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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!

Skeleton Key Color Special One-Shot(Pick of the Week)
Writer: Andi Watson
Art: Andi Watson
Design: Adam Grano
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

Have you ever felt better about everything after reading something?

Andi Watson’s tale of two friends trying to find their way home brought a big ol’ smile to my face as it filled my soul with a joy.

School girl Tamsin, Kitsune, a fox spirit and Mr. Raccoon use the Skeleton Key to open any door, as long as they can find a lock. The character’s positive nature never wanes even though things aren’t always what they seem. They are clever without even knowing it and their journey delivered a genuine sense of adventure and wonder.

The artwork is reminiscent of the funny pages.

No space is squandered as everything in every panel means something.

Emotion is depicted flawlessly including one example where Mr. Raccoon is savoring the hotel manager’s donut.

While I was unfamiliar with the previous Skeleton Key comics, there was no lack of appreciation in any way, shape, or form.

The three separate stories all have their own unique flair and imagination to them. While writing this column I have pushed some books more than others.

This is my most heartfelt recommendation, please get this book.

The cover would have turned me away years earlier because there is not a cape in sight. This is a unique and lighthearted coming of age tale that everyone will enjoy. The next time you go to the comic book store, go to the shelf and read the first five pages. I’m willing to bet your wallet will be three dollars lighter.

Grade: A

Daredevil #12
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee
Colors: Javier Rodriguez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

We are treated to a nice change of pace as Matt Murdock and ADA, Kristen McDuffie are on their first date.

With Mega Crime looming in the background, the two lovebirds enjoy a night out with the getting to know you dialog that naturally moves on to the origin of Murdock and Foggy Nelson’s friendship.

McDuffie is still convinced she is really out with Daredevil, but you can tell she is starting not to care nearly as much as she did in the beginning.

Chris Samnee gets the art duties in this issue and his style is very appropriate and the color is bolder than previous issues but that is not a bad thing; it works for the story being told.

There are no bad guys being thrashed about or criminal masterminds being unveiled, but Mark Waid’s run on this series is about all that and a lot more as I’m convinced he could write an epic about paint drying on a wall.

Grade: A-

Epic Kill #1 of 5
Writer: Raffaele Ienco
Art: Raffaele Ienco
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99

Think of Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill with the volume turned way up.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

That is the kind of violence you can expect from eighteen year old Song; a school girl with no recollection of her past life as a emotionless assassin.

She is so lethal that even with her memory gone, an underworld kingpin and one of the world’s most powerful leaders will spare no expense and exhaust every resource to take her out.

The story is great and left me wanting more and the pages are nice to look at as explosive action and bloody fisticuffs ensures that the title lives up to its name.

Grade: B-

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #10
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: David Marquez
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Uncle Aaron, aka, The Prowler takes center stage in this issue as Bendis does a tremendous job of portraying him as that sleazy member of the family that everyone warned you about.

Aaron no longer sees his thirteen year old nephew who trusted and admired him; but rather a super powered tool that will help him get ahead and will conjure up Miles’ fears and manipulate his every insecurity in order to get what he wants.

The dynamic of their relationship is reverse mirror of Peter Parker and Uncle Ben’s bond.

While Sara Pichelli is the standard bearer for all things Ultimate Spider-Man, David Marquez does a pretty snazzy job while Justin Ponsor’s color treatment is money as usual.  Overall, a very good book with a villain you will want to reach into the panels and slap upside the head.

Grade: B+

World’s Finest #1
Writer: Paul Levitz
Art: George Perez, Scott Koblish, & Kevin Maguire
Colors: Hi-Fi & Rosemary Cheetham
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

World’s Finest made me re-examine my negative stance on parallel world stories in comics.

The story opens in the current DCU as Karen Starr and Helena Wayne are talking about their lives until a fire at Karen’s research facility damages one of her vital investments.

We are treated to some flashbacks about their lives on Earth 2 and how they got to our universe. Helena’s way of making a nice life for the two of them on a new world was fun and clever.

I also enjoyed that Huntress and Power Girl are portrayed as skillful, powerful and confident instead of simply emphasizing their sexuality.

Reading Earth 2 #1, The Huntress mini-series and the recently canceled Mr. Terrific might clear up some holes on continuity, but DC has definitely made a nice addition with their second wave.

Grade: B

The Spider #1
Writer: David Liss
Art: Colton Worley
Letters: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99

Sometimes, you have to do wrong things to make the wrong things right.

There is no moral code to follow and no quarrel with taking lives because the lives The Spider takes, feed off the suffering of the innocent.

The protagonist has no wall crawling abilities or web shooting powers. He dresses like the Shadow and has a Batman-esque application towards his work.

It’s not the most original concept, but David Liss’ execution was near flawless while giving the reader a peak into the mind of The Spider.

The dark and descriptive art work perfectly reflects that darkness that NYC is entrenched in.

Excellent first effort and I can’t to see what happens next month.

Grade: B

Avengers vs. X-Men #3
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: John Romita Jr & Scott Hanna
Colors: Laura Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Ed Brubaker takes his turn with the script and wastes no time delivering a dramatic twist as Wolverine and Captain America come to blows.

Their fight represents what happens when two significantly different ideologies oppose each other in the threat of extinction.

John Romita Jr.’s panel-by-panel sequence of the fight was beyond impressive.

He not only depicted the tension and respect between the two, but one shot in a particular panel with Cap caving in Logan’s face with his shield made me touch my face to see if I had suffered any damage.

Grade: B+

Earth 2 #1
Writer: James Robinson
Art: Nicola Scott & Trevor Scott
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

This was one of the most refreshing comic books that the New 52 has released, as Earth-2 lays the trail for the eventual forming of the Justice Society of America.

The story opens five years earlier as Darkseid’s forces invade Earth, leaving Batman, Superman and Wonder Women to serve as the final line of defense.

The character traits we see in this trinity are almost a mirror image of the pre-reboot universe and made me realize how much I miss reading their adventures.

No crying over spilt milk though because the story moves to the present and we meet Alan Scott and Jay Garrick at different points in their lives.

Nicola Scott’s art provided that end of the world type feel in the first half and switched gears with a post war era where life is back to a state of normality.

This series has the juice to go a long way and I hope that this creative team will stay intact in order to ensure it’s success.

Grade: A-

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