The Pull List Comic Reviews: ‘Dark Avengers’, ‘Green Lantern Corps’, ‘Hulk’ and More!

Welcome to another edition of The Pull List Comic Reviews! The fall of the Hulks begins, Mogo dishes out his brand of justice and both Geo-Force and the Sentry lose their marbles. As always, WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

PULL OF THE WEEK:

dark-avengers-13-coverDark Avengers #13
Marvel Comics – $3.99 US
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Score: 8.5/10

The Marvel Universe has seen better days. While the disassembling of Earth’s mightiest heroes led to the breakout of a civil war, a secret invasion became the catalyst to Norman Osborn’s dark reign, and with the siege of Asgard on the horizon, surely things couldn’t get worse (see what I did there?), could it? The Sentry’s true origin is revealed, answering once and for all that, yes, things can get worse…much worse.

Just when I thought all the pieces were on the table, Brian Michael Bendis takes the much-maligned Sentry and turns him loose. With this latest revelation of how the Sentry came to be – not to mention how he’s more unstable than anyone thought – Bendis has taken a tragic figure and made him the definitive x-factor for the Siege event. Whether or not the character winds up saving the day or becoming the most dangerous player is still up in the air, and that’s just a tad frightening.

This issue is all about the eyes. Artist Mike Deodato nailed every beat of this issue by letting the eyes of the characters tell the story, which really focused on the horror of what resides within the Sentry’s mind. From the Sentry, the Sentry’s wife, Lindy and even Osborn himself, the eyes served notice that something wicked this way comes. For even more justification, take a gander at that last page.

Easily the biggest game-changer to date as far as Siege goes, this issue will more-than-likely be one of the most talked about issues released this week, so it’s rather fitting that this was the Pull of the Week.

OTHER PULLS:

batman-streets-of-gotham-8-coverBatman: Streets of Gotham #8
DC Comics – $3.99 US
Writers: Mike Benson, Marc Andreyko
Artists: Dustin Nguyen, Jeremy Haun
Score: 8/10

Someone is making ground in Gotham City’s booming vigilante market, but the finality of how vigilance is meted out doesn’t sit well with Batman. Meanwhile, Manhunter continues her quest to put Two-Face down for good, but after the Caped Crusaders intervene, Kate Spencer has no choice but to go head-to-head with arguably Gotham’s greatest District Attorney, Harvey Dent.

Both features in this issue were pretty solid reads, thanks to writers Mike Benson and Marc Andreyko. In the Batman tale, Benson puts together a nice mystery that wastes little time on build-up. I’ll be interested to see how he wraps this story up in the next issue. The other story featuring Manhunter has been a gem all the way through, and now that Andreyko is setting the courtroom for the final stage, the ending should be a doozy.

Dustin Nguyen continues to utilize the style he had in his Detective Comics run, which I was a big fan of. Even the appearance of more shadows does little to detract from his pencils. As for Jeremy Haun, his work gets more impressive with each offering. As good as his Arkham Reborn work was, this was even better. This issue’s a good jumping on point for one of the more under-appreciated Bat-titles.

dark-wolverine-82-coverDark Wolverine #82
Marvel Comics – $2.99 US
Writers: Daniel Way, Marjorie Liu
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Score: 7.5/10

Believing himself to be the ultimate puppet master, Daken wrecks havoc both before and during the siege of Asgard. Not content playing with the heads of just his teammates; the son of Wolverine makes an unexpected bold move against the big boss himself, Norman Osborn.

The previous issue did little for me in terms of showing how psychotic Daken truly is, but in this installment all doubts are laid to rest. Writing team Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu gives us readers a glimpse of what fuels Daken, and for lack of a better word I’d say he’s fueled by anarchy. The character’s move against Osborn at the end of the issue went a long way to prove that there’s more than one squeaky wheel that Osborn needs to deal with.

Artwise, Giuseppe Camuncoli plays out Daken’s insanity to a tee. The sheer joy on the character’s face while all hell breaks lose around him is perfect, and I can’t remember a character looking as visibly smug as Daken does when he plays with his “toys.” Bonus points for getting Venom flipping Osborn the bird in the issue!

deadpool-merc-with-a-mouth-7-coverDeadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7
Marvel Comics – $3.99 US
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artists: Bong Dazo, Kyle Baker, Rob Liefeld, Das Pastoras
Score: 7.5/10

Deadpool and Zombie Deadpool’s head embark on the next chapter of their storied journey with a new purpose: to return Zombie Deadpool’s head back to his dimension. Unfortunately, a few unscheduled stops result in the bosom buddies running into alternate-reality versions of themselves, including Lady Deadpool, Major Deadpool of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Deadpool Kid!

I’d imagine that writer Victor Gischler had a fun time creating these characters because the writing came off as fun, as well. In-house gags like editors Girner and Alonso getting ribbed, or Deadpool’s handling of the various doppelgangers is pure, unadulterated Deadpool comedy, while the brief Deadpool/Lady Deadpool hook-up is absolutely cringe-worthy; all wrapped up in a romp of an issue.

A smorgasbord of artists contributed to this issue, with mixed results. Both Bong Dazo and Das Pastoras did some good work, while Kyle Baker’s art reminded me of Simon Dark’s Scott Hampton; a good fit there, not so much here, unfortunately. The art that stood out the most was Rob Liefeld’s, as his segment involving Lady Deadpool and Captain America was everything you’d expect from the title character, and more.

green-lantern-corps-44-coverGreen Lantern Corps #44
DC Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Peter J Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Score: 8/10

Newly appointed Red Lantern Guy Gardner is on a warpath the likes of which has rarely been seen in the cosmos, and while he tries to fight the overwhelming urge to destroy everything in his path, Kyle Rayner attempts to help his friend out, to less-than-stellar results. As all this unfolds, Mogo unleashes the Primacy Directive, much to Salaak’s chagrin.

Thank you, Peter J Tomasi, for making Mogo one hell of a badass. I’ve never seen Mogo do much of anything, but in this issue the ring-wielding planet does more than sit by and watch. The result was fantastic. Speaking of which, the transformation of Guy Gardner, who I admit freely that I don’t like, is a breath of fresh air. I’m hoping once Blackest Night is done that Gardner continues to be a Red Lantern since it fits his character like a tailored suit.

The art by Patrick Gleason is cinematically beautiful. Scenes involving vast expanses and hundreds of characters can be handled incorrectly, but Gleason knocked this issue out of the park. He also gets a pat on the back for how Gardner is transformed, visually, plus his portrayal of what is happening on Mogo is a sight to see. Take a bow, gentlemen.

hulk-19-coverHulk #19
Marvel Comics – $3.99 US
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Score: 7/10

The Intelligencia attacks the Fantastic Four, and after Reed Richards is abducted, the remaining first family of Marvel tries to put the pieces together. But not all is as it seems as the Thing gets an unexpected helping hand from the Red Hulk, further complicating matters. Elsewhere, Doc Samson continues his steep decline into evil.

Taking the entirety of the run into consideration, this is a good step in the right direction for scribe Jeph Loeb. Without trying to sound too critical, the never-ending wave of Hulk issues that did absolutely nothing to further the story – or make headway on who the Red Hulk really is – was becoming tiresome, but in this installment some movement occurred, even if it was just a little.

The art by Ed McGuinness is everything you’d expect: big in every way possible. There’s plenty of full-page panels and such to keep every McGuinness fan happy, and more action than we’ve seen in awhile within these pages. At this rate, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least should a future issue come out of nowhere and claim a Pull of the Week.

incredible-hulk-606-coverIncredible Hulk #606
Marvel Comics – $3.99 US
Writers: Greg Pak, Harrison Wilcox
Artists: Paul Pelletier, Ryan Stegman
Score: 7/10

Bruce Banner continues to mold his son, Skaar, into a hero, but not everyone’s convinced the treatment will work. A showdown with Doctor Doom is the least of Banner’s troubles as he spots someone the world believed dead: Betty Ross. Disappointing to fanboys everywhere, She-Hulk and the Red She-Hulk have a fight that involves zero pillows.

The main story in this issue, by writer Greg Pak, was pretty entertaining as a myriad of crosses and double-crosses get set off like tumbling dominoes. Banner’s outsmarting of Doom was a real treat, as was Skaar’s increasing hatred of his father, regardless of what form he takes. The back-up by Harrison Wilcox, featuring the females of the species, did little to showcase the Red She-Hulk’s looniness. Naturally, no one will actually believe that the final scene will have any long-lasting effects.

While both sections had some solid art, the front-runner by Paul Pelletier was, simply put, excellent. Pelletier’s art reminded me of David Finch’s in almost every conceivable way, which to me isn’t a bad thing. Lots of energy bounced off of these pages, along with the trademark savagery that seems to follow any of the Hulks. Ryan Stegman’s art was very reminiscent of what you’d expect from Ed McGuinness, so getting Stegman on this project goes a long way in making this corner of the Marvel Universe feel more cohesive.

mighty-avengers-33-coverMighty Avengers #33
Marvel Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Khoi Pham
Score: 8/10

The Absorbing Man has upped his power levels considerably, thanks to a piece of a Cosmic Cube. With both the Mighty and the Dark Avengers joining the battle, can the heroes put a potentially catastrophic situation to bed? Meanwhile, Hank Pym gets an eyeful of Loki, so it looks like the God of Mischief has made his first mistake.

Oh, how I loved what writer Dan Slott did in this issue! The temporary return of past Avengers members was great to see; the intellectual showdown between Pym and Osborn was perfect and the potential re-emergence of one of the Avengers’ greatest foes left me salivating. Not a single dull moment was present within this issue. Wonderful work as future seeds get planted.

Khoi Pham, likewise, did a great job on this issue. There were a ton of characters in this issue, and each one had that level of detail that Pham usually has in his art; not a one was neglected. While I would have squealed with glee over seeing a Venom-powered Quicksilver, this issue hit all the right notes as far as I’m concerned.

outsiders-26-coverOutsiders #26
DC Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Dan DiDio
Artists: Philip Tan, Don Kramer
Score: 7/10

Following recent events that included a run-in with some Black Lanterns, the Outsiders find themselves in a mess. Geo-Force has become a ruler with an iron fist and has enlisted Katana in doing some dirty work, which Black Lightning isn’t happy about, while Metamorpho reaches out to the Creeper and finds out that not everyone wants to play nice.

Dan DiDio, who certainly shouldn’t need an introduction, writes this latest issue of the title that seems aimed towards shaking up the status quo, to varying degrees of success. While I admit that a change was in order, I’m not entirely sold on the new direction, yet. Time will tell if this proves to be a step in the right direction, but give this a shot if you’re looking for something different.

The art team of Philip Tan and Don Kramer put in some fine work in this issue, separately. Unfortunately, the contrasting styles didn’t mesh well when one artist switched to another, leaving me wondering if the switch could have been avoided altogether. When you’re looking to make the right impression – in this case, a new direction – this issue probably could have benefited from either one of these talented artists taking the issue in its entirety.

thunderbolts-140-coverThunderbolts #140
Marvel Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Score: 7.5/10

Following a free-for-all versus the Agents of Atlas, the Thunderbolts regroup and head back to headquarters to debrief Norman Osborn. What they don’t realize is that they’re bringing with them a ticking time bomb in the guise of Scourge, better known as the insane war soldier Nuke.

Never thought I’d type these words, but my heart goes out to Ant-Man. Poor guy doesn’t feel like he fits in with the rest of crazies on his team, and just as he finds what seems to be a kindred spirit in Headsman…well, let’s just say that writer Jeff Parker comes up with a mind-blowing alternative and leave it at that. This issue rocked; no wonder as its been one of the more consistent reads on the stands, regardless of the creative team.

I really dig what Miguel Sepulveda brings to the table, and this issue is no exception. He keeps things clean without going crazy on the detail, making for art that is some more digestible than most. Again, I have to say, poor Ant-Man. Sepulveda did a great job in handling that character’s elation as things were looking up, and subsequent fall as he hit rock bottom, again. I’ll say this much, Thunderbolts is a title that shouldn’t be passed up on.

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