Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Pull List (3-17-10): What I'm reading this week

The reading list is all over the place this week, ranging from superheroes to kid comics to whatever you want to call the stuff Grant Morrison does, but the title I was most curious about came as a surprise even to myself.

Green Arrow #31 is dove-tailing out of the Blackest Night saga, as well as the goings-on in his own book. To be honest, I haven't been keeping up with Green Arrow for a while, in spite of him being one of my favorite superhero characters. I tried getting back on the GA train, but was quickly derailed by the whole "Cupid" storyline and was about to give up for good when DC started promising big changes for the Emerald Archer.

Now look, I don't normally fall for the whole "this will be the year everything changes for So-and-So!" stuff you get from the promotional arms of the Big Two. Those are some flabby, sweaty arms and they like to repeat themselves every few months or so by telling readers something monumental is going to happen, something that's going to turn a character upside down ... for a few months. Maybe a year. And then it's back to the status quo and nothing really changed after all.

So I rolled my eyes when DC started crowing about a new direction for Green Arrow, complete with "secrets will be revealed!" But then Black Lantern: Green Arrow #30 written by J.T Krul was pretty good, so I was intrigued to find out he'd be the regular writer on the title (even if it was the beginning of yet another crossover mini-event — oy).

I won't be picking up the Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal part of the equation, but I'll be sticking around for The Fall of Green Arrow, mostly because Krul has done enough to lure me in with the idea of a literally out-for-blood Green Arrow who is at odds with the hero community and, most importantly, with the person he used to be. This first issue in the Rise and Fall storyline gives readers a look at an Oliver Queen on the edge, helping average citizens after Prometheus destroyed the heart of his city and killing hundreds of thousands of people, but doing it almost as an afterthought as he tracks down the villain's accomplice with every intention of killing him in cold blood.

It's an interesting premise, especially considering Green Arrow's reputation for putting a premium on fairness and social justice. That said, this issue didn't really move things along and felt more like a place-setter, re-introducing characters we already know and giving readers plenty of exposition to catch them up on what's been going on. Really, though, you can't blame Krul or the editors — this is definitely a good jumping-on point, and even if you haven't been reading Green Arrow, you'll be caught up with the basics after this issue. Hopefully the plot will move forward now that the scene has been set and all the characters are in place.

Green Arrow #31 is also a nice comic to look at, thanks to the work of artist Federico Dallocchio. Dallochio's work isn't flawless — faces sometimes look odd, and a scene will occasionally come across as static — but for the most part it's good stuff. Action scenes are subtly dynamic and facial expressions (with the exception of a slightly-off kisser here and there) are expressive.

All in all, a suddenly interesting book that has the potential to go in even more interesting directions.

Here's what else I picked up this week:

Joe the Barbarian #3

Muppet King Arthur #3

Superman 80-Page Giant #1

Uncle Scrooge #389

And what I wanted to get, but will be waiting for the trade:

American Vampire #1 (beautiful Rafael Albuquerque art)

Guardians of the Galaxy #24

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