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THE PULL LIST: SAGA #3, AVX VS #2, THE ALMIGHTIES #1 & MORE!

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

I can’t help but appreciate how much joy fills my soul when reading Saga.

Alana has a lot on her plate. Her husband is badly wounded, a half woman, half spider bounty hunter is tracking her down, she receives a visit from the spiritual defenders of Cleave and one of them named Izabel, offers to help in exchange for being able to travel in baby Hazel’s body.

One of the things that is amazing about Fiona Staples art is how everything alien looks normal.

Prince Robot IV has a TV for a head and yet, him barking orders and beating up an inmate for information doesn’t seem bizarre at all.

Brian K. Vaughan using Hazel as the narrator provides the perfect element to a story that is so full of life yet it’s about the struggle for life in so many ways.

There is one word that sums up the ending.

Cliffhanger.

Grade: A

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine #1
Writer: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Art: Tyler Cook
Colors: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

A lot of the B.P.R.D. stories tend to get lost in the shuffle because there are so many of them.  

The Devil’s Engine stands out from the rest of the pack as it provides an entertaining story from start to finish. Fenix, a psychic homeless girl, and Agent Devon make quite the pair as Devon feels Fenix is just some crazy chic that is off her meds. He is escorting her out of New Mexico via train where a Volcano is erupting. Normally, the outcome of such a story would be predictable, but the script made you mad at Devon. I found myself internally screaming at Devon to shut up and listen.

Tyler Cook’s artwork delightfully added to an already great comic book.

Facial expressions, sounds, and the big catastrophe were all done with distinct detail. It you haven’t read this series in some time or have never treated yourself to the Hell on Earth series, than give this one a chance.

Besides, this kick ass cover is just going to be screaming at you from the comic rack.

Grade: B+

AVX VS #2
Writer: Steve McNiven & Kieron Gillen
Art: Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca and John Dell
Colors: Hollowell & Jim Charalampidis
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

AVX VS treats us to another double main event featuring Gambit vs. Captain America and Spider-Man vs. Colossus.

Once again, no real story, just a fight between four of your Marvel favorites.

Going into this, I knew Cap was going to win but that didn’t stop it from being the back and forth war of attrition with geek-filled moments such as Gambit charging up Cap’s shield and uniform throughout the fight.

The art was on in the first fight, but it was a lot more detailed and vibrant during the second fight as Colossus didn’t want to hurt Spider-Man.

In classic Spidey form, he makes it clear that he is not backing down which ups the tempo of the fight and the art conveyed this very well. There are some fans who can’t get themselves vested into a book with no plot.

I understand that, but comics can be fun without some long and drawn out story and this is a perfect example of that sentiment.

Grade: B

Justice League #9
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Gary Frank
Colors: Alex Sinclair & Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

The Justice League deals with several incidents across the globe while a new villain emerges with a plan on taking them out: and he is going to use Steve Trevor to do it.

There were some odd flashbacks involving Clark being picked last in gym class and Bruce repainting his room after his parent’s death. It could make sense down the line, but it felt out of place as it seemed to just appear out of no where.

Jim Lee returns to his art duties and provides a touch that makes the art wonderful to look at.

The Shazam back up story was the real treat of this book.

Billy Batson still hasn’t donned the Captain Marvel attire yet. He is still a kid with a bad attitude but this is the first time we’ve seen him with a heart, as he defends his foster family from some bullies in school.

At this rate I hope that Shazam will get his own series but at the same time I find it weird that I’m walking away from reading a Justice League comic and I’m feeling the back story a lot more.

Grade: C+

Daredevil #13
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Khoi Pham & Tom Palmer
Colors: Javier Rodriguez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

There is no other way to say it: Mark Waid is the man.

I would feel blessed if I could tell a story half as good as be does.

Waid’s script builds to a clever climax that focuses on the Omega Drive.

There are some interesting things going on with Foggy Nelson and the fight between Daredevil and Megacrime really pushed the man without fear to his limits.

Khoi Pham and Tom Palmer do a serviceable job but Paolo Rivera is missed.

While a series such as Scott Synder’s Batman, somehow gets better and better, one of the things that sets this series apart is that each issue brings something different and brilliant to the table.

Grade: A-

Wonder Woman #9
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Tony Akins & Dan Green
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Brian Azzarello has shown that Wonder Woman is the perfect example of what happens when you hit the reset button.

Diana has been spending a lot of time with her family since the discovery of her true parentage. Hades is a bastard.

I know that is nothing new, but he really ups his game in this series and makes Diana’s life a living hell.

If that is not bad enough, he wants to know how much his new bride really loves him and will go to extreme measures to find out the truth.

Grade: B

Invincible Iron Man #517
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Frank D-Armata
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

This series was a little boring since nothing much was happening for awhile.

The news and advertisements regarding Tony Stark giving up being Iron Man seemed to be a gimmick that was style over substance.

Matt Fraction proved that theory wrong because a lot of stuff happens that makes this anything but boring.

A new Iron Man enters the mix as Tony Stark has Reed Richards remove the Extremis nanos from his body.

The action is ok, but the intricate story and great pacing make this issue a must have.

Grade: B+

Avengers vs. X-Men #4
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: John Romita Jr & Scott Hanna
Colors: Laura Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

The story opens with Wolverine wearing a polar bear as a fur coat in order to stay warm after being stranded in Antarctica.

He somehow has beer with him but don’t let that mess you up here. In way, this has almost turned into Avengers vs. X-Men vs. Wolverine.

Cap wants truth and justice to reign supreme while the Cyclops will do anything to save the Mutant kind. Wolverine has the grim approach of ending Hope’s life in order to save everyone.

To him, it’s the only option that should be on the table and Hope does a nice job of making him see, perhaps, the error of his ways.

John Romita’s art was flat in the first issue, but has dramatically approved over the last three issues and is producing some strong panels. Laura Martin’s coloring is some of the best complementary work in comics today as she truly brings Romita and Hanna’s depictions to life.

The tension builds up to a nice twist at the end that has me echoing wrestling commentator Jim Ross’ famous saying “Business is about to pick up”.

Grade: B-

The Almighties #1
Writer: Sam Johnson & Mike Gagnon
Art: Eleonora Kortsarz, Pablo Zambrano & DC White
Colors: Gulliver Vianei, Jennifer Scott & Mike Gagnon
Publisher: Actuality Press
Price: $3.99
The Almighties is a creator owned and self-published title that parodies The Avengers with humor that knows no boundaries.

The story follows a super team comprised of Maxi-Tron (Iron Man parody), Mrs. F (stripper version of Ms. Marvel), A Hulk sized Werewolf, Mason (think Frank Castle) and a kabob chef named Stefanos.

The team is brought together by a mysterious figure called White Out to battle the most “serious threats” to the safety of the United States.

The story takes us to an animal testing laboratory, a night club in Manhattan and an Arizona coffee shop surrounded by barbed wire.

Writers Sam Johnson and Mike Gagnon did a great job of making the reader care about the characters instead of letting them getting lost in the hilarity that ensued.

Each character has their own baggage and or backstory like Mrs. F who used to be a Stepford Wife whose husband never appreciated her before she found her calling as a promiscuous crime fighter.

The book is filled with laugh out loud moments that fans of toilet humor or Monty Python enthusiasts will enjoy. There were a couple of moments where the humor was not up to par and that was due to the script trying too hard to be funny as opposed to bad writing.

The art did an outstanding job of matching the comedic tone of the story with images such as a pimp being stabbed by a shish-kabob.

If you are looking to take a break from the everyday comic grind or cross over event and superhero deaths and major mystery reveals, pick up this book for a chuckle or two or ten. Who knows?

After you finish you might say “Almighties Amass” instead of that other super team catch phrase.

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