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The Pullbox – Issue #19

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Posted on January 14, 2012 AT 09:00am

We are back folks! Finally caught up with the back issues I missed over the holiday as well this week’s releases. And let me tell you, that was no easy feat, never mind actually picking this week’s Pullbox. But that was difficult, too. A lot of great comics, especially from Marvel and on the Indie side of things, made for some tough choices this week, but I think that the elite have risen to the top. So here is this week’s Pullbox!

1) Marvel – The Amazing Spider-Man #677: When the Black Cat is framed for a technology theft she didn’t commit, as Spider-Man can attest to since he was with her at the alleged time of the crime, Spidey calls in his old friend Matt Murdock to help him get to the bottom of the case and to help the Cat clear her name.

Although I’ve steered clear of Spider-Man for the most part because I think the character only regresses with every major event he takes part in, this issue sees the start of a brief crossover with a character who has been rejuvenated in past months, Daredevil. And so I decided to pick up this comic and was pleasant surprised. Brilliant artwork and the banter between Spidey and Daredevil is hysterical as they work together over the course of the issue that will be concluded in the next issue of Daredevil. There is also a point in the comic where Spider-Man questions himself and wishes he had Daredevil’s strength of character as he has had more problems than anyone else in the Marvel universe and didn’t really need a cheap character re-launch by pick himself back up. As someone who has been furious at most of Spidey’s writers for a while, that made me feel good.

2) Marvel – Carnage USA #2 (of 5): As Carnage continues his dominance of a small town in the middle of the country, Spidey finds himself getting help from some unlikely sources as he tries to formulate a plan that could finally put down Cletus Kasady for good.

Surprising I know to put a pair of Spider-Man comics at the top, but this mini-series and the last one by Zeb Wells clearly show who should be at the helm of the wall-crawler in the future. His storylines in both these mini-series and the new Avenging Spider-Man show that he knows what Spider-Man fans want. Smart, witty banter between Spidey and his enemies, some cameos from other Marvel heroes once in a while, and to pit Spidey against his more iconic villains instead of working on new threats or some thing more on a global scale that should stick to Avengers stories. Marvel touts that Spider-Man is the world’s greatest super hero. It’s stories like these that actually give them a case in defending that claim.

3) DC – Batman and Robin #5: Damian Wayne has made his choices and has decided that he is sick of being treated like the child that Batman thinks he is. So, when offered a chance to follow “Nobody”, better known as Morgan Ducard, the son of one of Batman’s former teachers, Henri Ducard he took it to satiate his killer instincts. But will Robin actually pull the trigger when the time comes? 

There are a lot of similarities between the development of Damian so far as a character to the original Jason Todd, but the fact this twisted being is in the body of a 10-year-old boy makes it a bit more creepy. With the knowledge of his past mistakes always looming in the back of his mind, it’ll be interesting to see what Batman does to not only win Damian back and if he finally starts to grow into the “father figure” role that Damian so clearly needs, but if he reveals all of his secrets to Damian who so desperately desires his trust just as much as his love. Left open on another cliffhanger ending, the next issue will definitely see some sparks fly and if you want to see just what the future of the Batman and Robin dynamic will be, you’re going to want to start with this issue.

4) DC – Deathstroke #5: Realizing his long thought dead son may actually be alive, Slade Wilson, better known as Deathstroke the Terminator, must also deal with the fact that the closest thing he’s ever had to a friend in Christoph, has just received his head as a very clear message. Along with Peabody, Deathstroke must continue to track down his clearly enraged son while also still dealing with yet another person wearing the Legacy suit. But this newest hunter has some metahuman powers that will put Slade’s own to the test.

Always guaranteed to provide tons of over the top action, this issue continues that trend while bringing up more questions of where Deathstroke goes from here as things just seem to get more and more complicated and he really doesn’t know who to trust as that short list just got shorter. The interesting thing of course will be how he handles this new Legacy and if the running joke of this new character being cannon fodder comes to an end as we also learn the extent of this new Legacy’s powers. We’ve seen some super-strength and some high level telekinesis. It’ll be interesting if there is anything else up his sleeve as he takes on the world’s greatest assassin.

5) Image – PIGS #5: The Russian sleeper cell continues to fracture from within as a new assignment has come their way and requires them to break into a prison to perform an assassination. As the ante has been raised, more of the group starts to hesitate and decides to go with the more subtle approach unlike their first mission, but things don’t exactly go according to plan. Or do they?

With so many comics revolving around super-heroes and crazy powers and worldwide threats from extraterrestrial beings and whatnot, it’s great writing like this that makes me a fan of comics. An espionage thriller like this is a rarity in today’s market, but hopefully it continues for a good long while, or at least as naturally as the story will allow it to. The rift that is forming in the group and knowing everything that is riding on it, you don’t know who to root for as its easy to lose sight of the fact that the story really revolves around bad guys. So now the big question becomes when will the US government start to step in and really up the ante for what is already an interesting and high intensity book.

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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