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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!

Saga #1 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples
Colors: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99

Eisner award winner Brian K. Vaughn has produced an exquisite piece of writing that will no doubt raise the bar.

The story follows Marko and Alana, who are from opposing sides of an interplanetary war. Saga is narrated by the couples’s newborn child which is an interesting twist that in itself adds a level of depth to the plot. Fiona Staples artwork is without question the best of the week and does a magnificent job of expressing the emotion of moments throughout the book.

The protagonists aren’t a super mushy couple, which is refreshing, but they still love each other which provides readers with some entertaining dialog.

The book is double sized for only $2.99 and I would have gladly paid more.

I can’t believe I just typed that. I can’t believe I typed any of this. I’m simply at a loss for words at how much this book reeks of awesomeness.

Grade: A

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse #4 of 5
Writer: John Ostrander
Art: Stephane Crety & Julien Hugonnard-Bert
Colors: Wez Dzioba
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

This is a very impressive issue that slows down on the side plots and focuses on the evil intentions of the Iron Eclipse.

The origin of Jahan Cross’ Imperial allegiance is revealed and it’s a doozy. The Stark family has more drama than General Hospital and Iaclyn Stark is at the height of it all. The greedy heir wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and cause chaos with deadly consequences.

The art in this issue maintained its’ vibrant presentation and fresh character depictions that differentiates itself from other Star Wars books.

I’m glad I read this issue and the ending will leave you excited to see how the series concludes next month.

Grade: B+

Exile On The Planet Of The Apes #1 of 4
Writer: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
Art: Marc Laming
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99

The new series takes place two years after the events in “Betrayal.”

Everyone in Ape City is up in arms about a human attack that appears to have been organized. How could this be? They’re just dumb beasts that can’t even speak.

Lines are crossed and accusations are hurled as Dr. Zaius adds fuel to the fire in what is already an intriguing series in the opening salvo. In the original movie, Dr. Zaius is as arrogant as he is wise. You wanted to reach through the screen and either smack him or convince him that were not all bad.

His arrogance wasn’t blind though because he had previous knowledge of human history.

The last story arc revealed his discovery of prejudice and Exile shows the early days his dealings with the human problem. I didn’t notice much difference between Gabriel Hardman’s art in the last series and Marc Laming’s work in this issue.

It’s nothing to complain about by any means but Jordie Bellaire’s coloring is what makes the page layouts to life. We are in the midst of a human rebellion where they don’t need to speak to find their voice.

Grade: B+

Batman And Robin #7
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason & Mick Gray
Colors: John Kalisz
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Peter J. Tomasi hits it out of the park with an explosive issue that shows the Dark Knight at the height of anger.

Nobody is beating his son to death and Batman confronts him with chilling words and even deadlier measures. The art compliments this beautifully and the script is entertaining from beginning to end.

Damian has been the star but this is the Batman we have been waiting to see in this series.

Grade: A-

X-23 #21
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Art: Phil Noto
Cover: Kalman Andrasofszky
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $2.99

Laura Kinney’s swan song presents an interesting idea of a silent issue.

Collectors won’t be able to stay away but I wonder if those who are invested in the series will be let down?

While it wouldn’t have been my first choice for a last issue, Kinney has always been someone whose actions speak louder than words. Noto’s art was fantastic and captures the reader’s imagination despite being hard to follow at times.

Avengers Academy is the next stop for X-23 and hopefully it will be for readers, too.

Grade: C+

The Punisher #9
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Mirko Colak
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $2.99

Greg Rucka continues his assault on the comic book game with a simple, yet effect issue.

Marco Checchetto’s absence is a little noticeable, but Mirko Colak’s work is quite nice.

There is a page layout depicting Rachel Cole-Alves’s use of a SR-25 rifle that was well done and the name Daredevil is mentioned which is a prelude to next month’s crossover event.

Overall, this is an issue that establishes Rachel as a major player in the Punisher’s war on crime and the Exchange.

Grade: B-

Conan The Barbarian #2
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Becky Cloonan
Colors: Dave Stewart
Publisher Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

If you are looking for a comic book that is pure bad-ass, then look no further because you have found it.

This is the first time I have ever read a Conan book and I was so impressed that I went back to read the previous issue.

This is part two of a story arc where Conan is battling at sea with the Queen of the Black Coast.

There is not much to the dialog and there was no need for there to be because Becky Cloonan’s art steals the show. She conveys the darkness of the situation and the sheer violence Conan inflicts upon the Queen’s pirates.

The ending puts Conan in a situation that a man’s man would love.

Grade: B

Green Lantern #7
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Doug Mahnkee & Christian Alamy
Colors Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

It’s bad enough when someone $#&@# blocks you.

Now, just imagine it’s Sinestro doing the blocking.

If things can’t get any worse for Hal, The Indigo Tribe, Black Hand and the Guardians are up to no good.

This is the strongest issue in awhile and it was entertaining from beginning to end.

Something big is on the horizon and Geoff Johns is leaving us plenty of bread crumbs to get there.

Grade: B+

Infestation 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (Shelf-Listed: Disappointment of the Week)
Writer: Tristan Jones
Art Mark Torres
Colors: Jay Fotos
Publisher: IDW
Price: $3.99

Infestation is the crossover event of the year for IDW.

It’s fun to imagine how the characters in world renowned franchises such as G.I Joe and Ghostbusters would handle such a problem. The TMNT chapter was unfortunately flat and uninteresting and the storyline was executed poorly.

Jones failed to capture the personality of our heroes and they might as well have been four random five foot turtles. Hopefully, the second issue will be a lot better.

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