August 31, 2018

The Pull List: 25 July 2018, Part 2

After 32 issues, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen's epic science fiction epic reaches its final issue; well, it sort of reaches it. Events pick up where issue #31 left off - a super-advanced civilization of artificially intelligent robots has returned to the galaxy to judge humanity's crimes against robot-kind and deliver a final genocidal punishment.

Expect a neatly tied-up conclusion for your 32 issues' of patience and you may be sorely disappointed. Things even in a cataclysmic but also wide-open fashion. There's no sense of resolution, but rather destruction on a mass scale and a hook to follow-up series Ascender in early 2019. It feels a bit like a switcheroo, since this isn't an end of a story all but rather the end of a chapter. Next year things pick up a decade later and with a new fantasy bent to things instead of the science fiction setting that has been used so far. It feels oddly unsatisfactory, and a little like the readers have been cheated.

I will probably check out Ascender when it arrives, but as a reader I'm not entirely happy with how this first series has panned out. (3/5)

Descender #32. Image. Written by Jeff Lemire. Art and colours by Dustin Nguyen.

Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Detective Comics and Green Arrow.

Aquaman #38
DC Comics. Written by Dan Abnett. Art by Riccardo Federici. Colours by Sunny Gho.
At last it is time for the final showdown between Arthur Curry, aka the Aquaman, and Atlantis' corrupted and insane King Corum Rath. It's a high-stakes, high-tension finale. That is a hard thing to deliver after so many issues of build-up, but thankfully Adnett, Federici and Gho manage to achieve it. It's visually marvellous stuff, and feels high-budget in aesthetic and detail. It also achieves a great success in kicking things on to the next epic storyline. With anything luck it will be just as good. This has been an outstanding story arc that Aquaman fans will remember for years to come. (5/5)

Detective Comics #985
DC Comics. Written by Bryan Hill. Art by Philippe Briones. Colours by Adriano Lucas.
This is a great storyline from Bryan Hill, in which a mysterious new super-villain is targeting Batman's sidekicks in a perverse attempt to make the Caped Crusader more effective. Bring in Black Lightning to safeguard and retrain the Signal, Batgirl and Orphan while Batman tracks the villain down. The dialogue and character work is strong, and Briones and Lucas produce excellent artwork. It's all a lead-up to a new Outsiders series, and so far it's making a strong pitch for my money. (4/5)

Green Arrow #42
DC Comics. Written by Mairghread Scott. Art by Matthew Clark and Sean Parsons. Colours by Jason Wright.
In the sewers underneath a prison, Green Arrow tracks down the Parasite - or is the Parasite hunting him? This is a solid and enjoyable issue of Green Arrow - good artwork, and a neat little wrinkle on the usual superhero adventure - but at the same time it doesn't go too far beyond good, and certainly doesn't extend to being something great. The classic GA tone is there, however, so long-term fans of the character will find a lot to enjoy here: a bit of social justice tied up with the capes and costumes. (3/5)

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