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Some Thoughts On the Week’s Comics (Week of March 29th, 2017)

I didn’t (and haven’t, and won’t) get around to full review treatment for any of last week’s issues at this point, but I did have a few thoughts on several issues. Unfortunately, I haven’t actually gotten around to reading all the new issues I bought, as Real Life has continued to be a bit of a hindrance in that department. But given a couple of purchases were made with the intention of writing about them, I figure I probably should actually write about ’em.


X-Men: Prime (2017)

xmenprime2017When I (premeditatively) decided I would actually go ahead and pick this issue up–despite having originally decided flat-out not to touch any of these ResurrXion titles–I’d had no idea that I would find it completely sold out at two shops before 6pm its day of release. I found a copy at a third shop, which was down to only four copies at that point, including the Venom variant.

The second shop actually did have the Venom variant as well, but I didn’t even recognize it as an X-Men issue, let alone this issue, THE issue I was very specifically looking for! (Way to go, Marvel and stupid-*** variants!)

I bought this issue largely on the premise that I was already buying several $5 issues, might as well lump one more into the mix…plus, I’d have no room to talk about it if I didn’t at least give it a shot myself, right?

The art wasn’t all that bad…it certainly didn’t put me off the X-titles. But it’s far from being enough in and of itself to pull me in. The multiple art teams wasn’t terribly jarring, though it was noticeable…particularly when it came to Storm, due to the character’s hair style(s).

The story felt rather forgettable…nothing really drew me in, and I did not feel like there was really even a full STORY here…more a through line to give us a quick tour of characters and situations that’d make up a number of too-expensive biweekly series and such.

This certainly trades on NOSTALGIA, in title as well as the notion of the ResurrXion thing in general, and the forthcoming X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold titles. It cerainly suckered me into stuff.

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I read the ORIGINAL X-Men: Prime back in 1995 the day it came out, a week after X-Men: Omega, the end of the Age of Apocalypse saga.

At that time, I’d been following the original Uncanny X-Men series, the original X-Men series, the original Wolverine series off and on, with a spattering of other titles…and having gotten and read the entirety of the X-family of titles the month prior to the Age of Apocalypse and then the entirety of that saga…so I was pretty "up" on the books at the time going in and coming out, so I was a ripe target for such a book, to touch briefly on numerous characters and stuff that’d "spin out" into other titles that I was planning on trying to follow.

This time around? Not so much. It’s telling that I almost have more to say about the original from 22 years ago than this one from a week ago!


All-New X-Men (2015) #19

all_new_xmen_0019I can firmly blame my purchase of this issue on hype from Bleeding Coo, and a curiosity for more detail, and to get some actual context. There’s also something about that cover that hit a bit of the nostalgia-trigger for me as well…perhaps the banner at the bottom identifying this as a finale, perhaps the fonts, I don’t know…but it’s telling that I was more interested in this AS a final issue than I was in a #1 for this or any of a number of other X-books when they’ve hit over the last few years.

The art for this wasn’t bad; nothing overly distracting or such. I actually rather like the costumes and general character designs overall (though Jean looks a bit "off" for this cover despite my otherwise liking it). I especially like the young Cyclops’ costume…a lot like the ’90s version that I’d definitely claim as my favorite and consider THE most iconic of the character’s looks.

Though I already knew it going in, this issue "reveals" that the "past" these X-Men came from and have "access" to presently has their younger selves as if they’d never been pulled out of time…and thus, this young team has nowhere else to GO, and are apparently separate from the adult versions they’ve thought where their own older selves.

I can’t begin to guess at all the continuity or lack thereof in the last couple years since I read most of the original run of the original iteration of this title (from 2012/2013)…but this seems to cut these characters "loose," where there’s no longer a "question" of when or if they’ll go back to their own time–the adult X-Men have past selves properly in their own time, and these five apparently aren’t it, so whatever they do, they’ve got their own future/fate to forge in the present, simply AS themselves, and all their new/recent status quo elements.

The novelty has worn off for me on these versions of the characters…there may still be some interesting-ish stuff to be done with them, but overall, I’m less than thrilled at the notion that these are simply THE "replacements" overall for the characters I grew up on, and am not thrilled at any notion of continuing to follow their adventures (I believe they’re X-Men: Blue?)


Booster Gold/Flintstones #1

booster_gold_flintstones_0001While hardly on the same level as Robin, Superman, or the TMNT, Booster Gold is definitely a draw for me.

Already curious about the re-imagined take on the Flintstones, realizing this was coming had my interest…all the more when I saw this cover (which may actually be a variant…I which case it’s a rarity as I far, Far, FAR prefer it to the other cover!)

The story’s a bit light and goofy, and rather irreverent…and I don’t get much of a sense of Booster himself as a character here nor of the Flintstones characters. In a way, I guess that makes this a good stand-alone issue, as I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything with any of the characters involved.

The Booster side of the story seems largely predicated on what I’d consider an outdated take on the character, drawing visually on more recent takes on the character while not seeming to use his most recent ongoing series (that touched into and ended with Flashpoint back in 2011). I’m not sure how it ties in with his general New 52 stuff, but that’s because I haven’t read much of that.

I was curious as well, once I got the issue, at what the Jetsons story would be, and suspected from the image on the cover that it’d involve a new take on the robot maid…and I was definitely right! The story proved to be an interesting glimpse into a new version of the characters’ lives/status quo, while also telling an interesting story of how a robot maid would be able to be such an integral part of the family.

Though the $5 cover price is a bit much, for the length of the issue and its contents, the two stories, it’s mostly worthwhile. I enjoyed the issue overall, probably more for the Jetsons than the lead feature, but I did not feel like my money was wasted by having bought this.


I still have the Green Lantern/Space Ghost and Adam Strange/Future Quest issues to read, as well as most of the first Flintstones volume, and assorted other "recent" issues. I’m hoping to keep this week a bit "small," after such an expensive week last week…looking forward to the new Superman issue, as well as needing to check for the AvP: Life and Death #4 that I missed last week.

Also looks like a season of omnibii is approaching, which may get very expensive very quickly…and only a couple weeks or so until The Button, which with Superman Reborn now completed, is probably the story I’m most looking forward to for a few weeks.

Time will certainly tell!

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The Weekly Haul – Weeks of March 22nd & 29th, 2017

This week’s both huge yet small. Mostly EXPENSIVE.

THREE $5 issues ($4.99) from DC… but these are the would-be-Annuals-now-simply-Specials with the DC heroes crossing over/teaming up with the Hanna-Barbera characters. I don’t know that I’ll be getting ALL of them over the coming months…but these three had my attention…particularly the Booster Gold/Flintstones one and Green Lantern/Space Ghost. I saw the Adam Strange/Future Quest cover enough times that I apparently added it to my stack…so I’ll make a point to read it at least!

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Then I grudgingly hunted down X-Men: Prime…where typically I’ll "vote with my wallet" AGAINST stuff like this…since I was ALREADY throwing price out the window with the DC books, and have long groused about the state of the X-books, I can at least bite the bullet on this issue to "try" it. After all…I can’t KEEP knocking stuff–can’t knock the "new" stuff or the "change of course" or "seeming change of course" if I don’t at least try it. Then after seeing a preview and LOVING the art (a DEFINITE rarity for me, as I virtually NEVER buy solely based on the art) got the apparently-final issue of All-New X-Men (volume whatever…3, 4?). And the preview book was "free," so…whatever.

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The third issue of Kamandi Challenge is out…I need to read #2 yet, but don’t want to fall behind.

Finally, for a $6 cover price, Dark Horse Number Ones reprints 8 #1 issues from Dark Horse…I’m all about these sorts of volumes, especially on the price. It’s even preferable to $1 #1 reprints!

And speaking of reprints…there’s some sort of $10 edition of Letter 44 vol. 1 out…beats the heck outta the $20 cover price on the original edition! I did not get that as I’ve gotten way behind on the single issues, and have all the single issues. Though for the price, I may track it down eventually.

Below, I cover last week‘s haul, which I neglected til now out of frustration at trying to track down the Action Comics issue.

Continue reading

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.

New Year, New Toys…ish.

Facebook marketing works, when done correctly. Like, say, having a Page, that I’ve Liked, and putting content out (particularly of stuff I might be interested in buying), and mentioning prices that aren’t otherwise visible.

Plus, I’m a sucker for photos that essentially allow me to browse a store’s stock at my leisure without being there.

So when I saw a post in my newsfeed from a local shop on Saturday, since I saw it via the app on my phone, I was able to view the photo, and ZOOM IN to look at stuff!

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While none of the slightly larger statues/busts really appealed to me (especially for the prices, even being on sale!) the DC figurines caught my attention, and I saw several that appealed to me. So I figured ok, I had to dig my car out from under two days of snow anyway, might as well reward myself for the effort with a brief trip to the shop (plus parking at a couple of Pokestops to restart streaks in Pokemon Go).

figurines_jan8th_green_lantern_kyle_rayner

While they’d not grabbed my attention in the photo, on looking at them in person, the JLA pewter figures looked pretty cool…particularly the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. Though it’s cool as-is…the thought’s dawned on me that it could be primed and painted…which could be an interesting project sometime!

figurines_jan8th_booster_gold

The figurine that most grabbed my attention from the initial Facebook photo, though, was Booster Gold! And since he was still there, I got him! I was pleasantly surprised at the weight of these…being so used to action figures and such, pewter/lead/metal figurines are a relatively new thing for me, in terms of DC/comic/super-hero figurines like this!

figurines_jan8th_supergirl_front

I saw/recognized Supergirl in the photo, and seeing that that figurine was still there, I decided to get it as well…though I neglected to pay it much attention (said attention had been grabbed by Booster Gold!).

And getting it home, I realize I’m not very happy with it…the character is not really a version I like, and projecting the weirdness (to me) of a young/mid-teen girl being made to look "sexy" and I’m an adult male more than twice the character’s supposed age!

figurines_jan8th_supergirl_cape

I realized that what really got me was the cape–I love the gold trim, as well as the yellow S on the back! So this is the view that I like for the character, and I think it was reflected enough in the display case that it’s what had most grabbed my attention.

figurines_jan8th

So I start out the new year with metal figurines…a bit more "upscale" than 3.75" action figures or "adult collector" figures, basically miniature statues. They are static–no re-posing them to interact with other figures or such. But for the price, at least, quite appealing, and I could easily see getting several more…assuming they’re still there after a new paycheck!

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!

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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.

Convergence: Booster Gold #1 [Review]

convergence_boostergold001Ride the Wave

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Alvaro Martinez
Inker: Raul Fernandez
Letterer: Corey Breen
Colorist: Chris Sotomaor
Cover: Dan Jurgens, Danny Miki, Hi-Fi
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Marie Javins
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: June 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I was all set to just pass entirely on Convergence this past week. But after how thrilled I was to get my Blue Beetle Showcase volume recently, and seeing the familiar "classic" Booster Gold AND Blue Beetle logos on issues this week…I wound up buying ’em. And I was especially sold on this issue seeing Jurgens‘ name there.

Though set amidst Convergence itself, this issue basically sees the pre-Flashpoint Booster and co. meet up with the New 52 Booster as they try to piece together what’s going on. We learn a few things about the timeline (such as the fact that Booster is Rip’s father in one timeline does not guarantee it’d be so in another) as well as that while pre-Flashpoint Booster has thought he was bouncing through time, he was actually being bounced through the various domed cities. Though the group manages to get to the surface they find themselves caught up fighting Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes before the older Booster is pulled away, to be greeted by a familiar city…and ally.

Despite the fight with the Legion keeping this "grounded" in the realm of "just another Convergence tie-in," overall this issue felt a lot more like its own independent thing. Still very much a part of Convergence, but with the time-travel stuff and the recent (post-52 Weekly Series) status quo for Booster this stands apart. The Futures End month Booster Gold issue last year also stood alone a bit and seemed to indicate there was something more going on with multiple timelines’ Boosters…and this picks up where that left off, thematically.

It’s a bit of a tease, and likely not in a good way, being able to follow "my" Booster Gold this way. But it definitely gives the appearance of a long game and Big Stuff to throw Booster into the mix with his own issues like these despite having no solo ongoing book since Flashpoint.

The story’s good, and plays quite well with established continuities–at least for me–and far more than any of the other Convergence issues or tie-ins, I actually"feel" like I’m getting a momentary continuation or revisitation with "my" Booster rather than a glimpse of characters purported to be the ones I knew that somehow seem more like they’re "based on" than actually being those characters.

I’m not overly familiar with the art team, but the art on this issue is quite solid and looks really good overall. Some of the colors seem a bit dark and heavy, but overall this looks like what my memory says could be an issue of the last Booster Gold ongoing, and with Jurgens continuing to write the character…it feels a lot more "true" to me.

Whatever Convergence as a whole holds, I would be quite comfortable with considering the New 52 Futures End: Booster Gold issue and this mini to be a direct continuation of the 2007 Booster Gold series…and that alone makes this well worthwhile.

If you want something that isn’t just another fight book or loosely based on characters from a scant handful of previous continuities, this is one issue that seems like it’ll actually "matter." Even if I pick up no further Convergence tie-ins, I’ll definitely be back for the next issue of this.

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