April 8, 2018

The Pull List: 28 March 2018, Part 2

In the concluding part of "Mayor Fisk", New York City mayor Wilson Fisk prepares to sell the entire city to its criminal underground - unless Daredevil and an assembled group of local superheroes can intervene. Meanwhile, Blindspot finally confronts Muse, the deranged super-villain that cost him his eyesight.

And, of course, things do not go according to plan. This extra-length climax swings left just when the readers expect it to head right, leaving this celebratory 600th issue at a genuinely surprising cliffhanger ending and a wonderfully open sense that almost anything can happen to Daredevil and the Kingpin in the issues to come. It's a well-paced and dramatic finale. Ron Garney and Matt Milla's artwork and colours are bold and impactful. There is also a nice little back-up strip at the issue's end, by writer Christos Gage and artist Mike Perkins that acts as a small ode to long-running sidekick Foggy Nelson.

It's impressive when a comic book hits a milestone as massive as 600 issues, and for a character as strong and effective as Daredevil it is well-deserved. Now there's the wait to see what happens next - and to find out how many issues before Marvel reset the numbering all over again. (4/5)

Daredevil #600. Marvel. Written by Charles Soule. Art by Ron Garney. Colours by Matt Milla. Backup written by Christos Cage, art by Mike Perkins, colours by Andy Troy.

Under the cut: reviews of Batgirl, Doomsday Clock, Mera: Queen of Atlantis, and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra.

Batgirl #21
DC Comics. Written by Hope Larson. Art by Scott Goldlewski. Colours by John Rauch.
Jim Gordon is the worst detective in the world. I only make this assumption because this latest issue of Batgirl once again puts him in a room with Batgirl - his own daughter Barbara - and he still does not recognise her. He even notes how much one reminds him of the other. I know this is an old problem, and I know that it's common across a lot of superhero books, but in this specific case it never feels true to the characters. This aside, it's a nice done-in-one adventure for the Gordon family, with Scott Godlewski continuing to provide great and upbeat artwork. John Rauch's colouring perhaps a little too soft tonally, but works will with the inks. (4/5)

Doomsday Clock #4
DC Comics. Written by Geoff Johns. Art by Gary Franks. Colours by Brad Anderson.
The origin of the new Rorschach is told in flashback, while in the present he remains locked in Arkham. A lot of feels a little too close to similar material run by Moore and Gibbons in the original Watchmen. As a sequel to that book, Doomsday Clock understandably has pushed echoes of the original throughout the previous three issues; this fourth installment feels like a step too far. As a book purported to smash together the Watchmen and DC Universe, this issue had precious little DC in it - although a plot thread from all the way back in DC Rebirth looks ready to be picked up again. (3/5)

Mera: Queen of Atlantis #2
DC Comics. Written by Dan Abnett. Art by Lan Medina and Norm Rapmund. Colours by Veronica Gandini.
Orm, also known as the Ocean Master, presents himself to Mera with an intention to join the Atlantean Civil War. When he discovers that she has been crowned its ruler-in-exile, he instead comes to blows. Good without being great, Mera: Queen of Atlantis feels very much like a by-the-numbers DC Universe miniseries. It gives a great supporting character some much-deserved exposure, but the story and art feel too throwaway and inconsequential to be fully worth the effort. It's a fun read for Aquaman fans, but hardly essentially. (3/5)

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #18
Marvel. Written by Kieron Gillon and Simon Spurrier. Art by Emilio Laiso. Colours by Rachelle Rosenberg.
Aphra is on a mission, against her will, to steal back the memory files of her droid master Triple-Zero from a top secret Imperial base. To break in, she has kidnapped legendary rebel Hera Syndulla. Now the return of her arch-enemy and rapidly developing love interest Magna Tolvan has thrown her entire strategy into the air. Smart, humorous writing, solid art and colours, and a bunch of characters and aliens from the Star Wars toy chest make this yet another satisfying issue. I will wait ten years for my Doctor Aphra feature film if I have to. (4/5)

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