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The Pull List: THE WALKING DEAD #115, DEADPOOL #18, STAR WARS #10 & 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!

Superman/Wonder Woman #1 (Pick of the Week)
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Tony S Daniel
Colorist: Toney Morey
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

This smooch heard around the world in the comic book realm took place in August of 2012 when Superman and Wonder Woman kissed, thus confirming their relationship.

Despite Lois and Clark being the storybook romance, there has always been a lot of sexual tension between these two super powered icons. Now, we get to see this super couple in all their glory in a monthly series which makes sense, considering the “kiss” issue a.k.a Justice League #12, made DC Comics a lot of money and received a lot of publicity.  This first installment proves that only these two can have the kind of date night that involves a romantic flight in the clouds followed by a rescue mission that ends with the worst possible scenario for Wonder Woman, or any hero, for that matter.

Of course, we get the soap opera angle in the book as well dealing with their relationship issues. I was worried about this aspect of the book because if not executed properly, they could have come across as whiny and melodramatic. That was not the case as both sides of the coin provide a valid argument.

Wonder Woman wants to go public with their relationship and Superman wants to keep it under wraps. In the end, love prevails as they don’t yell at each other like a couple who breaks up and gets back together twenty times a day. Superman feels he will someday get comfortable enough to scream his love to the heavens and Wonder Woman realizes that her beau grew up hiding who he is and it will take time to break him of that habit.

Soule makes this the emotional crux of the story going forward because the reader now has two things to cheer for. You not only want them to win in battle and save the day, but now you want them to succeed as a couple and their single biggest hurdle has been brought into the limelight. The story was great, Tony S. Daniel’s artwork is always right on the money, and in turn, we have a really good first issue that not only comes out swinging in its maiden voyage but has plotted a course of unique destinations ahead.

Grade: A

The Walking Dead #115
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard & Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Cliff Rathburn
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99

The Walking Dead #115 is the single highest selling comic book issue of 2013 with over 350,000 copies sold, as this month marks the 10th anniversary of the title.

Image Comics released ten different covers and I saw people at the comic shop making the mad dash to own every single one of them so it’s is not hard to understand why so many copies were sold. Some of my peeps have voiced their displeasure about this series over the last several issues and they continued to so with this particular issue.

Negan, the current baddie of the series, is brutally relentless in his destruction of anything that gets in his path and does it well while the F-Word is a permanent staple of his vocabulary.

The slow burn this series is accustomed to has been too slow for some to keep their interest while others read every issue hoping Negan finally gets his. You have to give Robert Kirkman credit for creating another great villain. I’m not going to put Negan on par with The Governor, but they’ve both accomplished two different things.

One is so evil that fans want more of him, kind of like The Joker, while Negan is someone that makes your skill crawl to the Nth degree. He is the loud mouth bully at recess that you want to see get beat up in the worse way. It took fourteen issues, but Rick and company finally team up to end Negan’s reign of terror. Just when you think that Rick has all the answers, Negan changes the questions and it makes the reader crave his demise even more.

This issue begins a 12 part story arc titled “All Out War”. A lot of fans were already losing interest during the year and a half it took for the good guys to confront Negan. Now, it’s going to be another year before we get a resolution. That might not sound like an appetizing proposition, but there is so much going on between Michonne’s blossoming love life, an ammo shortage for the Hilltop, and Negan always being one step ahead of Rick, this arc will no doubt produce a lot of fun moments in the months ahead.

Grade: B+

Death Sentence #1
Writer: Monty Nero
Artist: Mike Dowling
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt
Publisher: Titan Comics
Price: $3.99

Most comic book fans dream of having super powers, but would you want them if you only had six months to live?

Monty Nero answers that question as we follow the lives of three individuals who have contracted the G+ Virus, a new STD.

Each of the three characters bring something different to the table while all are trying to figure out the same thing: how to spend their final days.

Verity is a graphic designer who is stuck in a dead end position and decided that enough is enough.

Weasel is an indie rocker who is losing street credit with his fans and is looking for one final hurrah.

Then you have Monty, a rogue media personality whose objective is not yet clear, but it doesn’t seem to be good.

Writer Monty Nero has penned a gritty story where the characters are flawed, the world is flawed, and death is more common than ever before. Mike Dowling’s artwork perfectly illustrated the kind of world we could expect if this virus was a real epidemic with lots of dark tones.

While Monty and Weasel’s characters are interesting, they are not very likable. Verity appears to be the hero of the story which makes sense considering her character doesn’t have as much baggage which makes her likable. This was razor close to being my pick of the week as it is a very sound story that goes off in several different directions that are not hard to follow.

If you are unfamiliar with Titan Comics, this is an awesome book that will serve as your introduction to their catalog.

Grade: A-

Deadpool #18
Writer: Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

“Head’s up North Korea. Here comes the Cuckoo’s Nest X-Men” – Wolverine.

This quote perfect describes this issue in so many ways.When you think of a Deadpool comic book you usually get a story that is riffed with witty banter, hilarity and the type of action that only Wade Wilson can provide.

We get that time out however; things take a different turn as the emotional fallout in North Korea leaves Deadpool anything but laughing. Captain America and Wolverine guest star and they get an equal amount of page time as the titular character and they both contribute to the story in the appropriate way. Cap leads the charge and Logan is the muscle.

There is more emotional pull in this issue than usual because Butler’s experimental X-Men are victims of his evil genius and they want to not only make up for what they have done but live up to the reputation of the mutants they were cloned after. Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan have done wonders for this series because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. This issue is quite the contrast because it does exactly the opposite and it is still highly entertaining.

Grade: B

Deathmatch #10
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colorist: Michael Garland
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty as only four combatants remain.

Superheroes and even supervillains have done things in the Deathmatch arena that they never thought they would or could do. Dragonfly is the only one of the four who has never been defeated and the goal of working together to unveil the culprit behind this game seems to be fading. This series has been entertainingly frustrating to read because of the reluctance to find the perpetrator.

With each death, the prisoners are increasingly alarmed about their chances of survival. They make a plan, but the match ups along with ego and true colors being shown puts the main objective to the wayside.

One of the great things Paul Jenkins has done with this series is consistently throwing twists and turns at the reader that we never see coming. Character development plays a role in this as well because we think we know how someone is going to act based on our knowledge of good guys and bad guys but we don’t truly know what makes Sable and Manchurian tick.

For my money, no one does a better job at drawing a fight sequence than Carlos Magno. The detail and his designs are just fun to look at and has brilliantly captured the essence of this Deathmatch world that readers have become immersed in. The ending of this issue indicated that all hell breaks loose next month and I want a front row seat to watch it all unfold.

Grade: A-

Star Wars #10
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $2.99

One of the great many things about this Star Wars series is we get to see things that never unfolded in the films.

The loss of loved ones in the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of Alderaan is what drives Luke and Leia to defeat the Empire.

Yes, the princess was fighting the good fight long before we saw the famous yellow crawl for the first time but the stakes are more personal for her as she comes face to face with the man responsible for the loss of her home world.

The finality of the moment provides a lot of clarity to the reader as well as for Leia.

We now know how strong she really is while she knows how powerful her resolve is in those all important moments when the hard decisions need to be made and her reasoning is pure to the cause of the Rebel Alliance.

The Empire serves as some of the most popular villains in pop culture but scary is not a word that is used to describe them. Carlos D’Anda’s depictions of several Imperial settings such as a Tie Fighter hanger bay made me concerned for Luke and Wedge’s safety.

Then I remembered, oh yeah, nothing happens to Luke and Wedge because I’ve seen Return of the Jedi. That is what makes this series an amazing pleasure to read. Even though you already know the outcome, the story is written and the artwork is drawn in such a way that you forget everything you know and just focus on the here and now. Any series that can do that on a consistent basis is worthy of all accolades it can carry.

Grade: B+

Red Sonja #4
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99

Red Sonja has become one of my favorite comic books in circulation today. Gail Simone has done a wonderful job of creating adventures that are not only worthy of the “Red Devil”, but have put her in situations that she can’t just slash her way out of with a sword.

Plenty of blood slashing moments will be had thanks to Walter Geovani but it is her “never say die” attitude that helps her rule the day. Even though she is fighting off a deadly plague, she still wants some alcohol to drink.

This biggest point Simone gets across in this issue is that no matter how incapacitated Red Sonja is, she is still more dangerous than ten men put together. All roads are leading to a showdown between Sonja and her sister, Red Annisia who is enslaving folks over the plague.

When they fight, Sonja will most likely be still affected with the sickness. Annisia is one of the few who can match Sonja’s might on a level playing field and she will not have a distinct advantage going into the opening salvo.

Grade: B+

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