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Last Week’s Books Reviewed (Week of 9/24)

Over the weekend, I posted several reviews. Excerpts below, or click the cover/links to go to the full text of the reviews.

Futures End: Booster Gold #1

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

 

 

Superman: Doomed #2

Superman: Doomed will probably make for a nice, thick hardcover collection, similarly thick paperback eventually…and really, that’s gonna be the way to go. If you haven’t followed stuff so far, just wait for the collected volume. If it’s priced around $30 for this entire thing, that will be quite a bargain compared to the price paid for the single issues involved, and will put the entire story between two covers instead of the umpteen ones across five-some months for the single issues.

 

Armor Hunters #4

Context is vital, and while there’s no gigantic singular event in this issue that in and of itself will HERE change the Valiant universe, if you’ve been following the whole thing or just this mini, or X-O Manowar, this is definitely an issue to get, not to be arbitrarily skipped for some random reason. It’s good and worthwhile, and a solid issue in itself. Of course, if you have not been following anything associated with this, it would thus be a rather strange-ish point to attempt to jump into stuff, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a jumping-on point. (Yet every issue is bound to be SOMEONE’s first).

DC Futures End Month, Week Two

This week, I catch up on a couple extra issues I picked up from last week’s bunch over the weekend between Wednesdays, as well as this week’s new issues.

FUTURES END: BATWING #1

futuresend_batwing001It’s been a couple years since I’ve checked in on Batwing, offhand. It was the first comic I followed digitally, taking advantage of the $1-cheaper-one-month-later but lost track of it once DC went to waiting 2 months. I was aware of a status quo shift from the character I knew as Batwing to the sun of Lucius Fox. This issue didn’t really do much for me, though it was interesting enough to read. Definitely glad it’s a one-shot…I was satisfied enough with the read to not feel like I wasted my money, though I would not have been happy if this was a “regular” issue. I admit to giving in on some hype with this, but when I found it at cover price, I figured I’d give the thing a shot. Overall not bad for a “weekend wave” of “what was left” after the iniitial Wednesday release.

FUTURES END: EARTH 2 #1

futuresend_earth2001I was going to avoid this one, but then it occurred to me that this was Earth 2. And with all the hints dropped about the war between the Earths, of Earth 2 refugees and such in the Futures End main title, I thought FOR SURE this one would detail some of that, so I was curious enough to hit an extra comic shop to track it down. Sadly, it didn’t deal with that at all, and dealt more with an apparent “fall” of Mr. Terriffic, which while surely a major plot point was not the one I was looking for. The cover made me think it was going to involve the Red Tornado somehow, as well, but that was another point that didn’t hold up to the actual reading. Not a bad issue in and of itself, but certainly didn’t measure up to my expectation, and I might’ve been better off “saving” the $4 for a different one later this month.

FUTURES END: BATMAN #1

futuresend_batman001So, Batman’s apparently working on preserving and being his OWN legacy. However, as his body (and technology) fail, he finds that he has to go to extreme measures to complete a “puzzle” of sorts to prolong the very existence of Batman. This leads to a fairly all-or-nothing assualt on a Lexcorp facility for material in its lab. Batman being Batman, things have a way of working out, even if not quite what one might expect. I think I was expecting this one to take place a bit further in the future–I wanted to see a Bruce dealing with Terry–the Batman Beyond. I picked this up specifically, simply because it’s Batman…I figured for the “regular” price but much shinier, better cover it would be worthwhile. I wasn’t terribly impressed, though…I very well could have done without the issue. Still, it’s Batman, so not a complete waste. Just definitely not a “top” issue for me in this month of five-years-later one-shots.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1

futuresend_greenlanterncorps001It’s been awhile, again, since I checked in on this title. So I’m not sure how much of the “five years later” ties back to the recent stuff–I assume it does, though. It’s nice to see the continued use of the multiple Lantern corps as such a general thing and not strictly as a Johns thing. While not exactly a “Last John Stewart Story,” this definitely comes off like it could be just that, though I don’t know much of the actual “official” established background of the Indigo Tribe (I think much of that was revealed shortly after I left off with my following of all the GL stuff). We see a hardened John Stewart here facing what he’s become, conflicting with the Indigo Tribe, and what his attitude there leads to as he’s forced to confront his own past and the destruction of a planet. I’m pretty sure this issue would carry more significance if I were to be caught up on the GL family of titles. As-is, it didn’t feel all that important, just sort of an “epilogue” or such, perhaps, on the John Stewart character.

FUTURES END: BATGIRL #1

futuresend_batgirl001My earliest Batman comics involved the original introduction of Tim Drake, Robin…and while I didn’t fully “get” it at the time, Barbara Gordon was already a couple years along from the events of The Killing Joke, was already in the early stages of being Oracle…and that’s the character I grew up on for at least 20 years. So I never gave this title much of a chance before bailing…Having Barbara Gordon as Batgirl seems weird, as to me, she’s Oracle and “Batgirl” would be Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown. Given that…this issue’s inclusion of a group of Batgirls (plural), including a “Stephanie” and a “Cassandra” was rather cool…and a Barbara who–while not Oracle–was in more of a leadership/advisory role to a group of women seemed far more familiar and interesting to me. I haven’t a clue if the use of Cassandra and Stephanie here will be “canon,” but I do believe this is Simone’s final issue on the matter, and so it’s good seeing the characters’ inclusion. I was going to pass on this issue on principle…but I’m glad I actually picked it up, as it was a good read, and a nice “check-in” on the title and character, as this single one-shot.

FUTURES END: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #1

futuresend_justiceleagueunited001I’ve only loosely been aware of this new title even existing–but while I haven’t cared enough to check it out in a present-day continuity context, as a “five years later” thing it works as just a possible alternate offshoot of the “main” Justice League…so I don’t really have to “think” too much about the matter. Here we find an apparently former group being contacted by the Martian Manhunter, “recruited” to deal with an escape from the JL’s “gulag” on Mars. The situation isn’t all that good, and as the characters arrive, the situation may be more than they can handle alone. Which, of course leaves us with a to-be-continued note, as this story continues into the Justice League issue this month. Technically this is a one-shot, but it’s part 1 of a 2-part story. Though I’ve relished the one-shot nature of DC’s books this month, I actually picked this one up specifically FOR the fact it was part of a two-parter…just to have a slightly larger story, given the involvement of numerous characters when one talks “Justice League.”

FUTURES END: CONSTANTINE #1

futuresend_constantine001As a long-time fan of Hellblazer, I “settled” for the new Constantine series when it premiered, as the only likely monthly dose of the Constantine character. I didn’t much care for the single issues, and figured I’d wait and catch up. I’ve yet to do so, just for simple “apathy” on the matter. Yet, when it came to having “given in” on DC’s annual one-shots, I decided it was a great chance to get a single-issue check-in with the character. Unfortunately, the issue proved to be a real pain to track down…perhaps because there’s a tv show about to premiere with the same name. However, I managed to get thsi for cover price, and it was a neat little story of Constantine vs. Nabu, the Helmet of Fate. It also has probably my favorite cover of the week, if not of the month. I think even if I was not buying any others, I’d’ve been interested in this anyway, just from the cover. While not quite as harsh as it likely would’ve been in Hellblazer proper…I very much enjoyed this issue, and am very glad I sought it out and got to read it. If anything’s to pull me further/back in, this’ll do it.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 2

This week I actually “planned” for including several extra DC books, to the point of emailing ahead to the shop to have several issues pulled. I suppose that’s the surest sign that I’m “hooked” on anything: when I take the time to specifically request something be pulled, even if just as a one-time thing and not an ongoing pull-list item.

In the hassle of tracking down Constantine, I wound up settling for a couple extra issues of Futures End itself, making myself think that ok, I’m not getting every tie-in this month, but MAYBE I’m actually rethinking avoiding the Futures End book. At the very least I’m now intrigued at the prospect of the Earth 2 weekly, and maybe I’ll give that one a shot.

I suppose the big thing all this is telling me is: I’m sick and tired of ongoing $3.99 books and constant events. I just want a self-contained $2.99 or less thing to follow on a regular basis, and when I KNOW from the START it’s a weekly, I’m willing to buy a book weekly for $12ish/monthly–that’s more than the $8 from a double-shipping $3.99, but feels like I’m getting a better value at the weekly new chapters, even if the art varies.

I guess time will definitely tell.

DC Futures End Month, Week One

I wasn’t going to do it. I was going to just flat-out ignore all of DC’s output this month. I even dropped the weekly Futures End series a few weeks back to avoid being up to date on it and thus that much more eager to buy into things.

But I just HAD to look at these things at the shop. And where I’d thought from the previews that the 3D part was just the center image…like last year, it’s the ENTIRE cover. And I’m certainly more impressed with these than I am of the recent Valiant chromium covers.

And there’s the fact that despite all tying in to Futures End…these are all functionally one-shots, so like with the Villains issues last year, I don’t REALLY have to follow any of these issues with any subsequent issues.

FUTURES END: ACTION COMICS #1

futuresend_actioncomics001No matter how much I try to avoid the current stuff, there’s just no getting away from the fact that I’m a Superman guy.

This one caught my attention because the image reminded me of the sand-creature Superman, and I was curious if perhaps that would be some key clue to the fate of Superman in this continuity.

What I found instead was a short, slightly disjointed but overall enjoyable-for-what-it-is story about Superman and his powers, what he can do, as an inspiration to others.

Overall a rather generic issue, and it actually REALLY could have been set in the present…one might have questions as to status quo, but take away the “Five Years Later” caption common to all of these issues and you’d have a generically timeless Superman story. Still…I enjoyed the read, short as it was, but I’m quite glad it’s “just” this one-shot.

FUTURES END: DETECTIVE COMICS #1

futuresend_detectivecomics001It just didn’t seem right to me, somehow, to buy a number of DC books and not have Batman in the mix. While I’m not a particular fan of the Riddler or the way the character’s been trumped up as a new major “big bad” in Batman’s rogues gallery, the cover art here was just too good to pass up, so I got it into my head to give it a shot.

While ultimately, this seemed to be a Batman a bit harsher than I’d expect, it also seemed decently spot-on for the most part.

There’s usually something at least vaguely interesting about seeing him forced to “team up” with one of his rogues, and this was no exception.

I could’ve done without the various “Zero Year” references, but that just drove home the point all the more how much that story is being played as “the” Batman story of the New 52, and seems JUST interesting enough that I’ll probably gladly buy it Ii f it’s ever put out in one of these under/around $30 volumes.

FUTURES END: GREEN ARROW #1

futuresend_greenarrow001Given the cover and Green Arrow’s fate in the ongoing Futures End series, I was definitely interested here to see what the story would hold, what light it might shed on stuff leading to the character’s demise, or how his immediate “supporting cast” were dealing with the loss.

What I found instead was an interesting yet sort of dragged-out story that I guessed from the start was headed right up to the character’s death.

While it could have been totally cliché, the story did give some background and a new element to be played out in the ongoing Futures End book with more detail given to where GA was headed immediately prior to the death in Futures End #1.

Maybe not the best single issue, but I definitely enjoyed the read, and am glad I tracked this down.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN #1

futuresend_greenlantern001I really had no idea what to expect from this going in….but flipping through it in the store I caught that it involved Black Lanterns, and I enjoyed that the logo is the same as it’s been for the past 10 or so years, and Hal looked good on the cover, and I figured if I’m randomly picking up an assortment of the DC books this month, Green Lantern ought to be one of ’em.

The story seemed rather disconnected from Futures End other than the fact that it’s set 5 years in the future and references the war between the Earths.

I’m not usually a fan of anything involving the Source Wall or anything Fourth-World/New Gods related, but I liked its use here. I have yet to actually read any of the stuff dealing with Relic, but still enjoyed the character’s appearance here and the way he and Hal played off each other, and contributes to my curiosity to stuff I missed already involving the character.

FUTURES END: SWAMP THING #1

futuresendswampthing001I’ve been particularly interested in Swamp Thing since the character “returned” after Brightest Day; and it was one of the titles I stuck with longest after the initial New 52 launch.

So it made sense to me to check in on the character (plus the more I looked at that cover, the more I was curious).

This was a nice standalone story of Swamp Thing’s apparent end, but works nicely seeing his final “quest” to cover his bases before undertaking his final act.

I recognized some elements, and others simply fit, so this was a “fun” casual read for me…as well as solidifying some suspicions I’d had for stuff I’ve missed, and reminding me that this is a title whose collected volumes probably would actually be worth my checking out at some point, given the chance.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 1

As said earlier, I was dead-set on avoiding these when I first walked into the shop. But the more I looked at them and considered, the more my curiosity got the better of me.

As did that little voice inside that prompted me last year to say the heck with it, and “give in” to the gimmick and buy a bunch of these one-shot issues since it’s just for this one month and not going to be any sort of ongoing thing.

And since I never was able to find any sort of “bundle” deal to get ALL the issues, and I’ve mostly decided not to keep up with the ongoing, I figured I’d just give in on the 3D covers, and go from there.

Where last year I had a checklist and interest in several specific villains and all to plan in advance, I’m thinking this year I’m just going to stick with the notion of seeing what grabs my attention each week on-the-spot, whether based on the title/character itself or just an attractive cover.

Looking back to last year, I “only” bought 4 issues that first week, while I bought five this year…but then I also had bought the first issue of Forever Evil with stuff last year, and there’s no such event/mini-series premiere this time around so it still worked out.

Could be worse…definitely going to make for a huge few weeks. But it is what it is, and I guess it kinda makes up for all my DC avoidance the rest of the year.

When Will I Learn?

All these years later, and I’m still snagging these when they come out. When WILL I learn?

assault_on_arkham_w_figurine_08122014

I watched this already tonight. I’ve never played the Arkham video games, nor even really know what their story is.

Maybe that would’ve helped.

I hardly noticed that this Batman was again voiced by Conroy. I really don’t like this “modern” visual design for Harley.

Perhaps much as I’ve let most DC comics go, it’s time to start letting these movies go. Next up is Throne of Atlantis. Another New 52-inspired animation.

I’d like to see Kingdom Come parts 1 and 2. Perhaps Prodigal. Or Zero Hour. Maybe a Reign of the Supermen. Or get into Vertigo and give us a Swamp Thing, or better yet–Hellblazer. If part of the appeal of this line is the PG-13 aspect, that they can cuss and show blood and be violent and even show some near-nudity…surely we could get a quality Hellblazer animated film!

At least I have an addition to my miniatures line from this. And if Aquaman–predictably–is the mini for the next one, I may break down and get that, too, if only FOR the mini.

Time will tell.

I’d recommend redboxing this if you’re interested. Or give it a few months and get it cheaper when it’s marked down a bit.

Thoughts on Last Week’s Comics: Week of November 20, 2013

X-O MANOWAR #19

xomanowar019I’ve said before–right now, I’m “all in” with the current Valiant. As such, I quite enjoyed that this is a tie-in to Unity. PLUS, it just makes sense: since Aric–X-O–is the inciting factor OF the events of Unity, it would be rather weird for this book to NOT touch on that. Where I’d thought Unity seemed like a slightly more epic issue of X-O Manowar, with a more expanded cast…this issue does a great job of re-humanizing Aric, keeping him relatable and not being some god-like faceless alien bent on conquering a country. Yet, after Unity #1, Nord‘s art here seems out of place and rather weird to me. The story continues on from earlier issues, and events have built rather organically, so nothing seems forced. I like the cover’s symbolism, as well as the design: the Unity Tie-In blurb is at the bottom of the cover, so looking at the cover, the info is there…but it does not take away from the Valiant trade-dress at the top, and in a typical comics-racking format, it’s probably not even going to be seen, and thus the book sells itself on its own merits without RELYING on being a tie-in.

BLOODSHOT AND H.A.R.D. CORPS #16

bloodshot016I continue to be impressed with this “new direction” and re-titling of the Bloodshot book. While I remember anticipating the supporting cast that I’d thought was being built to, the H.A.R.D. Corps angle is working really well for me. It feels like an organic development and mixing, and the characters seem to fit together quite nicely. Perhaps most of all I greatly appreciate that despite adding H.A.R.D. Corps to the title–literally–the numbering continues onward…Valiant clearly recognizes that the series doesn’t need to re-start to #1 again every few months. Seeing Bloodshot himself amped up with the tech H.A.R.D. Corps sports–albeit more powerful since he can survive stuff normal humans can’t–is an additional treat in finding out what the character can, can’t, and will/won’t do. I’m also liking the ongoing interactions with Harada, as it makes sense that someone like Harada would be involved in far more than just chasing down some kids. I’m hoping the H.A.R.D. Corps crew is around for quite awhile, and that this title keeps up with the quality. I’m certainly around for awhile yet!

ETERNAL WARRIOR #3

eternalwarrior003I noticed an “editor’s note” in this issue, placing the events of the issue/story before the events of Archer and Armstrong #5…and that one little note made me suddenly enjoy this story all the more. Instead of being just some random story, knowing it takes place before the other appearances of Gilad in the pages of Archer and Armstrong, X-O Manowar, and now Unity gives me more context to appreciate. This is in its own way an origin story for the Eternal Warrior…not so much how he came to be (that’s touched on in A&A) but how he goes from one status quo to the “present day” status quo of Valiant in general. I’m also quite appreciating the character interactions, and laughed out loud at the old lady trying to shush Gilad and his daughter for their arguing in public. I’m interested in the conclusion of this arc, but admittedly even MORE interested in #5, seeing the Eternal Warrior of the future…which is kind of a shame, given advance solicitations and “convention announcements” and such, as I’d have more preference on just anticipating the current arc.

TMNT NEW ANIMATED ADVENTURES #5

tmntnewanimatedadventures005I’m finding myself growing to PREFER Brizuela‘s visual style to the actual cartoon itself. The turtles look great in this issue–as they have in the previous issues. While Fishface is one of the more ridiculous concepts of the series, this issue shows what a threat he can be, and is maybe the first time I’ve come this close to enjoying the character at all. I’m drawing obvious parallels between this series and Archie‘s TMNT Adventures; both developing from tv series, both serving as an alternative for fans of the cartoon vs. just the comics. This series has yet to straight up adapt any episodes, yet it’s set in the same continuity, rather than developing its own universe. It works, I’m going to continue on with this title if only for the art…but unfortunately, some of the shininess has worn off for me, and I find myself preferring the regular ongoing IDW continuity. Still, fans of the show will appreciate this most likely, and it’s a good title of one-off/one-issue stories if you want to read something with the TMNT but not have to deal with a lot of continuity or related/tie-in issues.

BEN10 #1

ben10001I was originally drawn to Ben10 upon discovering Dwayne McDuffie‘s involvement, and watched a handful of episodes from a DVD I snagged sometime last year. I never managed to get very far into the series (and I think what I saw was the equivalent of a second or third season), so I’m not all that steeped in Ben10 continuity to know if this is a tie-in or continuation of the cartoon’s continuity, or just its own thing. I don’t suppose it matters TOO much…I zipped right through the issue and enjoyed it in and of itself. However, not being entirely certain of where this is in the larger Ben10 universe/timeline, I’m pretty sure I’m left “on the outside” just enough that I’m not really the target audience for this book. Still, it was worth my trying for being the first issue…but I rather doubt I’ll keep sinking $4/issue into this. If you are or have a fan of the show, I’d definitely say check this out…it’s the premiere issue, after all. But if you’ve never experienced anything Ben10, this issue doesn’t particularly fill you in on stuff so wouldn’t seem the greatest ‘first-introduction-to-the-series/premise’ story to dive in on.

DOCTOR WHO: PRISONERS OF TIME #12

doctorwhoprisonersoftime012I haven’t read issues 1-11, but I bought this issue BECAUSE it’s the last issue…also in anticipation of the Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary Special. Story-wise, I was fairly lost…not having any details whatsoever of the previous 11 issues. I’m also a bit iffy on the art, with this issue having something just a bit “off” about the various Doctors. Despite that, I could recognize them all, and love the double-page spread of all 11 Doctors. That I could identify each is testament to how far I’ve come as a Doctor Who fan since March of this year. I’d figured I’d probably go for a collected volume of this series, but I’m pretty sure it’s being split into 3 books, so barring a single-edition, I’ll cut my losses with having this single issue that includes all the Doctors and be glad I only spent the $3.99. I imagine if you’ve been following the series to date this puts a nice cap on the series and possibly the entirety of IDW‘s holding of the DW license. In and of itself, I’m kinda “meh” on this…the issue wasn’t bad, but not exactly my cup of tea…yet I hope that’s more my lack of 11 issues’ context than anything of the series itself.

Some thoughts on comics from the week of 10/30/2013

Damian, Son of Batman #1

damiansonofbatman001I’ve said in the past that those 5-page “previews” or really ANY “preview” repeated over and over and over throughout comics I *am* reading will typically NOT get me any closer to buying the comic they’re “advertising.” What I’m noticing that WILL get me, though, is a cover. See the cover to the Shazam vol. 1 enough times, I decided I was interested enough to buy it. Ditto the “main” image for this issue. Now, the issue itself…I wasn’t impressed. The art’s good, I like Damian’s costume in particular. But the story just isn’t doing it for me, at least not as a single chapter of four. And it’s been so long since I even read Batman #666 (which itself is about 76 issues old as of this typing) that there’s no real significance to me other than “hey, here’s a Damian who didn’t die.” Given all that, I don’t think I’m gonna spend $4/issue on the remaining 3 in this series…but I’ll likely keep an ear to the ground and if I hear enough positive ‘buzz’ about it, perhaps pick up a paperback of the full story once that comes out, if reasonably priced.

The Sandman: Overture #1

sandmanoverture001I was really looking forward to this in the few days leading up to its release. Then I was immediately disappointed by the covers. I couldn’t figure out which cover was the “main” cover, and of the two that I saw, neither particularly rang any bells with the (limited) “marketing” I’d seen for the series; neither stood out as “the” “main” cover. While this oughtta be a relatively minor thing, it largely soured me on initial feelings, which is not a good thing…especially as I don’t recall other Sandman comics doing the “variant thing” and The Sandman really doesn’t strike me as something that oughtta have variants…so this suddenly fell out of fitting perfectly with the “classic” stuff and into “just another modern comic.” I typically have not been a fan of this artist, not caring for the layouts and looser style and all that. However…the style works extremely well for this issue, for The Sandman. Though I don’t recall this artist working on the original series, his work fits in quite well on the whole with my recollection of the original series. Story-wise, again, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve actually read anything Sandman…so taken solely as a stand-alone thing, this issue doesn’t really impress me on the whole. Still, I recognize something in it that (thankfully) rings “true” to memory, expectation, and all that. I have the feeling I’ll enjoy this much more taken as a whole someday, when this entire arc is collected into a single volume.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #27

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw027There’s a certain “meta” thing about this series for me, between the single issues and the collected volumes. Aside from wherever it was I got the impression of City Fall being a 7-parter (online article, perhaps…not sure if it was anything “official” in-print), I find I “see” story arcs by how they’re collected, which thus far has been some “strict” 4-issue cycle, each collected volume being exactly 4 issues without any variance…even for a specific EXTENDED SINGLE ARC like this being split up. This seems to be the penultimate chapter of City Fall, as things come to a head–and we’re set up for Big Stuff next issue. Story-wise, we get some forward momentum, though it does feel a bit like this issue’s kinda “treading water,” with some of the key stuff going on in the Villains Micro-Series rather than here. Often I’ve enjoyed the added stuff in the Micro-Series, “enhancing” the “main story,” but (for example) the introduction of Bebop and Rocksteady would have had more impact, I think, if they’d been mutated in this main book, or had they been introduced here and THEN we got filled in on the backend about their actual mutation and “trial run.) Visually I continue to enjoy Santolouco‘s work almost as much as I’m enjoying Brizuela‘s on the New Animated Adventures title. All in all, not a bad issue, but not particularly impressive in and of itself…though I’m quite looking forward to the final chapter of this arc.

TMNT Villains Micro-Series #7: Bebop & Rocksteady

tmntvillainsmicroseries007bebopandrocksteadyI’ve never been a particular fan of Bebop and Rocksteady. I see them as a key element of censorship in the 1980s, where heaven forbid the turtles should “win” “beating up” a human. The fact that they were never REALLY much threat to the turtles was also a drawback. But the cover to this issue–which I think I first saw in the “next issue” page of the previous Micro-Series issue–went a long way to change my mind on these guys…making them actually look big…and dangerous. We’ve seen the thugs that mutate, before–a couple cameos, and a cliffhanger of them being part of the group told to fight down to the last two for the chance to become “something more.” This issue gives us a bit of a “flashback” of Bebop and Rocksteady and their “gang history” before joining up with the Foot group, their actual mutation, and their “test run” in mutated form. While still the dimwitted, bumbling idiots they were in the classic cartoon, they’re treated much more seriously here, and come off as the dangerous, mutated brutes they should be…a genuine threat to the turtles despite not being the brightest. I liked the art here, and much as I like Santolouca‘s art on the main series, I far prefer Bebop and Rocksteady’s look here than their appearance in City Fall. An endearing touch in this issue is acknowledging the characters’ names/nicknames as musical styles: I still remember the sudden “click” in my mind early in college when I made that particular connection. Definitely a good issue if you want a Bebop & Rocksteady story, as well as a key issue in the overall TMNT continuity from IDW. As with other Micro-Series issues, you can ignore that number on the cover…treat this as a one-shot with timely, in-continuity elements.

Thoughts on Issues First Week of October

QUANTUM AND WOODY #4

quantumandwoody004I’m continuing to quite enjoy this series. I’ve been reading through the original series digitally, and other than consciously noting that they’re different, for what I’m getting of the reading experience of both: this new iteration fits right into the spirit of the original. Even the slightly modified relationship between Eric and Woody works well and does nothing to diminish their interactions…if anything, it adds depth. Despite all the hubbub earlier and the promotional posters, here in THIS issue we finally meet “the goat,” and quickly see why this is the most awesome goat in comics. I’m pretty sure my high enjoyment of the Goat is knowing it to be a running gag from the original series combined with the “hype” from even before I’d read any of the originals. I look forward to seeing both the continuing development of the main characters, as well as how the goat is handled in this iteration long-term/moving forward. This issue wraps up the first arc…if you’ve not read any so far, it’ll definitely be worth picking up the collected volume.

SHADOWMAN #11

shadowman011Of all the Valiant titles, this is certainly the best one TO have a Halloween Special. That it’s another issue of the main title and not some extra issue (say, a $4.99 one-shot with a couple of sketch pages making up the $1 difference from the price of a regular issue) is a huge “plus” for me. The story itself didn’t interest me all that much, yet as a slice-of-life piece, I liked it; it’s the sort of thing I often like to see…so I can’t quite figure out why it didn’t have the expected appeal. The art was good; no complaints from me there. This is a self-contained issue…and Valiant offers a “previously” blurb on the inside cover, so really, you don’t need to have read anything before this to pick it up and “sample” the Shadowman title. Not my favorite issue, but not every issue CAN be. This is still a decent read and I’ll be continuing to keep up with the title.

FOREVER EVIL #2

foreverevil002With all the “hype” around the first issue and what it COULD mean for Dick Grayson/Nightwing, as well as buying several of the 3-D covers and figuring context wouldn’t hurt, I bought the first issue, and it wasn’t all that bad…I figured even though I had no intention of following Villains Month into any individual titles, I’d go ahead and check out the next issue of Forever Evil…and here it is. I did. There’s potential…but I have no intention of buying all the tie-ins: whether individual titles’ issues OR specific tie-in minis, and this reeks of Infinite Crisis to me where the main issues might advance things a bit, but also serve as ‘setup’ for many of the tie-ins (which will have the “meat” of the event). I’m not interested enough by this issue to plan on continuing on with the series. Perhaps if it gets good word of mouth from others I’ll jump back in…otherwise, I think I’m pretty much done with this.

BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE #2

batmanblackandwhite002Normally I’d balk at the $4.99 cover price, especially for “only” a mini-series…and I’d wait for the collected volume. After all, mini-series = short, finite story = better in one go as a single-volume. However, this is an anthology, and each issue is already several shorter stories…and for me that would get a bit grating after awhile, having a thick edition where every several pages begins a new story. So I’m enjoying this format, and getting some nice, short one-off bits dealing with Batman and his cast, by a number of creators with varying name-recognition for me. If this were an ongoing series, I doubt I’d have as much interest in it–I’d wait for others’ reviews and general word-of-mouth as to anything particularly “amazing” to be found in a given issue. But while nothing really stands out to me from this issue, I enjoyed it, and compared to many comics felt I got a good read for my money.

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