After a lengthy hiatus, The Pullbox has returned! After careful thought, we have decided to bring it back in a way that hopefully improves it and also makes it more timely, for you, our faithful readers. Instead of picking a Top 5 every week, we will simply pick five books, still in the two Marvel, two DC, and one indie format, to give our thoughts on. This way we can warn you of what may not be a good book as well raise up those that are worthy. And so, without further ado, here is the beginnings of The Pullbox, Volume 2!
DC – Batman #10 – As ‘The Night of the Owls’ story arc begins to wind down, Batman still must tie up the last few loose ends that plagues his city. More specifically, the remaining members of The Court of Owls. Little does he know though that the menace that has tormented him over the past few nights of his life has roots as far reaching as his parents and his becoming Batman.
I understand that in order to try to modernize Batman within this ‘New 52’ that new villains have been created and small changes have been made along the way to Batman and his history and that as a whole, he has received the least amount of changes of many of DC’s classic heroes. But when you couple last week’s Batman Annual #1 that radically changed the origins of Mr. Freeze and now you create basically a main universe Owl Man that is related to Bruce Wayne and I’m just left shaking my head. The ‘New 52’ isn’t even a year old and it has already jumped the shark with most of its major characters and this is just another example of taking things too far. Much like Batman Annual #1, this issue started off fantastically and then took a nosedive off a cliff and has me worried for the future of The Dark Knight.
DC – Batman: Arkham Unhinged #3 – Delving deep into the stories that took place between Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, this month’s issue re-examines the relationship between the Joker and Penguin and just where their now infamous feud started that would of course carry over into the game.
At first the idea of a continuing comic book monthly telling the untold stories within the Arkham City universe sounded tremendously appealing to me. But after reading this issue I came to realize there is nothing original about these stories at all really. These comic stories are based on a lot of the recordings that you collect in game revolving around various villains because I remember hearing this actual story being told in Nolan North’s over-the-top cockney accent from the game. As much as I enjoyed Arkham City, there is really no reason for me to waste my time reading stories I’ve already been told in comic book form. It just seems like another way for DC to try to capitalize on the Batman franchise as many of their other books struggle along. The only positive was the short scene where the Joker was in ‘human face’ in order to blend in with the public a bit before unceremoniously having it removed to reveal his true color and causing havoc in the Iceberg Lounge.
Marvel – The Incredible Hulk #9 – The Hulk has realized that whereas he used to occupy Banner’s body, the gamma bomb that was set off on Banner’s own Island of Doctor Moreau early in this recently re-launched series has turned the tables and now Banner occupies Hulk’s body instead. And Banner only emerges when Hulk calms down. And much like how Banner had no idea how he ended up in the various predicaments the Hulk used to get him in, Hulk is always surprised to find the surroundings Banner takes him to when he’s in control. This time, they end up at the bottom of the ocean.
For as much as DC has screwed up their universal relaunch, it seems that Marvel has gotten a lot of their individual relaunches right and that includes this monthly. Basically picking up right where the old series left off, The Incredible Hulk relaunch marked a different tone, different writers, and reset the numbering, but kept in line with the continuity and in this case found a way to turn the Hulk on his head for the third or fourth time in the past decade as a character and still kept him interesting. And he still smashes everything in sight. Everyone wins. This was another exciting issue that had a great beginning, middle, and end, but still left it open enough that we want to pick up the next issue as Hulk starts under the sea, and ends up in deep space. A terrific adventure as the Hulk continues to battle the enemy within makes The Incredible Hulk a monthly to definitely to keep an eye on.
Marvel – Deadpool #56 – The Merc with a Mouth continues trying to adjust to being without his healing factor and feels he needs to get his mojo back as years of relying on the healing factor has taken away his edge. So he calls on Taskmaster to help him. But Taskmaster obviously is someone who can’t be trusted and so Deadpool learns a hard lesson in dealing with the world now that he is powerless.
Even without his healing factor, Deadpool is still one of the funniest books out there as the inner dialogue with the voices in his head, and the rise of Paste Pot Pete as his new nemesis, is just great to see develop over the past couple of issues and continue here. The thing that I worry about is that it took 50 issues for Deadpool to change even slightly as a character and although still entertaining to read, now that he is without his healing factor and blowing himself up a lot less, the book seems to have lost something. So I hope that Marvel gets Deadpool out of this ‘finding himself’ funk sooner rather than later because this self-pitying ‘pool could get old fast.
Archie – Mega Man #14 – The anti-robot activist group known as The Emerald Spears has trapped dozens of robots in the convention center and its up to Mega Man and the rest of the robot masters to make sure that humans and robots alike make it out alive! Meanwhile, Dr. Wily is lost in the wilderness concocting his next scheme and getting ready to deploy his next group of robot villains.
I was worried a bit about this monthly because in only 12 issues, they blew through the first two Mega Man games basically. But introducing new enemies like The Emerald Spears to delay moving into Mega Man 3 really makes me think that this book could have a long and ongoing shelf life. And that thrills me to no end because this is possibly the best-written monthly video game inspired comic book we’ve ever seen. It gives a lot of great characters personality we didn’t know they had and delivers on the action that we grew up actually playing. And as new robots are introduced like Quake Woman in the last issue, you wonder if the comic book may lead to some new game inspirations down the line for the Blue Bomber. It may be because the Mega Man franchise has always been one of my personal favorite gaming properties, but I can’t get enough of this book. I love the tone, the character arcs, and the fact that a lot of the robot masters that Mega Man liberates return to Dr. Light’s care and add a lot of surprising depth as the roster grows as the stories move through the games. If you love Mega Man, then get on board with this book NOW.