The Pull List, 9/15/16

Welcome to this week’s Pull List, where I run down the comics from my weekly Wednesday pull, new series that have caught my eye, and new trades worth sticking on the shelf. Let’s get right to the reviews, as soon as we do a few disclaimers.

Spoilers: If I’m telling you about new things that are worth reading, spoilers are not only rude, but self-defeating. That said, I do post cover images, and I reference past events when they are germane, so consider yourself warned.

Credits: I have given all the credits I can find in the comic itself and online; if you see something wrong or have information I’m lacking, let me know. I’m happy to make sure full credit is given.

Ratings: The Pull List rates a comic’s power level on a scale of 0 to 5, where 5 is something thought-provoking, groundbreaking, and/or masterfully executed (Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars) and 0 is something I wish I hadn’t even started reading (Jim Shooter’s Secret Wars II).

And make sure to let us know what’s on your Pull List this week in the comments!

Now then…

Regular Pulls

The ongoings and miniseries I can’t live without

Black Panther #6


Writing: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Pencils: Chris Sprouse

Inks: Karl Story

Colors: Laura Martin

Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino

Cover: Brian Stelfreeze (variant covers by Esad Ribic, Udon, and Pasqual Ferry & Frank D’Armata)

This one continues the same basic story we’ve been telling from the beginning, a fusion of superhero action and political thriller that feels like Batman meets A Song of Ice and Fire. The themes are more or less the same as previous issues, too — issues of personal identity and how titles fit into it (whether King, Black Panther, or Dora Milaje); how the decisions of powerful people affect the lives of those less fortunate; the blurry line between keeping order and installing tyranny, and between fomenting revolution and sowing chaos — but continuing to intensify, as the main players of this drama move toward a conclusion that is uncertain and potentially disastrous. The final twist of the issue, and the final panel that caps it off, introduce a plot development that could take the situation either way fast, and that leaves me counting the days until issue #7. Coates’ writing is incredible, as always, bringing the reader deep into the heads of the characters. His dialogue is dense, bordering on purple, but it really works, creating a sense of elevated speech that brings across how advanced and educated Wakandan society is — especially evident when we see it put up against the more typical comic-book speech of the American characters. The art is also spot-on, making Wakanda seem at once advanced and science-fictional and yet very primal, embodying the internal conflict driving T’Challa. The dense dialogue is part of my criticism here, though: Black Panther does not make itself very accessible to the reader. Characters are often shown in street clothes, and appropriately similar speech patterns for a lot of the Wakandan characters make it easy for supporting characters to blend together; this combines with the thick dialogue and brisk opening recaps to make for a sometimes muddy reading experience. That said, this issue is much better about it than previous ones, and the Coates Black Panther has always a book that rewards deep engagement, so I wouldn’t take it off my pull list for a second.

Power Level: 4 of 5

Deadpool #18


Writing: Gerry Duggan

Pencils: Mike Hawthorne and Brian Level

Inks: Terry Pallot

Colors: Jordie Bellaire and Rachelle Rosenberg

Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino

Cover: Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig

This issue was a welcome relief, which may sound like a weird thing to say about something as tragicomic as this. I’ve been critical of what has felt like a recent regression in the Deadpool character, turning him from a trigger-happy Sad Clown struggling with his unearthed memories back into a full-time comedic sociopath (not that I didn’t appreciate a slight uptick in his leaning on the fourth wall); I was enjoying the journey toward heroism and disappointed that they seemed to have abandoned it in favor of making him look familiar to moviegoers. This issue was the payoff for all that, casting his recent antics in light of his internal struggles and giving it all more depth. Even though it starts with a graphically dead body and a protracted fight scene, this issue feels like a breather where we get a little bit more insight into what is going on with the Regenerating Degenerate, while also continuing to set up the ongoing Madcap plotline (and may I just say, I love that Deadpool’s nemesis is literally one of the old voices in his head now seeking bloody revenge?); his interactions with Rogue in this one are especially heartbreaking and delightful. Also, the recap for this issue is comedy gold. I don’t recommend this as a place to start reading the series, but I think it’s a great reward for those of us who chose to trust in Gerry Duggan when the Merc with the Mouth started getting a little Early Oughts in here.

Power Level: 3 of 5

Uncanny Avengers #14


Writing: Gerry Duggan

Art: Ryan Stegman

Colors: Richard Isanove

Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Cover: Ryan Stegman and Richard Isanove

I need a hug.

As the cover shows, this is a Civil War II tie-in, following up on last issue’s revelation that the mutants of the Avengers Unity Squad were working with some Hellfire Club members to find a cure for Terrigen poisoning — without team approval. I love this plot, and I love that Civil War II is used as a prod to get it going in an interesting direction, rather than having the crossover event take over the page. Though it feels like Deadpool takes center stage on this one, the way it’s handled makes that centering feel right in the moment, and Cable, Cap, and the others get plenty of onscreen time; really, this issue is a master class in juggling multiple plotlines, bringing one to a boil while moving a couple others to their second acts, and pulling a classic Marvel villain out of the woodwork to add another layer of trouble. The art is exactly what the issue needs, too, \dark and visceral, conveying how physically and emotionally painful the issue’s conflicts are for its participants, and making the whole thing feel wrong without making it feel unnatural. The writing is unforgiving, too — Shaw’s sniping at Steve is second only to Steve ethering Deadpool in the race for Most Brutal Line of Dialogue. This is one of the best single issues of a superhero comic I have read this year.

Power Level: 5 of 5

Uncanny Inhumans #13


Writing: Charles Soule

Pencils: Carlos Pacheco and Kim Jacinto

Inks: Andy Owens and Kim Jacinto

Colors: Antonio Fabela

Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Cover: Ryan Stegman and Richard Isanove

The Inhuman geopolitics continue, and I want more. I made the comparison already for Black Panther, but this one also has some political drama a la A Song of Ice and Fire, as Medusa tries to fight the two-pronged war of figuring out who is setting her up for a fall and trying to manage relations between her people and the superhuman community at large. The scenes between her and Captain Marvel here are especially noteworthy, telling us a lot about Medusa and Carol Danvers both, and giving more insight into Team Change and Team Protect that help make sure Civil War II, most painfully, doesn’t have a clear “bad guy.” The final panel of this one was both a nice moment of (dark) levity and an excellent hook into the next issue. My only big complaint is that the “reveal” of who is working to undermine Medusa is presented oddly — we literally see who it is in a cutaway scene, then cut back to Medusa realizing who it is, and then cut back to the culprit again as though it’s a big shock. Still, this is a solid entry in a solid series, and I’m excited to see where this goes.

Power Level: 3 of 5

New and Shiny

The Issue #1s that caught my eye this week

Doom Patrol #1


Writing: Gerard Way

Art: Nick Derington

Colors: Tamra Bonvillain

Letters: Todd Klein

Cover: Nick Derington and James Harvey (variant covers by Brian Bolland, Sanford Greene, Jaime Hernandez, Babs Tarr, and Brian Chippendale)

It’s appropriate that the cover of this issue is a gyro; it’s strange, confusing, and may or may not actually have anything to do with what happens inside. If I recapped this issue for you, you would rightly accuse me of making up the weirdest thing I could think of; it has a very David Lynch feel to it, which fits well with the clean, slightly cartoony, almost Pop Art pencils. The opening pages are frenetic, hooking you and not letting you go, making sure you always have questions that make you want to turn to the next panel and page. The tone is consistently madcap, but also always slightly disturbing, hinting at bigger things going on that it isn’t bothering to explain, which ensures that the reader’s confusion mirrors that of the point-of-view character. God help me, if Issue #2 lands as well as this one I might have to add another comic to my massive pull list.

Power Level: 5 of 5

Most Comics Quote of the Week:

“Oh yeah, you’re weird, coming in here driving like that, spinning all kinds of crazy nonsense, like that story you told me about your high school prom…”

“We were attacked by Phantahawks and my date turned into a pool of lavender membrane.”

“Exactly what I’m talking about right there.”

– Sam and Casey, Doom Patrol #1

That’s all for this week, but keep the conversation going and let us know what you picked up this week, and what you thought of this week’s comics!

Tyler Dent Hayes
Tyler is a professional writer of speculative fiction and an enthusiastic lover of comics, tabletop games, pro wrestling, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, literary criticism, ice hockey, and basically every genre of fiction and music, but especially anything about superheroes, mythology, or both. Hailing from the wilds of Mendocino County, Tyler is lucky enough to have attained an advanced degree in talking about writing and to have married his favorite person in the world. He blogs about writing, life with anxiety, and occasionally movies and comics at his website, www.tyler-hayes.com. He'd love to play Sentinels of the Multiverse with you if you're interested.

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