December 2, 2018

The Pull List: 29 August 2018

Still running terribly behind: here are the comics I read from 29 August, starting with Isola #5. Rook and Olwyn have reached the limit of their escape, with nowhere left to go. Hovering between life and death, Olwyn has a vision of her departed brother.

The art in Isola is astounding. It looks like a weird, glossy cross between a quality anime and a Walt Disney feature. Five issues in, and at the conclusion of the first 'chapter' (a trade paperback is out), and the quality hasn't faltered or slipped. This is one of the most attractively illustrated American comics of the year.

The story is evocative and driven by a strong action-oriented momentum. Background detail is being drip-fed to the reader one issue at a time. That cannot last forever, of course. Future arcs (issue 6 is due in January) are going to need to bed down some background context if Isola is going to continue being entertaining. This fifth issue does not quit nail the landing either, and could have done with a firmer footing: either a stronger conclusion or a stronger cliffhanger. Fletcher and Kerschl wind up somewhere in between.

These past five issues have been superb, but something needs tightening up soon if it's going to continue being such a high-quality work. Fingers crossed we get something in 2019. (4/5)

Isola #5. Image. Written by Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl. Art and colours by Karl Kerschl and Msassyk.

Under the cut: reviews of Batgirl, Daredevil, Ms Marvel, and Star Wars: Poe Dameron.

Batgirl #26
DC Comics. Written by Mairghread Scott. Art by Paul Pelletier and Norm Rapmund. Colours by Jordie Bellaire.
Have you ever noticed that for all the attempts to re-imagine and update Batgirl as an upbeat, positive-vibed superhero book, she always winds up mired in trauma and misery? Here she begins the story chasing after a serial killer supervillain named Grotesque, bemoaning how grim and awful he is - if only there was a publisher that could steer her back towards happier material? With the issue climaxing with Barbara entering some strange hallucination after the microchip in her spine is electrocuted, it all feels a little too similar to other Batgirl storylines from recent years. (3/5)

Daredevil Annual #1
Marvel. Written by Erica Schultz. Art by Marcio Takara. Colours by Marcelo Maiolo.
Flashback time, as Daredevil meets Misty Knight for the first time. This is all the way back when Ms Knight is an everyday New York City police detective with a form suspicion that vigilantes and superheroes are up to no good. Marcio Takara's artwork is strong and inventive, and well coloured by Marcelo Maiolo. It's a great done-in-one adventure; exactly the sort of thing that works best for an annual or one-off special. It's self-contained, easy to follow, and hugely entertaining. (4/5)

Ms Marvel #33
Marvel. Written by G. Willow Wilson. Art by Nico Leon. Colours by Ian Herring.
Kamala's powers continue to go haywire while she races to stop the Shocker from setting up a permanent hideout in New Jersey. While she struggles to maintain shape and size, Bruno races to school to find a cure in its science lab. This issue is high on comedy, and Wilson's script absolutely nails the tone and style. The laughs are well-matched by Leon and Herring's visuals, which are well-established by now and striking among other Marvel books. This is always such a great comic, but some issues are greater than others. (4/5)

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #2
Marvel. Written by Jody Houser. Art by Andrea Broccardo. Colours by Stefani Renee.
Coming in right on the cusp of the monthly title's cancellation, this extra-length Poe Dameron adventure is a solidly enjoyable little heist adventure set shortly before the events of the Force Awakens feature film. Houser's script is good - certainly better than much of the ongoing title - Broccardo's artwork doesn't quite capture the look of the screen actors, but copes well enough. One big bonus: you can read this annual without reading the ongoing series. (3/5)

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