February 27, 2016

The Pull List: 24 February 2016, Part II

Cullen Bunn's troubled and uneven run on Aquaman concluded last month, and for a short while at least he is to be replaced by former Guardians of the Galaxy writer Dan Abnett - who also wrote the excellent Wild's End that I reviewed earlier this week. Going by this first issue, I really hope Abnett sticks around for a while.

The issue begins with what feels like a strong statement of purpose: Aquaman is, for the time being, done with focusing on Atlantis and its internal schisms. Instead he - and his companions - are to focus on that threshold between the underwater and the surface worlds. This sounds like a great plan. Aquaman is, first and foremost, a superhero, and he has not really had much of a chance to work in that area since the New 52 kicked off four and a half years ago. It is really entertaining watching a group of Atlanteans visit the surface world and sample the junk foods and sideshow attractions of a county fair.

At the same time there's clearly something bad going on nearby, as the fun hijinks are interspersed with random strangers getting too close to a source of water - the ocean, a bucket, a fish tank, and so on - and get brutally slaughtered for their trouble. There's no sign where it's headed, but it's safe to assume not anywhere pleasant.

This feels like a great jumping-on point for new readers. Abnett is a great writer, and Vicente Sifuentes, John Dell and Guy Major bring some really strong superhero-style artwork along for the ride. In recent months I kept toying with dropping Aquaman from my regular order, but with this issue I am glad I stuck around. (4/5)

There is one thing I have to ask, though: what the hell is up with the guy on the bottom left-hand corner of the cover? He has the face of a child, the stomach hair of an adult, a weird pose, and bizarrely thick and muscular legs. It's just utterly bizarre.

DC Comics. Written by Dan Abnett. Art by Vicente Sifuentes and John Dell. Colours by Guy Major.

Under the cut: reviews of Daredevil, Ringside and We Are Robin.



Daredevil #4
Marvel. Written by Charles Soule. Art by Ron Garney and Goran Sudzuka. Colours by Matt Milla.
Daredevil goes to Captain America for some advice when his failure to stop Tenfingers begins to trouble him. This is a well-written issue with Soule nailing the traditional bleak atmosphere of Daredevil and filling Matt with self-doubt and regret. My main issue is the same one I've had for four issues running now - I have seen this before. While there is always an expectation for a superhero to stick fairly close to its tested formula - Batman being a pretty obvious case in point - there is always latitude for a writer to bring something new and original to the table. I don't feel I am getting that here. Garney and Sudzuka's artwork is great, on the other hand, and I'm really enjoying Matt Milla's limited colour palette. (3/5)

Ringside #4
Image. Written by Joe Keatinge. Art by Nick Barber. Colours by Simon Gough.
Ex-professional wrestler Danny continues his shaky, in-over-his-head quest to help out his ex-boyfriend Terry. The results are not pretty. This is a great crime comic. When it launched I was wondering what extent the wrestling angle would dominate the book, and it turns out it's not there too much. It's basically there for flavour and background detail - at least so far it has been. I think that's about the right balance for this kind of violent criminal odyssey. Nick Barber and Simon Gough's artwork is great, not too detailed but incredibly expressive. (3/5)

We Are Robin #9
DC Comics. Written by Lee Bermejo. Art by Jorge Corona. Layouts by Rob Haynes. Colours by Trish Mulvihill and Cris Peters.
The Robins struggle to get back together after the events of "Robin War". Meanwhile the Jokers begin to grow in number across Gotham's back streets. This is a really well paced and balanced issue, re-establishing the regular cast while simultaneously setting up their next enemy. Jorge Corona's art style might take a bit for some readers to get into: it's very much in a sort of graffiti vein, with a bit of exaggeration involved. It's taken me a few issues but I've grown to really appreciate it. It's a shame that this book has really started to come together, right at the point it seems likely DC is about to cancel it. I hope the Robins land on their feet somewhere. (3/5)

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