October 7, 2016

The Pull List: 5 October 2016, Part 1

In Superman #8, Jonathan Kent's science project goes weirdly out of control, opening up a portal and depositing him, his father Superman, and his super-powered pet dog Krypto on a Pacific Island full of dinosaurs.

Go on: isn't that the kind of superhero comic you want to read more often? It's bright, it's energetic, and it's enormously fun. This is exactly the kind of optimistic, action-packed superhero adventure that I want from a Superman comic book, and it's jaw-dropping just how rarely we actually get one. On top of everything else, the book acts as a wonderful tribute to the late Darwyn Cooke and his acclaimed miniseries DC: The New Frontier.

The father-son relationship between Clark and Jon is the cornerstone of this book at the moment, and Tomasi and Gleason do an outstanding job with it. Guest artist Doug Mahnke - with inker Jaime Mendoza delivers some typically great artwork as well, adding a detailed and semi-realistic touch to the story. This is exactly what I want from DC Comics, and it seems as if with Rebirth they are delivering what their readership wants a lot more often than they used to. (5/5)

Superman #8. DC Comics. Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. Art by Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza. Colours by Wil Quintana.

Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Doctor Strange, and Green Arrow.

Aquaman #8
DC Comics. Written by Dan Abnett. Art by Scot Eaton and Wayne Faucher. Colours by Gabe Eltaeb.
While Mera begins her preparations to marry Arthur, Atlantis' king has his own problems - a massive humanoid creature on a rampage towards the city. This is a great action-packed issue with the Atlantean forces charging into battle against a seemingly unstoppable foe, not to mention a great reveal for long-term DC fans partway through. The cultural detail of Atlantis that Dan Abnett keeps slipping into this comic really helps to make it an immersive and atmospheric read, and the action is well paced and nicely illustrated by Scot Eaton and Wayne Faucher. Great writing, great art, great characters and setting - as I mentioned with Superman, DC really are on a roll of giving their readers what they want. (4/5)

Doctor Strange #12
Marvel. Written by Jason Aaron. Art by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Richard Friend, Al Vey, Victor Olazaba and John Livesay. Colours by Antonio Fabela.
Empirakul may have been defeated, but it has left the Earth almost entirely exhausted of magic. Stephen Strange is doing the best he can, but it's with a variety of low-powered magical artefacts and gadgets rather than his now-vanished sorcery. It is unfortunate, then, that his demon-powered arch-nemesis Baron Mordo chooses this precise time to return to New York for a rematch. The script of this issue - the first in a new story arc - is rock-solid, with Jason Aaron drawing a lot of humour and clever ideas out of the premise. Chris Bachalo's artwork just feels rushed and half-hearted, with lazy panel layouts, scrappy pencils and a whopping five inkers required to get the issue over the line. I'm loving the story of this comic, but the poor quality art is really hurting it. (3/5)

Green Arrow #8
DC Comics. Written by Benjamin Percy. Art and colours by Otto Schmidt.
Oliver Queen was last seen trapped on a tropical island. Now he's been joined by Black Canary and Diggle, and there is a giant robot bear and some kind of criminal secret base, and to be honest I feel like I have missed an issue somewhere along the line. Otto Schmidt's artwork is great, and Benjamin Percy writes up some great romantic material between Oliver and Dinah, but as far as the overall narrative arc of the comic goes this is all a little abrupt, weird and confusing. On a page by page level it's great, but I feel the comic as a whole has started to wobble a little. (3/5)

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