Sunday, January 7, 2018

Pull List Potpourri Jan. 6, 2018

Happy New Year!!!

    Whatever your ethnicity, your religion, your color or creed, your nationality or point of origin, your sexuality or lack thereof, I would like to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, prosperous (whatever this means to you) New Year!!!

    I have finally found a bit of time to catch up on my comics reading! YAY!!! So, I thought that I'd gather myself and drop a little Pull-List Potpourri for y'all...So, let's skin this smoke-wagon!!!

1. Victor LaValle's Destroyer issues #4 - #6: Frankenstein's monster has returned, cutting a murderous swath through humanity on his quest to avenge himself on the last remaining heir to the Frankenstein legacy, a brilliant scientist who has used her ancestor's knowledge along with her own technological razzle-dazzle, to resurrect her murdered son. But Frankenstein's monster is not the only one who is hunting this fugitive family: The research conglomerate that she once worked for wants them as well...They seek to possess the new life form that her son is becoming...And a powerful, estranged family member is leading the charge!

Seasoned sci-fi writer, Victor LaValle, is giving Mary Shelley's classic a new, high-tech, high-octane, emotionally-charged and socially relevant twist. This book cleverly asks not only what makes a monster, but it also makes the reader question if those who make monsters are just as much to blame, if not more so, for the atrocities that the monster commits. LaValle also points out that most people are quite comfortable with monsters and atrocities, as long as they can be controlled or contained, and are not aimed at us. These last few books are action-packed with great dialogue and cool artwork that is just a bit stiff, but quite effective for the tale.

RATING: 8 out of 10

2. Spider-Man (vol 2, 2016), issues 20, 21, 234-236:  Miles Morales has had it. He's done his best to live up to Peter Parker's legacy, but he's gotten nothing but heartache, and his family has been torn apart. Miles decides to take some time off, so he heads to Japan for a little R&R, and to find himself. What he finds is trouble, with a capital "T". Miles stumbles into a plan to take down the biggest techno gangster in Japan, a plan headed up by a shadowy figure who desires to bring Miles into the dark, dangerous world of international espionage. That is if a supposedly deceased relative from Miles' past who is heading up a new Sinister Six doesn't kill Miles first.

Superstar writer, Brian Michael Bendis, is on fire in this volume of Spider-Man. Since issue #1, he's really brought Miles into his own and extracted him from Peter Parker's shadow, even working with Nick Spencer to give Miles a pivotal role in the Secret Empire event/arc. Now Bendis really lays it on, spicing up Miles's powers as he ages, seemingly moving away from the Spider-identity and hopeful into something new and all his own...Something maybe kinda James Bond-esque. I DIG IT!! The story is tight, and Bendis still has a sparkling gift for dialogue. I hope the writer who takes over when Bendis leaves (Bendis now belongs exclusively to DC), continues down this interesting path. Artists, Nico Leon and Oscar Bazaldua are on point, consistently making this book a great pleasure to look at with clean, simple lines, and high-energy action.

RATING 9 out of 10

3. Black Panther (vol 6), issues 17, 18, 166-168: Wakanda is in danger. The newly emerging constitutional monarchy is besieged on every side. The Orisha (Wakandan gods) have seemingly disappeared, leaving room for a heretic to subvert the people to a new, unknown god which is dividing the kingdom. Magical portals have begun to appear all over Wakanada, spilling out ancient bloodthirsty beings upon the people. One of T'Challa's oldest friends, Asira, has been kidnapped by a cabal of T'Challa's enemies who seek to topple him from the throne, and they have given Asira to Azania, a rival, hostile country. However, The Panther does not stand alone - friends, rivals, warriors, and subjects all unite to stand at his side to quell the coming tide. But a dark and distant past is returning to wreak vengeance upon Wakanda, attacking the very heart of what the country believes itself to be - can Wakanda survive the onslaught of violence and heartbreaking self-knowledge? And if it does, what will the new nation become?

Celebrated author and luminary, Ta-Nehisi Coates, has expanded upon and deepened the character and mythology of Black Panther and of Wakanda during his run on this volume of Black Panther, which, in my opinion, is the best I have ever seen.  From Wakanda's history to its gods to its internal workings, struggle, and intrigue, Coates has brought Wakanda alive in a way that no writer has ever done before and filled it with captivating supporting characters that keep my eyes glued to the panels even when T'Challa is not present. The storyline is just so intricate, yet so filled to the brim - just when it seems that T'Challa has put out one fire, we see that several are beginning to smolder and another is a full-on, five-alarm emergency! T'Challa wears all the hats: king, politician, protector, enforcer, covert ops director, son, brother, friend, warrior - Coates has created an environment where EVERYTHING that T'Challa's is can shine, and all his flaws are also exposed, challenged and overcome. I don't know that there is any comic out right now that is better than Black Panther. From Brian Stelfreeze to Chris Sprouse to Leonard Kirk, this book is the consistently one of the best-illustrated books, month after month. Black Panther vol 6, is simply one of the best, most intricately woven, most thought-provoking superhero comics being published today.

RATING: 10 out of 10

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