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The Pullbox – Issue #8

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Posted on October 6, 2011 AT 06:30pm

With the first month of DC’s universal re-launch behind us, Marvel has decided to start re-launching some more characters of their own in response. Along with Hulk coming out later this month, we see this week the conclusion of the Schism story line in the X-Men to pave way for several new X-Men monthlies featuring two different teams. So, what series are worth continuing in the DC re-launch and what can Marvel do to draw your attention away from it? And there’s a surprisingly good indie that came out this week as well that deserves you attention so without further ado, check out the Pullbox below!

1) Marvel – X-Men: Schism #5 (of 5): As a giant Sentinel came bearing down onto Utopia, Wolverine and Cyclops’ 30-year rivalry has finally come to a head with the two of them duking it out like never before. Meanwhile, while they try to work out their differences with Wolverine stabbing Cyclops several times and Cyclops blasting off Wolverine’s face, it is the young X-Men and Hope’s new recruits who come in and save the day. With a clear moral divide now present on the island, Wolverine decides to leave for good and several various members of the X-Men decide to join him. You need to see this just to see who breaks rank with Cyclops and to set up what looks to be an awesome foreseeable future for the two new X-Men teams. The best part about this mini-series is that it shows everyone how a re-launch should really take place. Marvel has been infamous in the past for screwing them up, but this coupled with the Hulk’s re-launch, both look promising depending on how they come out of the gate with their new respective series. DC has been pretty awful as well including this new universal re-launch. Some characters stayed the same while others were completely re-written or retconned and just had me scratching my head in many cases. It should be interesting to see where the X-Men go from here, but if I were you, start here and get ready for one wild ride.

2) Marvel – Deadpool #44: Moving away from the almost somber tone that the dividing of the X-Men brings, we look to the greatest comic relief character in comics, Deadpool. Still in England, Deadpool is hot on the trail of his would be psychiatrist/stalker when he goes into her apartment and finds a frozen version of…himself. Leaving it for the time being, Deadpool , having grown a small conscience and realizing that it is his fault that his shrink is about to commit murder, for once actually saves someone he dislikes. But in the end, the doc bites the big one and that frozen version of Deadpool? It looks like it’s going to be EVIL DOPPELGANGER time next issue! Yee-haw! Sorry. I, too, begin developing extra voices in my head after reading too much Deadpool. Anyway, Deadpool is always hysterical to read and sees him in the most over-the-top, off-the-wall situations in comics. With everyone else saving the world, Deadpool can barely even save himself most of the time, relying on his healing factor even more than Wolverine does, and it is always entertaining. Again, this issue wraps up a story arc and sets up the next nicely so it would be a solid point to jump in at and the laughs you’ll get from it makes this an easy choice this week.

3) Image – Last of the Greats #1: Earth is under attack and after not heeding the warnings from beings of tremendous power, they must now go to the last one and beg for his help against an invading alien force. Simple in it’s description, but so deep in its writing and art, that this is the most pleasant shock I’ve had in a while from an indie comic. I actually had a chance to speak to the author of this book, Joshua Hale Fialkov and we both agreed that the thing that should first draw people in is the cover, especially this alternate version you see to the left. Beautiful in its simplicity while harking back to a classic in the Watchmen with the smiley face with a drop of blood on it, Last of the Greats could become something that could rival Spawn for Image’s top monthly comic in my opinion because this first issue was just that damn good. It was dark in a way you rarely see in comics and in just the first issue had enough twists and turns that it made your jaw drop and that’s saying something considering these are characters we have no history with. I’m thrilled to hear this is a monthly and that the next three issues are ready for print (again via Fialkov) because I think this is going to be something really special and cannot wait to pick up issue #2.

4) DC – Swamp Thing #2: I admit that my first experiences with Swamp Thing growing up was the movies and later a short-lived cartoon. I never read the comics and so I had a very limited knowledge of the character until later in life and thought that its return at the end of the Brightest Day was one of the worst things DC had done in recent history. But maybe it is that poor rebirth penned by Geoff Johns and my cheesy childhood memories that had limited my expectations for this comic and led to my pleasant surprise that it has been pretty good. We learn more of the history of the Swamp Thing and it almost sounded a bit like the history of Spawn to be honest, but revolving around plant life. Still, Alec Holland having to face this global threat, unknown forces working against him, and the tremendous pressure for him to take back up the mantle of Swamp Thing, makes him a surprisingly deep character only two issues in to this new series. Whether you’re like me and don’t have the history with Swamp Thing or read everything Len Wein and Alan Moore wrote for the character, I think you’d be pleased with how this is going and should definitely pick this up.

5) DC – Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 (of 5): With Batman: Arkham City right around the corner and since The Penguin is a main villain in the game, I particularly enjoyed this comic because it gives rare insight into the character of the Penguin himself if you are unfamiliar with Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot’s rough upbringing. The ruthlessness the Penguin portrays as we see his psychological profile through the brilliant art of the book is really something Batman fans old and new will enjoy and it is nice to see this classic villain is another character mainly untouched by DC’s universal re-launch. It’s also a good comic because it is clearly a set-up for a much larger story as no Penguin story would be complete without interference from the Dark Knight. What new scheme is the Penguin working on or what is he covering up that will draw the Caped Crusader’s interest? I think this is an easy pick-up for all the Batman fans out there as true Batman fans know how underrated the Penguin can be at times as a villain and this arc looks like it might help put the Penguin back into the spotlight for a time. Proof positive to never underestimate even the runts in a litter as rotten as that of the Cobblepots.

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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