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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!

Planet Hulk #1
Writers: Sam Humphries, Greg Pak
Artists: Marc Laming, Takeshi Miyazawa, Leonard Kirk
Colorist: Jordan Boyd, Rachelle Rosenberg, Tamra Bonvillain
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99

Sam Humphries and Greg Pak hit comic book fans with a pretty snazzy 1-2 punch as they implement the beloved story arc of Planet Hulk into Marvel’s current big event, Secret Wars.
The other part of the combination deals with a gladiator Steve Rogers and his trusty steed in the form of a giant red T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur kicking ass and taking names.

I couldn’t help but notice the bump up in price compared to the other Secret Wars tie in books.

The book is certainly thicker, but does it add up in the realm of content?

Of course, all things in Battleworld leads back to Doctor Doom who is now referred to as God Doom.

Seeing a beaten down Steve Rogers being forced down at the feet of Doom harkens back to Secret Wars circa 1984. In that outing, Doom obtained ultimate power and Rogers got into his head by turning his own hubris against him.

Their interaction in this current state of affairs dropped some hints as to whether or not Doom remembers everything before Marvel’s version of the big bang. It would make sense considering he is the shot caller, but many of the characters remember bits and traces of their past without realizing what it really means.

Enough about Doom and Rogers though. The book is called Planet Hulk and you want to hear about how they wreck shop and cause total destruction. Greenland is the name of this Gamma infested region that has been carved out for Hulk-like beings. Sam Humphries sets things up nicely by establishing how dangerous this place is as it is conveyed to be the most feared places in Battleworld.

Greg Pak writes a nice little back story that shows life in Greenland before, well, it turned green. The cover had a retro sixties vibe, which almost seemed like a gag at first.

However, even though Battleworld is a bastardization of reality, these are still real people who live their lives until things took a turn for the worst. Pak’s gives Planet Hulk perspective through this origin story.

Most of the time, tie in books fail to add any real depth to the overarching story they are trying to enhance. While it would have been nice to see more of Planet Hulk in its current form, Humphries did a great job of establishing everyone’s role where Green Goliath’s appear to play background noise to a much larger issue at hand.

Score: 4 out of 5

Jem and The Holograms #3
Writers: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Sophie Campbell
Colorist: M. Victoria Campbell
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

I remember watching Jem and The Holograms as a child. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world to do, but it was often wedged between G.I. Joe and Transformers.  While my developing mind couldn’t fully comprehend why anyone would watch these “girls with cooties” playing in a rock band, I recognized the different tone of the show compared to other cartoons geared towards little girls.

Now that I’m somewhat more mature, I realized that the 1980’s animated series represented female empowerment before it was cool to do so, and without hitting you on the nose.

While I’m not the biggest Jem fan walking the streets, it’s clear that Kelly Thompson has given this book a 2015 vibe while keeping true to the core essential elements that made fans fall in love with this franchise.

The story is building more and more towards the inevitable first musical encounter between the Holograms and The Misfits. The story is fun while rife with tension at the same time. The presence of Pizzazz embodies that notion on every page she appears in, thus making her a standout character in the process.

My wife noticed something that I had failed to pick up on when looking at Sophie Campbell’s character work. Besides the fact that it is beautiful and fun to look at, the women are drawn in various shapes and sizes instead of everyone being a supermodel stick figure. This was a real nice touch and falls in line with the empowerment that this series represents.

Also, kudos to M. Victoria Campbell who brought an energetic color pallet that is bold and vibrant in every facet of every panel.

If you put aside everything about Jem’s past, present, and future, the story Kelly Thompson has created is told extremely well. I think Vince McMahon would be proud of how Thompson has put all the right pieces in the right places to build towards an encounter that people will pay to see.

Score: 4 out of 5

Wytches #6
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jock
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99

The phrase “Pledged is Pledged” has been the one of the many frightful constants in Scott Snyder’s critically acclaimed series, Wytches.

Its full meaning finally comes to light as the horror meter explodes due to the sheer intense nature of the Rooks family peril.

One of the things that Snyder was able to firmly get across over the last six issues was the bond between Sailor and her father, Charlie. While comics are no strangers to close family units, Snyder heavily focused on this for a reason.

The finale here is terrifying and full of moments that will have you saying “No Way” but seeing how much they care for one another augments the emotional impact of the stories closing moments.

It’s so good that you don’t want it to end, but at the same time, you just feel for this family.

Talk about twists…….. yeah, the twist here is a messed up to say the least. Snyder delivers the goods via The Usual Suspects-style as flashbacks from previous issues highlight the grand scheme that took place under our noses without even realizing it.

The artwork of Jock is a sight to behold as it is the perfect blend of great illustrations coupled with superb visual story and world building. The page layouts provide the perfect cadence of beats with the story and the coloring of Matt Hollingsworth is a much welcomed bonus.

Scott Snyder concludes his first story arc in a manner that was jaw dropping from beginning to end. Where the story goes from here is a complete mystery. This is the kind of comic book that has kept fans coming back for more and I don’t see that changing as things move forward.

Score: 5 out of 5

Star Wars #5
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: John Cassaday
Colorist: Laura Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Star Wars rolls on with some pretty creative plot points across the galaxy.

Boba Fett takes center stage in this particular issue as he interrogates the scum and villainy of Mos Eisley in order to locate a certain moisture farmer. Fett’s actions are swift, vicious, and perfectly encapsulates his deadly reputation.

Between all of the new canon material and including a rumored Star Wars Anthology movie focusing on the Maldalorian bounty hunter, the legend of this character runs the risk of being tarnished.

While Jason Aaron has produced great interpretations of these beloved characters, less is more has worked for 25 years in regards to Fett.

There is also a fun little game of hard to get going on between Han Solo and Princess Leia as they embark on a secret mission. Aaron captured the vigor and wit that was reminiscent of their quarrels during Episode V. Their back and forth felt like a tense argument that you know you shouldn’t listen in on, but you’re still not going to turn away.

Seeing Mark Hamill instead of Luke Skywalker hanging around with R2-D2 shouldn’t be so distracting, but John Cassaday’s character work harkens to the actor as opposed to the character.

They’re the same person so why does it matter? While it’s a valid argument and the visual interpretation is spot on, I can’t give a definitive answer as to why it’s something I always hone in on.

Cassaday is something of a maverick when it comes to action sequences as the intent of the scene is pronounced with great detail. Luke swinging his lightsaber at a horde of Tusken Raiders looked like a timid child playing with his farther gun. Luke hasn’t met Yoda yet, so his inexperience with all things Jedi will always play a role.

The coloring of Laura Martin not only augments Cassaday’s pencil work, but also plays a huge role in depicting the lived in universe of the original trilogy.

Star Wars has been the number one selling comic book since it’s return to Marvel’s catalog in January. Jason Aaron has proven to be a writer whose name alone will bring intrigue to a title. His detailed storytelling along with keeping in tuned with the Force has produced series that just brings it month after month.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Usagi Yojimbo #145
Writer: Stan Sakai
Artist: Stan Sakai
Cover: Stan Saki, Tom Luth
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price; $3.50

It brought a big smile to my face when I saw Stan Saki’s ongoing Usagi Yojimbo series back on the shelf after a three year absence.

It was also a breath of fresh air to read something that carries Saki’s signature charm and creativity as the first chapter of The Thief And The Kunoichi is an amazing example of why these series resonates so strongly with readers.

The story starts with two thieves attempting to steal the same accident scroll. Things spiral out of control as a peaceful stroll for Usagi turns into an affair filled swords and chicanery.

I always get a kick out random guards and thugs insisting that can bully the rabbit Ronin into submission.

Usagi only draws his sword unless he absolutely has to. Seeing him attempt to talk his way out of a fight makes you like the character even more while hoping these evildoers will actually listen because if they don’t, there will be blood.

Stan Sakai’s artwork is always top notch, but his ability to have such expressive depictions makes the story even more enthralling. Seeing the cocky smirk on Kitsune’s as she believes she escaped scot-free, only to be surprised when her ruse fails to go unnoticed is a perfect example of the charm and exquisite storytelling conveyed within the artistry on the page.

Those who haven’t experience the storytelling mastery of Usagi Yojimbo will be able to dive right in as this issue is new reader friendly.

It’s not just a good comic book, but the sense of adventure Sakai consistent delivers is unlike anything on the shelf today.

Score: 4 out of 5

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