• July 2013
    S M T W T F S
    « Jun   Aug »
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

  • Advertisements

The ’90s Revisited: Hulk #8

hulk008Death Match

Writer: Erik Larsen
Pencils: Ron Garney
Inks: Sal Buscema
Letters: John Workman
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.99
Cover Date: November, 1999

It’s been quite awhile since I last read any Hulk comics. I think the last story I actually read all the way through was Planet Hulk, and that was probably 4-5 years ago now. But there was a time that I read Hulk on a regular basis–back in the late 1990s when Marvel rebooted most of its titles and I got in on the “ground floor” with a lot of them.

I pulled this copy of the issue from a 25-cent bin. Truthfully, it was Wolverine on the cover that grabbed my attention. While I don’t entirely care for the faces on the cover, the coloring really got me: the orange background and its contrast to the green Hulk, and the coloring of the Logo, and even the “Wolverine vs.” banner across the top, making this look like a one-shot/special.

The interior art is good stuff, with Garney and Buscema on pencils/inks. No real complaints there overall. The visuals slid right by, not distracting me from the story.

The writing by Larsen is so-so: I wasn’t blown away, but I wasn’t entirely turned off, either. Seems kinda fitting that Larsen brought Wolverine into the issue–I’d have to check to be sure, but I’m pretty sure he was the writer on the main Wolverine title at the time. We also get some hints at things that were brewing in the X-Men corner of Marvel at the time–such as the new Death, Horseman of Apocalypse.

Though it’s been a good 14 years now since being reunited with his adamantium-laced skeleton…this issue is from shortly before that: this is bone-claw Wolverine taking on the Hulk, and it was interesting to see this take on the character again, after having re-acclimated to the more contemporary Wolverine whose continuity doesn’t seem to even have any reference to the “bone-claws” era.

While I don’t much care for any of the issue’s subplots, hardly remember the context leading to this and remember nothing of what came after before Jenkins took over and the book added “Incredible” to its title again, I certainly got my 25-cents’ worth out of this. I wanted to see a Wolverine/Hulk fight, and that’s what I got, for much of the issue. At 1/16th the cost of a contemporary Marvel issue, and 1/8 the cost of this issue’s original price…25 cents very well spent.

Advertisements

The ’90s Revisited: Superman: The Man of Steel #50

supermanmanofsteel050The Trial of Superman! / Part 1: Split Personality

Story: Louise Simonson
Penciller: Jon Bogdanove
Inker: Dennis Janke
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Assistant Editor: Duffy & McAvennie
Editors: Carlin & Carlson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: 2.95
Cover Date: November, 1995

This was another issue I pulled from the quarter-bins not too long ago: it caught my attention because of having revisited the issue’s cover when complaining about the newest DC Superman title, Superman Unchained and lack of explanation to the “unchained” part. But seeing the issue handy for only 25-cents, I re-bought it in order to easily re-read it…far easier to pay 25-cents than have to shift a number of heavy longboxes around and root through at least 2 boxes to find my original copy.

This issue begins the Trial of Superman arc…one of the larger arcs of this era of the titles, crossing through about 3 months’ worth of all the Superman titles at the time. Yet, as typical of the era, the story as a whole is an ongoing narrative, so this picks up with an ongoing plot, and sort of merges into what becomes the main plot for The Trial of Superman.

We pick up with a grossly weakened/decayed Superman, virtually powerless, barely skin-and-bones from an ongoing fight with a new incarnation of the Parasite. While some of the details played out on-panel in a previous issue, here we get context and figure out along with the characters what the present status quo is of the Parasite, which makes him all the more dangerous. Things don’t end with putting down the threat posed by the Parasite, as Superman is captured and faces an alien tribunal seeking to hold him accountable for the destruction of the planet Krypton…and things are not pretty.

While I like the cover quite a bit, I’m not all that thrilled with the interior art. I don’t remember having much of an issue with it “at the time,” but taking this alone and pretty much out of context–and being much more used to the last several years’ worth of interpretations of Superman–it’s not to my liking. And while explained in-story by the Parasite draining him, Superman just appears rather “off,” and impossibly skin-and-bones to even have survived any of what he’s put through in the issue.

Story-wise, I’ve never–that I can recall–been any fan of the Parasite character. I’ll be one of the first to want to see villains who are a physical danger to Superman (as opposed to businessman Lex Luthor, or the likes of the Toyman or Prankster) but I’ve just never been interested by Parasite, and have a particular dislike for the round-mouthed “parasitic-worm” look the character was given in the mid-’90s.

This issue boasts plenty of cliche in the villains…but works decently enough overall. I got a definite sense of how overwhelmed Superman was here–dealing with the Parasite and mid-battle being kidnapped into space, and the shock of this alien tribunal wanting to make him accountable for the destruction of a planet gone before he was technically even born.

I enjoyed re-reading this…and it certainly has me contemplating re-reading the entire arc…which I believe I have a collected volume, which would make said undertaking far simpler than trying to dig single issues out or tracking down new copies.

The ’90s Revisited: Wolverine #79

wolverine079Cyber! Cyber! Burning Bright!

Script: Larry Hama
Penciler: Adam Kubert
Inkers: Mark Farmer and Mike Sellers
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.75
Cover Date: March, 1994

I was introduced to the X-Men in 1992 or so–though I have a vague memory of a 1989ish viewing of the one-shot “pilot” Pryde of the X-men. My clearest memory of early discovery of the X-Men is a re-viewing of that episode along with the initial premiere of the 1990s X-Men cartoon. And of course, Wolverine was quite a stand-out character. But it was barely a year after I was introduced t othe character that he lost his adamantium in the Fatal Attractions crossover…it would be about six years and another 70-odd issues of “bone-claw Wolverine.”

Which makes this issue that much more significant to its time: now that his claws are “just” bone, an interesting question was answered as we learned that yes, indeed, his claws could now be broken.

And just as the cover focuses on the agonized broken-claw Wolverine, the issue itself isn’t all that memorable other than the fact that Wolverine’s claws are broken. Musing at recent events, Wolverine finds himself having to face Cyber, yet another villain after him for his adamantium…only to have the villain realize that Wolvie no longer has the famed metal, and is far more susceptible to a sound beating. During their scrap, Cyber sees an opening and takes it–stomping the exposed claws and breaking them off, a whole new experience for either character.

So, not a whole lot to the story itself, but definitely an extremely key moment in Wolverine’s history…the first time his claws had ever been broken. And the question also set out would be: do they regenerate? And how would this affect the character moving forward?

Visually, I quite enjoyed this revisitation of Kubert‘s take on Wolverine. As this is from very early in my experience reading the Wolverine solo title, this really IS “my” Wolverine. I’d forgotten all the double-page “tall” layouts, though…something I never really cared for. Takes me out of the story a bit having to physically re-manipulate the way I’m holding the issue and re-orient visually.

Overall, definitely a “dated” issue–between Cyber himself, and the bone-claw Wolverine, and given how common it became for the claws to get broken and grow back (I believe Kitty Pryde at one point was shown to use old broken claws as weapons herself?). And as a piece of “history,” not a bad issue to snag for a one-off read; though I’m sure I appreciated this more having read it before, as well as surrounding issues before and after, and remembering this “era” rather fondly.

Quantum and Woody (2013) #1 [Review]

Quantum and Woody (2013) #1World’s Worst part 1

Writer: James Asmus
Art: Tom Fowler
Color Art: Jordie Bellaire
Covers: Ryan Sook, Marcos Martin, Andrew Robinson and Tom Fowler
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Editor: Jody LeHeup
Created by: M.D. Bright & Priest
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

I don’t know when it was that I first heard of Quantum and Woody, but I’m pretty sure it was at least a decade ago. Of course, I didn’t know their significance at the time–no, the appreciation I’ve developed has come only in recent months and thanks to Comixology’s 99-cent sale of the classic material a few months back.

I also don’t recall now if my Comixology purchase of the entire classic series preceded knowledge of this new series, though I’m pretty sure my interest was actually sparked by knowing there’d be new material and wanting to read some of the original.

Whatever the case–I’m familiar with the first half of the original run, which I think made this new #1 actually more enjoyable for me.

That being said, like what I’ve read of the original, the reader is kinda thrown into things here, to pick up information through flashbacks and such.

We open on a scene of our heroes, Quantum and Woody, falling from a building and making the news, basically seen as the world’s worst super-heroes, if indeed that’s what they are. We then flash back to their past as adoptive brothers, before moving to the present where the pair learns of the death of their father. As things unfold they learn that all was not as it seemed–and they seek answers that throw them together into a rather explosive situation leading to the obligatory To-Be-Continued.

Visually I’m quite pleased with this issue…no real complaints or negatives for me on the art side of things.

Story-wise, I rather enjoy the maintenance of the “chapter headings” Priest made popular back in the day on the original series as well as in his Black Panther run for Marvel Knights. While stylistically different from the other Valiant books, it gives a certain familiarity to this that is welcome and appreciated…it also keeps this book fairly unique, providing a different “voice” than the other Valiant titles right now.

Though the bulk of the issue is essentially “origin” stuff, I the non-linear narration allows for an appearance of the characters AS Quantum and Woody in this issue; introduces the characters behind the hero-guises, and sets up the motivation that drives them…which to me is quite good for being the first issue of a brand new series.

While this is a Valiant #1, retains the standard trade dress of all the contemporary Valiant titles, etc. you don’t need to have any background whatsoever with other Valiant books in order to “get” and enjoy this issue. If you were merely handed the pages to read and had never heard of the property before, there’s nothing whatsoever here that requires you to have read anything else.

I will probably never like the $3.99 price point on any standard-size comics, but as only the sixth one-issue-per-month Valiant title, I can handle this a lot better than double-shipped $3.99 titles from other publishers, and I consider this a welcome addition to my own pull list and definitely look forward to the next issue. (And while I wait, I have half of the classic run yet to read to keep me busy!)

Astro City (2013) #2 [Review]

Astro City (2013) #2Welcome to HumanoGlobal

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Brent Eric Anderson
Cover: Alex Ross
Lettering & Design: John G. Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Color art: Alex Sinclair
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Assistant Editor: Jessica Chen
Published by: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

$3.99 sucks. I’m really, really very tired of this price point. I think I’m going to keep making sure that’s extremely well-documented in these reviews and other blog posts until I eventually give up on new comics altogether.

That said, if you’re going to pay $3.99 for a single issue of a comic, there are few better series out there than Astro City. Even when you don’t know what the issue will be about or it deviates from the previous issue or whatever…it’s hard not to look back on a given issue without a bit of a smile and some disbelief at how much it was enjoyed and sheds different light on superhero stuff typically taken for granted or outright not often considered.

This issue focuses on a new employee of a hotline–said hotline turns out to be for a call center that weeds out the truly important calls for the Honor Guard, and in other cases outright makes connections allowing Honor Guard to be sent after villains/terrorists before they have a chance to enact plans that would otherwise leave the heroes reactive rather than proactive. We see bits of her training, the sorts of calls she takes, and the excitement with her teammates when they manage to catch a big call and be part of the overall “process” that leads to the saving of so many lives. Though they largely have to keep the true nature of their work secret from family and non-work friends, they find certain perks within their work…but also learn that one mistake can be very costly.

The art is strong as usual for an Astro City issue; everyone who should look familiar does, and those that don’t still look quite good. While the story itself isn’t your usual fare, the sequences with superhero action look as one might expect (if not a bit on the higher end quality-wise) while the normal people look…normal.

Story-wise, this is another great outing, showing that Busiek knows his stuff–and does very well giving us a look at the human side of things, as “normal humans” interact in a world filled with super-powered beings and threats, and how the culture itself is impacted by their very existence.

While I missed this issue on Wednesday and thought “oh well” I quickly realized that no, I actually really wanted to read this, and it became the entire reason of going back to a comic shop Friday rather than simply waiting and picking it up with next week’s books. There really aren’t many series that do that for me.

Provided you have any background at all with Astro City–I’d especially recommend the first TPB Life in the Big City (there’s even a new edition out now)–you’d actually be fine jumping in on this issue without even having read #1…which is another strength of this series: there are a lot of short arcs and done-in-one issues, rather than the “standard” fare from DC and Marvel necessitating 4-6 issues’ investment just for a single story.

I’d largely prefer to hold off for the collected volumes, but for now, this return of Astro City is such a welcome thing, I’m likely to keep going with the single issues for at least a few more months.

TMNT New Animated Adventures #1 [Review]

TMNT New Animated Adventures #1Story: Kenny Byerly
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Dario Brizuela
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve been quite looking forward to this premiere issue for a couple months now, since at least the FCBD issue back in May. In many ways, this is sort of a #2 issue, as it fits excellently with the FCBD issue (which was itself a full issue and not just a few pages’ preview or a short one-off amidst so-called “dvd-style extras” or such.

As I’d said then and hold with this issue, this truly feels right at home within the continuity of the Nickelodeon animated series–the characterization is consistent, and I even “hear” the voices from the show as I read this.

The visuals are a great blend of simply “comic book art” and “adaptation form another medium” as the characters are very recognizeable as based on the CGI designs of the animated series…yet Brizuela‘s art is distinctive and does not seem to “try too hard” to BE what it is not–it’s 2-D art and works very well, and avoids being particularly “cartooney” or over-simple.

Story-wise, this is an April-centric issue, focusing largely on her integration into the turtles’ family unit, and showing her increasing skills unter Splinter’s tutelage while we see her equally as fallible as the turtles themselves–also teens.

After showing off her stealth and receiving praise from Splinter, April accompanies Donatello to a junkyard to track down a piece of of tech for his inventions. Unfortunately, the junkyard turns out to be a bit more than they bargained for, and April is captured by the military, and the turtles have to intervene. Ultimately, a lesson is learned by all, and things continue on.

I’ve enjoyed the main/”real” TMNT continuity from IDW these past couple of years, and despite not being entirely enamored with the animated tv series, I did enjoy reading this issue. As long as I’ve been into TMNT in general, I very fondly remember the original Archie-published TMNT Adventures, so this TMNT New Animated Adventures is a bit reminiscent of that in intent, it seems. It remains to be seen if this will branch off into its own individual continuity, but I’m content to follow this as an extension to the tv series’ continuity.

As with the tv series, this story is a done-in one/self-contained story…you get a full story in one issue, and there’s no need to get the next issue to FINISH this story…which is another nice thing about this. Though the next-issue ad indicates one of my least-favorite characters of the series, I’ll happily give it a chance simply for being TMNT, and of course Brizuela‘s art.

The Trouble (for me) with Marvel’s Digital Comics

Wolverine: Japan's Most WantedI saw on Comixology last week that the premiere “issue” of the weekly Wolverine “Infinite Comic” was now available–having read about its upcoming release awhile back. I naturally “assumed” it was 99 cents, but didn’t feel like even paying that much at the time. A few days later–newest non-rent paycheck in my bank account, I thought to splurge and go ahead and give it a try, drawn back by a guilty “interest” in Batman ’66 #2…but was dismayed to see the price as $2.99.

Granted, this thing’s listed as having about 79 “pages,” but as an “infinite comic” designed for the Guided View technology, that reads as “79 screens” to me–where the only difference in one “page” might be a word balloon or caption box, not an actual, unique story-page in the sense I think of for a comic, so that $2.99 might–for all I know–be the equivalent of a 10-12 page story in a standard print comic.

So Marvel–and Comixology–lose out on my sale for this, given the price-point.

Additionally, I’ve several times found myself halfway interested in a new-ish Marvel comic that I maybe passed on at the comic shop(s) or otherwise would be likely to impulse-buy digitally, just to read because I’m in the mood “at the moment.” However, the digital comics being the same as the print comics for $2.99 issues, I’d just as soon have the print edition to read.

And for the $3.99 books…knowing that if I buy the print edition, I then–IN ADDITION for my same $3.99–also get access to a digital copy, I’m not ABOUT to spend $3.99 for a digital-only edition with no access to the print counterpart, so those “sales” are lost on me.

I just wind up sticking with the 99-cent sales, or half-off collected-volume sales where I may pay $3.99 but am getting at least as much if not significantly more content than I would paying $3.99 for a print Marvel comic (such as recent Star Trek volumes and Doctor Who volumes Comixology‘s offered for “special sales.”

DC–with their New 52–had dropped the price of the digital editions after a month (though sometime in the last year or so they bumped that two TWO months’ lag-time), whereas a look last night through some Marvel Now stuff (we’re what? 10 months into the Now age?) didn’t yield anything that I saw for under print editions’ cover pricing.

I look forward to the Monday and Friday “sales” specifically for the chance to get digital comics (when they’re ones I’m actually interested in) for the 99-cent price point…but I am not willing to–as a matter of course–spend “full print-edition cover-price” for a digital comic.

%d bloggers like this: