Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 5/2/18 – Free Comic Book Day Special

Welcome to a special and late edition of CWPB! As mentioned, Saturday was Free Comic Book Day and my store really goes all out. We had a ton of artists and vendors, plenty of guests, two small concerts, and a lot of awesome sales. This was my first FCBD working and despite the stress, it was a blast as expected. Super thankful to have been involved. Anyway, due to setup and then the day itself and then clean up and recovery from all that at the store I am behind and that’s why this is late. As promised, I’ll talk about some of the free books. Much like the Superman Specials, I’m gonna bump that up into the main content so no post-credit. You’ve already waited extra, so let’s not waste any more time on intro; to the comics!

Action Comics Special #1

After Action Comics #1000, a lot of change is coming to the world of Superman. Mostly Bendis writing Man of Steel. Anyway, creative teams are changing so a Special was put together before #1001 to let the current team wrap some stuff up. The book had three short stories. The primary one involved an enemy from the future who figured out Lois Lane’s connection to Superman and attacked her. It was a pretty tense story and was really good. The villain is all at once obvious but still interesting to see the journey to Superman figuring it out. The writing is excellent, this story being the main event from the current team. Barring AC#1000, this particular story is probably my favorite so far. There’s a second story where Lex, Lois, and Superman as Clark Kent attend the White House Correspondent Dinner. It’s mostly lighthearted and full of jokes like the real dinner, but the story is from Lex Luthor’s point of view and it sets up something significant that happened before. The last story is just a small cute story about Superman helping someone out and then also being a great husband to Lois. This whole issue feels a little redundant, given that we literally just got a big pile of short stories. However, it’s short and enjoyable enough to get a pass. Definitely worth checking out.

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Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 4/25/18

Who saw Infinity War?? How fucking sick was that movie?! Okay okay, no spoilers here, just always excited for a rad comic movie to hit theatres. I highly encourage y’all to see it. Anyway, here’s a bunch of comics that have nothing to do with that! Couple big issue releases here, we’ve got the end of Damnation and the last issue of The Mighty Thor before the Fresh Start (although there will be a one-shot about Jane Foster in Valhalla). See all that and more, right now!

Detective Comics #979

Ulysses’s wacky plan continues as nanomachine suits take over Colony soldiers and Red Robin. A chunk of this issue takes place in Tim’s head as Ulysses explains that his goal is to transform this Tim into the crazy evil future Tim from a previous arc I didn’t read. To do this, he plans to subject Tim’s brain to the traumas that set his alternate self down the path of controlling everyone. A little weird and high concept as far as evil plans go, but it gets points for some originality. Ulysses, who has dubbed himself The General, believes the only way to prevent large scale death of the Batfamily is to have robot controlled soldiers be judge jury and executioner of all of Gotham. So that’s an interesting angle as well. All in all, I especially like the idea of testing Batman’s faith in Tim; after all, the connection and cooperation between the core Batfam members is what makes it all work. Playing with that dynamic and examining the limits is the theme of this run, with Batwoman killing Clayface, Azrael and Batwing joining her, and now Tim going off his rocker. The art does a few notable things in this issue, I had to briefly turn it sideways for a trippy sequence which was rad. The arc title/logo treatment is well done too since it’s called “Batmen Eternal”, it plays off the old weekly Batman Eternal book design. Definitely enjoying this, and since we’re around a year from Detective Comics #1000 it feels like a good time to shake things up and look at the Batfamily a little differently leading up to that.

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Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 4/18/18

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a mediocre review segment! For those who have been following, it should be no surprise that this is CWPB 80 Years of Superman Special Part 2! The actual Action Comics #1000 issue released this week, so now I can talk specifically about the issue itself. Plus a few other exciting reads this week! Like last week, there won’t be an after-credit. I was going to throw in a review of a Superman story in trade paperback form, but between the cost of buying one and the amount of time AC #1000 ended up taking it wasn’t feasible. My review of AC is almost as long as some entire weeks of review, so hopefully y’all don’t feel I shorted you. Let’s dive in!

Action Comics #1000

The format of AC #1000 is a little different, since it’s a collection of short stories. The Swamp Thing Winter Special had the same thing, but was only a couple stories. Since this is more, I’m going to break it up a little bit into sections

From the City That Has Everything – A great story to open it up, Metropolis celebrates a Superman Day. A few different people show up to talk about how Superman saved and changed their lives. The touching testimonials show all the ways Superman matters within Metropolis, and what a huge impact he’s had over the years. I really like the stories being told, and I like the characterization of Superman who is of course very humble. Lois has a plan to make him enjoy Superman Day, with tension being resolved in a really sweet way. The art is solid as well, pretty much in line with the last few issues, which isn’t surprising since this story is the normal AC creative team. Starting out with a “thank you” to the Man of Steel works perfectly even if it’s obvious, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story

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Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 4/11/18

Hey everyone, welcome back to CWPB! This week will be Part 1 of my 80 Years of Superman Special! By the time you’re reading this, tomorrow (4/18/18) will be the release of Action Comics #1000! This is a huge landmark, and is being massively celebrated. Due to the way I publish, I decided to do double the Superman coverage! Some hype stuff now, right before release and then a full review of the issue and some other cool Superman biz next week. As part of the Superman Special, I’m gonna bump the Post-Credit up to before the credits (like Marvel did with Age of Ultron, which fuck that movie but we’re not getting into that). To start, this week’s books!

Detective Comics #978

Detective Comics pushes forward, examining the wake of last issue’s ending. Colony soldiers, controlled by Ulysses, are killing people in an attempt to put more distance between Batman and Batwoman. The two of them agree to meet to discuss everything going on, while Tim stays back at the cave and tries to figure out what happened to cause the soldiers to start shooting. This arc remains pretty interesting, watching Ulysses pull strings from the shadows and get increasingly involved. This issue pushed the story forward a bit, but the real progress isn’t til the end so there isn’t too much to discuss here. It lacks the serious look at the characters that the previous arc had, and this particular issue is light on action or mystery. It’s still interesting and necessary – it’s not filler, just the slight lull before things pick up. The art had a few particularly excellent moments in this one too. Overall while this might not be the best issue of Detective Comics ever, it sets up a hell of a next issue. Come back in two weeks to see if it lives up to my expectations!

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Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 4/4/18

Hey comic fans, welcome back! After last week’s heavy stack of comics, this week is appropriately light (although not on my wallet, since I bought a couple comics I am not reviewing yet and my store’s Gundam model kit shipment is in). This week is notably exciting though, due to the end of Motor Crush’s second arc and the beginning of Isola which has been on my pull list since it first appeared in Previews. Additionally in the larger scheme of comics, this week’s Batman focuses on the Bat/Cat wedding with some lovely matching covers (I bought both, because I suck – stay after the credits to see what they look like). Buckle in!

Astonishing X-Men #10

This is, I think, the first issue of Astonishing that I’ve genuinely liked in a while. The X-Men attack Proteus’s little warped reality bubble, and inside is fucking wacky. Turns out if you give every person in a small Scottish village the ability to change reality to their will things get messy. The art on this issue is really awesome; there are a bunch of psychedelic splash pages of all the nutty shit going on, from dragons to zombie vikings (?) and plenty of weird colors. It’s a lot of action, but it’s weirdly structured action so it’s visually a lot of fun. There’s also a decent moral conundrum, nothing super new but it’s going to force some characterization of X in a way that I’m hopeful about. The nature of humanity as it relates to mutants (and the obvious connection that has to real world marginalized groups) is a pretty common topic to tackle with the X-Men, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t always more room to explore it. The end of this issue was actually pretty cool, so I think the second stretch of this arc will be the stronger part. That said, I still intend to exit with the Fresh Start (again, if this book continues since it doesn’t have a confirmation).

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Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 3/28/18

Hey everyone, hope you like longer than usual articles because lots of stuff came out for me this week (only one issue shorter than my Giant-Size Special!). It’s weird having a Detective Comics without Action Comics, but there’s a short hiatus as we build up to #1000 so I don’t mind too much. Two of my limited series came out though, plus stay tuned after the credits for an indie book I forgot to order at the beginning of March and just got this week!

Detective Comics #977

In the wake of the last few arcs, things are a bit shaky in the Bat-family. This is highlighted by Tim being shown a possible future in which Batman is killed by Batwoman, due to events spiraling out of the break. After the cold open of this horrifying future, we get a bit more info on Ulysses, the weapons developer for the Colony (a paramilitary organization run by Batwoman’s dad, which she just agreed to join). He wants to play a role in shaping the future, and reaches out to Tim to do so. We also get a slice of what’s going on with Batwing being recruited by the Colony, which ties into Ulysses’s plan. He’s a pretty shifty guy, but I’m not sure if he has the making of a meaningful villain. However, he may just be adding fuel to the conflict between the segments of The Artist Formerly Known as Batman, Inc. I’m interested in that storyline, which I hope is tackled entirely within Detective Comics. The idea of securing the legacy of what Batman stands for is always worth examining, and this might have an interesting take. Continue reading “Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 3/28/18”

Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 3/14/18

Welcome all to more Comic Wolf’s Pull Box, your weekly dose of all* the comics! (*All may only include a handful of books). Got another good evenly split week, although with Detective and Action Comics being bi-weekly I almost wish they split them up. Still, looking especially forward to Detective Comics, plus another comic I picked up a week late. Off we go!

Action Comics #999

Action Comics #999 takes a bit of a break from the action, serving as a small break in between the previous arc (“Booster Shot” – see previous CWPBs for more info) and the giant-size issue coming out for the milestone #1000. I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. It splits its time between focusing on Superman and focusing on his family again. Lois and her father argue since he doesn’t trust Superman and doesn’t always appreciate Lois and “Clark’s” positive discussion of Supes in the press. He doesn’t know that Clark is actually Superman, and also doesn’t know his grandson is part Kryptonian as a result. Meanwhile Superman gets rid of an asteroid that’s threatening Earth, and in doing so gets his hands on a resource he needs. After seeing how the Phantom Zone twisted Zod and his family, Superman begins to wonder whether or not it’s really a humane prison and starts looking for alternatives. Seeing Superman admit faults and strive for better morality is one of the few angles that interests me. I’ve always seen him as too perfect, to the point of being boring. I’m still not a huge fan, but the moments where Superman approaches what it means to be human are most important to me. My favorite bit of Superman comics ever is when he talks to a woman poised to jump off a building (Part One of the Superman: Grounded run). It reveals more layers to the Man of Steel than just black and white moralism, as he assures the woman that if she chooses to take her own life he won’t stop her. The run was intended to show Superman travelling across America and reconnecting with the people, moving from the big time cosmic threats back to being an American hero. A more grounded Superman is more interesting, and this issue aims for a similar feeling despite the fact that the Phantom Zone is a heavy sci-fi element. It still examines Superman as an actual person with flaws and the potential to make mistakes and not always automatically do the “moreally right” thing. Despite not moving the universe forward in any huge way, this is my favorite issue of Action Comics so far. Join us again in two weeks for #1000, celebrating 80 years with Superman!

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Conditional Gaming: Beyond a Hero

Looking Back on Guitar Hero as a Guitarist

Way back in 2005 RedOctane and Harmonix released Guitar Hero, a rhythm game about living out a rock fantasy as the main guitarist of band on their rise to stardom. While by no means was it the first rhythm game, Guitar Hero has the most name recognition with gamers and casual players alike . This was enough to grant a total of seven games in its main series. That isn’t even counting the many releases that revolved around a specific band, like the rock gods that go by the name Van Halen, Metallica, and Aerosmith. So there were a large amount of gamers out there playing a plastic guitar in tribute to these bands, and getting good at it, incredibly good at it. To the point where playing Guitar Hero starts to feel like playing a real guitar. Falling to your knees during a signature solo becomes natural. So does rocking to the beat of the song or smashing the guitar after it’s all over (PLEASE DON’T DO THAT). This can lead to doing some things on that game that most guitarist couldn’t touch. Until it got boring… Until maybe there was a feeling of want after the series inevitably ended… Until the maestro of this plastic guitar decides to put it down, and pick up the real thing. A mighty instrument made of wood, metal and soul.

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Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Week of 2/28/18

Welcome back everyone! This week my pick-up was more model kits than comic books, but there’s still plenty to talk about here with more entries in the DC Big 2 and my favorite indie comic (until Moonstruck is off hiatus) bringing in a great issue as well. Let’s get to it!

Action Comics #998

The conclusion of “Booster Shot” happened this week, just in time to leave #999 to set the stage for the massive #1000! The story wrapped up pretty well, although some of it was a little bit predictable and the whole time travel thing makes threat and consequence a little wavy. Booster and Superman don’t get murdered by the Zods and aren’t required to save anyone being subjugated by them because it’s the future so it’s still liquid and the best way to save them is to prevent this blah blah time travel. The fight scene was pretty good, but this issue definitely solidified my frustration with time travel stories, at least in this case. They did use the time aspect to create one interesting conflict, but since it’s a problem for Booster and not Superman it’s hard to say whether the consequences will really matter. Still, it was an enjoyable issue that finished up a sorta inconsistent arc, and I expect a lot from the next few issues (especially now that Superman is back in his own time.) I wish some of the answers given by the story were a little more interesting, but not every arc can be the best one. It stayed decent enough and that’s what matters.

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Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Giant-Size Special Weeks of 2/14/18+2/21/18

Welcome everyone to CWPB Giant Size – the first of its kind! Since I was out of town last week I didn’t get a chance to pick up my books, leading to a respectable stack when I stopped by my store for my weekly pick-up. Instead of spacing them out or pushing some to the post-credit, I decided FUCK IT and now we’ll have a giant-size action packed adventure with everything that came out in the last 2 weeks. Additionally, I’m exploring talking a little more about story specifics so beware some slightly-less-light spoilers. Buckle in!

Action Comics #997

The “Booster Shot” arc of Action Comics continues, with Booster and Superman teleported slightly into the future to a planet called New Krypton and ruled by the tyrannical General Zod and his family. Unsurprisingly, the family of villains hold something of a grudge against Superman for repeatedly beating them up. Meanwhile, Lois’s rescue mission of her father continues, with Jon (Superboy) still following in the shadows. This issue brought both stories pretty solidly forward, and honestly I’m a little surprised at how dark it was. It’s nothing new for comics to end on a cliffhanger to make you buy the next month’s issue, but pretty much nothing went well for our heroes this issue. It’s especially surprising to see it in a Superman book, since his whole thing is being absurdly overpowered. I liked it though, and for the first time I feel like I pretty much have a grasp on the arc after spending a few issues with it. I still don’t know the specifics of what Superman did to Zod & Sons Inc, but this issue gives enough information to get by on thanks to increase in helpful editors’ notes and no new dependencies on past issues. It’s also great seeing Superman fight actual equals of strength (or at least approximate equals) in other Kryptonians. We get a few nice panels and splash pages that really stand out and put the “action” in Action Comics (I’m not sorry). This arc is definitely escalating, and I look forward to the next issue. Continue reading “Comic Wolf’s Pull Box Giant-Size Special Weeks of 2/14/18+2/21/18”