It’s been a long time coming folks, but I’ve finally gotten ahead of my backlog of comics and so I’m thrilled to finally present to you another Pullbox! The Marvel NOW! Initiative is under way (a clear reaction to the New 52, but at least the continuity has remained the same), and with it comes a flurry of new directions, writers, artists, and team-ups for our favorite heroes. DC meanwhile has a pair of smaller events under way with “Death of the Family” in Batman and “Rise of the Third Army” with Green Lantern. But most excitedly may be the start of a new limited run of origin stories from IDW based on the Borderlands video games! With that, here is this week’s Pullbox!

IDW – Borderlands: Origins #1: “Roland” – Everyone knows how much of a bad ass Roland from the first Borderlands game is, but little is known about his time as a Crimson Lance soldier with The Atlas Corporation. This story takes a look at just how he fell out of Atlas’s grace and what happened that turned this supreme soldier into a Vault Hunter.

Written by Gearbox Software Creative Guru Mikey Neumann, this first of four origin stories does a great job of expanding the Borderlands universe even further and holds a special place in my heart because I played my first playthrough of the original Borderlands as Roland. The only thing this comic lacked was how Roland acquires his patented turret. Otherwise, fans of the series will not be disappointed by both the tremendous art stylings of Augustin Padilla and how Mikey begins to further flesh out the characters that started it all for this fan-favorite shooter franchise. Great story, great action, great art makes this an easy addition to anyone’s Pullbox this week!

Marvel – X-Men Legacy #1 – Legion, one of the most powerful mutants on the planet and Professor Xavier’s prodigal son finally shows his face again. While the Avengers and X-Men fought over the Phoenix Force, Legion continued to fight his own personal demons in the Himalayas. With the aid of an old friend of his dad’s, Legion constructs a psychic prison that keeps his most malevolent personalities at bay. But when Legion is overwhelmed by the psychic outburst that occurs when his dad is killed by Cyclops, there is a prison break.

Legion has become one of the most interesting characters in the Marvel Universe over the past few years as the shades of gray become even more vague with him as he slips further and further into himself. To continue to see the ramifications, however, of Professor Xavier’s death and tie it directly into him makes this a storyline to watch. I can’t wait to see where Legion goes from here and I’m thrilled that he is being brought back after sitting out the Avengers vs. X-Men event. A strong start to this relaunched title, no doubt.

Marvel – All-New X-Men #1 – New mutants are popping up all over the world and Cyclops is trying to outrace Wolverine’s Jean Grey School in terms of recruiting them. Meanwhile, Beast is facing a terminal illness on his own as he refuses to share the burden with his friends and so before he leaves this plane of existence, he needs to make things right with Cyclops. Not necessarily the one of the current time, however.

This issue got off to such a strong start with Beast’s illness and Cyclops recruiting new mutants left and right. Then Brian Michael Bendis decided to send Beast back in time. Just because. There is nothing I hate more than time travel as a mechanic to kick off a new book because you are just trying to set a tone for why people should read this and time travel always ends up confusing people. Time travel and parallel universes are the two things that need to be held off of more often because they can end up with so many ramifications and therefore should be saved for major events. It even led to a confusing first-issue cover with the original five X-Men that almost made me want to pass up this book. Issue #1 and Bendis is already jumping the shark. Damn him and his time travel.

DC – Batman #14 – Alfred has been abducted and Commissioner Gordon is next on the Joker’s list as he wishes to remove all distractions from Batman’s life in order to harden him into the person he once was. To do this, Joker has finally deduced who the people are under the masks and is re-enacting all his first crimes with Batman, but out of order to keep the Dark Knight on his toes.

This is the best story in comics right now. After lying dormant for a year, the Joker has returned with the ultimate scheme. And for once it has purpose that even we can understand. Not only to hurt the people of Gotham randomly, but to drive a stake through Batman’s heart in the process by eliminating all those around him. You can’t stop turning the page to see what the Joker does next and how he will inventively eliminate his targets. Not only is he forcing Batman back to the way he once was, he’s also changing himself by ostracizing Harley and riding this scheme out solo. I look forward to every one of these chapters each week and get giddy just thinking about what I may read in each one. A must read for sure.

DC – Green Lantern Corps #14 – Guy Gardner and his troops fail to overcome the Third Army soldiers with only Gardner escaping the unfortunate fate of assimilation. The Guardians quickly change their plan, however, and turn this minor setback still into a victory by then revoking Gardner’s ring and sending him back to Earth. With only two original Earth Lanterns of Sector 2814 left, The Third Army may be poised to carry out the Guardians’ mission of complete and total emotional annihilation.

This story is moving along at a snail’s pace right now as each issue is the slow, methodical elimination of the main Lantern threats for the Guardians. It is setting itself up so that once the action does start, it’ll be hot and heavy, but as it is all this table setting is starting to bore me. Stay with this a few more issues folks to see if it starts to get good, but if The Third Army ends up leaving a sour taste in my mouth like the Blackest Night and Brightest Day events, this could be the end of my following the Green Lantern books. Step on the gas with this one DC!