Pull Box: November 14

NEWCOMICSDC The battle with Kobra has been a long-winded maze of a story, but it’s been fun. There certainly seems to be something strange going on, as all of these plans are so… basic. Attacking Gotham in various locations. Poisoning the water supply. All of them are strange and almost boring, as if it’s an elaborate diversion-after-diversion play. Perhaps Two-Face isn’t quite the knight that we all think he is in this story? HM Hawkman continues to be the universe-trotting adventure book on shelves, today. Now, Carter Hall has a crazy ship that can ride Zeta Beams, that he created for himself in the past. Another cool toy for him to rediscover his incredible past. I actually wish I could read this whole arc, right now, because it’s been that interesting to me. MM An insane ending that sets up another book in the series, as Mister Miracle still seems trapped, albeit willingly, in this Universe. A Universe of death and destruction. And a universe of love and family. He chooses to bear the burden of being Highfather for the love of his life, and his children. A future he had never seen until now. That I can believe, because the love of Scott Free and Big Barda has endeared for years, and it’s certainly not going anywhere anytime soon. PM And like that, this Plastic Man series is over. And as much as I love Plastic Man, I’m a little relieved. This whole series just seemed to fall apart at the end. The art was spotty, at best. The story made very little sense, with plots thrown in for whatever reason. It was honestly a bit of a half-hearted mess to me, but I can’t quit the stretchy goof, so I had to stick it out. At least we have The Terrifics to treat Plastic man right. SM Rogol Zaar has been such an unlikable, hate-filled villain that for once, I would have liked to see Superman do what must be done. He’s an unstoppable killing machine that has committed genocide throughout the Universe, and it’s unforgivable. Now, Zod comes into play, and he’s certainly willing to do what’s necessary to exact revenge on the world that he so dearly loved. FL Having The Flash on his own adventure with Iris really brings things back to a more light-hearted fun romp than it has been the last few months. Barry seems to have some more pep in his step, which is really important for The Flash. With that in mind, who could have massacred Gorilla City in such a way? Grodd is in control of the Still Force, so perhaps he used that somehow? I suppose we’ll find out, soon. THOR A small, fleeting tale of Thor’s thousands of years of history. This one was very personal, and rightfully yet another glimpse into the harrowing journey that made Thor worthy of one of the most powerful weapons in existence. I would love for more bits and pieces like this, particularly with this charming artist attached, as it was full of life and character. FF It’s so great to have the Fantastic Four back in the Marvel Comics Universe. The petty squabbles over merchandising, and just general uncaring in regards to the books that birthed these many characters has been frustrating for the last… decade, basically. They’re called “Marvel’s First Family” for a reason, and how Marvel would push them aside so easily was upsetting. But, it’s nice to see them back in the fold, once again. CGR This was a fun, crazy, insane arc for a character that was conceived in ridiculous fashion. But, through great writing and surprisingly solid story-telling, managed to stick it out and become his own thing. The Cosmic Ghost Rider. I’m sad to see this was such a short book, but for 5 issues, it was some of the most fun I’ve read in a comic, with crazy timelines and futures galore that were generally just great to read. GGPR Having Jason and Trini switch powers really made this book a little more fun, and light-hearted. It loosened up some of the real-life drama that it’s been touching on with its many relationships. That’s certainly appreciated. Though, I’m still very curious as to how their school papers were uploaded and such? Did they have signal on that planet to do that? How did that even happen? Why didn’t they answer that?!
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Pull Box: October 10

NEWCOMICS

DC
Something about Batman in this case seems looser than usual. There’s more arrogance in the way he talks. A more knowing rapour with his confidants, and a trust in himself that seems strange given what’s happening in the main Batman book. But, it’s nice and it certainly works here. The mysteries with Kobra, Karl Twist, and Two-Face, as well as what Jim Gordon has to do with them seem interesting with little in the way of answers so far. Just a trail that we’re following alongside Batman.
HM
Something about seeing Hawkman and The Atom together again gave me actual goosebumps. Two of the oldest friends in all of comic books, these two have seen the brightest and the darkest times, and it was great to have them work together again. Hawkman has been a fantastic read so far, and it just keeps getting more fun as the adventure gets more crazy.
PM
Plastic Man is not the smartest hero in the world, but this book has made him down right dumb. He’s a low IQ gangster who seems to have not been in the hero business for very long, yet in this universe, he’s just been stuck in an egg form for several years. Unless this is meant as a prequel to all of the other stuff. Which is entirely possible. The only issue is the number of sub-plots that don’t seem to be getting much attention. The Cabal. Pado. Granite Janet. A little too much happening at once.
SM
Rogol Zaar is a very imposing villain, and despite his minimal origin he’s already made enemies of some of the most powerful and intelligent people in the Universe. And he seems to just keep making that mistake over and over again. When he does finally get defeated, it’s going to be in the most decisive way, and that will be quite satisfying to see.
FL
These new forces latching onto the Rogue’s have made each of them so far infinitely more relatable and sentimental. It’s allowed us all into their minds, and shown that the Flash’s villains are more than just one-note bad guys. They’re real people that were pulled into a world of advanced technology, and broken pasts. I wonder which force will be next, with Mick Rory, aka Heatwave taking on the Sage Force?
GGPR
Now that Lord Drakkon is all handled, it’s nice to see Go Go Power Rangers getting back to basics, exploring its relationships and character development with a younger team of Power Rangers. This book has always seemed more emotional and raw in a way, and it’s a lot of fun to read. Now with power shenanigans happening, it can get even more weird and fun.

Pull Box: September 12

NEWCOMICS

FF
Franklin Richards is probably one of the coolest characters that Marvel has in their back pocket, but it’s most certainly he started to grow up, and become what we all really want him to. With that said, seeing where Reed, Sue, and the Future Foundation have been all the time was charming, and the sudden threat was built up wonderfully. Then the sudden twist with the arrival of everyone who has been a member of the Fantastic Four as their “extended family…” that was genius.
DC
Batman has quite the nose for trouble. He decides to latch on to a simple murder case to take his mind off things, and it turns out to be an elaborate plot for the return of Kobra in Gotham City. He either suspected something was amiss, or just has some sort of crazy luck. Either way, it’s interesting that this “ordinary man” that was murdered has an instense connection to Kobra, as if they were afraid of him, and what he knew. A good start to this new arc, that’s for sure.
HM
The adventures and memories in this Hawkman book have been so fantastic. The exchange Carter and Katar Hol was great, and the reveal of the next clue was fun. Each clue takes him further down a path, and now the path has lead him to the Microverse, with the Atom. This feels just like old times, with Ray Palmer and Carter Hall tackling a case together, exploring new worlds, and just being great friends. I’m actually excited for the next issue.
PM
That issue made far more sense than previous issues, and it even explained the story up to this point. There were some incredibly awkward transitions to be found, though, as well as some excellent reveals. The kidnapping was faked, but the Cabal is real, manipulating the Agent so that no one believes her about their existence. A pretty crafty story, and one that’s considerably better now that things are a bit less nonsensical.
FL
It is legitimately frustrating how horribly stubborn Barry Allen is. He goes up and down so often about what he wants for his life, that he just has no idea. If he wants to be with Iris, he needs to step up and stop being such a selfish child about everything that goes wrong. He’s a hero, with complications, and Iris understands that, particularly now that she has her pre-52 memories again. But, that ending was nuts! The original Trickster is back! After years of being dead, James Jesse is back! That should make things a little more interesting here.SM
The revelation that the Earth’s sudden appearance in the Phantom Zone was little more than an accident by S.T.A.R. Labs was somehow one of the best storytelling tools I’ve seen a comic book writer use in some time. It was subdued, and showed human error. It wasn’t a malicious villain set out to ruin Superman, or destroy the Earth. Just human error. But, now our heroes have quite the problem to address, and only Superman knows the extent of just how bad things are about to get, now that Rogol Zaar has aligned himself with the armies of the Phantom Zone.
WW
Political intrigue mixed with flashes and manipulation of a rarely used Wonder Woman villain? This is the kind of stories that I like to see happening. This is a fresh take, with Diana walking a tight rope of side-switching and shaky decisions. Artemis made the wrong choice, for the right reasons, but we’ll see where that gets her when she’s brought face to face with the Princess of Themyscira.

Pull Box: August 8

NEWCOMICS

DC
This issue seemed short, but it was awesome. Everything got a chance to shine in some way. Batman, as usual, was a step ahead of everyone. Orphan showed her worth. Black Lightning proved he was fit to lead the team. Barbara even got a chance to show off her Oracle side, though she seems to be drifting away from Bruce, rebelling the way Dick did many years ago. I wonder if anything of will come of that, though…
GL
That was an incredible ending! I love when Hal just becomes Pure Will, because it’s such a dramatic visual. And it set up so many new stories. Carol Ferris is finally back, returning Hal to his status quo. New ring-slingers are coming into the fold, which will give us plenty of new characters. On top of that, Hammond disappeared as the God-Brain, and things are just moving forward in a great way, now.
HM
I love seeing Carter Hall interact with the various reincarnations he’s experienced over the years. While his costume is the same now, as it almost always has been, so many of these names are familiar. Hawkman has a rich history that’s never fully been explored, until now, and making it the backdrop of a fun, adventury story, was the best decision DC made for this book.
PM
There is quite the mystery happening here, and Plastic Man almost doesn’t seem like the right man for the job for this. But, he’s so damn fun to read that it really doesn’t matter. There’s also plenty of good messages going on in this book, with the little girl who hasn’t decided she’s a girl, and the team of ladies helping Eel O’Brien solve the murder case. It’s been a solid book so far, and with it now halfway to finished, hopefully they can stick the landing and make this an overall great book.
FL
This book is so much lighter without Barry’s brooding over whether or not he should tell Iris. Mirroring the show, it’s just much more delightful with her knowing his secret. On top of that, I feel like there’s going to be a big reveal about Commander Cold is, his real name, I mean. Then with the new Forces at work, things should get pretty crazy the next few weeks, which The Flash really needed to freshen up.
SM
This gave us absolutely no answers, but it did give us a bit more character developmenton Rogol Zaar, and a moved the story forward, with the Justice League falling down one by one from the Phantom Zone. Most likely their weaker genetics not meant for the insane conditions in the Zone. It’s interesting, though, that Rogol Zaar wouldn’t take on Superman one-on-one again, though. Choosing to seek out an army to invade the world instead. But, with him not being the one to move the Earth… who did?
WW
This is the beginning of what looks like it will be an interesting arc for Wonder Woman. Characters she doesn’t usually interact with, and a new, otherworldly villain. It’s always fun to see Diana interact with the Gods, representing the connection that she has that most other DC heroes, don’t. It presents new opportunities and interesting ideas, and this is no different.
FF
It’s nice to see Marvel’s First Family finally coming back. It was only a matter of time that that emptiness became a hindrance for the House of Ideas, and now that Marvel has regained the film rights to the Fantastic Four, things can finally get back to the way they’re supposed to be around here. That was a great start, and the moment with Ben and Alicia made me smile and get goosebumps. It’s about damn time.

Pull Box: July 11

NEWCOMICS

HM
Hawkman is only 2 issues in, and it’s a fantastic throwback to the old Hawkman books, with nods to many of his past lives and incarnations, as well as new additions that make perfect sense in hindsight. His new visions, and memories of the past, interspersed with the revelations from Dark Knights: Metal and his role in all of that, is making for quite the interesting story.
GL
This issue was more fun that it had any right to be. Hammond playing mind tricks on the Lanterns, Orion, and Zod, just so everyone would be happier was so damn adorable I couldn’t even stand it. Plus, the multi-layered plan of distraction after distraction is something so very John Stewart. Only he could concoct a plan like this that relies on so many moving parts and potential variables.
PM
This was as goofball as it gets for Plastic Man, bordering on Mister Miracle levels of weird. But it was still charming as hell to see Eel O’Brien impersonating essentially every major pop culture character he’s missed in the last decade. The story here isn’t taking shape too quickly, but there are plenty of mysteries. Such as the inclusion of Man-Bat? That’s a strange pick to fight Plastic Man. We’ll certainly learn more in later issues, though.
SM
A solid first issue for Brian Michael Bendis on his own full-run Superman book. Superman’s biggest battle currently is with himself, and his loneliness. Desperately trying to hold close to the memories of his family, knowing that currently he could never find them. A few big takeaways: Martian Manhunter seemed strange in their conversation. He seemed genuine and his point was valid, but there was something off about it. Additionally, how did Rogol Zaar get the Earth into the Phantom Zone?! The entire planet?! That’s a big question for the next issue.
FL
That was a hell of an issue that resolved the Flash War in a satisfying way, and set up so many new plot threads and crazy surprises. The new threat from the 31st Century seems intense, and with time travel not possible anymore, who knows how things could shake out from here. The biggest, and best surprise? The return of Bart Allen, aka Impulse! He even has his Impulse costume! That’s so great, and makes me so happy!
WW
After all of that, Jason was the key to defeating the Dark Gods, after all. I wasn’t expecting him to be feigning control by them, but he seemed more clever than any of us thought. Then, he sacrificed himself to save the world, and fix Diana’s mistake. The only downfall of this issue is the lack of future plots it set up, as the end of the Dark Gods could have certainly set up some future stories, yet they opted to not go that route.

Pull Box: June 13

NEWCOMICS

THOR
This was a great way to get back to basics with The God of Thunder. Now that Jane Foster is no longer Thor, the Odinson must prove himself worthy once again, and he must do this all the while trying to rebuild a destroyed Asgardia. The moment where Juggernaut revealed himself as a the avatar of a God to fight the God of Thunder was fantastic. Cain Marko seems to have really supplanted himself in the face of pop culture lately, and it’s pretty great.
21
The Council of Reeds has returned with a more personal task to complete: No More Dooms. Victor is given yet another task to redeem himself in the face of his rival, and once more he fails the test. I want to hope that this quest with Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm would help show him the his virtue even more, but it looks like it may end up with the opposite effect. The big thing here? His memory revealed that Reed and Sue are still alive, with their children, traversing the cosmos.
BG
This one had less repercussions than the other Prelude to the Wedding books, but it was still a fun read. Batgirl has proven herself time and time again in the face of adversity, being easily the best of the Bat-Family. But, the big takeaway is the reveal that Harley Quinn is looking for the Joker during his pre-wedding rampage. Probably in an effort to stop him from ruining her friend, Catwoman’s big day. But, who knows?
GL
There were some great revelations and unity happening in this book. Just like Wonder Woman wearing Element X in Dark Knights: Metal created the New Gods, Hal Jordan wearing it created the Darkstars. Both wishes made on a darkened universe that were twisted and warped. It’s a fantastic way of pulling things together and unifying the universe, Post-Metal. Also, the personal story of Guy and his Father, being saved by Arkillo in a show of friendship was great. Those two have real chemistry, and it elevates the book even more when they’re together.
MM
As this series has gone on, it’s gotten less confusing, and more charming. Showing more of the mundane work that goes into Wars between planets full of Gods. Like peace summits, and small moments. It was amazing to see Kalibak pull out a pair of glasses because he needs to see the terms. It was a bit predictable in the end, with Jacob Free, the son of Big Barda and Mister Miracle, being the biggest bargaining chip, though not one that they put on the table.
HM
Hawkman has always been one of the richer characters as far as lore is concerned. His past allows him to work in more mythical things, like the introduction of Gorilla City into the history of the Earth, trade-routes and such. Not to mention the reveal of a Kryptonian Hawkman, as well as a Hawkman from the planet Rann, and the confirmation that the Thanagarian Hawkman was one and the same. All through reincarnation. With the history of DC Comics at its feet, this should be a fun read.
PM
Yes! Oh man, it’s so nice to have Eel O’Brian back in his own solo story. Plastic Man is one of the best heroes in all of comic books, and I missed his plucky humor so much. He’s so nonsensical. It was smart to re-tell his origin story for newer fans as he’s a bit older of a character who hasn’t been explored much in the last 20 years. But, now he’s back! And I could not be happier about it. On top of that, Gail Simone was a perfect choice to write the character.
FL
And the race is on! I can’t help but side with Wally West on this one. Barry Allen has lost things, but he always still remembers those pains, and exactly how they were taken from him. Wally’s children, his entire past, was taken from him and he never even knew it. That was Barry’s fault. It’s tragic that this is happening, but things are building to quite the head in the world of The Flash.
MOS
This was some seriously heartbreaking writing. Kandor has been a mainstay in Superman lore for years, and its destruction – the murder of millions of Kryptonians trapped in a bottle for centuries is simply tragic. And it showed. The loss that Superman and Supergirl felt was real, and their anger and panic showed on the page. That was the masterful writing we’ve been looking out for with Bendis and he finally broke it out here.
ww
First off, Jason seemed to fit in pretty well with the rest of the Justice League. I could very well see him filling in for Diana on a Justice League International team, or something along those lines. Next, King Best is one of the most throwback villains I have seen in quite some time. He’s massive, styled like the 60’s villains of old, and honestly already quite the delight of a villain. This is a great new rogue for Wonder Woman if he manages to stick around.

New Comic Books: July 12

NEWCOMICS

AC

This was just another example of the wonderful throwback that Action Comics has become. A great issue, with fun and interesting match-ups in a battle of heroes vs. villains. Zod was cold and brutal, probably the most interesting he’s been in years against Superman. Putting all the heroes, and even a few villains into the Phantom Zone should make for some interesting story-telling soon. Especially with one of those villains being Cyborg Superman, the actual mastermind behind this plan.

FLASH

We finally got back to form on the Flash, this week. Opening with a vision of the future, and Barry proving how little he’s been there for the people he loves, despite loving them more than his duty as the Flash was genius. Then, just like the Phantom Zone, Flash gets put in the Negative Speed Force! Which was also great, and spurred on Barry taking on some insane transformation into a Black Flash-esque speedster. I’m legitimately looking forward to the next issue, now.

DD

These prelude books have been some of the most confusing things I have read from DC in quite some time. They make sense in certain ways, with some mysteries that I’ve had coming to the forefront quite well, but it’s still such a conundrum. The build-up to that money shot at the end was so worth it. I can’t wait to see all the evil Batmen of the Dark Multiverse step through the void and tear some shit up. This event may not make much sense, but it has some serious potential to be a lot of fun.

WW

Wonder Woman has been another shining example of how great Rebirth is. This issue started off so personal, giving us a glimpse into Diana’s past and her thoughts, and how she handles the world of War and Destruction that she’s a part of. Then, we’re thrust into what seems like an innocuous event with friends, that quickly turns dangerous with a bomb under the table! That is grade A cliffhanger material for a comic.

GL

Well, that was intense. What a week for DC Comics. Not only did they have the only good books this week to read, but they were all spot-on. The alliance between the Green and Sinestro Corps has crumbled before our eyes in spectacular fashion, with Soranik scarring Kyle for the lie about Sarko, and now the murder of Romat-Ru being made public. This was an intensely emotional book for the Green Lanterns, and I’m so pumped, because it seems like it’s been a while since the Green Lantern books have been on a truly great path.

New DC Entertainment Intro Officially Released

Anyone who saw Wonder Woman (you have seen it, right?) was also greeted with the official new intro for the DC Entertainment Universe, with a very nostalgic Justice League Unlimited feel, it signaled a shift in the way of thinking for DC films.

After a bevy of fan requests for the studio to release the intro officially, we finally have a good HD look at the beautiful piece of footage. Check it out above, and maybe you’ll be seeing it on Ph LEVEL a bit more in the near future, with something I’m currently working on.

New Comics: June 14

NEWCOMICS

What a week for comics, this week. Both Marvel and DC brought their A-games with DC being the obvious winner. Not only did they have 4 core title releases, we also got the first issue of the new Batman-focused line-wide DC event. Such an exciting week, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here.

DD

Recommendation for the week is absolutely 100% Dark Days: The Forge #1. The first issue, acting as a prequel to the upcoming METAL event, this was an exciting book, with a lot of mystery, and some fantastic moments. John Romita Jr’s art is some of the best in the industry, and he was on top of it here. I’m so pumped to see where this has been leading, because this event has been all sorts of mysterious, with all threads leading here.

SE

Marvel’s big event, Secret Empire, also had a release this week, with our heroes coming face-to-face with each other. Not by choice, but when they’re both overpowered easily by Ultron Pym inside Ultron City, his dominant personality tries to coerce them into stopping the war. The moment where Pym gives Scott Lang the cosmic cube fragment, simply because he’s the only one who sees him as a person was particularly great. The mysterious Steve Rogers in the blue mist just seems to get more mysterious as he was now joined by Bucky Barnes, and Sam Wilson. An interesting twist, that should be fun to see play out. I hope.

hj

Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns also saw a mystery start to unfold, though we know the answers to this one. Apparently it’s knowledge that Tomar-Tu murdered his fellow Yellow Lantern several issues ago, and now the Greens are paying the price for it. After the last arc was so severely short, I’m excited to this one play out in a bit more interesting fashion, though I expect the Kyle Rayner/Soranik narrative to play out in tragic fashion.

FLASH

The Flash continues to be such a personal, fast-moving tale, with the artwork and the thoughts inside Barry’s head doing so well to truly dig into our heads just how it feels to be a Flash. I had forgotten that Thawne remembers everything from before Flashpoint, so his interactions with Iris should be insane in the next issue. I wonder how she’ll take that knowledge? Especially with Barry bound to reveal his identity soon.

WW

The conclusion to Godwatch is a somber tale, with Diana fruitlessly attempting to bring Barbara Ann back from the brink. It’s satisfying to see Doctor Cale’s world implode around her. I feel sorry for her, after all she did to try to bring her daughter back, only for it to fail. But she should take comfort knowing that her daughter is not only safe, but in paradise. And she did that. But instead she’s selfish, and only cares about her daughter for her own reasons. A somber conclusion to a deep story. Now we begin with a new writer and artist.

ac

Basically every Superman book right now is a beautiful throwback to the 90’s with every villain just being a knock-off of Superman in some way or another. That’s not a bad thing. It’s been great fun reading these, and seeing all these characters again, with Superman being an easy standout among the Rebirth crowd.