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The Weekly Haul – Week of January 21st, 2015

This proved to be a rather ridiculously huge week with quite a bit of TMNT “clustering.”

weekly_haul_20150127a

Two Valiant books…priced the same, but The Valiant has a cardstock cover and is what they’re calling “Prestige Format” (what I expected to be squarebound like Superman: Speeding Bullets).

And THREE TMNT books. Counting the TMNT/Ghostbusters mini, I don’t get why these couldn’t be spaced out–about ONE per week.

I’m hoping that this “Color Classics vol. 3” is 15 issues…this first issue reprints the original TMNT #48, so I’m hoping #2 is 49 and #3 kicks off City at War.

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The rest of the pile…the DC Weeklies, latest Bleeding Cool, and Magnus Robot Fighter. ElfQuest is a $1 reprint. And the DC Essential catalog for 2015.

I also snagged 18 quarter-bin issues…may or may not detail those later.

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The Rest of the Stack: Week of September 5, 2012

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

THE HYPERNATURALS #3

I’m continuing to get drawn in, and the odd vocabulary elements are feeling a bit more normal. I’m liking the flashbacks that are fleshing out the present, and beginning to get a sense of the continuity that’s been built from the start of this series. You know something’s being done right when I’m interested in going back to re-read the issues so far just to appreciate the world that’s been built in such a short span of time. The story is engaging and the characters are easy enough to identify with. The art continues on a high note as well. Though I saw this issue’s end coming a couple pages early that ramped up the tension which made the cliffhanger both that much more appreciable and a bit anticlimactic, as if it ended a panel or two too soon.

BLOODSHOT #3

Three issues in, and I’m quite enjoying this series. Having figured out the art style for the flashbacks vs. the present, I quite enjoy the shifts, as we follow Bloodshot on his quest to find out the truth about his past. While he seeks his past, Project Rising Spirit is determined to remove him from the field permanently. The story kinda sucked me in on this issue; as said, recognizing flashbacks made this a much more enjoyable read and didn’t seem disruptive at all. I like both visual styles as presented here. As I keep saying, I’m enjoying this new take on a “classic” character; even knowing this isn’t the original “version” doesn’t bother me. Sort of a cross between Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line and DC‘s New 52, with the best of both worlds. Definitely looking forward to the next issue.

ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG #2

The cover to this issue puts me in mind of a cover from the early issues of the Wolverine relaunch back in ’03 or so, where we see grumpy Wolverine on the ground, a line of bullet-holes across the wall–and him; and just looking at it, you know someone’s in for a world o’ hurt. Here, we get a look at the two title characters and a scene that kinda plays on the state of things, and (at least to me) comes off as rather amusing. Archer with a crossbow, pondering the Armstrong, who he’s shot umpteen times but calmly (cheerfully, even!) drinking a beer. With his parents’ reality revealed, Archer breaks from them and decides to join Armstrong, and the two begin their quest for the parts of The Boon that are scattered throughout the world. Of course, it wouldn’t be a quest if it was easy, and things sure don’t start easy for the pair. I really like this new take on the characters–it’s fresher and somehow seems a bit more realistic than the classic. I also like that the title characters don’t spend the entire first arc or two against each other–I’m far more interested in how they handle things as a “team,” with such drastically different backgrounds, personality, and abilities. The story keeps me interested, and I like the art–and the character designs. This Armstrong looks younger–and more presentable–than the classic, and somehow, that brings more of a sense of “fun” to the title, amidst the darker, more serious elements.

TMNT MICRO-SERIES #8: FUGITOID

This issue introduces us to the Fugitoid–an alien scientist in a robot body. This issue as a whole is “the origin issue” for the Fugitoid, detailing the robot as well as Dr. Honeycutt, and the motivations that led to the Fugitoid’s situation. While the essense of the original origin is present, details have obviously been changed–and it works really well for me. The art’s pretty solid, and pulls off the “alien, yet similar to Earth” vibe. The story itself is good, though I found out after reading this that the issue spoils something from the next issue of the main TMNT title–though I didn’t feel like there was anything particularly revelatory, and actually thought this played off stuff we’ve already seen. We get a glimpse of an entire culture that works far better for me than their use in the classic cartoon–taking a campy, goofy concept and making it a valid, reasonable element for the current continuity. The issue ends with no ad for a next issue, and I’m unsure if there will be any more–the first collected volume was 4 issues, and this is the 8th–making another complete 4-issue volume. I hope these continue; as I’ve indicated before–I’d gladly keep buying this companion series to the main title, with different creative teams and spotlight characters.

TMNT COLOR CLASSICS #4

While the turtles are out searching for Splinter, they are ambushed by the Foot, who want revenge for the death of Shredder. While battling the ninjas, the turtles come across a strange building marked with the letters “TCRI”–which they recognize as the same as what was on the canister of goo that mutated them. When they investigate the building further, they find plenty of oddities, including the inhabitants of the building, and an alien device they’ve built that spells major issue for the turtles’ future. The story is fairly simple, and things kinda scoot along quickly. This is still early in the existence of the TMNT, so for me it’s more the ideas that were put forth than actual grace in execution of the story. The art’s solid, and quite a contrast to contemporary takes on the characters. Still, I like it, and it’s really cool to see this colorized in a single-issue format; if I didn’t know it started out black-and-white and had no attention called to it, I’d have a hard time believing this wasn’t a color comic to begin with. Despite the various collected volumes already out, I hope this Color Classics series lasts long enough to re-present the entire Mirage vol. 1 TMNT series…though I wouldn’t entirely mind if it skips a bunch of the middle stuff and just re-presents the “core” Eastman/Laird stuff of the first 11 issues, Micro-Series, Return to New York, and City at War arcs.

The Rest of the Stack Catch-Up: TMNT and AvX

The Rest of the Stack logo

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted much, so this is part of my “catching up” on the past month and a half or so.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES COLOR CLASSICS #3

I’d forgotten this issue’s story. I guess it had to be somewhere, but my memories of these early issues jump from the turtles meeting April and dealing with Stockman and the Mousers right into what is probably going to be in #4. Yet, we get some pretty important stuff going on here as the turtles find Splinter missing (possibly killed by the Mousers), and actually turn to April for help. We also get the obvious inspiration for “the Turtle Van” (but less commercial). And the issue ends with the introduction of characters that inspired one of the primary characters in the classic cartoon series. The story itself is pretty basic…nothing all that deep, but still enjoyable enough in itself. I really like the art here as it’s just “classic” for me (biased though I must admit I am). The color added blends very well with the original black and white, such that it’s hard to believe this wasn’t a color series to begin with. (7/10)

RAPHAEL #1

Beyond the first issue of the TMNT Color Classics, I wasn’t sure how IDW was going to go about reprinting these issues, and sorta feared the Micro-Series issues would be merged in with the numbering, resulting in TMNT Color Classics being its own numbering that wouldn’t correspond with the issue being reprinted. However, this issue simply reprints the Raphael issue as itself, and I love that. The issue’s story is pretty basic and cliche, lacking much of the depth that we eventually get with the characters. Casey’s introduction here doesn’t work so well for me, but every character has to start somewhere. There’s also some clunky dialogue with Raph that just doesn’t seem to fit ANY version of the character I think of. The art’s classic Eastman & Laird (duh) and looks quite good in this new colored format. (7/10)

AVX #8

This issue is largely focused on Namor, as he lays waste to Wakanda, and the Avengers dogpile him, ultimately learning some useful information about the Phoenix Force and its interaction with multiple hosts. Storywise, this was one of my least-favorite issues–but then, that’s largely because Namor’s one of my least-favorite of the Phoenix Five (coming in just behind Illyana). It’s also increasingly difficult to take the scope of this story serious in the face of ongoing stories in other books seeming to have nothing to do with what’s unfolding in AvX, and that even some of the actual tie-in books are barely pulling a “red skies” level of involvement. The art’s a mixed bag for me, with some of the pages looking good and others just looking horrendous to me. (4/10)

AVX #9

Nine issues in and there’s just enough of a “completist” in me to grin ‘n bear it: I started following this series, and now I want to finish it, just on principle of finishing it–though I dropped all the tie-ins cold-turkey due to frustration at Marvel continuing its cycle of not even letting one event finish before announcing the next, and the spoiling of the end of this series, and Marvel Now… This issue’s another beat-down issue, with the Avengers piling on Colossonaut and Magik, with Spider-Man taking the worst beating of the bunch this time. The art continues to be mixed, with some panels looking excellent while others look generic and a bit rushed by comparison. This is the three-quarters mark of the series, and I’m quite ready to get to the end. (5/10)

AVX #10

Cyclops has shown up to take Hope away from the Avengers, though she makes it clear she does not wish to go with him. Fighting breaks out, and Hope even gets to ride a dragon, before turning her powers on Cyclops with an unintended effect. After the previous issue, the Phoenix Force is all the more concentrated in Cyclops, which makes Hope’s effect all the more meaningful. With the ending of this issue actually pulling me back into stuff and looking forward with interest to seeing how this story’s going to conclude. (6.5/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of May 9, 2012

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

X-MEN LEGACY #266

avxxmenlegacy266Rogue, Gambit, and the rest of the adults at Wolverine’s school struggle to decide which side of the conflict they’re going to fall on, though they want to still present a unified front to the students. When Avengers show up at the school, they’re asked to remain a specific distance away from the mansion and do their “watching” from there. Of course, not all the adults want to remain strictly conflict-free, and after some provocation, the Avengers vs. X-Men battle arrives at the Jean Grey School. As things spiral out of hand, the Avengers call in a Big Gun. This is another AvX tie-in, and seems to be set fairly early in the overall story–possibly before last week’s Avengers Academy issue. (I do wish there’d be a timeline published to situate the tie-ins with the main AvX title). Art’s good overall; I followed the visual side of things quite well here. Story-wise, not bad…it’s been awhile since I last checked in with these characters, so it’s interesting seeing them again, and I look forward to catching up with ’em over the next couple months’ worth of tie-in issues. Not sure how well this fits in terms of ongoing plot-points, but as another of these many tie-ins, it continues to fill in extra details on the deeper/more thorough side of things beyond the “core” plot points of the main AvX title. (8/10)

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #10

avxwolverineandthexmen010Cyclops and Co. show up at Wolverine’s school seeking momentary sanctuary. Their presence of course isn’t trusted at face value. Meanwhile, Genesis (“Kid Apocalypse”) and Angel deal with their own lack of belonging–Genesis for everyone believing him to be (or capable of becoming) Apocalypse, and Angel for having the appearance of an original X-man but with no memory or trace of the original’s personality. While the Avengers Call comes in, Gladiator’s agents arrive on Earth with a mission that may not be immediately tolerated by the Jean Grey School’s mutants. I don’t care much for the art with this issue…but darned if there aren’t some interesting concepts here! It’s kinda cool seeing Angel and Genesis here–that even if not serving as focal points in Uncanny X-Force the characters aren’t being forgotten as mere plot points but are actually being developed. This might be a book that if I can get myself to tolerate the art I might actually track down back issues for and maybe continue with beyond AvX. Story’s not bad, though pulled down a bit by my distaste for the art…but a solid issue. (7/10)

NEW AVENGERS #26

avxnewavengers026Hundreds of years ago, a new candidate for the Iron Fist is chosen. After an accelerated training period, she tests to become the Iron Fist. She may also be a vessel of the Phoenix and the only hope for the Earth’s survival. I sure hope this retconning in of the Iron Fist vs. Phoenix thing becomes a key point in the main series, as otherwise I really don’t much care about Iron Fist History, and other than the thematic tie it otherwise seems outside the AvX story as a whole. The story itself isn’t bad, and for the most part I really dig the art…especially the cover (misleading though it is). I have the feeling I’m going to “get” more out of these New Avengers tie-in issues once the arc’s further in and I have more context for the character and the “flashback” is fleshed out a bit more (especially now that I realize this entire arc may be a flashback). As I’ve temporarily suspended my avoidance of these Avengers and X-Men titles over the $3.99 price point, I’m trying to just enjoy ’em as part of this unintended immersion…this issue may well be what “hooks” me on the Iron Fist, but it’s sure not something I would have sought out or cared to bother with without the AvX banner. (8/10)

WALKING DEAD #97

walkingdead097Rick’s group encounters their new opponents and sets forth “the” new ultimatum they’ll be operating under. Rick and Andrea have a moment and further process some recent interaction, while Maggie has some important new for Glen, and the rest of the survivors continue about their lives. Nearly half a series beyond that story leading to issue #48 or so and I still haven’t grown all that attached to non-early characters. And things are ramping up toward the big 100th issue, though that seems likely to fall mid-story arc. I’m sorta indifferent about this issue. It’s another issue (second in a month, which I don’t mind so long as it keeps to the $3 price point), meeting with usual expectation overall. Solid story, solid art. Maybe the only downside is that the cliffhanger isn’t quite as “major” as some others have been. I am finding this series to be blurring a bit on the issue-to-issue basis, and am starting to think of stepping back again from the singles and just get the collected volumes…or hold off reading til I have 2-3+ issues to read in one sitting, as some of these issues seem particularly short. Still…I love that even coming late to the party as I did (around issue 32 or 33, perhaps?) I’ve been onboard for 2/3 this series’ existence. (7.5/10)

HIGHER EARTH #1

higherearth001Seems there are multiple Earths if you can punch through the wall between universes. Some are aware of these other Earths, and there’s a system in place to regulate travel between the Earths. Some are considered better than others, and the further “down” you go, the less prestige an Earth has. The “prime” Earth is called “Higher Earth,” and is above the others. We open on a lower Earth, where some sort of warrior arrives in search of a resident, who he has to educate on the fly about the existence of these other Earths, and convince her to travel with him to another. He does this while dealing with “locals” as well as being chased by other forces seeking to stop his quest. This wasn’t a bad $1 issue (which is why it wound up in my purchase…part of my pull list is a standard pull of $1.00-ish or less issues exactly like this). I like the concept, and as a first issue, it does what I’d hope–introduces the premise, a couple main characters, an antagonist or few, and leaves one with something of a “hook” to come back for the next issue. The art’s solid–nothing spectacular, but really nothing to complain about. Incidentally, the older warrior and the young red-head puts me in mind of Cable/Hope from Marvel…which has me curious and interested in where things go. Unfortunately, as with the other week’s $1 premiere of Fanboys vs. Zombies…the trouble comes in the fact that while the issue’s definitely worth the $1 and probably would be at $2.99, I’m assuming this is another $3.99 book…which means that I’m not going to come back for #2 “off the rack.” I may eventually come back to Higher Earth either from bargain bins or a good price on a collected volume, though. (7.5/10)

TMNT COLOR CLASSICS #1

tmntcolorclassics001Continuing the wealth of TMNT material from IDW, this issue re-presents the original TMNT #1…but in color. This is the original comic book that started it all, the original presentation of the TMNT, Splinter, Shredder, and the origin. Though originally in black-and-white, the issue has been colorized by Tom Smith’s Scorpion Studios. If you’re not already familiar with the Turtles as they originally appeared, their story began as they were attacked by a street gang–the Purple Dragons. After a brutal fight, they return home–all having survived. Splinter deems their skills to be at their peak, and reveals to them their origin–of ninjas in Japan, of a doomed love, revenge, and a strange ooze. The turtles challenge the killer of their master’s owner and his wife, and soon the turtles do battle with Oroku Saki–the Shredder. Even though I’ve read this story plenty of times before this week…I quite enjoy revisiting it…especially at the hope of re-reading the original adventures of the TMNT in color on a monthly single-issue basis. I like the colorization of the issue, and will eventually have to compare it to the First Graphic Novel edition. There’s something to the way this was done that–for lack of better phrasing–“respects” the original art, while presenting it in color and thus making this edition “new” rather than “merely” a reprint. Highly, HIGHLY recommended if you’re a TMNT fan and haven’t yet read the original Mirage #1 story! (9.5/10)

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