Originally posted at cxPulp.com on June 25th, 2012. Click here to comment.

Welcome back to the $40 Pull List!

Four new issues came out this week, and it turned out to be the best week of the month so far. We’ll start things off with Blue Beetle #10 – (somewhat decent, however still the weakest issue this week), and then wrap up with a trio of outstanding issues in Nightwing #10, Daredevil #14, and Journey Into Mystery #640.

On to the comics!

NEW COMICS – JUNE 20th, 2012

Blue Beetle #10, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME
Written by Tony Bedard, Pencils by IG Guara, Color by Pete Pantazis, Ink by J.P. Mayer

Blue Beetle has been captured by a federal agency headed by Mr. Bones, who has decided to find out everything he can about the Blue Beetle – by force if necessary. An unnecessary flashback follows, and we see how Jaime ended up in Mr. Bones’s hands. Back in El Paso, Jaime’s parents call his grandmother in New York to see if she can find him. Bones continues to interrogate Jaime until he has enough and breaks free. Back at the offices of Superfail, Booster Gold arrives – perhaps objecting to their coverage of the Blue Beetle?

More Really Unnecessary Nonlinear Storytelling! This is another great example of how it can be damaging to the story as well. Instead of experiencing the sequence of events the way Jaime did, you instead knew he was walking into a trap. It would have been so much better to be able to assume that Jaime was going to get help from the government agency – the “illegal alien” revealing that he was a Reach Soldier would have had way more punch if we didn’t know something was coming.

I still haven’t completely figured out why this is so common in comics. It is a decision by the writers, or the editors? Putting this story in the correct order would have resulted in a strong comic experience, but putting the twist at the very beginning deflated the rest of the issue. The only thing I can think of in a case like this is that they put the explosive bit at the very beginning with the idea that it would encourage sales. Ideally, most people reading the issue have already paid for it, so I am at a loss for a real reason.

The RUNS has dominated my commentary on the issue – it is unfortunate, but I believe it had that big of an impact on the issue’s quality as a whole. This issue taken by itself would have been way stronger if they didn’t play games with pointless flashbacks.  Granted the art was still strong, and I am still enjoying Jaime’s journey. His retreat from his world is showing signs that it is about to come to and end, and the help he is looking for may well have arrived in the form of Booster Gold. It’s all solid, interesting story, and despite my annoyance with the story structure, there is an interesting tale here. I look forward to the inevitable team-up next issue.

Nightwing #10, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME
Written by Kyle Higgins, Pencils by Eddy Barrows & Geraldo Borges, Color by Rod Reis, Ink by Eber Ferreira & Ruy José

Nightwing investigates the murder of the Strayhorn brothers – but his work is interrupted by the Gotham PD looking to take him down (he is the suspect in the murder). While he escapes, he takes a call from Lucius Fox – who has some advice about a business proposal Dick put together. Lucius puts him in touch with Sonia Zucco – the daughter of the man that murdered the Flying Graysons – who happens to be the only bank representative interested in even talking about the idea. Sonia likes the idea of restoring Amusement Mile with Haly’s Circus as the centerpiece – and agrees to present it to the bank. Later, Nightwing pays a visit to a tattoo parlor that is connected to the Strayhorns. He questions Zeke, the artist, but their conversation is interrupted by an attack from soldiers bearing the same symbol that was branded into the bodies of the Strayhorns. Nightwing finds the weak link among the defeated attackers, and is lead to the leader of the Republic of Tomorrow: Paragon.

See, when I complain about books that have far too much padding, it’s partly because books like this exist that give you so much bang for your buck. So much happened in this issue – yet nothing was rushed, nothing neglected. When I hear padding justified as “good pacing” I have to laugh, and point to an issue like this one as an example of how pacing is supposed to be done.

Higgins continues to impress on Nightwing. He has managed to start fresh and make it through a premature “major event crossover” while maintaining a quality story and a tone that reminds me of some of Nightwing’s best runs from the past. Nightwing is always at his best when he is getting hit from all sides, but still manages to stand strong on his own without running to Bruce for help. In this issue, he has a weird cult-like organization gunning for him, the police on his trail because they think he is a murderer, and a business on rocky ground because of recent drama – and while all that is happening, he can take a meeting with the daughter of his parents’ killer in an effort to do something to revitalize the city and make it a better place. Is there any other character in the entire DC Universe with that kind of attitude?

I know Batman has been receiving rave reviews since issue 1. And while there is some good there, I just don’t see it. Reading Batman is like a job – there is a lot of good there, but you have to wade through a bunch of fluff to get to it. Nightwing, to me, has been quality from top to bottom, and is a model I wish all of the Bat-books would emulate. Nightwing is one of the best DC books on the market right now, and this month we have another in a long run of quality issues making that case. If you aren’t reading it, you are really missing out.

Daredevil #14, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME
Written by Mark Waid, Art by Chris Samnee, Color by Javier Rodriguez

Daredevil finds himself in a metal box, with only the sound of a cuckoo clock marking the hours. He deduces his location, and soon is confronted by Beltane, the Minister of the Bank of Latveria. They are upset because Matt’s war against Megacrime has eliminated a significant revenue stream for the country, and in response they proclaim Daredevil to be an economic terrorist. They gas him, but mysteriously let him go free when they are done. Daredevil flees, but soon finds that his other senses are vanishing – victims of nanites that have been introduced into his body. He makes it to the border, and makes a leap of faith towards a passing train – just as the last of his senses goes dark. He thinks he was successful – but lacking any senses, he has no way of knowing that he fell just short.

Talk about a punishment. I am still not sure how they managed to pick Daredevil out of the Avengers Mansion hundreds of miles away and teleport him to Latveria. You would think that if Doom had that kind of technology, the Fantastic Four would be easy prey. That minor bit of plot weirdness aside, I like what is going on here. Doom’s (or rather, Beltane’s) motivations make sense and the situation Matt is in now seems completely inescapable. Waid also spends just enough time with Matt’s supporting cast to keep that storyline going while Matt is across the Atlantic.

I have absolutely no idea where Waid is planning to take this – and as interested and invested as I am in the story, that is absolutely outstanding. Both the story and the art have been extremely consistent (which is great) – to the point where I am having a hard time finding things to praise about this issue that I haven’t already hyped month after month. I will say the look of glee on Matt’s face as he was being hauled away was absolutely perfect.

Just another in a long line of outstanding issues.

Journey Into Mystery #640, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME
Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Richard Elson, Color by Ifansyah Noor

Loki and Leah meet up with Damian Hellstrom, and hire him to scout out the Manchester Gods’ connection to Otherworld. Loki uses that information to make a targeted strike on one of their places of power on Earth, and the move forces them to retreat. Loki then decides to play the double agent, and offers to inform the Manchester Gods of a pending attack in order to get close enough to free the Red King. He meets with Master Wilson, and all goes according to plan. That is, until Loki begins to think that perhaps he is working for the wrong side.

A little less humor in this issue, which I found to be just perfect. Last issue hammed it up a little too much, and as a result it hurt the story a bit. This issue struck just the right balance.

Loki’s evolution has been a wonder to behold. He is at the same time trying to work around the impression everyone has of him, while what he is experiencing is bringing out those very qualities the is trying to avoid. As a result, Gillen is painting Loki in a more sympathetic light. Loki’s conclusion at the end of this issue makes total sense, but to have him take up with the Manchester Gods now is only going to look like a betrayal, something everyone already expects from him. It makes you call into question the way we looked at Loki before. The fact that Gillen can make Loki sympathetic by creating a character with the same personality and motivations is really something he should be proud of.

After two issues, I have to admit I am happy I added this one to the list. It feels a lot like Van Lente and Pak’s run on Incredible Hercules – which is another big mark in it’s favor. Good stuff here.


Dial H #2, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 06/06/2012 ON TIME
Earth 2 #2, $3.99, DC Comics. Due Out 06/06/2012 ON TIME
Journey Into Mystery #639, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 06/06/2012 ON TIME
Batgirl #10, $2.99, DC Comics. Due out 06/13/2012 ON TIME
The Sixth Gun #23, $3.99, Oni Press. Due Out 06/13/2012 ON TIME
Deadpool #56, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 06/13/2012 ON TIME
Blue Beetle #10, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME
Nightwing #10, $2.99, DC Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME
Daredevil #14, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME
Journey Into Mystery #640, $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due Out 06/20/2012 ON TIME


CASHING IN THE TRADE BANK: Daytripper TP, $19.99, DC Comics. Released 02/01/2012
John Carter: Gods of Mars #4 (of 5), $2.99, Marvel Comics. Due out 06/27/2012


I still have a bunch of Free Comics to give away. This week’s passkey is Foggy!

Be sure to come back next week where I will wrap the month up with John Carter: Gods of Mars #4, cash in the Trade Bank, and set the list for July!

Support cxPulp and order Daytripper on Amazon.com!