The Weekly Pull – 1/25/12


Yet another week of stretching the number of books up for discussion to their limit. Then again, it’s better for them to be filling up here and not overcrowding some other week.

[And for those wondering why five books seems like enough (arbitrary as it is), it’s because five or six is the number of covers I can fit on a single line before they start going on to multiple lines.]

First on the list is ALL STAR WESTERN #5. Since the book has shifted story arcs already, this issue serves to develop the mismatched professional relationship between Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham. The book does this by throwing them in a cave with darkness and dampness and that native tribe that dwells inside the batcave during that period. Those who read the Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries will remember that tribe as being vitally important to the proceedings of Bruce’s time hopping adventure. In the context of this story, they basically amount to another threat for Hex to knock around. Because he’s a professional Indian fighter.

There’s also the second part of the Barbary Ghost side story, which finishes the backstory for the old west heroine and her family’s beef with a local crime lord. We’ll most likely see the payoff for this plot next issue. I don’t know about this one, people. For some reason I have a hard time getting engaged with this plot. It doesn’t engage me as well as the El Diablo subplot from before. I’ll get back to you on this one.

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #5 is an important issue for the series, for multiple reasons. For one, I finally realized something about the plot point with Saint Walker growing back Arkillo’s tongue. How exactly did he do that? I mean, I know why it was done; it was inconvenient for Arkillo to talk using his ring, so that scene gave him back his speech. But have the Blue Lanterns always had the ability to regenerate the damaged tissue of others? Or do Arkillo’s species just have regeneration traits, but he suffered a mental block that prevented it until Walker made him feel better?

It’s just a minor complaint, but a little explanation is all I ask.

This issue finally ties up that loose end about Bleez, which was a pretty huge loose end considering Red Lanterns has been published concurrently. It does beg the question of whether post-blood ocean Bleez will be coming back in later issues, or whether another Red Lantern will come in to take her place.

Other things of note, we actually get the slightest bit of development for Indigo Tribesman Munk, as well as finally getting some insight into what exactly Glomulus is. Apparently, while the little orange ball is a construct of Larfleeze, he’s not a mindless puppet. He’s a separate entity, which is something I would not have expected. He doesn’t have much to say so far, but at least he’s getting a personality all his own.

Speaking of Agent Orange, turns out he has far more to do with the current story arc than previously hinted. All told, I’m intrigued by these developments. Still worth checking out, but new readers should probably check out the back issues on digital download or pick up the inevitable trade paperback.

Next up, THE FLASH #5. We come to the end of the Mob Rule story arc, but it’s obvious we haven’t seen the last of Manuel or Mob Rule. On the one hand, the resolution (without spoilers) does seem just a bit out of left field, but it makes sense why it would happen. DC made a point of stressing that many of the old superheroes would be getting new villains. I look forward to seeing them come back down the line. However, the set up for the next story arch confounds me. We’re seriously doing time travel this early in the run? We just had an entire continuity altering event that heavily involved time travel, and we’re doing it again?

Regardless, I’m going to continue on, because the next issue, among other things, promises a showdown with Captain Cold. Let’s see if DC intends to revamp his character, as a product of the reboot.

In the meantime, JUSTICE LEAGUE #5 has been long overdue. Okay, just a week overdue, but it’s finally time to look at it. The promised battle with Darkseid turned out to be a minor scuffle, before breaking off for other scenes. It looks like the next issue hereafter will have the real battle. Which is fine, we got some character development for Hal Jordan instead.

But that brings me to a point. Not to spoil anything significant, but Batman unmasks in front of Hal, for reasons I won’t get into. I don’t know which makes less sense: that Batman would unmask himself and reveal his identity to a man he met a few hours ago, or that Hal wouldn’t know who Bruce Wayne is. For the other heroes, it would make sense. Just because you know a guy’s face doesn’t mean you know who they are. But Hal didn’t know the face or name of one of the richest men in the country?

[I like how I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can make criticisms of the books I pick up, rather than heaping praise. That was so boring.]

Anyway, Justice League is still solid, though the slow pace still bugs me. I suppose when I go back and read all the issues of this storyline, it won’t plod along as much. That’s the advantage of buying books week to week. One can always go back and read them again.

Moving away from DC comics, our last offering for this week is MARKSMEN #5 (of 6). To my knowledge this is the first I’ve talked about the miniseries on this site. Mostly because this issue experienced delays, just like Justice League #5.

How alarmingly coincidental.

The basic plot behind Marksmen is that in the future, an economic collapse reduced civilization to barbaric times. But unlike most other instances of such things in other media, civilization just rebuilt itself. In America, new nations formed from the old, such as the technologically advanced city state of New San Diego and the theocracy of Lone Star. And the story behind the book explores the conflict between the two when Lone Star runs out of oil, and seeks to obtain the resources and technology of New San Diego.

Because no comic about economic collapse would be complete without a villainous state controlled by amoral Texans that use religion as a means of controlling the populous. It’s hard being a Christian in Texas and a comic book fan.

Which is not to say I’ve been all that bitter. Maybe slightly, but as a fan of comics I’ve learned to just let it go and enjoy the ride. And it’s been a fairly decent five issues. At this point, though, I’m not entirely sure if this miniseries has been a good one or a bad one. I’ll have to get back to you on that when it’s finished. Maybe a retrospective, since I can’t exactly trust my perceptions right now, given how long this issue was delayed.

I’ve been a bad mood lately, so it’s been hard to enjoy my comics. Could be the weather, or coming back to school after Christmas break. Whatever it is, I’ve been in a malaise that inhibits my work.

Well, that’s everything I bought this week. Well, except for one thing. This week marks the beginning of IDW Publishing’s new crossover event, Infestation 2. And for this occasion, I bought INFESTATION 2 #1. Look for my first impressions in the coming days.

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