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Stuff I Didn’t Buy – Week of November 16, 2016

My "Weekly Haul" this week ended up consisting of Superman #11, Aliens: Life and Death #3, Reborn #2, and Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #2. I may get into those tomorrow or Friday.

But, indulging in some negativity and ranting (this is my own blog, after all–read it or not, completely up to you!) here are several things I didn’t buy, but considered buying, almost bought, or under other conditions would have bought…and why.

Moonshine #2

moonshine0002a     moonshine0002b

I picked up Moonshine #1 last month to try, and for what it is, enjoyed it enough that I’ve been watching/waiting for #2 to come out. It’s finally out this week (Oct. 5 for #1, Nov 16 for #2…that’s about SIX weeks, no?) Thing is…it’s a brand-new series. New series, new creators, not spinning out of anything, hasn’t had long enough to really develop or have any "in jokes" or (to me) any real iconography or symbols or other stuff to warrant any relevant/useful/interesting/cool variant covers. But there they were on the shelf, two covers that–at least at the shop I was at–sat there in equal-ratio. So, just looking at them, I saw nothing overly obvious to indicate which was the "main" cover, the "A" cover, the "primary" or "basic" cover…in short, which one was NOT the "variant."

In searching for suitable images to use for this post, I’ve narrowed it down to the one with the skulls as being the cover I’d’ve gone with–and that was the one I’d added initially to what I had in my hands to purchase. But whether it was there or not, I did not see anything to indicate which should be which…and I refused to stand there in the middle of the shop, googling on my phone to try to determine an answer…but I also was not going to suffer buying a variant when I want to have the "regular" cover.

So, I wound up saying "screw it!" and put ’em both back.

Because of a variant cover, a series I was otherwise trying, interested in, willing to give a chance to–I opted NOT to buy #2, and as such will NOT be buying ANY OTHER single issues for.

Hope it’s worth it, folks. Maybe I’ll buy the collected edition, which presumably will have a single cover. But even there, for throwing a random variant in there, you’ve cost yourself MY purchase, and MY goodwill, such that here I am giving your book more space and time pointing out the customer frustration with variants, and that you won’t have me (not that I matter, personally) playing any role in talking the book up positively.


DC Universe: Rebirth – The Deluxe Edition Hardcover (LCSD edition)

dc_rebirth_deluxe_lcsdHere’s another one I’ve been looking forward to. I believe the "regular" edition of this should be out soon; a week or two, perhaps, yet.

But what really turned me off about this (and I was sort of surprised to see it out already instead of being held back til Saturday) is the cover. That is, the "sketch" cover. THe lines-only, without cover, except in the trade dress and credits.

See, I don’t get why people like these. (If you do, more power to you–I simply do not get it!) To me, it looks like a draft, and unfinished product, an inferior product. It’s not finished, it’s not the intended edition, etc.

So while I’d’ve been willing to plonk down full cover price for this thing in-person, in general…I was NOT willing to do so for an inferior cover.

Yeah, it’d almost certainly be on my shelf spine-out and I wouldn’t even SEE the cover most of the time. But when I’d pull it down off the shelf, I’d see it, and I’d be treated to the unfinished image at that point, and reminded of the sheer ridiculousness of it, when I can simply wait a week or two and get the full color cover edition, which is the actual product, and actually has the cover to grab attention and attract one to reading it.


Thanos #1

thanos_0001I should have been a prime mark for this book. Thanos, and it’s a #1, so supposedly a jumping-on point, right?

But this is Marvel. And at this point, I don’t trust them. Yeah, I could buy the issue, but is this a 6-issue series? Or 12? Will this be partaking in events before issue 10?

And then, there’s that shattered NOW! thing, recycling an initiative from just four years ago.

And that big #1 in the upper left corner, but then a small white #1 down near the Marvel logo and UPC box, as if to clarify "yes, this actually IS a true #1, this is not one of the issues we’re trying to TRICK you into buying as a #1 when it’s really a #7 or #18 or some other such!"

Further, there’s the fact that I’m not interested in buying any Marvel #1 issues for $4.99! That is way too freaking much for a single issue, padded/"’bonus’ material" or not!

Oh…well, this is "only" $3.99? Yeah, well, it’s seemed all the other #1s have been $4.99, and Marvel has been very clearly conditioning and "training" me into the SIMPLE "assumption" that ALL of their #1s are $4.99…so sure, it’s a "surprise" when it’s not, but I still have the other stuff above counting against it such that $1 less than assumed price is not a great selling point–this is STILL $1 MORE than grabbing a random DC Rebirth issue!

There’s also the odd mix Marvel has lately of stuff ignoring enough continuity to be frustrating in general to one who greatly enjoys continuity (at least 1980s into early 2000s) and yet being so stupidly tied-into stuff as to feel impenetrable if one has not been closely following recent events. Flipping through, I caught what looked like Thane, who I believe is a "son of Thanos" or such from Infinity (an event/crossover I did not and have not read) and thus another aspect of things I am actively disinerested in.

Perhaps most "petty" of me…this is not a Jim Starlin book, and I much prefer his take on the character, if only for some sort of internal consistency that I (again) do not trust Marvel to maintain in general at this point.


So, I walked out with my four comics that did not frustrate me on sight. Superman #11 had a variant cover, but the bulk of the covers present were the same–the one I got–and the other cover I couldn’t even tell what the image was supposed to be, just glancing at it. On Cave Carson, I was able to use the same methodology: this cover had more of this than the other, and seems to fit the title better. And it’s at least an "established" (if decades-old-since-established) property and not a brand-new-concept-characters-universe-everything kinda issue. Aliens is an Aliens comic, the 3rd issue of a stated-up-front-on-the-covers 4-issue-miniseries rather than something being cancelled before telling its intended first story or such. And Reborn #2 only had one cover available on the shelf, so no "confusion" or wonder about what the "main" cover is.

But as stated last week by Valiant‘s Dinesh Shamdasani, "we’d love nothing more but the industry is not set up for that" [having only 1 cover per issue] and "must also remember that while we both may not like variants lots of people love them."

Still, I’m obviously a clear case where having variants is a detriment, and that’s a couple of lost sales (magnified the longer Moonshine runs) and whatever else spills out of that.

And thanks to crap with variant schemes and holding content hostage, I’m presently (since July 2015) refusing to purchase anything from Valiant, and since their stunt with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 earlier this year, I refuse to touch anything from Boom! Studios, either.

MMPR and Why I’m Done With Boom! Studios’ Single Issues

I was excited last week for the debut of the new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series from Boom! Studios. I was annoyed at the SEVEN different covers for the #0 issue…but they’re all such great-looking pieces, and the property has just the right bit of nostalgia, that I was actually looking at bucking my usual hatred of variants.

I enjoyed the story of the issue, in part along with the notion of acquiring not one, but SIX to SEVEN copies of the issue, to frame and display the covers in my “comic cave.”

Unfortunately, I was only able to acquire one single cover (Black Ranger), and when I took to online retailers, no one had any of the issues in stock…and then I was BLOWN AWAY when I tried eBay…and learned that TWO of the covers were RATIOED VARIANTS.

1_50_green_ranger

The Green Ranger cover was 1:50, and the White Ranger was a whopping 1:100.

That is…for every FIFTY COPIES of the regular covers a retailer orders, they can order ONE single, solitary copy of the Green Ranger cover. A retailer would have to order ONE HUNDRED COPIES of the regular covers to be able to order ONE single, solitary copy of the White Ranger cover.

That is complete and utter BS, and I call shenanigans!

1_100_white_ranger

This is a “team book,” that is–the book stars the TEAM, a cast of more than one primary character–in this case, a team of SIX characters. ONE of those characters spent time with the powers of two different Rangers–Green and White. So while all SEVEN covers would be a great set, since the story FOCUSES on the early part of the Green Ranger even being part of the group, the White Ranger cover COULD be seen as a “bonus” cover, separate from the “set.” Bad enough each character has to have their own individual cover (rather than any sort of team cover)…but then Boom! goes and pulls this, taking arguably the most popular (Green and White) and making them not 1:7 (equal ratio), not 1:10 but 1:50 and 1:100 respectively.

Even if a retailer gets the issues at $1 each, that makes the Green cover a $50 book, and the White a $100 book. Move that price upward the more the retailer has to pay.

What would have otherwise been a fun little “exception” to my no-variants personal policy has turned into downright frustration, and frankly, at this point, I’m done with Boom!

I was “all-in” for three years with Valiant, and dropped the publisher as a whole last summer over their crap with the Legends of the Geomancer. It’s been awhile since Boom! has really had anything of any interest to me–Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was gonna be my gateway back into their product, to having something of theirs on my pull list (and through whatever house ads/etc, I’d see as a result) probably get some of their other series back in my attention.

Instead, on principle, I’ll be voting with my wallet. Instead of my buying 6-7 copies of THE SAME ISSUE now, and continuing to purchase the ongoing monthly series’ issues each month, AND whatever else would grab my attention from there…I’ll likely part ways with the copy of the issue I did buy. And going forward, I will not only not be buying the series at all, I’ll not only passively not currently be buying anything from the publisher…I’ll be actively AVOIDING the publisher’s entire output…at least as single issues. Perhaps later in the year I’ll make an exception for a collected edition (provided the collected edition itself does not have variants), but as single issues go, as “supporting the series” goes…nope.

Thanks, Boom! for operating on the short-sightedness and money grab. You’ve earned ill-will on my end.

Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1 [Review]

billandtedsmosttriumphantreturn001Written by: Brian Lynch
Pencils by: Jerry Gaylord
Inks by: Jerry & Penelopy Gaylord
Colors by: Whitney Cogar
Letters by: Jim Campbell
Cover: Felipe Smith, Rob Guillory
Designer: Scott Newman
Assistant Editor: Alex Galer
Editor: Ian Brill
Published by: Boom! Studios
Cover Date: March 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I must confess: though I bought the two Bill & Ted movies on dvd awhile back, I have yet to watch those dvds, and it’s possible that I haven’t actually watched either film since my sophomore year of college more than a decade back.

I was vaguely aware that there was to be a new Bill & Ted comic, having noted some press release or headline about Boom! getting the property…but it wasn’t until a few days before this issue’s release that I was actually consciously aware of and looking for it. And even seeing it in the store, I noted that the cover specifies this is "No. 1 of 6," which translates (for me) to "serialized graphic novel." And even the title itself, the emphasis on Most Triumphant Return over Bill & Ted suggests this is a single, finite story and so whether as the comic it is or some tv/movie analogy, after this story it will no longer be a return, and so there’d be some other title there.

But the nostalgia got me, and while the characters look absolutely ridiculous on the cover, just the NOTION of something new and contemporary with Bill & Ted was something I couldn’t bring myself to pass up, at least to check out a first issue. (And in a bit of interesting timing, DC Comics is doing a "movie posters" variant theme for the month, and the Action Comics issue riffing on Bill & Ted was also released this week).

This issue opens basically seconds after the end of the film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The guys are at the Battle of the Bands, having just won; kids in tow, the babes nearby, Station and Death hanging around, the guys’ destiny has begun. They have a hit song that will eventually bring world peace and all that, they’ve been to hell and back…so where do they go from here? We follow them in the immediate aftermath as they try to settle into some semblance of normalcy with a full apartment, kids, Station, the Good Robot Thems…and time-travelers eager to visit The Great Ones. Realizing they have no idea about their next song (let alone a whole album) or how to deal with facing a future they’re responsible for, the two acquire a phone booth and travel to the future to sit in on a Bill & Ted 101 class. Once there, they make a remarkable discovery.

The cliffhanger comes on the 16th page…but there’s a backup feature.

Bill & Ted and the Bogus Virus

Written by: Ryan North
Illustrated by: Ian McGinty
Colors & Letters by: Fred Stresing

This 6-page short does not seem to be set in any particular timeframe, but given the presence of the Good Robot Thems, presumably is during/after Bogus Journey. Essentially, the Robots get an email from the future, from the Evil Robots, and they’re corrupted to be totally bogus, prompting Bill & Ted to take them to the future where technology should exist to fix their pals. While the technology is iffy, a solution is arrived at that fixes the issue and leaves everyone content.

The art for the main story is solid, though a bit cartooney. It’s a stylized thing, and while I wouldn’t like it for a superhero comic or an adaptation of an existing on-screen thing (such as one of the films) as its own thing taking the characters and telling a new story it works very well and several times actually made me smile just taking in the (exaggerated) looks on faces, etc. I like it as the characters are recognizable and I can follow what’s going on…but it’s not at all trying to capture the actors’ likenesses. This is a comic book, a fictional story about fictional characters, and it doesn’t try to be anything else and just revels in the simple fun-ness of the property.

The art on the backup is even more cartooney/stylized, and something about it just doesn’t work nearly as well for me. It’s not bad in itself, but it’s sorta unexpected and the layouts are rather crowded and after reading the main story (perhaps specifically for following and being in the same issue with it) I don’t care for the look. It’s good art, just not as appealing for me personally.

That said, McGinty‘s style puts me very much in mind of a webcomic, and if this were a Bill & Ted webcomic I’d probably be very happy with it. The story works for what it is, fits the characters and all that, and was an enjoyable read.

The main story is a nice blend of nostalgia and new, taking the familiar and moving things forward…and I really like that this isn’t trying to be Bill & Ted Twenty Years Later, but picks up and draws directly on where the movies left off.

The primary drawback to this issue and series is that it’s not an ongoing, so I’m very resistant to buying single issues when I "know" there will be a collected volume and I can have the entire story in one book. I’m also rather frustrated that the "main" story is a mere 16 pages, and the "backup" brings the total of content pages to the "standard" 22. This is a $3.99 book, a price point I’ve long hated, and the main story doesn’t even reach the 20-page mark. At 16 pages/issue that’ll make a six-issue arc a mere 96 pages…which could easily be done in a mere 3 issues that are slightly oversized.

Competing with the $3.99 price point for me is the issue of variant covers–I’m not a huge fan of this standard cover, but I absolutely have no interest in getting one of a number of variants pushed for this one.

As a whole, this is definitely a good issue, and I’m glad I bought it to check things out. I’ll probably wait for a collected volume, though–knowing this is a finite story I just don’t like the notion of paying $3.99 for 16-page chunks of a single story.

Definitely recommended, format depends on your preference for single issues vs. collected edition.

Completing Action Comics…and the Regular Wednesday Haul

The other day I considered driving across town to check another comic shop in my eagerness to “complete” my “From Crisis to Crisis to Flashpoint” run of Action Comics.

I reviewed Action Comics #890 just over three years ago, but with other stuff going on at the time, that wound up being my last issue of the title; I took the plunge and just dropped all the Superman titles altogether, gravitating toward non-DC (and non-Marvel) books. I returned the next year for #900 for the sake of it being the first-ever legitimately-made-it-to-900 American comic, and then stuck around for 901-904 as the series’ end heading into The New 52.

action890891

Of course, three years’ time means #890 is buried somewhere in one of many longboxes, and to expedite reading the entire Black Ring saga in one go, I simply purchased a new copy of the issue (satisfyingly enough, these several years later, at a mere PENNY above cover price…WITH a bag and board!).

#891, though–the “treasure” (so to speak)–completes my run. I now own #583 (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?) through #904 (Reign of Doomsdays) and the end of the pre-New 52 DC Universe.

gambitxternalsbargainbin

I still flipped QUICKLY through the bargain bins to see if anything “new” or interesting caught my eye. I did spot a couple of the Age of Apocalypse minis, but as usual let ’em go (I’m not interested in hunting individual issues). However, seeing all 4 of Gambit and the X-Ternals I pulled ’em. Not bad, considering it’s an entire mini-series for a whopping $1!

Assuming I can do so for 25 or 50 cents an issue, definitely interested in seeing how quickly I can build another full set of the original Age of Apocalypse…though I might go as high as $1/issue for X-Universe, as I rarely see either of those issues in bargain bins.

august072013haul

…and the main haul of the week: Higher Earth #9 (final issue), Cyber Force #5, Legends of the Dark Knight #11, Shadowman #9, and Quantum and Woody #2.

I’m rather non-plussed at Higher Earththis issue was (based on original solicitations) due out in January…7-8 MONTHS ago! Even Hypernaturals has since ended at #12, and I believe IT got its start after Higher Earth. Until very recently when #8 showed up, I actually thought these issues had already come out, as I pretty much put them aside in frustration at the cancellation.

Cyber Force I’ve been picking up but not reading…I believe this issue completes the first arc, so now I’ll read. (And given the series has been pushed as “free,” or in the case of Kenmore, 50 cents, I’m all for a ~$2.50 5-issue story!).

I’ve decided to jump on the print editions of several of the DC Digital-First titles…caught up on Legends of the Dark Knight #s 8-10 this past weekend (a shop had all 3 at cover price), just in time for this new issue.

And of course…I get all standard-cover Valiant issues.

Freelancers #1 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

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

Hypernaturals #5 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Higher Earth #6 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

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

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