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General Mills Presents: Justice League (2017) #4 [Review]

general_mills_2017_justice_league_0004Alien Justice

Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciller: Tom Grummett
Inker: Keith Champagne
Colorist: Sotocolor
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover Artist: John McCrea
Cover Colorist: Mike Spicer
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Steve Buccellato
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Design Director: Larry Berry

This is the fourth and (presumably) final issue this time around. Several years ago, they did a run of #s 1-4, and the next promotion had #s 5-9…so I would not be shocked if that happens again (or not, either way). But to my knowledge, for the current promotion, there are only four different issues, of which this is the last.

For me, personally, this is also the most common and plentiful…as of this typing I have something like 9 or 10 copies! It’s become the one to LOATHE seeing when I pull it from a cereal box. That said…

This was probably my favorite read of the four. Perhaps its the immediacy of it–the most recent one I read–as well as the generic feel of #3 that this certainly topped by far. But I really enjoyed this in and of itself.

A giant alien ship shows up over San Diego, and begins sucking up the ocean just offshore. Aliens broadcast to the world what they’re doing and why–they’re taking Earth’s water, as Earth has too much of it and their world doesn’t have enough, and that’s just a huge injustice! The League springs into action, attacking this threat on multiple fronts, each to their strength/specialty. As this is an Aquaman-centric issue, he gets more page time and we get stuff more from his point of view…including the requisite (for this series) “flashbacks” to his youth. As the present-day situation continues, we flash back to see a young Arthur dealing with being of mixed heritage–part surface-dweller, part Atlantean. He sees people react to the notion of someone different, and then talks with his dad, who advises him on the wisdom of finding common ground when one is so different from another. Young Arthur gets a tangible opportunity to put that advice into practice when he encounters some Atlanteans threatening some local fishing boats. The lesson apparently stuck with him, as back in the present, he devises a solution and quickly acts to implement it. With help from (perhaps unexpected) sources beyond “just” the League, a bad situation is halted, with a bit of potential redemption coming out of it, with elements of a win/win scenario.

I was comparatively quite disappointed with the last issue and its feeling of being so generic after the first two issues of this “series.” This issue gets us back to “Name Creators” that I recognize, and is a second Bedard-written issue…with art from Tom Grummett, another creator whose work I quite enjoy, period. As such, it should not have surprised me to enjoy this story as I did. It’s a self-contained piece, and does include a bit of that “special message” peachiness to it…but that’s mitigated quite a bit by my relative lack of familiarity with details of Aquaman…he’s a character I’m pretty aware of while having quite the significant blind spot. Though I’m certain this issue’s flashbacks are “new” and involve a version of the character perhaps different from others…it doesn’t bother me as I have so very little to compare it to.

That lack of familiarity also lent itself to my being able to TRULY appreciate this as I believe one would hope the target audience would/could: this makes me a little more familiar with the character and his background, shows me some important elements of the character, and generally serves as a bit of a touch point for me. It sets some of my character-specific expectations for Aquaman in a way that the other issues did not do for the leading characters…and reminds me a bit of the impact The Untold Legend of the Batman had on me as a kid and my then-knowledge of Batman, or that The Man of Steel #3 “audio comic” did for my understanding of Superman.

Grummett‘s art carried a definite sentimentality for me…the visuals for this issue reminded me of other work he’s done, particularly his prior work on Superman, as well as Robin and Superboy. That’s certainly a good thing–as is the art in itself. This is not just a good-looking “cereal comic,” but a good-looking comic, plain and simple!

Though I’d be inclined to choose Superman or Batman first…this Aquaman issue is definitely THE treat of the set, and very well worth reading if you find it!

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General Mills Presents: Justice League (2017) #3 [Review]

general_mills_2017_justice_league_0003Truth Hurts

Writer: Ivan Cohen
Penciller: June Brigman
Inker: Roy Richardson
Colorist: Jeremy Lawson
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover Artist: Dan Panosian
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Steve Buccellato
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Design Director: Larry Berry

I like these semi-yearly promotions, with DC Comics in cereal. However, this has been THE worst one yet, from two prior Justice League sets and last year’s Batman v Superman: it took an absurd 19 or so boxes of cereal for me to get ONE copy of this 3rd issue. (Meanwhile, I have 9 of #4!) And contrary to the first two issues by what I would consider "name creators" that I recognize, this issue is the worst of the three so far. Or perhaps "worst" is a "strong word," but this is the most generic of the three so far, and comes off worse for comparison to the first two issues.

This one focuses on Wonder Woman where the previous two focused on Superman and Batman, respectively. The Justice League arrives at the site of a volcano that’s about to erupt. The team splits up to approach the situation in their own ways to try to minimize destruction. Aquaman winds up unleashing an underground stream, dousing the League. Then everyone turns on each other, apparently selfish and irritable and downright mean. Wonder Woman–Diana–reflects on an incident from her childhood where she was hurt by stuff her friends had said about her and fled to another island, where she faced the wrath of a minotaur. Based on that experience, she applies the lesson to the present and ultimately the group discovers that something in the water had affected them all, and they resolve the conflicts by admitting the truths that were brought to the surface, and are able to deal with the volcano, preventing any loss of life, though there’s plenty of property damage. Finally, Diana proclaims that real friendship can survive any revelation, and the Justice League are the truest friends of all.

Again, this is the most generic of the issues for this promotion, and comes off that way both story-wise and perhaps even moreso, visually. The story reeks of the "very special episode" and such…perhaps I’m also annoyed and more sensitive to it given the number of duplicates of the other issues I amassed just trying to get this one. But I didn’t feel like the other two issues were nearly as "preachy" on the "special message," though I had noticed a "message" to each of those as well.

The art here is ok–not horrible, but far from wonderful. The characters and designs are recognizable but seem a bit inconsistent, and lacking the "big name" or "recognized" creators, this comes off all the more as what it is–a generic freebie from a box of cereal that happens to have "current" versions of costumes with characters that aren’t given room for much depth (a one-off single-issue story with numerous characters and an attempt to "focus" on Wonder Woman).

That I went through the hassle I did, accumulated a year’s worth (or more) of cereal goes to show my personal OCD and such (and marks me as an ideal "target" for this sort of promotion!). Though the numbering of these–#s 1 through 4–makes for a "complete mini-series" of sorts, if you’re NOT interested in having all four, I would not worry about trying to get this issue unless you want the specific focus on Wonder Woman (a focus that is more of a "gets more pages" than being a Wonder Woman STORY).

Ultimately, for a "free" comic from a box of cereal, this isn’t horrible, but is far from wonderful. I found myself recalling the likes of The Untold Legend of the Batman, which I believe had a "cereal edition" in the mid-1980s. Those were reprints of an actual in-continuity story…I think I’d almost rather see something like that (re)-attempted…or at least, I think something like this (offering miniature editions of comics in cereal) would be ripe for promoting some of DC‘s actual #1 issues to try to hook readers.

I certainly would not begin to consider this issue "worth" a standard cover price, and not worth the boxes of cereal I bought to acquire it…though at least the variety and quantity means I’m not going to have to buy cereal again for a long time, as I will actually (eventually) use it all.

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General Mills Presents: Justice League (2017) #2 [Review]

general_mills_2017_justice_league_0002Dark Reflections

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciller: Rick Leonardi
Inkers: Bob Wiacek and Scott Hanna
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover Artist: Scott Koblish
Cover Colorist: Val Staples
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Steve Buccellato
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Design Director: Larry Berry

This is the "second" issue of four being made available to the public "blindly" via insertion into specially-marked boxes of General Mills cereal. Though the issues ARE numbered, the first issue and this one do not seem to draw on each other or lead into the other with any singular story, so the numbers are–I’m pretty confident in saying–there to stimulate collectors’ OCD to collect ’em all.

This issue focuses on Batman, though it guest-stars the rest of the Justice League.

Batman arrives home after a "typical" night out. After talking with Alfred and having a flashback to his youth where his parents were still around, Bruce catches a glimpse of a reflection in the mirror that is most certainly not him looking back! Turns out that Mirror Master (one of Flash’s Rogues) has expanded his reach (with the unintentional assistance of Flash himself) to vex the entire Justice League. Using mirrors as gateways, interdimensional counterparts of our heroes are brought through, and the heroes square off with them. While everyone tangles with their mirrored counterparts, Batman (through recalling an incident from his youth) develops a plan to deal with this threat and stop Mirror Master.

Nicieza and Leonardi are a couple more names that I’m definitely familiar with, though I’m far moreso with the former than latter. I’m honestly impressed at the way this issue–and this round of GM Justice League as a whole–has the talent and appearances of something much bigger and less generic than "just" cereal-box comics. At the same time, unfortunately (by seeming necessity) these ARE rather smaller and more generic than non-cereal counterparts.

The story itself is fairly basic, drawing on some basic tropes of comics in general…particularly the lead-in with Batman having just gotten back from a night out, talking about the off-panel adventure, remembering something from his childhood while his parents were alive, and that conveniently being relevant to the current story at hand. Yet, while that may come off as a negative…it fits perfectly into what these comics can and might be–someone’s first. These days, it’s not hard to imagine that there are countless staunch fans of even "obscure" comic book characters…yet said fans may never have actually experienced a comic book! So while these are overdone, overly-familiar things to me as a nearly-30-years comics reader, they may well be someone’s first exposure and be at least some small part of their journey into comics.

The story elements overall do not particularly contradict what I know of the characters, and particularly Batman in this case, though this definitely comes detached from the nuances of recent continuity that I’m familiar with. My biggest eye-opener is the notion of the characters nonchalantly hauling the moon out of its orbit with zero repercussions to the Earth. Perfect for a comic like this, maybe, but epic event-level stuff in general continuity.

Visually, if the pages were "regular" sized and I didn’t see a cover, I wouldn’t really know this was "just" some cereal-box comic…it has "established talent," and does not look like some generic thing. The art is quite good in and of itself, though as with a lot of comic book art, its primary drawback is simply in not being by one of a handful of my favorite comic artists. Once again, these characters look like they’re right out of early-2017 full-size DC comics, down to Batman’s current gold-outlined black bat symbol. Superman’s look is about to be out of date, but fits well into the past ten or so months’ worth of DC Rebirth.

As with the first issue, this was an ok read with good art. It’s a cereal comic and certainly worth reading, but it in no way affects continuity nor particularly draws from it. You might appreciate this more if you’re NOT up on current comics, as you may be less likely to do hard comparisons. I wouldn’t go out of the way to hunt this down, but if you like the cereal and it’s in the box, definitely give it a read-through!

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General Mills Presents: Justice League (2017) #1 [Review]

general_mills_2017_justice_league_0001Power Play

Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciller: Jerry Ordway
Inker: Juan Castro
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover Artist: Ale Garza
Cover Colorist: Luis Guerrero
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Steve Buccellato
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Design Director: Larry Berry

Once again, DC Comics and General Mills have teamed up to put comics in boxes of cereal. And, once again, I’m buying cereal specifically to get a copy of all four issues available as part of the promotion. This is the fourth such promotion I can recall in "modern" comics’ times–two prior Justice League runs, last year’s Batman v Superman, and now this. As with the previous ones, these LOOK like they fit in with contemporary issues, just that these are missing UPC boxes, and are atrociously TINY. But hey…they’re "free" with the purchase of a specially-marked box of cereal, and no hassling with coupons, mail-aways, shipping/handling, etc.

As with previous promotions, though these issues are numbered, I’m almost certain there’s no sequential "continuity" to them–this first issue is self-contained with no cliffhanger or anything "driving" one to the next issue. I’m pretty sure the PRIMARY purpose of the issue number is to help "legitimize" the thing as a miniature comic book (and not just some mini-magazine/"insert" or such) and to–as successfully accomplished with me–trigger the OCD to track them all down, because darnit, there are FOUR numbered issues, so I want all 4 issues, and won’t want to have a #4 withOUT 1-3 and so on.

Getting to the issue itself, as an issue…I’m quite impressed with the main creative team. Tony Bedard‘s name is definitely recognizable to me, and even topping that is artist Jerry Ordway, who is an old favorite from my earliest days in comics.

The story is rather prescient given its timing–at least for me as I read this. We open on the Justice League (current Rebirth incarnation, with everyone looking on-model for Rebirth year one) in Metropolis, being celebrated for all their work and constant saving of Earth. A large group statue is unveiled, and almost immediately comes to life, forcing the Leaguers to face off against their giant bronze counterparts. The mischievous antagonist is quickly revealed: Mr. Mxyzptlk! Muddying matters, the League must summon Bat-Mite–another 5th-Dimensional imp–to counter Mxy’s fun. Tricking Mxy yet again into saying his own name backwards, Bat-Mite extracts a promise from the League and then disappears himself…a small bronze addition left with the once-more-inanimate statue, celebrating Bat-Mite side-by-side with the rest of the League.

This story comes outta nowhere: no prologue, nothing setting it up. Just the "typical" generic "our heroes gather to be celebrated by the common people they’ve saved, however reluctant they may be with such adulation and then must save them yet again." Of course, this is NOT some issue partaking in any crossover or event, nor is it "merely" some reprint of just any random issue from within a run…and it’s not anything someone reading the regularly-published comics needs to track down to get a full story, so it’s rather necessary, then, for this to be its own thing in a relative "vacuum." Additionally, there is no cliffhanger, nothing left hanging to "force" or "coerce" someone (while many adults may track these down, I’d assume a large majority of readers are children whose parents had to provide the cereal for them to have the comic) to "have to" get the other issues.

Yet, while the story is pretty simplistic, and doesn’t necessarily play up individual character elements that’d be present in solo books, the characters are recognizable as who they are, and the lineup seems to fit in such that someone reading this and then walking into a comic shop would easily find current DC issues featuring these very characters. Bedard doesn’t really get room to shine as a writer, but he doesn’t play the characters as fools or overly talk down to the audience (though there’s a little bit of that "special lesson" to be imparted to kids: "don’t run from your problems, own up to them…and sometimes you will have to ask for help from others, and that’s ok."

The cover’s art is a bit "off" and generic to me….Superman’s costume (at least on my copy of this issue) seems a bit weirdly-colored and the whole image is basically generic poses of the characters on a yellowy-orange burst-effect…no background setting or situation (though also nothing to give away the antagonist from within). Ordway‘s art on the interior is a huge treat for me, and I really like the depiction of the characters. I don’t much care for Simon’s version of the Green Lantern costume–never have–but it looks as good as is possible here. And somehow most notable to me, Mxyzptlk looks really good in this issue–much like in my first conscious exposure to the character back in 1989 or so.

I imagine I’d have quite loved this as a kid. As an adult, it’s simplistic but pretty…and as something "free" in a box of cereal, it’s much better than it has any "right" to be. Even if you’re not a fan of the cereals, I’d recommend this as a quick-read novelty item…especially as I doubt this or any of the previous ones will ever warrant a full-size collection of their own, so this is likely the only way to read ’em!

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Halloween Comic Con 2016: The Convention Haul

Over the weekend, I had a chance to get to a quasi-local (for me) convention–Halloween Comic Con, hosted by The Pop Shop in Sandusky, Ohio.

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Prior to even going to the event itself, a friend gave me a few things he’d had for me, including a couple of Ultimatum hardcovers he’d picked up for me some time back!

ultimatum_hardcovers_front

The main Ultimatum volume has Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum itself…unfortunately, does not have the Annuals that were collected in the March on Ultimatum regular-sized hardcover. The Ultimatum Companion includes tie-in issues in the run-up to, during, and after the event for Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, and Ultimate Fantastic Four; it also includes the Requiem issues for those titles.

ultimatum_hardcovers_spines

All in all, a couple of excellent oversized volumes for the Ultimate collection, and they’re very much the sort of collections I absolutely love: One volume for the “main” event itself and anything “core” to it…then a “companion” volume with the various tie-ins and such! Great package…

Then we get to the actual convention stuff…

swag_bag_soulfire

Free with admission we got this Soulfire Collected Edition volume. Nothing overly special (to me), but as a freebie…not bad at all!

justice_league_war_superman_front

This Superman figure worked out to roughly $4…the price of a single Marvel comic…yet it’s something that generally would be basically a $20 item. Anyone can say what they will about Superman…but me? $4 for a full-size figure like this is something I’m quite game for! (And someday soon I may have to post a photo of my Superman shelf…)

justice_league_war_superman_back

Unfortunately, none of the other figures in this wave were present… I’m not a huge fan of this version of Wonder Woman, but Flash, Green Lantern, or especially the Captain Marvel figure would also have been great scores!

brightest_day_hawk_and_dove

I initially made a mental note of the Hawk and Dove figures, though didn’t spring for them right away. Once I’d had a chance to wander the tables, and we were about to leave, I doubled back to check, telling myself they were a set. I would buy both if they were both still present, leaving whichever one was there if someone had already bought the other. Needless to say…they were both still there, and I snagged ’em.

Neither figure is that remarkable or interesting to me on their own…but the two of them, together, are really freaking cool to me!

superman_tpbs_and_resurrection_man

The Superman figure above and these four volumes were part of a $5/ea or 5/$20 deal. There’s a whole bunch of Superman paperbacks I’d like to own, but not enough to pay much for. At the same cost as a Marvel comic, though…I’m quite willing!

The Resurrection Man volume “rounded out” the deal, and for the price and having 14-ish issues (from the original 1990s run), not bad at all!

dollar_comics_01

Moving on into stuff, I snagged a 2nd copy of Superman #s 150 and 166 with the extra-shiny-ness thing going on. For the price, I was sucked in with the shinyness and the relative rarity…as in this is only the second time I can think of that I’ve seen this version of #150; and my original copy of 166 suffered some unfortunate rolling/bending years back being in the back of a longbox. For under $2/ea, glad to double-up!

50cent_comics_01

For “50 cents each or 5/$2,” I added an extra copy of the Superman: Save the Planet! special to the other four issues that had my attention.

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While I’d made sure ahead of this convention that I had my Ultraverse and TMNT comics sorted and missing issues logged…I neglected to log my stack of DC One Million issues…and unwilling to spend the extra $1 or 50 cents or whatever they would work out to on yet more doubles of those, I probably passed on a simple score of wrapping up my set of DC One Million.

That said…I snagged the DC One Million 80-Page Giant as well as what I hope is only a 2-part DC Two Thousand. I’d hoped for Flash: Terminal Velocity (the run-up to #100) but the stock skipped from the early 50s to the 120s…I settled for the four-part Born to Run story, as I couldn’t remember if I had the single issues or not.

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For basically $2 apiece, got Shade the Changing Man #1 and the Prime versus The Incredible Hulk. The former to compare/contrast with the new Young Animal iteration (Shade the Changing Girl) and the latter because hey, that’s a great price for an issue like this! (remember it, as this comes into play a bit later!)

dollar_comics_03

I believe I dug the Wild Dog and Uncanny X-Men issues out of a $1 bin. Hearing the character will be apparently playing a role in this season of Arrow and the surprise reference in another title recently, I figure I’d be glad to have this issue (unfortunately, they did not have the other issues of the series). And with the rumour of stuff for the upcoming Logan film (aka Wolverine III), I wanted to be sure to snag Uncanny X-Men 229 before it pulls a 266 in pricing on me!

(As an aside: if anyone has or could get me a copy of 226 in the $10ish range up to $20, I’d love to talk!)

dollar_comics_04

For the price of a single Marvel comic, I “upgraded” Aquaman #1 from a beat up copy to a nice copy…and filled out my Peter David run to now having a full run of #0 & 1-48! This includes “the” key issue–#2–where Arthur loses the hand…and I danced a fine line taking these photos between not actually sitting to read #s 1-3 and 0 and skimming through #2 and #0 in particular!  I remember when this series started, as well as noting Aquaman’s appearance in Zero Hour itself (see my 2016 Zero Hour Revisited posts), but had never gotten into/kept up with the series, to my later regret. Gladly, with ’90s comics being so (financially) cheap, I’ve embraced being able to catch up at a fraction of even the original cover price cost!

box_of_quarter_comics_01

My friend and I found a table with a huge selection of ’90s 25-cent comics. The listed deal was something like 25 cents each, so many for $2, or fill a USPS priority box for something…he saw us both amassing a decent stack, and made us a deal to go in one one together…so sharing the cost, we proceeded to grab some extra issues we’d passed on…and filled a box. Lotta cool/fun stuff…especially for less than 25 cents apiece!

I have (somewhere) a couple issues of the X-Men Archives, and apparently grabbed 5 of the 6 here. My friend pointed out the Magic: The Gathering issue…in a bag and board, it felt extra-thick, so I snagged it for curiosity of the thickness (turned out it included a copy of the Acclaim Comics preview I’ll reference below).

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Nothing really screams “’90s!” to me like these covers (and a handful of others from Image in 1992-1994). The ’90s get a bad rap, and to me, I’d say that a lot of what I think people really think of in the negative can be best referenced with early Image books moreso than stuff that leaked into DC and Marvel (as I obviously have an incredible fondness for the decade when it comes to comics!)

I also get a certain “satisfaction” out of scoring the “hot Image #1s!” of the early ’90s for a mere 25 (or less!) cents apiece.

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gen13_pricing_wizard_52And speaking of…Gen13. I pretty clearly remember this issue being one of THE “hot” issues of its time…to the point that I now probably have bought 5 or 6 copies for 25 cents each just to retroactively stick my tongue out (figuratively) at all the people who may’ve paid $20, $30, even $40ish for a copy of the thing!

Continue reading

REBIRTH WEEK 4: Action, Detective, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Justice League

This post is a little late due to timing and leaving the partially-typed post at work. Six books this week, including the “in isolation” Justice League #52 that I got strictly because of tying to the Superman stuff in Rebirth

JUSTICE LEAGUE #52

justiceleague0052This week starts with a sort of one-shot, posing as an issue of Justice League. This issue is basically a “bridge” issue, taking Lex Luthor from one apparent status quo at the end of The Darkseid War and getting him into position for his role in Action Comics. We get a lot of narration from his side of things, making him definitely a sympathetic character…especially as he comes off–to me, on one reading–as actually being genuine, if not pure in his intentions. This IS Lex Luthor, after all…but I find it a lot easier to identify with this version of the character than I did the pre-Flashpoint one. Ultimately…it seems Luthor gave up rulership of Apokalips and all that would entail to return to Earth, to be a hero, a champion, to better himself such that he would make his sister Lena proud. Whatever else he is, whatever side things he might have going, whatever his methodology and such, he wants to be someone his sister can be proud of. And I kinda dig that.

ACTION COMICS #958

action_comics_0958This issue is the second of this Rebirth run, yet both issues take place after the Justice League issue. (Of course, JL apparently was delayed/late, so…your mileage on the matter may vary). We have Superman and Luthor forced to team up against Doomsday, while various elements of the story are brought to bear. Who is this Clark Kent, and how is he separate from Superman? We as readers know, but characters in the story are left to wonder who this Superman is, given they’ve been told Superman is dead. Lois and Jon watch news of goings-on on tv, as Jon begins to learn a bit more about his father, and we see Lois trying to hide her worry so as to protect her son. Because this is Doomsday, and seems to be THE Doomsday; somehow the same one that DID kill Superman, and not just some construct or entity that can turn into spores and be inhaled or infect someone. Superman–our Superman, this Superman, pre-Flashpoint Superman, recognizes the creature, feels its power, and is himself worried. The issue ends with a cliffhanger that leaves me wondering where the story’s headed, and very interested in the questions half-raised by it in the back of my head…all ultimately stuff that enrichens Superman, Luthor, and the story as a whole.

DETECTIVE COMICS #935

detective_comics_935“Only” two issues in, and I’m quite enjoying this series. Like Action Comics, it feels like a flagship title again. It is definitely, obviously a Batman book…but it’s more a “family” sort of title in that we have Batman, Batwoman, Red Robin, Spoiler, Orphan, and even Clayface in the mix. If I can’t have a Tim Drake as Robin/Red Robin solo book, I’ll absolutely “accept” his presence here…particularly seeing that there IS something between him and Stephanie…an element definitely missed since…too far back. I’m not too sure about Kate’s father and what’s going on there…but I’m interested in finding out. I like this mix of characters. I like seeing them, period. And I’m liking the art, and the story holds plenty of potential. I don’t like Marvel‘s double-shipping because of pricing and feeling “obligated” to a title or such. Here, with Detective shipping twice a month, I’m enjoying the story so far and am actually interested in the story, therefore getting another issue every two weeks is a rather welcome thing…especially with each issue “only” being $2.99 vs. Marvel’s $3.99.

THE FLASH #1

flash(2016)_0001While I had bought the entire The Flash: Rebirth mini-series back in 2009 or 2010, whenever it was–I’ve never been a huge Barry fan. Comics-wise, I’m still not, in that he was GONE when I was introduced to comics, and despite occasionally short appearances (Time being wibbly-wobbly and all that) he served as inspiration for Wally and the rest of the Flash family more so than being present himself. But thanks to the tv series, the character has grown on me, and since I’ve quite enjoyed that and I see some elements of crossover, I’m enjoying this. Granted, this is the first issue and only the second issue focused on the Flash in the Rebirth initiative thus far…so I’ve not had much to go on. The story’s not put me off, and something about the art strikes me as something I would not care for with most other characters, but something to it simply “works” for this character. I’m also quite eager to see what all comes up with the fact of Barry being one of apparently only a few individuals to really know “something” is going on, that ten years have been stolen, and so on. That that mystery is something I’m expecting to be drawn out over a couple years makes this title–as a rarity–all the more interesting as a key part of details being learned.

WONDER WOMAN #1

wonder_woman(2016)_0001Possibly the most appealing thing–to me–of this issue is the cover. That’s a beautiful cover, definitely worthy of a poster. Despite that, I’m not sure at the moment if I’d consider it “iconic” or not…I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what the cover of #2 looks like, as well as other elements such as how the title will be collected…as at least for the first few, we’re going to have one story going on in the odd-numbered issues with a “Year One” going on in the evens. While the cover may be the most appealing part…I still liked this issue. It’s just not singularly-stand-out or anything. I’d quite enjoyed what I’d read of Rucka‘s Wonder Woman back around Infinite Crisis and such, but by the time of The New 52 and such, I’ve had no particular interest in the character…really only having anything to with the character by her presence in other stuff–mainly Superman–that I’d read. I’m still looking forward to this series–these first couple stories at minimum–but this is more of a passive enjoyment than an active “chomping at the bit for more” kinda thing. On this single issue alone I could probably take or leave the title if I had to…but having the next several issues coming (eventually) as parts of bundles, I do look forward to reading them and going from there.

AQUAMAN #1

aquaman(2016)_0001I’ve both been aware and simultaneously ignorant when it comes to a lot of Aquaman stuff…particularly longform continuity and back story. I have a couple mental images of the character from the early/mid 1990s of the long-haired, bearded, harpoon-handed period of the character. Despite a couple silver/bronze age issues of my grandfather’s that I’d come across the character, my main introduction to him was in Zero Hour, with a continued “awareness of” the character through the ’90s. Which is all past stuff, and this is a new first issue, the Rebirth issue being a prologue. I don’t know these characters from much familiarity. The whole Aquaman-and-Mera thing is recent for me, from Brightest Day. I’ve known OF Black Manta as a villain going back to early DC Heroclix days. And I’m pretty sure somewhere I’d come across something about his history with Aquaman (I’m thinking Manta was the one that cost Arthur his hand in 1994). Which is alllll to say that I don’t have enough conscious background to really care much one way or the other for this character and his cast…except I’d heard good things about him with the start of the New 52 (though I never jumped in) and I consciously want to like this here, now. It’s a “good” issue, I’m definitely satisfied for my $2.99…but I’m just not EXCTIED by it. As part of a bundle I’m happy to keep reading the series…taken strictly in a pass/fail capacity I think this would be a “good, but just not my kinda thing for single issues” title.

OVERALL:

Another great week of stuff, with no major letdowns. I’m really glad that I ordered bundles starting with July because this is definitely way too much to keep up with, with any regularity otherwise. As with previous “special months” that DC has done, I will occasionally dive in with a bunch of stuff for that month…but to want to carry over fully into following months…this has not happened in a long time!

At this point, I’m thinking I will definitely throw support behind Action Comics and Detective Comics, as well as Superman–wherein even though I’ve ordered the bundles, I’ll still buy the singles day-of-release at the shop. (For what I’m saving on the bundles I still come out way ahead, price-wise).

Only hard thing will be waiting for the end of the month and then cramming in the time to get everything read!

REBIRTH WEEK 2: Action, Detective, Flash, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman

This week gave us three new Rebirth issues–serving as starting point, prologue, and #0s for newly-relaunching ongoing books…as well as the first issues of two ongoing series: Action Comics and Detective Comics, doing the opposite of expectation and instead of a fresh #1 for either title, leap back to their “legacy” numbering–adding their past 52 issues onto their last pre-Flashpoint issue, bringing the books current as if they’d never been renumbered.

And while it may not be the best technical term, my overall feelings after reading the week’s issues lead me simply to the sentence “Holy crap! DC‘s comics are awesome again!”

ACTION COMICS #957

actioncomics0934I couldn’t contain myself to just a few basic comments…I absolutely loved Action Comics #957 and wrote up a bunch of thoughts on it separately.

Like…I thoroughly enjoyed the issue.

It’s the best single-issue Superman comic of one of the ongoing titles I can consciously recall as of this typing.

It’s like re-united with an old friend not seen in years, and realizing that even though life has gone on, we’ve grown and changed, what we had is still there.

Fantastic story.

Fantastic art.

A mere twenty pages for “only” $2.99, and just this issue alone made me smile, and feel like a kid again, and I really, truly am looking forward to the next issue. I walked away for four years. With an issue like this, such a strong start like this, it sucks that I have no choice but to WAIT two weeks for the next issue.

DETECTIVE COMICS #934

detective_comics_934I think I was originally intending to ignore this issue, this series. Unlike with the Superman books, I’ve been a lot more flexible in my overall Batman collecting, with a much more punctuated “history” with the character and books. Then I was “only” going to get this because of deciding to throw in for the start of the Rebirth initiative, just diving in with “everything” for a few weeks, to really give it a chance. And for the first time since I can remember, I thoroughly enjoyed an issue of this title.

I have never cared for this Batwoman character, but here, as presented in this issue, I’m cool with it. I didn’t read the whole Gordon-as-Batman-and-then-Bruce’s-Return stuff nor any recent Justice League stuff, so I’m certainly missing a bit. I don’t much care for the black-bat-outlined-in-gold chest-logo, but I can accept it as the current, knowing that it’s a lot more cyclical than say, Superman’s S-shield.

I love that I get Tim Drake here, seeming very much like the character I’ve loved and appreciated nearly my entire time with comics. And as he started out without a solo title, appearing in the Bat-books…so here he’s “just” another character in a book with several characters. And while he has a double-R logo now–Red Robin instead of “just” Robin–it’s a great melding of new and old, and I’m happy with it at least for the moment. The use of Clayface and Spoiler as well lend interest for me, and I think I’m around for the next several issues at least…doing as a single issue should, I’m quite entertained and felt my purchase was worthwhile, and I’m actively looking forward to the next issue.

THE FLASH: REBIRTH #1

flash_rebirth_0001This is the first of these issues to really, directly reference and involve stuff that went down in the Rebirth one-shot, weaving stuff from that into the flow of this story, giving us even more on the return of Wally and setting his journey and Barry’s own as we head into coming books. While the art was a bit off-putting, seeming a bit more “artsy” than I’d prefer, it worked well enough in conveying the story, and I was never left wondering what’d happened in a panel or scene. It’s just not a visual style I tend to prefer (even if it LOOKS very New 52 Flash to me at a glance).

We have Barry, and get Wally, and get some real, direct expansion on stuff from Rebirth. This issue makes me really look forward to The Flash and Barry in coming Flash issues, as well as Wally’s own journey, and seeing how things go with Batman as well. I never used to think of Batman and Flash as being a good pair, but this issue shows me how that definitely works, beyond contrivances with an alternate universe story I’d had little idea would mean what it did half a decade ago.

Though this is a single issue and not a 6-issue mini-series, like its predecessor, I’m more interested in Barry than I was before reading, and am definitely looking forward to continuing adventures of the character.

AQUAMAN: REBIRTH #1

aquaman_rebirth_0001I’ve never been much of an Aquaman fan. I’ve been aware of the character, read plenty of issues of varying quality involving the character, dabbled in reading iterations of ongoing series with the character, but despite “potential” several times, just never got into the character. As such, by rights, I shouldn’t care to check this out, or to enjoy this issue all that much…but I checked it out, and enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to seeing a bit more development.

That said, this is (for me) probably the weakest of all the Rebirth issues so far. It’s NOT bad, and the art is fantastic, and there’s a heckuva lot of potential for the series. But this one issue doesn’t do a lot for me…doesn’t change my take on the character, doesn’t infuse me with excitement and interest for the next issue…it’s just an issue serving as prologue to the initial arc on the officially-ongoing series (making this very much a #0 issue). Particularly when stacked up against the likes of Action Comics #957, the one-shot Rebirth issue itself, and my excitement toward several other launching-soon titles, this didn’t have much chance.

Another way to put it, though, I think would be this: Aquaman sits amidst some phenomenally enjoyable comics that are collectively serving as a breath of fresh air after years of really just flat-out NOT REALLY CARING, PERIOD about DC comics in general, and finding refuge in bargain-bin back issues. This issue is solid, introducing/re-introducing characters, status quo, motivation(s), and setting up what’s to come. I’m not disappointed at buying it. I just find the thought rather interesting that weighing the various issues out so far, if I had to “cut” any from purchasing, this would likely be the first. Still, I’m onboard for now, and it’s great to see the character in action and in a relationship, and coming off as a serious character, while there’s acknowledgement of the rap the character gets.

WONDER WOMAN: REBIRTH #1

wonder_woman_rebirth_0001Rucka on Wonder Woman again… yeah, that’s definitely a positive selling point for me. That this issue addresses and begins in its own way to ADDRESS discrepancies in the character’s origin and backstory, moving the story forward while not disregarding or throwing anything out goes a long way in making me want to read more. There’s a familiarity to the character in this issue that I really enjoyed, both narratively and visually. I recognize the character as one I’ve seen here and there and even read a bit in the Superman/Wonder Woman book for the New 52…but I also see something of prior iterations of the character as well–Rucka‘s run from around Infinite Crisis as well as stuff going back to Byrne, and even back to the beginning of the post-CoIE run with Perez.

While I’m “aware OF” something with Wonder Woman and her being the God(dess) of War now (from reading Superman/Wonder Woman), other than that, in my own reading experience, the character has felt largely defined as “finally” being Superman’s girlfriend…I’ve not followed the solo series, and so have only really seen much with the character when it’s involved Superman.

Here we get a character that’s very much her own, in an issue whose story is strong in how it shows the character and in acknowledging mixed versions of her origin and backstory. The art is solid and I like it overall…despite the way the character could easily be conveyed, I feel like the character radiated independent strength that leaves me wanting to read more and see more, without it being tied to how she looks.

The familiarity from having Rucka back on the character’s title is another positive, and a key factor for me to just stick around, trusting from the past that this is gonna be a great ride.


Three weeks in…and still enjoying stuff, still greatly enjoying the fact that for the first time in years, the DC Unierse feels like “home” again, that I’m as interested in the “universe” as I am individual characters or a couple individual titles.

I know the quality won’t hold–I can’t imagine any line could–but this whole push is just SO refreshing that I’m enjoying it, and “on the hook” for at least the next seven or so weeks and ready to add another 4 to that!

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