Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

General

The Pull List: HACKTIVIST, USAGI YOJIMBO: RED SCORPION & TEEN TITANS V. 4

graph·ic nov·el

noun 
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!

Hackivist HC
Creator: Alyssa Milano
Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letters: Deron Bennett
Publisher: Archaia
Price: $24.99
Release Date: July 16, 2014

Hacker stories are a dime a dozen, but Alyssa Milano, yes, that Alyssa Milano, has presented a fresh premise that is engaging and ties into all of the concerns we have about social media.

Our story follows Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft, who by day, are brilliant young cofounders of YouLife social networking company.

By night, they are the notorious hackers ‘sve_Urs3lf,’ who help those in need. Their friendship is the crux of the story as their back and forth comes across as two actors with great chemistry with one another.

Nate is a charismatic maverick and Ed is the strong silent type. Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly’s dialog does a great job of not insulting the reader’s intelligence by not inserting random tech speak so the story can feel like a high tech drama.

One of the many things the book does right is not making YouLife a Facebook clone, which would have made it easy to ignore. Instead, the company has its own voice and therefore becomes a character you can’t ignore. Most of us have seen the various warnings on how social media is infiltrating our lives while working for the government.

Well, the CIA’s version of freedom in this story makes our fears well founded, and the writers draw on that as tensions escalate domestically and abroad. Nate doesn’t see the big deal while Ed believes otherwise. Depending on your personal view of privacy, you might find yourself siding with one over the other. The narrative is laid out in a way where there is no real clear cut answer as to who’s right or wrong with bread crumbs leading in either direction.

The talented hand of Marcus To knows no bounds. Emotion, body language, page layouts, action, beauty, and style are all illustrated with an expertise that captures the whole essence of the project. I can’t imagine the creative team being any happier with the results and Ian Herring’s coloring is the cherry on top.

There is a cool interview at the end of the book with a former hacker, giving their take on the story along with some of their personal tales. You would think this was done just to give the book some street credit, but you get the sense that they very much enjoyed what they read, which makes it more authentic.

This hardcover collects all four issues and reads much better as a collected work because waiting a month between releases might have dulled your excitement because there so much is going on and you might forget a tidbit or two.

Archaia seems to be allergic to producing anything but comic book gold and Hackivist is just another shining example of the publisher’s standard excellence in the genre.

Score: 10/10

Usagi Yojimbo: Red Scorpion Ltd. Ed. HC
Writer: Stan Sakai
Artist: Stan Sakai
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $59.00
Release Date: July 16, 2014

Usagi Yojimbo has been one of my favorite characters since he appeared on an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 1989.

Years later, I discovered he was a product of popular comic book penned by Stan Sakai and I had fun going back and researching a character who I thought only had a small history.

This limited edition hardcover while a little pricey, is perfect for true fans of the rabbit ronin because it is as carefully crafted as the yarns we’ve come to expect from Sakai.

The Red Scorpion Gang terrorizing farmers is the type of conflict tailor made for Usagi to handle.

However, it won’t be easy and the journey provides several twists and turns along the way. One of the things that really impressed me about this arc how all of the proper emotions were conveyed to the Nth degree. Fear, compassion, and a thirst for justice are not just felt through the dialog but the artwork as well. Just seeing Usagi smile as he finds food makes you want to root for the guy and seeing him put his game face on as he hunts the baddies screams this is one hare you don’t want to cross.

As I said earlier, the price is something I don’t normally spend on a single book. However, if you are a fan of the character or Stan Sakai’s work, it’s worth spending a little extra for the thirtieth anniversary of Usagi Yojimbo.  Note: this book is also available in a standard non-trade collection.

Score: 8/10

Teen Titans TPB Vol 4: Light and Dark
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Colorist: Eber Ferreira
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $14.99
Release Date: July 16, 2014

I could talk about the hits and mostly misses of DC Comics New 52 all day, but Teen Titans under Scott Lobdell was a pleasant surprise.  This collection of issues 18 – 23 starts off with some unfinished business Tim Drake has with the passing of Damian Wayne.

Through his grieving, we are reminded as to why he formed the team in the first place. To protect the children since the adults are off saving the world.

Then, Lobdell flips the script as Robin starts acting differently, including making a deal with Amanda Waller and putting his teammates in check with some “This is my team” bravado as they question his decisions.

Teenage angst plays a big role with these characters and that becomes more a problem when Trigon arrives on Earth, attempting a demonic global takeover. I’m well removed from my teenage years, so I tend to forget about…well, teenage problems.

I wanted to slap some of the Titans at times as it got in the way of their superhero duties. On second thought, I realized I was way too into this because teenagers would let things such as relationships and secret affairs control their emotions.

Of course, this is all augmented by Raven’s first big appearance in the new 52 and her connection to Trigon makes you wonder if she used her mind control powers to cause the dissension in the ranks. Eddy Barrows did a serviceable job with the art.

Nice action and good character work. I found this to be a fun book which surprised me because I didn’t expect much after reading Lobdell’s work on the ongoing Superman series.

Sometimes, its all about what a creator has to work with.

Score: 7.5 / 10

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

DISCLAIMER

Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.

SOCIAL INFLUENCER POLICY

In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like

Books/Comics

Written and Illustrated by Andrew Kranke Published by Image Comics   I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book....

Books/Comics

Written and Illustrated by Kyle Starks Colors by Chris Schweitzer Published by Image Comics   Writer and artist Kyle Starks really is a wonder...

Books/Comics

Written by Chris Condon Art by Jacob Phillips Published by Image Comics   In the vast realm of comic book history, few narratives captivate...

Books/Comics

Written by Dan Abnett  Art by I.N.J. Culbard Published by BOOM! Studios   BOOM! Studios’ Wild’s End, created by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard,...