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The Pullbox – Issue #18

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Posted on December 17, 2011 AT 01:30pm

This last Pullbox of the year before our winter break sees a lot of limited series take the spotlight as we’re simply seeing better potential for more complete stories from these limited series than a lot of monthlies lately. We also feature our first independently published Indie as it doesn’t get more independent than that. So enjoy this Pullbox and we will be back the week of Jan. 11!

1) DC – Batman and Robin #4: Ghosts of Batman’s past continue to haunt him as the son of Henri Ducard, one of Bruce’s most influential teachers, has surfaced calling himself “Nobody”. And he looks to teach Batman a lesson he will never forget. And it may cost him Damian in the process.

The most compelling aspect of this story so far is really the dynamic between Bruce and Damian. As Bruce tries to protect him more and more, he seems to push Damian farther and farther away and possible right into the arms of Nobody. More old-school fans might not appreciate this dynamic though because it has a very Bruce/Jason Todd feel to the banter. Of course, Damian is also Bruce biological son and there is a lot more history in a much shorter time because of his origins than what needed to be laid out with Jason.  Overall, definitely a story to keep an eye on though and very strong so far. It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out and is finally resolved.

2) DC – Deathstroke #4: Deathstroke is up to business as usual as he continues to use his infinite resources to start tying up loose ends and finally verify the contents of that briefcase that has haunted him since the first issue.

After an action packed opening sequence to set the tone of the issue as Deathstroke performs another hit, you would think it was father/son week at the DC offices as we finally learn that the contents of the briefcase are a freshly bloodied Ravager mask and knife insinuating that somehow, Deathstroke’s son is still alive. When you couple this with the bloody conclusion of the issue with a mysterious assailant attacking one of Deathstroke’s allies and you start setting up a few potential rivals for this major DC Universe player. It’ll be interesting to see though if DC strings this out over a few issues much like they did with the reveal of the briefcase or if they jump right into it, but it is unlikely. They’ll look to build some suspense first as Deathstroke hasn’t shown the depth of character in many other ways through these first four issues and this can give them a chance to build some while building up to an epic confrontation.

3) Marvel – Carnage USA #1 (of 5): After months of planning, Cletus Kasady has finally decided how he is going to exact his revenge not only on Spider-Man, but on the entire world.

After the critically acclaimed five-issue series Carnage by Zeb Wells that brought one of Marvel’s best villains back into the spotlight, this mini-series looks to follow up where that left off. While Carnage was hiding, he finds that his powers have grown in new and interesting ways and decides to set up his most elaborate trap for the wall-crawler before making himself a new powerhouse in the world and not just looking to kill a town or a city, but to finally go global. Honestly, if you’re like me and got into comics right around the time of Maximum Carnage, then that story and everything that has come after it still holds a special place in your heart. And to see Zeb Wells start working on these epic symbiote style storylines that make sense really hits that sweet nostalgia spot that Dan Slott has not been able to for me in the main Spidey continuity. Add in Clayton Crain’s spectacular artwork and this is a must for old-school Spidey fans.

4) Marvel – Avengers: Sanction #1 (of 4): The ultimate soldier of fortune is back and Cable is none too pleased with what he has learned. Thought to be dead, he merely timeshifted to a future so distant that only his old time traveling mentor Blaquesmith is there waiting for him. There Cable learns he will be consumed by his techno-organic virus within 24 hours, but when Blaquesmith explains the world he currently stands in is a wasteland because Hope had died before her time, Cable knows what his final mission must be: to go back in time and stop Hope’s would be killers, the Avengers.

Considering this is only supposed to be four issues, expect the action to be hot and heavy. Aside from taking on Captain America and the Falcon in the first issue and using them as bait for the other Avengers, the big question that this series brings up is what will become of Cable now? Will this be his true swan song? Is this how he will be brought back into the fold? And if so, you’d have to assume he would side with Cyclops, right? Lots of questions come from this one issue and by that definition alone, if you’re a Cable fan you need to pick up this issue.

5) Independently Published – Sacrifice #1 (of 6): An epileptic boy with strange tattoos and on an array of medication is somehow connected to the ancient Aztecs and their massive empire from hundreds of years ago.

Time travel, human sacrifice, psychedelic trips, and a lot of questions makes this one of the more interesting comics I’ve read in a while because I have no idea where it is going to go because I barely have an idea where it’s just been. Flashing back and forward through time with each turn of the page keeps you on your toes and the action and plot is definitely intriguing enough to pick up a second issue, but I admit if things don’t start to come together fast, there may be too many moving parts to stick with this the whole way through. But the first issue? Definitely worthy of our indie pick as it clearly has a lot of awesome elements that if brought together in the next issue or two can make for a very entertaining mini-series.

Ray Carsillo, Reviews Editor
Ray Carsillo has extensive roots in geek culture, as he’s written about videogames, comics, and movies for such outlets as Newsday.com, ESPNNewYork.com, Classic Game Room on YouTube, Collider.com, and Comicvine.com before finally settling into his role as EGM’s reviews editor. His main goal in life? To become king of all geek media, of course! Follow Ray’s exploits on Twitter: @RayCarsillo. Meet the rest of the crew.

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