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The End: Toys "R" Us – June 29, 2018 #TRU #ToysRUs #ToysRUsKid

This is it.

Today’s the end.

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Toys R Us is–after several months of liquidation and such–closing officially.

My final visit was the other day–Wednesday, June 27.

It was the Mentor, Ohio store–across from the Great Lakes Mall. This was the first Toys R Us that I remember…and in many ways, the most important. At least, to me.

This was the TRU that I got my very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figure–an original Rocksteady (that has, unfortunately, been lost to the passage of time). This was the TRU where I got my Dino-Riders figures. This was the TRU where a friend and I loaded up shopping cards with clearance Star Wars Episode I toys one friday evening after we’d just gotten paid for the week, back in the summer of 2000. This is the specific TRU where I got some Marvel Overpower starter decks and boosters; where a friend and I once debated whether or not and which of us should go back in to try to ask out the cute cashier.

I specifically remember getting the mutant fly of the original TMNT  line–Baxter Stockman–at this location. I remember seeing some of the Marvel Onslaught/Heroes Reborn figures here. I bought my X-Man (Nate Grey) figure here.

I got my very first figure of the TMNT 2012 line here–a lone Donatello figure, and that was the only figure they had out that first visit.

I bought my Herocscape boardgames at this store.

And I made my two largest/most-expensive single-item toy purchases of my entire life at this store.

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Over the years–while yes, I’ve bought plenty of toys from places like Target and Walmart, even the occasional online purchase–Toys R Us was THE place to go for toys of pretty much any sort.

Maybe it’s the “looking back with rose-tinted glasses” of memory, but I feel like even when I had complaints about pricing, Toys R Us was consistent and always there. They would have that elusive Pop, that elusive TMNT figure, the elusive Marvel Legends figure. They would have chain-exclusive stuff, made specifically for them…and there was plenty that they would have exclusively, because they were the only place that would give something a chance.

Maybe most notably for me, the TMNT Classics line–reproductions of the original 1980s figures. While I eventually did find most of my ORIGINAL-originals, the reproductions filled things out. No other toy chain stocked this line–you could NOT get it from Walmart or Target or such.

And I never stopped going to Toys R Us. I wasn’t there every week, or even every month…but I was in there frequently. While maybe not every week or month, there were times that I’d be in this particular store a couple times within a week. And some times that I might make “the rounds” and visit not only the Mentor location, but other relatively-nearby locations.

Beyond Mentor, there was one in Mayfield Heights that I’d go to here and there. Rarely specifically, but when I was already in that area for Half-Price Books or Microcenter or some such, I’d stop in. There was one in Fairlawn/Montrose not far from where I worked for a time that I visited a number of times. In July 2016 specifically, I remember zipping over to that store on a lunch break to get a Charizard figure for my desk shortly after Pokemon Go hit–also not knowing I was a couple weeks away from being laid off.

There was one in Cuyahoga Falls that I went to most during my grad school years and then living in the city itself for another 8 years until being laid off. This one was across the street from a Target, and about a 5 minute drive from my apartment, so it was easy to get to just to “see what they have” at any given time. Back in 2009, after securing our tickets for the new Star Trek film, my roommate and I went in and between the two of us, bought the entire line of figures, along with a couple overlaps.

There was another Toys R Us over in Sandusky that I’d been to a number of times with a couple of different friends that live near there.

There was one in Toledo that I got to a handful of times during college, and where I got my 2003-TMNT turtle van. I remember on one visit to Toledo leaving several friends at the mall, driving to TRU myself because I was the only one that wanted to go in, and then meeting back up with my friends at the mall afterward.

So very many other memories I could dig up if I tried, and had the time.

Maybe it’s sentimentality. Maybe it’s my weird memory or the way my mind works, associating people and events with places and physical spaces.

I believe I would have been “introduced to” Toys R Us at least by 1988…and my earliest conscious memory of the store was that first TMNT figure, which I believe would have been sometime in 1989…so that late-1988 until whenever it was specifically in 1989 is a bit fuzzy.

But give or take a few months to a year…nearly 30 years.

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Ultimately–for me–it ended with a whimper. With a final $11.77 including sales tax. Two talking Titan Hero Series Avengers Infinity War figures–Thor and Starlord. A 2017-Power Rangers movie morpher. And a poster kit of some sort from a “pre-order” of the digital Star Wars: The Force Awakens…purchased for the posters, zero regard if it includes a digital movie code or not (I’m assuming it does not).

My final time in the Mentor store, it was just the entrance-area atrium and the front main aisle. Everything else was taped off…and a good 3/4ths of the space even there was empty, bare shelving. The Power Rangers morpher was on a shelf slightly into what used to be the videogames and such area–but otherwise that area was taped off, too.

I felt bad–like some vulture picking over the bones of something that used to be fuzzy and cute. This final time, I wasn’t there for some sale–not in itself. I mean, I was curious what was left, what they’d have.

But in a way, I wish that I hadn’t gone.

At least the previous time in the store, it still seemed like a store instead of a garage sale. This was pitiful–it was sad. To see a once-great toy store full of all sorts of toys reduced to whatever it was. It made my personal toy collection look like some huge thing, and the store selection look like some cast-off.

And I felt bad as well, hearing other people muttering about the lack of selection. Like they were inconvenienced by there not being MORE still there for up to 90% off. Like they’d been slighted.

Yet, all these employees hustling about–it was very nearly the end for their JOBS. I’ve been laid off twice myself in the span of 18 months, so I can sure as heck appreciate the “losing a job out from under” one’s self, but at least in my experiences, it’s pretty much been a matter of cleaning out my workspace and leaving–and that’s that. I’ve never had to hang around for weeks or months, doing my job as if everything’s normal, dealing with people as if everything’s normal. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to put on the usual, cordial front, to be working RETAIL, being nice to customers, while watching my job drain away…even as customers are out for a deal.

There was virtually nothing left on Wednesday…because the chain filed for bankruptcy. Is closing. This liquidation sale’s been going on for several months. Employees are out of their jobs…and people were upset because they thought there should’ve been a bigger selection?

I was there for the nostalgia of walking into Toys R Us at all, for the nearly-last (or as it’s turned out, THE last) time. I bought what I bought to “buy SOMEthing,” since I was there, since I had for some reason grabbed a cart.

I could have gone one last time today…but I opted not to.

Wednesday was enough.

Maybe we’ll see a return of the brand someday–look at Hostess. But in terms of “continuity” and such…this is it.

It’s over.

But…I’m still “a Toys R Us kid.”

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The Weekly Haul: Week of June 27, 2018

This week’s proved to be a rather small (though more expensive for its size) week.

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The new Man of Steel issue…which, while it has a nostalgia-inducing cover evoking the nearly-26-year-old Doomsday / The Death of Superman story doesn’t so much as mention or touch on that story whatsoever. Flash 49, part 3 of The Flash War. And due to "hype" I snagged the Teen Titans Special…while it may be a bit of a turning point, I do NOT feel like it lived up to any of the hype at all.

Marvel has stupid-ridiculous prices for its single issues and collected volumes. But 6 $3.99 issues and 1 $4.99 issue in a $19.99 paperback is (comparatively) not bad. So I went ahead and got the Thanos Wins tpb. I suppose it’s also a way to support this straight to PAPERBACK thing, rather than going to hardcover first and THEN "eventually" paperback. ORRRRRR I flat-out missed the hardback, so…whatever.

Then because it was on sale, I picked up Hulk: World War Hulks for a whopping $5.99. Something like this–a deluxe/oversized hardcover, good and thick…for basically the price of a single Marvel issue? I’m there.

It’s also helpful finally updating my phone’s photos-of-my-shelves inventory so that I could look and confirm this wasn’t a duplicate, as I recognized the cover. But that’d be because half the cover is from Fall of the Hulks: Alpha that I reviewed some years back..

Next week will be ‘interesting’ with New Comics Day being July 4th…or Independence Day here in the U.S. and stores being open due to DC and Marvel putting out key issues that’ve been highly hyped, and no one shifted to this past week or July 11th, and Diamond didn’t push by a day for stuff to be on sale on Tuesday or held til Thursday.

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A Peek at the "Comic Cave"

I’ve mentioned new/additional shelving and rearranging for months now. I still haven’t gotten things 100% the way I want them, but with touching things up here, rearranging there, etc. I’ve had the overall space essentially set up.

And falling behind on writing reviews–Ultraverse Revisited and otherwise–today I decided to show off the bulk of my "comic cave" space. However, it’ll likely be awhile yet before I get into a detailed "tour" or shelf by shelf show-off, etc.

And even these photos show some of the rough edges and unfinished messiness…though do not show the huge mess that is my longboxes, shortboxes, "desk" and table.

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Above: an "outer" view of the main "library" (I’ll show the "inner" view further down). The bulk of the action figures on the front, with a corner piece for some of the Build-A-Figures and giant Heroclix; and presently some general storage/mess.

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Here’s a better look at the bookcases from the above photo. The far right is graphic novels, and then other things on the shelves to the left beyond "just" graphic novels.

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Opposite of these is my "media and games" space, as well as my Magic: The Gathering books, and Aliens and Predator books, as well as movies and tv…plus some storage.

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…And here’s a view from the other side–the small bookcase is my Dragonlance paperbacks. The bookcase behind the chair has boardgames, card games, and even trading card binders.

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This bookcase is seen looking out from the "inner" view of the main ‘library’ and includes the Thanos Shelf I’ve shown off a couple times.

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And here’s an "inner" view of the first photo of this post, with primarily my DC and Marvel stuff, plus some storage with some of the bottom shelves. The cropping here is to avoid much of the mess I’m not ready to show.


As said…I’ll probably show off a more detailed look sometime later–including the staircase down to the basement, a few things I didn’t specifically show here, and a better sense of the space as a whole.

For now, this is a peek at the heart of my collection and where/how most of it is stored at present…at least, outside of the single-issues collection…the longboxes and shortboxes are quite the mess at the moment, as well as my "workspace" and "desk" and such.

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Lake Effect Comic Con 2018

This past weekend, I went to the 9th annual Lake Effect Comic Con, in Mentor, Ohio. (Think northeast Ohio, a couple miles south of Lake Erie–hence "lake effect!"). The convention started out at the Great Lakes Mall (still in Mentor)…I don’t recall the first couple–they may have been inside the mall itself, but don’t quote me! The ones I remember were in the movie theater lobby, of the theater sharing a parking lot with the mall. And several years ago, this con outgrew that space and moved to the Holiday Inn where I believe this is the third year.

It’s hosted by Comics and Friends, a comic shop in the Great Lakes Mall that I sure as heck wish had been around when I was a kid!

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With various things going on in my personal life, I wasn’t originally "sold" on attending. But when I found out that Dirk Manning was going to be there, I was "sold."

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Since the last time I’d seen him (at Fantasticon back in March), he’d put out The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. and Dastardly Dirk #1…which I’ve been wanting to get (and ideally in person, at that!). So I snagged that, as well as Then It Was Dark, which is an anthology volume he’s got a story in. (I resisted Tales of Mr. Rhee as I backed a Kickstarter at a level that includes all the volumes of that series). And of course, signed, which is a fun bonus to getting these in-person!

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And for the first time since I’ve been catching him at conventions, I had stuff that I took with me to get signed!

Back in December 2017, at a sale at RuppsComics, I’d come across the first issue of Nightmare World #1 from Ape Entertainment and got that…easily a diamond in the rough! Of course, I couldn’t find the thing back in March, but had managed to in time for this convention. Very cool having this early edition of such an early issue.

And–fun to learn–Dirk showed me where one of the pieces in the issue is different from the final collected version due to a situation with the art that had to be redrawn. I’m pretty sure this is the first instance I have–specifically–of that sort of thing, and I really dig it! To be able to compare an original "version" with a redrawn version and see how they hold up against one another…a rare opportunity!

I also had my Kickstarter edition of the Nightmare World Omnibus, which even though I think it came with a signed bookplate, is not the same as getting the actual book signed in-person!

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Though I’ve meant to previously and didn’t, this time I finally got a photo of Dirk! He’s got quite a selection of stuff available, in multiple formats, and I love seeing his displays. Especially now, with Hope and Cthulhu Jr. included!

Sadly, in trying to be quick so as to not block an aisle or hold anyone up trying to get by…I did not properly frame the photo,cutting off part of the table, as well as Dirk‘s name from his banner…which otherwise is almost perfectly positioned!

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And along with the first photo of Dirk, got my first photo with him, as well!

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In my further wanderings, I came across the guys who do Canada Bear, which was quite cool–I’d already gotten the first two issues from Comic Heaven last year, and hadn’t realized that they had the third issue out already. They also had some prints, and I really liked this Thanos one, so ended up buying it along with the comic.

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I wasn’t all that impressed with the general comics or collected volumes selections at the con. Or at least, I wasn’t seeing much that would spur me to somewhat "randomly" buy something I wasn’t specifically "on the hunt" for. Nothing was matching or beating the selection and pricing I get regularly at Comic Heaven and Kenmore Komics, two stores that really set the standard for me.

But then I did find some bins with books $5 each or 5/$20 that actually had some "worthwhile" books–that is, not Marvel Premiere Edition hardcovers nor exclusively skinny 6-issue books. While $5 (or $4 with the bulk price) is not bad, it’s still not generally "worth it" to ME on "typical" Marvel paperbacks.

But then, when they’re these massive $35+ paperbacks for that $5, they’re absolutely worthwhile to me. And then with the "bulk" price…I got these for the price of any standard Marvel comic presently being published.

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Along with the paperbacks, on the way out there were some Heroclix figures on the freebie table, so I snagged Nebula…because why not?


lake_effect_comic_con_2018hAs said…I wasn’t originally "sold" on attending this convention, but ended up going because Dirk Manning was going to be there.

Though I wasn’t myself interested in many of the booths, I saw a lot of comics as well as comics-related stuff. I saw several costumes–though I was in and out/gone a couple hours before the cosplay stuff.

If I was on-point looking for pre-1990s comics, I’d’ve likely had my fill…but I wasn’t looking for single issues over 50 cents apiece.

I lucked out with my timing on getting to the hotel, and found an empty (and valid) parking spot just to the side of the building, so didn’t have too far to walk to get inside. No problem with getting in and paying for admission, and being directed to the convention space itself.

The overall space was a bit tight, and I’m glad I got there on the early side, as I hardly want to imagine much more of a crowd present, as I don’t tend to do well long-term with small spaces and lots of people. Getting around was fine for me as an able-bodied individual…I didn’t really look for and so couldn’t begin to say in terms of getting around as part of a group, or disability or such.

I do think this one’s outgrowing this space as well, at least as a casual/outside observer.

There was another convention in Akron on Sunday as well, but for where I’m at personally, I would not have made it out given the distance (and lack of Dirk). This Lake Effect convention was about as "local" as I could ask for, so ultimately as the comics person that I am, there’d have to be something really wrong for me to not actually go (even if I’d be in and out in 20 minutes).

It’s also quite cool to see the "community" in the space. I’m more of an "observer" than "active participant," so just "showing up"–especially by myself–is actually a fairly significant thing for me.

I don’t know if I’d quite use the word "fun" for myself for the con–but that’s COMPLETELY me and being quite the introvert. But I am glad that I went, and definitely look forward to the 2019 con!

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Ultraverse Revisited: Exiles #3

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exiles_0003A Glimmer and Gone…

Writer: Steve Gerber
Penciller: R.R. Phipps
Inker: Scott Reed
Letters: Patrick Owsley
Colorist: Robert Alvord
Editor: Chris Ulm
Published by: Malibu Comics
Cover Date: October 1993
Cover Price: $2.50

With no preamble, we start the issue with a giant, humanoid mastodon hitting the ground, apparently from 30+ stories up. Right behind is Tinsel, using her power to slow her fall…though she realizes it looks like an attack, and tries to tell Tim (Mastodon) just that. Ghoul tries to rescue her, though that’s just another moment amidst everything else. Bloodbath is in the mix, as well as the creature that initially grabbed Tim. This time, it’s Tinsel and Ghoul that are grabbed. Mastodon also gets away…and the team follows him, as Tinsel and Ghoul can take care of themselves–they hope. In a (closed) mall, the team and Mastodon face off, with much destruction. Back at the Exiles’ HQ, Amber Hunt frets over whether or not they’ll be back in time for her to take the treatment for her instance of the Theta Virus. Kort has Ghoul thrown in the trash, and “gives” Tinsel to Bloodbath. Tim eventually reverts back to himself from the mutated/Ultra form…and Bloodbath prepares to rape Tinsel.  She’s able to take his sight…but as she escapes, he gets to one of his guns and starts firing away at her! Her shoulder’s grazed as she makes her way away…

…as she’s shot through the leg, abdomen, chest, shoulders, AND head. Bloodbath races off seeking help, and a poor-condition Ghoul finds his teammate’s body.

There was an ad already that referenced this issue, spoiling the fact that Tinsel DIES. I think the ad would have been better suited for after the issue, but then, it WAS the early 1990s, and deaths WERE a “thing,” where if some character (sometimes seemed virtually ANY character at all) died, suddenly that was a “key” issue.

I didn’t specifically remember where the previous issue left off, so dropping straight into the action worked, but wasn’t ideal for this particular reading. But then, we don’t have to worry about any “wasted space” playing catch-up, and since this was published before the “recap page,” it would’ve needed space for exposition.

The story is definitely advanced, with the Exiles team fumbling badly and pretty much failing to properly take down their opponent. They’re caught unprepared, and that costs them. Though by no means graphic or gratuitous, the page with Bloodbath and Tinsel was particularly disturbing, and I’d totally forgot about the aforementioned ad–I was rooting for her escape, and glad to see her get the start. That made it all the more discouraging to see her taken out, and so violently!

Visually, everything looked as I’d expect, all the characters are quite familiar, even where I don’t remember names. As a third issue, it’s still early enough that for a team book, and from the ’90s with all of its tropes, I’m not surprised names haven’t stuck for me yet. Of course, in general it takes me a few issues to really get a hold on full group/cast names for something I’m not overly familiar with.

rune_0hRune [H]: Aladdin’s Lamp
Plotted by: Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
Drawn & Colored by: Barry Windsor-Smith
Scripted by: Chris Ulm
Inked by: John Floyd
Computer Color by: Albert Calleros
Lettered by: Patrick Owsley
Text Pages Designed by: Jim Chadwick
Edited by: Steve Gerber

Where the Rune stuff seemed choppy at first, jumping to vastly different time periods, here we continue in a linear sequence from the previous segment–again. This chapter, we find Rune in the desert, contemplating and then eating a skull with a bit of radiation from a bomb. He goes into a coma-like condition, and then finds some sort of coin or embossed logo of a lamp–Aladdin! He then takes off toward Scottsdale!

As usual, we have consistent art, and it’s clear everything that’s happening with the chapter.

On the story side, we do have another shift in narration/point of view, as we’re getting a running observation from someone watching Rune and reporting on what he’s doing. This certainly gives an interesting view, as no one knows what to make of him–who OR what he IS, and before they can even do anything, he’s off again.

The narration reminded me a bit from the Death of Superman–where someone’s communicating remotely that Doomsday was just there and headed for Metropolis…too late for anyone to prevent the situation or even really do anything about it.


Exiles #3 is another issue that doesn’t really stand alone…I see no reason to seek it out in isolation from any other issues, unless it’s simply a lone missing issue being sought out to go with others in the series. The Rune chapter sort of/kind of stands alone…for the narrator, it’s the first the creature’s been seen/observed, so if you’ve read none of the other chapters, you’re on equal footing, reading this.

It’s interesting in its way to see a team of superheroes bungle stuff so badly–and have an immediate “cost” to the situation in losing two of their own, as well as the shock of seeing someone escaping and then cut down so completely. (And by ‘interesting’ that’s not to say I’m glad to see any of it!)

I vaguely remember at least reading ABOUT Tinsel’s death…but that was just as some random character I wasn’t familiar with, from a title I wasn’t really following. This time, reading the issue in its entirety (if I’d read it before, I don’t remember detail, and may have only skimmed it looking for something about Ghoul) Tinsel’s death carries a lot more weight, and I’m eager to get to the next issue and seeing (now with context of these first three issues) the other characters’ reactions to things.

You could do a lot worse than this issue for 25 to 50 cents, but outside of getting several issues together, I would continue to counsel not going much above $1 or so to acquire this. Along with the first couple issues and the next issue, I remember there being some interesting stuff that’s leading into the first Ultraverse “event,” and it has me looking forward to getting there!

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Ultraverse Revisited: Strangers #5

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strangers_0005Dynamic Tension!

Author: Steve Englehart
Pencil Art: Rick Hoberg
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Ink Art: Tim Burgard
Color Design: Rick Schmitz
Color Team: Foodhammer!
Editor: Chris Ulm
Published by: Malibu Comics
Cover Date: October 1993
Cover Price: $2.50

A fifth issue doesn’t seem like it’s that far into a series…but in the "meta" sense of this being 25 years old and well over two decades between the END of this series and the present…the series didn’t quite make it 25 issues. But even at 25 issues…this would put us 1/5 through the series now! That’s both discouraging in that the series had such a brief run, but encouraging to notice we’re getting into the meat of the thing, past the most initial of setup and foundation-laying. We saw the origin–the lightning bolt/Jumpstart that hit the cable car. We saw the characters come together, and saw them investigate Yrial and wind up with her the "final member" of the team; saw the team take on TNTNT, their first actual "supervillains" ("ultra-villains"), as well as meet up with Hardcase and have that adventure.

Now in this issue, we see the team–after "most of the series" so far–spit up to go back to their own individual lives. Bob Hardin (Atom Bob) visits with his parents and sees the crowd camped out at their house for a glimpse of him. Leon Balford (Zip-Zap) returns to his street and puts a bully in his place. Hugh Fox (Grenade) and Candy (Electrocute) view his house–overrun with media folks and such,  and head off, discussing their status quo, having a "moment." Elena La Brava (Lady Killer) works the phones on coverage of the team. Yrial takes to a rooftop, frustrated firstly with being "forced" to join the team, and secondly with having no place of her own to go when the team split to go their own ways…but soon spots trouble and prepares to page the rest of the team to regroup. Finally, David Castiglione (Spectral) visits someone in the hospital, and after catching up a bit, he tries to use his healing power. If he could heal a broken arm, surely he could heal this! The scene shifts and we find the rest of the team back together and wondering where Spectral is. They decide to proceed without him, and find Deathwish…who is not at all like the frail old man he "grew from." The Strangers launch into battle, but none of them can take the villain. Eventually Spectral shows up in his green-flame form and lays into the villain…emerging victorious. As things wind down, the team reflects on his action–they’d focused on trying to deny Deathwish any further power, while Spectral gave him more than he could handle. Realizing David’s effectiveness was part anger and venting, they probe a bit and discover that he was unable to heal his partner. They hadn’t realized he was gay, but the fact of it is simply matter of fact and casual…no more a focus than Hugh being attracted to Candy.

I really enjoy issues like this. Maybe it’s that I’ve been reading comics for nearly three decades, but seeing superheroes in action is such a "given" and seeing much of what they do out of costume or out of action is a relative rarity…so seeing a bit of focus on each of the characters reminds us that they’re individuals, gives us a fresh glimpse into their private lives and background, and generally fleshes them out and builds the individuals in a way that doesn’t work easily when they’re all together and being juggled in an action sequence. I often lament the drawn-out/padded-out nature of modern comics written for the 6-issue trade…and even though we’d had very brief foreshadowing bits in earlier issues for Deathwish, essentially he just shows up in this issue, is fought, and defeated–all in one issue. And that’s in addition to getting scenes of each of the individuals on their own…once again packing into one issue what could easily be drawn out to at least 5 or 6 issues in the present (if not 7 or 8 to give each Stranger a solo issue…and even as a single issue, a modern take would have at least 8-9 covers for this issue to give each character a cover, plus the cover we have, plus maybe a glow-in-the-dark Spectral cover on top of that).

Visually this is another strong issue, with all the characters seeming perfectly familiar, and quite consistent with the earlier issues…same artist, same quality and all that. The only thing that really stood out to me was the page split with the Strangers seeing Deathwish the first time…there seems to be a lot of different coloring effects going on with lighting and such that actually prompted me to go back to the credits to see if someone else had contributed a page. It has an almost painted sort of look to it, different from the usual colors of the rest of the issue.

rune_0gRune [G]: The Hunger
Plotted by: Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
Drawn & Colored by: Barry Windsor-Smith
Scripted by: Chris Ulm
Inked by: John Floyd
Computer Color by: Albert Calleros
Lettered by: Patrick Owsley
Text Pages Designed by: Jim Chadwick
Edited by: Steve Gerber

I’m sort of surprised–we have our third in-sequence chapter without a great leap in time. This picks up the day after the bitterly disappointing discovery that even Edwin’s power wasn’t enough to permanently restore Rune to his former glory. This chapter picks up the next day and we see that Rune has killed a drunken homeless person…but the alcohol in the guy’s blood is poisoning Rune himself. As a storm rolls in, Rune flies into the sky to be struck by lightning–or perhaps calling the lightning to him–to purge his body of the poison, though it can’t purge the cancer that eats away at him.

This being another 3-page segment of a single issue-length story, the art is consistent as expected with previous chapters, as it’s the same creative team as those earlier chapters.

There’s not a lot of room for development or continuing story, but this shows us that while Rune might have trouble taking down anyone more powerful than a powerless human, he can still survive (and even thrive from) a lightning strike! His magical/sorcerous power is still there, even if he lacks the physical might he once had. And this does show his growing desperation, which likely makes him all the more dangerous!


As with the other Rune Month issues, this is one that is easily identified as a Rune Month (October 1993) issue, but the Rune chapter alone does not give cause to seek it out as a single issue. However, for the Strangers portion…this SOMEWHAT stands alone. It doesn’t in itself give much exposition or backstory, but if one is loosely familiar with the characters, this would not be a horrible issue to get on its own.

The cover is at once a bit bland to me, yet over-promises on Deathwish and his power. Sure, the character was a bit imposing and wielding a very dangerous power…but he was hardly holding sway over an entire city, nor much mystery to the team as to his identity. This cover would seem more fitting to me as the cover to a collected volume of a several-issue story against Deathwish or of multiple encounters with the character. The blurb "Vs. Deathwish" seems tacked on and somehow just LOOKS "’90s-ish" and seems far too symmetric…so basically showing off then-new-ish stuff done with digital elements for the cover.

This is well worth getting from a bargain bin, though as many times as I’ve seen this and other early Ultraverse issues in 25-cent and 50-cent bins, I suggest as with those not to go much over $1 for this issue if you seek it out.

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The Weekly Haul – Week of June 20, 2018

This was a mixed week, and included a rather unexpected purchase on my part!

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For one thing, I seem to have missed Executive Assistant Iris from Aspen twice. And where I’d meant to get the new issue of that, I actually bought the new Fathom #1 instead, because of getting the 25-cent Primer.

Then there’s X-Men Gold #30. I haven’t touched the series since #1, and had zero intent to–even with the wedding in question. But I’d discovered a major spoiler on Bleeding Cool that made me decide I very definitely wanted to get this issue. This doubles in the unexpected category for the cover: this is an extremely RARE example of my opting to buy a variant over a standard cover. Given the spoiler, it’s this bagged variant that has the image that I wanted. I may well talk about the issue later, but not passing the spoiler along for now.

Then there’s the new Man of Steel and Batman issues for the week…getting us ever closer to the end of Man of Steel and the return of ongoing Action Comics and Superman titles, and leaving us with the very next issue of Batman being the 50th…and "the wedding issue."

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I also opted to partake in a sale, with three $34.99-cover-priced books for $6 apiece. I don’t do much Marvel these days, but for this sort of pricing, and the material in question…very much worth it, ESPECIALLY considering each was a mere $1 more than a standard Marvel #1 issue.

Nothing huge beyond that…definitely a simple-ish week!

Next week looks to be a bit bigger…hopefully not in a major sticker-shock sort of way!

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