A Slice of Fried Gold

The Pull List

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

For those looking for a Capitalist Pig Tuesday post, sorry! This week had a couple of interesting releases (namely Coldplay's very good Viva la Vida and Wolf Parade's At Mount Zoomer) but I honestly was a bit too busy to write it. But you didn't miss much because I'm guessing I would have been one of the infinity billion people blogging about one of those two albums (specifically Mount Zoomer, Coldplay is too mainstream to generate a lot of blog power and Wolf Parade is just edgy enough).

So I'm joining you again with the second edition of my weekly comic recommendation post: the Pull List! I have three single issue recommendations this week, along with an extra special trade paperback recommendation. Enjoy!

Book of the week: Wolverine #66 - Written by Mark Millar, pencils by Steve McNiven

Millar. McNiven.

I should be able to write those two names and that would pretty much sell the issue, but that would actually be underselling the issue. After Jason Aaron and Ron Garney's exceptional arc on the title (Get Mystique!), I figured it was unlikely for anything to overshadow it any time soon, regardless of the follow up creative team.

But I was wrong, as Millar's distinctive style currently on display in Kick-Ass and Marvel 1985 was replaced with an extremely interesting take on the future of the Marvel universe and some very not-Millar like scripting. Not in a bad way, but in a "damn, he really kicked it up a notch on this one didn't he?" sort of way. His handle on Logan and vision of his future is truly original and gripping.

Not to be outdone, Millar's Civil War partner-in-crime McNiven predictably delivers ho hum, "I'm one of the two best superhero artists around these days" pencils, proving that he doesn't need an action scene to make you crave what he provides. This book would be easily understood without any words at all, and that is a huge compliment to the phenomenally talented McNiven.

Part 1 of "Old Man Logan" is an out-and-out success, and we could be looking at one of the beginning of one of the best Wolverine arcs ever. 'nuff said.

Favorite title release of the week: Ex Machina #37 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, pencils by Tony Harris

Brian K. Vaughan is my favorite writer ever, and that is a hell of a thing because Garth Ennis is pretty much a god to me. Anything he writes is a must buy for me, and Ex Machina (his one remaining ongoing title) is quite simply one of the best books on the market these days. I could go on and on about BKV, but it has all been said. He has one of the freshest and most original voices in comics, and that stands out all the better on his creator owned work such as Ex.

Tony Harris of course brings back his photo referenced style of art that is constantly pleasing and always interesting, and the two work extremely well together...as they should after working on the series together for the entirety of the run.

This arc is however a bit of a slow one so far, as we're getting a very spread out story featuring all of the main characters getting not a lot of face time and a fairly decent amount of story time dedicated to the anti-hero character who is working as the protagonist for this arc. Really, this series is at its best when Mitchell Hundred is the focus and is in nearly every scene. I trust BKV, but I'm a bit hesitant to rave about this particular issue. A solid release that is assuredly one of the best releases this week, but a bit of a step down from previous issues.

"You shouldn't miss it, but probably did" book of the week: RASL #2 - Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith's Bone series has been one of the most popular stories in the comic medium over the past few years, as its single volume collected edition has turned it from a cult sensation in the 1990's (along with the best thing ever to be published in Disney Adventures magazine) to a cornerstone in young adults reading lists.

RASL is Smith's creator owned follow up that series (he also made Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil, but that was obviously based off existing characters) and I really didn't know what to think of it going into this issue. Issue #1 was interesting, but it was fairly confusing and chose to accept that readers knew a lot that we clearly did not, given that it was the first issue. Also, it was sigifnicantly darker than previous Smith works, which isn't a crime but felt rather jarring.

However, my mindset settled in for this issue and so did Smith, as the second issue is light years better than the first. We get development, a better grip on what is happening, and a far more interesting rendition of the main character RASL. Smith's pencils are the stuff of legends and clearly his style once again, but that leads to my main complaint about the issue: RASL and his lady friend are supposed to be super sexy but both sort of look like children/teens. Of course, that is an ongoing issue for Smith (I blame the height scale of his characters), but it's true and a bit of a distraction when we are attempting to believe that these two are old enough for what is going on within the pages.

Small complaint and not something that is going to change, but it definitely is one thing that bothered me in the issue. A big step up though, and I am getting even more interested to see where this series is headed.

Trade paperback recommendation of the week: Y the Last Man book 10: Whys and Wherefores - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, pencils by Pia Guerra

Here. Here. Here. Here.

Those are just four of the times I've written about Y the Last Man on my blog. Given a while to reflect, I'd say it's my co-favorite series of all time with Garth Ennis' and Steve Dillon's Preacher, and this is the last chapter of the story. For those that have been reading in trade form, get on that. For those that haven't been reading it at all, shame on you. Get out there and get that whole series, and that goes for everyone. This is about as good as it gets in the comic book medium.


Troy Olson said...

Wow, I forgot about the final Y TPB coming out, it's been so long since the last one. Off to Amazon to get that so I can finish up the series...

Side note -- I found that this series read much better in trade than it did month-to-month. I read singles up through the "Safeword" storyline and felt like the story started dragging a bit. Reading in trades tended to fix that.

As much as I like Vaughan's writing, I have to admit I dropped Ex Machina around issue 20. Perhaps it was because I felt it too similar in style to Y and didn't feel the need to be getting both...I might have to relook at the series one day, though.

RASL sounds interesting, but I heard so many mediocre things about the first issue that I passed on it. I think I'll check it out now. I do love Smith's artwork.

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