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The Pull List: STAR WARS V. 3: REBEL GIRL, ACTION COMICS #35, ROBOCOP #4 & 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!

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #3 (of 6)
Writer: Stan Sakai
Artist: Stan Sakai
Cover: Stan Saki, Tom Luth
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 3, 2014

​​If I tried to convince you without context that a samurai rabbit doing battle with an evil warlord in Feudal Japan is an excellent read, you might believe I was crazy.

Now, place that story 30 years into the future, add alien invaders to the mix, and you’ll be begging for someone with a white coat to grab me.

The thing that never ceases to amaze me about the Usagi Yojimbo series is how Stan Sakai is able to convey serious undertones with a seemingly ridiculous concept. You feel for the characters in a way that makes you applaud or disapprove of their actions and demise.

Even when War of the Worlds type alien walkers are introduced, it’s the gravity of a perilous situation is brought to the forefront with so many different emotions and points of view. The Geishu clan and Lord Hikijji’s forces have taken heavy losses as a result of the invasion. However, that doesn’t stop certain parties from both sides to continue their conflict with one another to obtain victory. That is frustrating to watch unfold considering how dire the circumstances are.

This is a credit to how Saki is able to pull such emotion out of the reader through his words and illustrations. Even with the infighting in the background, it took everything both forces had to take ​down one alien walker then suddenly, another one appears and the look of fear on the soldiers face leaves you wondering how they will manage a second triumph.

This issue promises that some of our favorite characters will meet their demise and they were not kidding. The fact that they are not superheroes in the regular stream of death in comics makes their passing resonate more because there is no multiverse, or magical being that make it all better. Now, that could happen when the story reaches its climax​,​ but that would be very unlike Saki to give readers something that essentially ends up being a waste of time.​

Score: 4 out of 5

Star Wars Volume 3: Rebel Girl TPB
Writer: Brian Wood
Artists: Stephanie Crety, Julien Hugonnard-Bert
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $16.99
Release Date: October 1, 2014

The Rebel Alliance needs a permanent home and Leia holds the answer to their problems. Marry the prince of the remote planet Arrochar and they will receive safe haven and all the recourse they need to fight the Empire.

Of course, we all know that this arrangement doesn’t work out in the long run,​ but Brian Wood makes it less about the endgame and focuses on the emotional strife of our beloved heroes. The ghost of Alderaan haunts Leia at every turn and she feels obligated to fill the void for the
​A​lliance. Wedge, Luke, and Han all have their issues with her decision for different reasons and the emotional fallout intertwines with one another.

Wedge grounds Luke after a training mission because due to his reckless flying. Normally, Wedge would have pulled Luke aside to reprimand him instead of calling him out in front of everyone. Luke is torn between his feelings for Leia while Wedge is distracted by the notion that this new arrangement is a mistake and is tearing his lifelong friend apart. Han is playing his cards close to the chest by pretending he doesn’t have feelings for the princess even though we know better.

Besides the soap opera ordeal Brian Wood has going on, he also keep the threat of Imperial intrusion looming like a dark cloud over the course of the story. The A​lliance has had many close calls in terms of finding a home. This is supposed to be the last time they’ll ever need to unpack their bags and wonder if their residence is temporary. The artwork of Stephanie Crety, Julien Hugonnard-Bert has some hits and misses along the way. Luke Skywalker looks like a crack head in skinny jeans at certain points of the book. Other times, he looks like the Jedi in training that we’ve all come to love.

Maybe the shift in appearance was done to go along with his state of mind. The duo, however, can draw a menacing fleet of Star Destroyers​ as they orbit Arrochar for a surprise bombardment. The coloring of Gabe Eltaeb is simply sensational and I love his treatment on the panels where the Imperial ships were taken out by a pair of Ion cannons. It’s a shame that this series has come to an end since the house with the mouse now owns the comic book rights.

Brian Wood has done a magnificent with applying a true sense of The Force to these pages. Star Wars: Rebel Girl collects issues 15 – 18 which only leaves the last two issues of what will be a run long remembered.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Action Comics #35
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Scott Kolins, Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Wil Quintana
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 1, 2014

The theme of this issue is “Who needs Superman?” That has been a highly debated question for quite some time and it perfectly fits ​​in what’s going on in the aftermath of Doomed.

Superman comes back to a world in healing asks himself if he is needed any longer. Clark Kent writes a blog questioning his alter ego’s necessity to mankind and everyone weighs in on the matter. I loved the pacing of this book because it begins to pick up steam in Smallville where Lana and everyone else keep complementing Clark on his new beard.

Great losses have been suffered,​ but people are moving on and trying to make their little corner of the globe a place to once again call home. Clark’s offers of a helping hand are met with a strong and heartfelt “Thanks​,​ but we got this.” Lana even retracts her support for her childhood friend and the message becomes loud and clear. Superman is no longer needed. Then the winds of change appear in the form of Lois Lane as she barges into Clark’s apartment and comments on his ridiculous beard as she reads him the riot act for writing the blog. Clark is steadfast in his feelings and Lois pens her own blog opposing the established narrative and even presents a third option of Superman’s relevance.

Scott Kolins, Vicente Cifuentes did a great job of depicting all of the key moments​, ​including a scene in Metropolis where police and first responders are assisting those in need while a smoke emanates from Superman’s statue decimated or all to see. However, Earth’s beacon of hope in ruins won’t stop its inhabitants from rebuilding and they even have smiles on their face.

​This happens right as Lois makes her most passionate argument in the article. I’ve been very critical about the New 52 and its run of Superman comic books. However, this was a nice surprise. Instead of fighting random creatures that give the Man of Steel a “run for his money” in a half hazard attempt to make​ him more vulnerable, Greg Pak gives us a great story that puts everything into perspective as to whether or not the world needs Superman. Yes, this subject has been done before​,​ but it’s the non-heavy handed approach that was much appreciated.

Score: 4 out of 5

RoboCop #4
Writer: Joshua Willamson
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99
Release Date October 1, 2014

RoboCop is being dragged by a monster truck and Lewis goes a few rounds with Nash, all while Killian causes a riot in downtown Detroit. The city’s new gun control law calls absolutely no guns which have​ citizens up in arms. (Sorry, I had to say it)

Of course, there is more going on than anyone realizes and it’s Robo and Lewis who are caught in the crosshairs. Killian is pulling strings on both sides of the fence,​ but to what extent. Gun control is a hot button issue in the political stratosphere. Joshua Willamson takes it to the next level by removing Capitol Hill out of the equation and the corrupt suits of OCP make the decree.

Paul Verhoeven’s version of Detroit is the last place I would ever choose to live. However, if the fate made it my only option for a happy home, you better believe I would be packing heat. Thinking about it on that level gives the narrative that oomph of urgency because history suggests that OCP only cares about their stock​ portfolio. Besides all of that, Williamson gets it and is giving fans the RoboCop we’ve been asking for.

Four issues in and I’m still impressed with how he captures the essence of what brings our nostalgia to the forefront in regards to the titular character. I’ve read other versions of this story where they tease sexual tension between RoboCop and Officer Lewis simply to get people talking. I’m all for creative interpretation​,​ but there is no need​ to​ go down that road in this case. Murphy and Lewis are partners or another way to say it, work husband and wife. They get each other and their b​ond​ has been fused by the moment Clarence Boddicker irrevocably altered their lives.

Carlos Magno illustrates this perfectly in the first act where RoboCop is down and out, Lewis is facing certain death​,​ which inspires RoboCop back to his feet and saves the day and we are treated to some brain splattering imagery to boot.

The ending of this book presents a subtle holy shit moment where the zero gun policy affects RoboCop which made me ask all sorts of questions about the coming events and very excited for the next issue.

Score: 4 out of 5

Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 (One-Shot)
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: CAFU
Colorist: Brian Reber
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 1, 2014

I’ve always been a fan of books that not only show what happens in the wake of a big event,​ but also sets the stage for what’s to come. It gives us a chance to breathe before we find out what the next big threat is or how our heroes have remained steadfast of have changed. The secret is out.

The existence of Unity has been confirmed to the world in the wake of the Armor Hunters invasion. Robert Venditti’s writing is the gift that just keeps on giving when it comes to this series. Diehard fans will be more than satisfied while newcomers will enjoy this seemingly new world where the secrets of old are no longer a mystery.

I really got a kick out of the two old timers sharing shuttle launch war stories at Cape Canaveral. Their sass and dedication did a great job of highlighting how far the human race has come and where we​’re​ going in context to how things have changed. I really enjoyed the detail in CAFU’s illustrations as it perfectly complements the complexity of the story and characters and Brian Reber’s wide array of colors works extremely well with the images.

I would recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t indulged themselves in the world of Valiant and is looking for something new and to catch them up on what they missed.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

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