The Weekly Pull – 10/24/12


I got nothing. Think I caught a bug of some kind, so I really have no energy for a witty introduction. Includes THE FLASH #13, ALL STAR WESTERN #13, TALON #1, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #696, AVENGERS VS X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #3, and ADVENTURE TIME #9.

THE FLASH #13 returns us to the events we left when we took that detour into origin town, where the Rogues – led by Golden Glider – just trounced the Flash in a massive battle. It does help their case that Captain Cold is a backstabber. That was a great time to be had.

And then the gorillas attacked Central City. Typical.

Back in issue nine, readers were introduced to the modern version of Gorilla Grodd, a classic Flash villain from a race of hyper intelligent gorillas with aspirations for conquest. In the aforementioned issue nine, Grodd attempted to devour our hero’s brain in order to gain access to the Speed Force; the gorillas were retconned in this continuity to have a connection to the speed force. A connection that renders them a great threat when the Rogues have to revive the Flash to help defend the city, only for the gorillas to be unusually competent in a fight against a speedster.

One of the things I really like about the Rogues is that conceptually, they aren’t as one note as other villains. They’re in it for the score, the mad dollars, the Benjamins, yo. As such, their relationship to the Flash and to Central City is more of a business relationship. What I’m trying to say is that they aren’t above (or below as the case may be) teaming with the Flash if the situation demands it. They’re pleasant to be around, even if you expect them to perpetrate some crime.

Except for the Trickster. Personally I never liked the second Trickster, he’s always come off as a weasley little punk, and I much prefer the one that’s now dead (and possibly no longer in continuity?). It would seem the comic is cognizant of the current Trickster being a little shit, and promptly…disarms him, if you get my offhand remark.

I’m saying Grodd rips the kid’s arm off. Does it make me a terrible person that I cheered this happening?

In ALL STAR WESTERN #13, the gang investigate a series of brutal murders they think were incited by people consuming a knockoff of Dr Jekyll’s potion. Yes, that Dr Jekyll. Because we can’t have enough references to other books, the trail leads to Haly Circus. Also at one point a character refers to another character hailing from Smallville, because as much as I like this series it loves to namedrop famous DC people and places at every opportunity.

This is kind of spoiling the comic, but I need to address it. We learn that the guy who hired Hex et al in fact has Dr Jekyll imprisoned on a ship. But when we see him, he’s changed into the cannibalistic Mr Hyde. And it may just be a wonky perspective of the one panel we see of him, but he appears to be over ten feet tall. If such is true, I blame the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for popularizing the image of a huge, ape-like Mr Hyde. There’s a stated reason why he looked like that in Moore’s interpretation.

See also the sacrilege of including Pyramid Head in the Silent Hill movie.

As is the format of All Star Western, we’ve got a new backup story involving a classic western comic character. This time it’s Tomahawk, Indian warrior. And in this version, he’s firmly in conflict with the forces of American expansion into native lands. It’s set in the period following the American Revolution, so the comic wastes no time adding another reference to Batman lore, this time to a General Anthony Wayne, who Washington sends to fight Tomahawk’s forces. It’s curiously refreshing that neither side is particularly “noble”, the white forces murdering entire villages, and the native forces mercilessly killing captured soldiers. I just like not having to see the white man as always the bad guy in such situations. The natives aren’t all that great either, which makes a perverse balance.

It’s another two part story, this time with art by Rob Leigh. The coloring has a kind of painted effect, which works well with the older time period than usual.

TALON #1 is the other series I started last month from its zero issue, and unlike Sword of Sorcery, this one actually seems like one could begin reading from issue one and not be confused as to what’s going on. Reading issue zero would certainly help, but number one gets at least the basics of the series out of the way: Calvin Rose was trained by the Court of Owls to be their elite assassin – the Talon – until he broke off from them. He’s been running ever since. With the recent Night of the Owls storyline in the main Batman titles, the Court is apparently dead, so Calvin goes to investigate.

Turns out the body of the Court isn’t dead, just wounded and reeling. It’s undead Talons reduced to a mere dozen, its most powerful members murdered, and its coffers plundered, the Court lies in a precarious situation. Such a situation that can be taken advantage of by an opportunistic old man with all the intel on the Court and a newly drafted Calvin Rose. This man is Sebastian Clark – a man who clearly looks like an owl judging by his facial features – and because of his personal history with the Court he wants it destroyed. Will the two outliers of the Gotham Illuminati be able to work together to extinguish the Owls once and for all?

This is certainly a promising series and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already checked it out. I suspect we’re in for another twelve issue limited series (like Sword of Sorcery), assuming it’s popular enough. I see no reason why it won’t do well. That being said, this is most likely where I end off on Talon. Plenty more irons sit in my fires, demanding my attention (and cash; again, it’s about the Benjamins, my boy). The reason I gave this series the two issues (zero and one) before ending off was because I knew the series proper wouldn’t begin until issue one.

We do get a nice Talon-on-Talon fight here though. It’s pretty nice, though Calvin doesn’t don his modified Talon design until the end. Shame I’ll miss it.

Speaking of like-on-like violence, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #696 gives readers the long teased battle between the old and new Hobgoblins. As explained previously on The Weekly Pull, the Hobgoblin was a relatively newer villain in Spiderman’s villains gallery, created to replace the Green Goblin during a time when bringing the latter back would have been unfeasible and ill-advised. The original Hobgoblin was a man named Roderick Kingsley (though it took forever to finally reveal that fact in the comics), and he’s back in force to reclaim the title from the opportunistic Phil Urich (who assumed the title after killing the previous Hobgoblin, Kingsley’s brother).

Also the last issue ended with Urich!Hobgoblin capturing Peter Parker and delivering him to the Kingpin. I assumed that Peter’s identity might finally be made known to the world by the context of his capture. That we’d get a thorough shift in the franchise dynamics in time for the Marvel NOW!

I assumed incorrectly. Frankly the idea of revealing Peter’s identity – again – seems silly in retrospect. No, it’s another of those instances where Peter got captured on the pretense that he’s Spiderman’s “friend” (in this case weapons supplier), and neither the Hobgoblin nor the Kingpin suspect their connection may be closer than that. What’s this, the eighteenth time alone that the Kingpin in particular can’t make the connection once he’s captured Spiderman?

Although at least a few of those were probably in the Ultimate universe, so they don’t count.

Meanwhile, Roderick Kingsley finally puts on his classic Hobgoblin uniform, and goes in to fight Urich. And thus the epic confrontation unfolds. I for one enjoy seeing the different takes on the concept, with Urich!Hobgoblin sporting a flaming sword and a flight backpack (and more orange-yellow eyes), while Kingsley!Hobgoblin flies on a classic goblin glider and tosses bombs (and has red eyes). I’ve never even been all that big a fan of the Hobgoblin, but now I feel like finding some back issues of him, whatever version.

And it only gets better next issue. Can you say Hobgoblin team-up? I’m kind of scared right now.

Continuing its weekly romps through my pull list, AVENGERS VS X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #3 diverges more than last issue. Heavy focus remains on Cyclops in prison, being threatened by mutant-hating convicts and a system that seems to want him to die. But we also see how several other major players from AVX are holding up. Iron Man continues his faith vs science issues at K’un-Lun, Magik makes a short cameo to Storm of the X-Men, and Emma Frost gives us a tour of her super-prison arrangements. Oh, and Hope is attending private school.

I need to say something. The way the artist renders the men in this comic is decent enough, but I’ve got a major problem with the women. It’s definitely the pouting lips that turn me off, a feature consistent across all the female characters.

Finally there’s ADVENTURE TIME #9, and the finale of the time-travel saga. Strangely enough, this entire plot can be divided into three phases as it pertains to their use of the time travel conceit. The first is the comedy phase, where time travel is used to perpetuate shenanigans. The second is the drama phase, where time travel is used to explore a dark, gritty dystopian future. And the third phase is what I call the meta phase (not to be confused with Meta-phase, a key part of cellular mitosis). In this, the series uses time travel to be as meta-fictional and self-referential as possible.

To wit! Remember the original Adventure Time pilot? They go there, literally. As in Finn and Jake use their new time machine – the one they got by exploiting the nature of time travel to get it from their future selves – to go back to the events of the pilot. They even take the chance to retroactively fill in inconsistancies within that pilot and between it and the main series. Ever wonder why Finn originally went by the name Pen in the pilot? This is explained in this comic.

So basically, this comic is not only in continuity with the rest of the franchise, but it’s necessary to understand said franchise on a baser level. Then again, that’s not saying much for a franchise that includes a wizard’s sentient heart bursting from his chest and speaking with the voice of George Takai. I wish I could make this up.

The backup story involves Finn and Jake engaging in a friendly fishing contest. It goes awry, as usual. Worth noting is that this backup story was written and drawn by the team behind Reed Gunther, a series published by Image Comics about a cowboy and the bear he rides as a steed. I’ve not had the pleasure of reading it myself, but I’ve heard very good things about the comic. Might look into it when I have the chance.

Did you know a cowboy could ride a bear in the old west? Does the idea of a Gordian knot made from the space-time continuum intrigue you? Do you find the current Trickster as annoying as I do? Should writers try to distance themselves from a common depiction of a character, or is there value in being consistent with the popular consciousness? Did anyone only catch the number one issue of Talon? Should Spiderman’s secret identity be revealed again? And what’s your opinion on the poutiness of women’s lips in comics? Leave a comment below.

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