The GeekNation Pull List – 5/1/2014

By May 1, 2014
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This week on the GeekNation Pull List: the Dark Knight faces off against one of his deadliest foes to strike a crippling blow to Gotham’s underworld, Peter Parker returns to the Marvel Universe just in time for his latest film to hit theaters nationwide, and everyone’s favorite scruffy looking nerf herder kicks off a new miniseries from Dark Horse! Check out this week’s comic book reviews below!

From DC: Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs. Bane #1 by Peter Tomasi (Script) and Scot Eaton (Art)

Cover art to Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs. Bane #1 by Scot Eaton.

Cover art to Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs. Bane #1 by Scot Eaton.

Although the final issue of the Forever Evil miniseries is yet to be released, the publication schedule can only wait so long. When there’s a big event that steers the course for an entire universe, delaying that event can’t stop the entire line, so while it may be a bit premature, this bit of aftermath from Forever Evil has made its way into comic shops this week. One of the tie-in series to the main Forever Evil event was another sub-series called Arkham War. In it, the majority of Batman’s rogues gallery were set free from Arkham Asylum in the wake of the Crime Syndicate’s siege on the planet Earth, leaving Gotham City in the hands of its most notorious criminals. With all of the things that have gone down over the past several months in the DC Universe, there was a definite need for some justice to play out. When it comes to that need in Gotham City, this issue provides it.

It’s pretty clear that this issue is supposed to represent a few different things coming off of Forever Evil. One is that this is the apparent return of Batman to Gotham City since going up against the Crime Syndicate with the Justice League. We apparently see him back in the cave for the first time in awhile, with both Alfred and his dog Titus visibly pleased that he’s come back home. This is also supposed to represent the efforts Gotham City itself is making in the wake of the massive crossover event to take better care of itself. Of course a sizable financial donation from billionaire Bruce Wayne always helps Gotham recover from catastrophe, a few pages are spent on Commissioner Gordon, and the duty he feels to protect the city. Beyond that, it’s a knock down, drag out slug-fest between the Dark Knight and the Man Who Broke the Bat, and by the final pages it might feel a little simple, but it still manages to be satisfying as hell. An errant line or two from Batman may miss the mark a little bit, but for the most part, this issue doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is: total payoff after leaving Gotham in the dark for a long time.

Artist Scot Eaton renders everything clearly and concisely, never jumbling the pages with too much erratic motion for the reader to lose sight of what’s going on. His Bane is rather terrifying, even sporting a winter coat not dissimilar from the one Tom Hardy’s version of the character wore in The Dark Knight Rises, which was a nice aesthetic touch. Overall, Batman vs. Bane #1 is a bit simple, but in that simplicity lies fun and satisfaction, and as a one-off reading experience, that’s not half bad. 8/10

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Honorable Mentions from DC This Week: Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two #4, Batgirl Annual #2

 

From Marvel: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott (Script) and Humberto Ramos (Art)

Cover art to The Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Humberto Ramos.

Cover art to The Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Humberto Ramos.

Just in time for the theatrical release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes the latest #1 issue from Marvel Comics, bringing back the flagship book starring everyone’s favorite wall-crawler: The Amazing Spider-Man #1. Writer Dan Slott continues his rather momentous run with Spider-Man, but what makes this issue an event in and of iself is that this is the full-on return of Peter Parker. You see, since early 2013, Peter Parker’s body has been inhabited by the mind of classic Spidey villain Dr. Octopus, who used his new position in the Marvel Universe to try and become a “Superior” Spider-Man, which was the title of the main Spidey monthly book until last month. Now, Peter’s back in the driver’s seat, and he’s left to try and pick up the pieces of his life after Doc Ock messed a lot of things up, as well as made a lot of things actually a bit better. The result is a brand new status quo for Spider-Man with a far more familiar face — and mind — at the helm, which should be a welcome addition for most Spidey fans after enduring the somewhat sociopathic endeavors of Otto Octavius for over a year.

One of the elements that makes Slott such an appropriate writer for Spider-Man is his sense of humor. His writing always manages to have a manic, humorous energy to it, but he’s also able to fully bring heartfelt seriousness and emotion to the forefront as well when he needs to (Don’t believe me? Read Amazing Spider-Man #655 at your own risk). In any event, though, the new Amazing #1 strikes the perfect tone, since it’s a rather blatant celebration of the fact that the one, true Spidey is back in the saddle once again. By giving us some classic Parker irreverence that many fans have likely missed, to planting the seeds for future conflicts that will have to be dealt with later, the overall takeaway from finishing the whole issue is that it’s just plain good to see Peter again.

Humberto Ramos provides the artwork for this issue’s main story, and his style is perfectly befitting to the zaniness that comes to define Spidey’s first moments back on the job. While Ramos’ art style isn’t for everyone, it’s hard to fault it for its overall consistency and emotional evocation. It’s a good looking book for the return of a classic Marvel hero, and though the price tag is a bit hefty, I doubt that most Spider-Man fans will mind too much. Welcome back, Peter…how’re you going to get out of this one? 8.5/10

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Honorable Mentions from Marvel This Week: Avengers #28, Hulk #2

 

From Dark Horse: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 by Matt Kindt (Script) and Marco Castiello (Art)

 

Cover art to Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1, by Matt Kindt.

Cover art to Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1, by Matt Kindt.

If you’ve ever fantasized about what it might be like to actually be in an adventure alongside the famed heroes of the Star Wars saga, then it looks like Rebel Heist was designed specifically with you in mind. Really, though, as a kid, who never picked up a ling stick and imagined it was a lightsaber, fighting alongside Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi against Darth Vader or a legion of Stormtroopers? Who never made their hand into the shape of a blaster, taking aim at bounty hunters or Imperial officers? Who never sat down in a desk chair and imagined a streaking star field to your front as you hit the throttle on the Millenium Falcon‘s hyperdrive? If you’d lived any of these scenarios as kids, or perhaps even too recent to admit in public company, then you may be interested in Matt Kindt’s story for Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1.

A four-issue mini-series, Rebel Heist looks to be a brand new perspective on four of the main characters of the original Star Wars trilogy. While the Princess Leia story arrives next month, this month the focus is squarely on the Corellian scoundrel himself, Han Solo. The short of it is that a fresh new Rebel operative has been dispatched to Corellia to meet a contact on behalf of the Alliance, and a thin scrape and a gunfight later, he’s face-to-face with Han Solo. Kindt provides a really fresh perspective on what it might be like to have heard so much about this living legend of the Rebel Alliance before actually working with him, and what you might begin to conjure about a man who’s beyond careless, and even beyond confident: a tactical genius with a carefree outer layer? A lunatic in disguise? A hero, or a mercenary? Kindt crafts an adventure that makes his new everyman really go through a multitude of different perspectives on Solo before arriving at a conclusion that may — or may not — be particularly accurate. I’m not sure if the subsequent issues will connect with this one, but given the way that this one ends, I certainly hope they will.

Marco Castiello’s artwork is clean and action-packed, and while the artist doesn’t really “nail” the celebrity likeness to Harrison Ford, he gives Solo the wardrobe and the swagger to a degree that you know it is unmistakably that character. Rebel Heist #1 is a great look inside the world of Star Wars, with a rewarding and delightfully evolving perception of one of the series’ most definitive characters. If the series can continue to glean this kind of insight into other characters like Luke and Leia with as much effectiveness as this one, than the other shouldn’t have a problem in becoming the GeekNation Pull List Pick of the Week, as this one did. 9/10

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Honorable Mentions from Independents This Week: Dream Police #1, Judge Dredd: Mega City Two #4

 

That does it this week for the GeekNation Pull List! Be sure to come back next week for a fesh batch of new comics reviews, and feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions in the comments below. Also, don’t forget that this Saturday is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY in every comic shop in the United States, so be sure to find your local comics retailer and stop on in!

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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.