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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!

Action Comics #5 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Grant Morrison & Sholly Fisch
Art: Andy Kubert & Chris Cross
Colors: Brad Anderson & Jose Villarrubia
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

From Grant Morrison’s writing to Andy Kubert’s pencils, this comic book is simply beautiful.

Superman’s origin is retold in a refreshing manner that is not tiresome at all considering we have heard the story a million times. The destruction of Krypton has begun as Jor-El and Lara quickly look for a means of escape with their son and Krypto. They consider shelter in the Phantom Zone but Zod appears on the zone portal and “welcomes” the house of El. With no other options, Kal El is the only one that can be saved. They place him inside of a rocket prototype and program the A.I. computer (Braniac) to find a place where he will grow with a yellow sun.

The story switches to the rocket ship itself that has powers and changes possession over time until it ends up in the hands of the “Anti Superman Army” which prompts Superman and the Legion of Superheroes to swing into action. Krypto’s origin story makes him a worthy companion for Superman and he looks more like a wolf than a labrador.

Sholly Fisch also wrote a heart warming short story chronicling the trials and tribulations that Jonathan and Martha Kent went through to have a child. The art and writing made you root for them from the moment they said “I do” until the night where their little bundle fell from the sky. It was kind of sad in a way, since they are dead in the new universe, so the only time we are going to see them is during flashback scenes and this is probably the most of them we will see.

Grade: A

The Punisher #7
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudino
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

Gregg Rucka proves that he doesn’t need Frank Castle in order to write a marvelous Punisher book.

The story revolves around Detectives Bolt and Clemons investigating the aftermath of the Exchange member killings in an upstate New York ski resort. Watching them work the crime scene was intriguing and the back and forth banter on the car ride up reveals each of their true opinions on the Punisher. Lark and Guadino provide lots of detail to the page layouts which helps the crime analysis panels shine.

This is a brilliant issue to either jump back in on or start enjoying for the first time.

Grade: B

Fatale #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
Colors: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.50

Ed Brubaker’s Fatale combines 1950’s noir with the horror approach of H.P. Lovecraft to bring us a crime story.

We begin at renowned author Dominic Raines’ funeral which is coordinated by his godson, Nicolas Lash. As Lash leaves the gravesite, he bumps into an eye-catching woman named Jo who reveals a connection to his family. Later on, catastrophe enters Nicolas’ life going eighty miles an hour as car chases, explosions, attempted murder, a killer airplane and lost body parts set the stage for a trip to the past that begins to unravel a mystery.

If you are looking for something besides the superhero thing, look no further because this is it!

This is not a story you can simply skim through as you really need to read every word balloon and examine every panel in order to truly take everything in and enjoy. To drive the point home on how good of a tale this is, my wife is an avid book reader who never picks up a comic book.

She read this one and can not stop talking about it and feels February is too long of a wait for part two to be released. I completely agree and so will you if you pick it up.

Grade: A-

Justice League International #5
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
Colors: Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

The JLI finally find their groove and fall in under Booster Gold’s leadership to kick some alien ass and send Peraxxus packing.

I knew how this was going to unfold before I even picked up the book because something had to give after four issues of listening to the team bicker back and forth and almost fail in the process.

The art and colors are bold and vibrant and Jurgens delivers a predictable, but fun story that reveals the emergence of a new threat at the book conclusion.

Grade: C+

Detective Comics #5
Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Art: Tony S. Daniel & Szymon Kudranski
Colors: Tomeu Morey & Szymon Kudranski
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

With the Dollmaker story arc out of the way for now, the focus is back on assault on the Joker, and how his followers believe Batman is responsible for the skinning of his face. Meanwhile, Penguin is pulling the strings as murder and plunder are running amuck in Gotham.

There is a memorable page layout where Batman is chasing a murder through a park where hundreds of people are dressed as the Joker while in protest of Batman and the comments from the peanut gallery were absolutely brilliant.

There is also a nice back story involving a Russian mobster, a Poker game, Catwoman and the introduction of the son of Hugo Strange.

The price of this book is going up to $3.99 next month but don’t let that mess you up as this title has been the most consistent title in the New 52.

Grade: B

Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #4 of 5
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
Art: Szymon Kudranski
Colors: John Kalisz
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Gregg Hurwitz’s character study of the Penguin continues as Oswald’s perspective of things paints him to be the victim of a cruel world.

Even though it’s clear that Penguin is doing the bad deeds, Batman is almost painted as the villain.

The true nature of Oswald’s vindictive side when is arrested and humiliated in from of his blind girlfriend, Cassandra. She acts unaware of Penguin’s villainous personality which is easy to pull off due to her sight but she is much smarter than that and Hurwitz’s script makes you wonder if she is truly clueless, does she see and believe what she wants to believe or is she even blind.

Kudranski makes gets use of shadows that eerily depicts how gloomy of a place Gotham can be. This has been the sleeper series of the DC Reboot and even with one issue to go; I can already draw comparisons to Alan Mooore’s The Killing Joke and feel this will be a series people will remember for years to come.

Grade: B+

Avengers: X-Sanction #2
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Art: Ed McGuinness & Deter Vines
Colors: Morry Hollowell
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Falcon and Captain America are down and Iron Man is next on Cable’s hit list.

The future is bleak and allegedly the Avengers prevent Hope Summers from saving us all.

Cable is trying to rewrite history and he is running out of time because he is infected with a techno-organic virus. The real strength of this series is the simplicity of it all as it is an easy story to follow. Cable has an effective game plan to take out each member of the Avengers which is intriguing on its own. We are also treated to some flashback scenes between Cable and Hope that gives the reader some insight to their relationship.

This is clearly a preamble to the Avengers vs. X-Men event which is plenty entertaining to whet your appetite until the beatings begin in the Spring.

Grade: B-

Avengers Annual #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Gabrielle Dell’Otto
Colors: Ive Syorcina
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99

Simon Williams is beyond pissed off and wants to take out the Avengers.

He has the back up to make this happen and oh, he already took out the New Avengers.

He wants the world to know about the skeletons Rogers and Stark are hiding and public opinion may be on his side. Bendis did an excellent job with the script here because William’s rhetoric is written with such conviction that you start to believe that maybe he is right and the Avengers are wrong. There was a powerful scene where Beast tries to talk some sense into Simon and is asked to step up and take on crusade if he fails.

The sheer look of shock and horror on Beast’s face in response to the question was superbly depicted by Gabrielle Dell’Otto. This is a continuation of what began in the New Avengers Annual in September.  I could not say enough good things about that book and this issue is no exception.   

Grade: B+

Robocop: Road Trip #1 (Shelf-Listed: Disappointment of the Week)
Writer: Rob Williams
Art: Unai
Colors: Oscar Manuel Martin
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99

The next chapter in Dynamite’s newest Robocop brings some serious disillusionment with the character.

OCP rules Old Detroit and they are trying to end what’s left of the police presence and Robo once and for all. Sounds interesting but the plot line is beyond convoluted and the art and colors is dark and sloppy.

If you see this on the shelf do what Tom Brady does best and PASS.

Grade: D

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