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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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The Weekly Haul – Week of June 01, 2016

Another week and another huge stack of books! Yet for the size of the stack, not a bad haul at all!

weekly_haul_week_of_20160601a

First off, four full-sized brand-new non-promo-priced* DC books, the first four of the ___: Rebirth books. (* promo-priced to me is $1 or less or less than general cover price).

And while a cover-comparison proves my memory a bit wrong…the cover of the Bebop & Rocksteady issue reminds me quite a bit of some of the old Archie TMNT minis.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160601b

Delving into the bargain bins…these five issues of The Solution SHOULD mean I have a complete run–it clears out my list I had of missing issues, though being OCD as I am, I will be seeking out another copy of #16–it’s a “flip book” with Ultraverse Premiere and I aim to have that series functionally as its own thing in my filing.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160601c

I snagged another Shadowman #0 with the chromium cover, and two “late” issues that were on my list. I have a “thing” with X-Men #41, and I’m presently on a Zero Hour kick so a random #0 issue of R.E.B.E.L.S. doesn’t hurt on the nostalgia–this was my jumping-on point for an otherwise long-running series, having been aware of L.E.G.I.O.N. and jumping in with the start of the re-branded story.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160601d

I’m now missing only 15 issues from having Action Comics #s 542-904. My aim is to work backward from the Byrne reboot on both Superman and Action–probably in small-ish chunks. But with this, I don’t think it’ll be at all absurd to aim for a run from #500-on (diminished as I will have to hunt down the bulk of the New 52 run).

weekly_haul_week_of_20160601e

I almost passed on it, but knew I’d regret it if I did–picked up a bunch of Aquaman from the Peter David series.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160601f

Of the first 50 issues, only 8 shy of the full run!

While I am not looking specifically for ’90s books…it’s clearly apparent to me that I am absolutely a ’90s guy when it comes to comics!

Batman v Superman Toys in the Wild: Wonder Woman and Aquaman [SPOILERS]

I finally came across Wonder Woman and Aquaman last week…so they DO exist in the first wave, and are not just pictured to entice one into buying toys now when some that are most wanted won’t be out until later!

batman_v_superman_toys_wonderwoman_front

I do like the design for this figure. She’s quite recognizeable, and yet (though the skirt is a bit on the short side) overall she doesn’t appear to me to be particularly sexualized. We have her sword and shield which look fairly generic, but ought to look better once the figure’s out of the package and displayed somewhere.

batman_v_superman_toys_wonderwoman_back

…as the back does show. I do wish they’d opted to show Aquaman on the card back, to really emphasize that there are more than just variants of Superman and Batman (and this Wonder Woman) out there.

batman_v_superman_toys_aquaman_front

I think I’m going to like this version of Aquaman. It’s definitely a depature from the typical design I think of, and yet the character still looks like an Aquaman to me. The trident looks like a worthy accessory as these things go…

batman_v_superman_toys_aquaman_back

Yet again, instead of Batman variants, I would think it’d make more sense to show Wonder Woman on the card as well.

I’ve pretty much decided that as these toys go, I’ll probably end up purchasing these two–Wonder Woman and Aquaman–individually, and then the three-pack with Superman, Battle Armor Batman, and the Luthor battlesuit. I would also hope there’d be an oversized Doomsday figure later…but time will tell, of course!

More Batman v Superman in the Wild [SPOILERS]

Following up on my post from last week, I found a couple more neat-looking additions to the Batman v Superman toys over the weekend.

While the other post was what I found at a Walmart, I found these at a Toys R Us.

Do not read on if you’re attempting to avoid any/all spoilers for the film.

The variant costumes/versions of Superman don’t seem overly likely to spoil anything.

However, the back of the card–and something that grabbed my attention–very well could be deemed a spoiler.

So again…do not read further into this post or look at the photos, as there’s stuff that could definitely come off as spoilers!

Continuing on, now…

epic_battle_superman_front

I’m actually sort of surprised at this Epic Battle Superman. I’d half-hoped that maybe there would not be a bunch of Superman variants, at least, but here’s another.

Some sort of fancy armor with ridiculous-looking markings (the gold) that seem totally out of place to me on a Superman costume; and certainly to this one. And while I have no problem with the idea of Superman picking up/using a tool at hand in a fight as needed (especially if/while facing a clearly superior opponent), to me, a Superman action figure with weapon accessories just doesn’t work for me offhand.

epic_battle_superman_back

More of note to me, though, was that the figure’s card is well-suited to showing off the line, as it shows–instead of other Superman variants or multiple Batman variants–three other non-Superman characters. And for me–reveals the apparent existence of an Aquaman figure.

I’ve yet to see the Wonder Woman figure in person, but the fact she appears on a couple of the cards suggests quite heavily that she’ll be find-able in coming weeks.

I’d previously figured the figures in this line/scale would be $8.99-$9.99. At Toys R Us, these were on pegs marked as $9.99, so I’m assuming they might be had for as low as the $8.99 at the likes of Walmart and/or Target (unless these follow the 3.75" adult-collector Multiverse figures that are $9.99 at TRU and $13.99ish at Target).

aquaman_will_exist

If I do buy into this line, I’d be likely to want to get this Aquaman. If I’m not truly gonna have a selection of villains, at least I can have an assortment of unique hero characters instead of nothing but variants of one or two.

batman_superman_lex_luthor_front

Then there’s this 3-pack that seems to give us our first "villain" of the line. We get an Armored Batman, a Superman, and a green-and-purple-Luthor-Power-Suit. I believe the price I saw for this was $24.99…which is actually cheaper than buying Superman and Batman individually with a third $9.99 Luthor; save $5 and get all three!

batman_superman_lex_luthor_back

In some ways, I’d much prefer "just" a "basic" version of all the characters…but in a world with these super-powered "gods," I have no problem with Batman in a clearly armored state; and certainly appreciate the look of this version of the figure.

This 3-pack’s figures seem to be the same size as the other "regular" figures, so if I had to guess right now about purchases I’ll make, I imagine I’d go for this 3-pack, and then the single-pack Wonder Woman and Aquaman and call it a day with the line.

I also saw some sort of new Batmobile, but I don’t have much interest there, particularly for assuming the price would be rather ridiculous or it would look way too small for these figures. I did not note the price.

The 3-pack above would also nicely match with the Total Heroes 3-pack I bought last year, featuring comic-style versions of the three characters.

I suppose time will tell if there are to be other figures in this line, and at what scale–and based on a trailer, I would certainly hope we’d have a large Doomsday figure "in scale" with these, even if it stands at $20-$30-something by itself.

The Flashpoint Paradox

flashpointparadoxbrdI’ve kept up with all of the DC animated features since this line started back in 2007 or so with the Doomsday one, loosely based on the Death of Superman story from 1992. And while I’ve enjoyed certain ones more than others (New Frontier and Under the Red Hood immediately come to mind)…I have to say that after first viewing, Flashpoint Paradox is in that upper level.

While I own all 6 paperbacks collecting the entirety of the Flashpoint ‘event’ from 2011, I’ve only yet actually read the original mini-series and the Batman tie-in mini-series. So while hardly immersive, I’m not unfamiliar with Flashpoint in general. And perhaps it’s partially that I’m not overly steeped in knowledge of the entire event that helped me to enjoy this, as from what I recall of the comics, this is quite a good adaptation.

My primary “issues” with this film are story-wise, and the same I had with the comics–specifically the way things play out with Barry’s powers, and that against “usual” the ending is–we as viewers/readers are aware–not the actual ending. The comics’ ending kicked off the New 52, and I believe this film leads into New 52-era followups, leaving stuff based on the “old” DC Universe behind (at least for awhile?).

For the most part I had no problems with the visuals…as an animated features this worked very well for me. There wasn’t really much of anything jarring or offputting to me about the animation itself. Some of the character designs were a bit “off” from what I’d’ve expected…but in and of themselves, nothing bad.

flashpointstack

As said, I’ve only (as of this typing) read the “core” Flashpoint comics and the Batman mini…so the allusion to that actually made sense to me. Other stuff–particularly the cameos–were fine with me, because I don’t know the comics’ stories, so for me, there’s nothing of concern missing. And for what I recall of the comics (and granted, it’s been a couple years now), there’s more context to things given in this film than was in the core Flashpoint mini-series, making this a better package in a way.

The voice cast was good…I sorta noticed the familiarity to Lois Lane’s voice, somehow missed it in Superman, and while no Kevin Conroy, Kevin McKidd pulled off a very good Batman. I’m not particularly “set” on any particular Flash voice, to say nothing of being pretty sure the voice I’m familiar with from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited was for Wally, not Barry.

Just as Justice League: The New Frontier led me to buy and read the source material, The Flashpoint Paradox has led me to pull the source material from my shelf and finally make the time to actually read it.

flashpointcollection

I bought this for the “promo”/”first week pricing” special at Target…probably the cheapest blu-ray/dvd/digital combo I’ve found for any of these films; and for the $13.99 this was quite worthwhile for the film alone, and I anticipate multiple re-watchings.

The bonus materials are so-so, and rather ‘standard” at this point. Several episodes of past DC animated series, featurette(s) on the focal character/story of the film, a lengthy promo/preview/featurette on an upcoming film, plus the usual stuff–commentary, digital comic that I can’t even read on the tv screen, etc–that I typically ignore.

So all in all…I definitely recommend seeing this…but unless you really care about extras, or the HD (which I’ve never noticed difference between blu-ray/dvd with) you’re probably just as well getting the DVD. And unless you’re in a hurry to see this…it’s not unfathomable to expect that by the time the next animated feature comes out, this one’ll be around the $9.99 price point at your local Target/Walmart type stores. And if this is available in a nearby Redbox kiosk, it seems quite worth an evening’s rental!

Justice League #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

The NEW DC Universe

With the relaunch of DC’s superhero line in September, things start off with 52 #1 issues. Justice League August 31st, and the other 51 in September. The titles for this initial launch have been reported as follows:

  • ACTION COMICS
  • ALL-STAR WESTERN
  • ANIMAL MAN
  • AQUAMAN
  • BATGIRL
  • BATMAN
  • BATMAN & ROBIN
  • BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT
  • BATWING
  • BATWOMAN
  • BIRDS OF PREY
  • BLACKHAWKS
  • BLUE BEETLE
  • CAPTAIN ATOM
  • CATWOMAN
  • DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS
  • DEATHSTROKE
  • DEMON KNIGHTS
  • DETECTIVE COMICS
  • FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF SHADE
  • GREEN ARROW
  • GREEN LANTERN
  • GREEN LANTERN CORPS
  • GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS
  • GRIFTER
  • HAWK & DOVE

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