Pull List! October 2012

I decided to take an inventory of what I’m “pulling” every month, to see what I’m keeping up on and what I’m likely to drop.  This first go ’round is going to hook in a lot of stuff that I tried out over the summer, but if I keep up on this, it will be more of a month to month look at what I’m keeping and what I’m dropping.

A+X:  It’s hard to look at a trend here, since it just came out this past week.  I like team up books.  I don’t expect a ton out of them, except to be entertaining.  Of the two stories in the book, I much preferred Slott’s Cable/Captain America team up to Loeb’s Wolverine/Hulk team up, which, of course, revolves around his “brilliant” creation, Red Hulk.

Prognosis?  I’ll be picking this up again next month.  It’s not in huge danger of being dropped unless the stories are really disappointing.

Amazing Spider-Man:  Well, I guess I’ll be forced to drop this one when Marvel Now relaunches this title as Superior Spider-Man  (really, Marvel needs to match up the adjectives better).  I love Slott’s work on Spider-Man, and while there might be a flat issue here or there, the overall story arcs are exactly what I want out of Spider-Man.

Prognosis?  Love the book, and I really like Slott on Spidey.  I hope his “not Pete” Spidey work is as strong and compelling as his time with Mister Parker.

Avengers Assemble:  When I started reading this book, I was just expecting an action oriented, loosely canon storyline.  New Zodiac, fights, and a hunt for cosmic artifacts on Earth?  Great.  Then we moved into Bendis’ introduction of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and his handling of the Elders of the Universe and Thanos, and a lot of my enthusiasm for the book started to evaporate.

I’m still reading because I’m interested to see what direction the book takes under DeConnick, who I think has a good grasp of a lot of the Avengers and the interaction between them.  Plus, the wrap up of the Thanos story was much more like the beginning of the book.

Prognosis?  Staying with the book long enough to get a feel for DeConnick’s direction for the book.

Avenging Spider-Man:  Remember when I said that my standards for team-up books aren’t super high, as long as they are fun.  When you add that to the fact that I have a hard time not buying things with Spider-Man on them, you would think his title works really well for me.  I’m starting to have my doubts.  While I want the action to be fast and furious, and I want Spidey to be a wisecracker, I do want the story to be a little more serious and have a least some stakes that the characters in the story recognize.

From Aunt May, to Deadpool, and now the annual with the Thing, there haven’t been many credible threats, and the plots are getting increasingly silly.  Light-hearted doesn’t need to veer into goofy land.

Prognosis?  With Devil Dinosaur up next as a co-star, I’m not sure I can take much more whimsy.  The DeConnick and Slott stories are really looking like the exceptions, and not the rule.  After Devil Dinosaur next time around, we may be saying goodbye to this title.

AvX Consequences:  This is only a limited series, so I’m much more likely to finish what I started.  Even without that disclaimer in place, I am enjoying this series.  It makes a lot more sense than the main series that spawned it, and is actually digging deeper into character motivations and the state of various heroes as we move into the “Now” timeline.

Prognosis?  Unless something drastic happens, I’m in for the distance with this series.

Batgirl:  Yes, I’ll get this out of the way, I liked Barbara better as Oracle.  I like Gail Simone as a writer.  I’ve been in and out of this title for a while.  I checked it out early on, but the continuity mess around Barbara turned me off.  I checked back in once things settled down, but the series just isn’t working for me.  Something feels off to me.  Barbara isn’t quite old Barbara, but sometimes she is, and Simone seems to be trying too hard to create a unique cast that isn’t winning me over much.

Prognosis?  Even with the impending Death of the Family storyline, I’m going to risk dropping this.  I’m just not that invested in the new status quo and the new characters aren’t gelling for me.

Batman:  I’ve been in and out of Batman as well, but unlike Batgirl, when I checked back in at the end of the Court of Owls storyline, I actually kind of liked Snyder’s take on Batman.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Morrison’s run on Batman.  By embracing everything about Batman, all at once, I think he lost sight of making him compelling on his own.  Snyder’s Batman is more in line with the Batman I got used to in Moench’s, Grant’s, and Dixon’s stories.

I didn’t expect to like the opening salvo of Death of the Family.  I think the new look for Joker is horrible and the serial killer angle is being pushed too hard.  By Snyder’s first installment reads pretty well, so I’ll keep on the ride.

Prognosis?  I’m in at least for a few more months.

Batman and Robin:  I was never a huge fan of Damien.  Despite that, I started to warm up to the little jerk between reading his regular appearances as Dick’s sidekick and his cameos in Batgirl.  After Flashpoint, however, Damien seemed to regress back to the starting line, and on top of that, Tomassi’s villains in this run have just be too much strange and not enough interesting.

Prognosis?  The cavalcade of weird, uninteresting bad guys and Damien’s reversion to full on jerk mode have me waving goodbye to this book.

Captain America (& Guest Star):  Hey look, a team up book!  I didn’t warm up to this book at first, because it took me a while to get used to Bunn’s pattern.  The first book of the arc tends to “reintroduce” the characters by leaning heavily on the most stereotypical behavior from that character, but then the meat of the story kicks in, and it tends to get fun.

The current Black Widow arc isn’t as much fun as the Iron Man arc was, but with the end looming nearby, and some plot threads from multiple arcs wrapping up, there isn’t much reason to bail now.

Prognosis?  I’ll be reading it until Marvel Now kills it dead.

Captain Marvel:  I really like DeConnick’s take on Carol.  I think she gets her voice right, and I like how she writes her interactions with Spidey and Cap and Jessica Drew.  That having been said, this opening story arc started off interesting, and spent several issues meandering around with most of he action being repetitive and muddy, with the payoff being a trip to Carol’s origin to prove that she should be Captain Marvel, by beating . . . someone else . . . to the “title.”

I like DeConnick’s dialogue and handle on these characters, but the action and the stakes must really pick up.  It was hard to tell why this last story arc really mattered, other than for Carol to get back to the present so we could move on to another story arc.

Prognosis?  Still in, but if the action doesn’t pick up, and if there isn’t more in this book than stuff that is very self-focused on Carol, I’m dropping this one fast.

Daredevil:  I missed the relaunch, but I read the first issue months later, and thought it was great.  Then, when I jumped on board, Daredevil got kidnapped and sent to Latveria, and came home to his law partner hating his guts and weird stuff happening.  I jumped on at the wrong point.  The Latveria storyline just plodded along, and this current arc is jumping all over the place.  It might pay off, but it’s a really bad follow up to the slow and kind of pointless jaunt to Latveria.

Plus, I have to admit I’m kind of disappointed that Waid, of all people, seems to be redefining a “lame” villain to make him “cool” and “edgy.”  That’s not really what I expect out of him, or from all of he buzz I was hearing about this book.

Prognosis?  If the next issue doesn’t wow me, I’m gone.

Earth 2:  This one has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me.  I really liked it at the outset, got a bit worried a few issues in, but I’m settling in to like the book.  Some of the characterization is a bit stilted at times, but for the most part, I’m enjoying the 100% reboot, without trying to figure out what is and isn’t in from previous continuities.

I do hope the quality levels out a bit more, and I really hope a more traditional Grundy shows up on Prime Earth, but I’m having more fun with this than with most DC books at the moment.

Prognosis?  As long as we don’t bottom out too many more times like we did when Alan first became GL, I’m planning on keeping up on this book.

G.I  Joe, G.I. Joe:  Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow, G.I. Joe:  Cobra:  I’m lumping these together to make an overall point.  First off, I dropped G.I. Joe Cobra months ago, because it’s just not that compelling to me.  I get enough of the inter-Cobra politics in the other books that I just don’t care about following it in it’s own book.

I love Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, and I really enjoy G.I. Joe.  That having been said, I’m dropping the whole she-bang when the Target:  Snake Eyes storyline is over.  Why?  Because IDW is relaunching a new G.I. Joe book at #1 that may or may not have anything to do with this continuity, and Dixon is getting a new book, Special Missions.

I could keep reading that book, but honestly, IDW is doing the same thing to G.I. Joe that they did with Transformers that kept me away from those books.  Lots of concurrent books that may or may not be in the same continuity doesn’t make me want to care enough to keep up with the scorecard.

Prognosis?  Done with the whole thing when Target:  Snake Eyes is over.

Gambit:  I love this book.  Getting Gambit away from the X-Men, stealing things  (from bad guys) and flirting with mystery women is great.  Adventure, fun, and excitement, and a firm handle on what makes Gambit cool is keeping me really interested in this book.

Prognosis?  Onboard for the foreseeable future, as long as the book remains as fun as it is now.

Ghostbusters:  Setting aside that IDW has be kind of gun shy right now, this book’s main stories have been great.  Its a mix of the best stuff from the movies and the long running cartoon.  The backup features have been hit or miss for me, but the main story has been pitch perfect.

Prognosis?  I’m in, as long as IDW doesn’t start to think it would be a good idea to have two or three other Ghostbuster continuities running around, relaunching #1 issues left and right.

Hawkeye:  Much like Gambit, I’m loving this series.  It takes the balls out, cocky goodness at the core of Hawkeye and builds awesome stories around that, with the added fun have having Kate along for the ride  (and a degree of sanity).  Also, balls out is literal in this case.

Prognosis?  As long as the formula stays the same, I’m here for a while.

Justice League:  Oh, Justice League, how you vex me.  The book can be a lot of fun, even though it feels like it’s in a whole different world than some of it’s component parts.  Sure, Hal is a big jerk in the book, much worse than he usually is in the GL books.  But I like this Diana better than the version in WW, and Superman is reasonably consistent here, unlike in his own book.
I really dislike the Shazam backup feature, but I like the reinvention of Steve Trevor as a kick ass government agent.  
Prognosis?  Tentatively in, at least long enough to see how Justice League of America spins out of this book, and to see if Shazam is less of a jerk on a team than he was in the backup feature.
New Crusaders:  I wanted to give this one a try because it was a fresh start for a group of heroes, and it seemed like fun.  I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, but two issues in, the only character I really liked was the Shield, crotchety old trainer guy that he was.  One supporting character isn’t enough to keep me coming back.
Prognosis?  Dropped.
Nightwing:  Another on and off again book for me, I’m interested in seeing DeFalco’s influence on the book.  So far I’m interested, even though Barbara seems like she’s had a bit too much coffee and is a bit too excitable in this issue.  
Prognosis?  In for a couple issues or so to see how things are looking, especially with the crossover.
Pathfinder:  I like the setting of Golarion, and I know these characters from the bios in all of he Pathfinder products they appeared in, so I picked up the first issue of this comic.  My personal opinion is that the art was ugly, the characters weren’t compelling and didn’t quite seem “right” from what I knew of them, and I really didn’t care about much of what was going on.
Prognosis?  Dropped and not looking back.
Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt:  You know what’s funny?  I don’t like DC morphing Charlton characters into their Watchmen equivalents.  I don’t like Ted Kord being an overweight washed up hero that doesn’t have what it takes, and I don’t like Captain Atom being some super powerful force of nature that doesn’t know what it’s like to be human anymore.  
And yet, I like this book.  Maybe it’s because I don’t like DC doing it?  Or maybe it’s because this comic takes some inspiration from Ozymandias in Watchman, but grafts that onto the traditional version of the character, and it seems to make for a more unique, less self assured guy that is trying to do something grandiose that he hopes will help the world, but isn’t quite sure about.  I joked that this is my favorite “Before Watchmen” book, but it’s not that much of a joke.
Prognosis?  Taking it month by month, but I’m still interested to see how this is progressing.
Punisher War Zone:  I wasn’t sure how this story was going to turn out, given Rucka’s rather public announcement that he was done with the Big Two.  I debated picking this up.  Given that I have a hard time not finishing a limited series when start one, I was hesitant, but I picked it up.
I’m actually glad I did.  I like the set up, and it seems like it will be an interesting story to read.  I am looking forward to seeing how some of he Avengers interact with Frank, and I liked his scenes with Spidey and Wolvie in this issue.
Prognosis?  Most likely in for the distance.

Scarlet Spider:  Yost is one of my favorite writers at the moment.  I think Slott and Yost could rule the Spiderverse and I’d be perfectly happy.  There have been a few flat stories in the middle of story arcs, but overall, the book has been great fun.

Prognosis?  I’m in for the foreseeable future on this one.

Secret Avengers:  I read the first arc of this series  (Mission to Mars) but lost track of it for a while.  I jumped back on board recently, and I’ve been enjoying it.  This is one of those cases where staying on board means staying with a book that is likely going to shift around a bit after the Avengers get reorganized.

Prognosis?  In for the rest of this arc’s resolution, but not sure about the Now version of the title yet.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  IDW had a sale on TMNT a while back, and that got me into the new version of the book.  I like it, and I think it’s a compelling reboot of the origin with enough new stuff in the story to make it worth rereading, and enough old school material to make it all recognizable.  That said, I’m not sure it’s compelling enough to stay on my list with everything else I’m juggling right now.
Prognosis?  Gone but not forgotten, but something’s got to give.
Uncanny Avengers:  We have all of one issue under our belt, but it’s an interesting issue so far.  I’m not quite sure about Rogue and Wanda’s tension, and some of Red Skull’s new henchmen are a little out there, but I’m still interested enough to stay on board.
Prognosis?  At least for a few more issues to see where this goes.
Uncanny X-Force:  Another book that I caught the tail end of, I’m interested in seeing how this story arc plays out.  Once it’s done, however, I’m not sure about either of the new X-Force books coming out.
Prognosis?  Until the end of the story arc, but maybe not on board for future versions of the book.

Venom:  I jumped on when creative teams shifted, during the somewhat strange but enjoyable Monsters of Evil arc.  I’m liking the Minimum Carnage storyline, but I’m no sure I want to be 100% dedicated to the story.  We’ll see.

Prognosis?  In through Minimum Carnage and the move to Philly, then we’ll see.

Wolverine and the X-Men:  I really enjoyed the return to a more traditional set up for Wolverine’s side of the X-Men when this book launched, and I liked he less paramilitary, more fun focus of the book.  I did drift away for a while, however, because I didn’t want to deal with all of he drama from AvX bleeding over.  Now that all of that is over, I’m back on board, and still enjoying how the book is set up.

Prognosis?  Looks like I’m in for a while again on this book.

World’s Finest:  I’m mainly sticking with this book because of it’s ties to Earth 2, but I’m getting less and less interested in following the exploits of these two.  In spite of myself, I want to see the Huntress/Robin meeting, but beyond that, I’m not sure this one will stay on the list.
Prognosis?  Likely done after the family reunion.
Wow, that was a lot of words.  Lots and lots of words.  I’ll be interested myself in seeing how much I cull these books next month at this time.  Until then, if you made it this far, thanks for checking out the blog.

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