The Pull List Comic Reviews: ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Siege’, ‘Question’ and More!

Buffy’s got a brand new bag, Superman makes his pitch for “World’s Greatest Detective” and the Sentry gets to the heart of the matter in this latest edition of The Pull List Comic Reviews! As always, WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

PULL OF THE WEEK:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #32
Dark Horse Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Score: 9/10

While the ongoing war against Twilight hits a lull, Buffy and Xander take the break to examine the Slayer’s new power set, much to Dawn’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Giles – along with Faith and Andrew – find themselves in Twilight’s grip and Willow makes a horrifying discovery.

Best-selling author Brad Meltzer – no stranger to comics – kicks off the “Twilight” story arc with this issue in a round-about way. Twilight himself doesn’t factor into the story much, but Meltzer took the “maximum fun” approach in setting up the pieces via tiny revelations sprinkled throughout the issue while focusing on Buffy’s new powers. The result is an incredibly enjoyable read that’s sure to please virtually any fan of comics or comics-related media.

Artist Georges Jeanty continues to pump out the work that has become the glue that holds everything together for this series, and this latest issue is no different. The scenes involving Buffy and Xander, especially, were a hoot, and how could you not love Buffy hovering in mid-air while asking the General to step outside? If this issue doesn’t symbolize having fun while making a comic, I don’t know what will.

Other issues came close – it was a really good week for comics – but this issue took home the Pull of the Week title thanks to an offering that was part major story arc launch and part open love letter to comics; it’s been quite some time that a comic has made me smile this much.

OTHER PULLS:

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 [of 3]
DC Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott
Score: 8.5/10

The Star Sapphire Carol Ferris has recruited Wonder Woman for the coming battle versus Nekron, which is great timing as Mera – currently a Red Lantern – is giving the Amazon princess all she can handle. Can these two old friends reach an accord before the surrounding dead close in?

Writer Greg Rucka – making his first of three appearances on this week’s Pull List – brings this mini-series to a close with a resounding slam as Wonder Woman manages to reign in Mera before her bloodlust completely takes over. Rucka does a great job in getting Diana to realize how to continue on with her new ring, regardless of the fact that her new abilities are temporary.

In what may very well be her finest work to date, artist Nicola Scott knocked this out of the park. Panels focusing on Wonder Woman herself were gorgeous: showing off just how beautiful the character can be. But when the dead or Mera enters the picture, Scott switches gears and brings a ton of action and horror to the table, swapping tones with ease. Throw in that final image of the other Lanterns’ arrival and you’ve got yourself a winner.

The Boys #39
Dynamite Entertainment – $2.99 US
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: John McCrea, Keith Burns
Score: 7.5/10

Hughie and Annie decide to take their relationship to a whole new level and begin… experimenting. Frenchie feels he’s not doing enough for the Female of the Species, and aims to correct that. And Billy Butcher seems content with how things are going, until he makes his own, shocking discovery.

Not a single punch was thrown in this issue, so writer Garth Ennis took the opportunity to flesh out the relationships between various cast members and, in doing so, laid the groundwork for storylines to come. Despite the fictional backdrop of the series, this issue went a long way to humanizing the characters – for better or worse – and now that Butcher knows what he knows, the pot will almost assuredly begin to boil.

Filling in for regular series artist Darick Robertson is not an easy task but the art team of John McCrea and Keith Burns do an admirable job, regardless. In an issue that doesn’t include any action, the creative duo had to rely on portraying the characters’ emotions, and they managed to do so without a single hiccup. This was a solid issue all around.

Invincible Iron Man #23
Marvel Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Score: 8/10

Dr. Stephen Strange ventures into Tony Stark’s mind to try and retrieve him, and the good doctor realizes he’s got more than he’s bargained for. Ghost continues to hunt down Stark in the meantime, but that’s the least of Tony’s worries as both Pepper Potts and Maria Hill discover they’re more connected than they wanted to be.

At some point writer Matt Fraction decided that Tony wasn’t anywhere near done repenting for his past transgressions, because the huge reveal between two of the ladies in Stark’s life just might have enough repercussions to jump to the forefront of his problems. By introducing this new snag in the road to recovery, Fraction serves notice that he’s not done putting Stark through the ringer, and I can’t get enough of it.

Love, love, love, love, LOVE what artist Salvador Larroca has been doing in this series, and this latest chapter fails to disappoint. Sure, the majority of the action takes place within Tony’s mind, but the real fireworks were in the Pepper/Maria scenes. Between comprehending what had transpired between the threesome and the after effects of it, Larroca nailed each and every one of those scenes with absolute precision.

The Question #37
DC Comics – $2.99 US
Writers: Dennis O’Neil, Greg Rucka
Artist: Denys Cowan
Score: 8.5/10

In this latest Blackest Night-themed “continuation” issue, Charlie Szasz (Sage), the original Question, returns to his hunting grounds, so-to-speak, in search of Renee Montoya – the current Question – and his one-time assistant Tot. But if three’s company, then four’s a party now that Lady Shiva has joined in on the fun!

I’ve been waiting for this issue for a long time. Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan are returning to their original, Eisner-nominated series from the eighties? And Greg Rucka is joining them?!? You couldn’t keep me away from this release. O’Neil and Rucka put together a story that not only paid tribute to its previous incarnation, but also shed some new light on how the Black Lanterns see. Loved every second of it.

Having Denys Cowan back on The Question is every bit as fantastic as I imagined. His sketchy style is just as fitting as it was during the hey-day of the series, and there’s still an energy that every character seems to ooze in Cowan’s work. As important as Cowan’s style is to the original Question, Cully Hamner’s style to the current Question is equally as important, if that excellent cover is any indication.

Red Robin #9
DC Comics – $2.99 US
Writer: Chris Yost
Artist: Marcus To
Score: 8/10

Tim Drake makes his triumphant return to Gotham City, and is more eager than ever to track down his adopted father, Bruce Wayne. While inevitable reunions – both good and bad – are occurring, Ra’s al Ghul declares war on anything bearing the Wayne name.

Just like his work on titles like New X-Men and X-Force, Chris Yost is quickly making the ongoing adventures of Tim Drake uniquely his own. This latest issue is just another example of just how much the character has grown and come into his own, and in Yost’s more-than-capable hands, Red Robin is starting to sing. I couldn’t possibly recommend this series more.

Artist Marcus To – the cover incorrectly cites Ramon Bachs as the artist – is really starting to turn heads in this title. Is action scenes are really fitting of a Bat-title, but it was his facial work that really impressed me. He also showed that he could tackle other characters, like Batgirl for example, with seemingly little effort. If this is what we have to look forward to in the coming months, get on board now.

Siege #2 [of 4]
Marvel Comics – $3.99 US
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Score: 8.5/10

The siege of Asgard continues to intensify as Thor is apparently taken down. Maria Hill attempts a heroic rescue of the fallen god while Steve Rogers rallies the troops, and Ares finally realizes what Norman Osborn’s all about, but to get to him, the God of War has to get through the Sentry, first.

Well! Brian Michael Bendis sure knows how to get a party started, huh? The festivities are in full swing, while elsewhere there are those who are joining forces to crash said party. Thanks to the wonderful host, Norman Osborn, there were plenty of activities; Ares even pulled off the greatest impression of a piñata I’ve ever seen! Bravo, Bendis, bravo.

The art in this issue by Olivier Coipel was flat-out ridiculous. Every now and then the right artist on the right project produces work that is visibly head and shoulders above the rest, and this is one of those times. To think that there’s still two more issues to go is almost too much for me to bear. That last page, especially, was a knock-out punch.

Superman: World of New Krypton #12 [of 12]
DC Comics – $2.99 US
Writers: Greg Rucka, James Robinson
Artist: Pete Woods
Score: 8/10

Superman and General Zod put their heads together and finally solve the mystery that’s been plaguing them. With justice served and the future of New Krypton headed in the right direction, it would seem now’s the time for celebration! Oops, cancel that… looks like Brainiac just arrived.

I’m already missing this series. This series, by James Robinson and Greg Rucka, has been about as consistent a title as there has been in the past year, and this final installment wrapped things up nicely while jumping directly into the next chapter of New Krypton. Here’s hoping that the creative team will remain the same for the upcoming Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton mini-series.

Artist Pete Woods took these otherworldly characters and dropped them in the middle of a whodunit mystery with maximum effectiveness. Full of enough distrustful glances and facial close-ups to make any noir-lover happy, this art made me forget I was reading a super-hero comic… until that final image slapped me back to reality. Woods really did an amazing job in this issue, and series.

Ultimate X #1 [of 4]
Marvel Comics – $3.99 US
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Art Adams
Score: 7.5/10

Post-Ultimatum, Kitty Pryde pays a visit to James and Heather Hudson, who have been raising their son, Jimmy, as if he were truly their own. Following instructions left to her from Wolverine after his passing, Kitty finds Jimmy and lets him know that he is a mutant, and that his biological father was Wolverine.

In recent times Jeph Loeb has been hit or miss with his work on various properties, so I’m quite happy to see that this was definitely more “hit” than “miss.” The issue had a good pace to it, without getting bogged down in the historical significance that some writers have fallen into. While the true purpose of this mini-series has yet to be known, it did have enough going that my interest is piqued.

The legendary Art Adams provides the beautiful artwork in this issue and series, and that makes for happy reading. Aside from a car race going spectacularly wrong, there wasn’t much in terms of action here. Instead, we’re treated to figures telling a story just as well as any script could, but that’s just one of the many reasons why Art Adams is a legend. Saying I can’t wait for more would be a severe understatement.

Wolverine: Weapon X #10
Marvel Comics – $3.99 US
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: CP Smith
Score: 7.5/10

Now that Wolverine’s free of the insane asylum (see the last story arc), he spends a little down time with the San Francisco reporter, Melita Garner. As he begins to fall for her, Logan gets some unwarranted but very necessary advice from various women in his life, which leads to a full disclosure. Not every woman is looking out for Wolvie, though…

If I told you to buy an issue that was nothing but Wolverine struggling with coming to grips with his past relationships while trying to decide if the new girl in his life can fit in, would you buy it? If you said “no,” you’d be missing out, because this little done-in-one tale by Jason Aaron was an ingenious look at a different side of the Canucklehead; one that was quite good. Aaron proved that he’s got a great handle on the central character as well as the meaningful relationships in Wolvie’s life.

CP Smith provides the art in this issue, and while at first I was distracted by it, after a couple of pages I fell right into it. The art seems like it’s full of contrasting styles, but it really isn’t. It’s got a feel to it that is almost dynamic without the sense of motion being present in the scene. In a nutshell, I thought the art was fascinating; I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Give it a shot and see what you come up with.

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