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The ’90s Revisited: X-Men Series 1, Cards 1-9

Several years back, I started covering this card set, one "page" at a time. (You know, those 9-pocket pages that fit in standard binders and are commonly used for storing trading cards and gaming cards and whatnot).

Life got in the way at the time and I’m pretty sure that was one of the points that I trailed off and let this blog go for awhile.

I’m almost curious myself what I wrote about these back then and how my thoughts/perceptions/memory may have changed since then. But now I’m going to give it another shot, and see if I can get through the entire set this time…and perhaps get a bit more detailed than I had that time.

What I intend for now is to show the entire "page" of cards, and then I’ll offer some sort of comment(s) on the individual cards, which I’ll show further below.

I scanned every one of these myself and did all the editing to make ’em pretty for these posts. If this goes well, I may cover a couple other sets. I suppose time will tell!


It’s interesting-ish to note the mix of "wide" vs "tall" images and the rather arbitrary placement/use of them. As I believe these are all Jim Lee pieces, perhaps it’s just what he felt like drawing, or whoever was working on the card set felt like cropping.

As I think this was one of the "earlier" such card sets (and pre-dates Magic: The Gathering and the whole "collectible card game" thing by a few years) so perhaps they were "learning" what/how to do a card set. C’est la vie.

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Beast and Wolverine I can see as some of the top X-Men…I’m a little surprised at Havok’s place here (but then, I’m typing this in 2017, and these were published in 1992–a quarter-century ago!) Similar goes for the others. I wouldn’t tend to associate Siryn or Wolfsbane with top-level, premiere X-Men…I associate them more with stuff like X-Force or X-Factor. Same for Cannonball.

I’ve noticed, though, that the "X" icon on the cards changes color depending on the character–this seems to correspond a bit to their specific team/title affiliation. I guess we’ll see as we go through the cards!

001a

Typical Beast…and very much a classic rendition of the character. I far prefer this version to the more modern takes.

001b

I don’t care at all, really, for the "stat graph". I do find the description basic and to the point, and the sort of thing that would definitely "informed" my knowledge of the character. I also like the brief info for name, affiliation, and first appearance…though Beast is a character that (now) that’s all information I take for granted.

002a

I’ve always preferred the yellow costume on Wolverine…though I appreciate this one. I’m sure part of that is the ’92 animated series, and that the character had "gone back to" the yellow by the time I was actually getting "into" the X-Men.

002b

Would it be wrong to suggest that this card’s text is "cute," given all the additional info that’s been added to the character in 25 years? In a way, it’s almost laughable how dated the card is for the character as he’s evolved…PARTICULARLY the bit about his "first recorded mission!" First? Pretty sure that’s long since been retconned…and/or I just take for granted how MUCH the character did long before that.

003a

This image of Havok reminds me a BIT of the holographic image from X-Factor #92…though this predates that issue by a year or so at least.

003b

I don’t think I ever realized Havok "absorbed cosmic energy," I just thought his power was some sort of bio-energy projection. Sorta interesting that there’s no mention on the card of Havok being the brother of Cyclops–Scott Summers. I know it, obviously, but you’d only be able to "guess" from the info provided here.

004a

Not really sure what I think of Iceman at this point. This is one of the more boring sort of looks for the character, even if it’s good art. I remember enjoying some of the stuff in the early/mid ’90s with them building the character a bit after Emma Frost got inside his head and utilized aspects of his powers that he himself hadn’t used. There’s also his role in LegionQuest and attempting to freeze Legion solid.

004b

I don’t recall the story this card mentions, of his being unable to control his powers. That strikes me a bit like Rogue’s, perhaps–though I can’t be certain (since I haven’t read the story!). I’ve also never "gotten" the ice-slides as travel…the LOOK is cool (no pun intended) but the physics and such behind it seems questionable. Still…suspension of disbelief and all that, right?

005a

While I don’t consciously recall reading much involving this version of Phoenix, I do recall seeing the character here and there and not being quite sure what to make of the character. That said, that fact and this sort of imagery is part of where I had a real problem with AvX–if the Phoenix was manifesting regularly like this, it was a bit more suspending of disbelief to buy into it as such a rare entity needing to "return," but that’s a bunch of thinking for another time.

005b

Well there’s another thing I’d forgotten–Rachel using her powers to hide the tattoos. I’m sure I knew that along the way because her being shown with OR without them rarely phases me or gives me much pause over the different appearances.

It’s interesting to note the language here–rather than going into the more complex aspects of her history, they say "an alternate reality." Days of Future Past

006a

Nightcrawler’s one of my favorites, yet I rarely think of the character when put on the spot or trying to think of favorites off the top of my head. I guess that’d make him a "forgotten favorite."

006b

Another "X-tra Fact" that I didn’t/don’t recall about the character. Perhaps that’s further push that I need to read the entirety of the Claremont run one of these years. Like Wolverine, definitely interesting-ish to see the character’s background as presented here, compared to what would come over the subsequent 25 years.

009a

Cannonball is a character I remember primarily for "graduating to" the main X-Men team during the ’90s. Something to this costume is a bit off, so I’m thinking I’m more familiar with a different look…I just can’t recall it off the top of my head.

009b

I often "forget" that the New Mutants got their start in a "pilot" of sorts in the graphic novel, and that it was the first appearance of a number of characters. It’s further interesting to consider that that was 1982–maybe 11-12 years before I would have learned much of anything about the character. And that it’s been well over 2 decades SINCE learning of the character!

When I see the character’s last name–Guthrie–I often think of Age of Apocalypse and the character and his family as used there.

008a

I feel like I often mix Wolfsbane up with another character…yet, as I type this, now I can’t think OF the other character! Perhaps it’s more that the character changed over the years and wasn’t restricted just to New Mutants or X-Factor?

008b

And of course, part of the above association with the character is not clarified by the card text. I do recall the character being unable to shift back into a human form, though. And really have gotta get around to reading some of these other key stories from pre-1991/92 that had so much impact on characters as they were in the ’90s when I was actually reading their ongoing stories!

007a

I remember Siryn primarily because of her being in the Spider-Man/X-Force crossover that I initially read in its tpb form (when such things were relatively rare). Her costume is rather recognizable, so she’s one of the more distinct characters for me visually…at least with this costume.

007b

Here’s another case where I’m actually learning about the character NOW from the card–I did not know about her first appearance (and would have pegged it as X-Force #1 or thereabouts…not Spider-Woman…and at LEAST would have thought she was a more recent character than early-’80s! I also don’t recall much of anything about Banshee lamenting a lost child…but then, haven’t read much with Banshee, period, so…yeah.


Perhaps a bit disjointed/random…but that’s my stream-of-conscious commentary on looking through these first 9 cards!

The Weekend Haul – Weekend of June 9-11

Over the weekend, I wound up getting quite a bit of stuff! Granted, some of it was ordered and arrived over the weekend, but still much more than a usual weekend might be!

weeklyhaul_06072017d

I stopped by Comic Heaven looking for Trial of the Flash issues, with no luck on those. but I did score an anniversary issue of Detective Comics that I think I may have heard of but don’t think I’ve ever read.

Then I found several books more than 50% off in bargain bins I hadn’t realized had been "restocked." (One actually may have been on a bargain shelf display, come to think of it). These, plus a booster pack of Star Wars: Destiny (a dice and cards game) where I got a rather pricey rare card (or "legendary" in game terms) cost me LESS than what the Black Vortex would have cost at cover price!

And it’s kinda hard to believe that there are 75 issues of Savage Dragon across just three of these Savage Dragon Archives paperbacks. (They’re basically like Marvel‘s Essential or DC‘s Showcase volumes–phonebook-sized black and white reprints of series). I remember (among other issues prior) getting Savage Dragon #75 as a new issue and being astounded at how long Larsen kept the result of that issue going at the time. And I’m quite interested in snagging the other Archives volumes as well.

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Then, I took a friend across town to Carol & John’s, where we were unfortunate enough to be there during Winston‘s nap-time. Being cat people, though, we totally understood not waking the kitty!

I snagged the new Marvel Comics Digest starring Spider-Man, and picked up Bane: Conquest #2 which I’d missed/not seen prior (oops!).

At a Books-A-Million, I snagged a Spidey treasury edition…for $3.97 and jumped on it (hey, 5 Marvel issues’ content for a whopping $3.97–cheaper even than a single issue–is a price point I’m willing to sample something at!)

weeklyhaul_06072017f

Also at the Books-A-Million, I found a copy of the (I believe out of print) Gambit Classic vol. 1 for a mere $6.97–seven issues’ content for barely $1 each, and did I mention that I’m pretty sure this volume is out of print? I think its contents are somewhat duplicated in other stuff, but the ’90s fan in me was ecstatic to find this for the price (though I’ll probably pay at least triple this for the second volume if I ever come across it or hunt it down).

weeklyhaul_06072017g

And rounding things out, I’d put an order in with InStockTrades for a few books, sliding I think just a few cents over the minimum threshold for free shipping. And though the box arrived with a hefty dent and outright HOLE in its side from the mail system…since InStockTrades (UNLIKE Amazon) ACTUALLY USES GOOD PACKING PRACTICES, my books were UNHARMED. Additionally, because of actually being packed well, they arrived in new condition, as ordered–something Amazon flat-out REFUSES to do!

Next is to try to hold back a bit, though there are a number of other books and such that I want. It’s just kinda sad when a random visit to a couple comic shops and a bookstore (and an online order) yield better deals and more plentifully so (that interest me, anyway) than a convention.

We’ll see what this week’s new releases hold, and if/when I get another chance to sit down for some major, marathon reading!

On the passing of Adam West

It was quite outta the blue, getting a message from a friend yesterday. Adam West passed away…

Great. Thanks, 2017. And an image of some posts I’ve seen the last couple months about how "2017 is worse than 2016" or some such–presumably referring to "celebrity deaths" and the like.

This was outta the blue, yeah, but while surprising, at the same time, somehow not shocking. Unwelcome, yes. Undesired, certainly. But he was old, right?

I flipped over to Google, and keyed in simply "Adam West," not wanting to prompt any false stories of death or such. Perhaps it’s a hoax, right?

Nope.

Too many results, saying that he’d indeed passed.

He was 88. Short battle with leukemia.

I had just made plans to meet up with a friend for awhile, and had an urgent family matter to attend to, so didn’t sit or dwell.

While at a comic shop, saw that they had Batman on–the ’66 series’ movie–and wound up loitering a bit with that. Enjoying the campy stuff, musing over the typical stuff–a bat ladder? Bat shark spray? Bat copter? But it was what it was.

As a kid, I never understood my parents’ seeing humor in the show or ridiculousness in it.

As a kid, I took it seriously. It was Batman. I’m sure I knew it was dated, yeah, it was from decades earlier! (~24-25ish years at the time, barely half the series’ existence as of now in 2017) But it was still Batman.

heaven_batsignal_carry_on_chums

I got slightly choked up seeing this, when a friend sent it to me yesterday.

He’s gone on.

We’re still here. We remember the actor, and what he meant to us–if not personally, then at least as Batman, as a hero, as that figure we’d watch on the tv screen.

 

Mr. West meant a lot to more people than I can imagine.

I said to a friend that some part of me half-thought he’d live forever.

Knowing of Stan Lee having "health issues" the last several years, seeing all the celebrity deaths in 2016, I kept expecting to see his name amidst others.

Part of me (morbidly) still does. Certainly don’t wish it, just sadly expecting it, statistically.

But Adam West?

It hadn’t really even occurred to me that we’d ever lose him.

I think back to a few years ago, I went to a Wizard World in Columbus, Ohio, with a couple friends. We got to see the ’66 Batmobile (albeit from outside its display area).

66_batmobile

I got to see it "live," "in-person."

After a restroom break, I was asked if I’d seen Burt Ward in there–apparently he (and a couple bodyguards?) had entered shortly after me. No, I didn’t see/consciously know he was even in there while I was til after the fact…but that’s my claim to fame: I got to pee with Burt Ward.

And we also got to attend a panel with the two as the focus. Adam West and Burt Ward. They talked to us, the audience, for a bit, and then did a Q&A session. Plenty of people lined up for it, there were plenty of questions, and the two men easily filled the allotted time for the panel.

I think it was this panel that I first learned of the two and their "rivalry" on set, trying to crowd each other out of the shot or otherwise steal the focus of the camera.

Flash forward to last Fall, and the animated movie The Return of the Caped Crusaders–it was an interesting thing, hearing the familiar voices, but knowing they’re all significantly "older". I first learned of the film then-coming-up because relatively recent to that point, I’d become ‘friends’ with Ward on Facebook.

I remember back in college, when I watched the ’66 film for the first time in a number of years, and found it so extremely hokey and off-putting. PARTICULARLY that the Bat-Copter goes down, and there’s CONVENIENTLY some mattress sale going on in the parking lot immediately below the distressed machine.

I–like apparently many–had my phase of finding the series distasteful and such an artifact of the past.

Several years ago, though, I was ecstatic when I learned we’d be getting the series on DVD/home release. I got the first season pretty early on–but could not begin to justify the steep price on the entire series all at once. Somewhere along the way after that, I got the first part of season 2. And then I think it was "Black Friday 2015" or otherwise some online/promo-pricing I got the second half of season 2 and season 3…so I functionally have the complete series on DVD, just without all the bonus-premium-EXTRA-extras from the single-box full-series set.

And I haven’t watched much yet, but I’ve liked just having the option. At whatever point I’d choose, I can pop a disc in and watch whatever episodes strike my fancy. Or at least, I can look up where they’d be and try to find the appropriate disc to do so.


I never met West in person. Never got anything signed, never talked to him, etc. He wasn’t/hasn’t been on my "bucket list" of individuals I would like to meet someday and all that.

Perhaps I took stuff for granted.

Perhaps it was simply not considering losing the guy.

I’ve often "wondered" at people seeming personally, deeply affected by celebrity deaths. Yeah, I get the significance but few have "meant" as much to me.

Despite the time, the years since the show was first on and all that, there was something to Adam West as Batman, and knowing he was still "out there," still around, still making appearances, doing voicework, etc.

But he’s gone.

And as I see numerous posts from fellow bloggers, fellow fans, friends on Facebook, etc…it hits home. This is a big one. I’m saddened at having learned of his passing. I’m sad, perhaps overly selfishly so, that I’ll never have another opportunity to "meet" him. No more Adam West AND Burt Ward.

A hero–an actor who played a hero–is gone. Someone who touched millions of lives, mine included, has gone. Whatever metatextual stuff there may be…that’s a part of my life now gone, someone who was ‘always there’ even if I never noticed, or rarely did.

I watched a couple segments on YouTube about his passing, and was ok.

But then there was that transition noise into the theme music, and tears filled my eyes.


But y’know?

If I’m this affected, if we’re this affected, millions of us as fans past and present, old and new and all that–we’re hurt at this loss, we feel a loss in our lives?

I can’t imagine it for the family.

There are loads of cliché words to be said (that I won’t); but it’s TRUE: I can’t imagine what it must be for them, losing someone close to them, that actually IS a part of their lives, by blood, by family, and not just someone that played any of a number of characters that impacted us.

 

What can I truly say? I can’t even organize my thoughts. This whole post is stream-of-consciousness…I wasn’t even gonna do this post. But that’d be to somehow do the whole head-in-the-sand thing, or in trying NOT to do/be something, I’d DO/BE that.

I’ve been a Superman fan practically my whole life, back to some of my earliest conscious, consistent memories. But next to Superman, next to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there was Batman. Michael Keaton, yeah, and Adam West. Keaton was one version, a couple hours, a single movie, then two movies.

Adam West was hours upon hours of continuous stories of daring-do and such.

He won’t be forgotten.

More for the "Art Wall" – June 9th

I think I started what’s become my "art wall" back in January or so. Basically, I’d had some small posters in these "gallery frames," and I decided to put ’em up on a wall, using push-pins. Then it occurred to me that some older posters I had that I was having trouble finding frames for would work in these by flipping the "backing board" of the frame over to essentially provide a "black border" and I could simply position the smaller poster within the area.

This ended up working for a bunch of old posters that had come from comics–bound in the middle of whatever issues, where I’d not found any reasonably-priced option before.

And long story short, I started adding more to this wall such that I’m actually sorta concerned it’s gonna fill up before I’m ready!

One of these days I’m going to attempt to get some photos of it for this blog, but at present, I’m having a major issue with reflection off the glass in everything, such that at the angles I’d need for the camera, I’d wind up either showing off a restroom, or otherwise have too much showing too clearly in the reflection and not enough of what I actually want the photos to show.

However, at the correct sort of angle I’m able to minimize reflection and glare…so here I’m showing off several that I’ve recently put into "gallery frames" but have yet to actually get put on the wall itself.

posters_voltron_and_riverdale

Got the Voltron poster at the Lake Effect Comic Con last weekend; they also had this Riverdale poster, though I’d gotten mine at Kemore weeks ago. I hadn’t actually watched much of Riverdale at the time, but now have finished the season (thanks to Netflix!) and quite enjoyed it, despite the massive departures from the source material. That’s a subject for another post, though for now–I’m hoping the series gets a second season, and look forward to seeing what they do with it!

And I’ve yet to watch more than a few minutes or an episode or so of the new Voltron–I’m more familiar with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and far prefer the original Megazord…but can’t deny simply enjoying the notion of the individual machines joining together to form an even bigger one, and I’m close to giving in and buying some of the toys, though I’ve thus far held off the temptation. But as a poster and liking the image, well worth putting on the wall!

framed_comics_batman21_action980

Then, at half the price of specific comic-sized frames, I’ve found that these "document frames" work very well for single-issue comics that I want to show off. As I’ve said in previous posts, this is where I’ll give in occasionally on variants–treating them as "prints" to be hung on a wall and displayed, not merely owned and filed away in the abyss of an accumulation I call my "collection."

I’m not sure how well thicker issues or squarebound issues/annuals would fare like this…but since I’m not big into variants anyway, it’s not something I expect to really have to deal with.

I have some other issues I’m thinking of framing in this way, though…but this sort of gets into different territory than the posters and prints. I suppose that’s a matter for some other time, though.

The Weekly Haul – Week of June 7th, 2017

Despite hopes for a "small" week, found this to be a fairly large week, particularly with a couple of high-priced issues I hadn’t consciously planned on, particularly for the prices!

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Of course, the weekly Superman issue. Then, because it was there, snagged the Superman & Bugs Bunny issue/volume. $8 and I believe it reprints a 4-issue mini-series…so functionally $2/issue for a full story in one go? You betcha! And of course, Captain Atom and Predator with new issues this week.

I went ahead and snagged the Batman issue rather than waiting for my DCBS bundle shipment, having had stuff spoiled a bit thanks to Bleeding Cool, and figuring I’d want to read this sooner than later for myself instead of just going on second-hand information.

And I hadn’t known anything about the Steve Trevor issue–I actually thought it was some new series or mini-series, so didn’t want anything to do with it. Plus, I simply never cared for the character, period, til seeing the new Wonder Woman movie this past Friday. And with it being a one-shot and NOT jacked up to $4.99+, I opted to give it a shot. Though the presence of an alternate cover–such that I had no idea which cover was the variant and which was the "regular" nearly drove me to put it back and pass on it entirely.

I did pass entirely on Magnus #1 because there was a B cover and a C cover, but no A cover, and I hadn’t realized it was out this week to request it be pulled as I did a couple of the other issues! (Publishers: you LOSE people like me by conditioning me to "accept" variant covers’ existence, but then messing me up when I at least attempt to stick to the "A"/non-variant/regular/advertised cover and ALL that remains are variants withOUT even the "original"/actual/real cover!)

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With The Batman/TMNT Adventures wrapped, the "cartoon" TMNT series TMNT Amazing Adventures is back with (presumably) a mini-series…perhaps in lieu of an ongoing as stuff on the "2012 series" starts to wrap up with the final season (I believe) presently airing and all that. And I’m definitely on a Spawn kick at present…barring price increase or my getting hosed over a variant or such, I’m mostly intending to dig in and stick through #300 at least.

I didn’t even realize it til I got it home, but this issue of Reborn was $5.99! I think had I realized that, I might’ve passed on the issue for now. I’m not certain that I have all 5 previous issues–I might be missing an issue–but having "most" of the issues, I simply figured hey, next/new/final issue, why not? Though I’ll grant it a LITTLE more leeway than I would Marvel at this point, as they’ve totally "abused" the extra-priced issues. And I’ll gladly take an extra $2 for presumably twice the content, or at least an extra 50% of content, especially if it means holding to the established number of issues, even if they had to expand the page count (again looking at Marvel primarily for tacking extra issues on at the end of event series).

I also noticed that Batman: Dark Knight III finally had its "final" issue out, which itself is a DC book that added an extra issue (as I recall, it was supposed to have been an 8-issue series, not 9).

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Then, for good measure, apparently, as I approached the register, I saw three stacks of books. Curiosity got me and I looked at the price stickers: $1.00! So for the price of 1 DC Rebirth issue, snagged two hardcovers and a paperback collected volume. No idea, for example, if the Zombie Christmas Carol is a Marvel Zombies thing, or just a zombie theme applied to the classic Dickens tale (thinking the latter), and I know I don’t have the other two, so at least they’d be "something" to read someday.


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It’s been a fantastic year of movies already, and some of them are starting to come out for home release. Logan a couple weeks ago, and now the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

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And just because I had it in my ‘camera roll’ as I was transferring stuff for this post…a photo of my 43 or so Supermen at the moment. Once/whenever I get new bookcases assembled and stuff re-arranged, I’m pretty sure these guys are gonna have to split up–it’s getting harder to add new ones, and I’m not too keen on the statue straddling two bookcases, nor of "hiding" it amidst dozens of alternate counterparts.

The ’80s Revisited: The Flash #324

flash_vol1_0324The Slayer and the Slain!

Writer: Cary Bates
Pencils: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Dennis Jensen
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Phil Felix
Editor: Ernie Colon
Cover: Carmine Infantino, Rodin Rodriguez
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: August 1983
Cover Price: 60 cents

I have the Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash volume, bought a couple years ago. That book has Flash 323-350…basically, the final couple years’ worth of issues of the Silver Age Flash series that took us up to Crisis on Infinite Earths prior to Wally’s series kicking off.

I have "experienced" 28 years of reading new comics myself, all being years after this issue. And in broad strokes I’ve long since "filled in the gaps" or otherwise have "a passing knowledge" of stuff from this "era."

But finding this issue in a 25-cent bin, I was all for it. Sure, I have the issue in that Showcase volume–but that’s black-and-white and a thick volume that’s not the greatest for a randomish, casual read. This issue is in color with all the ads and whatnot in being the actual, original, (vintage) edition.

The cover is what grabbed my attention–The Flash holding Reverse-Flash and exclaiming "Get up, Get up! You can’t be dead!" and a caption proclaiming "But he is–and Flash killed him!" This is both accurate and yet comes off very much as a number of classic covers do–a "technicality" of truth but quite misleading. Of course, I know this isn’t "just" that, but is indicative of an issue with a lasting point that influenced so much at the trailing end of the series.

Then I figured I’d missed the actual occurrence, and "assumed" that this would pick up immediately after the PREVIOUS issue ending on an "Is he or isn’t he dead?" cliffhanger.

What I got from this was a solid read from a key point in pre-Crisis Barry Allen’s life with one of his most dangerous foes, and an issue meeting expectation while drawing me into the then-contemporary story and leaving me curious about a number of things, not limited to: Iris died 40+ issues earlier? I did think that was here. Who is this Fiona, and how important was she as I’ve never consciously been aware of her? And how does an obvious rock-and-hard-place situation stopping a known killer with intent lead to a lengthy story of the Flash on trial?

While I’d half expected to open the issue TO Barry and a dead Thawne, I actually found that the two were still engaged in fisticuffs. Said fisticuffs have made Barry very late for his own wedding, where family and closest friends try to salvage the situation, assuring folks he’ll be there and has NOT left Fiona at the altar. Kid Flash performs a "super feat" rescuing a baby and showing THAT he has the power and speed to do much of what Barry does…and even he is late for the wedding. Or would be, if it was proceeding as it should have. As the wedding situation deteriorates, Wally heads out to try to find Barry, and is intercepted by a Guardian of the Universe (not to be confused with a Guardian of the Galaxy…similar names, different publishers) who does something to dampen his powers, ensuring that no one will interfere with Barry’s fight…at said hero’s request, apparently.

We then switch more fully to the Barry/Eobard fight and see a fraction of what goes on with two mortal combatants at super-speed. Ultimately, seeking to press whatever advantage he maintains, the villain takes the lead, heading to kill the woman who would be Barry’s second wife–forcing Barry to move even faster and decisively to save Fiona’s life. Standing before her as the Flash, he does not tell her that it’s him–Barry–and as she storms away, we learn that Thawne is not just "stopped" but dead.

As said earlier, this cover looks like something right out of the ’70s and classic exaggerated/far-fetched situations. The art inside the issue is solid and seems very much of its time–early 1980s–with all relevant characters being distinct and recognizable, and generally no wonkiness or weirdness throwing me out of the story. Possibly the biggest visual grab for me was that somehow I keep forgetting that Barry was blond, and I’m still used to Wally and thus a Flash without red hair throws me off.

Story-wise, this issue includes a footnote indicating that there were several issues’ worth of development leading to this one–and that by itself serves to pique my interest in finding those issues. It also reminds me that this is from those days long ago BEFORE everything had to be clearly deliniated within a rigid 4-issue or 6-issue "story arc" format…when issues could be issues, telling an ongoing story without necessarily being formulaic X Chapter of Y Story.

I like the structure of this issue, giving us some heroics, super feats, as well as developing the wedding side of things and Fiona’s thinking she realizes what’s happened, then seeing Barry and Thawne and their battle, leading to Barry’s being forced (goaded into?) to kill Thawne to save Fiona.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed this issue. It was an easier read than I expected, half thinking it was gonna drag on and feel overly wordy, as well as thinking I’d be reading simply a random chapter of something–not even a key moment–of a much larger story. Though in a way this IS just another ’80s issue, it being an issue included in that Showcase volume, I feel like it’s an ‘early chapter’ more than an ‘isolated issue’ but found this engaging and interesting, while leaving me interested both in backtracking and getting the later issues (as preferable to "just" a black and white reprint).

For only 25 cents, it was well worth the purchase, a solid read, and I would certainly recommend the issue if you find it in such a bargain bin and don’t mind NOT having the entire 25+ issue "run" necessarily at hand.

25 Years of Spawn

Spawn recently had a 25th-anniversary Director’s Cut issue published, as part of the Image 25th anniversary year releases.

I initially bought the McFarlane cover (an homage to Ultimate Spider-Man #1), enjoying the homage and ‘tradition’ of homage covers of the title.

I wound up buying a second copy (different cover) in a RARE case of finding a worthwhile variant.

spawn_25_years

The cover’s a painted version based on the original #1 issue’s cover. And having a 2nd copy of #1 anyway, I realized I could put together a great little "art piece" utilizing the two issues, and so treated the purchase of the 2nd copy to be akin to buying a print.

And here in an 11" x 14" frame (the perfect size for bound-in comics posters or 2-panel wraparound covers and such) (or in this case, two distinct/separate issues), I have a copy of 1992’s Spawn #1, and 2017’s Spawn Director’s Cut #1.

Of course, being in the frame like this still physically protects the issues–they’re held tightly in place better than they’d be in a bag ‘n board; but the frame’s glass can be simply popped out with a little effort, so I still have "access" to these AS COMICS along with having this on my "art wall."

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