Geeklings, a very Happy New Comic Book Day to you all. I woke up this morning, worked out (#humblebrag), sat on my couch, and tried to figure out what comic I would start the day with. I pondered. I heard arguments like some sort of Comics Judge. I debated fiercely… internally. I had a coin-flipping tournament. I clearly wasted time figuring out what to read instead of actually reading but that just goes to show you how stacked this New Comic Book Day is. The type that is so good that this column more or less writes itself. Not really though. These are my words not the words of my comic book overlords… or are they? I can never tell.
There is such a buzz and giddy anticipation for today’s books that I’m all types of fired up. I’m telling you there is nothing better than New Comic Book Day. Honestly, I rode the high of the one issue I was able to read this morning all through my commute and all the way to lunch where I had to refocus because there were other books to read. Other. Books. That’s what makes this weekly holiday so special. It’s like a mini Christmas once per week. What could possibly be better than a mini Christmas?!
Needless to say, I’m anxious to start talking comics with you guys. There is nothing I look forward to more than this precise moment of the week. The Pull List has become my happy place of sorts and this brief window of time we get to spend together just lights the fuels for next week’s column. That, and all the comic conversations we have during the week. You guys rock! And as my reward to you, I think it’s time we start talking books. Starting with…
Absolute Carnage #1- If you’ve been following the Pull List week in and week out then you know that I am a huge Donny Cates fan. We’re talking top three current favorite comic book writer right now levels of fandom. And after providing some of Marvel’s best books (Venom, Guardians of the Galaxy, Cosmic Ghost Rider) he’s finally getting his first event series, and let’s just say he hits it out of the park. What a tremendous, tone-setting first issue. The art from Ryan Stegman feeds into Cate’s writing and is beautifully dark and deeply atmospheric. Panels seem to drip off the page which is gross and slightly concerning when dealing with evil symbiotes. This story, which has been building within the Venom solo title, comes bursting through the pages and both Cates and Stegman add a true sense of urgency to the narrative. Things aren’t all doom and gloom though as there’s a lot of fun on these pages. None more evident when Spider-Man makes an appearance making me wish for a Cates Spider-Man run ever so badly. Coming off the heels of War of the Realms, Marvel looks to have another sure-fire hit here. The biggest summer blockbuster isn’t in theaters this August it’s in these pages. Don’t miss out.
House of X #2- Okay, brace yourselves because over the next nine weeks fully expect to see a Jonathan Hickman X-Men book here on the Pull List because what he’s doing with the mutants is not just mind-blowing but game chantingly captivating. This, along with Powers of X, has easily become one of my favorite comic series on the shelves presently. I mean, whoa. Did you guys read this one?! This was my early morning read and I still haven’t recovered. I’ve been itching all day to get back to it and read it again. Hickman not only makes the Power of X, pronounced Ten, title makes a bit more sense but how he breaks down X-Men timelines, and with whom as the catalyst, not only makes a ton of sense but revolutionizes everything we’ve known about the X-Men up until this point. I don’t say things like that lightly either. This issue is incredible and possibly shows us the anchor/heart for Hickman’s run here with the X-Men. Powers of X #1 seemed to push the curtain back a bit showing that this new future that Charles Xavier was ushering in at the start of House of X #1 was flawed and destined to fail. This second issue expands upon that further while giving us the hope that a future with mutants and humans can succeed. Just mind-blowing stuff here with incredible art from Pepe Larraz (favorite cover of the week) with Hickman just slinging one hell of a story. I am fully on board. I haven’t been this excited for X-Men comics since I was waking up every Saturday morning for the animated series.
Batman #76- Any given New Comic Book Day a Tom King Batman book would be top two books of the week, and if that doesn’t show how stacked this week is then I don’t know what will. This is the second issue in King’s “City of Bane” arc, his final arc on the main Batman title, and things have gotten crazy town banana pants. Bane runs Gotham, the Joker and Riddler are beat cops, and Thomas Wayne is Gotham’s new Batman heavily implying that he won the battle of the pit from two issues ago. On top of that, Bruce Wayne is in pursuit of answers atop of Memory Mountain finds thugs instead, has his throat cut, and is reunited with Catwoman for the first time since the failed marriage. Thus giving me alllll the feels. King has me fully invested in this relationship and I have missed this character in these pages. What comes next? Well, more madness of course. Bat and Cat clearly have some catching up to do and some wounds to heal not to mention a city to save. Thomas Wayne looks like he could have an Alfred problem on his hand. How many rogue villains does Bane still need to rope in with the help of the Psycho Pirate? “City of Bane” may just be getting started but this is acumination of King’s run thus far and all the reveals, connections, and storytelling further proves why this is one of the all-time great Batman runs. All. Time.
Die #6- You know you have a kickass new series when you take a few months off before the next arc and you get called to print sooner than expected because people need to read the next issue. That’s exactly what happened with the latest issue of Die from Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans. For those who need to catch up here’s the deets. A group of friends gets trapped in a real-life Dungeons & Dragons world as kids, their missing is big news, suddenly reappear without a friend, again big news, they then try to live their lives as normal as possible, only to be trapped back in the world because they’re missing friend went mad and created a new game. That’s the broad strokes, what you would be missing is the character development, the world-building, and Hans’s breathtaking art. Incredibly happy to have Die back on shelves.
DCeased #4- This could easily be a DC zombie story but with Tom Taylor at the helm it is so much more. DCeased is packed full of emotion and heart and it all stems from Taylor’s understanding and care for the characters involved. Just look at the scenes concerning Batman’s turn and Pa Kent. Taylor is no stranger to writing rich, emotional stories and DCeased could have easily been just a fun mayhem Elseworlds story but instead has become what all the true great zombie stories should be. At some point, it has to be less about the monsters and more about those affected by them. Another winner from Taylor who also has my vote to take over the Batman title when King passes the torch.
Honorable Mentions- Daredevil #9, Justice League #29, & Immortal Hulk #22
There you have it Geeklings, all the best books to get your mitts on this week. I told you it was a stacked edition of the Pull List. As always, if you feel like I left anything off this week’s list be sure to let me know in the comments. If you’d like to talk more comics with yours truly you can find me over on Twitter @iamgeek32. There is so much I want to discuss this week’s books so be sure to hit me up. As an added bonus I’ll be at Terrificon this weekend so if you want to say hi, chat some comics, or get a righteous high five drop me a line. In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of more books to read before this day ends. I’ll see you all next week, happy reading and many huzzahs!
Images from Marvel, DC, and Image Comics