The Weekly Pull – 1/18/12


Something worth noting is the curious lack of JUSTICE LEAGUE #5. That’s because, just like my thoughts on two of the picks this time, delays happen. For reasons known only to DC, their flagship title, solicited for this week, didn’t come in. Which is good, in a way. Counting the holdovers from last week with this week’s purchases, we come to six books that need talking about.

First on the list and long overdue is THE STRAIN #2. Over a month ago I found the first issue to be deeply engaging, and the second continues this trend. An eclipse came and went, and now undead abominations stalk the night unchecked. We also get plenty of additional information about how the vampires in this series work; white infected blood with the consistency of spoiled milk, and a long tongue, make these bloodsuckers visually interesting and frightening.

Needless to say, this book isn’t suitable for children or the weak of stomach. Reader discretion is advised.

Another series I did a first impressions on not too long ago, THE RAY #2 continues the nonlinear storytelling of the first issue. The protagonist and narrator seems fully cognizant of the fact that they’re running on a tight schedule, which breaks convention at least. The most noteworthy parts of this issue are the Ray learning some more about the flying sea creatures that assault his city; his failed attempts to endear himself with his girlfriend’s parents by making himself look Indian; and his girlfriend getting kidnapped in fashion that would be cliché except for it obviously being done ironically by an antagonist who’s in on the joke.

Is it proper form to seriously use “ironic” when describing actions that use irony as a cover for otherwise corny plots?

Regardless, this issue hasn’t exactly made me clamor for a third, but it also hasn’t done anything to put me off buying a third either. Miniseries have the advantage of only needing to keep an audience for a few issues.

Speaking of miniseries-like behavior, we come to the end of a story arc with DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #5, featuring Deadman. Upon further reflection, my earlier assessment of this series was probably unfair to the book. Make no mistake, the finale to the Deadman storyline works well, without destroying the status quo to any perceptible degree. However, for the sake of spoilers all I can say is that I wasn’t unsatisfied at the end of this experiment on DC’s part.

But then there’s the hitch. After this, DCU Presents will have a new storyline, showcasing an entire new cast of characters. I’ve checked ahead, and it’s of no one I know. Probably the exact reason why this series exists, but nonetheless I have reservations about continuing. More research is required before I commit to the next arc.

BATMAN #5, on the other hand, makes me more certain than ever of committing to this series like a husband to his wife. This issue took my breath away. A real mind screw, and I loved every minute of it. We’re talking about an entire issue of Batman walking around a maze, starving, hunted by threats unknown, and only drugged water to quench his thirst. This is probably one of the best threats Batman ever faced since Bane in Knightfall, just by the enemy thoroughly messing with his perception of reality and driving him to exhaustion.

Flipping the narrative (and the layout) on its side and upside down doesn’t hurt either.

If you aren’t already reading adjectiveless BATMAN, then you ought to be. Although, coming into it now won’t make much sense, considering the first story arc has yet to end even now. For those who missed out, there’s always the digital store, or the inevitable trade paperbacks. Whatever form it takes, buy this series! I use exclamation points to emphasis the imperative need for you to buy this book!

From IDW (and DC) comes STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPERHEROES #4. Things certainly move a good pace, which is good considering how close to the end we are. I don’t recall the miniseries was meant to last, but I’d give it another issue after this before it ends.

Really, there’s not a lot to say at this point. It’s a pretty good story so far, and best of all hasn’t alienated people unfamiliar with both source materials. It’s actually been a fairly accommodating miniseries considering what it has to work with. Although there’s one question I’m left with. For the sake of spoilers, I’ll keep it to myself because it has everything to do with the big reveal. Suffice to say I’ll need to do some research on Star Trek, so as to properly appreciate how mindblowing the reveal apparently is.

And finally, to round off the pulls this week is AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #2. Originally I wasn’t entirely sold on buying the whole miniseries. But since Justice League got delayed, a hole needed filling.

It just occurred to me that this limited series probably ties into the upcoming Avengers Vs. X-Men event. Indeed I ought to have figured this out earlier, but I’ve gone my life missing other obvious things. Why stop now? The point is that I figured out the connection when I recalled that Hope figures prominently in this story. And because it’s an X-Men character fighting the Avengers.

Anyway, I enjoyed this issue and want to keep reading. The fight with Iron Man allows Cable to prove what advantages being from the future can bring. He basically fights Tony Stark with power armour (kinda) that Tony hasn’t even invented yet. Also, Red Hulk shows up and steals the show. I know that Hulk strongest one there is, and Red Hulk is stronger still. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the next issue.

Also, Chibi-Hope is absolutely adorable.

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