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Toys in the Wild: Avengers 2017

One thing that tends to keep me from "buying in" on a toy line is perceived longevity. I "bought into" a line of DC toys that never took off, despite my thinking it would. I attribute that to inconsistent availability as well as inconsistent (over)pricing.

Similar with other movie-based lines for the Marvel films…they seem to be dumped by stores not long after the films, to make way for the next. Alternatively, there also seems to be a shuffle of "generic" lines meant to bridge the films–tying in without being solely for only one film.

I attribute this new Avengers line as being another of those. Thus far I’ve not seen a Thor figure, though I’ve seen the four others. (Come to think of it, no Hawkeye or Vision or Scarlet Witch, for that matter).

I’ve been seeing these, offhand, for about $8…making them a full $5 cheaper than their slightly smaller counterparts in the 3.75" figure line, whatever Marvel wants to call it this year.

I’d almost be tempted to snag these (hey! female representation via Black Widow!) but I’ll wait and see if we get any villains for the line.

Assuming, that is, that Marvel remembers that there are villains for heroes to oppose, rather than relying primarily on hero-versus-hero for major stories. But then, these are toys, not the comics.

I’d far prefer a line of X-Men toys like this, though…

avengers_captainamerica

avengers_ironman

avengers_hulk

avengers_blackwidow

Perhaps we’ll get some other figures later this year for this line.

Heck, I’d be curious to see what we’d get for the Infinity War stuff next year, and what sort of representation we’ll get of Thanos. And thinking on films…why are we getting these now, instead of, say, Guardians of the Galaxy figures?

Unplanned Books-A-Million Clearance Purchases 11/3

Thursday evening, I found myself at a Books-A-Million for the first time in quite awhile. Where I’d figured maybe I would find a cheap book or a comic frame…I didn’t expect to find a giant stack of books that had my interest for the price.

I eventually pared a stack of about a dozen books down to three:

weeklyhaul_11022016_b_1103bam

I got all three books for the price of 5 standard Marvel issues and a True Believers issue.

I was disappointed that Captain America and the Falcon by Priest that I found in the clearance section was not actually on (discounted) sale. And while they had a bunch of the Secret Wars (2015) skinny volumes for $4.97 apiece, they weren’t the greatest condition nor interest to me. I absolutely would have gotten the Age of Apocalypse one if that’d been there for that price, though!

The Wolverine volume is Wolverine; and collects a few issues from the latter part of The Essential Wolverine vol. 5 and the earlier issues from The Essential Wolverine vol. 6…but in full color. I quite like the Essentials line, but for this period of the title, the black and white/graytone effect gets very muddy and doesn’t work nearly as well, so getting this run in this format is very cool. All the moreso for the price!

The Avengers: Scarlet Witch fits thematically with my Avengers: Quicksilver volume. And I’ve been interested in reading Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl for awhile, especially since getting/watching the first season of the tv show last year (though I’ve yet to be able to see the second/final season).

It’s amazing, though, to consider just how highly-priced most Marvel volumes are, such that I virtually never buy any at "full price," because that price is just not worth it to me; while DC has had a number of volumes that I’m willing to pay full price for (even though I’d prefer cheaper means!)

My Marvel Digital Journey, Month #2

uncannyxforce026When I first decided to try the Marvel Digital app, I justified it to myself on cost of print counterparts. Read a couple stories and that’d pay for itself, compared to buying the collected volumes.

For that first month, I ultimately read about 50 issues, working out to everything being like having read a bunch of 25-cent bin books. For “only” $10 spent, I was quite pleased with myself.

But getting into Month #2, I found myself devouring issues, and REALLY found myself taking advantage of the content-to-price ratio.

First, I decided to read/finish the final part of the run of Uncanny X-Force I’d dropped after frustration with the shipping frequency and art changes and general bad attitude toward Marvel and $3.99 books.

uncannyavengers001Finishing that, I followed a story thread into Uncanny Avengers; then followed stuff from that into the “core” event mini for Axis. Then I backtracked on Magneto’s story…and then decided to backtrack further to get the context for him going off on his own. But knowing the books had run side-by-side, I decided to pair Uncanny X-Men with All-New X-Men.

And in the reading I tried to include Annuals, which led me to the Arms of the Octopus “Special” issues; I also read all the tie-ins of the Battle of the Atom crossover.

Amidst all that, I also took about a week and a half “off” from the comics to read two full-length books: A Street Cat Named Bob, and The World According to Bob.

avengersxmenaxis001All in all, for what amounted to just under 3 weeks of reading, I breezed through nearly 120 issues, all from within the last several years; well over $400 had I bought the issues in-print as they were coming out, and still significantly cheaper than even a 25-cent bin.

All that X-reading has me looking at my third month definitely including the entirety of the first Wolverine & the X-Men, probably the middle Uncanny X-Men run, and the female X-Men title. I might throw in the core AvX series as a re-read. I also find myself interested in reading stuff because I “can,” that I would not otherwise have any real interest in…though some of it I’m content to save for another month or two, when the app catches up to immediately pre-Secret Wars continuity.

Skeptical as I was to start…the way it’s played out–having a tablet I like and plentiful wi-fi (at home and at work)–this has been amazing for my getting back a “joy” in (Marvel) comics.

My list of comics read:

  • xmen_battleoftheatom001Uncanny X-Force #25-35
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 #1-25
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 #8AU
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 Annual #1
  • Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1-9
  • Magneto (2014) #1-14
  • All-New X-Men (2012) #1-26
  • Uncanny X-Men (2013) #1-22
  • X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1-2
  • X-Men (vol4) #5-6
  • Wolverine and the X-Men vol. 1 #36-37
  • All-New X-Men (2012) Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 1 of 3)
  • Indestructible Hulk Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 2 of 3)
  • Superior Foes of Spider-Man Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 3 of 3)

An Ad I Actually Really Like: Marvel Legends Hulkbuster BAF

I’m usually annoyed with ads, or at best, just flat-out ignore them. But a recent Secret Wars (2015) issue had an ad on the back for a new Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure line. The actual figure to be built? A large Hulkbuster Iron Man.

marvel_legends_hulkbuster_ad_fullsize

Yeah…to me, that’s pretty darned cool. And as I’m already highly interested in (what I believe is to be available soon if it isn’t already) the Marvel Selects Hulkbuster…and have the one from the Iron Man 2 toy line (3.75″ scale) and the one from the newer Avengers: Age of Ultron  2.5″ scale…kinda my thing.

So…give me this ad more often instead of the other crap that I want to ignore or that just plain holds zero active interest for me.

This ad successfully made me aware of the line so I’ll be watching for it, shows me its BAF is awesome, and has me interested (at least in buying the BAF on ebay someday).

Recent Impulse-Buys: Power Rangers, Loki, and Thanos

I recently found myself out ‘n about with some extra time on my hands, so decided to stop in at a Marc’s* to see if they had any cool/cheap toy stuff, as I’ve found some amazing "closeout" deals there in the past. And given the nature of closeouts from what I’ve observed, I figured they MIGHT have some Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers figures.

(* Marc’s is a value grocery store in Ohio that has a lot of discount/closeout items as well as a meat and produce section, with a section specifically of closeouts stuff; they have an ATM and take cash-only, outside of Discover cards)

And sure enough, I found something VERY cool for a mere $2.99 (compared to $9.99ish+ in Target/Walmart for newer Power Rangers figures).

mmpr_20th_white_ranger

I was disappointed in there not being a White Ranger in the 2010 "basic figures" Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers line, and having recently acquired the Legacy White Tigerzord, getting this figure is all the cooler to go with it!

power_rangers_super_megaforce_mmpr_red_ranger

I went to a second Marc’s location to see what else I might find (the closeouts nature of the chain means variety store-to-store and maybe even day-to-day). I found this Red Ranger, and can’t remember if the 2010 one had the sword, but figured for the price I’d get it. Worst-case, this’ll be something I can give to someone else.

avengers_loki

Hasbro/Marvel seem to have realized that the $9.99+ price point is a bit MUCH for figures (and I’m constantly amazed at Target ratcheting the price up to $12.99 and now $13.59 or something like that definitely more atrocious than $12.99/$13 on the dot). Having a line of lower-priced figures (in the $5.99 range) is something I want to support, and Cinematic Loki is cool, so, I picked this up for the character and to "support" the line.

infinity_minimates

Recently at Toys R Us, I came across this, and for the price and my being all about anything Thanos-related, I declined to talk myself out of buying this 4-pack. Slightly cheaper than two 2-packs, and $5 cheaper than a Deadpool 4-pack, so I figured this was likely to go up in price later, so get it now while it’s more reasonably-priced.

Secret Wars 2099 #1 [Review]

secretwars_2099001Writer: Peter David
Artist: Will Sliney
Colorists: Antonio Fabela & Andres Mossa
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Dave Rapoza
Editor: Devin Lewis
Senior Editor: Nick Lowe
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I haven’t read a 2099 book in years. Sadly, it may have been well over a decade, and closer to two. But I’ve been on a major Spider-Man 2099 kick lately with toys and really loving the classic Spidey 2099 costume, having avoided the recent series primarily for the $3.99 cover price (though there were other ‘standard’ Marvel factors for me). But throwing in with a bunch of the Secret Wars stuff, this seemed well worth checking out, so I grabbed it.

The story of the issue gets around a bit, as we begin with getting to see the 2099 Black Widow in civilian guise get called away from flirtation to action, then we meet the other current ‘Avengers’ (a female Captain America, a new Hawkeye, a new Iron Man, and Hercules, as well as Black Widow). They face off against some teched-up thugs, while interpersonal stuff comes out about the characters, and after the fight with the villais we’re given more insight into who the new characters are as well as what’s exacerbated stuff with Hercules. We meet the team’s advocate in Alchemax, as well as the current Vision, and learn of a pending threat to the team.

Even as this story is relatively simple and generic, if not a bit blatant in showing us various personality bits with the various characters and how this tea has come to be, it still works well. There’s a definite feeling for me of an "older" comic with these elements, and knowing this is Peter David back on 2099 stuff is a definite treat, perhaps contributing to my enjoying this…to my wanting to enjoy this.

I’m less familiar with the art team, but I do like the visuals on the whole. I don’t care for the cover art overall…except for Iron Man, whose armor looks fantastic to me on the cover. I actually like it throughout the issue, but particularly on the cover.

As this is new stuff, pushing the 2099 universe forward a bit or in a different direction (but no mention or reference to Doom having taken over, etc), it’s not exactly a beginning…yet it doesn’t entirely feel like just some continuation, either.

I was curious about this…curious enough to check it out. This was not a bad issue, and I’m interested on the whole in learning more of these characters…but with all the many Secret Wars tie-ins, some of these will ultimately competed with each other. I’m more willing to check out *A* first issue than to stick with an entire (mini) series. I’m not choosing from this issue to not continue, but this isn’t quite enough for me to say I absolutely will get the next issue.

If you’re a 2099 fan, you’ll definitely want to get this; ditto (I imagine) if you’d followed the recent Spidey 2099 series…or if you’re just a fan of Peter David‘s work. And of course, if you’re an Avengers fan this could almost be titled Avengers 2099, except its timing is such that it gets the Secret Wars branding foremost, and may prove to take on the entirety of the 2099 stuff, with just this first issue so focused on the Avengers team.

Recommended, definitely one of the more interesting of the tie-ins so far.

Free Comic Book Day 2015 – A Few Issues’ Thoughts

Free Comic Book Day was this past Saturday, and I picked up a number of issues. Rather than attempt to write up single posts for each FCBD issue, here are some of the ones I’ve had a chance to read so far and my thoughts on them.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles FCBD 2015

fcbd2015_tmntI think this is the one I was looking forward to MOST of all the FCBD issues this year. And truthfully, I was not particularly disappointed. We get an all-new story–an in-continuity continuation of things that seems to fit within the present–it does not spoil the Mutanimals stuff, and takes place after TMNT #45, which works well with me getting it 3 days after #45. The art fits right in with the main series itself, so doesn’t even stick out. This isn’t some integral issue to stuff–I’m pretty sure one will be able to read the ongoing without ever knowing they missed this, but reading this will give newer readers some context of recent events and even core tidbits going back to the start of the IDW continuity. A lot of the issue is contextual exposition that I’m not used to seeing in the series…but given the nature of this it works very well for me, and I think would give the newer readers enough to contextualize the current story while teasing the detailed nuances of the actual stories that came before so one might seek those out.

The Tick FCBD 2015

fcbd2015_tickI remember watching and enjoying the animated Tick series Saturday mornings back in the day…scary to think it’s been 20-some years! Sadly I can’t really clearly remember the characters’ "conversational" voices in my head. This was still a quick, fun issue for the most part–the first story with Tick and Arthur dealing with a giant creature eating the city, and the third story with them being distracted by one threat or adventure after another, keeping them from holding a spot in line for the art museum. The middle story wasn’t really to my taste, explaining some of Tick’s time blacked out, apparently from an old #1 issue. Probably a lot more fun for long-time fans of the COMICS, but it means nothing to me not having read those. The art’s good, and the stories fun, and the price was certainly right. As "just" a fun FCBD issue, this is definitely worth reading, and I enjoyed reading it.

Secret Wars #0

fcbd2015_marvelsecretwarsMarvel’s hype-machine has certainly done its job…at least in getting me to where I’d actually be interested in getting a copy of this free issue (at a $4 discount from USUAL Marvel pricing!) The cover particularly stands out to me. However, I am not at all impressed by the interior…and was honestly rather disappointed to see Hickman’s credit on the cover and be consciously reminded that this IS actually his story. This issue didn’t really give me context for stuff, and I had no idea if it’s a "catch readers up to prepare them for the rest of the series" #0 or a "This is where the story truly begins" #0. The story seemed to actually try to be both, but felt choppy and lacked any kind of "editor’s notes" to refer me to any specific stories or to even place this against whatever issues are already out for various titles. Given I’ve hardly touched Marvel in a couple years, I’m lost. So while my frustration with DC and Convergence might give way to trying Secret Wars #1, I’m more curious about several of the tie-in minis and may well skip the core Secret Wars book…especially for the price point and knowledge that there’s virtually no way this does NOT get a collected volume whether I "support the single issues" or not.

Valiant 25th Anniversary Special

fcbd2015_valiantI already bought and read Bloodshot Reborn #1 weeks ago, so while I could buy into a story set some time after the last I’d seen the character within The Valiant, now suddenly finding this "untold" story segment kinda bugs me. This could’ve been included somehow in Bloodshot Reborn #1 or done as some other sort of giveaway or such. Or perhaps hold off a few weeks and kick off May with Bloodshot Reborn #1 next week, so this would have fallen where it should have. The lists of first appearances, greatest team-ups, greatest battles, etc. included both classic and contemporary Valiant so didn’t really interest me as presented. There are a couple teaser images for Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong that are interesting enough. I honestly did NOT appreciate the inclusion of a chunk of Ninjak #1, given that came out awhile ago and #2 just came out last week…again, better to have held the release of #1 til after this, or "preview" something else. Give us a nice image for each title and a page apiece listing all the contemporary Valiant’s titles with their collected volumes available, perhaps. Give us some sort of timeline of where the various volumes fall in relation to each other. SOMEthing. Aside from the opening page TELLING me it’s been 25 years of Valiant, this did not feel at ALL like anything "special" for it…for that, give us the new stories from the hardbacks that kicked off the new Valiant close to a decade ago. Give us some new art from classic AND contemporary creators. I don’t know. This just felt like a big preview book and ad…but hey, it’s "free," it’s "just" a Free Comic Book Day issue to try to "sell" people on the stuff, so not like i"m even the target audience. C’est la vie.

Divergence #1

fcbd2015_dcdivergenceI don’t actually know what I expected of this issue, but whatever it was, this wasn’t it. I suppose I’m glad this is "original" material…I’m certainly quite tired of "just" reprint or "preview" material trying to sell me on stuff. Given the text intro addressing what this issue IS, I gather I’m not alone in that regard. We get the identity of who it is in the Batsuit taking focus in Batman come June, as well as a new status quo for SUperman (did Lois do her thing in a recent issue, or is this the first we’ve gotten of it?). And I had a hard time with the Justice League short, even though Johns wrote it. I found myself skimming it and I’m honestly just not any more interested in Darkseid now than I was nearly four years ago nor any previous time: I just don’t care about the character at any real length, especially as portrayed in the last 15-20 years. I also get tired of the constant messing about with characters for the sake of trying to appear new and hip and cool and relevant. Just goes to show how much I am NOT the target audience and have no particular problem continuing to primarily ignore DC stuff. Plus I have half a year’s worth of Batman Eternal to "catch up" on and I am burned out on weekly stuff.

All-New, All-Different Avengers

fcbd2015_allnewalldifferentavengersSomething to the cover of this issue just looks like some sort of "all-ages" comic rather than an actual in-continuity Marvel main universe continuity comic. And it certainly highlights just how out of touch I am with contemporary Marvel…I see the female Thor, a new Vision, the Nova I don’t care for, the Spidey I’m not interested in, some weird anatomy for the kid Marvel I know nothing about, Captain Falconamerica, and "Iron Man" (Stark, Pepper, who-knows-who). I have no real context for their story on the interior except it’s "the future," which could mean simply we’re getting an advance look at status quo, or this is a story set a few years down the road…I don’t really, honestly care enough to think too much. We also get a short story with a couple people turned into Inhumans and meeting a core group of experienced Inhuman characters…and maybe it’s just me, but it comes off very much of the Inhumans somewhat replacing mutants, which just does not sit well with me. This isn’t a horrible issue if you’re into the current Marvel stuff, but it does nothing positive toward "selling" ME on the Marvel Universe moving forward, and is truly something that I would not BUY and only have/read because it was free.

 

Doctor Who

fcbd2015_doctorwhoI actually couldn’t even "get into" this. I muddled through the chapter with the Twelfth Doctor, but only slightly skimmed the Eleventh and Tenth. For having so thoroughly enjoyed the tv series I just don’t seem to be able to get into the comics. Perhaps because the tv show is tight enough and thorough enough that I find it hard to "get into" adventures set within existing continuity "between episodes" or such. I picked up several copies specifically to share…but I’m half wondering as of this typing if I want to do that to anyone. At least they might enjoy the single issue as a random piece or for the photoshopped cover, even if it does nothing toward getting anyone interested in the comics. There’s also the issue of pricing and format…namely having four ongoing Doctor titles plus a rotating series of mini-series for the other Doctors, and hardbacks instead of paperbacks. At least when IDW had the license there were larger collected volumes than what Titan has done thus far (granted, they’ve only been publishing Doctor Who for about 10-11 months now).

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