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The Pull List: FURY: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50TH ANNIVERSARY #1, BATGIRL #44, WILDS END: THE ENEMY WITHIN #1

The Pull List: FURY: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50TH ANNIVERSARY #1, BATGIRL #44, WILDS END: THE ENEMY WITHIN #1

Brace your wallets for impact because there is a heaping helping of brand new comics this week, and you’re going to want damn near all of them. To help guide you through this multicolored morass, I’ve assembled another edition of The Pull List.

On this week’s list, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of S.H.I.E.L.D., taking a trip to Gotham City’s coolest neighborhood, and preparing for alien invasions with a gaggle of anthropomorphic animals. So follow us like a will-o-the-wisp through the swampy moors of indecision and let us guide you to comic book bliss.

Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary #1

Fury50

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Lee Ferguson
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letter: VC’s Clayton Cowles

One area in which Marvel Comics has always excelled is in grounding its stories in reality, using its larger-than-life backdrop of superheroes, supervillains, and explosive action as a prism through which to refract issues its readers deal on a daily basis. In celebrating the 50th anniversary of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel united past and present to tell a very special and very prescient story about racism, legacy, and the fulminating undercurrent of rage that is roiling across the American cultural landscape today as strongly as it did in 1965. Without spoiling anything too major, David F. Walker (Cyborg) unfolds a disheartening sociopolitical tapestry split between 1965 and 2015. In 1965, the Watts Riots rage across the streets of Los Angeles, the deadly and destructive result of years of racial tension and police impropriety erupting in six days of chaos that left 34 dead and resulted in $40 million of property damage.

In 2015, names like Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and too many others appear on our nightly newscasts, each of them unarmed black men, the victims of police brutality. It’s a sad testament to the fact that a culture of racism and institutionalized police brutality is unfortunately alive and well in America some 50 years later. In both timelines, a Nick Fury watches the chaos unfold, refusing to simply stand by and let the country cannibalize itself. When a mishap with a HYDRA Time Platform sends Nick Fury Jr. and the Hate-Monger back to 1965, chaos naturally unfolds, but Walker and artist Lee Ferguson use it create a poignant, searing story of rage and redemption. The bystander effect is quite real, but men like Nick Fury and his son aren’t ordinary men; they are men of action and they are compelled to stand in the face of injustice wherever it may raise its ugly head. What makes this tale particularly powerful is the fact that, generally speaking, both Nick Furys exist on a spectrum of moral grayness, but this is something so insidious that neither man can abide its presence. If only there were more men like Nick Fury in the real world. In the meantime, at least we have a comic like this that can leverage its iconic characters to hopefully open readers’ eyes to the grim realities of the world in which we live.

Batgirl #44

batgirl-44-cover

Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher
Artist: Bengal
Colorist: Serge Lapointe
Letterer: Steve Wands

Exotic animals, talking motorcycles, and raging hormones — it’s all in a day’s work for the Batgirl of Burnside. Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher’s fresh take on Batgirl continues to thrill and delight by expertly walking a tonal tightrope. Batgirl #44 is no exception, deftly careening between the kind of hard-boiled action one has come to expect from Gotham City and a bubbly sense of humor that gives Barbara Gordon’s adventures a much needed lightness. That isn’t to say that the issue is fluff; though with the introduction of character like Velvet Tiger — taken at face value — it very much could be. Speaking of Velvet Tiger, the Tigra-esque tech magnate is the villain of the week, and she largely serves as a launching pad for the next phase of Barbara Gordon’s Bat-ventures, but she manages to feel both hilariously over the top and legitimately threatening at the same time. Bengal, the fittingly named artist, renders both the kinetic action sequences and the smaller, more intimate moments with equal care, giving the issue a sense of momentum that propels the narrative. What really makes this issue worthwhile though is the way in which Stewart and Fletcher lay the table for what’s to come with Barbara and her ever-growing network of confidantes and contacts. And, yes, that now includes a talking motorcycle. Trust me when I say you don’t want to miss this.

Wild’s End: The Enemy Within #1

WildsEnd_EnemyWithin_001_A_Main1

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: I.N.J. Culbard and Nik Abnett
Letter: I.N.J. Culbard

I am a sucker for period pieces about anthropomorphic animals behaving like humans. I can’t explain it and I’m sure it would send a shiver up Jessica Chobot’s spine, but ever since I cracked open the pages of Brian Jacques Redwall, I have been hooked. There have been excellent examples of this “genre” or style of storytelling over the years — Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Don Bluth’s An American Tail, to name a few. Now, writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard’s Wild’s End: The Enemy Within looks to be the next great story to carry on this aesthetic tradition. Set in what seems like a post-World War I or post-World War II-era world, Wild’s End tells the story of an alien invasion, an insidious incursion that has wormed its way across space and time to invade the Earth. The action is split between two groups — a gaggle of woodland creatures who are being held under military guard, and two rival science fiction authors (a cat and a dog, naturally) who are enlisted by the military for their unique albeit fictional expertise. It all smacks of The Imitation Game meets War of the Worlds with a dash of The Great Escape thrown in for good measure, but in the best way possible. With a vibrant world brought to life by Culbard’s dynamic, storybook artwork and tremendous worldbuilding from Abnett, Wild’s End is one of my favorite new comics and one which I cannot wait to continue reading.

***

The Complete List

(via PreviewsWorld.com)

PREMIER PUBLISHERS

ITEM CODE DESCRIPTION PRICE
DARK HORSE COMICS
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DC COMICS
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IDW PUBLISHING
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COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

ITEM CODE DESCRIPTION PRICE
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What’s on your pull list this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of 100 Things Avengers Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die. You can follow him on Twitter (@Osteoferocious) where he will gladly gush about spending way too much money on comics with you.

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