Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Pull List, the apartment down the street from the House of Ideas. We had a bit of an odd confluence of events in our pulls these past two weeks — right after that three-issue week, we’ve had a one issue week. Undeterred, we’ve supplemented with a dose of Jack Kirby, the most time-tested way to improve any New Comic Book Day. But enough talk! Have at you!
Spoilers: I try not to spoil the issues themselves too much, but I do post cover images, and I reference past events when they are germane. You won’t see any twists posted here, but some detail is inevitable.
Black Bolt #4
Writer: Saladin Ahmed; Artist & Cover Art: Christian Ward; Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles; Design: Nicholas Russell; Logo Design: Jay Bowen
A beautiful throat-punch from a beautiful writer. This one picks up more or less where we left off, with the jailbreakers in the clutches of the Jailer once again, and Black Bolt and Absorbing Man in particular looking like they might be out of luck; but rather than continue with the prison-break storyline, this one takes some time to tell us more about “Crusher” Creel, and it is amazing. Ahmed writers Creel in a way that I have never seen him written before, still clearly spinning the tale of the villainous Absorbing Man but giving it a spin that adds nuance and sympathy without ever robbing us of the established backstory of one of Marvel’s most time-honored villains. How good was the writing? People, this issue made me feel emotions about the original Secret Wars. And then as it wraps up, we get kind of a gut-punch, so bad that the letters page calls it out, and…well, you just have to read it, or I’m going to dive into spoilers. The only thing keeping this issue from being completely perfect is the visuals; Ward’s art is a little bit off this issue, conveying the emotions clearly, but often looking off-color or otherwise wrong. But really, if you love Marvel comics, and if an excessive use of the color blue is not going to stop you, you need to pick this up.
Power Level: 4 of 5
The New Gods Special #1
“Orion of New Genesis”: Writer/Penciller: Shane Davis; Inker: Michelle Delecki; Colorist: Alex Sinclair; Letterers: A Larger World’s Dave & Troy; Cover: Davis, Delecki & Sinclair
“Teeth of the See: A Tale of Young Orion”: Writing and Drawing: Walter Simonson; Coloring: Laura Martin; Lettering: John Workman
“The Young Gods of Supertown: Introducing Lonar”: Written and Drawn by: Jack Kirby; Inked by: Colletta
A decent homage to the King that falls a bit short. First up is the Davis/Delecki/Sinclair feature story, “Orion of New Genesis,” which definitely hits most of the notes of a New Gods story: Orion versus Kalibak, Forager, Mother Boxes and Boom Tubes, a plot by Apokolips to harm New Genesis, and bombast, oh so much Old Testament bombast. But past that point, the story feels uncomfortably…Nineties. The violence is really violent, and Orion comes off as almost as much of a brute as Kalibak without near enough contrition or consequence (though his rage is meant to be a plot point here); it’s not that Kirby was never violent, but I don’t remember Kirby being gory. The story gets a big win in the final panel, though, for its dedication to Kirby, “Who Will Forever Be the King.” The back-up story by Walter Simonson is then…barely a story, unfortunately; something like five pages, with very little plot, and a lesson imparted to Orion by Seagrin that had me paging back and forth and going “What?” Though the art is, as you would expect, gorgeous. Finally, we get a nice finish in the form of a short story by Kirby himself, “The Young Gods of Supertown: Introducing Lonar,” in which we meet Lonar and Thunderer and get a brief appearance by a young Orion. Reprinting an old Kirby story was perhaps the best homage they could have done for him; though the story is brief, it is characteristic, resonating with that Biblical tone, that portentous pacing, and showing off the high weirdness that he helped make a hallmark of the superhero comics genre. Even these brief pages made me miss the King; we are so lucky that he was around to share his dreams with us. Thanks, DC, for celebrating him through the medium he embodied.
Power Level: 3 of 5
Quote of the Week:
Absorbing Man: “It felt beyond my control. Like when you’re drivin’ on ice and your brakes lock up, y’know?”
Black Bolt: …
Absorbing Man: You don’t drive, do you?
Black Bolt: We have…flying vehicles.
Absorbing Man: Must be nice. Whaddaya do if yer flying vehicle is in the shop?
Black Bolt: I often travel with my teleporting dog.
Absorbing Man: You know what? Forget I asked.
– Black Bolt #4
And now it’s time for us to go and batten down the hatches in preparation for the inevitable and overwhelming regression to the mean number of issues per week. We’ll see you next time; until then, keep loving comics!