Three comic book reviews: Pull List #10 ('Avengers Arena,' 'MLP' and 'TMNT')
For this exciting, groundbreaking, unprecedented 10th issue we’ve got the two IDW stalwarts, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s the first issue of a brand new character based Micro-Series for the ponies, while the turtles’ on-going shows up for the eighth time in a Pull List!
Joining these two will be a newly featured series, because it’s been a while since Pull List has featured a good, old-fashioned superhero-with-some-furry-characters comic. Finally, stay to the end for the super-duper bonus feature that … is actually just a previous issue index, so it really isn’t that exciting.
Avengers Arena #6
The story: the super-villain Arcade, best known for once trying to kill the X-Men with a pinball machine, feels his superhero body count isn’t up to scratch, so he’s decided to have himself a little teen superhero deathmatch. A bit derivative, but Arcade gleefully cops to this, calling this new Murder World inspired by a “children’s book”. Furry fans have Avengers Academy alumni Reptil to root for, as well as a new character, Nara the fish girl.
They also had bird girl Red Raven, except she got killed off in the second issue, rather lamely. She illustrates one of the problems of the concept; Red Raven had appeared in a grand total of two issues of anything before Avengers Arena, yet she was one of the characters I was looking forward to. See, I have her debut issue in my collection; it’s my favorite comic book of all time, because she debuted in the same issue Squirrel Girl debuted in (now there’s a character I am both disappointed and relieved isn’t in this series). Some of these characters are pretty darn obscure, but even the obscure characters have fans. And we don’t like to see them die badly.
The flipside is, Red Raven was more the exception than the norm (though admittedly there had only been two confirmed deaths before this issue); incredibly aptly named Dennis Hopeless has done a pretty good job making us, if not always care, at least feel something about these characters he’s killing off. I didn’t actually care for the character that gets killed off this issue, but that’s because Hopeless made him unlikable. The deaths don’t feel like they’re just thinning the ranks; two out of three actually made me feel something. Too bad about Red Raven, though.
My Little Pony Micro-Series #1 featuring Twilight Sparkle
If you watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or read the comic book series based on that show, and you’ve been wondering when we’ll get to see heroic purple unicorn librarian Twilight Sparkle use her librarian skills, this debut issue of the My Little Pony character based Micro-Series is perfect for you. Also, you are weird, because, no offense to librarians, but library … ian … ing is not exactly the most exciting job.
Libraryianing is totally a real word. What are you, a dictionary?
In this issue, you will thrill as Twilight alphabetizes books! Gasp in amazement as she puts dust jackets on them first! Thrill as she eats macaroni on her lunch break! Don’t get me wrong, these are very important jobs and somebody has to do them (well, I guess the macaroni is optional), but it's not the most exciting thing for a funny animal comic book to explore so realistically. I feel like writer Thomas Zahler was trying to write a “reading is fun” PSA type issue, except he forgot to include, you know, fun reading. He’s also terrible at pony puns. In what I believe was an attempted pony parody of that annoyingly catchy Carly Rae Jepsen song from last summer, Twilight sings (because even she knows being a librarian is so boring you have to distract yourself), “I know it’s crazy, but call me mane.” What the heck does that even mean?
Zahler is also on art. Workable, though he tends to make the ponies look a bit bloated.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #19
Well, we’ve had kind of a downer series of reviews for our tenth issue spectacular. Come on, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! We need your help! Do you have a fun and exciting issue about extra-dimensional tank battles and ninja infiltrations of alien bases? You do! Oh, thank you, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
The Krang wars continue; this arc feels like an updated episode of the old 80s cartoon show. I have a special place in my heart for the Neutrinos, believe it or not, and especially the Neutrino Zak. I used to have his action figure. It lost a leg in some terrible childhood toy accident, but that only made him cooler; he was like a cool veteran of some terrible space war in my head after that.
In this series, Zak is a cool veteran of a terrible space war, minus the missing leg (or plus it, I guess). They may look like a race of Links from The Legend of Zelda with anime-esque hair, but I like them now because I liked them then.
That’s what this comic book is about, for better or worse. Perhaps one day we should all set down and have a deep discussion about our popular geek culture’s recent dominance by 80s toy nostalgia; right now, I’m just digging it.
Once again, Ben Bates’ is fun, kinetic and looks like an updated episode of the old 80s cartoon show more than anything else. So, it fits perfectly.
Bonus!: Issue Index
Avengers Academy: #36 (Pull List #3), #38 (Pull List #4), #39 (Pull List #5)
Avengers Assemble: #6 (Pull List #4)
Hack/Slash: #18 (Pull List #4), #20 (Pull List #5), #21 (Pull List #7)
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: #1 (Pull List #6), #2 (Pull List #7), #3 (Pull List #8), #4 (Pull List #9)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: #12 (Pull List #1), #13 (Pull List #2), #14 (Pull List #3), #15 (Pull List #5), #16 (Pull List #6), #17 (Pull List #7), #18 (Pull List #9)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series: #5-Splinter (Pull List #1)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan: #1 (Pull List #8), #2 (Pull List #8) #3 (Pull List #9)
Wolverine and the X-Men: #12 (Pull List #1), #20 (Pull List #6)
X-Men Legacy: #271 (Pull List #2), #272 (Pull List #2), #273 (Pull List #3)