Pull List Review – Black Panther, Wicked+Divine, and More

Comics!

Things are slowly getting back to normal, and better than normal, around here. I’m almost caught up on a huge backlog of comics and will be posting reviews again.

Here’s a rundown of last week’s pull list and what I do and don’t recommend you spend your money and time on.

Black Panther #1

Ta-Nahesi Coates (writer) and Brian Stelfreeze (artist) with Laura Martin (colorist)

It is always exciting to get a comic in my hands that I have been waiting to read for months. There has been a lot of buzz about this comic and the first issue lives up to it.
Black Panther #1 gives a strong start to this new run of the title. Wakanda is being ripped apart by internal strife while T’Challa struggles with politics and peace. I an onboard for this story arc.

The art is lovely. Brian Stelfreeze was a smart pick by Marvel to get Coates through writing his first comic.

Stelfreeze is all about the minimalist Black Panther costume. His design of Wakanda and the golden city is beautiful. The way he visually communicates highly advanced Wakandan tech is subtle and inspired by true African cultural elements and aesthetic. There are several panels that I wouldn’t mind having a print of.

I recommend picking up Black Panther #1.


 


Black Widow #2

Chris Samnee & Mark Waid (writers), Chris Samnee (artist), Mathew Wilson (colorist)

This is going to be a kickass run of Black Widow. We’re two issues in now and it is all action movie all the time. Explosions, crazy fight scenes, betrayals and lots of complicated spy stuff.

Something about the art and the dialogue just feels like Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are having a lot of fun with this book.

I love the art. With sparse dialogue, Samnee’s panels are doing the heavy lifting with the story and it works so well. Wilson’s colors work some serious magic is setting the tone in each scene.

Pick up this run of Black Widow if you haven’t done so already.


 


The Wicked + The Divine #18

 
Kieron Gillen (writer) Jamie McKelvie (writer)

Yes, oh hell yes, it’s finally happening. If you’ve been reading this book, that thing we’ve all been waiting for is here. It all goes to hell. All of it.

I love it.

If you aren’t reading The Wicked + The Divine, you probably need to re-evaluate your entire life up to this point.


 


Spider Women Alpha #1

 
Robbie Thompson (writer), Vanesa Del Rey (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist)

Meh.

I had high hopes for this issue that were dashed very quickly.This is the kickoff issue of a crossover between Spiderwoman, Spider Gwen, and Silk, all of which I enjoy.

The humor falls flat and the art is terrible. Del Rey tends to draw people that look like dead eyed fish. She goes with that art pencils style that can be really interesting when done well, but is a distracting turn off when it isn’t done well.

I’m disappointed. Not looking forwarding to this arc invading three comics I currently read.

I advise only picking this one up if you’re a cross over completest.


 


Rough Riders #1 (Aftershock Comics)

 
Adam Glass (writer), Patrick Olliffe (artist)

The nice folks at Austin Books and Comics were very insistent that I give Rough Riders a shot. They were right. They’re almost always right.

Rough Riders is an alternate history piece where Teddy Roosevelt is basically a steampunk Batman who recruits an American version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to invade Cuba, using the downing of the USS Maine as a cover for dealing with some X-Files level weird stuff.

The dialogue is good, the art is fun, and the story is intriguing. I will definitely keep an eye out for #2.

Review: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3

Angela: Asgard's Assassin #3
Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series is young at its third issue, and I have been waiting for that first issue to come through that finally bursts forth as something I can point to that says “This is what Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” is all about.

She’s still being chased down by Thor, but it also turns out that she has a heart that has sacrificed for what she loves!

Angela is a strange character, raised in a culture with some seriously screwed up values. It makes for good science fiction, but it takes some warming up to wrap one’s head around it. But I think we’re finally at that point, with a glimpse into the history between Angela and her dearest friend Sera.

It is with this issue that Angela’s story finally leaps away from the She-Ra The Movie / Red Sonja mash up feel that had put some serious drag on my excitement for this book. No that there’s anything wrong with that mash up, because I would absolutely read that. But Angela is complicated, and a little crazy. She is definitely driven by very different things than either of those iconic lady warriors, and that difference is the story I’ve been waiting for.

Kieron Gillen starts in this book to make good on that promise.

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Review: Darth Vader (2015) #1

Darth Vader (2015) #1
Darth Vader (2015) #1 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I kind of just want to fangirl at Kieron Gillen after reading the new Darth Vader (more than I already did).

I mean, everyone’s had soooo many feelings about Disney buying Lucas Films, about Dark Horse losing the rights to publish Star Wars titles, but Marvel knows what the hell they’re doing, and they’re good at it.

For one thing, they put the brilliant Kieron Gillen on the Darth Vader title. It starts out with the Emperor being super pissed at Vader after the Death Star blows up, busting him down and telling him to do whatever that guy Vader force choked in A New Hope tells him to do.

So Vader’s in a bad mood. And because Vader is really Anakin Skywalker, moody Vader is dangerous, hyper focused, psychokiller Vader. Making deals and scheming while still implementing the will of the Emperor, then catching some sites on his old Tatooine stomping grounds.

I do recommending picking up Star Wars #1 and reading it before this title. The time lines intermingle and there’s pertinent information. It’s so worth it.

Seriously, this start to the Darth Vader series is everything I hoped for. No slow burn story build up, just light sabers cutting off limbs and grumpy space wizards being conspiratorial. I love it.

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Comic Review: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1

Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It feels like a good start to what I hope will be a strong series. There’s plenty in here for both fans of Asgard stories and general comic readers, though the dialogue as always is a bit thick for non-Thor readers.

I think this issue effectively establishes some distance from her Original Sin origin story, which was basically the plot of the 80’s cartoon She-Ra pilot (though I admit I kind of loved that). The values she was raised are really screwed up and I like the weird gray area she exists in morally.

This issue does have something of a Red Sonja feel to it, but I know we can trust writer Kieron Gillen to take that aesthetic somewhere new and interesting, if Marvel will allow it. Or put some clothes on her…

I look forward to next issue and reading what Kieron Gillen will do with this character.

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A Saturday well spent, and some comics reviews

I love Saturdays. We walked to the diner around the corner for pancakes this morning, and after that we rescued Reed’s vintage Star Wars toys from his parents’ attic (pictures of the diorama coming soon). We even went to the comic book store. I just burned through every single thing I picked up at Austin Books and Comics this afternoon. It was awesome.

The Wicked+The Divine

the wicked + the divineIf you pick up a new series this month, make it The Wicket+The Divine. The writing is fantastic, the art drags you into Rock Star Fantasy London before you know it, and the scope of the story that’s being set up in this issue is mind blowing.  One issue and I’m completely hooked.

 

She-Hulk #1

she hulk issue 1 2014Funny, smart, and empowering. Worth jumping into. Now on its third printing, I picked this book up at the recommendation of Rachel at Austin Books and Comics. It’s nice when they know what you like.

 

Godzilla Rulers of Earth #13

godzilla rulers of earth 13Rulers of Earth is the gift that keeps on giving. After the heart-wrenching cliffhanger of issue 12, we are now pulled into a future where Monster Island is well established to the point that the US government can start being jerks about funding the project that keeps us safe from monsters. Keep this book going, guys, please don’t stop.

Ms. Marvel #5

ms marvel #5Kamala Khan starts to learn the hard lessons of hero-ing, and going on that journey with her is so much fun. This book continues to fresh and original, with a rich, interesting set of characters.

Guardians of the Galaxy #16

guardians of the galaxy #14 2014Lots of action, and some Captain Marvel. The story is still spread out around several different threads because of the situation the Guardians are in.

I haven’t really been reading this series until recently. I picked up of GotG #15 a couple of weeks ago mostly because I was confused about the timeline of the crossover with Captain Marvel.  She was featured on the cover of CotG #15, but wasn’t actually in the book.  This time around, however, she’s actually in the story.  It still doesn’t line up with the most recent issue of Captain Marvel, however, so I’m not sure what’s going on.  I haven’t read any of this run of GotG before #15, but since it’s pretty early in this arc I’m piecing it together without too much trouble.  I do want to read the earlier issues, and will do so when my budget lets me.