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The Pull List: Superior Spider-Man #9, The Bionic Man #19, Aquaman #19 & 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!

Star Wars: The Assassination of Darth Vader – Free Comic Book Day (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Ryan Odagawa
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: FREE

I love Free Comic Book Day. You love Free Comic Book Day, even if you don’t think you do. I mean, come on, what’s not to love. FREE COMIC BOOKS, BABY!

I arrived at my local Newbury Comics early in order to snag all of the books being released. Some good, some were just ok, but man, did Dark Horse come out swinging!

Darth Vader is about to be assassinated, and he pulls out all the stops in order to prevent his demise. He uses tricks we never knew he had and we find out what one of the buttons on his chest plate does.

Ryan Odagawa shows the reader the full range of Vader’s force powers in dynamic fashion. Brian Wood’s script emphatically optimizes the term ruthless aggression as it relates to Vader. I’d never thought a FCBD selection would be my pick of the week, but it just goes to show you that, sometimes, the best things in life are free.

Grade: A

Superior Spider-Man #9
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Ryan Stegman
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

This will go down as one of the most emotionally charged Spider-Man books in a long time.

Dan Slott got a lot of flack for the switch with Doctor Octopus. Well, if you didn’t like what you saw in Amazing Spider-Man #700, your reaction to what you read in these pages may be on par.

Otto has just discovered that Peter Parker’s conscious is alive and inside of him.

He needs to erase it for good in order to be the Superior Spider-Man he has set out to be.

Slott twists the knife as Otto delivers the ultimate checkmate to Parker that has to be seen to be believed. Ryan Stegman captured this moment, and more, with the emotional essence that was intended.

This issue did a phenomenal job of reaffirming that Spider-Man, as he is now, is not a good guy. This is hard to imagine considering he is one of the most popular pop culture characters of all time.

Grade: B+

Iron Man #9
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Dale Eaglesham
Colors: Guru-Efx
Cover: Greg Land & Guru-Efx
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

The Marvel NOW! re-launch of Iron Man hit us with an Extremis story arc. It was the right call to make considering the Iron Man 3 movie was just released, but the newest comic version was tiresome and covered absolutely no new ground.

The secret origin of Tony Stark, on the other hand, brings about a whirlwind of intrigue and mystery.

Tony Stark enlists the services of giant robot bounty hunter, Death’s Head in order to hunt down the genocidal criminal, Collector 451.

The story started off a little slow, but the banter between Iron Man and bounty hunter slowly picks up the pace and establishes their relationship.

This ultimately gives the reader a false sense of security as Tony is double crossed. Some might feel that the fact thatTony needs help form a bounty hunter makes him less of a hero, but on the contrary it shows how dangerous 451 is, that Tony would resort to this measure.

By the way, Death’s Head is a character originally created for Marvel’s publication of Transformers. IDW has their comic book license but it’s kind of a cool connection. The double cross isn’t even the biggest part of the story as the secret origin aspect goes back before Tony was even born.

Dale Eaglesham’s art direction was good throughout the book. It hit a home run during the closing moments as 451 stalks down the hallway of the ship in the climax’s opening salvo. This was one of those stories where the only disappointment you will find is that it had to end.

I can hardly wait for the next issue.

Grade: A-

Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible #2
Writer: Mike Mignola & Scott Allie
Artist: Sebastian Fiumara
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50

Abe Sapien is a wanted man, but he wants nothing, anybody, or anything.

At the same time, he wants to discover his place in the world and has to go back to B.P.R.D. to do so.

Mike Mignola gives us two stories for the price of one. Abe’s back story coupled with what’s happening in the here and now helps us understand who Abe is, even if he isn’t sure.

He is peaceful and intelligent but not to be trifled with.

Sebastian Fiumara’s art was as good as the last issue, but Dave Stewart’s coloring was not fun to look at. I feel weird saying that because Stewart is one of the best colorists in the business, but it was cloudy in this issue.

This series had the potential of being a one hit wonder but I’m happy to report the second installment is just as enjoyable as the first issue.

Grade: B-

The Bionic Man #19
Writer: Aaron Gillespie
Art: Ed Tadeo
Cover: Mike Mayhew & Ed Tadeo
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99

Steve Austin is undercover in enemy territory but there is just one problem.

Half of his face has been shot off, revealing the Bionic nature of the Bionic Man. It’s impossible for him to operate in a stealth capacity which is a must in order for the mission to be a success.

Aaron Gillespie puts Austin in a situation where all of his enhanced abilities are virtually useless. Ed Tadeo provides the explosive visuals we’ve come to expect from Dynamite Entertainment.

The action is always intense with this title, but the DEFCON 1 style cliffhanger just may blow your mind.

Grade: B

Aquaman #19
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Paul Pelletier & Sean Parsons
Colors: Rod Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Topo the Octopus makes his New 52 debut and Aquaman is on a scavenger hunt for Scavenger. Get it?  See what I did there? Any who.

This issue is filled with Atlant-ean espionage that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

Treachery surrounds Aquaman at every turn while Mera is caught in a tidal wave of peril. Geoff Johns often proves that the phrase, “less is more” is just a myth. He seamlessly injects several plot threads into the story while making sure they all impact the main objective. Paul Pelletier does a fantastic job of incorporating all of the underwater elements. Sea life, explosions, character interactions and every in-between are fun to watch unfold.

The book ends with a pretty big reveal, while the stage is set for The Others to return next month.

Grade: B-

Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 (One-Shot)
Writers: F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp
Art: Marcus To and Ian Herring
Cover: Marcus To and Ian Herring
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Price: $1.00

This is a spectacular piece of comic book literature that is truly a privilege to read.

A young man, now known only as “009,” has been cybernetically altered against his will and fights to break free from a secret society who transformed him. This is a re-imagining of Shotaro Ishinomori’s manga classic that does everything right.

The opening glimpse into 009’s life before the robotics immediately makes you sympathize with him even though you don’t know the whole story. Marcus To and Ian Herring depict the heart wrenching scene that puts it over the top.

Romance, violence, mystery, and action are all impeccably woven together in superb fashion. Even though this is just a preview of the full length graphic novel scheduled for a summer 2013 release, this is one book you don’t want to miss.

Plus, the price tag is pretty nice too.

Grade: A

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

Action Comics #20 (DC Comics) 
Solid Superman story from Andy Diggle but enough with the whole “OH NO, HE’S AN ALIEN” stuff, please.

Age of Ultron #7 (Marvel Comics) 
Wolverine went back in time and killed Hank Pym in the last issue. This issue tells you how life would have turned out.

Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #1 (Dark Horse Comics) 
Part NBC’s Revolution, part X-Men, mostly fun.

Polarity #2 (BOOM! Studios) 
Just when Tim is about to get some answers, someone changes the questions.

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