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The Pull List: DIVINITY #1, THE EMPTY #1, DARTH VADER #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!

Darth Vader #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99

When it was first announced that Marvel obtained the comic book rights for Star Wars, everyone wondered what kind of stories we would get. Instead of looking towards the Expanded Universe, the publisher is revisiting the familiar with the franchise’s most infamous character in Darth Vader. Dark Horse Comics produced several limited run Vader books over the years.

Most of them did a great job of highlighting the dark lord’s ruthless aggression, but Kieron Gillen goes into uncharted waters by exploring Vader’s psychology at a time where he has lost favor with Emperor Palatine.

The story opens on Tattooine where the imagery of Salvador Larroca provides a sense of nostalgia by having Vader’s arrival at Jabba’s palace take a reverse mirror approach from Luke Skywalker’s entrance in Return of the Jedi.

Vader makes his presence known from the onset and wields his Lightsaber at any obstruction. Looking at Vader’s history, Tatooine is the last place he would ever set foot on and seeing him there sparks all sorts of curiosity. Being back home seems to be a non-issue until the very last page unleashes a rage that was bottled in the entire time.

Gillen does a great job setting up all of these moments and making them so fulfilling. The Emperor putting Vader on blast for the destruction of the Death Star is something that was always assumed, and seeing it in this canonical environment was the conformation we’ve been waiting for. Vader, in his defense, states that “The arrogance of that weapon courted disaster” and Palpatine dismisses the notion without a second thought.

Salvador Laroca’s artwork is amazing and nailed all of the iconic images and landscapes, while Edgar Delgado’s coloring was spot on and felt very in touch with the ways of The Force. Kieron Gillen’s work with this opening chapter is a great sign of the amount of fun Star Wars fans are going have. Darth Vader’s first ongoing series comes out swinging and hits a home run with every turn of the page.

Score: 5 out of 5

The Empty #1
Writer: Jimmie Robinson
Artist: Jimmie Robinson
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99

The Empty is a trip down the sci-fi rabbit hole of sorts where stunning imagery and an intriguing plot raises more questions than answers for a first issue. That can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on story direction.

Our first protagonist is a warrior named Tanoor who lives in an empty apocalyptic world. Her village is all that remains of humanity.

Food is scarce due to the land and soil being too diseased for anything to grow anything. Tanoor travels far and wide to find anything to feed her people and encounters mutant monsters along the way.

The second protagonist is a peaceful woman named Lila who is from a beautiful Utopian world that is green and full of life.

Since the book opens here, I assumed it was a flashback of how this world looked before it became so desolate and sandy. Lila mysteriously arrives in Tanoor’s village and raises all sorts of questions since no one else is supposed to be alive.

Sometimes either the writing or artwork can take a dip in quality when a creator does everything on a particular book. This isn’t the case here as Jimmie Robinson does a masterful job of world building with what appears to be two different plains of existence coupled with good writing and gorgeous artwork.

Lila maintains her elegance in Tanoor’s world as her unique ability to grow life from death seems to be just what the doctor order. Of course, that annoying fear of what we don’t understand rears its ugly head and creates all sorts of drama. Barren lands, dangerous creatures along with good old mystery produces a good first chapter that will hopefully get better with each passing issue.

Score: 3 out of 5

Divinity #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Trevor Hairsine
Colorist: David Baron
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99

Matt Kindt’s newest comic takes a break from the comings and goings of the Valiant Universe and presents a science fiction limited series that is….different.

The backdrop of the story takes place during the Cold War in Russia. We meet Abram Adams, who was abandoned as an infant at the Russian Foreign Minister’s house.

It’s discovered early on that he is super smart and later on becomes the ideal candidate for a 30-year space mission to reach the edge of the galaxy.

To say that Adams becomes changed from this experience is an understatement, and that is where the weird factor comes into play.

Kindt flexes his creative muscles with this alternative history narrative that travels into the unknown. Different timelines and complex situations are marinated in a slow burn of storytelling that makes for a fascinating premise. Trevor Hairsine and David Baron complement each other’s visual contribution as their page layouts and character work are well designed and augment the surrealistic tone the book presents.

If this book were authored by anyone else, I would be disappointed by not entirely knowing where the story is going. However, Matt Kindt is one of the few writers that can get away with that sort of thing. Anyone who has read his work on such titles as Mind Mgmt knows that patience will be rewarded ten fold. Different + Weird = Success.

Score: 4 out of 5

Resurrectionists #4
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Maurizio Rosenzweig
Colorist: Moreno Dinisio
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

In the first three issues writer Fred Van Lente has taken us inside the past and present lives of career thief Jericho Way.

Now that Jericho has been awakened as a Resurrectionist, he has the ability to access the memories of his previous lives. The evil motives of the Sojourn Corporation are fleshed out a little more as their leader Lennox has been fighting the future throughout his various incarnations in history.

There is a funny commercial, which is reminiscent of The Wolf of Wall Street that shows Lennox’s public face. He smiles in your face while, at the same time, stabbing you in the back and has used the financial knowledge he gained over the years to become one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.

The story is fun and tends to go down many different avenues, but the sub-plots tend to get in the way of the main storyline, and seem to have little to do with the big picture. I could be wrong with that assessment, but things aren’t nearly as interesting when the story isn’t going back and forth in different time periods.

This is a credit to Fred Van Lente because he has an intricate knowledge of history and it really shows in this series. This series is not an easy read, which will turn off some and requires some re-reading to understand certain things that occur. Dark Horse has something special with Resurrectionists as all of the key elements in the main story are fun and intriguing, however, this series could end up sabotaging itself for trying to be too clever. Regardless of some back-tracking, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.

Score: 3..5 out of 5

The Sixth Gun #46
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Brian Hurtt
Colorist: Bill Crabtree
Publisher: Oni Press
Price: $3.99

Westerns are not everyone’s cup of tea. Still, I will never understand why The Sixth Gun isn’t among the top selling comic books in the industry.

Sure, this series has serious street credit with hardcore comic book fans, but why is there no praise beyond the art house critique of strong praise?

Again, it could be the Western motif, however, readers have followed some way out there stories over the years, and this supernatural thriller is expertly produced in every form.

The fifth installment of the Hell and High Water story arc sees the world coming to an end as Griselda the Grey Witch has used the power of The Six (Six guns all with different unearthly powers) to break open the seal of Hell.

Becky Montcrief and Gord Cantrell are on the run from the vial creatures unleashed on the world, while a cautious Jesup and an eager Griselda make the trip towards the Devil’s Workshop. Normally, it’s a foregone conclusion that that the good guys will save the day, however, with the 50th and final issue of the series right around the corner, we should expect the unexpected.

Cullen Bunn did an amazing job with presenting a grim theme thoughout the book as things just get worse and worse with each turn of the page. Brian Hurtt’s artwork steals the show while complementing Bunn’s narrative with epic looking natural disasters and hellish beats ravaging everything in sight.

If victory is to be obtained, I’m sure the creators have a solution but I’m not sure how Becky, Gord and company will win the day without destroying The Six because for over three years now, that has been impossible.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

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