The GeekNation Pull List – 8/7/2014

By August 7, 2014
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This week on the GeekNation Pull List: Dick Grayson continues his exploits as a DC Universe secret agent, two Spider-Men come together to stop a threat from the murderous Green Goblin, and a new series continues the adventures of officer Alex Murphy in the aftermath of his original film! Check out this week’s comic book reviews below!

From DC: Grayson #2 by Tom King (Story), Tim Seeley (Story and Script), Mikel Janin, Guillermo Ortego, and Juan Castro (Art)

Cover art to Grayson #2, by Mikel Janin.

Cover art to Grayson #2, by Mikel Janin.

Dick Grayson is continuing his new job as a secret agent, spying on his new employers for a very suspicious Dark Knight. While as a comic book series Grayson has intrigued me more than I thought it would, there’s something about the structure of the second issue that tended to lose me. Maybe it was the disparate events that were loosely held together, or maybe it was the fact that it throws you into characters with little to no helpful exposition. In the end, something about Grayson #2 just feels haphazard, but in its defense, the status quo that it plays with is still very interesting, largely because it’s so separate from the other titles and events in the DC Universe.

It’s not that there aren’t any familiar faces, either. In addition to Batman getting a fair amount of time within the pages of the issue, we’ve also been reintroduced to a New 52 conception of Helena Bertinelli, who in the DC Universe prior to the 2011 relaunch was another Gotham City hero known as the Huntress. In this title, though, she seems to be a seasoned agent of Spyral, the organization that Dick now works for. Although she looks physically different from the previous iteration of Helena, from a character perspective she seems rather unrecognizable: she can be rather coldhearted in her approach to her work, and seems to have a somewhat morbid sense of humor, especially in regard to the prospect of Dick losing his life. Granted, we’re only two issues in, but it’ll be interesting to see if her character becomes more recognizable to DC fans over the course of her time in this series.

Dick also has to contend with a partner in Helena who seems not to care about the intricacies of morality, as the suspect they’re pursuing in this issue will not meet the conclusion that Dick expected going into this assignment. Helena sees him as a bit naive as a result, but it is refreshing knowing that Dick is actively working with Batman to truly infiltrate this shady organization. On top of that, an old favorite character from Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated series reappears here, which should be interesting to see going forward.

Artwork is handled by three different artists on this issue, which normally would be a sticking point for me. Having different artists can tend to disrupt the first page’s established tone and overall reading experience, but for whatever reason, the transitions between the artists in this instance were all very smooth, likely because of the many different locations and characters featured throughout. Say what you will about Grayson #2, there’s definitely a lot of content here, but it doesn’t all come together in as cohesive an experience as you may prefer. But it was still an interesting book, and it was likely intriguing enough that I’ll come along for the ride for issue #3. 7/10

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Honorable Mentions from DC This Week: Detective Comics #34, Earth 2 #26

 

From Marvel: Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #4 by Brian Michael Bendis (Script) and David Marquez (Art)

Cover art to Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #4, by David Marquez.

Cover art to Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #4, by David Marquez.

The Ultimate universe is a very interesting place in Marvel Comics. Originally created in the year 2000 by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley with the publication of Ultimate Spider-Man #1, it was created as a separate continuity from the mainline Marvel Universe so as to allow creators to tell new stories without the drag of continuity, which can prevent some stories or characters from being used in certain ways. Ultimate Spider-Man was enormously successful, and before too long we were also seeing Ultimate Fantastic FourUltimate X-Men, as well as The Ultimates, which was that universe’s equivalent of the Avengers. All of these stories told were taking place in their own universe and their own continuity, and with enough time having gone by, the Ultimate universe eventually became a drag in and of itself.

The original intent, to steer clear from the sometimes dense webs of continuity of the mainline universe, began to equally affect the Ultimate line, until we’ve reached a point now where the continuity of the Ultimate line itself is now more dense and convoluted than that of the mainline Marvel U. Something had to give, and it eventually did. One massive event managed to kill the Ultimate counterparts of some of Marvel’s most major characters, including Daredevil, Wolverine, and many of the X-Men. A while later, the Ultimate Peter Parker was killed by the Green Goblin, causing that universe to enter a period of mourning. What arose from there, though, has been one of Marvel’s freshest new characters: Miles Morales, the young boy who became the new Ultimate Spider-Man.

Miles has been through a lot. After nearly being forced into his new role, he’s kept the secret from his family, had soul-crushing encounters with family who ended up being supervillains, and even met the mainline Marvel U’s Peter Parker in a great mini-series called Spider-Men. Now, Miles is facing off against the behemoth that killed his universe’s Peter, the Ultimate Green Goblin, and realizing that Peter has also apparently returned to fight at his side.

That’s a lot of information, but is this book any good? Yes, absolutely. The Ultimate universe is far from my favorite Marvel comics in any capacity, but Miles Morales’ strength as a character and as a hero have sustained me pretty much since he first arrived on the scene. Bendis’ writing is irreverent and emotional all at once, and David Marquez’s art is gorgeous. While rumors continue to persist that the Ultimate universe will soon be done away with while leaving Miles as the sole survivor, I think I can live with that. The Ultimate line has kind of gone to hell in a handbasket, but as long as we get to see continued adventures of Miles Morales, the loss of the rest of the Ultimate universe wouldn’t be so bad after all. He’s basically the reaosn why this issue is the GeekNation Pull List Pick of the Week8.5/10

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Honorable Mentions from Marvel This Week: Rocket Raccoon #2, The Punisher #9

 

From BOOM!: RoboCop #2 by Joshua Williamson (Script) and Carlos Magno (Art)

Cover art to RoboCop #2, by  Goni Montes and Carlos Magno.

Cover art to RoboCop #2, by Goni Montes and Carlos Magno.

I love RoboCop, and I always have. The first film came out the year that I was born, but as a small child that had quite a helping of superheroes, RoboCop was kind of surreptitiously delivered into my psyche as a part of the superhero genre. Of course, in the purest sense of his character, he’s not a superhero. He’s a man that has to deal with his consciousness, experience, and the remains of his body being perverted into little more than a product, and the compelling story in the original film is how he reconnects with his humanity. This is largely why I also enjoyed this year’s remake film, because while it explored the question of his humanity in a different way, the overarching theme of man vs. machine was still very much intact. Of course the original film is still my favorite, though, and when it was announced that BOOM! was going to directly continue from those events in a new, ongoing RoboCop comic book series, I was immediately intrigued.

One of the most well-known tenets of RoboCop as a film was the fact that it was a rather highly politically charged, dripping satire in nearly every frame. While some of the recent RoboCop comics have tried to push that forward, not many have gone out of their way to actually center their stories on some kind of commentary, but with the efforts of Williamson and Magno, we’ve found a title that does. Joshua Williamson’s story centers around a controversial new law in Old Detroit that seemed to be spearheaded by OCP, and the law also centers on a complex political issue to be found at the center of debate today in America. I don’t want to go into it too much here just because I don’t want to spoil anything, but it looks like the passage of this new law seems to have orchestrated an entirely new criminal element that is thriving as a result of its passage.

Murphy and Lewis are, of course, the main characters here. As a fan of the original film, that’s a dynamic that I’ve missed a great deal in recent years, since most of the RoboCop comics that I’ve read have taken place after Lewis has been killed, either through the events of the terrible third film, or by some other, untold story that took place in a mysterious past. Lewis provides a very good “in” to the events of the story from a human perspective, which the writer has elected not to go into with Murphy himself.

If I have any major criticisms of this issue, that may be it. Murphy isn’t in it very much, and he definitely doesn’t seem to be the character of focus. His dialogue is minimal, which is fine, but we don’t really get to spend all that much time with him. There’s a possibility this will be rectified as the series progresses, but I was definitely left wanting for some good solo time inside RoboCop’s head. Either way, with interesting subject matter, good character work (with everyone but Murphy), and terrific art by Carlos Magno, RoboCop #2 still gets a solid recommendation. 8/10

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Honorable Mentions from Independents This Week: The Bunker #5, Lazarus #10

That does it for this week, but be sure to come back here in seven days for a brand new edition of the GeekNation Pull List! Also, please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions for future review titles in the section below! Have a great week, and we’ll see you soon with more 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.