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The Pull List: INFINITY #1, BATMAN #23, SAGA #13 & 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!

Infinity #1 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Jim Cheung
Inkers: Mark Morales
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99

The first chapter of Marvel’s newest crossover event does an outstanding job at highlighting the dangers in store for not just Earth, but for the entire universe.

Jonathan Hickman is either hit or miss at times but he nails the bullseye in spades. This issue reads like an epic movie event that consumes your imagination to the nth degree. The tension’s slow burn keeps you on the edge of your seat for what’s to come.

Each subplot opens with a phrase, for example “What was hidden is now uncovered” that provides some cryptic insight for what is about to occur.

I tend not to like my comic books too wordy, but this was written in such a smart manner where it didn’t take away the experience one bit.  You will need to have been reading The Avengers and New Avengers titles in order to fully appreciate the gravity of the situation. Characters, who appeared in the first four issues of the Marvel NOW reboot, such as Ex Nihilo, his sister, Abyss, and Aleph return.

Their inclusion adds a level of depth to the story because they are all about recreating new worlds over the original, and now they find themselves working with the Avengers to stop the great threat that is caused by Thanos. The detail in Jim Cheung’s artwork, from character work to fight scenes, gives the book a dramatic and special feeling.

The $4.99 price tag is more than worth the price of admission. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show as Infinity brings the galactic noise.

Grade: A

Batman #23
Writers: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colors: FCO Plascencia & Dave McCaig
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

One of the great things about the Batman mythology are the various takes on the character’s origins. Scott Snyder took the helm on this series at the dawn of the New 52.

It was only a matter of time before Zero Year become a reality because a new beginning was a must for The Dark Knight. This third chapter serves as the moment of realization and Snyder makes it a painful one for Bruce Wayne.

The growing pains in Bruce and Alfred’s relationship really sheds a lot of light on what kind of person Bruce is at this juncture.

Alfred, just like in the current cannon, would take a bullet for Bruce without thinking twice, but Bruce is too stubborn to want and appreciate the assistance.

Greg Capullo’s artwork shines on multiple levels which is a prerequisite for this series. However, there is an amazing direction to it all thataugments the narrative to a point that his work means more than simply pictures drawn on a page. Emotion, hardship and recognition speak to the reader in a way that just pulls the reader in.

There is another awesome backstory penned by James Tynion IV that is simple and to thepoint in revealing how Bruce Wayne becomes the combative genius of the DC Universe. Some people have told me that they are taking a break from this series because they already know the origin story.

I would be inclined to agree with that argument, but the little details that Snyder injects into this arc makes it too intriguing to pass up.

Grade: B

Justice League of America #7
Writer: Geoff Johns & Jeff Lemire
Artist: Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Colorist: Nathan Eyriing
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

The fourth installment of Trinity War presents an elevated state of distress for all three Justice League factions.

Lex Luthor enters the fray, and his short but sweet presence was well done and made me think that this is the greatest criminal mastermind that I’ve been waiting to see since the inception of the New 52.

The secret regarding the Atom’s association with the original League was revealed and it was done in a manner where there was really no other choice otherwise th dead end trails would have been endless.

I’m really enjoying the team of Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire. Lemire’s stories are these carefully crafted masterpieces that leave no stone unturned while Johns’ writing style challenges the idea of less is more. The combination of their talents has really produced something special with this event.

The fact that the members of all three Leagues, without even realizing it, have split off into their own interchangeable groups, speaks volumes to the puzzling nature of the story. Doug Mahnke’s and Christian Alamy’s artwork is right on the money, as always, with sharp pencil work and terrific page layouts.

The reason this event has come off so well is because the good guys have been forced into a situation where they are constantly on their heels and can’t find proper range in order to plant their feet and completely focus.

Grade: B+

Saga #13
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Colorist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comic
Price: $2.99

I hate reviewing Saga because the right words to describe how amazing this series is simply don’t exist.

After all, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are reveling in the glory of winning the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer for Vaughan.  

Saga is one of the first comic books I recommend to people who ask about a good title to read.

Marko is coming to terms with the loss of his father, as his wife and mother want to start moving forward, except that they can’t agree on which way is forward.

A ghost from The Will’s past gives him what may be the most important lecture of his life and Prince Robot is closer than everyone thinks. One of the hallmarks of this series is how Vaughan seamlessly injects humor into such a serious plot such as The Will not being able to contact his employer because he is not in the “same day coverage zone.”

If you haven’t checked out Saga, yet, Image Comics just released the second graphic novel that covers issues #6 – #12 which is a great way to catch up all the goodness this series has to offer.

Grade: A-

Star Wars #8
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: Dark Horse
Price: $2.99

The overwhelming praise this series has received is beyond justified because the true essence of Star Wars shines on every page, panel, and word balloon.

One of the great things that Brian Wood brings to the table as a writer is the emotional strain a particular character is going through. Princess Leia is desperately trying to find a new hidden base for the Rebel Alliance while still mourning over the loss of Alderaan.

A mysterious vessel, long thought to be lost in the Clone Wars, finds Leia in deep space. They identify themselves as citizens of Alderaan, and therefore immediately appeals to Leia’s compassionate side.

She considers this discovery as completely random and that no one knows where she is. Ryan Kelly has produced some top notch illustrations. The pacing of Han Solo and Chewie’s escape from Boba Fett kind of reminded me of the asteroid field sequence from The Empire Strikes Back. If was full of twists and turns, and kept you on the edge of your seat. This issue serves as a great jumping on point for those who haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon.

The bottom line is if you believe in the ways of the Force, you will believe in the power of this comic book.

Grade: B+

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