stories are, this has become a story about fear, about overcoming it or having it overpower you, as the Psycho Pirate has infected both Gotham and Gotham Girl with an overwhelming terror that leaves Gotham Girl nearly comatose and Gotham himself dangerous. Who exactly was behind the Psycho Pirate and Hugo Strange doing such a thing is also explored in this issue, though I hesitate to reveal who allowed this duo to be let loose and why. It's an issue that sets up a clash between two titans: a god gone mad and a living, but all too mortal, legend.

Score: 8/10

Justice League #2

Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Tony S. Daniel

This issue of Justice League continues the storyline from last issue, which sees the Earth rocked by a series of quakes caused by the Earth's fault lines all rupturing at the same time. The source? Unknown. The mysterious force controlling random civilians and occasionally causing the League to lose their powers? Even more so. This issue serves two real purposes. First, it acts as a bit of a breather, giving us a chance to explain what is going on and how the League might be able to stop it. Secondly, it serves as the first time the League has to go to this new Superman for help. For this issue, we get less action and more explanations by the League, though we do get some action thanks to Aquaman, who is still stuck in Atlantis in the aftermath of the quakes. Superman doesn't make much of an appearance, but his presence, and the implications of his existence and his joining the League, are felt throughout, not the least of which because of the now-deceased Superman's friendship with Batman and relationship with Wonder Woman. The end sets up an uneasy, but necessary team up between the Justice League and this new Superman in the next issue. And of course, that does leave the mystery of who is possessing the civilians. I suppose I'll just have to check back next issue to see.

Score: 8/10

And that will do it for this week! As always, let me known what you're reading in the comments below. Have you been reading Paper Girls? What do you think of Moon Knight? Were you as disappointed as I was in the Daredevil Annual? Let me know below. I'll see you next time.

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