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The Weekly Haul – Week of January 4th, 2017

Despite hitting two comic shops today, it proved to be a relatively small week…particularly for adding the second shop-stop into the mix!

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Picked up the week’s new Superman issue; got the first issue of the Captain Atom mini-series (Added bonus: ONLY $2.99 and it’s a mini-series! Seems all the other minis DC has been doing have been the old $3.99…which is why I’ve not been buying those!)

Had to go to the second shop for the Justice League of America: The Atom – Rebirth. Not sure if the first was sold out, or shorted, or what. And then from the 50%-off/bargain bins at the first, snagged The Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection vol. 1. Cheaper than 5 single-issue Marvel contemporary stuff. Also re-accentuating the appeal (to me, at least) of Marvel stuff preAvengers: Disassembled, and particularly the nice, thick books that actually feel significant…not the VASTLY over-priced, over-skinny flimsy things with 4-6 issues’ content!

At the second shop, I also scored four Walking Dead Mini-Mates 2-packs…for 99 cents apiece! Can’t beat that pricing!

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Secret Wars – Week of June 3, 2015

I actually enjoyed reading the Secret Wars comics I bought this week…so much so that I spent more time reading and less time even considering reviewing. And given general “life gets in the way” time-constraints (and lack of patience, if I’m totally honest) I decided instead of writing up single-issue reviews, I’d just touch base on the issues I bought this week and thoughts I had. Not exactly reviews, not exactly something else. Just my rundown of my trip into Battleworld.

Secret Wars #3

secretwars(2015)003I continue to be surprised (pleasantly) at this series. I’m less and less appreciative of the full-page text/chapter breaks (seems like a waste of pagespace to me), but I’m finding the core story here to be a lot more accessible than I expected, given the writer. Given we basically already know the outcome, and have for months before this even started, it’s still a good ride going through. As this third issue in the series, there is a shift and I sort of feel like we’ve had 3 distinct “situations” presented with the first issue giving us the end of the 616 and 1610 Earths, the second immersing us in this current Battleworld Earth, and now we begin to see some cracks and the drawn-back curtain on how this world was came to be and its background. I definitely look forward to the next issue, and whatever tie-ins I do or don’t get, I’m pretty sure I’m “all in” for this core book.

X-Tinction Agenda #1

secretwars_xtinctionagenda001The cover alone for this issue would have sold it for me. Having a classic cover-dress absolutely punched my nostalgia button–corner box with the character headshots; the bold, blocky title logo, the overly dramatic image, and even the “ACTION-PACKED FIRST ISSUE” blurb…totally something out of the early 1990s. Topping that off, the simple fact that this is an X-book. I’ve yet to read the original X-Tinction Agenda story, but I know OF it. And this issue provides some interesting (to me) character sets as well as the situation casting certain characters into a “villains” type of role…while keeping them sympathetic to me as a reader. Despite that, I’m not overly invested in these versions of the characters, and the cliffhanger doesn’t mean much to me except as “generic” potential foreshadowing. Given my enjoyment of classic ’90s X-Men stuff, chances are good that I’ll stick with this series for its duration.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1

secretwars_amazingspiderman001Given the better part of the last decade has had me with near-zero interest in the One More Day/postOne More Day take on Spider-Man, getting a fresh take on a MARRIED Peter Parker (who HAS A KID, to boot!) is something I really could not NOT support. And thankfully, despite some wariness on my part at Slott writing the book (what I’ve read of his work on Spider-Man over the past view years has had mixed reactions on my part)…I quite enjoyed the issue. Some page layouts were a bit weird and distracting as I tried to determine the exact flow of panels, but the art itself was great. The story gives a nice mix of Peter in action and interacting with his family, as well as setting up the world he and MJ live in, and providing an interesting spin on the character as things are set up for the rest of this series. I definitely look forward to the next issue (for better or worse, this is a double-ship month so I only have a couple weeks) and will see how things are shaping up from there as to whether I keep up with the series to its conclusion.

Future Imperfect #1

secretwars_futureimperfect001This is another Secret Wars tie-in based on a story I’m quite AWARE OF but have yet to actually read. I didn’t REALLY have any particular interest in it…but then I saw that it IS a Peter David book, so on his name alone, I decided to check this out. And overall, I’m glad that I did. I had no particular pre-conceived notions getting into this, so it just unfolded, and even gave an interesting twist where I thought I saw something developing but then got something else that felt like it should have been equally obvious. I also enjoyed the art overall in itself, if not all the character designs. Despite that, this is one that as a story doesn’t hit any real nostalgia buttons for me, and given the large quantity of books each week may fall off for me as I simply don’t have the “budget” to get every last tie-in title that’s on my radar. Still…having the original creator (David) getting to revisit something like this with a fresh series is something I welcome, and am glad to see out there. It also leaves me much more interested in actually reading the original, just to “experience” that for myself after all these years.

Years of Future Past #1

secretwars_yearsoffuturepast001The original Days of Future Past story in X-Men was probably the first major story that I spent awhile trying to track down just to read. I was aware of its existence, knew what issues it had been in…but did not have actual, physical access to it to read the thing. I was introduced via the ’90s cartoon, then eventually found a paperback children’s novelization, and finally at some point found the two-issue “mini tpb” to read it (years ahead of collected volumes and digital or even eBay negating such troubles). This is an oversized issue at $4.99 instead of $3.99, and that almost put me off from getting it, but since it even FELT oversized, I decided to suck it up and buy the thing…I’m giving as many of the #1s a shot as I can, figuring shops will have a better handle on ordering for the second issues, and at least I won’t miss out on a surprise #1 taking off in popularity. This had some interesting enough bits, but overall this didn’t exactly grab me…I appreciate it being drawn from the Days of Future Past-era stuff but doesn’t actually hold the tight significance of that original story for me.

Overall Thoughts on the week

Considering I’ve been largely away from Marvel for most of the past couple years, with most weeks not even buying anything they put out, it’s been quite an anomaly the last several weeks actually having Marvel in my purchase stack. This week brought out the sticker shock…with a cluster of THREE Star Wars books, and buying FIVE Secret Wars tie-ins, as well as a couple random issues AND my usual pull-list issues. Even so, while I may be “iffy” on tie-ins on a case-by-case basis, five or so weeks in and I’m still enjoying Secret Wars and still looking forward to more!

The Weekly Haul – Week of June 3rd, 2015

Secret Wars is in FULL FORCE this week, having so very quickly ramped up in quantity, frequency, etc. Marvel is truly hitting a bunch of nostalgia points with me, which is exactly what they were going for, I know…but they’ve successfully re-targeted me as an audience, if only for the duration of Secret Wars itself (though moreso the tie-ins).

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I have yet to get around to actually READING the original Hulk: Future Imperfect or X-Men: The X-Tinction Agenda stories, but those are classics I’ve long been aware of and actually own (in some form) somewhere in my collection…but haven’t read. X-Men: Days of Future Past was one of THE stories in my youth, and one of the earliest hard-sought reading experiences for me to track down (I had to settle for a children’s novelization of the story before I ever got to read the actual comics!).

And of course, a married Spider-Man? After all my grousing through the years about Brand New Day and all that? An actual Amazing Spider-Man comic with Spidey, Peter, MJ, a baby, etc.? You’d darned well better believe I picked THIS one up.

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On a frustrating note…there are five Star Wars titles that I’m aware of at the moment. WHY an entire 60% of that load had to fall into ONE WEEK is absolutely BEYOND me. A tangible effect, though, is that because of these, I SKIPPED Secret Wars stuff I otherwise would have bought.

I actually read Grayson #1 in the Young Gotham Sampler, and enjoyed it; if the vol. 1 that just came out/is due out were a PAPERBACK I think I’d be all over it. As-is, as a hardcover, it’s gonna wait. And while I’d had spoilers for the end of New 52: Futures End and the Batman Beyond stuff, I still opted to check this one out for myself…ESPECIALLY once I noticed the $2.99 price point (yeah, TWO-ninety-nine, NOT the virtually-standard-now THREE-ninety-nine)!

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And finally on the tail end, my actual PULL LIST stuff: TMNT & Valiant. While good when I actually read ’em, I’m (dishearteningly so) amazed at how much DAMAGE has been done to my feelings toward their stuff in general of late due to the Legends of the Geomancer crap. (Damage that I think has contributed to my embracing Marvel for a bit with stuff I’m truly enjoying and looking forward to.)

I knew going into the shop this week that it was gonna be huge and expensive…I didn’t even step PAST the new issues rack this week. No quarter-bin temptations, no random back issues, etc. Just the new books, paid, and got the heck out.

Final Issue! (before a new #1)

20121206-125935.jpgI saw this ad, and still can’t believe the whole “Final Issue” bit. Yeah, Superior Spider-Man and all that…but still…I’m not “buying it” and not gonna buy it.

20121206-130033.jpgWhile on the subject of Marvel…I did wind up buying Thunderbolts #1. Partially the novelty–buying THUNDERBOLTS #1 as a new issue–and it was only $2.99…NOT $3.99!

Sadly while I like the art, the story seemed too slow for a first issue…I think I expected something more, somehow.

The Obligatory “I Just Saw ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’!” post

I just saw The Amazing Spider-Man.

Definitely a much different creature than the 2002 film from just over 10 years ago (end of my junior year! Where HAS the time gone?!?).

And yet, this film was a heckuva lot more enjoyable than Spider-Man 3 from just a few years ago.

In fact, this was the most I’ve enjoyed ANYTHING Spider-Man in a number of years.

I got to thinking, during a scene in the high school: THIS is how you go back and re-live the spirit of the early Spidey comics by Lee & Ditko & co. Other media. Not constantly restarting stuff in the comics or waving a magic wand (er…devil) at stuff and resetting things to the status quo from 20+ years ago. You get your movies, and video games, and cartoons and such to revisit that old stuff “reimagined.”

I also found myself trying to decide if this film “could” fit in-continuity with the 2002 series (nope, just gotta enjoy it as its own thing). I suspect if you’ve seen the earlier films, some elements of this one will have a bit of familiarity in a way…and I liked that.

There was a certain amount of “echo” to me from the 2002 film in this–so long as I’m not crazy, you’ll recognize a Lizard/Goblin parallel. And there’s another scene that reminded me of that “you mess with him, you mess with us!” from 2002.

Given this is a movie, I had zero problem with the costume (but doggone it, WHAT is with that mask not staying on?!?). The costume simply “is” Spider-Man; I couldn’t even tell you offhand if it’s more one version or another, though I’m sure you’ll find that around online.

While I much prefer Mary Jane, didn’t have any greater problem with Gwen being “the love interest” in this film than I did this being a reboot. Different series, different supporting characters…works for me.

For having only seen this once, and less than an hour ago at that–I’d have to say this was on par with 2008’s Iron Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2. Well worth seeing, especially in the theatre.

Highly recommended!

Deadpool #19 [Review]

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Carlo Barberi
Inkers: Juan Vlasco, Sandu Florea
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Jason Pearson
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

For the most part, I’ve been looking forward to this issue since the Deadpool issue of Amazing Spider-Man several months back. This issue picks up on Peter Parker being the typical version of the character. After a near run-in with Deadpool, he hopes trouble’s not following…but soon finds trouble when a murder is discovered that seems to have Deadpool’s “fingerprints” all over it. Parker tracks Deadpool and beats the guy mercilessly before finally realizing perhaps he’s not the culprit…and Deadpool provides some new information as to who the culprit most likely is–as well as some background on this “Hitman Monkey” character.

This is the best Spider-Man I’ve read in a long time. In fact, it’s the only Spider-Man I’ve read in a long time…and so this story is all the more enjoyable for getting to read a character I like again–the Deadpool issue being the sole issue of Amazing Spider-Man I’ve been able to bring myself to buy since One More Day (and it read like an issue of Deadpool more than it did Spider-Man). Way captures a good part of the character–keeping him recognizable and believable, while leaving out details that date the character. Deadpool seems to be his usual self, which considering Way‘s still the writer, is a good thing. What I don’t care for is this Hit-man Monkey…from what I understand, this is a character created for some sort of webcomic on Marvel’s site, and he’s now being pulled into this title. Were he simply a random character being introduced here for the first time, it would seem far more fitting, and I wouldn’t feel like I’m missing out on some in-joke.

The art is quite good, and I really like the way the characters are depicted throughout the issue. Though I’d enjoyed the Deadpool story in Amazing Spider-Man, I recall the art being a complete turn-off…here, Spidey looks normal, if not very good as a whole…certainly significantly better than the last time I’d seen him. Additionally, this version of Deadpool has a certain visual “feel” that adds to me liking this book.

Story, art…this is a very good issue of Deadpool, and as the start of a new story–one involving Spider-Man–seems a decent point for new readers to jump in and check things out. Of the various Deadpool books, this (for the moment at least) is my favorite…perhaps for being rooted in actual ongoing main Marvel continuity rather than playing in its own sandbox off to the side or with what are–while good stories–still fairly inconsequential done-in-ones.

Highly recommended!

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Amazing Spider-Man #611 [Review]

This Man, This [Expletive Deleted]

Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Eric Canete
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Asst. Editor: Tom Brennan
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Exec. Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I never expected to be reviewing–much less BUYING–an issue of this title given the current status quo. I’m one of those who has zero interest in the current Spider-Man post-One-More-Day. That I bought this issue at all is high praise to the draw of Deadpool. And, as I’d hoped…this felt more like a Deadpool title than Spider-Man.

The issue opens with Deadpool amidst a bunch of mostly recognizeable Marvel Women taking a phone call about a new job. Of course, this plays out in typical Deadpool-fashion and manages to reference/poke fun at a couple notable points of Spider-Man comics the last couple years. Even the “Previously Page” is given some hokiness, breaking the “fourth wall” having the Marvel EIC and other editors give the situation-so-far. We then quickly move into seeing Spider-Man in action against Lady Stilt-Man and all the ridiculousness one can imagine. Deadpool steps in and he and Spidey fight (though the fight devolves to juvenile “yo mamma” trade-offs). Finally, Deadpool attains his goal, and the scene shifts to show us the real purpose of Deadpool taking on Spidey, with a fairly major character now lying dead, as this title heads into something called “The Gauntlet.”

I’m not familiar with the artist…and honestly, this issue did absolute zero to make me want to get familiar. The style is rather stylistic…but really does not at all fit what I’d expect of something with Deadpool (or Spider-Man, for that matter). If I wasn’t 1. so stoked about Deadpool as written by Joe Kelly and/or 2. never bothered to look inside the issue before purchase, due to knowledge of Deadpool’s presence and the “regular” cover being the one I wanted*…I’d recommend against this for anyone but those already following and enjoying the title.

(* see how I’ll use the asterisk to note something? Sort like Deadpool and his “voices.” I specifically avoided a recent issue of Hulk that had Deadpool in it, due to the fact that the cover I wanted turned out to be a 1:200 or so ratioed-variant. I’d’ve avoided this issue had it been the same set-up.)

Where this issue succeeds is in feeling like a Deadpool story guest-starring Spider-Man. As I have zero interest in Spidey’s current status quo, this issue worked very well by not dealing with it in any focal manner. I recognize background characters–Madame Web, and Mattie in particular–and see how they provide a sort of “framing sequence” that marks this as a sort of “prologue” to The Gauntlet.

Where this issue fails is in establishing anything to bring me back next issue. This felt like a one-off, and though I’m mildly intrigued by what was set up here…I’m still not at all interested in actually investing in the next arc.

Deadpool fan? This is well worth picking up, if you don’t mind the art. Regular reader of The Amazing Spider-Man? This’ll probably be right up your alley and have more significance for you than me (not having touched a Spider-Man comic in close to two years).

Final thought: The cover is great. And yet realy has nothing to do with the issue. This is the sort of image that would make a great ad in that regard…and I daresay I’d buy a poster if they made one of this image.

Story: 7/10
Art: 3/10
Whole: 5/10

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