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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!

Fear Agent Volume 1: Re-Ignition 2nd Edition TPB
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Tony Moore, Sean Parsons, Mike Manley, Jerome Opeña
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $9.99
Release Date: April 2, 2014

I was late to the Fear Agent party and this exhilarating second edition is the perfect invitation.

Like Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, this is a well-constructed story that jars your mind in the best possible way.

Maverick alien exterminator, Heath Huston, is good at his job. He might be too good, which is half the fun. The internal dialogue while fighting robots and a giant jelly brain is fascinating because he spits in the face of adversity with a hero’s valor. A sarcastic sense of humor and whiskey will serve him well while dealing with an invading conspiracy that sets him back 20,000 years.

Where most would fold, Huston makes it work in a way where you want to slap him and fist bump him at the same time. The various sci-fi influences of Flash Gordon, Planet of the Apes, and others are obvious, but they serve the story in a way that it doesn’t feel like a blatant rip off.

Tony Moore’s artwork makes this an aesthetically pleasing masterpiece and the vibrant coloring of Lee Loughridge brings the story to life. There are some concept sketches that show the evolution of Heath Huston from conception to birth, which is a cool little special feature that is common place within graphic novels. If you’ve heard the hype, believe it.

If you haven’t heard the hype, this collection of the series’ first four will undoubtedly make you a believer.

Score: 9/10

Tales of Mr. Rhee Volume 1: Procreation (of the Wicked)
Writer: Dirk Manning
Artist: Joshua Ross
Colorists: Austin McKinley, Sean Burres
Letters: Jim Reddington
Publisher: Devil’s Due Entertainment
Price: $16.99
Release Date: March 12, 2014

I’ve been writing for Forces of Geek for two and a half years and have come across a lot of comics from a number of different publishers looking to for their content to be reviewed. Devil’s Due Entertainment has conjured up a tale that has left me with one undeniable conclusion.

This book is fucked up.

There is no punch line to that statement.

This is the most fucked up comic book I’ve ever read.

That’s a good thing because that’s what separates this from most horror comics on the market. Most books in this genre have a sense of grit to them. Manning and company throw that out the window and deliver a cleaner presentation, augmenting the shocking moments throughout the book.

The titular character, Mr. Rhee, is an African American John Constantine who has a no nonsense approach to dealing with demonic encounters and supernatural monsters. He has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder which causes him to get in his own way.

The trials and tribulations he experiences are ones I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. For example, I hate spiders and Joshua Ross’s imagery made me invest in a lifetime supply of mouthwash.

You can tell this is a labor of love for Dirk Manning and is a skin crawling read where every element works together seamlessly. The creative team seems to be perfectly in sync which does nothing but makes a good comic book great.  Highly recommended.

Score: 8/10

Batwoman Volume 3: World’s Finest
Writer: J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III, Trevor McCarthy
Colorist: Dave Stewart, Guy Major
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $14.99
Release Date: March 26, 2014

Batwoman’s exploits are grounded in a stylized mystical reality that mostly removes itself from Gotham City famous rogues gallery.

In a way, she is the Bat-pupil that got away which makes this series intriguing.

Kate Kane is never star struck, however, teaming with Wonder Woman makes it difficult for her to find a few words here and there. The respect they have for each other is natural and comes across very well on the printed page. This strengthens the story as they hunt down Medusa and encounter the likes of Pegasus along the way.

The artwork of J.H. Williams III is visual poetry that is exquisitely detailed at every turn.

Some believe this series is all about the art but I disagree. Blackman and Williams consistently entice the reader and draw on the emotion of poignant moments like philosophical banter about hero worship in today’s society. That’s not traditional comic book material but it works because of how well it’s executed.

In my opinion, Batwoman should be on everyone’s pull list. If not, I promise that this incarnation of “World’s Finest” will be money well spent.

Score: 9/10

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