The Pull is back after a week off, and let me tell you: I heard you all when you said you missed it! Apparently The Pull is one of my more religiously read articles, which is good to know. Let’s look at the week’s releases, as we’re led by two doozies that earned a ton of acclaim throughout their respective runs.
Comic of the Week: Human Target #12
This has been one of the more well-liked single issue series of the past couple years, with it popping up constantly in conversations about the best comics of 2022. While I’m not quite at that level, it has been very good, with Greg Smallwood absolutely slaying throughout, Clayton Cowles doing Clayton Cowles things, and Tom King bringing it all together for a fascinating journey of lies, deception, and star-crossed (and poison riddled, in one case) lovers. The only beef I have with it is that while the individual issues have stood out and been inventive throughout — I appreciate the single Justice League International character focus for each issue, and how each is used to highlight differences in personality between them, particularly the “Booster Gold and Skeets open a bagel shop” issue — the arc as a whole has followed a pretty familiar cadence King uses in these 12 issue maxi-series.
There’s something to be said for “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but at the same time, when you know the rhythms, it reduces some of the surprise about the journey. It’s still a very good comic, but it makes for a predictable one. It’s a superhero comic, so that isn’t too unexpected, but my hope is that this finale mixes the formula up and pulls the rug out from under readers. Give it to me, Tom! I’m here for it! One way or another, it’ll look good as it goes out. Smallwood ensures that is an absolute lock.
Trade of the Week: Do a Powerbomb TPB
What more can I say about this comic, one that I labeled as my fourth favorite comic of 2022 on Off Panel? This may very well be Daniel Warren Johnson’s best comic yet, which is quite the feat when you have the growing library of bangers he does. I could go in on how Johnson is one of the best artists in comics and how Spicer complements him so perfectly and how it’s the perfect wrestling story for non-wrestling fans and how it’s an emotional, action-packed, inventive, and really quite funny journey through its seven chapters. But instead, I wanted to emphasize something that ensures it acts as a perfect complement to my other top pick this week: it is endlessly surprising.
It’s the comic equivalent of the Vince McMahon meme structure, where everything just keeps escalating to levels you cannot fathom until you’re flipping out of your chair and firing laser beams from your eyes. Each chapter contains a different shocking turn, which in itself has value. But here’s why it really works. Each change in direction perfectly fits the narrative, the characters, and Johnson himself. These aren’t twists for the sake of twists; these are born naturally from the story and its creator, and it makes for something that shocks and awes in equal measure, while being emotional throughout. This is a heck of an achievement, one of the finest comics from 2022 and its exceptional creator.
So, uh, yeah. I recommend you read it if you haven’t yet. It’s pretty good.