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Token Post: Non-Comics This Week

Just a quick/token-y post.

This week we got a new Teen Titans animated movie. I first went to Target to get it but balked at the EXTRA-steep price. Found it $3 cheaper at Walmart…which sorta balances out the Tales of the TMNT: Super Shredder pricing.

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I think of all the DC animated movies, the only ones I’ve missed the figurines for are the Wonder Woman and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse ones. While nostalgia gives Ted Kord the edge for me in terms of "Favorite Blue Beetle," I can’t deny that I dig Jaime’s version of the costume…

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And these darned figurines are a weak spot or "guilty pleasure" for me, they always sucker me for the extra few dollars for this edition of the movies. (Add Gods and Monsters to the list of ones I did not get with a/the figurine).

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And last for this post, Wild Times: An Oral History of Wildstorm Studios arrived. I’d backed this on Kickstarter a couple months ago and was looking forward to it, and then forgot it with stuff going on in my personal life the last couple weeks…so this was a pleasant arrival.


Hopefully I’ll get to something a little more substantive for tomorrow’s post, but time will tell. I also hope to get to actually watch the Teen Titans movie this weekend…as it does not look like it will happen sooner. As always, though…time will tell!

The ’90s Revisited: Justice League America #70

jusice_league_america_0070Grieving

Words, Layouts: Dan Jurgens
Finishes: Rick Burchett
Letters: Willie Schubert
Colors: Gene D’Angelo
Asst. Edits: Ruben Diaz
Edits: Brian Augustyn
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: January 1993
Cover Price: $1.25

It’s been a lotta years since I read this issue. Honestly, well longer than I’d tend to care to admit otherwise, but most of my re-readings of the "entire" Death of Superman story have been via that original collected volume, or the Roger Stern novelization, or the audio drama. And I tend to stop there–I know I’ve been through the novel several times, and the World Without a Superman/Funeral For a Friend collected volume at least a couple times…but this issue? This Justice League America "tie-in" is not included in the original edition of World Without a Superman. And though the previous issue was far more relevant to the lead-in to the main, sustained Doomsday fight, this one splits off from the core narrative focusing on Superman himself (as chronicled in the Superman-centric titles and such) and focuses more on the League, and these characters’ reactions to and ramifications from the Doomsday battle.

justice_league_america_0070_noflapOn this read-through, it was like reading the issue for the first time. When the Flash showed up, and Batman, and Hawkman, and Aquaman…despite a slight sense of deja vu in the back of my mind, it still surprised me. Looking at this issue’s cover, I remembered some loose, broad strokes–Blue Beetle in a coma, Booster’s suit destroyed, Ice devastated and Guy none to happy about her reaction–but I didn’t remember the details of the issue, the smaller moments. I remember some loose bits from some issues shortly after this–and the fact OF having READ the issues comprising Destiny’s Hand and leading to Justice League America‘s OWN 75th issue–but this is not quite the hyper-familiar territory I’d assumed it was for myself.

This issue opens with us on-site in Metropolis, Superman dead, Lois cradling his body…even an abbreviated, slightly alternate narration to the final moments of Superman #75…and into the early moments of Adventures of Superman #498, the start of the numbered chapters of Funeral For a Friend. And we’re split off, away from the Superman-family focus, and see the League reacting. Booster and Maxima were in the hospital watching over Ted–Blue Beetle. Maxima is rather matter-of-fact about Superman’s death, though she’s far from happy about it…and Booster is in a rough place–Superman’s died, his best friend is in a hospital bed in a coma, and his own suit–the entirety of/source of his powers–is shredded and likely beyond 20th century science to repair. Ice is devastated, Fire comforts her. Guy and Maxima have a go at each other…and other heroes from across the DC Universe begin to congregate, unsure of how or where to properly pay their respects, and finding comfort in the group, even as many lament the loss and wonder why it had to be Superman. The heroes don black memorial armbands with Superman’s shield, though they recognize it’s not much. And we close with Booster at Ted’s bedside, admitting that he doesn’t know WHAT he’d do if Ted dies, too.

The art is both spot-on and yet a little bit off at points for me. Stuff with Flash, Aquaman, Batman, and the other heroes seems fine, and overall this looks like the characters I’d expect, and as I would expect, visually. There are just panels–particularly one of Ice–where facial details seem just slightly off, or not as refined as I’d expect or want. Still, that stuff is rather nitpicky, and barely worth the mention. As a whole, this looks like the Justice League America I recall, and the other characters from the DCU look good and as I’d recall them for the tail-end of 1992’s publishing.

The story is very relevant, as one ought to expect, given this is written by Jurgens, the same writer of Superman, so it’s far from being an "outsider’s" version of this stuff. And given that, the differences or "alternate" takes on stuff, I totally chalk up to being intentional, holding the Justice League America continuity to itself–acknowledging the event and stuff from the Superman titles, but NOT forcing folks to read all of those. (Though there is an editorial note referring readers to Superman #75 prior to reading this). Jurgens seems to carry through ongoing plot threads that seem to have been going on in the title, and for lack of better phrasing, moves pieces around the board to set up the tail-end of his run on the title, getting the characters into Destiny’s Hand.

I see this issue in bargain bins far less often than random chapters from the Superman books, both of The Death of Superman and Funeral for a Friend. I’m relatively certain the copy of the issue I read this time was from a bargain bin, as I don’t believe it’s my original copy (the newsstand barcode gives that away, my original was from a comic shop and had a bleeding-S shield, I believe). While this hardly sits in a vacuum, it does seem like it can somewhat be read as a one-off. It’s an intermediary issue, bridging the pre-Doomsday run and what’s to come…giving characters’ reactions post-Death of Superman, but not yet implementing changes that would carry the League forward after the death.

I would definitely recommend this issue if you find it for a quarter or 50 cents or even $1-ish. I believe there were two editions, and apparently that carried to the newsstand as well–one version that’s just the standard cover; and another with a red and white overlay. The sole difference is really the overlay itself–present or not. The cover and interior under the overlay is the same. Either version is quite worth it, though the one with the overlay has a bit more of a visual distinction…and sits most nostalgic in my mind, as that’s what I got back in 1992.

Quite a trip down memory lane, and has me all the more eager to get around to actually READING the Superman and Justice League America vol. 1 and (once I acquire it) vol. 2.

Zero Hour Revisited – Booster Gold #0

90srevisited_zerohour

booster_gold_0000Blue & Gold Chapter 1: The Secret Origin of Booster Gold

Written by: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Pencil Art by: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Hi-Fi
Letters by: Randy Gentile
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover by: Jurgens & Rapmund
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

I probably should have actually tucked this in with the "week 3" issues, as this 1. does not end on white pages and 2. takes place prior to events seen in "week 4." C’est la vie…I put this issue almost at the end of stuff because of it being a "retroactive tie-in" published a decade and a half AFTER the actual series.

This issue sees Booster Gold and the Blue Beetles travel through time, and cross paths in the timestream with Parallax (Hal Jordan) and Extant (Hank Hall) circa Zero Hour, 1994. Parallax damages their time-bubble and they’re forced into the 25th Century (with no need to chase down the time-trouble-makers, as they’ve already been dealt with IN Zero Hour–oops, we’ll see that shortly). Turns out the exact day the group emerges in is the day that Booster "threw" a football game and was caught doing so. While striving to ensure that this timestream is not disrupted, they use resources available to continue their own mission and we learn a bit more about Booster’s background as well as the Blue Beetle (several of ’em!) before things have to be dealt with–like putting Dan and Jaime back in their own times without any memory of this issue or the previous having happened…and Ted’s poised to be another "Hero You’ve Never Heard Of" alongside Booster… it’s Blue & Gold, reunited! Though the two quickly realize there’s a bit of a Brother Eye problem that may end things before they’ve truly begun.

This issue was actually published in 2008, some 13 1/2 years after Zero Hour. We were post-Infinite Crisis, post-52, mostly through Countdown, heading toward Final Crisis. And in the early issues of the Geoff Johns run on Booster Gold, with art by Dan Jurgens–the character’s creator and Norm Rapmund‘s excellent inks. And I recall this being one of the more fun series at the time, certainly one of my favorites.

In fact, I had covered the issue at the time, for comiXtreme (and republished in this blog years later), and rated it quite highly. That particular review was based on the issue in that context rather than as a random issue added to this mix, hence any discrepancies between then and now.

Ultimately (given the 14-year-gap in publication) this issue does nothing for the understanding of Zero Hour itself, moving the 1994 series along, etc. But this makes a fun tie-in and providing a more grounded "time" to touch base with–a nod to older/longer-time readers–while serving its own story.

This issue actually kicks off the second arc in the Booster Gold title, and leaves me quite interested in re-reading it…unfortunately, I don’t believe I have any of the early collected volumes, nor ready access (consolidated) to my singles at the moment.

I don’t recommend this in context of Zero Hour itself, really, but it was a great throwback issue, touching in continuity and playing off the #0 issues concept (this was the seventh issue of the series). But as a Booster Gold story, I very definitely recommend the Blue and Gold arc that this kicks off, as well as the first one, 52 Pickup.

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 27th, 2015

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile, but here we go again.

This was a big Secret Wars (2015) week for me, snagging four first issues to try the series:

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As Secret Wars is just kicking into gear and I’m living so many of its notions, DC‘s counterpart–Convergence–comes to a close. I jumped straight to Convergence #8, and now having read the end find I’m not at all eager to bother reading Booster Gold or Blue Beetle…and I can’t even remember what happened in Blue Beetle‘s first issue!

weekly_haul_20150527b

And finally to the pull-list stuff: TMNT and Valiant. The latest TMNT issue as well as the “Director’s Cut” TMNT/Ghostbusters #1. Which I thought was a one-shot meant to address the entire mini-series…but turns out to be a prestige format edition of the first issue with “commentary” and script and such thrown in…making this a total double-purchase thing, but one I’m glad to for the format and (presumably) only one-issue-per-month thing. And Valiant‘s Divinity concludes, and the second arc of Timewalker begins.

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Along with all these issues I also had to dig deep into the wallet as I found quite a score in quarter bins. Back in 2005/2006, I used DC‘s One Year Later stunt as a jumping-OFF point for the Teen Titans series that I’d followed–at that point–from its first issue. This week, I found a complete run from that point into the #90s as well as a couple Annuals and such, and several of the pre-One Year Later issues so if I delve into reading before I unify these with the nearly-decade-old issues hidden away in a longbox somewhere, I can refresh slightly before jumping into all-new stuff I’ve never read.

I also found several interesting-looking random issues, along with a beat-up but perfectly readable copy of the Uncanny X-Men/New Teen Titans #1 from back in 1982.

All in all, a HUGE week I hope not to repeat in a single week again anytime soon…but LOADS of reading.

Blue and Gold: NON-Silver Age Showcase volumes

blue_and_gold_04My first exposure to Booster Gold and Blue Beetle that I can recall was Justice League America #69–the Doomsday tie-in that came out back in October 1992 as that storyline kicked off.

They were just these two characters I’d never heard of before that apparently were part of the Justice League. The Blue Beetle was nearly killed by Doomsday–beaten horribly–while Booster was knocked away from the fight (saved by his force field) where Superman caught him, and the creature was given its name.

I would later learn plenty more about the characters and backtrack and keep up with them to varying degrees in the ongoing DC Universe of the 1990s. Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue now when I became aware of both having their own ongoing series shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I do know that I came across their series in a sale, and have the full runs SOMEWHERE in my accumulation, but that’s a whole other thing.

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I now have both series, complete, in a handy two-volume format.

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The Booster Gold volume came out over 6 years ago, and I picked it up pretty much right away with the expectation that there’d be a Blue Beetle volume to follow before long…never realizing just how long it would actually be!

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Now in early 2015, I finally have my Blue Beetle volume, and despite it being $3 more expensive and some minor cosmetic/visual differences in the trade dress, I’m really pretty happy with it…happy at least to actually have the thing.

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Since I’ve never (yet) read the series I definitely look forward to getting into it and experiencing the stories despite the age of them. While color would be better, since I read for story over art most of the time anyway, I’m not particularly concerned here.

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Though I was specifically interested in both books over the years for the series/content…I also felt inclined to “support” them as post-Crisis on Infinite Earths volumes rather than Silver Age stuff. I would LOVE to see various early post-Crisis titles reprinted like this…especially as DC prepares to move away from “continuity” “mattering” and it seems less and less likely that I’ll have any real interest in their new output.

From the back of the bandwagon: My DC New 52 thoughts, Week #3

BATMAN #1

batman001I rather like the various “new” gadgets Batman’s got here–especially the linkup to the Bat-computer in the cowl. I also liked the way this issue starts, with the words describing Gotham. Getting this info from Batman’s POV. I was also QUITE glad to see Dick and Tim along with Damian, and to find out that Yes, Tim was indeed a Robin, and is now Red Robin. I’m less thrilled with the direction the story took by issue’s end, as it reminds me just a bit too much of Frank Miller‘s Dark Knight Strikes Again. But as far as the bat-books so far go, I certainly enjoyed this one more than I did Detective Comics, and found this to–in its own way–be probably the most-accessible of the bat-books so far, offhand. I think I was always gonna get this, being one of the Old Titles: Action, Detective, Superman, Batman. I’m not convinced I’ll keep with this title long-term, though…but while I’m not blown away, I’m not entirely unimpressed. (7.5/10)

BLUE BEETLE #1

bluebeetle001This issue wasn’t part of my original plan. But I figured that I skipped on the debut of the last BB series, so might as well check this one out. I was somehow kind of surprised to find that this basically gives us a whole new origin for the character–but I actually like that, I think. Reboot, relaunch, whatever the term–as the start of a new DCU, it makes sense to give the character a fresh start. If the old origin was kept, there’d be a LOT of explaining to do by way of Ted Kord and Infinite Crisis (and Booster Gold), so this steps free of those loose ends. I’m only tangentially aware of the animosity between the scarab and the Green Lanterns (there was that Sinestro Corps War tie-in in the last BB series, and at least one episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold). No real problem with the art…and the story’s decent. I haven’t quite decided for certain if I plan to keep up with this series–but it’s definitely worth checking out! (7/10)

CAPTAIN ATOM #1

captainatom001.jpegAnother issue I had not originally planned on checking out, but added last-second. Offhand, this is probably the stinker of the week for me–though I’d read this, I couldn’t even remember what happened in it. And paging back through it, I feel like I didn’t even read it to begin with, despite knowing I actually did. This is certainly not the Captain Atom that I’ve known for the last two decades. As far as restarts go, and as a debut issue, I’m not even slightly impressed. The art is very stylized, and not in a way that I particularly enjoy. I don’t like the new visual design for the character, either, though I don’t know if that blame lies wholly on the design itself or this particular stylized interpretation. The story really does not feel accessible–not only do I not know this character, we start out right away with his powers acting weird on him, which feels like it should be at LEAST a second arc, or something saved for later. I don’t know what CA’s powerset is to begin with, and so him not being able to control it or it changing on him means nothing. Not planning on coming back for #2. (4/10)

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1

greenlanterncorps001Though it’s been cool getting back into the GL books after a year and a half “off,” I’m not entirely thrilled with this one. And yet…this wasn’t horrible. I definitely enjoyed seeing Guy and John interacting, and the issue’s story did a good job of setting up both those characters, and that this ultimately involves the GL Corps as a whole, and is not limited to just the Earth-GLs. I especially enjoyed seeing Guy at the job interview; John’s interview scene was interesting as well. I never cared for either character until Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War…and I’ve found Guy’s development to be the most compelling, as I actually like reading the character now. The art for the issue isn’t really up my ally–it feels far too much like Gleason‘s style, which has always been my main turnoff to reading Green Lantern Corps. I’d intended to keep out of the GL corner of the New 52 and stick to the attempt of waiting for the collected volumes to read the stories, but the fresh/specific jumping-on point might just manage to suck me in for a brief time. (7.5/10)

NIGHTWING #1

nightwing001.jpegYet another title I hadn’t originally planned on picking up. But it’s Nightwing. And it’s #1. And despite being into comics at the time, I never did pick up either of the previous Nightwing #1s. Heck, other than the crossovers with the big Batman stories, I never really followed Nightwing, period. Unfortunately, I don’t know that that’s going to change all that much…but I think this has me hooked, at least for this first arc. The art’s good, which was quite enjoyable. And I like the idea of Dick revisiting Haley’s Circus, though I’m pretty sure this’s been done a few times before. At the least, I’m reminded a bit of Batman: Year 3, the final issue of which was my very first Batman comic, EVER. And just after that was the Lonely Place of Dying arc…both stories holding a key piece of my introduction to Dick Grayson as Nightwing, and all that. I think I’d’ve enjoyed this issue even without the new villain; and I am tired of seeing Dick getting so (physically) beat up all the time…seems he’s always getting these disastrous injuries, and yet keeps right on going…worse than Batman. I haven’t decided how I feel about swapping the blue for red in the costume…but given it’s been more than two years since seeing him in the previous costume, I don’t have any huge problem with this change. If anything, the blue maybe tied him more to Batman, while the red ties him more to Robin. I’ll be back for #2, though probably taking the series on an issue by issue basis. (8/10)

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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