The GeekNation Pull List – 8/28/2013

By August 29, 2013
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There are many different kinds of geeks, and GeekNation is a place where all of them can come and enjoy their obsession of choice among friends. One of the more pronounced sects of geekdom has always revolved around the four-color comics page, and any comic book fan worth their weight in long boxes knows that there are hundreds of new choices appearing in specialty comic shops every single Wednesday (unless it’s after a holiday). That’s where this brand new column comes in!

The GeekNation Pull List is a new, weekly feature that will provide some quick-shot reviews of the biggest comics releases of the week. These inherently include at least 1-2 new issues from Marvel and DC, but there are plenty of indie titles from publishers like Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM!, and many others. These are fair game as well, and if it’s worth checking out, then I’ll do what I can to let you know about it every Wednesday, from here on out.

So, without further ado, let’s get into this week’s Pull List!

Pick From DC Comics This Week

Batman/Superman #3, by Greg Pak, Jae Lee, and Yildiray Cinar

Premiering this past June alongside writer Scott Snyder’s Superman Unchained title, Batman/Superman continues to redeem a Superman line that has been somewhat lackluster during DC’s “New 52” era, and places another feather in the cap of the Batman line. Batman/Superman‘s premiere story arc, ending in next month’s issue #4, tells the story of how the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel first met in New 52 continuity, predating 2011’s Justice League #1 by about a year inside the narrative. For this most momentous of first meetings in the DC Universe, writer Greg Pak has concocted a doozy. Somehow, the team known by comics fans everywhere as the “World’s Finest” have found themselves on Earth 2, a parallel world where they’ve encountered older versions of themselves, who have worked together for years and have even been best friends for longer.

This issue helps push the story into the conclusion by giving us a peak at the big baddie, and giving us some incredibly sensitive character work for the Earth 2 Superman and Batman in showing how deep their friendship really goes. Although “our” World’s Finest don’t exactly get along famously in the story at this point, the exploration of their older selves’ friendship feels oddly reflective of the type of bond the younger Clark and Bruce will experience. Top notch writing from Mr. Pak combines with the unique, atmospheric artwork of Mr. Lee, and Mr. Cinar helps define the emotion in the fateful first meeting between the Earth 2 Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. A solid issue in an outstanding series thus far. 9/10

Honorable Mentions at DC This Week: Justice League #23, Injustice: Gods Among Us #8

 

Pick From Marvel this Week

Captain America #10, by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.

When the publisher known as the “House of Ideas” kicked off their own relaunch (of sorts) with a slew of new number 1 issues under a banner called “Marvel NOW!,” people were intrigued at the new spins on familiar characters and the willingness of the publisher to take some risks with their more longstanding properties. Captain America, though, seemed to be a polarizing title. By taking a more blatantly “sci-fi” approach in how it would treat the title character, some fans were turned off quickly, especially in a new series that would come on the heels of a legendary six-year run by writer Ed Brubaker. Writer Rick Remender reasoned that if you’re going to follow Brubaker, you have to go in an entirely different direction. So he did. As a result, this week’s issue of Captain America finishes up the ten-issues of sci-fi craziness known as “Castaway in Dimension Z.”

The story saw one of Steve Rogers’ chief rivals, mad scientist Arnim Zola, take Steve out of the world that he’d called home and stranded him in a twisted alternate dimension of his own creation, keeping him there for over a decade. It’s structure and artwork reminded me in no small way of some of the more cosmically minded stories of Jack Kirby, but it dodged the old-school bombacity with truth in the writing. While I didn’t care to see a character come to their apparent demise in this climax, Remender deftly and effectively used flashbacks throughout this arc in showing us what Steve’s life looked like as a young man on the streets of New York during the Great Depression. We see firsthand how the lessons he learned there are monumentally important to the super soldier he’s become. 8/10

Honorable Mentions at Marvel This Week: Uncanny Avengers #11, Wolverine and the X-Men #35

 

Independent Pick This Week:

Lazarus #3, by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

Greg Rucka is a comic book writer that I always reserve a special place in my brain for, since I sincerely and extremely admire the man’s body of work for a multitude of reasons. Even though I considered myself a Batman fan beyond compare, Rucka’s work introduced me to the “man” part of that name more than many others, and showed my 17-year-old self that I really didn’t know that man at all. He increased my admiration for the Man of Steel and himself simultaneously by being unapologetic about what Superman was, and the things he should always stand for. But these are characters that are not of Mr. Rucka’s creation. When the bestselling comic book writer and novelist creates his own worlds and toys, that’s a playdate any lover of good storytelling should never miss.

Lazarus is the latest of these efforts on the comics page. Along with penciler Michael Lark, whom Rucka worked with on one of my all-time favorite comics series in Gotham Central, Rucka posits a world where the class system has become a systemic part of human society so much so that the “have-nots” barely count as human. In the words of the story insert on the front cover, they’re “waste.”

While the first two issues introduced the main character, Forever Carlyle, and this nightmarish world she inhabits with a literal bang, the third issue delves deeper into the supporting cast. While three issues is hardly enough material on which to gauge the entire body of the series, Rucka’s characterization of some of these supporting characters was solid, but distracting. With the way that the second issue ended, I was hoping to get to know Forever, or “Eve,” a bit more personally than I was able to in this latest issue. That’s hardly an admonishment, though. This is a fantastic, gritty story that is just beginning, and if you’re thinking of trying something a couple of steps off the beaten path, Lazarus may just be what you’re looking for. 8/10

Honorable Mentions from Indy Publishers This Week: Judge Dredd Classics #2, Itty Bitty Hellboy #1

 

That does it for the inaugural edition of the GeekNation Pull List! While all of these titles are available for digital download, having worked as a comics retailer for six years I’m implored to direct you to your local comic book specialty store via the Comic Shop Locator Service. I assure you, any comic shop will be far more grateful for your business than any cold, heartless computer or mobile device could ever be.

Are you a comic book fan? Do you want to become one? Is there a particular title that you’d like touched upon here in the coming weeks? Feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll see you in six days with another batch of fresh ink!

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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.