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MMPR and Why I’m Done With Boom! Studios’ Single Issues

I was excited last week for the debut of the new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series from Boom! Studios. I was annoyed at the SEVEN different covers for the #0 issue…but they’re all such great-looking pieces, and the property has just the right bit of nostalgia, that I was actually looking at bucking my usual hatred of variants.

I enjoyed the story of the issue, in part along with the notion of acquiring not one, but SIX to SEVEN copies of the issue, to frame and display the covers in my “comic cave.”

Unfortunately, I was only able to acquire one single cover (Black Ranger), and when I took to online retailers, no one had any of the issues in stock…and then I was BLOWN AWAY when I tried eBay…and learned that TWO of the covers were RATIOED VARIANTS.

1_50_green_ranger

The Green Ranger cover was 1:50, and the White Ranger was a whopping 1:100.

That is…for every FIFTY COPIES of the regular covers a retailer orders, they can order ONE single, solitary copy of the Green Ranger cover. A retailer would have to order ONE HUNDRED COPIES of the regular covers to be able to order ONE single, solitary copy of the White Ranger cover.

That is complete and utter BS, and I call shenanigans!

1_100_white_ranger

This is a “team book,” that is–the book stars the TEAM, a cast of more than one primary character–in this case, a team of SIX characters. ONE of those characters spent time with the powers of two different Rangers–Green and White. So while all SEVEN covers would be a great set, since the story FOCUSES on the early part of the Green Ranger even being part of the group, the White Ranger cover COULD be seen as a “bonus” cover, separate from the “set.” Bad enough each character has to have their own individual cover (rather than any sort of team cover)…but then Boom! goes and pulls this, taking arguably the most popular (Green and White) and making them not 1:7 (equal ratio), not 1:10 but 1:50 and 1:100 respectively.

Even if a retailer gets the issues at $1 each, that makes the Green cover a $50 book, and the White a $100 book. Move that price upward the more the retailer has to pay.

What would have otherwise been a fun little “exception” to my no-variants personal policy has turned into downright frustration, and frankly, at this point, I’m done with Boom!

I was “all-in” for three years with Valiant, and dropped the publisher as a whole last summer over their crap with the Legends of the Geomancer. It’s been awhile since Boom! has really had anything of any interest to me–Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was gonna be my gateway back into their product, to having something of theirs on my pull list (and through whatever house ads/etc, I’d see as a result) probably get some of their other series back in my attention.

Instead, on principle, I’ll be voting with my wallet. Instead of my buying 6-7 copies of THE SAME ISSUE now, and continuing to purchase the ongoing monthly series’ issues each month, AND whatever else would grab my attention from there…I’ll likely part ways with the copy of the issue I did buy. And going forward, I will not only not be buying the series at all, I’ll not only passively not currently be buying anything from the publisher…I’ll be actively AVOIDING the publisher’s entire output…at least as single issues. Perhaps later in the year I’ll make an exception for a collected edition (provided the collected edition itself does not have variants), but as single issues go, as “supporting the series” goes…nope.

Thanks, Boom! for operating on the short-sightedness and money grab. You’ve earned ill-will on my end.

New Year, New Toys…

I’m a sucker for certain toys, and characters…and certainly for formats, among a number of other factors.

Coming across a display of Deadpool plushies in Target recently, I couldn’t pass them up. I already have the oversized Funko Pop plush for Deadpool, so just the “standard costume” wasn’t enough…I also snagged the Uncanny X-Force one as well.

deadpool_plushies

These are a great size–small without being tiny, but large enough to plop where-ever and not lose them.

There were a couple other versions–the Blue and Gold from when he decided to join the X-Men, and what looked like an inversion of that costume as well (more gold than blue). I’m happy with these two, though I’ll be interested in what other merchandise will be out for the upcoming film, given general action figure issues with the whole Disney-Fox thing.

extreme_heroclix_superman

I managed to hunt down the Extreme Heroclix Superman. This has the New 52 design that I’ve accepted as being pretty much standard now and what’s being pushed. While I no longer care for the game, I liked the sculpt, and have long appreciated the oversized Heroclix things as they make nice “statues” at a cost far under that of actual statues.

mighty_minis_01

While checking out the Batman v Superman stuff lately, I found these boxes of Mighty Minis–blind-pack miniatures. The ones I’ve seen are a mix of Batman v. Superman specific and Batman Unlimited (more comic booky than movie-based). I was going to pass on them until I spotted the Robin figure on a pack. It looks like the Batman Unlimited packs have Batman Beyond, Robin, Cyborg, Green Arrow, Flash, and Batman; and I don’t know if the package’s blacked-out silhouette image is to indicate un-advertised “chase” figures, or that when you buy the packet you don’t actually know which figure you’re buying.

I’d be interested yet in Batman Beyond and Flash, and wouldn’t mind Batman.

The Batman v Superman packs look to have Superman, a gold Superman, a black-suited Superman, Armored Batman, and green-gauntlet Batman. at this point I’d only want the regular Superman, so if I buy any more of these packs, I’ll probably go for the Batman Unlimited ones (though I primarily just wanted Robin, so I’m happy as-is).

mighty_minis_robin

The packs are $2.99, which is rather steep for any bulk purchasing. As a random quick addition to a cart of groceries, it’s not bad, and I like the figures. They’re not particularly articulated, but look good.

And Robin (Tim Drake) is one of my absolute favorite comic characters (the version that was around til 2011 anyway), so I’m all for Robin figures…

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (2016) #0 [Review]

[ UPDATE 1/19/2016: This review was written BEFORE learning that the covers for this issue are NOT equal-ratio. The Green Ranger cover is 1:50 and White Ranger 1:100…and while I enjoyed reading the issue and meant everything said in this review, my feelings and view on it have been sorely tainted, such that I will NOT be buying any future issues of the series, and will be actively avoiding Boom! Studios’ single issues moving forward .]

PowerRangers_000_Cover_GreenWritten by: Kyle Higgins
Illustrated by: Hendry Prasetya
Colors by: Matt Herms
Letters by: Ed Dukeshire
Covers by: Goni Montes
Designer: Jillian Crab
Assistant Editor: Alex Galer
Editor: Dafna Pleban
Published by: Boom! Studios
Cover Date: January 2016
Cover Price: $3.99

It’s rare these days, that I find myself truly “looking forward to” any single comic. I enjoy a handful of series and collected volumes, keep up with some stuff, only “check in” here and there on other stuff, but generally it’s either something I’m “already buying” on an ongoing basis, or a spur of the moment thing, an impulse buy.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers hits a certain “sweet spot,” though. I was 12 or 13 when the original tv series hit–the perfect age for it. And though I lost track of it after only a couple years–losing interest after the movie and the transition to a third set of Zords–in recent years the “nostalgia factor” has been quite significant–from the remastering of some of the original episodes (and a new round of action figures/Megazord to go with them) to the series’ availability on Netflix–I’ve “dabbled” in revisiting the property, old favorite episodes and such.

When I first saw some of the art for the covers for this issue, I was blown away–such bright, iconic images while remaining totally simple. Each is the respective Ranger holding his/her helmet, and we see their personal Zord reflected. For any fan of the Mighty Morphin’ crew, the helmets are recognizable, as well as what can be seen of the costumes, and that alone goes a long way. I tend to loathe variant covers, and will typically shy away from series in protest of numerous variant covers (having been beaten into relative submission on the notion of A & B equal-ratio covers for every single issue ever of all series from certain publishers).

I really, trully wish these covers were for this #0 issue and the first six issues of the ongoing series (or back covers, at least, a la Devil’s Due‘s early GI Joe issues). But like TMNT, I’ll make an exception here. The Power Rangers are a TEAM, this is a TEAM BOOK, so singling out each member of the team for their own individual cover usually drives me nuts. These covers are truly spectacular, and none would have the same effect if the images were all smashed together as a single cover. It’s a shame the books don’t come with bound-in posters of the covers–whether only slightly larger (a 2-page size) or significantly larger (4-panel fold-out). I would absolutely buy at least one or two (if not several or all) of these as posters. As-is, I am sorely tempted to track down all the covers to frame as a wall display. So cover-wise…choose your favorite Ranger(s) and go with that…any/all of the covers are fantastic pieces.

Story-wise…getting into the actual content, I’m initially not impressed. I let myself get hyped up, so I was expecting something that would completely and immediately blow me away. This is a new take on something major from my youth, a return, and has 20+ years of nostalgia to measure up to. Checking that extreme level of expectation…I like this. The story is good, and truly, arguably better than the actual execution of most any episode of the MMPR tv series I can recall. (Even at 12/13 I knew stuff was hokey and cheesey…campy). This takes the concepts, the coolness, and renders it in a modern setting (including contemporary smartphones) while keeping what would be expected of the characters.

This picks up early in the group’s tenure–they’ve only just recently defeated the Green Ranger (one of Rita’s bolder plans), and now Tommy has been given a place with the existing group…he is no longer the evil foe of the team…he has been welcomed as a full member OF the team. Yet still, he is haunted by images of Rita–taunting him, goading him, telling him that he’s a fraud, a fool, that he doesn’t belong, can’t belong–in this group. Questioned by Jason–the two are carpooling to school–he admits to anxiety…this will be his first day at school, as part of this group, as a Power Ranger. They meet up with Kim and Zack, and Billy and Trini, and the day begins. Meanwhile, Rita prepares her latest monster–Bullzer–to launch an attack on Angel Grove. As alarms sound and the school goes into emergency mode, our heroes spring into action. Rangers and Zords clash with the monster destroying the city…and amidst self-doubt, Tommy struggles to fit into his new team…as they struggle to work with the new dynamic. After the monster’s defeat, the team debriefs with Zordon and Alpha…while elsewhere, Scorpina and Rita meet…the former delivering a mysterious crystal to the latter, who has a new beginning in mind…which can’t bode well for our heroes, but we have to wait a couple months now for the launch of the ongoing series itself…#1 comes in March.

I really dig the art…this looks like a comic, feels like a comic, and yet the characters are recognizeable. This doesn’t seem to try to capture the exact likeness of the actors from 20 years ago…it works as its own thing, such that it would not be inconceivable to imagine the comic as the source material, with the live action stuff chosen to fit the “on paper” designs. It also looks so much more…authentic, effectively having an “unlimited budget” instead of a small tv budget for stuff. Campy as the tv material is, this can convey the monstrous characters as what they’re supposed to be…without just looking like actors in silly costumes…this is the best-looking I think I’ve ever seen Rita, and I look forward to seeing even more with the Zords and other monsters.

 

THE ONGOING ADVENTURES OF BULK & SKULL
Written by: Steve Orlando
Illustrated by: Corin Howell
Colors by: Jeremy Lawson
Letters by: Jim Campbell

This is a brief double-page sequence that sees Bulk and Skull in the Principal’s office, being scolded for all the trouble they cause him…just before their latest prank goes into effect. Encountering Kim and Trini as they leave the office and realizing the pretty girls seem to idolize the Power Rangers…Bulk comes up with a new (but sorta familiar-ish) scheme that will change all that.

I can’t say I’m all that “impressed” with this segment–it feels like “filler,” but it’s the sort of stuff we’d see in a tv episode…and I’d much rather have it as a “backup” piece or supplemental than interspersed in the main story, given the different creative team.
The art is a lot more cartoony than the main story…but I’m ok with that given the type of piece this is. It’s more of a comic strip, and works quite well.

WHAT TIME IS IT?!
Written by: Mairghread Scott
Illustrated by: Daniel Bayliss
Lettters by: Ed Dukeshire

This one is a brief 6-page piece depicting a battle between the Green and Red Rangers, and Goldar, while the rest of the Rangers are kept busy elsewhere. As the rest of the team tries to figure out where their troubled friends are, Rita uses her magic wand to “make her monster grow,” enlarging Goldar to a size that competes with the Megazord. As the Megazord burst onto the scene, Goldar gloats…forgetting that he no longer faces just the Megazord…there’s a Dragonzord to contend with, as well.

I’d much rather have the 6 pages as additional content in the main story…there’s really nothing special to this piece. Yet…as absolutely formulaic as the original tv episodes were, having a similarly formulaic (but cutting out the “Rangers out of costume” and “setup” stuff out) works well for me, as we get to start right at the “Rangers in action” stuff that I certainly craved as a kid.
The art is less impressive than the main story, but in the sense of being a general, formulaic piece to simply see the characters in action, it doesn’t bother me.

Final Thoughts

One of the things that stood out most for me in this was that we see Kimberly quickly split off from the Megazord assemblage to go rescue people from a collapsing bridge with her Pterodactyl Zord. I really don’t recall any significant use of the Zords individually in the tv show, aside from the Dragonzord or occasionally the Tyrannosaurus. That the individual machines are supposed to be powerful in their own right is often lost as the tv series would typically see the Zords summoned and immediately combine to form the Megazord. While obviously more exciting as a team, the “unlimited budget” the comic affords the property compared to recycled film opens up a whole new realm of potential that I would love to see explored.

This is “only” a #0 issue–we have to wait, now, until March (~2 months) for the #1 that kicks off the series properly as an ongoing book. The Bulk & Skull and What Time Is It portions of this issue stand alone as one-shot bits. The main story serves as prologue, and ends on a To Be Continued, strongly suggesting the first arc of the ongoing will be this “early adventure” of the group, while Tommy is still new to being the Green Ranger, and new to the team…before he’d gelled with them and become a more central part (and eventually the leader as the White Ranger). I’m glad this issue is only a couple months removed from the ongoing–I would be rather annoyed if there was a longer gap. This works, being available in January, and only one “skip month” before the series proper.

I don’t know that this issue will really “sell” anyone “new” on the notion of the Power Rangers…but the issue is certainly very much worthwhile to anyone who was a fan of the tv series (if only for the covers!), and to get a taste of what’s likely to come, to check out the notion of the MMPR in a comic again. Given that there are subtle updates to set this in the present, I would imagine this would also appeal to fans of other Power Rangers iterations who would enjoy any Power Rangers comic.

As for me…this is well worth the purchase price, and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing how the ongoing series develops.

Batman v Superman Toys in the Wild: Wonder Woman and Aquaman [SPOILERS]

I finally came across Wonder Woman and Aquaman last week…so they DO exist in the first wave, and are not just pictured to entice one into buying toys now when some that are most wanted won’t be out until later!

batman_v_superman_toys_wonderwoman_front

I do like the design for this figure. She’s quite recognizeable, and yet (though the skirt is a bit on the short side) overall she doesn’t appear to me to be particularly sexualized. We have her sword and shield which look fairly generic, but ought to look better once the figure’s out of the package and displayed somewhere.

batman_v_superman_toys_wonderwoman_back

…as the back does show. I do wish they’d opted to show Aquaman on the card back, to really emphasize that there are more than just variants of Superman and Batman (and this Wonder Woman) out there.

batman_v_superman_toys_aquaman_front

I think I’m going to like this version of Aquaman. It’s definitely a depature from the typical design I think of, and yet the character still looks like an Aquaman to me. The trident looks like a worthy accessory as these things go…

batman_v_superman_toys_aquaman_back

Yet again, instead of Batman variants, I would think it’d make more sense to show Wonder Woman on the card as well.

I’ve pretty much decided that as these toys go, I’ll probably end up purchasing these two–Wonder Woman and Aquaman–individually, and then the three-pack with Superman, Battle Armor Batman, and the Luthor battlesuit. I would also hope there’d be an oversized Doomsday figure later…but time will tell, of course!

More Batman v Superman in the Wild [SPOILERS]

Following up on my post from last week, I found a couple more neat-looking additions to the Batman v Superman toys over the weekend.

While the other post was what I found at a Walmart, I found these at a Toys R Us.

Do not read on if you’re attempting to avoid any/all spoilers for the film.

The variant costumes/versions of Superman don’t seem overly likely to spoil anything.

However, the back of the card–and something that grabbed my attention–very well could be deemed a spoiler.

So again…do not read further into this post or look at the photos, as there’s stuff that could definitely come off as spoilers!

Continuing on, now…

epic_battle_superman_front

I’m actually sort of surprised at this Epic Battle Superman. I’d half-hoped that maybe there would not be a bunch of Superman variants, at least, but here’s another.

Some sort of fancy armor with ridiculous-looking markings (the gold) that seem totally out of place to me on a Superman costume; and certainly to this one. And while I have no problem with the idea of Superman picking up/using a tool at hand in a fight as needed (especially if/while facing a clearly superior opponent), to me, a Superman action figure with weapon accessories just doesn’t work for me offhand.

epic_battle_superman_back

More of note to me, though, was that the figure’s card is well-suited to showing off the line, as it shows–instead of other Superman variants or multiple Batman variants–three other non-Superman characters. And for me–reveals the apparent existence of an Aquaman figure.

I’ve yet to see the Wonder Woman figure in person, but the fact she appears on a couple of the cards suggests quite heavily that she’ll be find-able in coming weeks.

I’d previously figured the figures in this line/scale would be $8.99-$9.99. At Toys R Us, these were on pegs marked as $9.99, so I’m assuming they might be had for as low as the $8.99 at the likes of Walmart and/or Target (unless these follow the 3.75" adult-collector Multiverse figures that are $9.99 at TRU and $13.99ish at Target).

aquaman_will_exist

If I do buy into this line, I’d be likely to want to get this Aquaman. If I’m not truly gonna have a selection of villains, at least I can have an assortment of unique hero characters instead of nothing but variants of one or two.

batman_superman_lex_luthor_front

Then there’s this 3-pack that seems to give us our first "villain" of the line. We get an Armored Batman, a Superman, and a green-and-purple-Luthor-Power-Suit. I believe the price I saw for this was $24.99…which is actually cheaper than buying Superman and Batman individually with a third $9.99 Luthor; save $5 and get all three!

batman_superman_lex_luthor_back

In some ways, I’d much prefer "just" a "basic" version of all the characters…but in a world with these super-powered "gods," I have no problem with Batman in a clearly armored state; and certainly appreciate the look of this version of the figure.

This 3-pack’s figures seem to be the same size as the other "regular" figures, so if I had to guess right now about purchases I’ll make, I imagine I’d go for this 3-pack, and then the single-pack Wonder Woman and Aquaman and call it a day with the line.

I also saw some sort of new Batmobile, but I don’t have much interest there, particularly for assuming the price would be rather ridiculous or it would look way too small for these figures. I did not note the price.

The 3-pack above would also nicely match with the Total Heroes 3-pack I bought last year, featuring comic-style versions of the three characters.

I suppose time will tell if there are to be other figures in this line, and at what scale–and based on a trailer, I would certainly hope we’d have a large Doomsday figure "in scale" with these, even if it stands at $20-$30-something by itself.

Mega Bloks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I went into Toys R Us looking for one thing only: an Extreme Heroclix Superman figure I’ve seen several times and had finally decided to purchase (particularly given its price in the store compared to prices I was seeing the exact same thing listed for  online–via Amazon and eBay and such!)

I happened across a display of TMNT stuff I hadn’t known existed. I didn’t quite recognize stuff, but quickly realized they were Mega Bloks TMNT toys. That alone had my attention, then–so much for the TMNT Lego stuff.

krangs_rampage_unopened_front

Along with the Krang’s Rampage, there were also mini-sets for the four individual turtles, some sort of Turtle-Van set with Shredder and Raph, as well as "trooper" packs with Bebop and several Foot ‘bots or Rocksteady and several Foot ‘bots.

There were also several sets for the "current" TMNT that didn’t really have my interest…except for "blind pack" minis. What the heck? For $2.99 (compared to Lego‘s $3.99 minifig blind packs) I grabbed a couple, figuring they felt like different shapes–so not duplicates–and since I didn’t have any, they’d be "new" to me.

Ultimately I decided I did not have nearly as much interest in those as I did the "classic" TMNT stuff…and though it was certainly more than I’d intended to spend for the evening, I bought Krang’s Rampage.

krangs_rampage_back

I cared nothing for the pizza cart or News 6 billboard "accessories." I simply wanted the turtles, and Krang with android body.

cat_on_the_table_1

I had a visitor while I was first examining the contents of the box. Once Ziggy determined the rustling bags were not treats, he ignored me…but didn’t feel like leaving "his" space.

cat_on_the_table_2

Eventually I had to set the box between my "work area" and the kitty…he was quite curious, and after he tried to eat a minifig the night before, I wasn’t going to let him walk through the brickspace. He left and returned several times while I assembled.

fully_assembled

A couple hours after I started, the project was complete, and I had two of the four turtles facing off with Krang in his enlarged android body…and I’m quite happy with the result overall.

I did notice as I worked that these bricks feel like a lighter (cheaper) version of Lego, but I expected that–this set WAS cheaper in purchase-price than a Lego equivalent. A lot of pieces seemed pretty custom to this set (as opposed to repurposed pieces creatively integrated for a Lego set.

The mini figures–the two turltes–feel a lot more flimsy than Lego minifigs…but are far more poseable! The detail and articulation make them truly seem like miniature action figures rather than turtle-themed accessories on a standard blocky minifig structure. The weapons also seem much more "in scale" to the figures than the Lego counterparts had.

But all in all, I’m quite happy with the set, and glad for my purchase.

The miniature action figures leave me very interested in acquiring others–especially the Bebop and Rocksteady packs, and make me think it would be simply amazing if they would do a simple trooper pack with a dozen or so Foot ‘bots…making it far more possible in this scale to have the turtles face a small army of the robots than in any scale prior.

And surprisingly enough to me–in searching online for more details of these sets and what might be expected beyond what I saw, in the near future–I learned that "street date" on these was 1/1/2016.

I was in the store seeing these and buying the set I did…1/1/2016.

Though "purist" Lego enthusiasts will almost certainly find these to by physically inferior, on the "fun factor" and "enjoyment," as well as variety (the Lego sets were expensive and only focused on the "current" TMNT and then the 2014 film…Mega Bloks has sets for both the ’80s TMNT as well as the "current" series.

Mega Bloks also has the individual turtle packs–I believe they were $7.99 or so–which make it quite feasible for one to obtain all four of the turtles without having to invest in a $12.99 set and two or more $25-$60+ sets just to get the turtles.

other_sets

Above: a closer view of the image from the box showing Bebop, ROcksteady, Foot, and the individual turtle mini-sets.

Below: a differently-lighted photo of the box for Krang’s Rampage after the contents were removed.

krangs_rampage_opened_front

Death in the Family and A Lonely Place of Dying

I finally "pulled the trigger" recenty on several Batman volumes I’ve been planning on ordering. Over the last couple years, I’ve been gradually "upgrading" to newer editions of stuff I’d had, as these newer ones are far more comprehensive than the half-hearted volumes that were originally put out…or just simply have more content per volume, look better, etc.

batman_books_tall1

The one I was most looking forward to was Batman: A Death in the Family. This is one of the stories of my youth, and while I don’t truly "get" the merging of A Lonely Place of Dying into this, noticing that Batman Annual #25 was (supposedly) included definitely had my interest.

death_in_the_family_current_cover

I do like the minimal cover. It’s simple, but very, very telling…the image is haunting, shows the violence of Robin’s death, and is such an iconic image, filled with layer and meaning to me.

death_in_the_family_current_back

The back cover is less to my liking. It fits with contemporary volumes, of course, but I liked the back of the original edition better…or at least, the original’s inclusion of the original cover images.

whats_included1

According to the (back) cover of the book itself, the volume contains 10 issues. The 4-issue A Death in the Family story, the 3 Batman and 2 The New Titans issues that make up A Death in the Family, and the Batman Annual. "and also includes the 2006 follow-up story from BATMAN ANNUAL #25" .

whats_included2

The indicia also would support that, citing the individual issues, with no wording such as "material from" or "excerpted from" or anything indicating truncation or abridgement.

whats_included3

The volume’s table of contents begins to paint a different picture. It’s been nearly a decade since I actually read the annual, so I’ll be darned if I could remember the title of the story. But given the whole Superboy Prime and "punching reality" and all that, causing stuff to change, it would not be inappropriate for that issue’s title to BE "Alternate Ending." The pattern the table of contents uses lists the issues’ contents as their chapter of each story and the original issue numbers. The issues are included in full, no abridgement/etc.

But if one pays attention to the page numbers and the BIOGRAPHIES section below…notice the Annual is 270…but then the biographies are the VERY NEXT PAGE.

hes_alive_batman_annual_25

The sole inclusion from Batman Annual #25 is one. single. PAGE. And it’s not even reprinted as a page the way the entirety of the rest of the volume reprints the pages, this is intended to show AS a page from something else.

As a single page, this SHOULD HAVE been included between A Death in the Family and A Lonely Place of Dying. Given the Annual itself came 17-some years later, it would make perfect sense for it to be reprinted after both original stories. It seemed like a BONUS inclusion to the volume, to give us the original story, the followup, and then the revision, the revisitation that bridges the original stuff and contemporary stuff with Red Hood and such.

This is absolutely misleading, and had I known, if it had registered that the only difference was that this volume is 2-in-1 without the actual Annual in full, I definitely would NOT have bothered with this! I already have the original individual volumes, neither of which contains the Annual that was published those 17ish years after, and I’d thus prefer those.

current_and_older_edition

The art itself is basically the same on this new edition, it’s the words/fonts on the cover that is different. The art is centered on the new one and basically in full, while it’s off to the side on the original, wrapping slightly to the back. The original edition maintains the logo from the comics the story appeared in, as well as the story logo of A Death in the Family from those issues.

death_in_the_family_old_back

Personally, my ideal back cover is a mix of the original and the current…I would include the original cover images, but use the current text describing the story(ies) contained.

My original edition is the sixth printing or so, and quite beat up from numerous re-reads and being with me for over 20 years. Ditto for the Lonely Place of Dying volume.

older_death_in_family_lonely_place_of_dying

Here are the two original editions. They show their age, and are far from anything resembling pristine condition, as they are two of the oldest volumes in my entire collection. That can also be seen below with the prices of both books…

pricing_old_dif

I think the first printing of A Death in the Family may have had a $3.95 cover price, but I’m not certain. Obviously the sixth printing has the $4.95 cover price. Which, with at least a couple of the issues being oversized/extra-length is not bad at all.

pricing_old_lpod

A Lonely Place of Dying was 3.95. That’s five issues, including two issues that I believe were "Direct Market only" for basically $4. The cost of one single issue of what seems to be the majority of what both DC and Marvel put out these days heading into 2016. Granted, a quarter-century or so gap in time, but still…

lonely_place_of_dying_back_cover_text

Above: the back-cover text from A Lonely Place of Dying.

Given the gap between the two stories–Batman #s 430-439–and having Batman: Year Three (which I do not believe has ever been reprinted/collected) as well as The Many Deaths of the Batman (which was reprinted ages ago into a skinny, tiny little volume), I would think a much larger volume would be called for. Tim Drake is technically, officially introduced in Year Three, and that story also involves and has ramifications for Dick Grayson, then-Nightwing, who also played a major role in A Lonely Place of Dying. At minimum, I would expect Year Three to be included, as it also addresses Batman’s deterioration after the loss of Jason, which makes Tim’s arrival all the more poignant and sets things up FOR the latter story.

For that matter, in "losing" A Lonely Place of Dying as a title/book being folded into other stuff, I would think it’d fit quite well in a Robin volume…perhaps as the first few issues of the volume, then the story from Detective Comics where Tim’s mom died, and the (I believe) 3-parter from Batman that led into the first Robin mini-series. That’d make a handsome 12-issue volume; include the Robin mini and it’d be a strong 17 issues. That’d leave Robin II and Robin III to fill a respectable 10-issue volume, before picking up with the ongoing Robin series from 1993-on.

While this post is all over the place…ultimately, if you do NOT already have both A Death in the Family and A Lonely Place of Dying, I would definitely recommend this volume. Just be aware that it does not ACTUALLY contain the Annual that it misleadingly suggests it contains.

The content–the stories themselves–are very much worth it, and two very key stories in the 76+ year history of the Batman (and Robin)!

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