• May 2015
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Darth Vader (2015) #5 [Review]

darthvader(2015)005Vader part V

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Adi Granov
Assistant Editor: Heather Antos
Editor: Jordan D. White
Executive Editors: C.B. Cebulski, Mike Marts
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I intended to drop this. I don’t like the lack of dialogue, and captioning, and how quick it is to read. The speed at which I can blast through an issue makes it a REALLY HORRIBLE “value” for what I spend. But DARN IT…this thing is great to look at, sure is pretty. And I already got the first FOUR issues, the first 2/3 of the arc, and I just had to go and look inside to see if this was a new story or still continuing the existing one, and it’s part 5. So…I bought this, against conscious prior intent…and so help me, I’m really enjoying this title when I get past the conscious, principled complaints.

It ALSO certainly did NOT help that I just re-watched the original Star Wars films, so have these characters–and this time period in the Star Wars canon–front and center in my mind, craving whatever else there is that looks good, looks like it fits, and…in some ways, perhaps I’m just a “sucker” for this stuff right now. The fact that as I sit and type this I feel like I have a stupid, silly grin on my face accentuates that.

Of necessity, we already pretty much know the ultimate fate–or lack thereof–that will befall most of these characters. These droids aren’t around come Empire Strikes Back–they’re not even significant enough to be referenced. Ditto Doctor Aphra. But that doesn’t excuse the feeling they matter right now, in this story, as it is presently unfolding.

I don’t care for the Doctor Who comics, and shoehorning in of new/different/”extra” Companions…yet I’m ok with this for Star Wars comics. Aphra is unlikely to survive, but she’s cool right now, and likeable, and written well and modern despite being set in a story between movies that saw initial theatrical release more than three decades ago.

There’s not a LOT of story in this issue, and I have to keep going back to the art as what makes this. I’m aware of Gillen having done a fair bit with the X-Men title/characters some years back, but largely have yet to read that run, so there’s nothing to the story itself here that I can look at as seeing/feeling this is a Gillen story. But the consistency of the characters and the witty one-offs (Triple-Zero being what he is yet having concern for politeness made me grin) and such give this a modern, contemporary feel while Larroca‘s art (though actually, credit’s gotta go to the ENTIRE visual team) really makes this book. And I don’t usually care about the art enough to gush like this.

I’d love to simply not like this book, because it’s published by Marvel and I’ve not been thrilled with Marvel for awhile as well as the fact that Star Wars and Dark Horse have been pretty much synonymous to me for basically the entire time I’ve been reading comics until just a few months ago.

But despite myself, it’s enjoyable and a fun read and quite worthwhile in and of itself. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, and Darth Vader…I highly recommend this. If you haven’t followed the single issues, it will definitely be worth checking out in the inevitable collected volume.

Total ($5!) Heroes

I went into Walmart to get a frame for a puzzle (sadly, they had a slot marked for the exact size I wanted, but out of stock).

And me being me, I wandered by the toys, curious if they’d have any cool Power Rangers figures I’ve ignored (they didn’t). I decided to browse the clearance aisle, as there was a lot of open space in the action figure aisle, and I’ve noticed the stores resetting for summer and Jurassic World and such.

Total_Heroes_Three_Pack_front

I happened across this Total Heroes three-pack that I’ve seen several times before. It didn’t have a clearance sticker on it, but I did see where it had a stickered spot on the shelf…seeing the price, I went straight to a price scanner…the price had to be wrong.

The Total Heroes figures seem to be basically $9.99 at Walmart and Meijer (and I don’t think I’ve seen them at all at Target)…and $14.99 at Toys R Us. So this pack being a $29.99 thing was a reasonable price (but I already had Superman and a different-costumed Batman). $30 for Luthor was never on the table.

At the price-scanner, the price was confirmed as correct! $5.00. For this 3-pack. So even though the Superman is a flat-out dupe, the Batman is a different costume than the one I have so technically new, and Luthor is wholly original to my Total Heroes collection…

And $5.00 for Luthor is a price I would’ve paid anyway.

Total_Heroes_Three_Pack_back

These join Superman, Batman, Sinestro, Flash, Steel, and Hawkman…leaving me all the more interested now in tracking down Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Mr. Freeze.

Total_Heroes_Three_Pack_profiles

I’m not a HUGE fan of the line compared to some others…but even with stuff like Marvel Legends I never cared for the hyper-poseable nature…I just like having the characters at all, and in scale with each other.

And when stuff like Marvel Legends are $20+ and even the little 3.75″ figures are upwards of $9.99 to $12.99+ these days…I’m all for bigger, somewhat less poseable yet cheaper figures.

Of course, getting 3 figures for $5 is gonna make it a BIT challenging to mentally “justify” $10/1 with any others.

While it’s not what I went into the store for, with only inflated online prices and no sign of Legacy Dragonzord or Legacy Megazord on shelves anywhere (only Legacy White Tigerzord)…I’ll content myself with this as an amazing random bargain find!

Kai’s Fire Mech…Again

While I’d bought and assembled one of these awhile back, kicking off my love of Lego Mechs…I wanted to give it a second go, this time for my cube at work.

kais_fire_mech_pieces

Though I haven’t seen the set in Walmart or Target for awhile, I found it at a Barnes and Noble, and bought it.

A few days later, on a lunch break I opened it and managed to get it completely assembled.

kais_fire_mech_assembled

I now have two Ninjago mechs and a Mixel on my cube as well as a couple of mini Chima mechs…and think I may want some more…

White Ranger Tiger Power…

white_tigerzord_box_top

Though it’s been several years since the “return” of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, when I finally got myself a Megazord…a number of factors brought the toys back to my attention, and I learned of this Legacy line. And while I’d’ve preferred the Dragonzord, this is the only one I could find at a quasi-sorta-reasonable price, and pulled the trigger on buying it.

white_tigerzord_box_front

I really like the front of the box, spotlighting the mighty White Tigerzord in Tiger Mode, though we get a little inset of the thing in Fighter Mode. The photo doesn’t do the box justice–the shiny gold of the logo lettering is nicely offset from the sparking green background.

white_tigerzord_box_side1   white_tigerzord_box_side2

The sides are also nicely designed with the White Ranger himself on one side, and a small diagram of the White Tigerzord’s ability to “play nicely” with the Megazord. This is a bit out of continuity, though–as the Tigerzord didn’t come onto the scene until after the original Zords were done, though it worked with the Thunderzords. Still…if I get the Legacy Megazord, you won’t find me complaining about its compatibility here!

white_tigerzord_box_back

The back of the box shows the two primary modes of the zord, with a snippet of information about Tommy and the zord.

white_tigerzord_packaging

The packaging is nice and simple–a tray to hold the zord, the sword/tail, and the folder paper instructions. No fancy ties, no rubber bands, no tape to cut, no real HASSLE (unlike many toys nowadays!)

white_tigerzord_instructions

A single sheet of paper shows a diagram of how to switch the model between its primary modes…as well as how to connect it to other Zords (sold separately). I had some slight trouble with the legs and a heart-stopping moment thinking I’d broken the thing before realizing how great the combination of plastic and metal parts could be.

white_tigerzord_profile_front

The Warrior Mode of White Tigerzord (and truly, my favorite…as a fan of Mechs and giant robots…). View from the front…

white_tigerzord_profile_side1

View from the side…

white_tigerzord_profile_back

Continuing the rotation, view from the back…

white_tigerzord_profile_side2

…and view from the other side.

white_tigerzord_tigermode_front

Tiger Mode from the front…

white_tigerzord_tigermode_side1

…and Tiger Mode from the side.

white_tigerzord_with_megazord

And finally, White Tigerzord next to the 2010 edition of the Megazord.

While I’d’ve preferred the Dragonzord at present, I’m going to have to wait as that one is well outside any sort of reasonable price range to me at the moment. I believe there’s a new version of the Megazord due out soon as part of the Legacy line, and I may try to get that at some point. That may be at least partially dependent upon finding the Legacy Dragonzord for a decent price. I know there’s also Titanus, but that is significantly further outside my price range, and though I do recall the occasional appearance and formation of the Ultrazord…I don’t care enough about that one.

This Legacy zord is a good bit heavier than the all-plastic Megazord, and definitely a higher quality by weight and feel, as well as the moving parts. This is easily one of the single most expensive toys I’ve bought, but it’s also one of the larger ones, which somewhat offsets things a bit.

While there’s a little bit of buyer’s remorse in how I’d so prefer the Dragonzord…ultimately I’m glad I did buy this, and it’s going to be a great addition to my collection.

Convergence – Batman: Shadow of the Bat #2 [Review]

convergence_batmanshadowofthebat002Home is the Sailor

Words: Larry Hama
Pencils: Rick Leonardi
Inks: Dan Green
Colors: Elmer Santos
Lettering: Steve Wands
Cover: Philip Tan, Elmer Santos
Assistant Editors: Holzherr & Kraiger
Editor: Marie Javins
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

Batman and Azbats…er…Azrael, vs. Wetworks, for the fate of the city? Yeah, but I don’t even know WHICH city they’re in from this. The previous issue was several weeks ago and this one lacks anything to bring one up to speed. Sure, it’s ONLY the 2nd issue of two, but…really? So the Batmen fight Wetworks while befriending a woman and her son as the notion of getting the Wetworks team to slow down long enough for a teamup to be proposed, to endeavor to save BOTH cities. And while both cities are still around at the end of the issue, there’s no truly definitive ending.

We get the "conclusion" of a story that is NOT a conclusion. At best it’s the first act in a larger arc…but there’s no To Be Continued note, no "continued in Convergence #7," no "for the final fate of BOTH CITIES, check out Convergence #8 on sale in TWO WEEKS!" note, just some ridiculous, cliché stopping point because we’re out of pages.

And I really feel like I should have gone with my initial instinct and left this thing on the shelf. But in a fairly rare instance of it happening, the cover sold me, just by its weird coloring, and the title logo…and the strength of the previous issue’s cover (which I liked SO MUCH that I made it my phone’s lock screen, so have been seeing it several times a day for the past month or so).

I was further sold, again, by Hama‘s name on the cover…though sadly, that (and the interior credits) are the only place I have anything to truly suggest to me that Hama‘s even involved. Nothing about this "feels" like some kind of GI Joe thing, nothing reminds me of 1993-ish Wolverine, and nothing about this otherwise screams "I’m by Larry Hama!" to me.

I blame that not on Hama, but on the lack of room for anything to truly develop. And having soured CONSIDERABLY on Convergence in general since its start, having allowed myself some general enjoyment of Marvel’s version of stuff in Secret Wars, this just pales all the more as an issue.

This felt paced to be the opening of a larger story, and if this were a six-issue arc, it would seem on track to be a good story overall, having spent the first issue (re)introducing us to Zero Hour-era Batman and Azrael and setting up the Wetworks fight; this issue gave us the actual fight and leaves us with the two groups seeming about to team up; leaving several issues to show them interacting and preparing a plan; putting the plan into action and the plan going awry; an issue to refocus or have some significant change to the Batmen at least, and lead into some cataclysmic or miraculous event for one/both of the cities and a possible lead-back into some core event series.

So in a way, this is like a 6-issue mini getting canned after only 2 issues; or checking out a couple episodes of some tv show, being somewhat interested, but then told "oh, no, they just never put any more episodes out" or some such.

I’m irked at the length (technically, the lack thereof); irked at the Deathstroke "preview," that I don’t care about especially for not caring about the title or character, I’m irked at the $3.99 cover price vs. $2.99; and I’m irked that I bought this thing at all as a single issue.

This totally feels like it’s something destined for bargain bins; whether dollar bins or cheaper I don’t know. The entirety of Convergence does, for that matter. I’d bought the Superman #2 issue last week and now this; I’m wrestling with OCD on the STEEL issue as well as the handful of other #2s still pending. Consciously I know I should wait for the bargain bin appearances, but there’s part of me that just HAS TO "experience" what’s happening real-time with some of these ‘key’ issues, that is not content to just sit back and get it second-hand.

As long as you’re not feeling that way, I’d say this issue is totally skippable and inconsequential…to whatever the main story has gotten to and in general. There’s no #3 and no new #1 for Batman: Shadow of the Bat that I am aware of; no new pending title debuting starring Jean-Paul Valley, any incarnation of Azrael, or a Zero Hour era Batman, so…if the cover doesn’t suck you in or some other sentimentality grab you, wait for the bargain bins or an attractive collected volume that includes this.

Imperium #4 [Review]

imperium004Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Brian Reber with Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Rafael Albuquerque, Kano, Rafa Sandoval, Cary Nord, Doug Braithwaite
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Editor in Chief: Warren Simons
Published by: Valiant Comics
Cover Date: May 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

This series is an interesting exercise for me so far. It feels like a definite “evolution” of sorts–having begun with Harbinger as an ongoing, bridged with Harbinger: Omegas and then functionally replacing Harbinger entirely. Its story began with what was laid out by the Harbinger run, but as those characters were scattered and moved about we still have Harada actively doing his thing…which presently is more important to the Valiant Universe than the Renegades’ story.

We find some of Harada’s people visiting another dimension, where one of them–Angela–is possessed by something. On their return, they find her eyes and entire visual system no longer exists and there is a self-aware intelligence inhabiting her body, but is not her. She offers knowledge in exchange for continued freedom/access to do her thing (the intelligence claims to be a scientist itself). She builds a machine, shows off her detachment, and by the end of the issue Harada declares a new war has begun.

If that seems a bit disjointed, it’s what I felt, reading this. I enjoyed the reading overall as a “latest segment of story,” but very much feel like it’s “just” part of a bigger story and not so much a cohesive whole by itself.

The art is definitely pretty to look at overall, if a bit disturbing at points…but that does mean it’s doing its job. For the stuff going on in the “other dimension” I didn’t find myself entirely following along, which I definitely do NOT care for…but if it was supposed to be surreal, I managed to pick up on that much.

We “feel” Harada in this issue more than we actually see him, which I definitely do not mind…the series is Imperium, not Harada. I do like the cover–or at least, the one I got–the “main” “A” cover. It’s got the stylized look of the series so far, and thus fits in visually as well as in simply BEING the newest issue. However, this seems to be the arbitrary conclusion to a short 4-issue arc (presumably for a $9.99 vol. 1 paperback) but does not really feel to me like it resolves anything…it simply continues stuff and kicks the door open on a new matter (presumably to be the focus of the next “arc”).

If you’re already following the title, this is worth getting for the continuation of the story. In and of itself as a single issue it’s nothing to jump over or seek out, though if you like Dysart and/or Braithwaite, and can find the first three issues it’d be worth getting those and this for a larger/longer reading experience (or just wait for the paperback). I do look forward to the next issue…not as some second arc, but just as the next chapter of an ongoing series.

Thoughts on This Week’s Secret Wars #2, Mythic #1 and X-O Manowar #36

Doing something they haven’t done in AGES, Marvel had a book out this week I was eagerly looking forward to, that drove my going to the comic shop on my lunch break despite construction and traffic and extending the break to read the entirety of the issue before getting back to work.

three_comics_05132015

SECRET WARS #2

Given the ending of Secret Wars #1 last week I was eager to see what this new “Battleworld” would be and how the sections would actually be depicted, so of course I had to get #2 as soon as I could, and read the thing as soon as possible after that.

It proved to be a bit of a letdown in that regard and truly felt like a new #1, an introductory issue to some world, with a fair bit “teased” but not much actually shown. I know it’s still only the first chunk of story and all, and “only” the “core” where there are oodles of tie-in issues and tie-in mini-series and all that still coming in the next few weeks and MONTHS, but I was still hoping for something more.

On the other side of things…despite the aforementioned hope, there was also the expectation of something a lot worse. I WANT to dislike this specifically because I’m consciously aware of it being a Hickman book. Unfortunately, I can’t find the same fault and feel in it that I would EXPECT of a Hickman book, and instead read the thing, turning page after page just wondering where stuff was going and if anything would be some overly blatant lead-out to other stuff. But it didn’t feel that way.

I enjoyed the issue on the whole, and am actually more disappointed to consciously realize the thing is not a weekly, and my brain is too caught up in DC’s thing being “only” 2 months…while I fear this Secret Wars thing is gonna be drawn out for half a year or so now.

MYTHIC #1

While it wasn’t pulled for me–its “promo pricing” being $1.99 instead of the usual $1-or-under threshold–seems I was the first one to actually buy a copy of the thing anyway, despite the shop having been open for at least a couple hours before I got there. And it is definitely the pricing that caught my attention for the book along with being a #1.

But reading the thing, it just doesn’t grab me. I got to the end of the issue, and actually went back and counted the story pages, sure that this had to have cut off around 16-18 pages, but no…22 story pages. Which is NOT bad for the $1.99 cover price…but getting to the end of the issue and simply wondering what the heck I’ve just read (not in a good way) does not bode well for me.

The issue’s not horrible or anything, by a long shot…but it just doesn’t grab me. It’s “another” reality-vs-fantasy thing showing that what “should” be fantasy is “true” while all the fiction and “magic” is real, and just feels cliche to me. None of the characters truly grabbed me, nothing to the visuals stood out, and even the cover seems…tired? Overly basic and generic?

Seems that EVERY SINGLE WEEK there’s a new #1 from Image out there, with one “high concept” or another, and though lately I’ve been more willing to try some of ’em instead of ONLY waiting for a paperback, they have incredibly high standards to live up to–even if I can’t exactly articulate some checklist of what those standards are.

X-O MANOWAR #36

Dead Hand part three. Aric failed to save Loam, but vows that Earth will not be destroyed the same way. He puts out a call to other armors around the universe, summoning them to his side to take the fight to Dead Hand even as Earth begins to realize the threat it now faces so soon after the Armor Hunters.

As usual, the art for the issue is good, and the story doesn’t suck. Unfortunately, I have a growing trepidation toward Valiant in general lately over stuff due for this summer–particularly the “Incentive Series” Legends of the Geomancer that has been advertised as part of the Book of Death stuff and yet simultaneously explained as not being needed to “get” and enjoy Book of Death.

Reading this issue I found myself contemplating whether or not the next issue would be my last, ast least in this format or for awhile. Instead of simply enjoying the story, the experience was tainted despite wanting to read this in and of itself.

Ultimately, a couple of good splash pages left me ready for the conclusion, and thinking about how we had an 18-part giant Armor Hunters event last summer…and in this third chapter of four we have stuff going on that seems like it’s supposed to all be so much bigger than the Armor Hunters but the story is given a fraction of the scope.

Despite negatives, though…this marks 37 monthly issues of X-O Manowar that I’ve kept up with…something I don’t think I’ve done with any title from any publisher to this extent in most of a decade.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 304 other followers

%d bloggers like this: