The Pull List #17 - 8/12


A weekly column in which Jake gives short blurbs about the comics he’s picked up that week. Reviewed in the order read, which varies but generally by increasing anticipation.  Disclaimer: he knows very little about art, at least not enough to considerably honor such tremendous undertakings, so…yeh, there’s that.




Phonogram: The immaterial Girl #1



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Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Jamie McKelvie

Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Image



I read this first for two reasons: convenient happenstance that it downloaded to my phone first and the fact that Im coming off the afterglow of having read Phonogram: The Singles Club for the first time.  As such, I should state that, were we in normal, less-suggestive conditions, I would have likely read this somewhere further down the list as it so deserves (it may end up as Book of the Week and wind up last in post (little inside baseball)) but as of right now its first.  Also, in case its not apparent, theres a bit of personal bias to this series beyond favorite creative teams, so make a note of that.  Alright, any more asides and thisll start to sound like an In Case You Missed It (hmm), so without further ado, onto the comic in the next paragraph (a first for the PL?)



Phonogram is a series about young people who can harness the magic of music through actual magic (or something, its a bit obscured but overall unimportant foundational building block for the series).  A la The Wicked and the Divine but na la The Wicked and the Divine.  The eponymous Immaterial Girl is Emily Aster, the leader of a coven of Phonomancers (yep), who several years ago sold half of her personality to some kind of music video entity in exchange for betterness (comp keeps trying to correct this to bitterness, which is funny) (also, rereading that sentence, it sound entirely weird and dumb.  The former is definitely true, the latter is entirely me).  But like all Faustian pacts theres a catch and in this series the catch catches up with Emily (stop it).  Were full-on Gillen here in every sense of the word, as he and his partner-in-crime McKelvie return to their earliest mainstreamcomics work.  Phonogram, although a series about music, has always had Britpop as a focus, being inundated with references and trivia (though always aided by an annotations page).  Mercifully (because Im stupid and lazy), theres significantly less Britpop or even music references in general, the biggest one being A-has Take On Meand its accompanying music video, which if you havent seen: stop [reading], drop [a tab to youtube], shut em down open up shop [and look up the video].  Instead, Gillen dials us in to the plot and the mystery of Emily Aster, accompanied by ever-clever and tight dialogue.  Meanwhile, McKelvie continues to bring out some of the best faces in comics and his art direction is top-knotch, particularly in the closing chase sequence.  Wilsons colors suitably set the mood for every scene.  Additionally, Cowles choice of balloon style and script further enhance the narrative, most notably when dealing with Emilys past as well as the other side of the screen.  Immaterial Girl is great fiction.  A fun, accessible read that entertains and intrigues. 




Star Trek/Green Lantern #2



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Writer: Mike Johnson

Art: Angel Hernandez

Colors: Alejandro Sanchez

Letters: Neil Uyetake

IDW and DC



The Fan Fiction event of the summer continues as more Lantern rings find new owners while Hal Jordan and crew of the Enterprise try to make sense of their new predicament.  Johnson adds some new ring-bearers to the mix, some that are outside of the conflict from last issue, which allows for further adventures and developments to come.  While the crossover is still very much in the set-up phase, Johnson keeps the book interesting with the aforementioned as well as a Lantern space-battle wonderfully drawn by Hernandez and colored by Sanchez.  Johnson script allows the art team to have the most fun with the newly deputized Yellow Lantern, a Klingon general named Chang.  Honestly, the Spectrum War continues to add new thrills and is so far just a plain olgood time. 



Mercury Heat #2



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Story: Kieron Gillen

Artwork: Omar Francia

Color: Digikore Studios

Letters: Kurt Hathaway

Avatar Press



The gritty cyberpunk cop comic on the first planet gets even grittier as Luiza Bora digs further into her first murder investigation.  Gillen throws us some more info about the world of Mercury Heat, the selective deletion of memories, such as ones that would implicated others in a crime or ones involving an ex-lover.  The use of memory and the Grapevine system, an overmind that manages the populace through a merit and test-based system deepens the already interesting world Gillen has constructed.  The art team is on its A game, with several crowded scenes that lose none of the standard detail that the readers have come to expect.  While the second issue doesnt do much in terms of furthering Luizas case, it does wonders for enhancing both her character and the strange world she inhabits. 




Ghost Racers #3


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Story: Felipe Smitth

Art: Juan Gideon

Colors: Tamra Bonvillain

Lettering: VCs Cory Petit

Marvel



As he makes his dashing escape from the Killiseum, Robbie Reyes must face the pursuing Ghost Racer horde as well as just what kind of spirit Eli is.  Much as the same as the previous entries, Ghost Racers #3 holds several plot similarities to Smiths earlier Reyes tales.  While there are a few quibbles in terms of storytelling (the life-before sequence), Smith makes every moment have purpose.  This might be Gideon and Bonvillains best issue yet as the chase through the streets of Doomstadt allows them to really cut loose.  With the final page holding the potential for a heart-shattering moment, Ghost Racers appears to be hurtling toward a climatic finish (boo). 



A-Force #3


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Writers: Marguerite Bennett & G. Willow Wilson

Penciler: Jorge Molina

Inkers: Jorge Molina & Craig Yueng

Colorist: Laura Martin

Letterer: VCs Cory Petit

Marvel



As the cover would suggest, A-Force comes into conflict with the Thor Corps as She-Hulk investigates the mystery behind the strange events plaguing Arcadia.  Bennett and Wilson script a tense and dramatic issue while still leaving time for Jen to crack appropriately-timed one-liners.  The art is as action-oriented and well-defined as every, though there appears to be something of a misstep somewhere between script and page.  In one panel, She-Hulk grapples with Thor Gamora (Gathora?) and in the next shes thrown a Sentinel head at the remaining Thors.  Its a bit jarring and does take one a bit out of the story.  Beyond this, A-Force is well-crafted as evidenced by the closing montage.  The next issues cover hints that we might find out whose behind Arcadias troubles and hopefully its not as predictable and obvious as Im thinking.  If it is, hopefully its at least as entertaining as the series has been.



The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8


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Writer: Ryan North

Art: Erica Henderson

Color Art: Rico Renzi

Letterer: VCs Clayton Cowles

Marvel



In her final issue, Squirrel Girl fights for the fate of the world against Ratatoskr, the strife-sowing Norse Squirrel God.  And while thats all fine and epic, the real highlights of the issue are her friend Nancys adventures in Asgard as she and the two Thors try to figure out how Ratatoskr escaped her prison.  The scenes are a laugh a minute, particularly when the ever-smarmy Loki joins the investigation.  As he wraps up this volumes last issue, North pulls what my be his best jokes.  Talking about Hendersons involvement in these jokes in any detail would be spoilerish, but suffice it  to say that they wouldnt really land without her expert facial work.  However, much like the more recent issues, some of the other art comes off as rushed or hurried.  Despite this, Squirrel Girls last issue is a great ending for the series that will return once the world is reset after Secret Wars. 


Speaking of which...

BOOK OF THE WEEK

Secret Wars #5



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Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina

Letterer: VCs Clayton Cowles

Marvel



With last issues dramatic death, we take pause from the main storys progression and learn how Dr. Doom, Stephen Strange and Owen Reece, the Molecule Man, stopped the destruction of the multiverse and created Battleworld as well as delve further into the mind of God Doom.  While normally such a diversion would be frustrating in an event book, Hickman makes Doom and Reeces conversation so compelling and captivating that it hardly feels like any steam is lost at all.  Further, Dooms loosing of Valeria and the Foundation after the intruders, as well as the intruderslocations, is just enough to salivate over until next issue.  The art accompanying the aforementioned conversation is masterful and harkens back to the cataclysmic images of the events first issue.  Ribic and Svorcina show no signs of slowing despite the harrowing schedule of the event.  Despite the pause in the action, Secret Wars remains incredibly strong, not just for an event book, but for a comic itself. 

So what did you pick up this week? Agree or disagree with anything said here? Let us know in the comments.

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