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graph·ic nov·el

1.  a novel in comic-strip format.

I read them all.  The good and the bad, so you don’t have to.

Welcome to The Pull List.

And, as always…Spoilers ahead!

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem HC
Writer: Steve Niles & Matt Santoro
Artist: Dave Wachter
Letters: Nate Piekos & Blambot
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 26, 2014
Price: $14.99

When it comes to horror in comics, Steve Niles is truly in a league of his own. The way he brings fear to the forefront without blood and guts is simply remarkable.

Breath of Bones tells the tale of a British pilot who crashes in a Jewish village which prompts a Nazi invasion.

Seeing the heart and compassion of these villagers before and as they aid the pilot gives the reader a certain anxiety when plight and slaughter become a possibility which shows the real horror of the story.

Of course, a giant supernatural clay monster conjured up to destroy invading bigotry kind of makes you wish it would happen more often. Fear is used as a way to instill terror in a person or situation. However, using it as a catalyst to inspire courage in these characters prove to be just as thrilling as it’s actual intent.

Dave Wachter’s detailed visuals are just a privilege to examine and they truly inject life onto the pages. Reading the four single issues was great but enjoying this as one collected work serves the story even better because you’re not waiting a month or longer between releases.

As a result, you will appreciate and feel the emotional punch even more. A monster fighting monsters makes Breath of Bones a wonderful example of why comic books are a preferred medium used to escape reality.

Score: 9/10

Concept: Christopher McQuarrie
Story: Dan Chapel
Writer: Mark Long
Artist: Mario Stilla
Publisher: Archaia Black Label
Release Date: March 5, 2014
Price: $24.95

Rubicon is a collaboration that carries a lot of creative clout and an incredible story following five Navy SEALs who defend an Afghanistan farm village from the Taliban.

This is a carefully crafted story that brings an authentic military feel to the reader.

One of the things that makes a good graphic novel great is when the writer and artist and perfectly in sync with one another. Mark Long is able to show the hardship and despair of both parties involved in the conflict.

Soldiers do their best to perform their duty while always thinking of family back home.

Villagers look for a way out from under the oppressive thumb of the Taliban through peace but violence might be the only solution. The gritty nature of the story prevents this from being a puff piece for U.S. armed forces and conveys the gravity of their perilous circumstances abroad.

If you close your eyes and imagine the story in your head, Mario Stilla artwork is exactly what you would picture. The page layouts, facial reactions, body language, color treatment and action scenes are all drawn in line with the pacing of the story. While I’m not a veteran myself, my father and many of my friends have fought for our country. They’ve shared many stories about their time in service.

Reading this book triggered certain memories about past conversations about the same subject and made me feel “This sounds like something Chad or Paul would talk about.”

The foreword is written by Seal Team Six commander, Dick Marcinko which commands you’re attention. Rubicon might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m glad it’s been placed on the table for those to enjoy who want something unique to sample.

Score: 8/10

Uncanny Avengers Volume 1: Red Shadow TPB
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: John Cassaday, Oliver Coipel & Mark Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin & Larry Molinar
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 26, 2014
Price: $19.99

The release of this graphic novel presents a great opportunity for those who haven’t read this series to dive in and see what you’ve been missing.  

Uncanny Avengers is yet another book that brings together an eclectic group of heroes.

However, the reason for their assembly is a chance to serve and protect mutants. Rick Remender does a great job of using the six team members in a way that augments the plot.  Captain America is the leader of this band and feels he hasn’t done enough to help mutants. Thor and Wolverine will always stand by his side which makes up the teams A list.

However, Scarlett Witch, Rogue and Havok are the heart and soul of the story. They all want the same thing but having difficulty getting over the emotional fallout of the events in Avengers vs. X-Men. Don’t worry though, the “what do I do from here” moments don’t last long as things pick up very quickly.

Remender delivers a frantic pace that is fun but is sometimes too much because you don’t get the chance to let everything sink in. Other heroes join in on the action and the various villains make it a virtual guarantee that the this start of this series won’t disappoint.

Score: 7/10

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