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The Pull List: SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #1, WALKING DEAD #111, SAVAGE WOLVERINE #6 & More!

Back with a vengeance after a move (I know you missed me, but you try lugging all those long boxes.  It’s exhausting!), 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!

Thumbprint #1 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramelia
Art: Vic Malhotra
Colors: Vic Malhotra
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

Whenever Joe Hill’s name is on the cover of a comic book, I’m automatically intrigued.

When the name Jason Ciaramelia appears next to Hill’s, it automatically goes in my buy pile, even if I have no idea what the story is about. They are just that good at developing flawed characters that are captivating to readers.

Thumbprint follows an ex-soldier named Mallory Grennan who participated in the tortuous interrogations at Abu Ghraib but avoided being prosecuted. Grennan is haunted by those events, but you wouldn’t be able to tell if you got together with her for a drink.

Of course, things begin to spiral into the physiological thriller which the title of the book comes into play.

Vic Malhotra’s artwork is not my cup of tea in the general sense, but it works for a story of this degree. The grandeur of elaborate character work is absent and in its place are detailed depictions that chillingly convey the horror and suspense that Grennan finds herself in. She put herself in these tough spots, so you don’t feel bad for her. At the same time, you can’t look away because you find yourself vested in her plight.

Thumbprint is off to a fantastic start, and gets my vote for that different book you want to try when the superhero thing is running you kind of dry.

Grade: A-

Superman Unchained #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Jim Lee & Scott Williams
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99

Let me get this out of the way right now, Superman is my all-time favorite superhero. That being said, Action Comics has been either hit or miss while this self-titled series has been completely un-inspired since the inception of the New 52. Superman Unchained changes all of that.

I was curious as to how Scott Snyder would approach things since his amazing knack for storytelling has been predominately with street level characters.

Rest assured, Snyder manages to put a fresh coat of paint on this 75 year old classic. For starters, he actually made the book about Superman instead of focusing on the complexities of everything around him, such as his personal and professional life.

Those elements come into play when Lois informs Clark of an error in his news article which prompts him to put on the cape and investigate the matter. Other characters from Superman folk lore also make an appearance and they were used for the purpose that they were intended. Jimmy Olsen augments Clark Kent’s humanity as he receives a helping hand, including an attempt to be covered for, to avoid the wrath of his boss. The alien-hating General Sam Lane is not central to the story, but he brings about what could be Superman’s biggest threat.

Jim Lee’s legendary splash pages encompass your imagination as the action unfolds in front of your eyes. I mean it. It literally unfolds in the form of a beautiful gate fold poster with so much action that it couldn’t fit on one page.

While due to some dull moments, it is not a grand slam by any means, the newly heralded dream team Scott Snyder and Jim Lee have set the standard for what a Superman comic book should be in 2013.

Grade: B+

The Black Beetle: No Way Out #4
Writer: Francesco Francavilla
Art: Francesco Francavilla
Cover: Francesco Francavilla
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.99

Francesco Francavilla’s pulp noir comes to a dramatic conclusion as the mysterious Labyrinto shows his hand.

Labyrinto was always one step ahead of the clever Beetle, which made you wonder just how Colt City’s caped crusader would prevail. Those are just some of the elements that Francavilla injects into the story that hooks the reader from beginning to end.

From a creative standpoint, this book produces the best artwork of the week. There is a stylish two page layout, drawn as a jigsaw puzzle that symbolizes the hero and the villain putting the final pieces of the puzzle together.

Watching them match wits as this comes together is a great reminder as to how talented Francavilla is as an illustrator and writer.

While the Beetle is done for now, fear not as he will return in the fall for what will be, without a doubt, another thrilling adventure.

Grade: B

Savage Wolverine #6
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Joe Madureira
Colors: Peter Steigerwald
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Spider-Man is on the cover, but it is the team of Wolverine and Elektra that takes center stage.

Fear not though, the highly entertaining scene between Spidey and Logan is worth the price of admission.

Wolverine’s ongoing series is usually more story than action, but this title is the reverse.

Sometimes, that can be a bad thing but not this time since it is Zeb Wells who pens the story. Wells’ is one of Marvel’s unsung heroes and his Avenging Spider-Man series is just loads of fun.

I wasn’t a fan of Joe Madureira’s art in this issue. The size of the characters were just a smidge away from between too exaggerated which made it had at times to take the book seriously.

If you like the Kingpin and ninjas, then you just might want to give this book a try.

Grade: B-

The Walking Dead #111
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99

Rick’s plan is about to be unveiled, Michonne may have the hots for Ezekiel, and Negan guts Spencer and uses his pool table.

The term slow burn is often used when describing The Walking Dead.

It’s the character development that hooks the reader more than most because things change quickly even though not a lot occurs.

Negan is one of my favorite characters in comics today, but I can’t wait until Rick puts a bullet in his head.

He has been the most entertaining aspect of the series since his debut because Kirkman has created the ultimate asshole.

Just his mere presence instantly creates knife cutting tension. In this particular instance, Negan is kind of the good guy since Spencer stands to ruin everything Rick has worked for. Negan, in a way, is kind of the hero of the day but unknowingly shoots himself in the foot. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I need Rick’s plan to come to fruition, and I need it to happen now.

However, that is part of the fun when reading this story arc. Good things come to those who wait.

Grade: B

Six-Gun Gorilla #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Jeff Stokely
Colors: Andre May
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99

I never would have read this as a kid since DC and Marvel were the only comics that mattered.

Damn, I’m glad I’m not a kid anymore, because I would have missed out. Six-Gun Gorilla is bizarre and serious at the same time. Things begin with a nameless soldier called Blue-3425. He has come to grips with the notion of dying and looks forward to doing so in a civil war, on a planetary colony, after losing his wife.

All of the soldiers are looking forward to meeting their maker and the government has made assurances this will occur while the war is broadcast in real time to civilians.

The story moves at a frantic pace and takes place in a Wild West setting. Jeff Stokely produces the best artwork of the week and Andre May’s coloring perfectly complements the tone set by Stokely’s cartoon style.

You might be asking yourself, when does the gorilla with the six shooter come into play? Well, even I won’t spoil that one.

Grade: B+

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

Star Wars #6 (Dark Horse Comics)
This is the first Star Wars book that didn’t WOW me but still has some interesting plot points worth exploring.

Batman #21 (DC Comics)
Bruce Wayne comes home to Gotham in this new take on The Dark Knight’s origin story and takes on the original Red Hood.

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