My Pull Pt. 5 Vertigo, Image, Red 5, IDW

Finally pulling to a close, here's the collection of Indie titles I buy every month. Lot of good stuff here, and it's good to stretch out of the tights for a second...

Invincible

... right into another. Okay, it's a superhero book, but it's better than that. It's THE superhero book. Kirkman attempted to mesh together everything people love about hero comics and crammed it into one very awesome package. It's got angst, it's got humor, it breaks the fourth wall, it has love triangles and betrayals and gore, yet despite all this is feels fresh and creative in the joyful, colorful world it has created for itself. Robert Kirkman knows better than anyone how to take a played out genre and give people everything they want without sacrificing the story, and this is probably one of the best examples of his work.

Fables

Sure, the concept is sort of played out, the whole take famous characters from classic works and integrate them into a collective universe (see Shrek and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for this) but Bill Willingham's take is pretty damn enjoyable. Focusing mainly on Snow White, her Husband Bigby, the Big Bad Wolf, and their cubs, the take on their world and their struggles living in the "mundane" world with a host of other classic fairy tale characters has been entertaining to say the least, and I've loved this series since I stumbled upon it a few months back.

IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Basically a reboot of the classic heroes, original writer Kevin Eastman basically modernizes the characters, making a story that perfectly adapts the turtles for today's tastes and sensibilities. It's a cool story so far, and I'm finding myself as attached to these characters as I was to them in my youth.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode

This series is just pretty freaking cool. No other way to describe it. Much like how Kirkman focused on making a comic that just loved to be a comic, writer Justin Jordan basically accomplishes the same thing, but cranks the gore up to 11. It's a shame it's only a limited series, but there's still hope that he might expand on it, either as an on-going or as a "series of mini-series" like Locke and Key. Time will tell.

Elephantmen

This series is actually kind of heartbreaking. It follows a pretty simple tale of a future where a breed of genetically engineered super soldiers are freed and given basic rights and dignity, and recounts their struggles as they try and fit in to a society that doesn't accept them. It's definitely a very sad, morose tale, but at the same time there's plenty of joy and entertainment to be found, making it a fantastic read.

Atomic Robo

Written by Brian Clevinger , who's probably best known for is hilarious webcomic "8-bit theater", Atomic Robo is just a really fun comic, and doesn't try, or even need, to be anything more than that. Clevinger usually focuses on the fast paced dialogue, similar to such series as Archer, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Frisky Dingo, and mixes it up with Nazi punching. And if there's one thing Captain America has taught us, Nazi's need to be punched frequently to truly enjoy life.

And that concludes my pull. Every month I pick one of these up, so this is whats gonna bankrupt me eventually. Totally worth it though.

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My Pull Pt 4 Marvel Honorable Mentions

And Here is the Marvels runners up that are just a step away from being added to my pull. Some might be added in a fairly short amount of time, but it'll have to wait for reasons I'll go into when I get to them. So let us begin.

X-Factor

This book is one that I really wanna hop into, but I'm trying to find a good jumping on point. Recent issues, from my understanding, have quite a bit of continuity to get through to fully understand the story, so I'm still waiting. If anyone hears anything, it would be much appreciated

The Amazing Spider-Man

I'm always a bit iffy when it comes to this. On one hand, the sheer volume of issues makes wanting to get in a bit intimidating, plus One More Day really stained my opinion of it. at the same time, I'm hearing great things, and the Daredevil crossover was fun, to say the least. So i'm undecided, but maybe one day

Avengers Academy

Since it's a fairly recent title, I'm following it in the trade, but I can't find a few volumes I need. once I get caught up, I'll follow it month to month

Hulk

Jeph Loeb left a sour taste in my mouth, but apparently new stories are pretty cool thanks to the new writer. So if I find a good jump-on, maybe.

The Incredible Hulk

I got the first 3 issues, bit rough but enjoyable. Then issue 4 sucked, 5 was better but not by much. So it's not bad, but I can't justify buying it every month.

Deadpool

Funny character, terrible/poorly executed stories. Rather follow him in X-Force. Next.

Wait, that's about it. Okay then. Guess I move onto the Indie/imprints next. See you then.

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My Pull Pt 3: Marvel Comics

Well, After a few new additions and Changes on the Marvel side of things, I think I'm about ready to make a definitive list of the stories I follow. and so, I have now finally made my list of Marvel titles that I plunk 3.99$ down on every week. Here we go

1. Wolverine and the X-Men

Let's face it, with the huge amounts of X-books out there, it's hard to find one that stands out. Uncanny X-force and X-factor are great, but when it comes to the main titles and story lines it can seem a bit intimidating, especially when you have at least 4 titles out each month with the name X-men attached. When Schism happened (which I did not read) I didn't know what to expect when the new titles were released, but on a whim I picked up Wolverine and the X-men, and goddamn did I love this book. It was fun, it was deep, it introduced a bunch of new (ish), youthful characters that didn't piss me off like Jubilee, it had great character work and a unique cast, it just floored me. And above all, it gave me one thing that I never expected from any book: Character development for Wolverine. Seriously, making him the altruistic one who has moved past his savage self, yet still embraces it when necessary, to become a teacher and protector was a brilliant move on Marvels part, and this book shines for it. It's connectivity with other X titles, specifically Uncanny X-force, really helps tie the universe together, and the promise and creativity this book has makes me beg for more every month. It proved itself to be far better than it's opposite, Uncanny X-men, which is really just more of the same, minus Wolverine, filling a place that was really missing in the MU. Great stuff.

2. Daredevil

MY FAVORITE TITLE CURRENTLY OUT, IT IS JUST AN ORGASMIC MIX OF EVERYTHING AWESOME. Daredevil has always been a personal favorite hero, in the abstract, but besides a few good Frank Miller stories (Man Without Fear being my favorite Graphic Novel of all time IMHO), I never really found a good daredevil run until now. Mark Waid just really has a strong idea on where this series should go, and puts a lot of effort into building up Daredevil as a character to those who may be unfamiliar with him. The art is fantastic, the stories are cool and really build off each other, and the relationships between Matt Murdok and the rest of the MU all seem to fit together really nicely. It's definitely lighter than some DD fans may have come to expect, with the past 30 years of dreary emo soaked into the pages of his books culminating with Shadowland (fuck), but Waid seams to have plans for the long run of this title, and if he ever leaves, his successor has big shoes to fill.

3. Scarlet Spider

This is a pretty new title, so there's not much to say, but so far it's a damn good book. Art is great, set-up was done well, and the possibilities of this kind of anti-hero in a city that ISN'T New York really give this book the potential for greatness. I'd pick up the first too issues and give it a try, if you already haven't.

4. Uncanny X-Force

Honestly, I hesitated to include this as my interest in it has waned since the most recent artist changed (I'm waiting for the trade instead of the monthlies) but everything, and I mean EVERYTHING about the first 18 issues was beautifully crafted. Rick Remender is a phenomenal writer, and really know not only how to write a powerful, emotional and exciting story that doesn't sacrifice action, humor or character development, but he also can properly create set-up, hints and foreshadows about later events while still making every new twist a genuine surprise. I think that's probably why everything past issue 19 kinda fell flat for me, since it seems to me he had a clear vision of this story up to the end of the Dark Angel saga, but he made such a great read they made him extend Still a great series, and maybe after they do another art change I'll resume following it month to month again.

5. The Punisher

If there's any character that's been the victim of terrible characterization, terrible adaptations and just poor storytelling, It's Frank Castle. A lot of people have their own ideas on how to write him, from a hero with no qualms about killing, to a wise cracking, gun-totting anti-hero, to a Frankenstein creature (seriously, wtf was that about), but each time the writer seems to forget that he was a fucking disciplined military man who watched his family get gunned down in front of him by mobsters, which drove him insane and made him start killing everything. and until last year, we never got the story we deserved, but then Greg Rucka came along and fixed all of it. His series is dark, cinematic, and ominous. The strength of each issue comes from how often Castle ISN'T seen, and how brutal, efficient, and smart he is with his plans. I think in 8 issues his said maybe 3 sentences total, and he seems more like a force of nature than a man. The supporting cast is the main focus, adding a bit of a crime drama feel, including a new punisher-esque character that seems to be serving as a parallel to him, but that remains to be seen. Little touches, like how he no longer wears that stupid looking suit like his other incarnations, opting for a simple kevlar with a skull target to draw fire, plus a sweet beard, really make me cream out of enjoyment with each read. It's a great series, so If you like the punisher, or even if you don't, you'll probably at least enjoy this.

6. Moon Knight

This is a really fun book. The nature of Moon Knights psyche is fascinating, the interactions between his multiple personalities are fun, and the general plot and execution is very well done. You can tell that Brian Michael Bendis really loves this character (considering how often he keeps putting him in various series) and this run has really sold me on a hero who quite simply is a C-lister that can still carry a solid story. I'm disappointed it's ending at issue 12, but c'est la vie.

And that's about it for Marvel. I'll put up my list of honorable mentions up next, there's quite a few to put up. later.

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My Pull Pt. 2 DC Honorable Mentions

Obviously, There's more than just 11 good DC titles out there that I'm just not following, and looking over my first blog I feel like I should give a tip of my cap to some GREAT DC titles that I'm just not following, as well as a bit of an explanation why I'm not picking them up despite how much I clearly enjoy them. So here's my list of Honorable mentions from DC's new 52

The Flash

This series was originally going to be on my pull when the reboot first occurred. Unfortunately my comic shop sold out because of the pre-orders (I seriously was the first person in the store when the doors unlocked, that's how extreme it was) so I skipped it. I was further discouraged because of the stuff I read about the series, namely, that Wally West (and, by proxy, his entire family) are MIA, He's not longer married to Iris and he seems to be far more inexperienced than previous incarnations. This immediately turned me off. Basically we we're presented with a Flash whose mythos was almost completely changed after decades of continuity, unlike most hero's who only had some tweaking and clean-up done to their characters, but unlike others who got a shiny new background, he wasn't starting from square one: He's still a key character in the DCU who has many stories still in cannon. He's just missing huge chunks of it. The month passed and eventually the flash number 2 came out, which i still skipped. Fortunately for me, a friend of mine gave it a chance and let me check out his issues. and that's when I noticed how ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKINGLY GORGEOUS Francis Manapuls art is. It's perfect on almost every level, and considering how lame someone like the flash's art can be because of the nature of his powers, his style works so well and makes it so full of life that i just can't find any flaws in it. Iris is still in the picture, and whether that means Wally will be brought in later on is still left unresolved, the writing is still done quite well. There's no real reason why I haven't caught up on the series, but because again of my imminent poverty, I'll save up and wait for it to hit the trade. but if i ever do drop anything on my list, this will be the first thing to replace it.

Batwoman

Batwoman actually was on my pull when it first came out, though almost regretfully I removed it to lighten my load (It just didn't measure up to the rest of my list). Like the Flash, the art is GORGEOUS, the story is incredible and the script really conveys a certain emotion and melancholy to it that is just fantastic. Again, something I'll grab in trade when I can, It's well worth it.

Batwing

2nd verse, same as the first. Just like Batwoman, I did pick this up, and like Batwoman I only dropped it to make room though, in fairness, It was probably the weakest title I had to drop. The art and setting, however, is very well done, and our Batman of Africa doesn't feel like a gimmick. Instead he feels like his own character in his own little world, and it leaves us open to possibilities that other Batman stories simply can't go. a very worthy purchase, to those who can afford to keep it >.<

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

Okay, this series is just pure awesome condensed. The only reason I'm not following this is because I just wrote it off early on as a gimmick like I believed I, Vampire would be (I'll get to that in a second), but after Jeff Lemire won me over with Animal Man I gave this a shot and looked through a few issues, lo and behold, it was secretly awesome. Franky serves as a typical "rush in a slaughter them all" sort of cranky, weary hero, is a very likable character, as well as a total badass. his supporting cast is excellent (including Ray Palmer, A Japanese school-girl as old as time itself, and a whole slew of monstrous team-mates), the stories are gory and well thought out and the art, while not by any means polished, has it's own charm that fits the mood the series is going for. Again, something I'll sell a kidney for to buy in trade.

I, Vampire

I'm definitely not the only one who immediately cried out in terror when we heard this obvious Twilight cash-grab was announced, and while I'm still convinced that's all it was meant to be, it honestly surprised me when I saw how much deeper and well-thought out it turned out to be. It's dark, bloody and horrific, while still almost romantic in the inter-play between our two main characters. At the same time it's not all sadness, as there is some very dark humor found throughout it that adds a unique flavor to our villain. It's definitely worth picking up, though whether or not I will is another matter, since while it is fantastic, it's just not my thing.

Green Lantern: New Guardians

Simply put, I enjoyed it when I finally read it, but Geoff John's Green Lantern title is far superior, though this is a strong second. It's moving at too slow a pace for me, so I'm not going to follow it. Still has a ton of promise, and besides Killowog I'd say Kyle Rayner is a close second to being my favorite Lantern, unless you count Sinestro.

Action Comics

I've read em, they're actually pretty damn good, I just have no interest in Superman ongoings. Grant Morrison almost won me over... but not quite. Still a cool story, though.

Batman and Robin

I just don't have any real motivation to read it. It's very good, but it just doesn't hold me like Snyder's Batman. The same could be said of Detective comics, but that one wins me over with it's much darker tone, which I am a sucker for, on occasion.

Justice League Dark

Far too slow a pace, which shouldn't bother me but after reading a few issues I have yet to get a strong feel on any of the characters other than Deadman. which is a shame because the concept is just so interesting to me, and makes me wish It would just hurry up and do what it needs to do so we can get explore the possibility a series like this presents. Maybe when the team comes together proper I'll start following, until then, I'm not gonna wait around.

and that's my pick of honorable mentions, those that just came THIS CLOSE to being a part of my list. Maybe if people want to invest in me 40$ a month to pick em up I might, but until then this is what I got to work with. NEXT time I'll put up the marvel, less I get sidetracked again. Ah well.

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My Pull (and motives behind it) Pt. 1: DC

For the first time since I started following comics, I decided, for the sake of organization and for the love of my ever shrinking bank account, to actually stop, look and the comics on my pull list, and just go over what brings me in to them every month over other titles and, in the spirit of using the blog function on ANY site in what it's truly meant to be for (which is to tell total strangers you're opinions in what is nothing more than blatant ego-stroking, and don't pretend otherwise, you know it's true, there's nothing wrong with it), I will share why i feel these titles deserve my 2.99$-3.99$ every month, no matter what my bills say. Seeing how the new 52 is just the focal of EVERYTHING nowadays, comic-wise, I'll start with the DC titles that I can't help plunk my hard earned money on every week (In no particular order).

1. Captain Atom

I'll start off with one that probably hasn't been given much attention, and for reasons I kinda understand. There's nothing really earth-shatteringly amazing about this take on a 2nd-tier character, but it's still a solid series. What keep me coming back I feel is because unlike most titles in the new DCU is that it actually has a theme, a message, a PURPOSE in it's narrative, if you will, something that other titles that are also solid just don't have, other than the standard "We're good guys, we stop bad guys" motivation that most superhero books fall back on. Each issue opens with Captain Atom waxing philosophically over his situation, mulling over a different aspect of his position in life ever since he became, for a lack of a better term, a god (or the closest a human could become to one). Rather than focus on that by endlessly going over these thoughts pretentiously the entire time, the issue pulls back to let the story play out normally, and often said story will reflect what theme he's been exploring this month, then towards the end he sums up his opinions on this topic, using the events as a means of rationalizing it. You could say that as a result each issue is a self contained story tied in with the bigger narrative, because of this. Besides the story, I also am a huge fan of the art, namely, Captain Atom's design, or, more specifically, how he looks in contrast to the rest of the cast. His inking really makes him stand out, shows you visually how different he is from normal people, and really sells the book. Sure there's been flaws and mis-steps, but I still find this book is almost criminally under-appreciated, and deserves to be checked out.

2. Demon Knights

This comic makes much more sense than Captain Atom for deserving a spot in my pull. Etrigan has always been one of my favorite characters, even though I've only really loved the idea of the character rather than how he's actually been written. Paul Cornell scripts him wonderfully, writing a Demon that is fun, angry, selfish, blatantly evil, and just overall a great character. The supporting cast is also incredible, bring up some characters and concepts from throughout not only the DCU, but history (such as the Saracen, aka the Islamic man, who has received a very realistic, un-stereotypical manner, which is refreshing) which adds a nice feel to the story. While it's been advancing rather slowly plot-wise, It has incredibly engrossing protagonists, and I'm definitely hooked.

3. Batgirl

I just love this series. For one that could have gone horrible considering how poorly some of the changes to the new U have been, Gaile Simone instead directly address this in a way that actually adds drama, and guilt, and emotion to both the story and to the relationships between characters. But you don't need me to say it, this is apparently selling like crazy, you probably already know why i love it, you wise stranger reading this blog.

4. Batman

Why do I have to say anything. It's the Goddamn Batman. He can breathe in space. And Scott Snyder, being a phenomenal writer of lots of dark, gritty, brutal horror and action stories, really captures what I feel Batman should be, tone wise. Just go and read Issue 5, and be sure to wear some baggy pants, because you will be rock hard the whole time. Then read Severed, Snyder's other series. Just because.

5. Animal Man

Animal Man normally have been something i would have passed on, but fortunately I read many glowing reviews and decide to pick this bad boy up... and boy was I shocked. It seems withSsuperman losing Lois and the whole One More Day bullshit and the just general decline in lasting relationships in comics, it's nice to see a superhero who's family actually serves as the primary motivation for the story. Buddy is, in my opinion, far more noble than Superman, not necessarily because of some moral flaw supes might have but because you really feel what his doing, what he's risking, what he's trying to protect, something Superman never really gets across to me. This title is gruesome and heavy and just fucking enjoyable in it's sick way. Plus it served as a gateway to Lemire's other work on Sweet Tooth and Superboy, as well was the original Grant Morrison Animal Man series from the 80's. And a title that encourages you to dig deeper into a character is a success in my mind.

6. Green Lantern

Immediately this series aimed to do something new, and it delivered in spades. Sinestro is now our protagonist, and Geoff Johns made me care more about this character in 3 issues than any other writer has ever done with a former villain-turned-..."good". The interaction between him and Jordan is incredible, reminiscent of a buddy movie, with Sinestro being the Bruce Willis to Hal Jordan's Samuel L. Jackson. This most recent arc suggests big things for the Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan's reconciliation with Carol felt more natural than any other I've read in comics, and Geoff John's pulls though with another great run.

7. Wonder Woman

Mostly, I'm loving how the series is digging into her roots in Greek Mythology, something I always felt was lacking in previous stories. The idea that people start dying because Zeus keeps putting his dick in things is timeless, and seeing the gods personified in this way, especially in relation to Wonder Woman, is enticing to say the least. Diana is given a very laid back, yet some-how almost energetic attitude, and the possibilities in this series keep me coming back for more.

8. Swamp Thing

Another largely horror-based series, as a fan of the Alan Moore run, I love how Snyder writes the story in a way that builds and expands on the mythos surrounding the Green, rather than changing what he felt like in the reboot. the rot is a great concept to go against the Red and Green, and the approaching inter-connectivity between this title and Animal Man is promising. Swamp Thing is a fascinating character, and I'll glad put all my green on this fantastic title (yes, tremble at my horrible puns).

9. Aquaman

Unlike most, I never treated Aquaman as a joke. And why should I have? Sure, the Super Friends made him (and every other hero for that matter) ridiculous, he's still, at his core, a pretty interesting and powerful hero, and DC has over the years been constantly trying to show just how strong a character he could be, though admittedly they mostly just tried to make him grittier and grittier by endlessly hacking off his limbs. Geoff Johns is the first writer I've seen in a while that has finally managed to capture Aquaman both in what he is, on a base level, and what he could be. This Aquaman is proud and serious, but a likable character, someone who's more than another man in tights: He's a goddamn KING, and he has a sense of duty and morality to him that really make him stand out. I love his relationship with Mera, which is one of the best in comics, and in this series I enjoy how self-aware it is. Johns plays off the expectation that he's supposed to be weak and that we can't take him seriously, and uses that to make a fun and exciting story about DC's favorite whipping boy. And I adore every panel of it.

10. All Star Western

Like Animal Man, this is a series I picked up solely due to an interesting review I read online, and actually decided to buy it after seeing artist Moritat's name on the cover (big fan of his, especially his Elephentmen work). Ironically, the art to me was a bit underwhelming: instead, it was the story that got me picking up the next issue. All Star-Western is dark and brutal, with some nice action scenes and some interesting characters. It explores the history of Gotham City, who even in the 19th century has been plagued with all manners of evils, and helps explore the history of the DCU. While It's not the best title out there that I could be picking up every week, it still has my attention, despite some admittedly weak back-up stories, so I'll be sticking around for now.

Well those are the 10 New 52 titles i pick up each. and. every. month (my money clip just sobbed), and that doesn't even cover half. This isn't nearly all the titles I WISH i was following, but that's a story for another time. I'll write up my Marvel pull next, then move on to the many indie titles I can't help but blow my money on.

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