Welcome to 2014! The GeekNation Pull List makes its triumphant return from the exile of last year to bring you new comic book reviews for a new year, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring it back to you! This week, Batman celebrates his 75th anniversary with an all-star celebratory issue, the Avengers open up to a whole new world under the hands of Jonathan Hickman, and Khan Noonien Singh begins his onslaught into the 23rd century!
From DC: Detective Comics #27 by Too Many Creators to Name
In 1939, the character known as “the Bat-Man” made his first appearance in Detective Comics issue #27. The feature story, known as “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” introduced characters to the Dark Knight himself and Commissioner Gordon, as well as Batman’s secret identity Bruce Wayne. In 2011, DC Comics relaunched all of their ongoing superhero titles with new, #1 issues, including the time honored Detective Comics title, so now in the beginning of 2014 we have reached #27 of the new run of the long-standing Batman title. DC decided to feature this issue as a massive celebration of the Dark Knight, with an all-star cast of creators including legends like Neal Adams and Mike W. Barr, as well as some of the best names in modern comics like Francesco Francavilla, Gregg Hurwitz, Bryan Hitch, Brad Meltzer, Peter Tomasi, Sean Murphy, and Scott Snyder. The aim to create a massive issue celebrating all things Dark Knight, though, sadly, falls kind of flat.
The creativity present in the issue is pretty spectacular, including a reimagining of the very first Batman story by Brad Meltzer and Bryan Hitch, as well as a fun cross-dimensional and generational look at Batman from the minds of Snyder and Murphy, but as a whole issue each individual story isn’t given enough room, or weight, to go far enough. My favorite segment of the issue is probably Francesco Francavilla’s (short but sweet), and while I really like the ideas for each short story (particularly Gregg Hurwitz’s look at the evolution of Batman and Scott Snyder’s cross-generational rationalization), I just don’t feel like each one had enough room to punch the full strength of those ideas home. When you ask for a cover price of $7.99, you have to deliver, and as a celebration of Batman it seems that, sadly, Detective #27 just falls short. 6/10
Honorable Mentions from DC This Week: Action Comics #27, Batman/Superman #7
From Marvel: Avengers World #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer (Script), and Stefano Caselli (Art)
Jonathan Hickman is one of my favorite comic writers. To put things bluntly, Nick Spencer isn’t. It’s likely my fault: I’ve simply not been able to successfully get into anything the guy has written, except for a backup feature in Action Comics focusing on the exploits of one Jimmy Olsen. So, going into Avengers World, where Hickman was the plotter and Spencer was the actual scriptwriter, I felt less than enthused.
After reading the issue, I was most certainly not blown away, but I think that has more to do with the fact that this is a rather by-the-numbers first issue. What I mean by that is it’s pretty much all setup, from first page to last.
Some people can play with that formula very well, but Avengers World falls more into an overridingly typical setup formula than a creatively derivative one. This doesn’t make it a bad comic book, per se, because it does feel like there are some cool ideas to explore in the different parts of the planet we explore. A friend of mine recently said that he feels Hickman is great with plot and only okay with character, while he feels Spencer’s strengths are vice versa. There are so many different characters that show up here, though, that it’s hard to see character as a strength of this particular issue.
The end result is a fun read and good setup for people wanting to follow this series in earnest for the future, but it doesn’t exactly succeed in making a big impression on people that may not exactly be sold on the idea of following yet another book with “Avengers” in the title. 7/10
Honorable Mentions from Marvel This Week: Avengers: A.I. #8, Iron Man #20
From IDW: Star Trek: Khan #4 by Mike Johnson, Roberto Orci (Script/Story), and Luca Lamberti & David Messina (Art)
In Star Trek Into Darkness, Spock Prime (played by Leonard Nimoy) said it best: “Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced. He is brilliant, ruthless, and he will not hesitate to kill every single one of you.” In this issue of Star Trek: Khan, we get to see how the character was manipulated by Admiral Marcus before the events of the film, and how his true identity is reawakened after committing a light amount of genocide.
While some fans criticized the new film for being a little derivative from the immortal second film in the series, I think it’s pretty safe to say that what Star Trek Into Darkness did better than Star Trek II was show us exactly how much of a physical threat the 20th Century warlord really is.
This issue also gives us a greater look at some of the inner workings of Section 31, and how dangerous Admiral Marcus and his war-happy plans for the Federation and the Klingons really are. Going into the next issue will show us not only how Khan first engages Admiral Marcus in direct opposition, but also how his mind will likely be proven to be one of the gravest threats the Federation at large has ever faced.
Star Trek: Khan continues to be a fun and interesting extension from both the main Star Trek Ongoing comic book series and the most recent feature film, and for that it earns Pick of the Week status from the GeekNation Pull List. 8/10
Honorable Mentions from Independents This Week: Star Wars #13, Sex Criminals #4
That does it this week for the GeekNation Pull List! Be sure to check back next week for our looks at the biggest releases in comic shops everywhere!
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