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The Pull List:
THE CREEP #1, BATMAN #0, AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #11

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!

Batman & Robin #0 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason & Mick Gray
Colors: John Kalisz
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

The book may be titled Batman & Robin, but this series has always been about the pint sized assassin, Damian.

Over the last twelve months we’ve seen the son of Bruce Wayne struggle with his morality. He was bred to be a masterful killer since the day he was born and has a hard time fighting the urge to kill.

The newest Robin is as arrogant is as he is deadly, but this zero issue takes us back to a time where Damien was just a playful child. That period of time was brief, but still, it sent a powerful message that there was once innocence where there is now violence.

Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray drew the best and most heartfelt comic book image of the week. Three year old Damian stumbles upon a particular cape and cowl. When Talia al Ghul, his mother, turns around, he is wearing said cape and cowl and with a twinkle in his eye he says “Look, I’m a BAT.”

It is their relationship that takes center stage throughout the issue and it’s revealing to see how Damian became the person he is today. In my opinion, the only zero issues that have really shed any real light on the past are the Batman titles and this is another prime example of the zero concept done right.

Grade: A


Batman #0
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo & James Tynion IV
Colors: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion & Andy Clarke
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

Six years prior to Bruce Wayne becoming Batman, we see the amateur version of the man he will become.

His gadgets, style and approach to crime fighting are coming along, but Bruce feels he is missing a crucial element that will put everything together. Seeing various things such as the Batcave, Batarang and the Batsuit before the bat motifs were applied was a revealing sight for sure.

In the beginning of the book, Bruce’s unsuccessful infiltration of the Red Hood gang perfectly displays how far Bruce has to go until he becomes the world’s greatest detective.

It was funny to see Alfred completely shocked by the sound of gunfire as Bruce radios him for help. James Tynion’s back-up story reveals several key origins in the Batman universe such as the creation of the Bat Signal and the moments that inspired Bat’s future sidekicks to strive for something bigger than themselves.

While these moments jumble up Bat-continuity even more, they were still powerful moments to witness.

Grade: A-

Avengers vs. X-Men #11
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Olivier Coipel & Mark Morles
Colors: Laura Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

This is the second to last issue before the grand finale of this mega series event.

Two of the Phoenix Five remain and they are Emma Frost and Cyclops and in the end, only one will be left standing to consume and inhibit the entire Phoenix force.

The father/son like confrontation between Cyclops and Charles Xavier was filled with layer upon layer of intense emotion.

Even the little moments in this issue provided a lot of entertainment such as Hulk sneaking up behind Emma for the ultimate “Hulk Smash” and Hawkeye shooting Cyclops in the back of the neck with what could be the most important shot he has ever needed to make.

The art is solid all around and Laura Martin’s coloring brings everything to life.

So who wins, Emma or Scott?

I’m not going to spoil that, but what I will say is that the winner’s gain could change the entire landscape of the Marvel universe.

Grade: B+

Stumptown V.2 #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Matthew Southworth
Colors: Rico Renzi
Publisher: Oni Press
Price: $3.99

Stumptown is a unique mystery story that Greg Rucka has cleverly constructed.

The story arc is titled, “The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case” and did a fantastic job of making you think there was a missing baby but in fact it’s really about a musician’s missing guitar.

What kind of guitar do you ask?

Only a 1977 Gibson Les Paul in perfect condition.

The story is a little strange, but Rucka’s script keeps your interest from beginning to end. The main character is a private investigator named Dex Parios. She is tough and pretty with a great personality. More female leads are always a plus.

So let’s talk the art. It’s a little rough but that is a compliment in this case because it brings a realistic feel to the book. This is not the type of comic I would have read in my younger years because there is not a cape in sight. Greg Ruck provides another great example that not all comic books require spandex tights. This was ridiculously close to being my pick of the week.

Grade: A-

Avenging Spider-Man #12
Writer: Kevin Shinick
Art: Aaron Kuder
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

There is no amount of me telling you how much of a fun read this is that will prepare you for how much fun you will have reading this book.

The best way to describe this book is Inception meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

What is a nightmare for Spider-Man is also a dream for comic book fans.

Peter Parker is stuck in a dream where is being laughed at while standing in the hallway in just his tighty-whiteys and his only friend is Deadpool. After some interesting deliberation, they move through different levels of the dream while fighting the RPG club.

Yes, I said the RPG club.

Oh, this is happening while Deadpool is dressed as a cheerleader.  

Avenging Spider-Man is a series that lives and dies on the particular characters Spidey is teaming with. Some are more intriguing than others but the various writers find a way to make it interesting no matter which lucky hero it is. This issue is no exception.

If this review didn’t convince you to throw your $3.99 down than I don’t know what will.

Grade: B

The Creep #1
Writer: John Arcdi
Art: Jonathan Case
Colors: Jonathan Case
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.99

This is one of those comic books that I don’t want to say a single word about.

It is very good and only reading will truly convey how good it really is.

Despite this being issue #1, last issue #0 was beginning of the story and you really need to go back and read it in order to appreciate what is going on.

 The Creep, by appearance only, is investigating the suicide of a teenager who happens to be the son of his college sweetheart. He knows it was a bad idea to take this case but he can’t resist.

The plot will put the reader through a loop and the artwork is solid all around. If you are looking for something different with a lot of twists and turns, you found it right here.

Grade: B+

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

The Rocketeer finds himself face to face with the villain who is transporting the infamous cargo of doom.

We finally find out just what the cargo is and boy it’s a doozey. Of course we get the usual side plots of Cliff Secord trying to hang on to the jetpack while keeping Betty happy as well.

It’s kind of the same old story but it never gets old and Mark Waid’s script makes sure it stays that way. Chris Samnee’s work is fun to look at and makes you feel you are reading a book from the 1930’s despite the glossy finish to the pages.

I’m not going to spoil the ending but the villains plan for Secord’s jetpack is so outrageous that it could only be found in a comic book. Let me give you a hint at what it is……no, no, no. I’m not saying a word.

Please believe me and check this book out today.

Grade: B+

Here are some books that didn’t make the cut but may just tickle your fancy.

Team 7 #0 (DC Comics) 
This is the story of seven strangers, picked to be on a team to fights super powered beings for the Government. Lot’s of potential for this to be a good series.

Jennifer Blood: First Blood #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
A decent origin story about how Ms. Blood became the crafty killer she is today.

New Avengers #30 (Marvel Comics)
Read Avengers vs. X-Men #11 before reading this issue. You might not be disappointed in the result.

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