Pull of the Week – Thor Reprints and the End of an Adventure

Every week, self-proclaimed comic expert Mandi picks out three new comics that are worth pulling. Last week, she suggested noir dramas and cosmic epics. This week, she’s recommending a different kind of adventure.

When I add a new comic to my pull list, it’s usually because it meets a specific set of criteria. The issue should be a natural jumping-on point, like the start of a new storyline or a #1 issue. The comic should have a strong creative team with an excellent body of work behind them. And something about the premise should grab me, whether it’s the involvement of one of my favorite characters or the inclusion of a gimmick I’m particularly fond of, like time travel.

But some of my favorite all-time favorite comics have failed to check a single box on this list. They’ve been strange tales from writers I’ve never heard of, located smack in the middle of an ongoing storyline. They’ve been weird and sometimes confusing experiences, but they’ve also been awesome.

While I try to keep the comics in this column new-reader friendly, I hope readers will occasionally take a chance on some of my more unusual suggestions. The best comics are worth reading no matter where you start.

Thor #1 and #2

Lady ThorWhen Marvel announced it was bringing in a new female Thor, no one knew what to expect. While others have wielded Mjölnir, they’ve usually been established characters who had their own names. Thankfully, what they’ve delivered has been spectacular, a comic full of badass feats and beautiful art (courtesy of Russell Dauterman).

If you failed to jump on the Lady Thor train, now’s the perfect time to catch up. Marvel is reprinting the first two issues of the series, and the third issue is still on shelves.

You can grab all three Thor issues on Comixology or at your local comic shop.

Southern Bastards #1

southern bastardsThe initial solicits for Southern Bastards were a little on the strange side. Image described the comic as “Dukes of Hazzard meets the Coen Brothers… on meth” while cracking jokes about big sticks and football. But this description fails to play up the things that truly make the series truly special, like the complex character work, detailed art, and the feeling of despair that permeates the comic.

If you passed on Southern Bastards the first time around, now’s the chance to give it a second try. Image is reprinting the first issue at the bargain price of just one dollar. It’s a price even a bastard could love.

You can grab Southern Bastards #1 on TFAW or at your local comic shop.

Adventure Time #35

Adventure Time #35For nearly three years, writer Ryan North has been making Adventure Time one of the best comics on the stands. Every issue is full of wacky jokes and witty dialogue, and it never fails to deliver on the adventure front.

But now, the Eisner-winning North is leaving the comic behind. If you have even a passing interest in the Adventure Time franchise, this is an issue worth picking up. The standalone story looks to be hilarious and heartwarming, and I’m sure it’ll be a beautiful ending to a fantastic run.

You can grab Adventure Time #35 at TFAW or from your local comic shop.

Gordy Tells Justin Comics [Episode 04] : Pryde of the Gentleman Ghost Dad

gentelmanghost

Welcome back, true believers! This episode starts out with a nostalgia heavy look at the classic 1989 cartoon pilot “Pryde of the X-Men”, then veers off into the un-life and times of The Gentleman Ghost. Quite the pairing, eh?! There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of any of this before now. There’s also a good chance you didn’t wear a Beast hat or a Gargoyles shirt in elementary school. Look, none of that matters, you’re in it with us now and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have you.

Also on tap this eppy — Justin goes up against Minnesota Stew, the Arcade King. Spider-Man rocks the vote. Gordy the fat child meets Gordy the talking pig. Plus lamp magic, Canada v. Wolverine, and Killer Croc on the moon. How’s that for a warm welcome, dear listeners?! Mind your pogs, Garrette is on the loose!

Podcast: Download | iTunes

Panel of the Week — Lady Thor, Waivers, Library Books, Butter, and More

When it comes to months, December is near the bottom of my list. It’s packed full of snow and stress-inducing holidays, and it never leaves me with enough time to do the things I want to be doing, like say, read my comic books.

Thankfully, you don’t have to read an entire issue to get the full comics experience. Sometimes, a single panel is more than enough. From to doggie cupcakes to sticks of butter, this is Panel of the Week.

Oh Cosmo. You really need to make an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.Rocket Raccoon cosmoImage Source: Rocket Raccoon #6 by Marvel Comics. Art by Skottie Young.

I know things are a little weird on Earth-616, but I’m not sure this document would hold up in court.spideybub and the x-menImage Source: Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 by Marvel Comics. Art by Marco Failla.

Libraries: Teaching criminals how to break the law since 2600 BC.Batman '66
Image Source: Batman ’66 #49 by DC Comics. Art by Richard Case.

Geez. Lady Thor is kind of a BAMF.Lady ThorImage Source: Thor #3 by Marvel Comics. Art by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson.

“I have an exhaustive and well-organized list, if you’d really like to see it.”
adjectiveless x-men 22
Image Source:X-Men #22 by Marvel Comics. Art by Harvey Tolibao.

Only people who’ve seen the face of God can appreciate the refined taste of a stick of butter.southern bastardsImage Source: Southern Bastards #6 by Image Comics. Art by Jason Latour.

At last, the Frogger backstory we’ve all been waiting for.Harley Quinn Holiday SpecialImage Source: Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 by DC Comics. Art by Mauricet.

Rocket always did have a bit of a Fury quality to him.guardians fury
Image Source: Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1 by Marvel Comics. Art by Frank Cho.

Pull of the Week — Space Racing, Urban Fantasy, and Noir

I like to think of myself as something of a pullist: a person who specializes in selecting great comics. I’ve pulled a few duds in my time — I own every issue of Neal Adam’s Batman Odyssey — but for the  most part, my track record is solid.

For years, I’ve kept my pulls a secret, but I’ve decided it’s time to share my expertise with the world. Every week, I’ll be pointing out a few titles that you should think about picking up.

Rocket Salvage #1

Rocket Salvage #1

If you’re a sucker for intense space races, lighthearted adventures, or fantastic color schemes, you’ll want to give Rocket Salvage a look. This tale of a washed-up racer and his dysfunctional family of clones looks cartoon-y, but it also seems to have a real emotional center. The writer, Yehudi Mercado, has done some solid work in the past, and I think this might be his best book yet.

You can pick up Rocket Salvage on Comixology, or at your local comic shop.

Rumble #1

Rumble #1
Image has described Rumble as “a scarecrow-Conan fighting in a Louis C.K. TV show directed by David Fincher,” and I’m pretty sure nothing I could say could ever top that. If you need extra convincing, just take a look at the creative team. John Arcudi and James Harren have incredible track records, and I have every reason to believe Rumble will be spectacular.

You can pick up the first issue of Rumble on TFAW or at your local comic shop.

 

Image Firsts: The Fade Out #1

the fade out #1If you haven’t read The Fade Out, you should probably get on that. This is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips in their element, delivering the kind of bloody, whiskey-soaked noir only they can deliver. It has everything a good crime story needs, from a mysterious dead blonde girl to a city with a seedy underbelly to copious amounts of alcohol.

Thankfully, Image has made it easy for you to jump on-board the Fade Out train. They’re re-releasing the 40-page debut issue for only a buck. Grab a flask and a toasty blanket, and curl up with this noir epic.

This bargain-bin issue is only 80 cents on TFAW. If you can spare the extra 20 cents, consider picking it up from your local comic shop.

Gordy Tells Justin Comics [Episode 3] : Edit Hollow Point

suicidesquad

The One Take Tigers are back, and this time they’ve got suicide on the brain. Suicide Squad, that is. Want to know the names of like 6 people on the team and virtually nothing else? You’re in luck, because that’s what’s on offer this eppy. Gordy says “so, yeah…” a bunch and things get a little (a lot) dirty, but that’s all in the spirit of the squad, right? God, we hope so. PLUS, learn the origins of the Punch Card/Flash Card/Orson Scott Card team up everyone’s been clamoring for. Was Eclair Williams involved somehow? We tell all!

Also this week — Image’s coke fueled beginnings, Black Panther & The West Wing, Flash and his benefits, the difficulties of fiddling while undead, and a young, precious baby Justin gets taken to task by an adult Jim Lee.

Podcast: Download | iTunes

Panel of the Week — Batman, Doctor Doom, Adventure Time, and More

PaneloftheWeekSliderHeader

Cartoonist Scott McCloud once described comics as a “vessel which can hold any number of ideas and images.” Despite their limited length — most issues are around 30 pages, ads included — great comics are packed with action and adventure, with dazzling highs and gut-wrenching lows.

Some comics are so brilliant they don’t even need pages; they can work their magic in a single panel. Every Wednesday, I’ll be highlighting the week’s most spectacular standalone panels. From Space Pandas to singing lemurs, this is Panel of the Week.

Low Rick Remender

This is everything I have ever wanted comic book monsters to be.

Image Source: Low #5 by Image Comics. Art by Greg Tocchini.

Guardians 3000

No lady can resist the charms of a man who calls his ship “ship.”

Image Source: Guardians 3000 #3 by Marvel Comics. Art by Gerardo Sandoval.

Secret Six #1

It’s no “I am Groot,” but I’ll take it.

Image Source: Secret Six #1 by DC Comics. Art by Ken Lashley.

Iron Fist

All things considered, decapitation by flame punch is a good way to go.

Image Source: Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#7 by Marvel Comics. Art by Kaare Andrews.

Detective Comics

Geez, Batman! Spoilers!

Image Source: Detective Comics #37 by DC Comics. Art by Francis Manapul.

Legendary Star-Lord

Alien dragons are the only thing that can stop the Space Panda menace.

Image Source: Legendary Star-Lord #6 by Marvel Comics. Art by Paco Medina.

chew #45

Fictional musicals are something every comic needs more of.

Image Source: Chew #45 by Image Comics. Art by Rob Guillory.

Superior Foes of Spidey

Oh Doom. Never change.

Image Source: Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17 by Marvel Comics. Art by Steve Lieber.

Adventure Time happy

I’m a sucker for friends walking off happily into the sunset. Especially with that sunset contains piles of awesome cars.

Image Source: Adventure Time #34 by Boom! Studios. Art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb.

[Comic] Robot Advice : Vegetables

Robots aren’t here to murder us, guys. They just want us to live a healthy lifestyle. They’re like aluminum nutritionists.

Robot Advice : vegetables – #comics #robots #comicstrips #vegetables

A photo posted by Josh Engen (@joshuaengen) on

Zen Pinball 2’s Venom Table Turned Me Into A Scoreboard Addict

VenomTable2

I’ve never been the kind of gamer that chases high scores. I’m far more obsessed with multiplayer competition than scoreboard prowess. So, I very rarely check the worldwide ranks.

Part of the problem is that I’m almost never among the best players, so scoreboards only highlight the distance between the top player’s expertise and my dunce-y-ness. And those are the kinds of reminders that I’m happy to do without.

But yesterday, I downloaded the Venom table for Zen Pinball 2 and remembered how addictive scoreboard chasing actually is. I didn’t spend much time in the game, but after every round, Zen gives you the opportunity to check your rank against the best pinballers on earth.

I was ranked eighth

Now, my piss-poor pinballing doesn’t typically land me in the top ten, so the newness of this table was the primary reason for my performance. Obviously not many people had purchased the Venom table just yet, so the competition was light. I understood all of this, but it didn’t stop me from trying to reach the number one spot.

After a few games, I was sitting comfortably in third place, but I quickly realized that this obsession would only cause me pain. At some point in the very near future, my scores would be repeatedly bested until my they finally settled near the bottom pile. So, like any good pessimist, I shut off my Vita and went to bed.

Though, I did take a screenshot for posterity.

venomscore2

Update: I obsessed a little more.

venomscores

Zen Pinball 2’s Venom Table Reminded Me That I Hate Roberto Orci

VenomTable

Yesterday, I got my hands on Zen Pinball 2’s latest table: “Venom.” I enjoy any opportunity to fire up my Vita while I’m supposed to be working, and Zen is the uncontested master of the pinball genre. So, my nipples were obviously a little pointy.

The thing that makes Zen Pinball so interesting is that all of the tables include little snippets of storyline. The Walking Dead table, for instance, was based on the award winning title by Telltale Games. And, from time to time, the game’s sympathetic protagonists, Lee and Clementine, would reenact a scene from the series.

Tears.

The Venom table isn’t nearly as emotional, which is probably good. I was starting to feel silly about running out of crowded rooms with tears in my eyes only to come back and explain that I was crying about pinball. But as I was playing Zen’s Venom/Pinball mashup, I couldn’t help but compare it to the most recent Spider-Man movie.

And I prefer the pinball table.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was an unforgivable puddle of puss wearing a pompadour (haircut courtesy of Andrew Garfield). It had no discernible plot, and the entire experience was Sony Pictures’ incompetent attempt to recreate Marvel’s success. The whole thing was written, in part, by Roberto Orci, a man who can barely string a coherent sentence together. Here’s a list of his more notable writing credits:

  • Cowboys & Aliens
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Transformers
  • Mission: Impossible III
  • The Island

Orci also wrote those last two J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek movies, and anyone who liked those movies, especially the second one, must actively hate good storytelling. I include Abrams in that category.

Sony is currently working on a new Venom movie, and guess who’s been tapped to write the screenplay. Yup. Roberto Orci.

Maybe I’ll just keep playing Zen Pinball 2’s Venom table and pretend that Roberto Orci isn’t actively ruining everything I love.

Censoring The Word “Suicide” in LEGO Batman 3 Seems Silly

Lego Deadshot

Like LEGO games of the past, there are a shit-ton of characters in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. To make the roster even shit-tonnier, The Suicide Squad will be joining the cast. Well, at least they will under the guise of a team called “The Squad.”

Beyond Gotham is rated E 10+, so the word “suicide” probably isn’t quite appropriate for younger gamers, which make up a good portion of the game’s demographic. The idea of death and suicide could be enough of a downer to crush the souls of any unwitting preteen players. Or at least that appears to be the intentions behind the name adjustment, which strikes me as a little overkill.

After all, the title character is arguably a borderline sociopath that comes from a home shattered by a double homicide, which left him an orphan. And as a an adult, he lost one sidekick to a savage act of violence that followed by the brutal death of his own caped-crusading offspring who was born from a tryst with a sexy assassin who’s father is a mystical madman that committed an untold numbers of murders.

But hey, at least we’re avoiding the word “suicide.”

Lego Arrow