• August 2013
    S M T W T F S
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

The Value of Infinity?

Infinity #1 has a $4.99 cover price, and includes 45 story pages–10 of those previously available (to customers, at least) “free” in the 2013 Free Comic Book Day Infinity issue.

The day that I paid cover price for the issue, I also snagged a number of 25-cent bin issues.

Which means that Infinity #1 was an especially poor value to issue quantity and page count!

comicsvalues

For less than the price of Infinity #1, I was able to purchase:

  • single issues of Batman: Year One (Batman #404-407)
  • the 1989 Catwoman mini-series (I believe this was later collected/reissued as Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper)
  • Invisibles #1
  • Spider-Man #1
  • an extra-sized, foil-enhanced Incredible Hulk issue
  • the original first printing of the first Gen13 mini
  • both prestige-format History of the DC Universe issues
  • the foil-enhanced anniversary issues Spectacular Spider-Man #200 and Web of Spider-Man #100
  • the chromium Valiant #0 issues for both Shadowman and Bloodshot

Yet another reason my enjoyment of older/’90s (and even ’80s!) comics is increasing while my enjoyment and interest in current comics continues to wane.

Infinity #1 [Review]

infinity001Infinity

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Jim Cheung
Inkers: Mark Morales with John Livesay, David Meikis and Jim Cheung
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterers: Chris Eliopoulos with Joe Caramagna
Cover: Adam Kubert & Laura Martin
Assistant Editor: Jake Thomas
Editors: Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

I wasn’t going to buy this issue. I physically picked it up from the shelf last Wednesday, and then put it back. It’s a $4.99 issue, which is $1 more than “usual” for most Marvel fare these days (though to its credit it’s a thicker than usual issue, even factoring out full-page “chapter headings”). But Thanos’ face is featured prominently on the cover (it IS the cover image, really!), and darned if I’m not a fan of classic Marvel Cosmic Thanos stuff! So despite other online chatter, I decided to go ahead and buy this Friday after all, in the interest of giving it a fair chance.

On the whole, I’d have to say that it was a passively neutral read for me. I did not particularly enjoy it…but I did not actively dislike it the way I’d somewhat expected to.

We see a world apparently destroyed by Avengers…then move to Titan, to a creature whose existence seems to be solely its mission–Thanos’ bidding. With the success of one mission, it is now sent to Earth after other secrets. Various events unfold–Space Knights face an unwinnable situation, SWORD and Captain America and Hawkeye bust a group of Skrulls hiding out, and we see the current status quo of the Inhumans and their King, Blackbolt. The spy creature delivers a message, and we get a hint of Thanos’ plan.

After not enjoying SHIELD #1 a few years ago, not being able to “get into” his early Fantastic Four issues, and being completely turned off to his Marvel Now Avengers and New Avengers launches, I’ve pretty much decided Hickman‘s work in general just is not for me. As such, his name attached to Infinity was a big red flag…one that somewhat holds true even now, having read this issue.

Despite Thanos’ face on the cover, he may as well not even actually appear in the issue for the near-zero on-panel time he gets. For that alone I’m disappointed with the issue. Additionally, there are plenty of characters that I’m not familiar with that I get the feeling I “should” be to truly “appreciate” this issue/story.

Visually I definitely enjoyed the art overall…I’m not a huge fan of some of the costumes (specifically Captain America and Hawkeye) but they look about as good as I can expect here, leaving me only to dislike the costumes themselves rather than the depiction. As for the many characters I’m not familiar with, I suppose the visuals don’t do them any disservice…they look how they do, and I’m cool with that.

The title Infinity–and featuring Thanos’ face on the first issue and other marketing as well as the Free Comic Book Day issue–seem clearly chosen to draw association with past Thanos-centric stories like The Infinity Gauntlet or Infinity Abyss. As such, the comparison is there, and as a first issue, this does not do for me here what those did in their respective stories. Plus, about 10 pages of this issue are what we were given in that FCBD issue, so that wasn’t even a prologue so much as “just” some random scene over 3 months before the arrival of #1.

While I imagine things will pull together and make sense by the end of the six individual issues of this “main story”/mini…as a single issue, Infinity #1 leaves me let-down. If I come across positive enough reviews of the later issues and/or tie-ins, I’ll likely be interest in a collected volume of the entire story; but as it stands, I don’t plan on picking up any of the subsequent single issues for this event/story.

Harbinger #15 [Review]

harbinger015Writer: Joshua Dysart
Penciler: Barry Kitson
Inks: Stefano Gaudiano and Mark Pennington
Colorist: Ian Hannin with Sotocolor
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover Artists: Khari Evans, Barry Kitson, Trevor Hairsine, and Rian Hughes
Assistant Editor: Josh Johns
Executive Editor: Warren Simons
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

I really enjoy seeing heroes’ downtime. Seems like just about every issue of (especially team-books) a title “has to” have lots of action, so I quite appreciate just seeing the characters be themselves, NOT fighting villains, NOT on some huge quest, NOT repelling invasions or facing life-or-death situations, etc.

So this issue was quite up my alley, seeing the kids decompress from the events of Harbinger Wars. They recognized a functional loss, but escaped with their lives, and so take some time in this issue to just be kids, to have fun with each other and the advantages their powers bring. I could enjoy an entire issue of single-page scenes just showing the kinds of stuff the group as a whole would be up to as well as what happens when the characters pair off for activities, the way they relate not just as a group but in the one-on-one interactions.

I’m especially interested in seeing the growing friendship between Faith and Peter, and while I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever read the first few issues of the original ’90s series, that was a good 14 years ago and I don’t recall much of anything at this point…though from “meta” info about that title I’m vaguely aware of a character death early in the series that I’ve been glad to see did not happen here (I sorta expected it to play out in Harbinger Wars).

While we start the issue on a relatively “light” note (all recent events considered), and get plenty of fun and potential as the issue continues, I got a sense of foreboding toward the final few pages. Despite this, I had an honest moment of shock when my fear played out…the end of the issue opens up a whole different potential for this title and the Renegades moving forward.

More and more I find myself considering this the cream of the crop of the current Valiant titles…and with the mythology Dysart‘s building, the character-building and realistic (for a comic starring super-powered psiots) settings and interactions and amount of story actually fit into a single issue, there’s little better out there.

If you like super-hero team books, I definitely recommend this title!

Astro City (2013) #3 [Review]

astrocity003Mistakes

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
Executive Editor: Shelly Bond
Published by: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve always quite enjoyed stories set in a superhero universe that focus on the “regular people” in the world; how they are affected by the mere EXISTENCE of the super-heroes; how their lives are different from ours, for that “reality.” And I’ve found no series more consistent at delivering that than Astro City, whoever’s publishing the title at the time.

While I thought #1 was starting a single ongoing story, it seems that was either a red herring or something to be revisited later, as last issue gave a whole different story, which is picked up again in this issue.

After realizing her mistake and what she seems to have set off–a huge war between Honor Guard and the Skullcrushers–that’s resulted in much collateral damage and loss of life, our heroine first goes home sick, before resolving to take action…self-imposed penance, essentially. She takes it upon herself to use what resources she has access to, to try to assist those negatively impacted by her mistake, though this leads to another unintended result for her…and inadvertently proves her worth to those she most assumes sees none in her.

The art is clear and consistent as usual, the coloring and overall tone maintaining “the look and feel” I associate with Astro CityRoss‘ cover and ANDERSON’S interiors both.

The story feels like a “typical” sort, for this title in whatever its iteration (Wildstorm, Vertigo, etc)…which is to say it doesn’t blow me away in the way that, say, the #1/2 issue did from all those years back, but this is still darned good stuff!

This issue IS the second of a 2-part story, so while there’s plenty of context to “get” what’s going on in this issue, it’s likely far more appreciable if you at least snag #2 as well and read this in context of that…though you do not need to go all the back to #1.

Definitely recommended!

A Look At the Bookshelves

The last several years I’ve been keeping “recent” books separate from the main collection–they’re more convenient this way for me. Until this week, they were in any which order, and I kept finding myself wondering where, exactly, I had stuck something…so I finally got around to organizing three shelves’ worth of graphic novels.

dcshelf_full

Above: the full “DC Shelf,” which includes the handful of non-big-name stuff.

dc_01

Vertigo and Batman stuff…

dc_02

Superman…

dc_03

The rest of the DC stuff, primarily Flashpoint and Green Lantern stuff.

indy_stuff

These are recent non-DC/non-Marvel (and non-TMNT/non-Valiant) books…

marvel_full

The “Marvel shelves,” primarily Marvel but also my IDW-TMNT and Valiant stuff. The GI Joe, Dark Horse Heroes, and Aliens book got moved to join the Transformers and Highlander books so I wouldn’t need to use bookends.

tmnt_valiant

I love the TMNT Ultimate Collection volumes…just waiting for the fifth/final in that series to come out. I have yet to snag the Valiant Classics Shadowman volume, and may “upgrade” the current Valiant when the hardcovers for those start coming out later this year (if I recall correctly).

marvel_01

I continue to be amazed at how much Marvel I get in bookshelf format, and how much of it is “older.” A lot of Marvel volumes I’ve bought for anywhere from 50/60% off cover price to a mere $1-$3 apiece.

marvel_02

And I think part of why I have so many Marvel books compared to DC is the seeming constant “liquidation” of Marvel stuff, and the sheer plentiful-ness of cheaper volumes pretty much anywhere I go. Good and bad, but that’s a topic for another post.

marvel_03

Though not all that much a fan of the Ultimate line these days, I don’t mind checking ’em out when I can get a $25 hardcover for $3 or so. However, I’m actively looking to fill in my Ultimate Spider-Man run…just need vols 6-9 and I don’t know if there’s a 13 yet.

marvel_04

I’m definitely interested in tracking down other “major” X-event volumes…most specifically the Age of Apocalypse Omnibus and the Fatal Attractions volume…along with X-Force vol. 2.

Lately I seem to be back on the single-issue bargains train, working on filling out a number of “sub-collections” like DC ’90s Events (Armageddon 2001, Zero Hour, One Million) as well as Classic Valiant and Ultraverse, ongoing Bat-family books from ’86-2011, and ongoing X-titles 1990ish to 2003, with Uncanny X-Men to 2011 or so. But again…that’s for another post.

The ’90s Revisited: The Incredible Hulk #444

incrediblehulk444Cable Vision

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Angel Medina
Inker: Robin Riggs
Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colors: Glynis Oliver
Enhancement: Malibu
Assistant Editor: Polly Watson
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.50
Cover Date: August, 1996

It’s amazing how much “context” can play a role in a random issue working or not. This issue is labeled as Onslaught: Impact 1, meaning it was an “impact” issue of the first month of Onslaught. From what I recall, there were two types of issues associated with Onslaught: the Phase 1/2/3 issues, and the Impact 1/2/3 issues. Phase were main parts of the “core” story, while the Impact issues were much looser tie-ins…literally “impacted” by Onslaught, but not having much to do with the main story.

I pulled this issue from the quarter bin for that Onslaught tag. Reading it reminded me just how “loose” the tie-in could be. The basic premise of this issue is that Onslaught has basically wiped the Hulk’s mind, setting him on killing Cable. Banner’s been blocked out, so there’s just the mindless, mission-centered beast. The issue opens with Cable already beaten and barely conscious…the only other ally trying to save him is X-man Storm. The issue is basically one long fight-scene, as Storm turns the elements on the Hulk, and a death-ready Cable rallies and does what he can in his state. Eventually the two manage to develop a risky plan to break Onslaught’s control, and restore the Hulk.

Story-wise, there’s not exactly a lot to this issue. And yet, it shows that David “gets” the X-characters, writing a decent Cable and an impressive (at least power-wise) Storm. But, being a big fight sequence, there’s not exactly much character development…moreso we seem to have had a plot point (Onslaught possesses Hulk) that had to be dealt with to get the Hulk from there to the next plot point (back to being himself again, but Really Very Ticked-Off At Onslaught).

Visually, the art’s not bad, though nothing wonderful. The coloring seemed somehow kinda dull, and the Hulk’s shade of green especially a bit different, more subdued, than what I’m used to for the character. I’m also not all that familiar with this particular interpretation of the Hulk…but knowing this was the “Banner’s consciousness/Hulk’s body” era…and the mid-’90s (and this being a single, isolated issue I’m reading) that mostly gets a pass.

Overall, not a bad issue, but nothing spectacular. I don’t believe I’d ever read this back in the ’90s when originally published, so it was interesting to read a loose tie-in to Onslaught, and getting a single-issue “feel” for the “impact” of that story on this title prior to the bigger shakeup of losing Banner but keeping the Hulk that was the status quo once Onslaught ended.

As a 25-cent issue in an age of $3.99 comics, this was a decently enjoyable issue…but I’m not sure I would care for it without already having a working knowledge of the “main” Onslaught story. Taken by itself as a random issue and being a big fight scene, it’s not really something to specifically seek out unless you’re looking for all the Onslaught issues, or a complete PAD run on this title.

Completing Action Comics…and the Regular Wednesday Haul

The other day I considered driving across town to check another comic shop in my eagerness to “complete” my “From Crisis to Crisis to Flashpoint” run of Action Comics.

I reviewed Action Comics #890 just over three years ago, but with other stuff going on at the time, that wound up being my last issue of the title; I took the plunge and just dropped all the Superman titles altogether, gravitating toward non-DC (and non-Marvel) books. I returned the next year for #900 for the sake of it being the first-ever legitimately-made-it-to-900 American comic, and then stuck around for 901-904 as the series’ end heading into The New 52.

action890891

Of course, three years’ time means #890 is buried somewhere in one of many longboxes, and to expedite reading the entire Black Ring saga in one go, I simply purchased a new copy of the issue (satisfyingly enough, these several years later, at a mere PENNY above cover price…WITH a bag and board!).

#891, though–the “treasure” (so to speak)–completes my run. I now own #583 (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?) through #904 (Reign of Doomsdays) and the end of the pre-New 52 DC Universe.

gambitxternalsbargainbin

I still flipped QUICKLY through the bargain bins to see if anything “new” or interesting caught my eye. I did spot a couple of the Age of Apocalypse minis, but as usual let ’em go (I’m not interested in hunting individual issues). However, seeing all 4 of Gambit and the X-Ternals I pulled ’em. Not bad, considering it’s an entire mini-series for a whopping $1!

Assuming I can do so for 25 or 50 cents an issue, definitely interested in seeing how quickly I can build another full set of the original Age of Apocalypse…though I might go as high as $1/issue for X-Universe, as I rarely see either of those issues in bargain bins.

august072013haul

…and the main haul of the week: Higher Earth #9 (final issue), Cyber Force #5, Legends of the Dark Knight #11, Shadowman #9, and Quantum and Woody #2.

I’m rather non-plussed at Higher Earththis issue was (based on original solicitations) due out in January…7-8 MONTHS ago! Even Hypernaturals has since ended at #12, and I believe IT got its start after Higher Earth. Until very recently when #8 showed up, I actually thought these issues had already come out, as I pretty much put them aside in frustration at the cancellation.

Cyber Force I’ve been picking up but not reading…I believe this issue completes the first arc, so now I’ll read. (And given the series has been pushed as “free,” or in the case of Kenmore, 50 cents, I’m all for a ~$2.50 5-issue story!).

I’ve decided to jump on the print editions of several of the DC Digital-First titles…caught up on Legends of the Dark Knight #s 8-10 this past weekend (a shop had all 3 at cover price), just in time for this new issue.

And of course…I get all standard-cover Valiant issues.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom [Checklist]

SEPTEMBER 2013
X-Men Battle of the Atom # 1
All-New X-Men # 16
X-Men # 5
Uncanny X-Men # 12
Wolverine & the X-Men # 36

OCTOBER 2013
All-New X-Men # 17
X-Men # 6
Uncanny X-Men # 13
Wolverine & the X-Men # 37
X-Men Battle of the Atom # 2

battleoftheatomchecklist01

battleoftheatomchecklist02

source: promotional postcard (pictured above)

Another Weekend Haul

Last week–despite my best intentions–I still wound up with quite a haul of primarily bargain-bin comics. At least at Kenmore I kept my bargain-bin stack to the cost of one single “new” comic.

kenmore01

Because they were “there” and #1s, snagged Classic X-Men and The Question for a re-read/convenience factor. While I loathe variants in general, for a single 25-cent piece, I snagged the Shadowman 8-bit variant–worst case I could tear the cover off and put it up as a poster or something somewhere, for that pricing!

kenmore02

I also snagged a couple more Zero Hour issues, a DC One Million issue, and the first issue of Joker: Last Laugh.

kenmore03

Probably best of all, snagged 5 of the issues I was missing from Action Comics, when I intentionally dropped the Superman titles several years ago due to pricing and frustration, though with intent to “later” pick them up from bargain bins! $1.25 for the five issues, and three of these at least were originally $3.99 apiece!

comicheavenanniversarysale

Comic Heaven was having an anniversary sale, which included 30% off back issues. Having already snagged those other 5 issues of Action Comics, I decided to try my luck on filling in the rest of my “missing” run…found 3 of the issues. I also found a shiny-cover variant of Superman #150 that I don’t think I even knew existed until I saw it flipping through the back-issue bins!

The next day at Half-Price Books, I found Action Comics #900 (standard edition) for 50 cents, and saw the Superman/Batman annual, and for 50 cents decided to toss that on the stack.

halfpricebooksmentor

Also at that Half-Price Books, I snagged 2 of the 3 issues of Thunderstrike that I’m missing from the original 24-issue run (I’m now only missing #16!) as well as an issue of Ultraforce I was missing (love having my checklist in my phone!). I liked the cover of the Warlock issue and picked that up–possibly a ’90s Revisited post down the line in the not-too-distant future?

Later that night on a whim, I stopped in at a second Half-Price Books location just on the off-chance that they might have either of the two remaining issues of Action Comics that I’m after. Sadly, no such luck.

bloodlinesoutbreak

However, I did notice a couple Bloodlines annuals. Started to flip past ’em, but they kept going.

bloodlinesdeathstorm

…and going (and look! Demon Annual #2, first appearance of Hitman!)…

bloodlinesearthplague

…and going. Quite a few of these…but what about the Bloodbath mini that capped off the whole thing?

bloodbath

Yup…looked like this was the entirety of Bloodlines, INCLUDING Bloodbath. And though I have mixed feelings on ’em, I’ve been rather interested in tracking down several of these Annuals “events” from DC along with all these years later the Zero Hour event tie-ins. I’ve since gone through a checklist and sure enough…for the price of 3 current $3.99 books, got the entire Bloodlines event in one go. No piecemeal gathering, no shipping from mail order, no expensive convention.

And all of this for well under half of what I’d expected to spend for the weekend before other plans went awry.

%d bloggers like this: