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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 30, 2019

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Well…I was a week late posting last week’s edition, but here I’m essentially "early" for this week’s edition. Go figure, huh?

That’s what life does, though, I guess!

This was a large-small week. Relatively "small" in quantity. Small in quantity, but big in price.

Let’s get to it!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #99

This is the 99th sequential issue I’ve bought for this series, beginning a little over 8 years ago in August of 2011. This is by far THE longest single uninterrupted "run" with any comic series for me with no "breaks." Even though I followed 2004’s Tales of the TMNT to its concluding issue, there were months at a time where I wasn’t able to get (an) issue(s) and would have to catch up 3-6 issues at a time with online orders and such. So as the title heads to its 100th issue, it’s also a big deal for ME in tracking that length! That this issue–#99–is $7.99 was unexpected as I expected this for the 100th issue. If it means the 100th will be even bigger…great! I’m all for more content. THOUGH even as MUCH as I allow TMNT to be my "exception," variant fatigue is even seeping in HERE to me. As well as this being the longest I’ve followed any single series in one go…part of me begins to wonder if even this could use a "break." Get to 100 and take a break for a few months. But then, look how long it took me to pull the trigger on other stuff I lamented pricing/etc. before finally dropping.

 Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1

This is another $5.99 #1 issue. At least it’s squarebound so quasi-"prestige format." Despite having a large #1 on the cover, the code in the barcode box that tells which cover you have (regular or variant(s)) is 0211, meaning this is being considered a #2…if these are one-shots, I’d expect that code to be 0111. I got sick enough of $4.99/issue with X-Men stuff the last few months; $5.99 is really quite out of the question for a "series" for me. Perhaps it IS DC trying to be sneaky, a la Marvel by making it look like one-shots while actually considering it a series?

The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1

Then an issue I’d forgotten was coming: I believe this brings the John Constantine from the ’80s Books of Magic (back?) into canon; certainly a younger version of the character not being aged in "real time" from his first appearance. But I think I’d seen that this version may be a lot more Vertigo-esque than we’ve had since a version of the character crossed back to the main DC universe back in 2011 at the end of Brightest Dayin Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing. I was also rather surprised to see the Black Label…um…label on this. I thought it was Sandman Universe, not Black Label. Considering All-Star Superman was moved to Black Label and is not an "adult" or "mature readers" comic, it seems rather odd to me that BL would mean "adult" in and of itself. Whatever it means, I am truly growing tired of seeing it all over DC‘s output with their inconsistency and lack of clarity about stuff. So that’s a ding against this as well. Whether I’ll pick up and go with the ongoing series at the end of November remains to be seen. I’ll likely try the first issue at least, but more than likely will fall back to wait for collected editions.

DC Dollar Comics: Superman #75

This is one of THE more appropriate reprints, and feels like one of THE best-done for a DC Dollar Comics edition vs. a replica/facsimile edition. It’s $1, which is 25 cents less than the original issue was 27 years ago; and this comes out within 2-3 weeks OF the 27th anniversary of its original release! I was a bit surprised at DC keeping so MUCH of the classic cover intact…they even KEEP the original UPC box from the Direct Edition stating the creators, and put a NEW UPC box on the other side of the cover for the current edition. They also replicate part of the original corner box including the flying Superman image, and the cover dress/placement/font of the phrase The Death of Superman!. I almost feel like I would prefer this as a replica edition…I do not believe ANY reprint of the issue since the original 4 printings has had the gatefold back cover; so the effect has never been the same for the issue’s ending. I do find it odd that this reprint has a "To Be Continued in The Death of Superman" seeing as this is the end of that story. But much as with the Batman #497 a couple weeks ago…this is one of THE single issues I am absolutely MOST familiar with, and thus far more "sensitive" toward than most other reprints.

True Believers: X-Men: Moira MacTaggert #1

This one’s "just another" reprint to me. I believe it reprints X-Men #96; just a couple issues into the post-Giant-Size X-Men #1 era. I’m not sure when I thought the character had first appeared, but I would not have guessed it correctly.

True Believers: X-Men: Karima Shapandar, Omega Sentinel

This one’s another that I definitely recognized the cover image but would not have been able to tell you a number. I WAS pretty sure it was an X-Men Unlimited issue, and the indicia bore that out–originally published as X-Men Unlimited #27. As it was a quarterly title and #1 was in 1993 AND it took two quarters off during the original Age of Apocalypse for X-Men Chronicles…I’d place this as being an issue from 2000 if I had to hazard a guess. Which makes it relatively recent as True Believers reprints go.

Batman Annual #4

Not much in thoughts for this, except I’ve gotta catch up on reading the main title. I’m not sure how "between-the-issues" this one might be, though it looks like it may read well enough on its own…time will definitely tell!


One $7.99, one $5.99 two $4.99s and three $1 issues. $27 for 6 issues. When I got back into comics in a big way–particularly summer 1992–I could get 20 comics for $27, with a bit left over!

Next week looks to be decently-smallish…I’m tentatively planning on Legion of Super-Heroes solely for the stupid plastic ring, assuming one is available with it. I’ll pay $3.99 for the ring and a bonus comic…if I’m not enthused about a comic with a bonus ring.

And looking ahead…I’m not seeing anything offhand about more True Believers for November…I was starting to think these were basically weekly with a different theme each month. I guess not?

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Annual #1 [Review]

injusticegodsamongusannual001The Hunt for Harley

Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Xermanico, Jonas Trindade, Mike S. Miller, Bruno Redondo
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez Rodriguez
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover: Juan Jose
Assistant Editor: Aniz Ansari
Senior Editor: Jim Chadwick
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

Normally I’m not a huge fan of Lobo, though the character occasionally gets my interest. I had enough curiosity in September that I wound up snagging the Lobo Villains Month issue, and since I’m already following Injustice, there was no reason for me to avoid this issue arbitrarily.

The main thrust of this issue is that Lobo shows up to see if it’s worth trying to collect a bounty on Superman. When pointed out that Superman could just throw him into the sun, and there wouldn’t BE even a single drop of blood for Lobo to regenerate from, the big bad biker from space decides that nope, the bounty is not worth it. However, Superman makes his travel worth his time, and sics the bounty hunter on a thorn in his own side: Harley Quinn. So Lobo goes after her, to darkly comedic results, with a hint of Green Arrow and Black Canary thrown in.

This is by no means a written masterpiece…but I have to say that I enjoyed this issue and its story more than I have most comics lately! The story itself fits quite well within the established setting of the Injustice series and its parameters. I liked the longer singular story, compared to feeling more like I’m getting a couple of shorter stories and a random backup in some of the non-Annual issues.

I also enjoyed the visuals of the issue. Nothing glared out at me as weird or “off,” nothing took me out of the story as I turned the pages despite multiple artists; and I really like this version of Lobo.

While there’s a fair bit of context to be had, having read the series so far that makes this issue work, if you’re loosely familiar with Lobo and Harley (say, from the game itself or other media) and you know the premise of the game (superman’s taken over, the heroes are split and alliances are not what they used to be), you can probably enjoy this as a rather expensive (but at least thicker than a standard issue) once-shot story with nice art.

The overall saga of Injustice is not exactly advanced–this is a fairly “timeless” story within the setting and nothing stands out as “key,” though there are references grounding this in the continuity.

But this is still a good issue that I ultimately didn’t mind paying the $4.99 cover price quite as much as I would many others. If you come across this for a decent price (whatever you deem “decent”) it’s definitely worthwhile.

The ’90s Revisited: Action Comics Annual #4

actioncomicsannual004Eclipso: The Darkness Within / Living Daylights

Written by: Dan Vado
Pencilled by: Chris Wozniak
Inked by: Karl Altstaetter, Trevor Scott, Karl Kesel, Steve Mitchell
Lettered by: Albert De Guzman
Colored by: Matt Hollingsworth
Assistant Edited by: Dan Thorslan
Edited by: Mike Carlin
Cover by: Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.50

Offhand, this issue is my earliest memory of the Captain Marvel character. If I was “aware of” him prior, it’s not a conscious memory. I wanted to re-read this issue given my recent foray (October 2013) into the Shazam/Captain Marvel character, as well as for the nostalgia. That, and while not from the 1970s or 1980s, I would have pegged this as a perfect issue for the Superman vs. Shazam collection…and this is certainly the issue that I think of when I think of the two characters fighting.

The issue’s cover is fairly iconic for me, showing an Eclipsed Superman struggling with Captain Marvel, captioned The Evil of Eclipso vs. the Power of Shazam! It’s rather interesting to realize the cover is by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, given Quesada‘s eventual and current involvement with Marvel. The 11-year-old Me certainly had found it engaging, igniting curiosity as to the Eclipsed Superman and who this other guy was that he was fighting.

The interior art, while not nearly as thrilling, gets the job done. Particularly on this re-read, I was more interested in the characters and interactions than the actual art, though nothing about it particularly screamed “go find more that matches this art!” Given this is an extra-sized issue produced simultaneous with the weekly ongoing saga in the main Superman books, and is from 21 years ago, it’s not a great concern and largely gets a pass as such.

The story itself is a bit mixed. On one hand, I’ve read this before, I know the overall bit of the Eclipso: The Darkness Within ‘event’ and where things go; I have a fuller context all these years later of the characters, situations, and so on, so it’s hardly as engaging as it was originally.

The story picks up with a town having been captured by Eclipso, and the heroes are unable to reclaim it. The only condition by which he’ll relinquish his hold is in trade for Superman’s body–which he has, thus far, been unable to possess. Given this is Superman, of course he agrees–willing to sacrifice himself for the good of others (regardless of all the potential harm that could be done by Eclipso controlling his body and powers). While he makes the deal with Eclipso, the other heroes begin a plan to combat an Eclipsed Superman, which involves bringing in Captain Marvel–the only one to truly have a chance of going toe to toe with the Man of Steel.

The story itself isn’t terribly deep…though it does provide reasonable motivation for what occurs…stuff doesn’t come outta nowhere (such as Captain Marvel just happening to “fly by” at the exact moment he’s needed…he actually has to be called in). We have broad, ongoing plot points of the Eclipso: The Darkness Within story in general, and this feels much more like a key point in the event rather than “just” the “encounter of the week” with a Black Diamond.

I actually paid $4 for this copy of the issue, for the immediate gratification of getting to re-read the thing without having to dig through umpteen longboxes or quintuple the issue’s cost paying for shipping, etc. Despite paying that kind of money for a 21-year-old comic that typically oughtta be 25 or 50 cent-bin fodder, it was worth it for the reading experience…especially given the cost matched virtually any current Marvel, many current DC, and anything presently on my pull list–yet this issue has more than twice the content of a current series (in some cases, nearly 3 times the content!).

If you can find this in a bargain bin or just have an interest in Superman and Captain Marvel/Shazam fighting, this is definitely a worthwhile issue. Ditto if you’re looking for just a handful of the Eclipso Annuals from 1992.

THE REST OF THE STACK #1

I’d love to be able to review every comic I read–for comixtreme.com as well as this blog. However, as a volunteer thing for which I’m not paid and yet devote considerable time, the effort it’d take would sap all the fun out of it. I still like to weigh in on new comics, throw my opinion and thoughts out there, and even just vent about something that strikes me that doesn’t merit a full review. As such, I’m going to periodically post one of these Rest of the Stack pieces to cover–as the title implies–the rest of the week’s stack of comics not covered by individual reviews.

I don’t know that I’ll post this on any particular schedule–I know that as soon as I would make an attempt to post this, say, every Monday then next Monday something will come up and I’ll have broken the schedule as soon as it was set, so I’ll just leave this to be something I’ll likely post after I’ve finished the week’s reviews, before the next week’s reviews are posted.

Red Circle: The Shield one-shot

This issue read really quickly, and somehow did not feel like there was much of a completed ending to it. Sure, it gives us the quick ‘n dirty origin/introduction of the character, but it felt like more of a bridge or stepping-stone to what I expect to see in the Red Circle ongoings than it did a full story in itself–unlike the Web or Hangman one-shots. Not bad, but somewhat disappointing on the whole. I’ll be interested, though, to see how this Shield character plays out within the DC Universe.

Flash: Rebirth #4

This issue gives a new look at the origin of the Speed Force which also provides a role for Barry and reason for him to be back. I’m curious as to where the “modern” Zoom has gone with the return of the “classic” character–if that’s been shown in this book, I don’t recall it. While I tend to enjoy Johns’ work and Van Sciver’s art, this series has been fairly disappointing when compared to its Green Lantern counterpart. I expect it’ll make more sense in two more issues when I have a full story in front of me, but for the moment it’s something I’m buying more for its potential than actual monthly enjoyment.

Wonder Woman # 35

My first question with this issue is–where’s the story title on the cover? I rather like those banners, and often find myself mentally keeping track of a story by the story chapter number moreso than the title’s number. Between the previous issue and this, I’m enjoying the dynamic between Diana and Dinah…and would certainly enjoy seeing Dinah a permanent co-character in this series. There are a few things to Wonder Woman I’m still sorting out, and it was a bit odd the character’s suggestion to Tom at the end of the issue. I recalled an interview with the writer where she said she’d be exploring that facet of the character a bit (or that’s the take-away I recall getting from the article), and then it made sense. Still…can’t quite bring myself to simply wait for the trade, as I’ve come to enjoy Simone’s take on Wonder Woman–both the character AND the title.

Superman #691

This wraps the 4-part “crossover” Codename: Patriot story, and it certainly does what “they” said it would do: the story has provided things that will reverberate throughout the various Super-family books for awhile. We do get to see exactly who Codename: Patriot is, and while it fits in the context of what’s been established in the Super books, I’m not all that thrilled with the “reveal.” It’s cool seeing some different opposing forces beyond Luthor and his minions, but I don’t really “buy” this character as an opponent…or at least, not in any original way.

Superman Annual #14

I don’t know if the “origin” of Daxam had ever been explored before…to MY knowledge it’s always just been said that Daxamites are like Kryptonians–super-powered by a yellow sun, but weak to lead instead of Kryptonite (and their homeworld is still intact). The explanation of the planet’s history here make sense and nicely ties the two together, while contextualizing Mon-El a bit more. It also provides for what’s going on in GL Corps presently with the incursion of the Sinestro/Mongul Corps and whatnot. Not a bad issue for its price…though very glad it was NOT a $5 issue. Seems a bit of a take-it-or-leave-it thing…but if one’s immersing one’s self into the Superman books lately, it’s definitely a worthwhile read.

Action Comics Annual #12 [Review]

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Pere Perez
Colorist: Mazi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Renato Guedes
Publisher: DC Comics

I bought this comic out of a combination of “habit” and the fact that it is part of the ongoing narrative of the Superman family of books these days (even though it sports a black “S” in place of a number for this issue’s place in the overall sequence of things).

This issue’s story details how Chris Kent went from the kid we saw in “Last Son” to where we saw him during the initial New Krypton event as the new Nightwing. It also details how Flamebird got to be what/where she is. Since the point of this annual IS the filling in of those gaps in info, I’m not going to dance around the plot being all vague and such beyond what I’ve already said.

The art works quite well on the whole here–I especially liked the depiction of the Phantom Zone as compared to the 3-D crap foisted on us with the Last Son arc. The way it was depicted here gets the same effect across without resorting to the stupid stunt of needing 3-D glasses to see panels clearly and such. I’m not a fan of the newer costumes for Nightwing & Flamebird…something about the looks just doesn’t work for me, regardless of the in-story explanation for them. Despite that complaint, the way they’re depicted is about as good as I suppose I can expect of these costumes.

While this story sheds further light on the characters (even adding a bit to Non, which I liked) it doesn’t seem entirely essential. One could almost see it as one of those guides to a new DVD player’s remote: the buttons on the device are fairly intuitive and you can get by without the guide…but the guide fills in that much more and does give you a different overall experience for having read it than not.

However, I do think the $5 price tag on this issue was just a bit steep–even just the difference to $4.50 would be preferable, steep as that is as well. If the price doesn’t bother you too much, this is a good issue to pick up.

Story: 7.50/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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