The GeekNation Pull List – 1/23/2014

By January 23, 2014
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This week on the GeekNation Pull List: Act 2 of “Zero Year” ends in the latest issue of Batman, one of the most classic Marvel superhero teams is reunited in the modern era in a brand new #1, and a hacktivist-turned-technological “Robin Hood” is hunted by a big multinational corporation! Check out this week’s comic book reviews below!

 

Cover art to Batman #27 by Greg Capullo.

Cover art to Batman #27 by Greg Capullo.

From DC: Batman #27 by Scott Snyder (Script) and Greg Capullo (Art)

When crafting the new origin story for Batman, writer Scott Snyder does many things right that make it feel more legitimate than other efforts. The first, most primary thing he does is dive deeply into the formative mythology of the character. I’m not just talking about the fateful night that young Bruce Wayne endured in Crime Alley – I’m talking about some of those first stories featuring the “Bat-Man.” Throughout “Zero Year,” Snyder has made more than one passing reference to 1939’s Detective Comics #27,  to early Batman villains like Dr. Death, and even thrown in the most generationally recognizable origin story, Frank Miller’s “Year One,” for good measure.

In earlier issues of this arc, we’ve seen a largely antagonistic relationship between Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne. Bruce has seen Gordon as a typical Gotham cop, just as corrupt as the rest of the city’s force. As a longtime Batman fan, that immediately made me nervous, since most depictions have shown Gordon to be the exception to the rule of corruption in Gotham’s police force. In this issue, greater context is given to both Bruce’s relationship with Gordon, and some great foreshadowing toward Batman’s alliance with the future Commissioner.

We also see greater depth added to the relationship between Bruce and Alfred. Earlier issues in this arc seem to show it existing with strain, but it isn’t until now that we learn that the image of that strain comes not from Alfred, but from the legendary anger of Bruce, and extends outward toward Gotham itself. When you add greater character work and action pieces revolving around the Riddler and the final arc for this story, it makes for an immensely satisfying read.

Greg Capullo’s artwork is just as magnificent as ever, with his own nods toward previous definitive Batman stories taking shape in his renderings. While this powerhouse team continues to add to the already rich mythology of the Dark Knight, I don’t see Batman as leaving perhaps the top spot in DC’s entire library of current publications. 9/10

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Honorable Mentions from DC: Harley Quinn #2, Justice League #27

 

Cover art to All-New Invaders #1 by Mukesh Singh.

Cover art to All-New Invaders #1 by Mukesh Singh.

From Marvel: All-New Invaders #1 by James Robinson (Script) and Steve Pugh (Art)

The Invaders. Within the history of the Marvel Universe, the beginning of superhuman history pretty much begins with this team, formed during World War II to take down the Axis Powers. Captain America, Bucky, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the original Human Torch all made up this storied team that hasn’t been together within the Marvel Universe or on the modern, time travel-less comics page in far too long. How fitting that James Robinson, acclaimed creator behind titles like Starman, JSA, and Earth 2, and a noted lover of Golden Age characters, is the writer to bring the team into prominence once more in a brand new series. Already, my anticipation was high.

There’s a lot of things that a seasoned comics fan has to expect when reading a number one. Oddly enough, the most predominant thing is to prepare for disappointment, especially if the issue is as awesome as you hope it is. The reason behind that is that if the first issue does its job well enough, than you’ll want to read the second one right away. Was I disappointed by the end of this one?

Yes. I would very much like to know what happens next.

Bringing these characters together again is a very strong premise, and with the way that this issue ends, you can’t help but be very curious about what’s coming next for the team. We’re not quite to the point where the whole of the Invaders is back together punching bad guys in the face, but that will no doubt be the payoff of the first story arc. The ‘why’ and ‘how’ are the immediate questions needing an answer, and Mr. Robinson has done a fine job of putting those elements in motion.

Steve Pugh is a respected comic book artist, and his work here is very good. He has a lot of detail in the characters themselves, so much so that I found myself staring at the loops in Captain America’s boot laces for more than a few seconds. His attention to detail makes for a gorgeous book, and his orchestration of action is clear and easy to follow. All in all, the return of the Invaders is a welcome one from my perspective, and this looks like good old-fashioned comic book fun. How can you turn that down? 8/10

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Honorable Mentions at Marvel This Week: All-New X-Men #22, Captain America #15

 

Cover art to Liberaider #1 by Joe St. Pierre.

Cover art to Liberaider #1 by Joe St. Pierre.

From Astronaut Ink: Liberaider #1 by Joe St. Pierre (Script/Art)

Since I had so much fun with my choice of Monkeybrain’s D4VE back in November, I decided to look at the rolls this week of other digital-first comic releases and settled on Liberaider. It was an interesting title, and the premise of a hacktivist-turned-technological Robin Hood sounded appealing.

Writer/artist Joe St. Pierre has cultivated an impressive body of work at multiple comics publishers over the years, so I figured that this one would be worth giving a try, completely cold.

By the time I finished it, I wasn’t too impressed. I like the concept a lot, but the execution gave me a weird feeling, like it was somehow behind the times technologically, even though we were supposed to feel like this is a world of advanced super-hackers.

The language and terminology felt kind of tacked on, and the secondary characters were more caricatured and completely numb to the surrounding events of the story. I had a hard time believing that such a high level of apathy could exist in such immediate craziness.

The artwork is good, especially considering that story, layouts, pencils, and inks were all accomplished by one creator. It’s a full story for $1.99 which is quite a bargain in today’s comic book economy, but if there’s a #2 following up on this story, I sincerely hope that the characters beyond the Liberaider himself have the ability to react and emote more than they do here. 6/10

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Honorable Mentions from Independents This Week: Bad-Ass #1, The X-Files: Conspiracy – Ghostbusters #1

 

That does it this week for the GeekNation Pull List! Be sure to check out new comic reviews next week, thanks for reading, and leave a comment below if you think we missed something even better this week!

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.