Padding the Pull List: Start the new year with Black Widow and Deadly Class

Deadly Class bannerLast year proved to be a major success for both Image and Marvel Comics.

Image, with its increasing ability to welcome top-notch talent, published hit after hit in the creator-owned space. Marvel, on the other hand, continued through with its Marvel NOW don’t-call-it-a-relaunch relaunch that saw the creation of new titles focused on some of its most noteworthy characters.

In 2014, both publishers are looking to expand, and that’s great news for your pull. The additions start quickly in January and here are two titles to get you started:

BLACK WIDOWBlack Widow 1
(Nathan Edmondson, Phil Noto)

Launching on January 8, Marvel teams Nathan Edmondson with Phil Noto to launch Natasha Romanov in her own series. The background, via Marvel:

You’ve seen Black Widow as an Avenger and even an Agent of Shield. But on her own time she searches for atonement for her past as a KGB assassin—in ways of which those teams just wouldn’t approve. From the darkest corners of the Marvel Universe, Nathan Edmondson (Who is Jake Ellis?) and Phil Noto (Thunderbolts, X-23) bring you a new ongoing series as gorgeous and mysterious as Nastasha Romanov herself!

Personally, I’ve been hit or miss with Edmondson’s work in the past, but I have decently-high hopes for this series. For one, I love the idea of characters being pulled from the Avengers to give readers an in-depth view of their life. I love that idea even more when it’s a character that doesn’t possess a power or armored suit. For example, Marvel’s current Hawkeye book is one of the best out there right now.

Also, with Black Widow, Marvel has the opportunity to pull a woman to the forefront. It could be quite the one-two punch in 2014 with Ms. Marvel (more on that in a later post) and Natasha. I’m on board for the first few issues.

(Rick Remender, Wes Craig)Deadly Class 1

Rick Remender’s name should ring quite a few bells with Marvel fans thanks to his recent work on many high-profile series. As good as he has been there, though, he made more noise months ago when he announced his two creator-owned titles at Image. The first, Black Science, is currently two issues deep and has received rave reviews.

His second, Deadly Class, hits shelves Jan. 22 (along with Black Science #3). The story here, via Image:

It’s 1987. Marcus Lopez hates school. His grades suck. He has no money. The jocks are hassling his friends. He can’t focus in class, thanks to his mind constantly drifting to the stunning girl in the front row and the Dag Nasty show he has tickets to. But the jocks are the children of Joseph Stalin’s top assassin, the teachers are members of an ancient league of assassins, the class he’s failing is “Dismemberment 101,” and his crush, a member of the most notorious crime syndicate in Japan, has a double-digit body count.Welcome to the most brutal high school on Earth, where the world’s top crime families send the next generation of assassins to be trained. Murder is an art. Killing is a craft. At King’s Dominion High School for the Deadly Arts, the dagger in your back isn’t always metaphorical, nor is your fellow classmates’ poison.

Join writer RICK REMENDER with rising star WESLEY CRAIG (Batman) and legendary colorist LEE LOUGHRIDGE (Fear Agent) to reminisce about the mid-1980s underground through the eyes of the most damaged and dangerous teenagers on Earth.

The description alone has me wanting to read this right now. I’m a sucker for younger characters, and even more so villains. I loved Runaways, Avengers Academy and am currently knee deep in Morning Glories. What I’ve been missing is a true look at the next “generation of assassins” and the fact that Remender will be delivering that is even more exciting.

I’m not the only one either, as Remender points out that orders for the book are high. I suggest you have your shop pull this for you ASAP, if you haven’t already.