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Pull List

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #27 ('Batman/TMNT', 'New Avengers' and 'Squirrel Girl')

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Squirrel GirlThis is a first.

It's the first time a Pull List will feature a review of a comic the same day as it actually hits newstands. Or comic book stores. Or wherever you happen to buy comic books. If you buy physical comic books and don't just read them online.

Anyway, that comic book is Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. So that's exciting! And then we have some more Squirrel Girl comics, which would be a bit more exciting if they also came out today (which they didn't) and I also hadn't featured Squirrel Girl in the last two Pull Lists (which I did). Oh, well, reviews after the break!

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #26 ('The New Avengers', 'The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl')

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squirrelgirlsandoval.jpg

This will be the second Pull List in a row to feature only Squirrel Girl comics (and also the second Pull List in a row to feature a The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1, because Marvel's doing a thing again). Between her and all the Friendship is Magic comics, this Pull List thing has just become one big, happy ball of positive energy. Except when I throw in a Hack/Slash, an Avengers Arena or a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #4, and things get a little darker.

But, the stories we tell (and the stories we enjoy) influence how we think of the world; it's much easier to believe the world will end in some kind of apocalypse when your favorite TV show is The Walking Dead (a show about the apocalyptic end of the world), even if you don't necessarily believe it will come via zombie plague. It's harder if you watch a show where you have to take a time machine five million years into the future to see the end of the world. So, anyway, if you're looking for a comic book series that might influence you to see the world more positively, basically, stuff with Squirrel Girl helps.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #25 ('The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl')

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1I've probably made it fairly clear in past Pull Lists, but just in case I haven't, Squirrel Girl is my favorite superhero. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Doreen Green is a Marvel mutant with the ability to talk to squirrels, as well as squirrel like agility, plus a squirrel tail. Together with her squirrel sidekick, Tippy Toe, she fights crime as Squirrel Girl. Very well. At risk of sounding like a hipster, I liked Squirrel Girl before Squirrel Girl was cool. Of course, Squirrel Girl is cool because she is not cool (which also sounds super hipster-y), but my love for the character is not ironic.

I like her because she is a genuine superhero; she both has superpowers and acts heroically, but more importantly, she also likes being a superhero. She has fun being a superhero. If she doesn't take, say, an encounter with Doctor Doom seriously, it's not because she herself sees the ridiculousness of the situation. She doesn't see fights with supervillains as something to worry about; she's a superhero. She is supposed to fight supervillains; and she wants to fight supervillains. On a meta-level (and though she doesn't quite go to, say, Deadpool's textual awareness level, like most "humorous" Marvel characters, she has her medium aware moments), she believes that she will win any fight with a supervillain because she is a superhero, and superheroes always win in the superhero stories she reads; therefore, by choosing to be a superhero, she chooses to win. It is not "realistic" that she should, say, beat Doctor Doom with squirrels, but, seeing as how she isn't real, reality does not concern her.

This is why she is such a divisive character; a certain sort of comic book fan believes that comic book superheroes can only be taken seriously if it is presented "realistically." This viewpoint has been the default comic book fan view for decades now, to the point where a character who regularly and unequivocally wins fights with supervillains, and doesn't angst about it, stands out like a sore thumb, and is therefore a breath of fresh air, especially if your personal preference (like mine) is Guardians of the Galaxy over Watchmen. This is not to say a comic book that deals with the consequences of superheroics is bad; it's to say that a comic book that deals with the consequences of superheroics isn't automatically good. And comic books that don't aren't automatically bad. Or for that matter, that "realism" and "explores consequences" are mutually exclusive.

So, anyway, Squirrel Girl has her own comic book now, and it's awesome. Here's a review of the first three issues.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #24 ('Guardians of the Galazy', 'TMNT')

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beboprocksteadyalt.jpgAt this point, I’m a bit behind of recent comic books, but I’m trying to get caught back up to recent times while bringing our readers reviews of every issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and a few even newer series we’ll be getting to eventually.

But for now, we’ve got Guardians of the Galaxy, plus I finish up the final couple of TMNT villains issues.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #23 ('GotG', 'MLP:FiM' and 'TMNT')

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Guardians of the Galaxy #7We’ve got three issues from what are becoming the core books of this Pull List series of articles.

The oldest title in the series is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which has been around since the first Pull List and 14 issues have appeared in 14 other pull lists, counting this one. Eight spin-off issues, including the original Micro-Series, the Villains Micro-Series and The Secret History of the Foot Clan have also appeared in seven Pull Lists, bringing the total TMNT number to 23 issues in 22 Pull Lists.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic began at the beginning with #1 in Pull List #6. Since then, 10 other issues have appeared in nine other Pull Lists, with seven issues of its Micro-Series featuring in seven Pull Lists, bring the franchise’s total up to 18 issues in 17 Pull Lists.

The new kids on the block are the Guardians of the Galaxy, with seven issues in seven Pull Lists and no spin-offs, so they’re also the easiest to keep track of.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #22 ('Howard the Duck')

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Howard the Duck #8For all the hubbub about Marvel Studios deciding to go with an obscure team featuring a talking raccoon with a machine gun for their latest movie, they’re only continuing on as they started.

Think about it; not counting serials, what was the first DC universe character to get his own movie? Batman, followed by Superman (followed by Batman, Batman again, even more Batman, Superman, Superman and next Batman and Superman together). That’s their two biggest guns, and barring that weird Ryan Reynolds thing and Vertigo adaptations, that’s about it.

What was Marvel’s first superhero to get his own theatrical movie? Howard the Duck, followed by Blade, a character who struggles to headline his own comic books, but somehow managed a trilogy of movies. Yeah, Howard the Duck was the first obvious warning sign George Lucas wasn’t perfect, but now that Guardians of the Galaxy movie doesn’t sound so weird, does it?

Anyway, this is a special edition of Pull List; we’re taking a look back at one of the odder cult characters in mainstream comics. Howard the Duck got his start in a horror comic, of all places, created by weird writer extraordinaire Steve Gerber (four words: elf with a gun). Howard would have been a nobody in his home universe, where everybody is a duck, but he got stuck in our world, “trapped in a world he never made,” as the series’ tagline goes (which kind of applies to everybody, but whatever), so he got his own comic book series here.

His comics’ introduction describes him:

From the time of his hatching, he was … different. A potentially brilliant scholar who dreaded the structured environment of school, he educated himself in the streets, taking whatever work was available, formulating his philosophy of self from what he learned of the world about him. And then the Cosmic Axis shifted … and that world changed. Suddenly, he was stranded in a universe he could not fathom. Without warning, he became a strange fowl in an even stranger land.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #21 ('MLP' and 'TMNT')

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Alopex by Ross CampbellAnother day, another Pull List.

Today, we’ve got some IDW titles, including issues from two very different Micro-Series. One is from the My Little Pony Micro-Series, which features cute adventures, and another is from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Villains Micro-Series.

It doesn’t feature cute adventures.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #20 ('GotG' and 'MLP')

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

Applejack party hat It’s another milestone issue, so we’re bringing back the “animals wearing party hats” tag. I couldn’t find a picture of Rocket Raccoon wearing a party hat, however. Seems he’s not the type to do something like that. But Applejack is the best pony for wearing hats (in addition to being best pony, period), and her Micro-Series is finally here, so there we go.

Also, since this issue number is divisible by ten, there’s another index of previous issues, in case you’ve been looking forward to it.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #19 ('GotG', 'MLP:FiM' and 'TMNT')

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Guardians of the Galaxy #5 (Alt Cover)I’m going to slip into a pattern here, with three titles that you’ll be seeing one each in each Pull List for a while; Guardians of the Galaxy, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I guess if you don’t care for one of those, you’ll be doing a lot of skipping. If you don’t like two of them, you’ll definitely want to skip these. And if you absolutely can’t stand any of them, that’s pretty bad. It probably means you don’t like comic books.

That’s okay. Maybe you got a really bad paper cut from one as a child. That could scar you for life, I guess. Not literally. Paper cuts don’t tend to lend scars.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #18 (‘Avengers Arena,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’)

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Avengers Arena #11Like I recently went with a triple feature for My Little Pony, I decided to do a pure Marvel comics Pull List. Why should IDW get all the fun? So we’re going to pretend like this is a special Marvel edition, okay? Anyway, until Beast uses bikini wax, make mine Marvel!

I’m sorry, was that weird? I read that somewhere.

Avengers Arena #11

We get a breather issue after the horrific events of issues #9 and #10, in which we had two deaths in two issues; Juston in #9 (nooooo!) and Nico in #10 (did not see that one coming). Instead of dealing with the still rampaging Apex, we catch up with Avengers Academy alumni Hazmat and Reptil, who are hanging out on a beach while the rest of the cast are running for their lives from a crazy girl who occasionally turns into her nice twin brother (it’s complicated).

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #17 ('MLP' and 'TMNT')

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It’s another IDW sweep, with two Micro-Series issues (Pinkie Pie and Old Hob are featured this time around), and another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue. Ben Bates returns; he’s the artist behind the aforementioned Pinkie Pie story, despite the fact that I pointed him out as a positive in earlier issue of TMNT. His art, however, makes a cameo in the TMNT issue; but more on that when we get to it. First, let’s see what Pinkie Pie’s up to, shall we?

My Little Pony: Micro-Series #5 featuring Pinkie Pie My Little Pony: Micro-Series #5 featuring Pinkie Pie

Normally I finish with whatever art comments I make (and I usually don’t make a lot of those), but since I’ve already talked about the artist, I might as well start there this time around. Bates is right at home in funny animal comics; besides TMNT, he’s also done Sonic the Hedgehog. Here, he’s a bit tied down by the fact that Pinkie Pie has to look like Pinkie Pie, after all; his backgrounds are also a bit simplistic, and could use more detail.

The story revolves around Pinkie Pie winning a contest by drinking 315 bottle of Colta Cola (no wonder she’s always wiggling around like she’s in desperate need of a bathroom on the show) to win a ticket with backstage passes to the great clown Ponyacci’s show. It turns out, however, Ponyacci is on the verge of retirement; Pinkie Pie is completely upset by this turn of events.

There are a couple of solid jokes in this issue; Pinkie talking to her Ponyacci doll is so in character, I can hear Andrea Libman’s voice while reading it. Twilight Sparkle plays straight mare for Pinkie; ironically, when Pinkie only wins two tickets, she doesn’t angst about it like Twilight does in a similar situation. Finally, it’s nice to see clowns and clown dolls played so straight (well, you know what I mean); we live in a world where vampires are protagonists for children’s cartoons, but there are not one, but two horror franchises based around killers who take the guise of dolls with playful catchphrases. Pinkie Pie knows what I’m talking about.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #16 ('Guardians of the Galaxy', 'TMNT' and 'Wolverine and the X-Men')

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Welcome back to another exciting issue of Pull List! This time, we’re starting off with a review of a comic with a raccoon wielding a sci-fi gun on the cover, followed by the beginning of the “Cityfall” arc in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Finally, I decided to revisit Wolverine and the X-Men because some furry things are happening in it, and also it’s a lot of fun.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #15 ('MLP')

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Like a Rainbow in the dark, whoops, that's not Pink Floyd song ...I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”
- Pink Floyd, “Brain Damage

Wait, oops. Sorry about that.

The song quote is my My Little Pony DVD review shtick, not my comic book review shtick. I got confused for a moment because, for this set, I decided to review three My Little Pony issues. That way, all you pony fans can get excited, while all you non-pony fans have one convenient place for all your one-stars! Everybody wins! Yay!

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #14 ('Avengers Arena,' 'MLP' and 'TMNT')

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Art by kunaikeI recently learned that Marvel’s superhero MMO Marvel Heroes will feature a playable Squirrel Girl (as well as Rocket Raccoon), voiced by Tara Strong. That means that Doreen Green and Twilight Sparkle have the same voice, and that’s awesome. So, since I’ve got a Marvel title and a My Little Pony title this time around, I decided to share that tidbit, and dig up some ”Squirrel Girl as a pony” art to go with it.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #13 ('Guardians of the Galaxy,' 'MLP:FiM' and 'TMNT')

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From a personal standpoint, the shipment of comic books I got from my supplier (long overdue shout-out to Wichita’s Prairie Dog Comics) that make up this Pull List and the next was a heck of a lot of fun; it may have been my favorite yet.

Some books, such as Avengers Arena, Guardians of the Galaxy, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I’ll be featuring. Others aren’t really furry enough, but I’ll just say X-Men Legacy and Young Avengers were pretty darn good this time around as well.