• May 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

  • Advertisements

The Weekly Haul Catch-Up: Weeks of May 2, 9, & 16, 2019

Well, it’s been a few weeks since a Weekly Haul post. I’ve taken photos to do the posts, but real life got in the way of doing these posts themselves.

So, here are 3 weeks’ worth crammed into one!


Week of May 02, 2019

weeklyhaul_20190502a

A very DC week!

Batman and Batman/TMNT III were out May 2nd…as well as the 25-cent Year of the Villain issue. Like its predecessor last year or the year before–the issue is not all that interesting to me, and turns me off more than on to upcoming stuff; especially as I really have zero interest in "The Batman Who Laughs" OR Snyder‘s Justice League stuff.

We’re nearing the end of Adventures of the Super Sons, and who knows what the future holds for these characters. I’ve also gotten behind in reading the various Wonder Comics titles. Even though I recently decided to go "all-in" on them, if I’m already behind and not overly concerned about it…do I really need/want to be buying these titles?weeklyhaul_20190502b

At a visit to a Five Below store, I snagged a copy of the classic How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. I remember getting this from the library several times as a kid–though it’d been defaced by other borrowers in a rather inappropriate way. Having my own (clean) copy is cool…though after I bought it, it occurred to me that I may have snagged a copy from Half-Price Books previously…though where that particular copy got to, I’m not sure at the moment.

They also had this Hot Wheels Batman classic ’66 Batmobile. It’s basically the only car I really "care" about, NOT being a "cars guy." So, it’s another little trinket to add to the ever-expanding collection.

weeklyhaul_20190502c

Then a couple days after New Comic Day, went with friends to an evening pre-Free Comic Book Day event where they’d brewed some custom beer. I tried the Wolverine’s Canadian Ale, and a friend gave me his empty Cyclops Weak Summer Pilsner bottle so I’d have both!


Week of May 09, 2019

weeklyhaul_20190509a

May 9th was a small-ish week comics-wise. I’m once more falling behind on reading for Detective Comics, which even though I tend to like the writer’s work, leads me to wonder if I care enough to "keep up with" the title, now that we’re past #1000 and it lacks the "excitement" of the "build-up to" that 1000th issue.

I’ve kept up with Supergirl primarily on principle–I think I had all of the Rebirth run, and definitely wanted to support the notion of a series ACTUALLY CONTINUING THE NUMBERING. I’ve yet to read any of the current run, unfortunately, so it seems another one ripe for dropping. And as said above on other Wonder Comics…I begin to wonder if I was a bit premature going "all-in" on the imprint if I’m not gonna get around to reading the things!

It continues to be rather "telling" to me that I’m happy to re-buy (at a premium price) stuff like Annotated Marvels for $8 as that’s "only" double the price of a standard new Marvel issue but it’s an extra-sized thing with even more added content in the annotations..and it’s a known quantity to me, having gotten the original Marvels issues new as they came out back in 1994!

weeklyhaul_20190509b

While at a Gamestop looking for the TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan game for X-Box, I spotted this Batman Funko Pop figure and knowing I’d "eventually" want it, went ahead and bought it so I don’t have to "hunt" it later.

Which is, in itself, another thing I’m noticing a lot more lately–I’m buying way more than I’d typically do, because it seems "everything" so QUICKLY goes "out of print" and "unavailable" that if I don’t buy it on the spot, I won’t be able to (reasonably) do so later.

And that takes a lotta "fun" outta stuff.


Week of May 16, 2019

weeklyhaul_20190516a

…And now we’re to the current/most recent week!

New Superman issue, new Batman issue, and the new Naomi. I’m not into "speculating" on books, and this title is maybe more a driving factor in my reconsidering the Wonder Comics line if I’m not getting around to the reading.

Then there’s the new Immortal Hulk issue. This makes the 3rd issue in a row for the latter for me…though I don’t know that I’ll want to keep going with the series. It’s not really coming off the way I expected, and I’d probably get more from it if I’d read the earlier issues–but if I do those by Marvel Unlimited I might as well do the series that way.

I’ve been digging the Spider-Man: Life Story series, so that’s a "given" for me; and while I was really looking forward to the first issue of Shredder in Hell, I was NOT counting on it being BI-MONTHLY as it’s been so far. At this writing the series should’ve been finished already (or the final issue coming out in a couple days)…not having 2 more issues yet to come sometime later this year!

Despite the being-behind-on-reading, I’m a bit more willing to suppor IDW‘s Marvel stuff. Though even these may be short on my list as the newness/novelty wears off and collected volumes start coming out that put the single issues’ cover prices to shame.


I’m feeling fairly grouchy toward a lotta comics lately…and while much of my frustration is with Marvel, DC is stacking up quite a bit. I’m none too keen on the upcoming Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen 12-issue series. I’m behind on reading the main Superman and Action Comics titles as-is. And I’m NOT looking forward to the Leviathan "event" about to start. Also put-off by the Year of the Villain build-up (some of that from the 25-cent special having an opposite-from-intended effect on me, turning me off to stuff rather than building my excitement). As of this writing, I just saw some articles on Bleeding Cool with the August 2019 solicitations (and stuff from the Diamond Retailers’ Summit or such) with the upcoming cardstock cover variants (adding $1 to cover price for affected issues!) and that puts me yet further off from stuff.

EVERY SINGLE ISSUE having AT LEAST 2 covers continues to be a turn-off on principle.

Then the way stuff goes out of print and out of stock on collected volumes leaves me cold–recently, I’d thought I could "catch up" on the GI Joe Classic line; but maybe 2-3 weeks after I ordered vols. 7-8 (I had 1-6 from a few years ago) suddenly most of 9-16 is unavailable except from 3rd-party sellers jacking the prices way up for being "out of print."

I had had Game of Thrones spoiled for me from casual posts thrown out on Facebook that went significantly well beyond what I’d experienced so far, so I grudgingly gave up and gave in and though I’m only sequentially to season 5: episode 2, I watched season 8: episode 5, and will probably suck it up and watch the finale. If it’s gonna be totally spoiled for me anyway I might as well AT LEAST get the spoilers FIRST HAND from watching MYSELF!

So there’s that ending–and we’re a few weeks past Avengers Endgame and essentially the ending to 11 years’ worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films–and The Big Bang Theory just ended–so it feels like a lot of endings lately.

And I begin to consider: maybe it’s time for me to take more of a "break" from comics?

Though I’ll "eventually" have to "play catch-up" anyway for the likes of Superman and Action Comics as I always do; perhaps I need to cut back to just a few things.

Spawn to #300. TMNT stuff. And Tom King‘s Batman, since it seems like NO ONE ELSE even actually does more than 10-20 issues anymore.

It’s not like I wouldn’t have other stuff to read–to catch up on reading–even if I never bought any more comics ever!

So who knows…

weeklyhaul_20190516_blogtrailer

Advertisements

Ultraverse Revisited: Strangers #6

ultraverse_revisited

strangers_0006The Tao of Physiques!

Author: Steve Englehart
Pencil Art: Rick Hoberg
Ink Art: Dave Simons
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Color Designer: Robert Alvord
Color Team: Prisms
Editor: Chris Ulm
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

This issue opens with a full-page image of Deathwish throwing Electrocute through a wall. The issue’s title–The Tao of Physiques!–is big and bold on this page, as well an explosive callout proclaiming "All Out Action with The Strangers And" [issue credits]. There’s also a small box saying "Thought he was GONE, didn’t you? So did THEY…"

Essentially, this first page is like an AD for the issue, something you might find in another comic. Or like some sort of ’90s action movie poster, showing a hero vs. a big bad with a title, some hype-y language, names of creators, and some tagline.

This seems like something that absolutely would NOT be found in modern comics, and helps ‘date’ this issue as something out of its true to life time period OF the ’90s. It’s also something that–having recently read a discussion thread on some of the ills of modern comics particularly post-2000–feels all the more welcome as something of a time some quarter-century-plus in the past.

The Strangers have just defeated Deathwish, and help clean up the destruction that resulted from that battle; the various members discussing this need and the "explosion" of Ultras onto the scene and whatnot. They then find a survivor–an old man–in the wreckage and he gets transported to a hospital, with several of the Strangers following. Once there, weird stuff starts happening…and Deathwish rises again! Yrial seems detached and basically AGAINST helping, leaving the rest of the Strangers to deal with Deathwish. As they fight him–and marvel at his still being around when they thought he was destroyed–we see Yrial perform some Voodoo stuff she doesn’t want the Strangers to know about, and it turns out she’s gotten to the bottom of things…as she releases another entity from a dying woman, that seems to balance out the power of Deathwish; the new entity confronts Deathwish and both disappear, while the two human bodies they came from disappear into dust. As the issue ends, we see that the Strangers will next face Prototype during Break-Thru!

It’s kinda interesting to me that the issue ends with reference to Break-Thru but not much "selling" of the event or its premise; and no standout ads for it coming up, nor even one of the Ultraverse Checklist ads. The previous issue seemed almost a done-in-one with the rise of a new villain that had been foreshadowed, but then immediately defeated. Yet here already we have the "return" of the villain, and again a "defeat," perhaps permanently, with the introductions out of the way previously, allowing a full unleashing in this issue. We also get "moments" of development for other characters, the lost art of thought balloons, and generally touching on several plot threads at once (Hugh and Candy, Yrial and Zip-Zap, the whole team vs. Deathwish).

Surfacy as some of the stuff might be, it’s pretty loaded with potential when one looks a bit between the lines, so to speak. We see a growing relationship between Yrial and Zip-Zap…a friendship more than mentor/mentee; for lack of better phrasing, almost like a Storm/Jubilee thing from the X-Men ’92 cartoon, if Jubilee was Storm’s anchor-point rather than vice-versa. Candy is self-aware, but still not truly alive, and wants to know what it is to truly be alive and feel real feelings and such, and takes a lot of her frustration out on Deathwish. I don’t know if these elements get explored in further depth as this series progresses, but I look forward to future issues and finding out!

The art is pleasantly detailed–it’s not over-rendered into false realism but it’s not simplified cartoony. It continues to be strong and consistent with past issues, which is a great thing that seems another element lost in many modern comics. I recognize all the characters that seem like SHOULD be recognized, save for the woman the light-entity comes from; but I suppose that could be argument for a job well done as she was seemingly "just some woman" and not someone we SHOULD have paid attention to (and none of the characters did, either…it was Yrial’s magic that allowed her to even pick up on anything).

In 2019, this sixth issue would be the conclusion of a singular opening story; and we’ve essentially had several smaller stories within this title, including a crossover with Hardcase. But this does kind of cap things off with Deathwish seeming even more out of the picture than the previous issue, and the team more "gelled" than before; and this is the last issue before the first big "event" of the Ultraverse in Break-Thru.

As a total broken-record, I say yet again that this is an issue that doesn’t necessarily work entirely on its own as a single issue in a vacuum; there’s no great reason to go into a 4-longbox-bargain-bin section and pull just this issue as a prize unto itself. You’ll get bits of character stuff for a number of characters; a rise/return of a powerful villain and the team fighting him, and so on–so a bargain bin buy wouldn’t be horrible. But this would be enjoyed a lot more with at least the previous issue, if not as part of a small run of all 6 issues thus far (7 if you also get the Hardcase #4 crossover issue).

I enjoyed this, and I’m looking forward to the next issue as much for continued development of the Strangers as for getting into the event itself.

strangers_0006_blogtrailer

Ultraverse Revisited: Hardcase #6

ultraverse_revisited

hardcase_0006Friends and Enemies, Part Two: Returning Favors

Writer: Jim Hudnall
Penciller: Scott Benefiel
Inkers: Mike Christian & Jordi Ensign
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design: Moose Baumann
Interior Colorists: Family Fugue
Editor: Hank Kanalz
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

After being stabbed and looking like he was bleeding out, we open this issue with Hardcase having an out of body experience, watching Choice find his body, fend off Hardwire, and try to get Tom to a hospital. While having this experience, Hardcase–Tom–is told by Linda (Starburst) to go back while he can. After waking in a hospital bed, Tom and Choice are visited by an old friend…who turns out to be an "old friend" in The Alternate. She claims she’s trying to help them survive, while "The Man Who Isn’t a Man" prepares to send agents to the moon to get something for him that he can destroy all Ultras with. Thanks to his remarkable healing, Hardcase is up and ready before long to re-confront Hardwire, and being prepared this time, succeeds. When police show up, Hardcase dislocates both of the villains arms, so that he can’t use his fingers against them. After this all wraps up, Tom lays in bed with his mind in overdrive, reflecting on the evening–Choice, as well as what he actually saw while dying.

The art for this title has been rather uneven…but it worked well in this issue, taken alone. The cover is nicely detailed, with Hardcase looking like Hardcase…even though it has him seemingly deliberately looking AWAY FROM the attacking villain. Within the issue, the art seems good as a whole. It seems slightly "off" to me–but then, my primary memory of the title and its art comes from the first issue, so that’s what I tend to judge a lot of the art against. It’s better than a couple of the other early issues, though, and better than I remember some of the later issues. The story’s not hard to follow–the action of what’s going on–and that’s the main thing. It’s nothing to write home about, but nothing I’m gonna really complain about.

Story-wise, we get some solid follow-up on Hardcase’s injury–and that while he’s nearly invulnerable, he can be hurt; but he also heals much faster, so even dire damage isn’t necessarily fatal. That said, we get some hints at forthcoming answers for Choice, and knowing what I do of the Ultraverse, it’s easy to pick up on the references to the moon and such (all the more after seeing them in Prime–which is another "core" Ultraverse title as one of the three originals). We get some resolution to this initial encounter with Hardwire; foreshadowing of stuff to come, and generally have a decently well-rounded ’90s comic that moves everything forward as an "episode" rather than being just a 1/6th slice of some singular graphic novel the way most modern/2018/2019 comics seem to be.

As with many ’90s comics and other Ultraverse issues, one could pick up on context simply reading this issue…but it’s not one I’d recommend in isolation or as some singular target issue. It bridges the previous issue and what’s to come in Break-Thru, contributing a bit of setup for that event and preparing us for Hardcase joining the greater stage of the Ultraverse as a whole. This is well worth a 25-50 cent purchase to have along with the earlier issues…but you’re better off grabbing the first issue than this if you just want a single issue of Hardcase.

hardcase_0006_blogtrailer

Ultraverse Revisited: Prime #6

ultraverse_revisited

prime_0006Primal Changes

Written by: Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski
Art by: Norm Breyfogle
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design by: Keith Conroy
Interior Color: Violent Hues
Editors: Chris Ulm & Hank Kanalz
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

For it being at least 20 years (most likely) since the last time I actually read this issue…it’s amazing to me what a sense of familiarity it has. While I have certain (what I would call) "key" memories of the series in general, some part of my mind wants to stretch or condense stuff, apparently…in an inversely-proportionate way for the way things actually unfolded!

As with many other "early" Ultraverse issues…the cover is rather "iconic" to me. Not so much in a singularly-standout way, or "this would/did make an amazing poster!" way. But for the sheer oddity of it, the way its weirdness sticks in my memory. We basically a grotesquely-bubbly Prime,either armless or with arms stretched behind his back, a look of distress on his face.

The previous issue left off with a badly-weakened Kevin being taken into government custody, their leader excited about what he’s found. We open this issue with Prime fighting a dinosaur–before suddenly finding himself in space, where he loses consciousness as he can’t breathe. We see that Prime is experiencing a simulation, as Col. Samuels insist he be kept alive. Coming out of the VR setup, Prime attacks, before being calmed down as he realizes it’s The Government and he–Kevin/Prime–can be of service. As proof of the claim, Prime is introduced to then-president Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea. Meanwhile, Kelly’s mother informs her of a call from Eden Blake’s mother–Kelly’s needed for babysitting (see Mantra #5). Back with Prime, Kevin/our hero has agreed to the Government’s testing/etc, in preparation for what turns out to be an astounding mission: He is bound for the moon! (literally!). Another simulation sees Prime facing off with super-agent Wrath (from Aladdin). Prime then sets off quickly for the moon…simply up, up, and away flying to the moon. Unfortunately, he’s not physically capable, and crashes back to Earth after a bad re-entry. Ready to give up, Kevin’s father encourages him to keep trying…though we find out Mr. Green is a lifelike simulation. The REAL Mr. Green and his wife argue over what’s been going on with their son Kevin…Mr. Green blaming himself for everything. Later, equipped with precautionary equipment designed to protect Kevin if the Prime body fails again, Kevin once again "Primes up," this time with a much different body. Now, Prime is READY. Now, Prime can survive in a vacuum without his body having issues. Now, he is (as he proclaims on the final story page) "…primed for outer space!"

The cover is another that both "sort of" shows something from within the issue, while being its own thing. Prime indeed goes into space, where he "bubbles up" which necessitates some modifications if Prime is to be able to survive in space. Kevin, of course, seems quite authentic! Sure, he "Primes up" into this big, buff super-hero…but he’s still "just" a 13-year-old kid. So the idea that he will–under his own (super-) power be expected to fly to the MOON is this ***really*** big deal to him! It also makes sense that he’s not yet disillusioned by "the Government" and such, and sees the Government as "the good guys" and wants to make them proud…almost as much as he wants to make his parents proud.

The art is the usual solid Breyfogle work. I like the familiarity and style, though there’s at least one panel where I’m reminded that there’s some sort of thing with Prime’s face where the actuality of it on the page somehow doesn’t match something in my memory.

Story-wise, this is very much a ’90s comic…visually and structurally, and I like it! There are multiple plot-threads being moved along, with a couple of distinct-seeming subplots: Kevin’s parents, and Kelly. Kelly’s subplot ties this title in to Mantra, where we see Kelly’s side of things prior to Lukasz/Eden returning home in Mantra #5. There’s also the use of Wrath and reference to Aladdin that continues to build on that organization’s place in the Ultraverse as it becomes more of a "thing." We also see more of the Prime-body’s development, that it isn’t just one set default, but takes on properties that the host (Kevin) need at the time or based on stuff handy. I know "Space Prime" becomes a bigger deal in the next issue, but it’s cool seeing the "setup" and development here in this issue–that Kevin doesn’t "just" spontaneously generate that body.

Unlike so many modern comics, there’s a lot to be had within this single issue. It does serve as a bit of a transition from solo title to moving Prime into a larger picture, as the next issue is part of the nearly-line-wide event Break-Thru; which I believe was really the first time many of the characters truly interact with each other.

The setup from the first five issues do mean that this issue doesn’t totally stand alone as well. In a way, it’s standalone, but one will get a lot more out of it having read the previous issues…especially (at least) THE previous issue, #5. For 25 cents this would not be a horrible purchase, but it’d likely be enjoyed with more context–#5, and likely #7 as well. I wouldn’t seek it out as an isolated single issue.

For better or worse…there’s a certain lure to this title that I have to resist, as I want to charge ahead through this series (much as with Mantra) without worrying about the larger context of the Ultraverse…but for this Ultraverse Revisited project, I’m determined to go month by month through all the titles!

prime_0006_blogtrailer

Ultraverse Revisited: Mantra #5

ultraverse_revisited

mantra_0005Mantra: The Animated Series

Creator/Writer: Mike W. Barr
Penciller: Terry Dodson
Inker: Jasen Rodriguez
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design: Moose Baumann
Interior Color: Family Fugue
Editor: Chris Ulm
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

This issue is an interesting piece, right from the cover. We have a generic gradient background, with a folded film strip receding to the lower left. In the foreground we see a ‘regular’ Mantra looking curiously at a reflection that on the film is exaggerated and cartoony. On the surface it almost seems like a self-acknowledgement of Mantra being "well-endowed" physically and the costume emphasizing that. But…it also actually fits the interior of the issue, serving as a very reasonable cover for this particular issue of this title!

As the issue opens, we see Mantra and Warstrike–fresh back from Boneyard’s place–confronting Strauss about the charm that failed to return them the way he’d promised. After this confrontation, that pair splits up after an awkward moment. As Mantra flies away, the demon from Prime #5 spots his target! Still without a body, the demon possesses another cartoon character–a Wiley Wolf. Meanwhile, back at home, Mantra experiments with the magic sword, discovering/confirming its additional cloaking ability to hide as a ring on the costume’s belt, but manifest at will when needed. Mantra–or rather Eden Blake–well, actually, Lukasz–walks into the house looking perfectly normal, the Mantra getup magically cloaked. We see that the kids are being watched both by Blake’s mother, and the actual babysitter Kelly Cantrell (who we should recognize as Prime–Kevin Green’s–crush over in Prime). Even without big super-heroics and such, we see the natural mixing/"small-world-after-all" of all these characters existing in the same world. We see further tension between "Eden" and her mother, who still does not know this is actually Lukasz inhabiting her daughter’s body.

The next day at work, we find that there’s even more to Eden’s story than anyone realized, which lends itself well to what Lukasz may need to accomplish: Eden’s recruited for Aladdin! Before there’s any dwelling on that, Eden gets an emergency call from her friend Marla…seems that now Brent is dead as well as her husband Carl! (We know Brent as the guy Lukasz woke up next to when he first found himself in Eden’s body!) Eden then has to rush off to deal with an emergency as Mantra…Wiley Wolf is threatening her kids’ school! The "living cartoon" is dealt with, though Mantra may have let slip more than intended by addressing Evie by name–something odd for Mantra, who has never actually MET Eden Blake’s daughter. Later at home, Eden takes a copy of Ultra Monthly Magazine from the kids, and realizes a model posing as Mantra for risque photos in the magazine will be a prime target for the cartoon/demon!

We then launch into several pages of 6-panel grids made out to be filmstrip frames as Mantra is engaged by the demon, pulled into the tv world…and finds herself a cartoon! And as a cartoon, subject to typical cartoon gags and visuals, as well as rules. She manages to defeat her foe and return to the real world…with just enough page space left to demand the model be paid properly for her trouble, don’t do it again, and a single panel showing the demon (trapped as Wiley Wolf) kneeling in disgrace before an angry Boneyard.

Judging by the length and detail of my "summary" above, compared to other recent Ultraverse issues I’ve covered…I think it’s very safe to say that Mantra is STILL one of (if not my top) favorite Ultraverse titles.

As a guy, sure, there’s likely something subconscious to the depiction of this female character’s visuals and light-on-covering-clothing as we see on panel. But I truly find it fascinating this notion of a man trapped in a woman’s body, having to learn to adjust to the world from that state; but even on the notion of ANYONE being trapped in SOMEONE ELSE’s body–PERIOD. Considering what it means to all those around the body–Eden’s friends, coworkers, anything Eden had set in motion for herself–as well as a suddenly strained relationship with her mother, and an awkward, unexplained distance from her kids (that the kids surely pick up on but may not understand)…there’s a lot of depth to be had!

For better or worse, though…some of this understanding and knowledge and way I take in the character and stories is me more than 2 decades later re-reading stuff that I read and loved as a kid! If not this particular issue, then at least this series.

I continue to enjoy the visuals on this title…it certainly seems pretty consistent with the previous issues; with Dodson on pencils, that certainly makes sense. There’s a certain grounded feel to things, while still looking like drawings in a comic book. Alternatively, the "animated" portion takes on the goofy cartoon-like look in a rather obvious way…both poking fun at old cartoons as well as perhaps borrowing the style of the "_____ Adventures" comics of the time–Batman and X-Men at least–based on their respective cartoon series.

Story-wise, I love all the subplots and worldbuilding going on here…it feels like Mantra is an extremely rich title in that regard! In some ways the story is all over the place, though–Mantra and Warstrike barging in on Strauss, then scene-hopping all over the place for just a page or few pages at a time. This would not "work" for most titles, but does for me here as said with stuff above.

Perhaps more for the "Mantra the Animated Series" segment, this issue can SORT OF work on its own. Nothing overly fancy or special in and of itself, but if one gets through the main part of the issue, they’re then treating to the "Mantra Adventures" segment.

Five issues in and we should be "wrapping up" a story arc as far as looking from the modern perspective in 2019. I vaguely remember that the next couple issues cross over with the rest of the Ultraverse–first as a whole for the Break-Thru event and then with a prominent Prime issue; so I don’t remember any clear-cut hard-stop breaks in terms of an actual story conclusion or new story start.

As always…I definitely recommend this in context of the other issues of the title! If you can get these first 5 or so issues, you’re in for a treat; or if you’ve read the previous issues, you’re still in for a treat with this issue. If you find this issue alone for 25-50 cents, it’s probably gonna be a fun, VERY-’90s sort of read where you can pick up on context within the issue itself.

I remember in broad strokes where this series goes, at least for a bit, and I’m eager to get to a prominent story in particular, but I’m holding myself back to continue reading issues as single issues in the greater context of the whole of the Ultraverse publication!

mantra_0005_blogtrailer

Ultraverse Revisited: Freex #5

ultraverse_revisited

freex_0005Up Against the Wall

Writer: Gerard Jones
Penciller: Ben Herrera
Inker: Larry Welch
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design: Robert Alvord
Interior Color: Violent Hues
Editor: Hank Kanalz
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

Beginning with the cover of this issue, it wasn’t quite what I expected. I didn’t recognize the presumed-villain on the cover…a bit grotesque, and apparently new. But on opening the issue, I remembered that–Oh, yeah–the Freex are dealing with the "Master of the Hunt" and his hounds. And the bulk of the issue is really just a lengthy fight scene, as the individual Freex have to draw on their powers–working through the pain, even–in order to come together and stop this "Master." Despite their challenges, the group eventually defeats him–as he’s first burned (turns out, that was him on the cover!) and then taken down by his own hench-hounds. The Freex escape, and all’s well that ends well…right?

The art for this issue seems a bit "off." While I mostly recognize the various characters, they have a sort of generic, non-regular-artist look…and unfortunately, that was a bit off-putting for this issue. The characters look–for one thing–a bit "older" than they did before, and I’m just not a fan of this specific iteration of them.

At least the writing is consistent, where we’ve gone from seeing these characters absolutely not working together to where they finally do draw together and push their powers to help each other and overcome (a bit) certain fears. It’s like as of this fifth issue the team finally becomes…a team.

This remains an iffy title for me–I don’t love it (especially after this issue) but I don’t hate it. I haven’t gotten used to it, but continue to see the potential it holds both as a title and with its individual characters. Best way for me to put it for my repetitive vagueness is that when I think of the title, see one of its covers…it doesn’t bring back fond memories nor does it really grab my interest such that I actively want to jump in and read. When I put it off or "dread" getting into an issue…I tend to either truly enjoy it or at least realize it’s not horrible. I’ve been interested from cliffhangers to see where it goes next, but by the time I get to the next issue I’m usually back to a passive-ish not really caring.

All that said…if you can get several issues as a run…particularly for now, these first five issues–and cheaply (say, 25-50 cents each ideally, under $5 for sure) they’re definitely well worth the read for an early-’90s team of abnormal misfits shunned by society…and serving as a sort of X-Men parallel but instead of being the ’60s, it’s "in the ’90s!"

freex_0005_blogtrailer

The Weekly Haul: Week of April 03, 2019

April 3rd was a decent-sized week of new comics. Not too huge, not tiny. Several #1s, a couple second (for me, at least) issues, and so on.

weeklyhaul_20190403a

I decided to give Major X a try, after some well-timed "hype" on it and such. Liefeld prompts a certain sort of nostalgia for me, and I was truly curious about the time-travel/meeting with 1991 characters aspect. Can’t say I’m overly impressed with the first issue, though, so it’s a crapshoot on whether I’ll "bother" with #2…probably depends on it being a slow week or not.

Sorta hard to believe we’re "already" at Young Justice #4. Ditto at already being to #9 for Adventures of the Super Sons. This is a series I’ll probably kick myself for…I wasn’t going to want to hunt it down later, but I am ridiculously/embarassingly far behind on reading anything with the title…AND with the Bendis stuff in "present" continuity…this seems something better left for the collected edition for me. …Except I think there’s either already or about to be a "vol. 1" for this series. But it’s a FINITE 12-issue series, so to me, there’s NO REASON only HALF the finite-series should be collected. It should be collected into a single full-story volume at its end. It’s that "collect everything regardless of length of run or PLANNED length of run" that (to me) can really turn folks off to getting single issues, even for something like this.

I’m giving Immortal Hulk another issue due to my curiosity…and wondering about a certain character. Figured I’d try Section Zero #1…I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something with it seems rather familiar to me, and I might be crossing it over mentally with something else from years ago, but I opted to pick it up "in case" so I can check it for myself.

Seems that IDW is again a "major factor" of my week with 3 of the week’s comics coming from them! I’m trying to give these Marvel Action: ______ titles a chance, and support them…especially as it seems like they do NOT have a TON of VARIANTS. And they’re likely far more self-contained than most of Marvel‘s own books, so strike me as being more "fun" and accessible without being involved in this week/month/quarter’s latest umpteen crossover event invasion secret whatevers.

GI Joe: A Real American Hero is–at #260 (or #105/106 from IDW itself) THE core GI Joe book to me at this point. Written by Larry Hama and having continued from the original Marvel series, it is at this point THE absolute longest-running Joe book I’m aware of, period, 2nd longest run for any publisher, where I think IDW itself may be on its 3rd-boot of stuff.

Finally, despite it being rather late, or perhaps because of it, I opted to snag Chandra #2. I’m not overly keen on this depiction of the character and such. But I’m VERY MUCH a fan of Magic: The Gathering in terms of its "lore" and with just a handful of books left to acquire to have the entirety of the in-print editions of the lore, I might as well get this as well.

weeklyhaul_20190403b

It’s cool to see Usagi Yojimbo get the cover of Comic Shop News for this week. AT LEAST with a "new publisher" in the title going to IDW, a "renumbering" is actually WARRANTED. It’s also likely a good jumping-on point for the character. I was highly put-off last year when I tried to jump onto the title and within a couple issues it switched to a new #1 with "legacy-style numbering" included to be a "mini-series" or such. I do NOT look forward to the umpteen variants on every single issue that IDW is surely going to pump out…but I’ll likely be giving it a chance anyway, being at the same publisher now as TMNT, and maybe I’ll "fold it in" with TMNT given the titles’ association through the years.

And there’s an Avengers Endgame previews to presumably push various collected volumes and such related or expected to be related to the film. I for one certainly appreciate these comic-sized ones for being comic-sized…as well as being a stand-alone thing instead of choking or bloating individual Marvel issues. And since I snagged the Captain Marvel one recently, figued I’d snag this as well.


mortal_kombat_x_figures_packaged

I also finally "pulled the trigger" on getting these Mortal Kombat figures from Funko. I’d seen them awhile back, and been "curious" about them more recently. I had NOT actually consciously realized they were Mortal Kombat X rather than "just" Mortal Kombat, but there you go. That three of my (if not my three, period) favorite characters are here made ’em a no-brainer.

I’d gotten Raiden, which OF COURSE then triggered my OCD and led to me hunting down the other two. I was able to get Scorpion and Sub-Zero at a Gamestop far off my usual area…but NOT far from where I was meeting a friend for Shazam which made things work out quite well!


shazam_ticket_stubAnd speaking OF Shazam, saw it on Friday the 5th.

I rather enjoyed it, though I’ve pretty much decided that I personally hold Wonder Woman (as #1) and Aquaman (as #2) above it in terms of my favorites of the "modern" crop of DC films (definitely over Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman, and Justice League…though I’ve yet to decide exactly where I hold Man of Steel in there, as I’d originally thought that and taken that one as a standalone property…as well as someone I’d seen it with sparking certain feelings).

I did not care for how New 52-heavy Shazam felt, but overall it was a fun film with plenty of light, humor, and so on; and even though toys had more than spoiled one thing (to say nothing of assumption and expectation from the comics doing so), I actually had had no idea what to expect of the film’s villain, and really dug the portrayal here. While I hope we’ll get Black Adam in a sequel, I’d prefer that before the "return" of this film’s villain. There was even a cameo I rather enjoyed that paid off through the film.

weeklyhaul_20190403_blogtrailer

%d bloggers like this: