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Recent reading, comics’ pricing, and personal loss

AN INSTANT FAVORITE

A number of weeks back, Borders had a 40%-off-one-item coupon. I went into the local Borders intending to purchase The Walking Dead vol. 11. However, on the shelf with about a half-dozen volumes ranging from 1-10, I was unable to locate 11.

So, I browsed. Some interesting books here and there–quite a few of them ones I wouldn’t mind owning…but I reflected even then about the “value” of many of these collected volumes. And how by and large, they just aren’t worth it–and it takes at LEAST a 30% discount off the collected editions’ SRP before I really give ’em a serious look for purchase.

I happened to notice this Iron Man volume. The Invincible Iron Man vol. 1, by Matt Fraction. Not a bad price, even at full price…and with that 40% discount on this solid, hard-covered tome? I decided the zombies could wait.

Of course, life went and got hectic again. I spent a weekend in Michigan visiting a friend–where I splurged and bought the softcover equivalent of the Iron Man volume, but this was Deadpool/Cable vol. 1. A week or so later, having realized I was actually interested in the unfolding X-Men: Second Coming event, I utilized my Amazon certificate (from that massive “glitch” earlier this year) and snagged the X-Force/Cable: Messiah War volume.

I read Messiah War last week, eager to be “caught up” for Second Coming. Also, after reading a couple reviews and one friend specifically recommending the issue, I picked up Invincible Iron Man #25 along with the rest of my regular New Comics Day purchases. I read that issue Thursday at work…and so thoroughly enjoyed it that I immediately dove into that hardcover (as of this typing, it occurs to me that I never finished reading last week’s new issues).

The best way to succinctly describe this book is that Fraction has done for Iron Man what Brubaker did for Captain America. And I no longer care much about what new comics are out tomorrow–I’m interested in tracking down Invincible Iron Man #s 20-24 to fill in the gap…and eager to continue on with Fraction‘s tale of the Iron Man.

COMICS’ PRICING

It also occurs to me as I’m typing that last week’s single issues, at New Comics Day pricing (aka “full/standard/cover price”), were just about as expensive as this Iron Man collected volume. Yet, including the “padding” of 3-4 promotional $1 issues, that was only 9 or 10 comics. The collected volume has 19.

Though it would certainly lack the weekly variety and multi-publisher diversity of the usual, weekly purchases…some of these collected volumes–especially if (sorry, LCS!) ordered via amazon or other discount online retailer–provide a far better value for the buck. And I wonder if my attempts to “run with the other dogs” in reviewing comics weekly hasn’t caused me to turn a blind eye to this.

For the price of 5-10 comics on a Wednesday, I could score some great full-arc stories, in hardcover collected-edition format, each of the volumes having at LEAST 5-10 issues, many having at least 12-15 issues contained between their covers.

For the moment, at least, it’s highly tempting to try to make a ‘break’ from the weekly singles, and invest instead in collected volumes. If only it were REALLY that simple.

REAL LIFE LOSS

Last Sunday (May 9th), I lost one of my oldest friends and most constant companion in this life outside of family/flesh-and-blood: my cat, Kayla.

I can’t even begin to put words to the feelings and emotions of losing Kayla. For over 18 years she was a constant companion… to quote Justin Hartley’s Olliver/Green Arrow from the Smallville season finale: “When your oldest friend leaves forever, there’s really no way to say goodbye.”

I was behind on reviews anyway. For now, I’ll be inconsistent. Maybe a review or two here and there…but it’s gonna be awhile before I ramp back up.

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Plastic ring quest VI: White Lantern (or, “Almost Complete”)

With Brightest Day #1 out this week, we also get the White Lantern ring…the TENTH in the series of rings that DC Comics has produced as promotional tie-ins to its comics over the past 10 months.

As with all the other Lantern Corps rings, this is pretty standard…it’s just the symbol on the ring, and the color of the plastic that differentiates this from the others. Nothing wrong with that, though…not at all. (I was surprised several weeks ago when the Flash Ring was an entirely different shape and was two-colored instead of one solid color).

And now, the Ring Collection is again complete for the moment.

But there’s still one more totally obvious ring that I’ve NOT seen solicited yet.

The Legion of Super-Heroes flight ring.

Seems so obvious a promotion for Legion of Super-Heroes #1…but to my knowledge at present, there are no plans for that at the moment.

I’ll hold out, though…I can’t see them doing 9 Lantern Corps rings and not doing a Legion ring now. Especially as I’d be perfectly happy with the Legion ring simply being the same as these Lantern Corps rings, but gold and sporting the Legion symbol.

Just…if you’re listening, DC…please don’t make it some “Con Exclusive.”

Deadpool #22 [Review]

Writer: Daniel Way
Art: Tan Eng Huat
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Jason Pearson
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

Having parted ways with Spider-Man, Deadpool finds himself on his own, trying to play the part of the “hero” rather than merely gun-totin’ merc-with-a-mouth. After a nice bit of Pool-o-vision, we find Wade on a bus, which, of course, conveniently is in the right place/time to be robbed. After the robbers leave, ‘Pool realizes they were dirty cops, and heads into a nearby town seeking justice. Of course, in typical Deadpool fashion, what he finds isn’t what one would exactly expect, and leads to a true test of Deadpool’s will to be more heroic than mercenary.

The art by Huat and Gracia is not bad, though somehow it doesn’t strike me as the best Deadpool’s looked. Of course, I’m finding myself inundated lately with Deadpool all over the place by so many artists that it doesn’t seem the character has any overly consistent appearance these days. This issue tips a bit more toward the realistic side away from some of the more exaggerated, cartooney takes on the character and his stories. The visuals don’t particularly stand out all that much, but they’re not anything that’ll turn me off to the book, either.

The story itself–while fitting into the general theme of Deadpool trying to “go hero” left me feeling rather put off. This issue is a one ‘n done tale–and as such, in a title that has operated on the modern formula of multi-issue arcs that have some forward movement but lead directly from one issue to another, it’s rather disappointing. I do imagine this will sit better in the longer view–whether it’s the first of several such stories, or if it’s setting up something to come or perhaps serving as a bit of an epilogue: “here, after encounterying Spider-Man, see what Deadpool tries to do after being so inspired.”

Whatever intellectual rationalization is given, for me, with what I’ve come to expect from a Deadpool comic, this one was a distinct let-down, and possibly my least favorite issue of the series to date.

If you’re all about ANYthing and everything Deadpool, chances are you’ll have already decided to pick this up. The single-issue story format makes it a sorta neutral point for someone considering checking the character out–you see some key aspects of the character, from “Pool-o-vision” to the multiple voices in his head, to how he deals with certain situations. But without a through-narrative from a previous issue or lead-in to the next issue, this one’s ultimately forgettable and seems non-essential.

Not recommended.

Story: 4/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 5.5/10

Tales of the TMNT #69 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Green Lantern #53 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Action Comics #889 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Action Comics
Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3/5

Captain Atom
Story: 2.5/5
Art: 2.5/5

Overall: 2.5/5

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