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Check out what I checked out this week.

Whether the comics are inspiring or disappointing, I read them all.

Welcome to The Pull List.

And, as always…Spoilers ahead!

Fatale #3
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
Colors: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.50

You can tell a series is getting popular when you have to search four comic book shops to find it.

Plus, a second printing has already been ordered.

The story starts in the present where Nicolas Lash returns to the home of his godfather, Dominic Raines, to survey the damage caused by the explosion in the first issue. He realized someone had been there in search of the unpublished novel that Nicolas already has. After reading through the novel, the story ends up back in the past where we find out more about Josephine and the cult that keeps popping up.

Besides the new Ultimate Spider-Man, I didn’t think there was a series where the writer, artist and colorist could be so in sync with each other until Fatale. The story sucks you in from beginning to end; the art and color make you feel that you are witnessing these events in person instead of reading them on a page.

Grade: A

Star Wars Crimson Empire 3: Empire Lost #5 of 6
Writers: Mike Richardson & Randy Stradley
Art: Paul Gulacy
Colors: Michael Bartolo
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

War is brewing as Admiral Pellon’s Empire wants “peace” while Palpatine loyalist Ennix Devian, and his Empire wants things back to the way they were before Endor. Coruscant is at the heart of it all as Mirith Sinn and Kir Kanos.

Yes, Kir Kanos, represent the New Republic in aggressive negotiations.

Devian accelerates his plans with some dastardly methods and has an ace up his sleeve in the form of a secret fleet of ships. Richardson and Stradley have penned a diplomatic cat and mouse game with galactic implications. Paul Gulacy’s art improved immensely from the last issue.

His presentation in the series makes you feel as if you’re watching a movie instead of reading a book and Michael Bartolo’s coloring is the perfect compliment. This is a solid book that does a lot heavy lifting in preparation for next month’s grand finale.

Grade: B-

The Amazing Spider-Man #681
Writers: Dan Slott & Chris Yost
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Slott and Yost produce a right to the point story where Octo-Zombies are running wild a space station falling towards Earth and it’s up to Spider-Man, Human Torch and John Jameson have to save the crew before they run out of time and air.

I was tempted to pass on this issue since the Sinister Six story goes into full throttle next issue. I’m glad I didn’t, and you’ll be glad you didn’t either, because this issue is lots of fun with some cool Octo-Zombie visuals.

Grade: B

Action Comics #7
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Rags Morales
Colors: Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

Grant Morrison gets back on track with an issue that forces Superman to make an impossible choice: Earth or Krypton.

This is a return to the main story line after two issues of side tracking towards the future.

While it was assumed for sometime, it’s confirmed that the Collector is in fact Brainiac. He is also the living embodiment of something that we all use on a regular basis.

We get to witness the debut of the Kryptonian armor he wears in the New 52.

Sholly Fisch provides another Steel back-up story which shows him cleaning up Metropolis while the big guy is out of town. What I truly enjoy about Rags Morales’ artwork is when you arrive at the panel of a page layout where there is a shocking reveal; Morales captures these moments with an essence that is few and far between in comic books today.

Grade: B+

Justice League International #7
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
Colors: Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Tragedy strikes as heroes and civilians die when a bomb is detonated while everyone is basking in the glory following the United Nations’ proclamation that the JLI are Earth’s new protectors.

While comic book deaths are meaningless these days, they are even more meaningless because we have known these people for seven issues with the majority of the focus on Booster Gold, Batman and Guy Gardner.

While the death of the heroes fails to make an emotional connection, Aaron Lopresti’s art does an amazing job of conveying the sadness of the moment.

The fact that an Earth villain was able to accomplish what the intergalactic warlord, Peraxxus, couldn’t do makes this new story arc all the more interesting.

Grade: B

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #8
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Welcome back Sara Pichelli! There was nothing wrong with Chris Samnee’s artwork on the last two issues but Pichelli brings something special to the table when it comes to this series.

She is great at emotion through the depiction of body language.

Miles’ Uncle Aaron (aka The Prowler) is a primo jackass and I didn’t need one word balloon to tell me that.

One of the best things about Bendis’ writing is that we get to see how a kid would really handle being a superhero. Miles takes the villain lightly because he didn’t look so tough on YouTube and the next thing you know he gets slapped around wishing he took things more seriously.

The execution overall makes you roll your eyes and smile at the same time.

Grade: A-

Supurbia #1 of 4
Writer: Grace Randolph
Art: Russell Dauterman
Colors: Gabriel Cassata
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99

This is the comic book version of Desperate Housewives or The Stepford Wives.

The story takes place in a gated community for superheroes. Hella, reformed super villain is married to the Superman character that uses his super hearing on his neighbors. Alexis Fritsche is married to the Batman knockoff and she catches her caped crusader in an uncompromising position.

Grace Randolph did a wonderful job of establishing the characters and making them interesting. Dauterman’s art reminds me of a vibrant cartoon and doesn’t look hokey at all.

In classic comic book fashion, the ending will make you come back for next month’s issue.

Grade: B+

Wolverine #302
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Steve Sanders, Billy Tan, & Jason Keith
Colors: Sotocolors
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Like every issue of Jason Aaron’s Tale of the Orient, this book is filled with awesome amounts and action and excitement with a good story to boot.

He references a previous story arc where Logan is tricked into believing is has been trapped in Hell all this time.

Wolverine goes berserk which in an odd way is the key to his salvation and anyone who is even looks like a ninja will have some Adamantium in their diet.

Back in America, Wilson Fisk is not happy with what has transpired in Japan and sends in a particular problem solver to fix it.

If you have read my column before then you know, that for me, Wolverine + Jason Aaron = Read this now!

Grade: B+

Detective Comic #7 (Shelf-Listed: Disappointment of the Week)
Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Art: Tony S. Daniel & Sanou Florae
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

I never thought I would have told anyone to pass on an issue of Tony S. Daniel’s Detective run.

This issue concluded the second story arc of the series and it was missing that intangible element that made you care about what happened to the characters.

The grittiness from past issues is nowhere to be found in this issue and the excellent detail in the art has vanished.

My advice, save your money this time and try again next month when the new story arc begins.

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