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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!

Avengers World #16
Writers: Nick Spencer, Frank Barbierre
Artist: Marco Checchetto, Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

To say that Axis has been disappointing so far would be an understatement.

It’s a good idea, but its execution has been sloppy across the board.

Now, on the other hand, the supplemental stories in the regular on-going books have been a doozy. So if nothing else, Marvel’s current big event is bearing some fruit. Heroes are acting like villains and vice versa.

Scarlett Witch is looking to wipe out Doctor Doom once and for all and he is kind of scared. The “good” Doctor enlists the help of Valeria, his niece and daughter of Reed and Sue Richards.

Valeria leads a misfit-toys-esque group against Scarlett Witch and all hell breaks loose.

What really makes this work is how Nick Spencer and Frank Barbierre are able to turn the role reversal into something positive. We know that at some point, everyone will return to the regular programing. Still, being able to make an intriguing tale with those elements made for a satisfying read. Marco Checchetto and Ramon Rosanas’ artwork works perfectly on several fronts, including the battle scenes and a domestic affair with a big reveal. Andres Mossa’s coloring is a visual treat and delivered a grim tone that augmented the sentiment that Valeria and company were going to lose badly.

Avengers World has been a hit or miss title over the last twelve months, but this installment does a lot to make things interesting, while fully taking advantage of the main angle in place.

Score: 4 out of 5

Secret Six #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Ken Lashley, Drew Geraci
Colorist: Jason Wright
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

One of the disappointing causalities of DC Comics New 52 was the Secret Six series.

Once again, the talented Gail Simone is at the helm of this clandestine awakening.

The story begins with what appears to be the team members being collected under mysterious circumstances and dumped into a dark, empty room. We get to know the characters in an incarcerated setting which amplified the rising tension in the room.

Things unfold slowly, but Simone reveals nothing, even though a lot is happening.

Catman is the focus of the story and the only character with any tangible connection to the pre-reboot group. Ken Lashley and Drew Geraci illustrate a threatening tone with rough character work that emanates a darkness that can be distracting at times but ultimately succeeds. So, what’s the secret?

That’s what we all want to know and Simone does a fantastic job of keeping the reader guessing without waiving that “I know something you don’t know” flag in our face.

No matter how you slice it, Secret Six is back with a vengeance. While Catman’s hefty screen time might be an issue to some, it was an appropriate creative decision since this series is one of the first titles people think of when referencing’s Simone’s body of work.

Catman is the character Simone has a lot of experience writing and he is used as a vehicle to reintroduce the world to something bad with a twist.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #2
Writer: Ron Marz
Artists: Abhishek Malsuni, Zsolt H. Garisa
Colorist: Nanjan Jamberi
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99

My biggest fear going into this issue is that it would absolutely suck.

Let me explain. There are a lot of comic books that have a great first outing and falter right after, never being able to capture the glory of the first installment.

I’m happy to report, that was not the case here.

John Carter is defending Mars from an alien invasion which unbeknownst to him is led by Captain Joshua Clark, a colleague from his earthly military past. Clark appeared to be somewhat elderly the first time we saw him.

Regardless of age, his skills in hand to hand combat are impressive. The fact that he is leading the charge potentially presents some interesting scenarios. Having a past relationship with the warlord in a previous life makes him Carter’s deadliest adversary yet. While I will probably have nightmares of a giant four armed white ape chasing me, the illustrations are amazingly and boast great detail. The coloring was good for the most part, but there were some panels where Dejah Thoris was red and closely resembled the red skinned Martians that Clark was sparing with.

Overall, Ron Marz and company are two for two and I hope this is a trend that will continue in the months ahead.

Score: 3 out of 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #41
Writer: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow
Artist: Cory Smith
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

This is the calm before the storm as “Attack on the Technodrome” moves all of the pieces into position for what will hopefully be the ultimate checkmate.

Everything we’ve seen in the last twelve months from TMNT has been leading to this showdown. Krang is using his hell on wheels to terraform the Earth into a version of his home planet, Utrominon.

There are five subplots that intersect to the main storyline, and each character brings something different and useful to the forefront. Donatello is making a deal with the devil while Splinter and Old Hob coordinate the offensive with the turtles and mutants.

The key figures all have a different opinion on what needs to be done in order to stop Krang which ensures there will be some stumbling blocks along the way with a side of betrayal to boot.

I don’t know what it is about the way Eastman and Waltz write Baxter Stockman, but his bitter arrogance makes me salivate at the thought of someone kicking his rear end from pillar to post. As for Shredder, well, he has proved that his backup plans have backup plans and it appears he will stay the course in that endeavor.

Cory Smith’s artwork is spot on as usual and the only thing that makes it better is the vibrant and delicate coloring of Ronda Pattison. There was a majestic quality about Krang’s “I’m the king of the world” moment that presented a misleading splendor because it represents a perilous future.

Setup issues can be kind of boring at times, but this one hit all of the right notes with precision and style that sets up the pending battle.

Score: 4 out of 5

Amazing Spider-Man #11
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Oliver Coipel, Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Spider-Man fighting Superior Spider-Ock on the cover suggested this was the book’s main event.

Of course, I forgot the golden rule, never judge a comic book by its cover.

Their fight was short but highlighted Peter’s morality which proved he is the leader the Spider-Men need in order to survive.

Also, punching the man in the face who turned his life upside down was so damn fun to see.

Ah, revenge! 

However, that was just an appetizer.

The patriarch of the Inheritors, who has been pulling strings from the shadows, revealed himself and made an indelible impression. This chapter had it all, action, touching emotion and comedy. My only criticism of the story so far has to do with the “prophecy” the Inheritors keep mentioning. It gets lost in the shuffle to the point where you almost don’t care because there are so many big things happening.

Oliver Coipel’s artwork truly shined when Miles Morales and Peter Parker from the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon travel to find Spider-Man from the 60’s cartoon.

Sounds kind of silly but the humor coupled with the high stakes involved made the moment worth wild. I think it was time to increase the danger for our wall crawlers because having nowhere to hide will create even more tension as this event progresses. ASM #11 covers a lot of ground while setting up bigger things on the horizon.

Score: 4 out of 5

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