• September 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Aug    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    282930  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Last Week’s Books Reviewed (Week of 9/24)

Over the weekend, I posted several reviews. Excerpts below, or click the cover/links to go to the full text of the reviews.

Futures End: Booster Gold #1

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

 

 

Superman: Doomed #2

Superman: Doomed will probably make for a nice, thick hardcover collection, similarly thick paperback eventually…and really, that’s gonna be the way to go. If you haven’t followed stuff so far, just wait for the collected volume. If it’s priced around $30 for this entire thing, that will be quite a bargain compared to the price paid for the single issues involved, and will put the entire story between two covers instead of the umpteen ones across five-some months for the single issues.

 

Armor Hunters #4

Context is vital, and while there’s no gigantic singular event in this issue that in and of itself will HERE change the Valiant universe, if you’ve been following the whole thing or just this mini, or X-O Manowar, this is definitely an issue to get, not to be arbitrarily skipped for some random reason. It’s good and worthwhile, and a solid issue in itself. Of course, if you have not been following anything associated with this, it would thus be a rather strange-ish point to attempt to jump into stuff, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a jumping-on point. (Yet every issue is bound to be SOMEONE’s first).

DC Futures End Month, Week Four

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN#1

futuresendsuperman001While the Green Arrow one-shot gave some interesting background details to get me a bit more interested in getting back into the ongoing Futures End book, and the Booster Gold issue added to that, those were general things, and more interesting than anything else. This issue is the first of these one shots to specifically address any of the “mysteries” I was expecting to be dealt with in this manner. Namely…who IS the masked Superman? It seems the secret was revealed a number of weeks ago, but I’d missed that. So here, now, this finally shows me who’s behind the mask…and why. And it makes sense on the powerset, and even the motivation…though Lois makes a good point, and it’s good to see the characters tep back out of the shadow of Superman to do their own thing by the end. Given the Superman title itself seems to be off doing its own thing while the other Superman-related books have been dealing with Doomed, it’s nice to have this issue firmly in-sync with the other DC titles. Also love the cover…quite a nice one and certainly one of my favorites of the month.

FUTURES END: FLASH#1

futuresendflash001It’s been quite awhile since I’ve read/checked in on Flash. To be honest, I’m not even sure I bothered to give the title a chance at the relaunch–I grew up on Wally, and was thoroughly tired of Barry being forced back to the forefront in his place toward the end of the pre-52 (though I was ok with Flashpoint). That said, this issue seemed to have *A* Wally, just obviously quite different than the one I was used to, and unfortunately set in a future that may or may not ever come to be, so it’s more tease than not. I’ve always enjoyed the “legacy” nature of the Flash stuff (I think in some ways that’s part of what drew me to the title initially), and that’s on display here, making for a rather enjoyable issue. I’d be interested in more with the characters seen in this issue, and further expansion on the situations hinted at. For an issue that I wasn’t certain I’d get until I actually grabbed it off the shelf, this was worthwhile as a one-shot…though I’m not sure it changed my mind any regarding the current ongoing series.

FUTURES END: RED LANTERNS#1

futuresendredlanterns001One of the earliest comics I can recall getting at the start of my “second phase” was Guy Gardner #1. I had no idea who this character was, what his story was, but hey…it was a #1 issue, he’d cameoed in that Action Comics Annual, so hey, check it out, right? And through the years I’ve had mixed feelings on the character, but here it was rather interesting to me to see him as a hopeful character, seeing the positive and good in the universe rather than the aggressive, angry, in-your-face sort. Sure, that’s partially the influence of a blue ring, but it’s far from inconceivable that Guy would be capable of such a change, and it adds another layer to the character. I snagged this issue to round out having gotten the other Lantern books this month. Yet–perhaps for simply being the most recently-read–I think this one was my favorite, sort of capping off Guy’s story as well as stuff with the Red Lanterns (that I have not been following) and it seemed more fitting and certainly a happier ending than in the other Lantern books.

FUTURES END: SINESTRO #1

futuresendsinestro001While I quite enjoyed the role Sinestro took on during Johns’ run on the GL title, this is the first solo issue I’ve picked up. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s Sinestro, and come to think of it…it’s thus a Lantern book (five now?). I’m not sure I totally “got” the way things worked for harnessing the yellow, or any light energy, as shown in this book and Sinestro’s escape. However, this touched on some “interesting” points, and the way it ended, giving Sinestro a whole different spin, certainly seemed feasible and far from being out of the realm of likelihood. I don’t know that I’d want to read anything ongoing with that, but I’m quite glad to see the continued use of the various Lantern Corps and that they seem to have “legs,” to have become a fairly permanent element/addition to things. I’d worried they’d be a limited time thing heading up to and as part of the “fallout” from Blackest Night. As a character practically as old as Green Lantern in general, it’s good to see Sinestro fleshed out, fairly complex-ish, and not just some “joke” of a villain. I’m glad I didn’t pass on this particular issue…though again, it’s not enough to hook me into the ongoing series.

FUTURES END: HARLEY QUINN#1

futuresendharleyquinn001Harley’s become a sort of “DC’s Deadpool” it seems, and for that reason alone, I wasn’t gonna even bother considering this issue. But then it was the last copy there, and after some annoyance earlier in the month tracking down issues, I figured I’d grab it–worst case, the issue sucks, but at least I wouldn’t change my mind and face the hassles of tracking the issue down LATER. This wasn’t a bad issue, though I wasn’t particularly enthralled. I get that characters have to grow and change rather than be chained into their original appearance (literal and in the sense of being introduced to us), but I’ve not care much for the “New 52-ization” of Harley in general. This issue, though, was fairly “fun” in putting Harley and Joker back together, dealing with a wedding for the two and reminding me of the messed-up nature of both characters, and how much better Harley is having HAD a history with Joker but getting beyond it. I would not have picked this up as just some Harley issue..u.but as a one-shot it was worthwhile, and I’m glad to have gotten it and having this “check-in” with the character, though (like a lot of the other issues this month) it doesn’t necessarily tie directly to the “core” story running through the ongoing weekly Futures End title.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 4

futuresendboostergold001I’m definitely quite glad to be done with the month, given how wildly expensive it got! Still, it’s a once-a-year thing, and having been through two of these now…three if we count the initial launch, as I skipped the Zero Month a couple years ago. I might actually look forward to next year’s thing and pre-order to get more of a discount. I still wound up with more than half of the books, and am convinced that I’m going to go ahead and catch up on the main weekly book, and maybe follow this thing through to the end after all…or at least further than I left off!

Definitely loved the Booster Gold book–it was such a standout that I gave it the solo treatment for a review. But as it is, for the upcoming week’s worth of books, looks like it’ll be more than 50% cheaper than any of the past month’s weeks, which is a releif, though I might offset that a bit with a bulk catch-up unless I go with a several-week thing.

Futures End: Booster Gold #1 [Review]

Futures End Booster Gold #1Pressure Point

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Moritat, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Will Conrad, Steve Lightle, Stephen Thopson, Mark Irwin, Ron Frenz, Scott Hanna, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colors by: John Kalisz
Letters by: Taylor Esposito
Cover by: Jurgens, Rapmund & Hi-FI
Editor: Joe Cavalieri
Asst. Editor: David Pina
Group Editor: Matt Idelson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

[---------- Please note: I will spoil this issue's ending below, denoted by a further note. ----------]

I wasn’t going to cover any of these Futures End one-shots as a singular/full review, but then, that was partially due to the fact that all these others have just been the month’s iteration of an ongoing monthly book. But to the best of my knowledge, Booster Gold has not had an ongoing series since that final issue that tied into Flashpoint pre-New 52; and I haven’t a clue where he wound up via Justice League International and whatnot.

But knowing his creator–Dan Jurgens–was the writer on this issue in that way alone made it a no-brainer for me to pick this up, once I’d given in on getting ANY of these one-shots. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the issue and hadn’t seen anything for it in promotional stuff outside of the title itself. So seeing the cover was a thrill–this is definitely one of my favorite covers of the month. I’ve always loved the blue-and-gold contrast…the pairing of Booster and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as well as simply the contrast of the two colors against each other. That makes for a striking cover. It’s also great to see the same title logo used as the last ongoing series…it lends an extra bit of recent-nostalgic familiarity to this.

As this isn’t just the month’s “five years later” glimpse of an ongoing character/series, we actually get a look at a Booster bouncing through time/dimensions trying to remember a mission, as we see Booster imprisoned, being interrogated for something…and eventually see that rather than some disjointed story there’s more going on than it seemed initially…and certainly gives me a “selling point” to catch up on and keep up with Futures End.

I was initially put off looking at the issue’s credits seeing a number of artists credited with ranges of pages…couldn’t one person (say, Dan Jurgens himself) do the entire issue? But I almost immediately realized then that hey…multiple worlds/dimensions…different artists lend some variance to the worlds, and contrary to my initial snap-judgment, I quite enjoyed that element here.
Booster himself looked familiar, yet there was something a bit different to the character that I couldn’t place…I vaguely recalled that he’d had a “new” costume in the New 52, so I wasn’t sure where this fit. Thankfully, that actually worked with the story.

After all these years, I really enjoy seeing Jurgens work on the character–particularly the story, but the art as well. There’s also that Booster Gold is one where time-travel is an intrinsic part of the character himself…which adds to the logic of this issue’s existence. Even if the character does not have an ongoing and may or may not (for my ignorance) be a regular part of any ensemble cast of an ongoing book–for anything involving time travel, I’d expect him to be a part of it in some form.

[--------------------------------- Spoilers below ---------------------------------]

By the end of this issue it became apparent that this was not a matter of Booster being imprisoned and the bouncing-through-time-and-worlds-and-dimensions being merely a mind-thing with someone screwing with him to convince him to give up a secret. We’re actually dealing with the New 52 Booster Gold as well as another version…and it seems to me that this other version is either THE pre-52 version or darned close to it. I don’t know where DC officially stands anymore on stuff, but this “hint” that the DC Universe *I* grew up on is still out there is a welcome treat, whether isolated to this title, this issue alone, or something bigger.

[--------------------------------- Spoilers above ---------------------------------]

All in all, like the Swamp Thing issue and the Supergirl issue, I ultimately found this to be an issue independently interesting and engaging (particularly by the ending and the “new view” of the earlier pages it generated for me), and very well worthwhile to have bought and read.

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

Armor Hunters #4 [Review]

Armor Hunters #4Kill

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artists: Doug Braithwaite, Tom Fowler, Trevor Hairsine, and Clayton Henry
Assistant Editor: Josh Johns
Editor: Warren Simons
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

I can say from the start that this did not end with quite the grandiose hugeness I was expecting. For an 18-issue (now 19 including the upcoming Aftermath issue) thing, I don’t know what I was hoping for exactly, but this wasn’t it.

But then, I wasn’t buying this because it was Armor Hunters. I wasn’t following the story because of it being “an event” or the “latest event” or anything like that. I wasn’t following it because of chromium covers or variant covers. I wasn’t following it BECAUSE of any of the marketing or checklists or whatever. I was buying this because it was Valiant, and from May 2012’s relaunch to present, I’ve been “all-in” on Valiant.

That said, I found this issue to be a solid one, wrapping up this particular “core chapter” in the ongoing story that is Valiant continuity as a whole.

The art is very good as usual…I really had no complaints there. The style works and fits the story, and I was never taken out of things because of some visual quirk or stylistic twinge or otherwise anything distracting about the “meta” nature of anything with the art. The characters all looked good, the action was easy to follow, everything seemed consistent with what I’ve seen before. The art thus was good in the best way: only consciously “noticeable” because I’m choosing to comment on it in the capacity of this review. In the reading, it simply “was.” Nothing stand-out distractingly “great” but nothing distractingly bad–it allowed the story to take the stage.

Through the issue, we see Aric armor up again with the X-O suit, and reconnect with Bloodshot and the Unity team, as all come back together and the immediate threat of the team of “Armor Hunters” themselves is brought to a close.

The story is relatively simple on the surface for the issue–a lot of fighting as the hunters are laid low while the Earth-heroes take their own share of physical punishment for the trouble. But we also get some interesting elements for moving forward, and I feel like a key “promise” was indeed fulfilled–and satisfyingly so. While I don’t recall now if it was in some preview or interview or such (it may have been outside the “normal, organic” nature of following the comics themselves withOUT having comic news sites or such involved) but in my mind I’ve had the notion that we’d learn more about Aric’s armor in particular, and then as an event we’d have some lasting elements to carry on beyond.

We’ve learned that the armor is one of many, that they exert a parasitic influence over the “host” (that they’re a “host” rather than simply a being that is wearing the armor says plenty), that it’s not some one-shot thing of the armor being able to heal the host, and so on.

We have the lasting impact of Mexico City’s destruction–a city does not just get wiped off the map and get forgotten. That will be a long-term lasting thing in the Valiant continuity, setting it apart from the “real world” where we as readers know Mexico City has NOT actually been destroyed during an alien attack.

We also have the impact of things on Aric with the armor now totally bonded with him, and the limitation that he now lives with–he’s in control of the armor and it won’t just take him over, won’t heal him automatically. He now can WILL the armor to heal him…but in so doing, he cedes that much more control TO the armor, such that if he takes enough physical damage in need of the armor’s brand of healing, eventually he WILL be lost to the armor.

We also have a new relationship between Aric and MERO…as well as the first explanation I can consciously recall of the title X-O Manowar being given beyond some arbitrary X-O class armor also known as manowar armor…as an “Executive Officer” titled “Manowar,” Aric sort of has a “superhero name” now, yet not…but the title is given to him, as a thing, rather than merely being a description of the armor that he happens to wear.

While an 18 or 19 part “epic” is a bit grandiose for such a small family of titles as Valiant puts out, and rather large for ANY “event” or “crossover” as an independent thing…it totally makes sense as it has played out. The core story’s been in this 4-issue mini-series. Given the ties to the X-O Manowar title itself, we’ve gotten Aric’s story here and background on Malgam and the Armor Hunters in that title. Something of this scale would certainly affect the world as a whole, hence Unity’s involvement. Bloodshot’s recruitment fits and as one of the main/big players in the Valiant Universe his action should not be relegated to off-panel “mentions.” And as Generation Zero steps out into the world in general it’s logical that they–and the remnants of the Renegades–would become involved in disaster relief efforts.

Granted that’s a much larger-scale view than “just” this fourth issue, but having read everything, this is “just” a part of that.

Context is vital, and while there’s no gigantic singular event in this issue that in and of itself will HERE change the Valiant universe, if you’ve been following the whole thing or just this mini, or X-O Manowar, this is definitely an issue to get, not to be arbitrarily skipped for some random reason. It’s good and worthwhile, and a solid issue in itself. Of course, if you have not been following anything associated with this, it would thus be a rather strange-ish point to attempt to jump into stuff, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a jumping-on point. (Yet every issue is bound to be SOMEONE’s first).

Superman: Doomed #2 [Review]

Superman: Doomed #2Evolutions

Story: Greg Pak & Charles Soule
Art: Ken Lashley, Szymon Kudranski, Cory Smith, Dave Bullock, Jack Herbert, Ian Churchill, Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes, Norm Rapmund
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Guillem March & Tomeu Morey
Assistant Editor: Anthony Marques
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

[---------- Please note: I will spoil this issue's ending below, denoted by a further note. ----------]

This issue is late. I believe it was originally solicited/scheduled for at least a month ago, sometime in August. I’m not certain of course, but I’m guessing that also accounts for so many involved on the art team for the issue. With all the one-shots I’ve been reading this month on the Futures End stuff, in some ways I’d even forgotten about this story for several weeks, only last week realizing “Hey…Doomed #2 never DID come out, did it?!?”

This issue sees the “last stand” of Earth and its heroes against Brainiac. With Superman having given himself over to Doomsday, his “essence” is basically a passenger along for the ride, or in the mind or such, where Brainiac reaches out, showing how much better things would be with Brainiac free to do his thing, why he should be allowed to, etc. Perhaps most pressing is that if Doomsday–Superman–“Superdoom”–destroys Brainiac, it’ll mean the destruction of all human life on Earth, as the stolen minds will be done for and not returned to their bodies.

While showing Superman visions of what could be, Brainiac continues taking down the last remnants of Earth’s heroes–having apparently utilized Superman somehow to “find” them and get through their defenses. He also reveals his core, true motivation to things, which on one hand could be sympathetic but for the notion of “the good of the many outweigh the good of the few” and all that. Lois plays a key part in things, and ultimately the minds–and thus lives–of all on Earth rest with Superman and a gambit to take down Brainiac before he can remake the universe itself.

Visually, this issue is a jumble. A lot of artists involved, but that can be forgiven as they seem to be utilized for the visions of what-could-be and such. I’ve never been a fan of the “Superdoom” look and have found it ridiculous–still do–so that lends a visual weirdness to stuff for me anyway on top of numerous artists. That said, having made it through all the tie-ins and such to this point–all those styles and renditions of involved characters–I can’t complain too much here. The issue is what it is, and whether utilized to show alternate realities or that’s just a fortuitous element given so many involved, I’ll take it at face value. The only point that I REALLY consciously noticed a huge difference was a sequence that reminded me of Darwyn Cooke‘s art.

Story-wise I’m left with a fair bit of frustration at the sheer length of this “event” and such. It seems that SO MUCH was made of the “Doomsday virus” and Superman fighting it/becoming a Doomsday and so on–that Brainiac’s involvement feels like a bait-and-switch. Like this whole thing could have been done in just a couple issues–perhaps Doomed #1, a single month’s slot of tie-ins, then this #2.

Then there’s the fact that this issue itself doesn’t even definitively end but rather kicks down the door onto something else.

[--------------------------------- Spoilers below ---------------------------------]

In “trying to find a place for” Brainiac, Superdoom–powered by all that Brainiac had sought–pushes Brainiac’s ship into a black hole of sorts, ready to sacrifice himself as well to see that Brainiac’s threat to the universe is over. But in this we see shards of something broken, and in those shards, we see what look to me like glimpses of the pre-52 DC Universe…particularly recognizeable to me are Nightwing and his classic first costume (circa 1989) and of course, Superman himself with the “trunks.”

Like this week’s Futures End: Booster Gold issue, this sees to show that in some fashion or another, the DC Universe that *I* grew up on is still out there somehow, and perhaps something involving Brainiac would be a key to–if not bringing it “back,” then at least accessing it.

[--------------------------------- Spoilers above ---------------------------------]

Despite the enormity of what we see on the last pae of the issue, I still don’t feel this story warranted all the chapters it carried, and that this could have been handled in just a handful of issues. Chances are, with the likes of Bleeding Cool and other online spoilers, this issue will wind up being fairly signifiant in the long run and thus in that regard probably worth seeking out, I wouldn’t particularly recommend it in and of itself unless you’ve been following the story in general.

I’m actually (overall) glad I went and hand got it–despite that hefty $5 cover price–for the feelings elicited by that last page, for capping things off, and giving me an “out” to drop back to spending far less each month.

Except that this issue–and event–leads directly to an aftermath issue in October’s Action Comics, at minimum. The story isn’t over. And rather than a definitive conclusion, an actual “bookend” to things…we’re simply propelled on to “The next thing.”

Superman: Doomed will probably make for a nice, thick hardcover collection, similarly thick paperback eventually…and really, that’s gonna be the way to go. If you haven’t followed stuff so far, just wait for the collected volume. If it’s priced around $30 for this entire thing, that will be quite a bargain compared to the price paid for the single issues involved, and will put the entire story between two covers instead of the umpteen ones across five-some months for the single issues.

My First Lootcrate

I’ve been hearing about these “Lootcrate” things for a few months, but only recently really had ‘em brought to my fuller attention. And with the advertising push for the September crate–the month’s theme being “Galactic”–I gave in and decided to go ahead and order one.

loot_crate_september14_01So my first Lootcrate arrived this week…I don’t know what size box I was truly expecting, but this was not a bad size at all.

loot_crate_september14_02And at first dig-through, I’m pretty content with my “loot.” One of those blind-pack “mystery mini” figurines (Malcolm Reynolds…so not quite so “blind” in terms of this month’s crate). A Lootcrate-exclusive Tribble. A RetroAction figure from the Alien wave (I got Ripley…I was expecting the Alien itself, so kinda disappointed there. Not really sure what to make of the other stuff…not particularly impressed with the other inserts.

loot_crate_september14_03But I’d have to say the Tribble and the Mal Reynolds mini are largely worth it by themselves…the Ripley/Alien figure makes the dollar value worthwhile. I figure the Alien figure would be $10, the Tribble would probably be at least $5-$9 if not $10, and the mystery mini would be at least $6.

All in all, not bad, and while I may not be overly “excited” by what I’ve got, they’re cool to have, and I look forward to finding out what October’s theme will be.

TMNT Toys in the Wild – Newtralizer, Shredder (Variant), Cockroach Terminator, and Snakeweed

While I did finally “pull the trigger” on buying the Casey Jones figure, I’ve continued to come across a bunch of figures that I have either not been interested in actually purchasing, or haven’t justified (to myself) the purchase YET.

Here are some more photos of several other figures “in the wild”…

NEWTRALIZER

newtralizer_front

newtralizer_profile

SHREDDER (VARIANT)

shredder2_front

shredder2_profile

COCKROACH TERMINATOR

cockroach_terminator_front

cockroach_terminator_profile

SNAKEWEED

snakeweed_front

snakeweed_profile

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 259 other followers

%d bloggers like this: