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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!

Rebels #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.99

Brian Wood is one of the best writers in the game today.

So it goes without saying that his name on the cover is the only reason why I read this comic book that takes place during the Revolutionary War.

You’re probably expecting to hear about unknown stories of time travel or vampires that aided on both side of the conflict. Nope, that didn’t happen.

Our story is about a muted New Hampshire farmer named Seth who becomes the voice of his people. The backstory involving Seth’s relationship with his father as a youngster presented a timid soul that couldn’t find it in him to make the hard decisions. His father knew this and showed him little love.

It’s a simple story that sets up the main protagonist on his path that will hopefully get readers hooked in the months ahead.

Andrea Mutti’s artwork and Jodie Bellaire’s coloring does a good job of transporting the reader back to the 1700’s with lots of rural landscapes filled with rich greenery.

The character work didn’t evoke much emotion, but presented the right scene when the dialog carried various moments. Tyranny, evil red coats, and taxation without representation are the first things that come to mind when most Americans think about this war.

It’s not hard to paint England as the villains in such a narrative. While we get some of that, Seth’s story is meant to pull the reader in as things are seen through his lens.

Brian Wood and company pulled off a serviceable first issue that set the stage and there is plenty of room for growth that needs to be taken upon in order for the series to flourish in the months ahead.

Score: 3 out of 5

Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1
Writer: Brian Lynch
Artist: Jerry Gaylord
Colorist: Whitney Cougar
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99

The return of Bill and Ted does a most excellent job of capturing and conveying the look, feel, and voice of the films.

This story takes place immediately after Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, where they won the battle of the bands, their song is a hit, and now they have to create a second hit song.

Brian Lynch pens a fun adventure that includes all of the characters from the movie. The Princesses, Death, Station, the Good Robot Usses, and Rufus.  If a third movie is ever made, this would be the perfect story because it deals with the demands of having to consistently produce quality songs that everyone will love and shape the future.

Rufus gives them a bit of advice on how to go about things which was really nice to see because it’s a reminder that we’re witnessing Bill & Ted’s journey towards immortality.

One of my favorite moments is when our two most excellent dudes devise a plan to travel to the future and they set things in motion when they realize, like they did on stage against De. Nomolos in the sequel, they can later go back in time and arrange events. Jerry Gaylord brought a zany and animated presence to the pages that was complimented by the vibrant coloring of Whitney Cougar.

There are a lot of comic books based on a particular franchise that fail to capture what made the original so unique. Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return does the opposite in spades with plenty of air guitar shenanigans that provide all of the fun and nostalgia one can handle.

Now, go out and buy this book immediately and be excellent to each other.

Score: 5 out of 5

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Volume 3
Writers: David Petersen, Mark Buckingham, Skottie Young, Hannah Christenson
Artists: Mark Buckingham, Skottie Young, Hannah Christenson
Colorists: Lee Loughridge, Scott Keating, Edgar Delgado
Publisher: Archaia
Price: $ 3.99

What happens when you gather a lodge of mice to tell stories of grandeur? You are left with the carefully crafted and exquisite creation of David Peterson known as Mouse Guard. Three different tales are told by patrons who want their debts wiped away. The Gosling and the Ghost follows a store owner who can’t seem to stop a Goose from eating his food. There is a bit of everything here from serious banter to humor. Mark Buckingham’s detailed illustrations contain a subtle energy that conveyed every note of the story. Seeing the store owner brandish his blade in an attempt to scare the Goose was the ultimate backfire and served as good wholesome fun.

Fan favorite Skottie Young enters the fray with his Mouse and the Moon yarn about a father telling his son about the time he climbed to the moon. Young’s vibrant and adorable artistry fits in perfectly here as the young stargazer is wide eyed and eager for all the fun things life has to offer.

The final and most fashioned story of the bunch chronicles a highly skilled amour maker who yearns for something more but also realizes the importance of his work. The artwork here closely resembles the motif that series creator David Petersen established. Hannah Christenson produces a masterful duet of sight and story that is a visual marvel and shows how anyone can be a hero coming from the most unlikely of places.

One of the things that makes Mouse Guard great is that it’s doesn’t come out on a regular basis. Having to wait for something so elegant makes one appreciate the labor that goes into such an endeavor because we get something different with every outing. Three new creators will try their hand next month with more tales that are sure to please if they are half as good as this opening chapter.

Score: 5 out of 5.

Ninjak #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Clay Mann, Seth Mann, Butch Guice
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99

Great writer? Check!

Great artwork? Check?

Cool looking ninja that reminds me of the video game Ninja Gaiden? Check!

Yeah, on the surface, we have all the makings of something spectacular.  Ninjak follows a spy/assassin for hire named Colin who is charged with infiltrating the inner circle of a known weapons dealer.

The main thing this issue got right was how the creators were able to make me care about Colin. Most times, the introduction of a bad ass character is met with bone crushing and blood splattering imagery that is supposed to get the point across.

There was none of that, but instead, there was a well thought out narrative, along with some stunning visual evidence from Clay Mann that utterly convinced me Ninjak/Colin will snap my neck before I can blink. The dialog is a little cheesy at times but Colin’s inner monologue was blunt and revealed why he is the smartest guy in the room.

We also learn about Colin’s past which reveals that he wasn’t always a confident warrior.  He wasn’t a bumbling coward by any means, but seeing how Colin got to be the star of this show looks like it’s going to be an interesting journey.

Score: 4 out of 5

Hellbreak #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Brian Churilla
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Oni Press
Price: $1.00

What if there was more than one Hell? The Sixth Gun scribe Cullen Bunn answers that question with the launch of his new series because the world of Hellbreak has thousands of Hells that are each unique and horrifying.

The story follows a Special Forces extraction team that, with the help of forbidden technology, can infiltrate any version of Hell. There wasn’t too much time spent on getting to know the characters because Bunn wanted to establish the lay of the land for this hellhound venture.

Not only do you have to sneak in, but you also have to disguise yourself and accomplish the mission objective in a limited amount of time before the residents discover that you don’t belong.

In this case, the team is sent in to recover a lost soul and the task comes with a large price tag. While none of the characters really stand out this time around, there are some fun lines that present some personalities that could be worth investing in. The artwork in this issue is consistent and solid with a color pallet containing a lot of reds, blacks, and whites to flesh out the unnecessary sights in a particular panel. I assumed this was a one and done issue.

A series like this potentially runs the risk of being too clever for its own good, but the power in its straight forward simplicity (even with a quick Greek Mythology lesson) creates some exciting horror fiction that makes this battle for souls a surefire must read.

Score: 4 out of 5

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