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The Pull List: ROCKET RACCOON #4, BLACK MARKET #4, BATMAN #35 & 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!

Batman #35
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 8, 2014

I had the pleasure of reading Batman #35 after the big reveal was spoiled for me. I thought it was ruined for me, but surprisingly, I enjoyed it very much. Maybe, even more if I hadn’t been clued in.

Gotham City is under siege as Batman suits up and battles various members of the Justice League. Spoilers of whose pulling the strings aside, Scott Snyder made the why, just as interesting as who, when Batman deduces all possibilities as to the reason for his assault.

There was no clue or tell that anyone gave away, which upped the stakes to how far things needed to go.

Batman playing on the League member’s weaknesses gave off a Tower of Babel vibe, which is interesting considering the circumstances involved and could play a factor later on. This story takes place after the events of Batman Eternal which is a little weird since the series hasn’t ended, yet.

Still, it was nice to see a Bat title fully immersed in the present after Zero Year, and the Futures End tie-in. Scott Snyder deserves a lot of credit for keeping this under wraps for so long in an internet age where secrets are a rarity. He could have revealed the big surprise a lot sooner to drive up sales, but it made for a better story to keep it under wraps.

Greg Capullo’s artwork really needs no praise because not only does it compliment the story that Snyder is telling on a consistent basis, but also finds a way to tell integral parts of the story on its own accord. There is a one panel where Wonder Woman jumps through a window to attack and unsuspecting Bruce Wayne. It was drawn in such a ferocious manner that I didn’t need a single word balloon to tell me that the daughter of Zeus wasn’t taking no prisoners.

Creepy is the only word needed to describe James Tynion IV backup tale and Kelly Jones’ artwork is an eerie sight to behold. I often wonder when Scott Snyder and company will be unable to top themselves and the first installment of Endgame looks like that won’t happen anytime soon.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Cover: E.M. Gist
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

When you read a book titled Alien vs. Predator, you expect to see some Xenomorph going toe to toe with some Yautja. Well, that doesn’t happen here. However, the set up for their impending rumble was overwrought with tension from the start.

What’s left of the Perses crew leaves the horror LV-233 behind, only to have an advanced engineer and our favorite aliens catch up and board their ship.

If that’s not enough, the Predators are in space, looking for new prey to hunt and stumble upon the Perses at the moment it’s being overrun by Xenomorphs.

It was all out carnage and the humans could do nothing about it. I really enjoyed how pronounced the horror aspect was because the human leads, Francis and Gaglo, think they are in the worst situation possible, but they truly have no idea what’s in store for them. Ariel Olivetti’s artwork was scary, rich in detail and presented those pivotal moments which such distress that I looked behind me to make sure I wasn’t in for an acidic rude awakening.

This issue was extremely well done across the board and instead of being disappointed that I didn’t see the big fight, I walked away extremely satisfied because it made want to see the two monsters lock horns even more. Fans of both franchises will enjoy this book and it also new reader friendly to those who haven’t read the companion Fire and Stone titles.

Score: 4 out of 5

Rocket Raccoon #4
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Skottie Young
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99 

I have been a junkie for Skottie Young variant covers over the past couple of years now. His work on the critically acclaimed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series laid the ground work for his writing and drawing the Rocket Raccoon series which has been an excellent pairing this far.

Young’s artwork doesn’t take itself too seriously and on many levels, the same can be said for Rocket as a character.

An evil doppelganger framed our furry friend for murder. In this issue, we find out why and also get the answer as to whether or not Rocket is alone in the universe.

There was a lot of humor with some emotional heartache mixed in. Sometimes, a story with those two elements has a hard time distinguishing itself. However, Young was able to pile on the hilarity filled absurdity and then go back to the moments of sorrow without taking me out of the experience and served as a powerful reminder as to what Rocket really wanted all along.

During the SLAP, BANG, and KAPOW fisticuffs, Rocket catches a punch and it simply said “Nope” underneath before he starts putting the boots to his foes. I never thought I would ever find an ounce of sadness while looking at Skottie Young’s imagery, but that just speaks to how he can convey a range of sentiment and individualities in a character like Rocket Raccoon. This series has been a surprise thus far and just keeps getting better with every outing.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Black Market #4 (of 4)
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Victor Santos
Colorist: Adam Metcalfe
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99

The only bad thing about Frank J. Barbiere’s work on the Black Market series is that it had to end.

Four issues of chaos surrounding the theft of superhuman DNA turned into something much more. The timeline jump throughout is well done and I never found myself confused as far as direction.

The big twist was one that no one will ever see coming. I certainly didn’t and I enjoyed how it really wasn’t hinted even though it totally makes sense after thinking about it.

The world Barbiere created also gave readers two viewpoints to consider.

Supers are necessary, but they are also egotistical jerks who take the law into their own hands. Deny and Ray are tasked to kidnap Ultra, (think Superman) and I started to ride the fence with what I wanted to happen.

Yes, if I was Ultra, I would be pissed if people were trying to capture me, but as his apparent lack of respect for humanity was evident to the point where I didn’t mind if he took a beating or two, despite how many lives he’s saved.

Of course, that all pales in comparison to the book’s dramatic conclusion that will make you stand up and slow clap in approval. While too much of a good thing can take the special out of something so grand, I feel that there is still more ground for this series to cover and hope it gets revisited at some point.

Score: 4.5 out of 5.

Birthright #1
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Andrei Bressan
Colorist: Adrano Lucas
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99

Birthright starts off on a nice warm sunny day without a single cloud in the sky.

Mikey is playing catch with his father, Aaron, while his mother, Wendy, and older brother, Brennan, prepare a surprise birthday party for him. Aaron throws the ball way into the woods, Mikey goes to retrieve it but never comes back.

Search efforts turn up empty as the family’s despair grows with each passing season.

Things go from bad to worse when accusations that Aaron killed Mikey surface.

Later on, Mikey is found, but not in the same form as we last saw him and it’s with this discovery that things take a turn into the Dungeon and Dragons realm.

The record scratch moment that took me out of the story was when Aaron faced the allegations against him. It’s evident in the opening pages that under no circumstances was Aaron responsible for Mikey’s disappearance. The murderous claims come completely out of nowhere and are beyond unfounded, still, everyone believes he is the bad guy.

I understand what Williamson was going for but it could have been fleshed out a little more with perhaps a ridiculously coincidental piece of evidence that ties Aaron to the “crime.” At least that way, the reader would have more sympathy while understanding why the public turned against him.

Andrei Bressan’s illustrations are clean and the character work depicted all of the emotions Williamson was aiming for. I like colorists that can work on both sides of the spectrum and Adrano Lucas fits the bill. The beauty of nature, snowy nights and dismal times carried a distinct tone that perfectly reflected the shift in the story’s direction.

Joshua Williamson did a great job of capturing the strife of a terrible loss while keeping things on track. He could have gotten to the reveal a different way, but he hit all the notes he needed to while taking the reader on a journey that could get a lot more interesting.

Score: 3 out of 5

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