If this is your first time reading the $40 Pull List, I invite you to see how it works by checking out some of the previous month’s editions (listed below). Those will give you a good idea of how the column works, and what you can expect month after month. If you are interested in the “rules” for the Pull-List, check out the very first column, the 01/07 edition. It isn’t too complicated, though, so just dive right in if you don’t feel like reading back issues! In addition, this column contains Spoilers, so if you are waiting for the trade, read at your own risk!
This month can only be described as quiet. It was a good month – almost every issue this month was enjoyable, and even the sub-standard ones weren’t outright horrible. This was also a rare month where nothing was dropped, and we still had room for one more new title (thanks to The Twelve taking another month off in September, and Fear Agent’s delays).
So overall, a good month. On to last month’s picks!
The Twelve #7, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 08/06/08 ON TIME
How frustrating is this. During last month’s budget crisis, I was so close to cancelling this book. Still am – but I was shocked to read something actually happening for a change. Was this issue a fluke? I really don’t know. Sure, there was a smattering of character moments that stuck out, and like most similar moments with JMS’s work didn’t add anything at all to the overall story, but this issue we started to see a glimmer of a plot and some tangible and relevant tension. It was honestly a nice change!
If I was forced to drop a title this month, this would be it – as it is, this nice step forward earned this title one more month. Hopefully #8 brings us more like this.
Last month, I hoped this title would go right back to excellent, and it did. An honest-to-goodness fresh story, outside the usual box (at least, in terms of a Jonah Hex story), and really well done. The sight of Hex standing next to the giant pile of chopped wood really spoke volumes. Hex can seem bloodthirsty, but really he is a hero, not unlike a Batman sort. The burial and subsequent unearthing of his “costume” (uniform) and guns would speak to that, along with his growing frustration over the wrongs being perpetrated right in front of him.
Unlike Batman – Hex doesn’t seem as interested in helping the people – just keeping the scales of justice balanced.
A great issue. Though, once again – the art was a major issue. Jonah Hex definitely shouldn’t look that pretty. Overall it was good, but they really need a regular artist on this book who can not only tell a good story, but can draw an iconic Jonah Hex. Sadly, Mark Sparacio doesn’t seem to be that person. I am totally excited to see what J.H. Williams III comes up with next month though.
Invincible Iron Man #4, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 08/06/08 ON TIME
Strange – it seems like we are seeing a lot more covers these days that actually relate to the action going on in the issue. This cover, however, has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on in the comic. Sure, we might get to that point eventually, but Stark and Stane don’t see each other, and don’t speak to each other. They talk about each other – a little – but that isn’t even close to what we see on this cover. Kind of annoying, really.
Well, I had to find something to complain about on this book eventually. Inside the cover, unfortunately, I can’t find any nits to pick. The plot progressed nicely, the character development was strong, the set-up for the eventual climax was there – and we even got a nice little juxtaposition of the intelligence of Reed Richards and Tony Stark (for the record – Richards is smarter, but Stark is more strategic and more media saavy).
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #1, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 08/06/08 ON TIME
Worth the wait? It would seem so. Already the tone of this new volume is much different than what we were used to from Sean McKeever – but it is thus-far typical Terry Moore excellence. Very typical slice of life – very much the way life would be for a young Mary Jane Watson in High School. No so angsty – not yet anyway, but that is a good thing in a market with a target audience that doesn’t much go for that kind of story.
I have to say that Craig Rousseau’s art was a good fit here as well. The title has a unique and appropriate look. He was a good choice for the pencils here.
It is great to have this book back on the List.
House of Mystery #4, $2.99, DC/Vertigo. Due Out 08/06/08 ON TIME
Still entertaining – but we are starting to see the cracks in this title’s long term potential. Unless the character of Fig will come and go along with her story, this title could start to get really monotonous as time wears on. The bright spot continues to be the short “story-within-a-story” – that kept this issue going, but the rest of the issue almost seemed like treading water. The other residents of the House are starting to see Fig’s ability to “speak” with the structure, naturally they think she is insane. That is an interesting development, but we are going to need a lot more than that and soon if this title is going to be compelling past a dozen issues. Hopefully this is all part of Sturges’s plan.
This issue was kind of a mash of everything. I think the use of the flash-forward here was ill-advised – it added some needless confusion to the story. In fact, I think the tactic is way overused in comics on the whole (you know, starting a start at a climactic moment several hours ahead, and then flashing back to fill in the details before the culmination of the story) – it’s impact as a literary device is almost gone, and it is rarely ever executed properly. Andreyko certainly botched it here.
Still – there is a lot to like about this issue, especially when taken together with the series as a whole. The most interesting development in this issue was the revelation about Kate’s son – that is going to lead to at least one solid story. Also – I really dig Kate’s Grandfather. What is with that obsessive need to talk and have ‘closure’ these days, anyway?
Glad this title is back, and I am still enjoying it. I just hope Andreyko knocks it off with the cheap, needless story devices and just sticks to spinning a good yarn.
Green Lantern Corps #27, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 08/13/08 ON TIME
The Warriors bar thing? Kinda cheesy, but it does have an old-style vibe to it, so it seems ok. It did distract a great deal from a few major issues going on in the book. Bzzd’s internment was well done, though a bit short. I was shocked to see the return of Green Lantern Saarek – that was a silly footnote I wasn’t sure would ever pop up again. If you are curious, and didn’t know – yes, it is more than a coincidence that this Green Lantern named Saarek has pointy ears. He is, in fact, a telepath from the planet Vulcan. He has even given the classic “Vulcan greeting” on at least one occasion. Danny O’Neil and Mike Grell must have just been a couple of real Star Trek geeks. Nonetheless, Saarek is back, and can now speak with the dead it would seem. With Blackest Night looming on the horizon, it is very fortunate to suddenly have someone with that particular talent.
Overall, there was a ton going on in this issue. Lots and lots of set-up to be sure. Definitely going to keep reading this one.
The trouble with this whole arc was that it took us away from the real juicy stuff Simone set up for us. I was enjoying the bits with the Apes and Wonder Woman’s involvement with Nemesis, and even the whole Department of Meta-Human Affairs/Amazons Attack holdover is good. But this arc took us away from all that, and I honestly have to say that the bulk of that story wasn’t very good at all. The only thing that kept my attention was the occasional looks back at the world Diana left behind – they were almost a promise that we would, someday, get back to that stuff.
Well, this arc is finally over, and it looks like Diana will be back in the real world next month. Thank goodness. I still have high hopes for Simone’s run, but this arc was a major hiccup way too soon for my taste.
Fear Agent #23, $2.99, Dark Horse. Due Out 07/30/08 RELEASED 08/20/08
This is such a disappointment. I Against I was supposed to be the arc that Remender got everything back on track, and started getting this book out on time. Unfortunately just two issues into it we are already a month late. This is really one of the biggest problems in the comic industry as a whole – it is so hard to push these great titles when you never know when they are coming out. If something this good actually came out monthly, more people would buy the actual issues, instead of just waiting for the trade.
The issue itself was solid – everything we have come to expect from Fear Agent. Had to do a little “back reading” to get caught up on the story (consequence of chronic lateness), but it was entertaining.
Hopefully Rememder will finally fix this production problem, because the inability to put this book out on time is really starting to affect Fear Agent’s enjoyment – and that is a bad sign.
You hear “Decompressed Storytelling” a lot these days. Not sure what it means? Pick up a copy of Rex Libris. Marvel at how long it takes you to get through the entire issue (enjoying every page, of course – this is a great comic). Then realize that this comic is only 24 pages long.
Decompressed Storytelling gives you a lot of pretty pictures, and a comic you blow through in just five minutes. Rex Libris gives you your money’s worth. That is why this title remains on the list, even though it comes out only bimonthly – if that, if we are lucky. This month was another great one. Any issue with Imperial War Penguins is alright in my book. I really hope the end is not truly neigh for this book.
Nova #16, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 08/27/08 ON TIME
OK, well, maybe Nova fit into this crossover better that I initially thought it would. Super-Skrull is most recently linked with Nova, so it does make some sense to bring him into the event this way.
Abnett & Lanning have done a great job setting this issue up, and the cliffhanger is outstanding. Reading the issue, you can believe that the Super-Skrull’s intentions here are genuine. After all, what better way to return to glory amongst the Skrulls than to appear out of nowhere and help lead your people to victory? But his actions earlier would seem to contradict that. Ah, the sign of a good cliffhanger… you really don’t know which way things will go next month.
In the grand scheme of Secret Invasion, so far you don’t really need to know anything that wasn’t presented in this issue. That is exactly the way it should be.
No sense slobbering over this issue anymore. It was a great read, and I am sure most of you will agree with that.
Teen Titans #62, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 08/27/08 ON TIME
Wow – this issue was out of left field. Majorly. There does seem to be an ongoing theme here – the Titans numbers are dwindling. I have to admit – I kind of expected this issue to be more of a place-holder, a nice little “diversion” before gearing up for another major story. It had all the right elements – a focus on the supporting cast, a seemingly cute “superdog” added to the mix. But wow – those last couple pages… I definitely didn’t expect that one.
Outstanding. I really can’t wait to see where McKeever is going to take this.
Ha – 3D Man and the Skrull Kill Krew. What more could you ask for here! It may be morbid, but the thought of the Kill Krew enjoying Skrull burgers was just a crack up to me. In a strange way, it seems like Gage and Slott are telling exactly the kind of stories that should be a part of the Secret Invasion Main Event, not tucked away in a tie-in.
I say this every month – this is the best Avengers book on the market right now, bar none. It gets repetitive, sure, but it is true. It is a prime example of the best Marvel has to offer these days.
Ultimate Spider-Man #125, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 08/27/08 ON TIME
Kind of a down issue really – we get those from time to time with this book though, so it is to be expected. The story is still all over the place – time shifts and sudden scene changes are ok when used sparingly, but when you drag that kind of thing out over a few issues, it is hard to remember where things begin and end. Overall I would have to say that the story structure of this arc is very poor indeed. Second example of a writer trying to do too much with a story in one month… hopefully these are isolated incidences. Excessive use of literary devices is bad enough, but in this case – when you combine that with Bendis-style decompressed storytelling, it is a recipe for disaster.
Overall this arc is off to a rocky start. Still not enough to drop the book, but it is a hair closer to the Endangered list.
LATE AND UNRELEASED ISSUES
Fear Agent #24, $2.99, Dark Horse. Due Out 08/27/08 DELAYED UNTIL 09/24/08
TITLES CARRYING OVER
Jonah Hex #35, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 09/03/08
Nova #17, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 09/24/08
Teen Titans #63, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 09/24/08
Green Lantern Corps #28, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 09/10/08
Wonder Woman #24, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 09/10/08
House of Mystery #5, $2.99, DC/Vertigo. Due Out 09/03/08
Invincible Iron Man #5, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 09/03/08
Fear Agent #24, $2.99, Dark Horse. Due Out 08/27/08 DELAYED UNTIL 09/24/08
Manhunter #34, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 09/03/08
Avengers: The Initiative #17, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 09/24/08
Ultimate Spider-Man #126, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 09/24/08
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #2, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 09/03/08
Rex Libris #13, $2.95, Slave Labor. Due Out 10/29/08
The Twelve #8, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 10/08/08
Marvel Apes #1, $3.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 09/03/08
SEPTEMBER TOTAL: $35.88
Budget = $40.00 + $.43 (Bank) + $3.22 (Fear Agent #24) = $43.65
$43.65 (Budget) – $39.87 (July issues) – $3.09 (tax) = $.69 banked for September
In past months I have created a printable Pull-List that you could take with you to the store. However, since it is really unlikely that anyone is really matching this list that closely, I have decided to try something different.
Facebook has an interesting Comic Book application that allows you to log a comic collection, and track a Pull List. It will give you updates on release dates for all the titles you might be interested in. I have decided to give this a try, in lieu of the printable list. The $40 Pull List is logged there – I haven’t updated all the old titles that were once on the list as of yet, but it is current for this month’s issues. Check it out, add the application, and you can keep an eye on these titles for shipping changes and other information!