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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!

Star Wars #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Carlos D’Anda
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
Cover: Alex Ross
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $2.99

Dark Horse has published a cornucopia of Star Wars comics since 1991, covering an array of time periods. From the “Dawn of the Jedi” to 100 years after the Battle of Endor, and everything in between, nothing has been out of bounds as some of the most creative minds in the business have brought their talents to this beloved franchise.

Brian Wood’s midas touch produces some of the best books in the game today and his turn with the pen on Star Wars is simply comic book nirvana. Nothing else has occurred other than “New Hope.”

It’s two months after the “Battle of Yavinand the Rebel Alliance is in desperate need of a new base while the Empire is hot on their trail.

Various writers have put their own spin on various aspects of this space opera, but Wood’s interpretation impeccably nails the true essence of these classic characters. Luke Skywalker is still a Jedi in progress, while Princess Leia is a woman of action, and Han Solo is a credit grubbing scoundrel with a heart of gold.

Did you ever want to be a fly on the wall when the Emperor chews out Darth Vader due to the Death Star’s destruction? We finally get the chance to witness this key event for the first time. While Leia is the symbolic leader of the alliance, we are reminded that Mon Mothma is it’s actual leader making the crucial decisions and tough choices.

The expertise in which Carlos D’Anda draws his illustrations makes you feel you are watching Episode 4.5. The dialog and page layouts help in this endeavor, but it’s the imagery that truly brings this feeling home. The coloring of Gabe Eltaeb is aces as the reflective light of a blue planet glistens off the glass of an X-Wing’s during it’s voyage in the outer rim. A close up of a Star Destroyer suddenly dropping out of hyperspace as Tie fighters quickly emerge from its docking bays gave the adventure a sense of danger you don’t experience too often while reading a comic book.

The detail in everything from the characters, to the vehicles, to the weapons and the uniforms… everything was impressive, to say the least. The depiction of Chewbacca’s face kind of makes him look like an older Wookiee.   Darth Vader’s presentation will strike fear in the hearts of any Jedi. His leaner and more muscular build topped off with a modern styling given to Ralph McQuarrie’s early design of Vader’s helmet gives the Sith Lord more of a menacing presence.

It is hard for me not to be romantic about Star Wars when a comic book like this comes along. This theater of imagination was executed to perfection in every aspect of it’s being. The reader is in the unique position of knowing the characters’ fates before they do. While various prequels give us that experience, Wood’s makes that knowledge mean even more. This is one of the best comic books I’ve ever read. I read it five times because I wanted to keep experiencing the adventure that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Grade: A+ 

Superior Spider-Man #1
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Ryan Stegman
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

I should warn you now; this is not the Spider-Man you are used to.  Gone is the humble scientist who aspires to live up to his Uncle Ben’s inspiring words. Enter the arrogant mastermind who has a second chance to make a new impression. Recent developments have Otto Octavius now inside Peter Parker’s body. Big changes are always met with mixed feelings and now we get to see the maiden voyage of this new journey.

It’s fitting that Otto’s first combative strife is against the new Sinister Six. The irony of this encounter not only spoke to his ego but the violent nature of his character. The old Spider-Man was as violent as he needed to be to get the bad guy behind bars. This new version is as violent as he wants to be and pulls it off with a certain je ne sais quoi.

Ryan Stegman produced some strong visuals that did a great job of capturing Slott’s vision. The best way to compare Peter and Otto is that of a magician who can cut put someone in a box and cut them in half without killing them.

The difference is, Peter would not even consider taking a life while Otto would relish the fatality.

Something similar to a conscious overtakes Octavius when he is about to go past the point of no return. Is there someone more to this or is the once sinister doctor finding a new groove? Either way, Dan Slott created a wonderful first issue that shows promise, intrigue and a unique sense of adventure.

Grade: A-

Detective Comics #1
Writer: John Layman
Art: Jason Fabok
Colors: Jermey Cox
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: 3.99

Some people inspire greatness while others inspire fear, and then you have The Joker who inspires absolute chaos. Batman has his work cut out for him as he has to not only deal with the Joker but also has to contend with the League of Smiles.

Yes, you read that right. The LOS, one of several gangs popping up all over Gotham City. Their goal is to cause anarchy, all in the name of the clown prince of crime.

John Layman put a lot of food on the grill and it was absolutely delicious and left room for desert as Emperor Penguin, the new crime boss in town is wasting no time in making his presence felt. Jason Fabok’s artwork is very attractive and shines at depicting character emotion when a member of the League of Smiles has second thoughts over his life of crime.

Every Batman book under the sun ties into “Death of the Family.”

Layman did a good job of making the point that criminals don’t stop committing crimes in Gotham just because the circus is in town.

Grade: B+

The Walking Dead #106
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Writer: Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99

This is more of a filler issue than anything else, it’s still pretty good though.

Negan optimizes being an asshole on every level. We have witnessed six issues of this man doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Kirkman seems to be plotting a course for the ultimate showdown between Rick and Negan.

Right now, Rick is pretending to be afraid for the moment in order to gain a tactical advantage over the situation. He wants Carl back, but Negan holds him captive while poking fun at his latest injury.

We all know how comic book battles always end with good prevailing over evil.

Rick will probably kill Negan when it is all said and done, but this issue makes you look forward to that confrontation even more.

Grade: B

Punisher: War Zone #3
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Carmine Di Gindomenico
Colors: Matt Holingsworth
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

Frank Castle has been at war with the injustice for a long time now. It is catching up with him now as The Avengers have finally decided to take him in.

Greg Rucka showcased Castle’s tactical prowess to get by Spider-Man and Black Widow in the first two installments.

This time, Thor gets the call to capture the Punisher.

When this was announced last month, it immediately made me wonder how Castle could best the god of thunder. In a straight up fight, he would get crushed. Surprisingly, the battle of hammer and bullets never took place and a different route was taken. The art was nothing to complain about, and Holingsworth’s coloring was spot on as always.

It was Spider-Man who brought the Punisher to The Avengers’ attention.

It makes me wonder if Castle will go one more round with the Wall-Crawler when this story comes full circle?

Grade: B

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-Secret History of the Foot Clan #1
Story: Mateus Santolouco
Script: Mateus Santolouco & Erik Burnham
Art: Mateus Santolouco
Colors: Joao “Azitona” Vieira
Publishers: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

Gather around the fire kids, its story time.

Today, were going to learn about the history of the Foot Clan and how they came into power. Mateus Santolouco put together a phenomenal story with excellent pacing that encompassed mystery, suspense, and humor.

The mystery of it all just kept pulling you in more and more as it was revealed how the events of the past are linked to the events of today.

The artwork was a mixed bag of results. Fight scenes and images of destruction had an element of danger to them. However, his character work on the Turtles suggest he forgot they are teenagers since they looked like the “Old Age Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

IDW was done some wonderful things with the TMNT franchise.

The ongoing series is one of the best books on the shelves and this new miniseries is tantamount to that fact.

Grade: A-

Secret Avengers #36
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Matteo Scalera
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Rick Remender is becoming one of my favorite comic book writers.

While his work on Uncanny X-Force is the standard for team books, and Secret Avengers has found its own voice as each story arc actually means something that matters in the overall scheme of things.

Captain Britain, Beast and Hawkeye meet with the Undead Avengers on Earth 666 in order to obtain an object in order to defeat the Descendants which are a trio of artificial life forms looking to turn humanity into AI life forms as well.

The script, dialog and page layouts flowed smoothly and contributed to the pacing which makes the reader feel it was over too quickly despite a ton of stuff going on.

With only one issue left, I can hardly wait to see what the finale will bring about.

Grade: B

Here are some titles that didn’t make the list but may just tickle your fancy.

Sweet Tooth #40 (DC Comics/Vertigo) 
This was my first time reading what is the final issue of this series. I liked it a lot and would appreciate it more if I was reading it all along. It’s time to read some back issues.

George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones #12 (Dynamite Entertainment) 
I found the books boring and the TV show to be outstanding. This was a colorful retelling of Season 2 episode 6 involving Tyrion Lannister’s trial by combat.

Shelf-Listed: Disappointment of the Week – Action Comics #16 (DC Comics) 
This book is a victim of just way too much going on and it makes everything convoluted to the point you wonder why you read it in the first place.

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