• January 2015
    S M T W T F S
    « Dec   Feb »
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

  • Advertisements

The Weekly Haul – Week of January 28, 2015

This was another appallingly huge week. THREE Valiants. TWO Ninja Turtles. The second-to-last Fire and Stone (Predator #4) of that mega-story.

weeklyhaul01282015a

Along with these, the usual three DC Weeklies, as well as Turok and a "random" $1 issue.

weeklyhaul01282015b

I also snagged a handful of 25-cent bin issues as well.

I’m really getting tired of the clustering…after months withOUT any TMNT Color Classics, we suddenly got two issues in as many weeks; and this is the second week of multiple TMNT comics. FIVE in two weeks…an I’ll hazard a guess that now there’ll be 2-3 weeks with NOTHING TMNT-related in single-issue format.

And of course…the Aric’s Butt issue of X-O Manowar that I’m actually surprisingly sour on…it was this or his knee and foot…where the cover wouldn’t be bad if it was a wraparound or gatefold…or the "interlocking" images were subsequent issues instead of VARIANTS of the SAME issue.

Advertisements

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: X-Men Chronicles #1

aoa_revisited_logo

xmenchronicles001Origins

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Terry Dodson
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Matt Webb
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Cover: Carlos Pacheco, Cam Smith
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 1995
Cover Price: $3.95

"Traditionally," this is one of my favorite Age of Apocalypse issues. As much as anything tied to the larger AoA epic really is, this is a self-contained issue, functionally a one-shot. And it’s double-sized, a larger chunk of story in one go than anything but X-Men: Alpha itself so far.

Everything else to this point has been set in the "present-day," the contemporary X-Universe of the time, 20 years after the death of Xavier. This issue is set some years earlier than that–at the dawn of the Age of Apocalypse itself, at Apocalypse’s "first strike" of sorts, against humanity at large.

We meet a young-ish Magneto training his band of X-Men in a secret location in the mountains. The group is introduced to a new teammate–the older and more dangerous man known as Logan…or Weapon X. As training draws to a close, a second new member is brought to their location–a young woman named Rogue. Amidst all this, Apocalypse strikes…forcing Magneto into action sooner than he’d expected. And while he and his young mutants fight off Apocalypse’s minions…another strike is carried out against their home.

Probably the most "glaring" thing about this issue–for me–was a narration box stating (after introducing the characters) "Together, they from the mutant team known as…the X-Men." They FROM the mutant team? Not form–eff oh are emm–they "from" it? A simple transposing of two letters, but for me it stands out in a huge way. Maybe it’s been corrected in digital reprints or other reprint editions, but I’m pointedly reading the single issues that were actually put out at the time.

But to be frank on it…if the worst I see in editing is a spelling glitch and I’m not grousing about huge giant plot-holes or character inconsistencies…I’d say things are going pretty well on that front. Being human, I can forgive the only spelling error I’ve noticed in however many issues so far.

The art has an interesting flavor to it, feeling at once "typical ’90s" to me and yet definitely conveys an "older" tone just from the look, even though the story is pointedly set in the past. As I often find myself saying: the visuals don’t blow me away, but they were quite well for the issue and I didn’t particularly notice anything worth grousing about.

Given the real-world quantity of comics chronicling the adventures of the X-Men through the years and the amount of time purported to have passed for these characters…there is still a huge body of stories that could be told of the characters in this Age of Apocalypse timeline. At the time this was published, everything was ‘face value’ and this issue was the sole, primary glimpse into "the past" of the characters, giving us one of THE key stories–that of Apocalypse’s first strike against humanity as well as the fate of the Scarlet Witch.

And this has that feel…sort of like having all these contemporary issues, but then picking up an old issue and reading a good story that "still matters" in current continuity. While I’m consciously aware of plenty of "Untold Tales from the Age of Apocalypse" stories that eventually came out, this is the first and one of the best. We see a version of the characters both familiar yet different…but not yet as "dark" as they are by "present day." This gives us–as readers–the chance to witness the introductions of Rogue and Weapon X to the team, Apocalypse striking out, without having to solely be "told" it happened.

It’s also rather nice to get "just" a story of these X-Men that does not directly tie to the premise of the main epic, of bringing pieces together for the final showdown at the end of the Age of Apocalypse. Knowing solely the basic premise–that Xavier was killed in the past and Magneto formed the X-Men instead–one can easily read and enjoy this issue in and of itself as a one-shot without even having to read any of the other Age of Apocalypse issues.

To me, this truly is Age of Apocalypse done right…unlike most everything done SINCE the 1990s involving the timeline.

Not-so-Half-Price and Original Unity Saga TPBs

I recently visited a Half-Price Books outside my usual stomping grounds to find a significantly better graphic novels collection than I’m used to at the two that ARE in my usual stomping grounds.

BUT my recent and ongoing complaint of their playing "collectibles dealer" over "used books at half price" store stands.

unity_and_cable_20150124

I was originally quite thrilled to find one of the Superman Chronicles volumes I’m missing. However, the $14.99-cover-price book was marked at $19.99 with a note on it "Out of Print." I don’t know if it actually IS–I’d swear my copy of vol. 1 sports DC’s NEW logo while my copies of later volumes carry the old–but it’s a USED book, not pristine condition or such, so bad enough it’s not half OFF, but far worse that they added a quarter of the cover price to the final asking price!

I was lucky enough to find the Cable hardcover I’ve been looking for (for at least a couple years now)…LONG out of print, but apparently someone MISSED that, because IT was actually half-off cover-price.

And I found the four-volume Unity Saga series of paperbacks from the original Valiant. These were "full price" (actually about 4 cents above cover price), but given what it is and that I *have* seen these going for much more online when I’ve looked in the past, I couldn’t quite bring myself to pass up the set.

As paperbacks go, I think I might have all the volumes the original Valiant published. And these were worthwhile as I can’t see them getting reprinted due to rights issues with Solar in particular.

Unfortunately I didn’t find any of the books I specifically was looking for–X-Men vs. Apocalypse vol. 1: The Twelve, X-Men: The New Age of Apocalypse, or the more recent Age of Apocalypse that spun out of Uncanny X-Force.

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: Gambit and the X-Ternals #1

aoa_revisited_logo

gambitandthexternals001Some of Us Looking to the Stars

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: Kevin Conrad
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Cover: Tony Daniel
Editor: Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

This was twenty years ago, real-time. Gambit was ‘only’ introduced about 4-5 years prior to this issue’s original release, and there have been several “ongoing” Gambit books in the interim, so it’s no longer a ‘special’ thing that Gambit’s headlining a series. Nor is the character the same sort of “mystery” he once was.

But for the time, this was the character leading a ragtag group of rebels, having himself split off from the X-Men due–in large part–to “losing” Rogue to Magneto.

We meet Jubilee running from an Infinite before they’re intercepted by Guido. The two are joined by Sunspot and the momentary battle is over. On returning home they’re met by the most dangerous man they know–Magneto. Who is there with Gambit…and the team’s led to their new mission. After a fight in the Morlock tunnels they’re made aware of the wider universe…and with the unleashed power of Lila Cheney, the team is sent to the other side of the galaxy, after the M’Kraan crystal. Magneto–on Earth–realizes just how fragile all his machinations truly are.

I find myself less impressed in this issue with Daniel‘s art. It’s not bad by any means…but it’s not as good as I’d expect presently on name alone. Then again…this is from two decades ago. There’s a certain style to the linework that registers this firmly in my mind as a ’90s comic without even having to see the cover, indicia, or anything else officially dating it. There’s certainly plenty of comic art out there far less appealing to me, but by and large this issue does not thrill me visually.

Story-wise this is much of what I’d want in a first issue, particularly the sort this actually is. This is coming out of the events of X-Men: Alpha which has set “everything” in motion for this epic Age of Apocalypse ‘event’ and itself introduces us to “new” characters beyond Magneto and Gambit, and their role in things. We’re introduced to the mission itself and the means by which the characters are able to have any chance of cosmic reach in a ruined world…and we’re given the wonder of just what they’ve gotten themselves into: events that we’ll see play out in coming issues.

I’m more enamored with the “idea” of this book than the execution…yet, on the whole I enjoyed this. But then, I’m quite enjoying the entirety of my re-reading of these Age of Apocalypse issues, and this definitely rides that wave a bit. I don’t know that I find this issue singularly important in a stand-alone sense, but it works in the grander scheme of the present X-Universe these are taking place in and given I do not recall details…I’m definitely interested in revisiting this group of characters and their Shi’Ar adventure.

MORE Valiant Variant Annoyance!

I complained several weeks ago about discovering that my copy of X-O Manowar #31 was only one-HALF of an image…no wrap-around cover, no gatefold. I’d have to buy TWO COPIES of the SAME ISSUE if I wanted to actually have the entire cover image.

Now I find out the same thing’s happening with #32 as well!

xomanowar032_ab

And I don’t even like the image all that much from this perspective.

Aric’s butt, or what looks like it could be Giant-Man’s foot from The Ultimates coming down on an armored figure.

If you have a four-issue arc…put the halves on subsequent issues. If you have a 3-issue arc, do a wrap-around cover or a gatefold, or AT LEAST provide some sort of pull-out poster or something.

if it’s just a cover, why do it?

And for those who would say to me that it’s no big deal, if I don’t like it I don’t have to buy the variants/multiple-copies-of-the-same-issue, I say: if it’s no big deal, then the publishers should QUIT DOING IT!

I’ve already "accepted" variants as a "Thing" but darn it…I’m sick and tired of even "just" sticking to my "standard, most basic" or "A" cover or such winding up with only half an image.

Seems there was a 5-part interlocking series of variants for X-O Manowar #0…FIVE. BUT I can overlook that as those were a variant image entirely, and didn’t impact me with my standing order of "A-cover or most basic non-variant" for my pull list. I bought one single copy of that issue, got the image that had been used in advertising/previews for the issue, the standard image I’d come to associate the issue prior to its release.

With these 2-part interlocking covers where they ARE the standard covers…I don’t have that choice. OR I have to seek out a rarer variant just to have a single image for the cover…and the image may or may not be all that relevant to the issue in question.

Much as I’ve stayed "loyal" to Valiant, maintained a blanket "everything single-issue Valiant puts out" for my pull list…this is frustrating and annoying enough to have me asking myself what it would look like if I dropped Valiant entirely.

Or shifted to collected volumes only. After all, those (TYPICALLY!) have only one cover, and there’s the chance the variants might be included as bonus pages/backmatter there, and let me avoid the "issue" of variants with the singles.

The Weekly Haul – Week of January 21st, 2015

This proved to be a rather ridiculously huge week with quite a bit of TMNT “clustering.”

weekly_haul_20150127a

Two Valiant books…priced the same, but The Valiant has a cardstock cover and is what they’re calling “Prestige Format” (what I expected to be squarebound like Superman: Speeding Bullets).

And THREE TMNT books. Counting the TMNT/Ghostbusters mini, I don’t get why these couldn’t be spaced out–about ONE per week.

I’m hoping that this “Color Classics vol. 3” is 15 issues…this first issue reprints the original TMNT #48, so I’m hoping #2 is 49 and #3 kicks off City at War.

weekly_haul_20150127b

The rest of the pile…the DC Weeklies, latest Bleeding Cool, and Magnus Robot Fighter. ElfQuest is a $1 reprint. And the DC Essential catalog for 2015.

I also snagged 18 quarter-bin issues…may or may not detail those later.

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: X-Calibre #1

aoa_revisited_logo

xcalibre001The Infernal Gallop

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciller: Ken Lashley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Inkers: Wegrzyn, Moy, Larosa
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Cover: Ken Lashley
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

I was eager to get to this issue for what I remembered as a focus on Nightcrawler. While it’s not quite AS focused on the character as I thought I remembered, there’s still enough, and I found it rather interesting to revisit the character and address some perceived issues with more contemporary takes on the character.

In a quasi-cinematic or television-like way, the issue opens with an extended scene of a mutant being ferried and guided to Avalon…a haven for mutants and humans, in the Antarctic (a tamed Savage Land, apparently). We then jump back to the U.S., to Manhattan, where we catch up with Nightcrawler who is securing transit from America TO the Antarctic by way of Warren Worthington–Angel–at Heaven. Angel claims to have gone "legit" and not want to deal with "terrorists" like Magneto and his X-Men, but Kurt has none of it and we see there’s no love between the two. Meanwhile, Magneto converses with Mystique, informing her of why she will welcome her son and take him to Avalon to extract Destiny. Back in Avalon, the young mutant arrives and is introduced to Destiny…who promptly has a horrifying vision of the Apocalypse.

Visually, I quite enjoyed this issue. I really liked several of the panels of Nightcrawler in particular, and generally found myself rather appreciative of the way characters were shown. Aside from the art in and of itself I certainly appreciate what appears to my issue-by-issue eye to be a consistency in costuming with characters–and in this case specifically, Magneto. Nothing about him stands out as contradictory to other appearances…such contradictions being something some part of me pretty much would "expect" based on contemporary comics where the import seems to lie on the individual vision and touches over a consistency and continuity.

I like the story…from the pacing with the opening, getting into the heart of things; learning details of what Kurt’s to do, foreshadowing of what he’ll be facing, character appearances, and so on. I’m a little more conscious now of the author–that this is a Warren Ellis story, and in the back of my mind that influenced my reading, though this doesn’t exactly have the "feel" of a Warren Ellis story (whatever that would actually be). Yet I suppose I attribute stuff like the opening to an Ellis-style. There’s a darkness I did not recall, especially to Nightcrawler…but that puts the character in line with the contemporary version, putting that into a different light than I anticipated going into this issue.

I didn’t and don’t remember much detail from this series from all those years ago when I first read it, but this time through was rather enjoyable. I think even having overall broad-stroke memories of the Age of Apocalypse books, I’m getting added enjoyment from this re-reading project from the fact that I apparently never have actually gone back through and re-read the entire thing…so the faded memories and lack of details retained make the reading similar to reading something for the first time.

Of course…I’m especially looking forward to Amazing X-Men and X-Men Chronicles to finish out the month. But I’m also looking forward to the next issue of this mini and further experience with Nightcrawler.

%d bloggers like this: