The Pull List
Week of November 28, 2018
This week on the Pull List, we’ve got a mix of DC and Marvel books, which is much more to my liking. Fair warning, as with all my reviews, I’m planning on spoiling the ever-loving heck out of these issues, so read at your own risk.
We’ve got Return of Wolverine, a title I’ve been lukewarm on at best. We’ve got Action Comics, Uncanny X-Men, Heroes in Crisis, and an impulse buy that may just be my book of the week in Dead Man Logan. All picked up from my LCS, Issue Needed Comics in Apple Valley, Minnesota. If you’re a local, or just visiting, these guys will treat you like you belong there. Stop in if you’re in the area!
Well, let’s get down to it. We’ll start with Return of Wolverine #3 (of 5) by Charles Soule and Declan Shalvey. I’ve made no bones about it, this book has been a bit of a disappointment for me. I’m not loving the artwork since McNiven bowed out, and even with the improvements on the story last issue, the taste of that first issue still lingers. And don’t get me started on the heat-claws. Anyway, I’m sticking this one out because I love the X-Men, and I love Wolverine as a character.
This issue picks up the pacing a bit, at least. The X-Men figure out that Logan is alive, and Jean has pinpointed him with Cerebro. They take a team of X-folks that know him well, including Kitty Pryde, Storm, Jean, Kurt and…Bobby Drake? Really? Not Colossus? Jubilee? Bobby Drake. Because he and Logan were such good buddies. Anyway, I digress. The X-team goes to intercept Logan and bring him home.
They are met with anti-mutant sentiment and Persephone sets up a fight with Wolverine against the X-Men by sending in someone to suggest that the X-Men are agents of Sotiera. Logan calls on his “inner Wolverines” to tell him who each of the X-Men are, and how to beat them. He takes them all down with the exception of Bobby, who is putting Wolvie on ice. Wolverine’s inner berserker is released as the issue ends, popping his heat-claws and prepping to take down Iceman.
I’m not gonna lie, that last scene would have had higher stakes if it had been Peter that Logan was up against. But, this is the story we’ve been given. I did like the interaction between Logan and his inner Wolverines. That was pretty innovative, for this character, at least. Similarly, it was nice to see some action that mattered. The Sotiera folks Logan took down last issue were milquetoast, so seeing him pitted against people we care about as much as we do Logan was a nice change of pace.
Even with the bland art, this is the best issue of the series so far. I give it a rating of 3/5 for solid action and fun twists, heat claws notwithstanding.
Next up, Action Comics #1005 by Brian Michael Bendis and…Ryan Sook! That was a pleasant surprise. Sook’s a fun artist. I loved his work on X-Factor, even if it only lasted a few issues. Given his track record, he won’t be here long, but apparently he and Bendis have some major DC project coming soon, so that’s something to look forward to.
This issue opens with the Question beating up Gummy’s gang and taking the Dial “H” for Hero dial she was in the process of buying. He’s looking for the Red Cloud. Gummy escapes and goes to meet with Mr. Strong, asking him to have the Red Cloud kill the Question for the transgression.
Meanwhile at the Daily Planet (always hear that in the Super Friends voice in my head–you know “Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice,” only…only with the Daily Planet…anyway…), Clark is verbally sparring with Miss Goode when he gets a call from the Deputy Chief of the Metropolis Fire Department, Melody Moore. She requests to meet with Clark, at Superman’s suggestion. She tells Clark about an interaction she had with the mayor of Metropolis, wherein the mayor told her to stop investigating the mystery fires that had been cropping up in Metropolis. Clark decides to investigate and flies to the mayor’s home to speak with him. Before he can, though, he’s attacked by the Red Cloud. Superman manages to escape, and the Red Cloud gloats about having chased him off. On the last page, the not-so-well-kept secret identity of the Red Cloud is revealed: Miss Goode, of the Daily Planet.
I don’t even care that the big reveal was telegraphed from ten miles away. I love Bendis’ run on this book. I’ve mentioned before that it’s a street-level series, and it is, and that is where Bendis excels. I enjoyed the H-E-R-O Dial showing up, I loved the 1980’s backup stories in Superboy. I just had a random thought that maybe—MAYBE—Bendis and Sook’s upcoming project is a Dial “H” for Hero series. I would read the hell out of that series. Anyway, the mystery of the fires in Metropolis deepens, and it looks like it involves people at the top. Hopefully we will see where that goes. Knowing Bendis, we probably won’t know for a while, but I’m ok with that, as long as everything in-between is as good as this issue.
Hopefully Ryan Sook sticks around for a while. His art is gritty and quirky and perfect for this type of story. It’s why I liked his X-Factor issues so much. Grounded story, grounded art. Perfect match. If not, hopefully whatever he and Bendis have cooking will be something as gritty as this issue feels.
I’m going to give this one a rating of 4/5 for great art and fun storytelling, even with a plot twist that was positively M. Night Shyamalan-ian in it’s moment of “duh”.
Uncanny X-Men #3 is next, written by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson, with art by Yildiray Cinar and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg. Part 3 of Disassembled finds the X-Men in Montana wrapping up their fight with the dinosaurs and then hurrying to help the team in Kansas with the Madrox situation. Jean arrives on the scene with the rest of the Montana team and discovers that none of the Madrox dupes are Jamie Prime. She teams with Psylocke to shut down the dupes and scans their minds once they are knocked out. She discovers that Prime Madrox is beneath their feet, in an underground bunker, chained up and beaten. He tells them that Legion was responsible for his condition, and that of his duplicates. Legion had implanted one of his personalities into each of the thousands of Madrox dupes.
The X-Men race home to discover that Legion is attacking the X-Men at the institute. He was trying to maintain a calm façade but was unable to stop himself as the dupes were shut down and his personas returned to him. He was trying to save the X-Men from Magneto, Angel, Blob and Omega Red—the Horsemen Peace, Life, Wellness and Bounty—who are there to stop the X-Men from making war with mankind. They blow up the mansion as the issue ends, sending the X-Men and the protesters on their lawn scattering.
Another solid issue from Brisson, Rosenberg and Thompson. The art by Cinar is serviceable, but I really wish they had gone with one artist for the whole 10 issue Disassembled arc, for continuity’s sake. The Jamie Madrox reveal was a stunner. I didn’t expect that Legion was behind that, nor that he had placed his personalities into the Dupes. And we get three knock-down, drag-out fights in one issue.
And the big reveal of the new Horsemen..what is up with that? At least we don’t ever have long to wait with a weekly run. I’ll give this a rating of 4/5.
Speaking of humor and weight, next up is Dead Man Logan #1 (of 12), written by Ed Brisson with art by Mike Henderson, of Nailbiter fame. This series is designed to give Old Man Logan a well and proper end, and they start it off with a bang by having the X-Men find Logan in the wilds of Canada, next to a beheaded Maestro. They take him back to the Mansion and warm him up, only to be told by Cecelia Reyes that he has 12 months to live (hey, that’s how many issues are in this limited series!). Logan sets out to right some wrongs before he’s gone from this existence, starting with hunting Mysterio. Logan hits the Bar with No Name and interrogates the villains hunkered down there, including Miss Sinister and Tarantula. With no one giving him any info, Logan beats up on the villains and leaves to pursue other leads. Miss Sinister mentally interrogates Tarantula and gleans the whereabouts of Mysterio from his mind.
Logan goes to Brooklyn, where he runs into Hotguy—sorry, Hawkeye—who knows where Mysterio is, and the two set off to find the villain. But Miss Sinister gets to him first, enticing Mysterio out of hiding at the Bedford Hills Psychiatric Hospital just as Logan and Hawkguy—sorry, Hawkeye—arrive, only to be blocked out by the orderly who doesn’t recognize Clint as an Avenger.
Clint and Logan sneak in a window, which was Logan’s plan all along, and question one of the patients, who gives them a bunch of exposition but no location on Mysterio, who is on an island in the Pacific ocean, meeting up with Neo-Hydra, run by the Red Skull’s daughter. Meanwhile, Forge builds a time machine and jumps into Old Man Logan’s future as the issue ends.
Lots to unpack here, Old Man Logan is dying. He’s a recent favorite of mine since Lemire and Sorrentino’s run on his solo book. The stuff with Hawkeye and the orderly is absolutely laugh out loud funny, and Mysterio’s self-imposed exile is understandable. The story moves along at a good pace, and while I rolled my eyes at the all-too-predictable 12 months to live/12 issues in the series moment, it’s a solid read, especially for an impulse buy. Brisson is making it difficult to not want to pick up his new X-Force series in January. And the art by Henderson is amazing. But fans of Nailbiter already knew that.
Not gonna lie, this one came very close to being my book of the week. It fell just short, given the last review this week, which follows. Still, I’m giving this one a rating of 4.5/5 for a fun read with excellent art. Brisson really has a way with the X-Men. Dang it, I’m going to end up picking up X-Force, aren’t I?
Last, but certainly not least is the ridiculously cerebral and tensely plotted Heroes in Crisis #3 (of 9). Written by Tom King, with art by Clay Mann (yay, he’s back!) and …Lee Weeks?!, this issue delves a little deeper into what the heroes at the Sanctuary actually do. It’s a healing space, and it includes a…well, a holodeck, for lack of a better term, wherein the heroes can replay tense or damaging events to come to terms with their outcomes, or with their actions.
Booster Gold is having a hard time grasping the concept, but he’s trying. He ends up fighting himself in a holodeck simulation. Meanwhile Lagoon Boy is shot over and over with a laser, and Flash loses his family over and over. Until they all notice that heroes at the Sanctuary are dying. Then they die. Apparently at the hands of Harley Quinn, but I’m not buying that. The reveal is structured as such that it almost seems like it’s all happening in the holodeck at the Sanctuary, so it’s entirely possible that it really was Booster Gold that killed all the heroes and he’s dealing with that. Or he watched Harley do it and he’s dealing with that. The issue ends with the reveal of more super powered beings that were killed at Sanctuary, including Nemesis and Red Devil…and Poison Ivy?
Holy Hell, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here, but I’m loving every minute of it. It’s unfurling like a Chuck Palahniuk novel, and it’s amazing. Tom King is perfectly weaving a story that will have lasting impact on not just the characters, but also the readers. If you’ve read his Vision series, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The man just gets how to manipulate a story in such a way that you’re not sure what is up and what is down, but it’s told in such a well constructed way that every panel is a gift.
And the art in this issue was amazing. It’s not every day you pick up an issue with a living legend working on it like Lee Weeks. I’m not sure where he’s been, but seeing his pencils brought me back to Ann Nocenti’s and his run on Daredevil. It was both nostalgic and invigorating at the same time. Hopefully he’ll stay on if Clay Mann (who drew the first and last pages of this issue) isn’t able to fulfill the art duties for the rest of the series.
This is my book of the week. Rating of 5/5. You’re missing out if you’re not reading this book.
So that’s what was in my Pull List this week. Next week, we’ve got Green Lantern #2, Immortal Hulk #10, West Coast Avengers #5, and Uncanny X-Men #4, along with possibly some Defenders One-Shots and maybe another impulse buy, who knows. See you next week, and thanks for reading!