Pull File Every Wednesday, or Thursday–damn you President’s Day, your Local Comic Book Store (LCS) will have a farm fresh supply of comics. Your shopkeep should allow a pull file, wherein they hold books for you until you can pick them up–in case pesky things like work, kids or video games are a distraction. The following is my current pull file and will be updated based upon fan recommendations, creator shifts or lottery winnings. All-New X-Men Marvel | (W) Brian Michael Bendis The original X-Men are taken from their timeline and transported to a world where Xavier is dead, Jean died (twice, three times, a lot), Cyclops is a douche, Beast is furry, Iceman is no longer funny, Angel is who-knows-what, and Magento is a hero. This is a concept that has no business working. . . but it does. Bendis is able to take these young heroes and thrust them into the modern Marvel universe with ease; through their eyes readers see the familiar as new and awe inspiring, but the time-displaced heroes do not come across as naive. The scripts are at their best when Bendis focuses on a few characters, the series does suffer from multiple crossovers with other titles. Fans desire a more light hearted X-men team and a likeable-Cyclops, and this comic fulfills that fan service without an entire reboot or crazy deal with the devil. Batman DC | (W) Scott Snyder When Flashpoint ended, DC Comics reset the entire continuity. This caused major changes for some characters (looking at you, Superman), but Batman was relatively unaffected. This was in no small part to the excellent work of Snyder. While other books constantly turn over talent, Snyder is at the forefront of all things Batman. He is able to retcon Gotham City’s deadliest enemies into the history of Bruce Wayne and the city itself, update the Joker to be deadlier and crazier and retell Batman’s origin (which has been done ad nausea) in such a way that readers are still interested. The Batman that Snyder writes is capable, without succumbing to the overly powerful “Batman is prepared for everything” situation, and deeply flawed, but still avoids needless brooding and pushing away his multitude of sidekicks. Probably most impressive is that all five Robins come across as having their own voice. Forever Evil DC | (W) Geoff Johns | (P) David Finch | (I) Richard Friend The first true crossover event of the DCnU, Forever Evil, is a great premise and challenge for the heroes to overcome. Instead of focusing on the Justice League and how they shall save the day, this comic wisely places attention on the villains. Johns’ Flash-run (unintentional pun) was defined by his character work on villains, such as Captain Cold. His follow up performance, Green Lantern, made Sinestro an A-level character once again. Johns wisely uses them and all other pieces on the board. Though the media machine has already spoiled many of the lasting implications of this storyline, the journey is still one worth taking. Finch and Friend’s art beautifully captures the scene; characters have subtle facial expressions, backgrounds are flushed out and battles have the necessary weight behind them for a story of this magnitude. Hawkeye Marvel | (W) Matt Fraction Hawkguy Hawkeye is the funnest comic on the market. It doesn’t read like a traditional superhero comic and requires no prior knowledge of the Clint Barton continuity. It is refreshing to see a comic about a guy running around putting arrows into people that isn’t afraid to make fun of the fact that there is a guy out there putting arrows into people. “Lucky” is easily the best character to have been created in comics over the past five years. Fraction’s writing brings out the best and worst aspects of Barton’s character; he is able to keep the stories ‘real’ and grounded without being dark and gritty. Even at their darkest hours, there is always a witty line or clever reference within the story. This is a book that always . . . hits its mark (intentional pun). The Superior Foes of Spider-Man Marvel | (W) Nick Spencer | (P) Steve Lieber | (I) Rachelle Rosenberg This is a story about bad guys. Not “bwha-hahahaha I want to rule the world” villains, but the type that would walk out on a tab, steal a dying man’s last meal or stab a friend in the back type. The team calls itself the Sinister-Six, despite only being five members, and has no allusions as to who they are. They know they aren’t Robin Hood, they know they aren’t Green Goblin or Doctor Doom, hell. . . they know they aren’t even Electro or Rhino, but they do the best they can. Lieber and Rosenberg create a world full of details that aren’t pretty; this isn’t a superhero book and it doesn’t feel like it. Spencer’s stories will make you root for the villains, even though most of the time they are just fighting each other. Each character has their own unique personality and brings a good amount of humor to the book. This is one of the few cases where while reading I will laugh aloud or be surprised by the zany direction the story has turned. The Superior Spider-Man Marvel | (W) Dan Slott “People were taking Peter Parker for granted.” Slott wasn’t kidding when he said those words and issued in a new status quo for Spider-Man, one where Otto Octavious is in the driver’s seat of Spidey’s body. This shift is a dose of adrenaline for the series and allowed for the most interesting Spider-Man stories in quite some time. Watching Otto succeed where Peter failed is heartbreaking and exciting in equal measure. Comics tend to return to the status quo whenever possible, and this shift will do the same. It is amazing to witness Otto raise above his base villain instincts and see his world slowly crumble around him as he doesn’t truly realize that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Once Peter returns to the forefront, in Amazing Spider-Man, (conveniently timed with the release of the movie) I have faith that Slott will continue the positive momentum he created. Uncanny X-Men Marvel | (W) Brian Michael Bendis Did you know that the X-men are about a school where young mutants learn their powers? Well, you might be shocked to learn this factoid, because this hasn’t been the case in quite some time. I know there is that other book out there, but I won’t allow Marvel to shove Wolverine down our throats. Cyclops (from our time, not young Cyclops) leads the mutant revolution and teaches youngsters how to survive in a world that hates and fears them…or he’s using them as pawns in a greater play. There is a clear distinction of the control the X-men possess over their powers compared to the students; a helpful reminder that being a mutant doesn’t mean you are blowing up the sun straight out of the box. Bendis has undone the damage of “Cyclops is a dick” editorial,that has run through the Marvel universe and created a complex multi-layered hero who is and should be the poster child for the mutant revolution. Level Up, Friends!