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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 24, 2019

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Last week was a monumental week on a couple of fronts. Comic-wise, not so much. But I’ll get to those momentarily.

Avengers: Endgame premiered, and thanks to a friend scoring early tickets, I got to see a 6pm show of the film Thursday, April 22nd! I haven’t settled on quite the adjectives to use for it, and I really presently have no intention of attempting any formal review of the film.

I found the film to be "fitting," satisfying, well worth seeing, and I definitely enjoyed it. I loved catching various references and callbacks to other/earlier Marvel films, and one particularly key moment of self-identification that flashed back to the first of the Marvel Studios films.

While I lack the words, given the foundation of 21 earlier films, within the context of all those films and having seen them and all that…I’d be hard-pressed NOT to rank it up there with the original Iron Man and Captain America: Civil War. Though just as Infinity War brought back an awe originally found in the first 2012 Avengers, this one definitely surpassed that by far, for me.

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Eventually, I’m going to get caught up on Action Comics again. I’m almost going to have to, if I’m gonna follow the other Leviathan stuff coming in May. That said, there was definitely something to seeing the #1010 next to #1002–two four-digit numbers–with Detective Comics. I’ve yet to play any of the Arkham games…so this Arkham Knight stuff doesn’t hit the high notes for me that it probably does for others. I’m also still not overly keen on this new logo for the title…less so when seen next to the classic, nearly-original 80+ years old Action logo.

Heroes in Crisis #8 reveals stuff…and I was rather "shocked" when I realized that against initial intentions, I’ve kept on with each issue, after thinking I’d leave it for a collected edition if at all. I strongly feel like the title’s event(s) could EASILY have been condensed to 3-4 issues with the "interviews" done as bonus text pieces as backmatter and achieved the same effect in less than half the time/expense of the series as a whole. I’m digging King‘s Batman run…but HiC is far, far more a "miss" for me.

I also need to catch up on my reading for Mr. & Mrs. X…but keep up with the series because it’s Rogue and Gambit, and I’ve quite a bit of relative "history" with the characters going back 26-some years now.

I clearly, consciously remember getting Avengers Forever #1 "off the shelf" back in 1998–nearly 21 years ago. So it was fitting to get it again in this format–for only $1–and the realization that there are several years of high school graduates who were born AFTER the issue originally came out! In 1992/1993 as I was fully getting into comics, 21 years back was 1971/1972…I was closer to to Claremont‘s revamp of the X-Men then, than I am now to getting in post-1991!

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TMNT #93 kicks off City at War and begins the final run-up to #100. Criminal–basically, anything from Brubaker and Phillips–is always a treat. And for the heckuvit, I decided to "try" Ascender #1…though who knows when/if I’ll get to reading the darned thing.

Comic Shop News gives House of X the spotlight…and I’ve got mixed feelings on the thing. I’m curious and interested in something big and "key" with the X-Men…but I am NOT keen on the high-priced single-issues, nor the inevitable waste of space of entire pages with just a couple words on them that are typical to everything from Hickman…to say nothing of generally having a sense of pretentiousness from what I’ve read by the writer. Not so much that the writer is pretentious, but the air of the comics seem that way, as well as what I get from having to "do homework" to "appreciate" the stories. With two concurrent (and I believe, biweekly?) 6 issue-series across 12ish weeks…I’ll possibly check out first issues, but more than likely leave stuff for collected edition(s) if reviews warrant.

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I hit a significant quarter-bin jackpot on Good Friday (likely detailing that in an upcoming post). This past weekend, I found less of particular interest, despite snagging a "grail" (also in the likely-upcoming post). But for $1.75…two Wizard specials ($4.95 apiece cover price, I believe), the "chromium"/fancy covers for Bloodshot #0 and Turok #1 (another $8ish between the two), a Machine Man issue (that I mistook as some sort of 2099 special I’d missed all these years), and oversized Captain America (with stuff about Galactic Storm) and one of the number of variants from 2000’s X-Men #100. Easily $30ish in "value" for $1.75. Far superior value over even one $5 contemporary Marvel issue.


Hard to believe that the next New Comic Book Day will be MAY 2019 already. And it’ll be the first  NCBD post-Avengers Endgame. I wonder how different that may feel.

Or not.

Time’ll tell!

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of March 13 & 20, 2019

Personal life once more got in the way of even a simple, weekly haul post…so here’s a double-up from the last couple weeks! As such this also includes some Walmart, Half-Price Books, and Mac’s Backs books!

Week of March 13, 2019

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New Superman, Supergirl, and Wonder Twins.

I decided to try the new Transformers series. If IDW is rebooting the continuity and such and starting wholly fresh…fine, I’ll check stuff out. I’m not interested in following a ton of spin-offs and tie-ins or gigantic shared-universe stuff. But a contained universe, starting small, and seeing how much/if it grabs me…that I’m open for.

$4.99 for 100 pages of The Maxx is certainly worthwhile on principle…I’m more than happy to support such huge issues at great price points!

And speaking of…$7.99 for Annotated Marvels is still a great price and quite worthwhile to ME for my own nostalgia with the series. To get the cardstock covers, the reprint of the original issue (which I want to say–someone can correct me if I’m wrong–were $5.99 25 years ago) and the annotations for "only" $8 new is perfectly ok by me!

Then we (finally!) got the SECOND issue of the IDW Spider-Man series…I’d begun to think I’d flat-out MISSED this (and maybe the 3rd issue as well)! Not sure why it’d be so long since the previous issue, but it’s definitely something that if I miss an issue, that’d be that–I’m not gonna go way outta my way to hunt it down, but I’ll support it for several issues to check out and treat as its own relatively self-contained thing (I hope!)

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Then there were the release of the new issues of the six Walmart-exclusive (apparently only exclusive for a bit longer) 100-page Giants. I definitely dig the Superman cover most of all…the "iconic" Flash/Superman racing thing is quite nostalgic for me, going back to a 1989 issue of Adventures of Superman and its cover (which I eventually learned was itself an homage to a silver-age issue).

Though these are out, apparently there’s a "surprise" Detective Comics #1000 100-Page Giant due, but I’ve yet to find that one…and these six issues pictured above have probably been THE most spotty I’ve seen for the issues since last summer in availability–like the vendor cleared out all the previous stock and is only sparingly stocking these.

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Along with the Walmart comics, Half-Price Books had another one of their week-long sales via coupons, with Monday & Tuesday 20%-off-one-item coupons, Wednesday & Thursday 30%, Friday & Saturday 40%, and Sunday 50%-off coupons. I went to HPB on the Friday and snagged these Dragonlance novels.

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On the Saturday, I was in the area and visited a used-books store called Mac’s Backs, and scored a couple of Highlander novels I was missing, as well as 3 of the early Myth books by Robert Asprin.

I also visited another HPB location and wound up getting a pack of Justice League: New Frontier figures with a comic…alas, I neglected to get a photo of it, so perhaps that’ll be another post later.


Week of March 20, 2019

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Batman, Nightwing, and Naomi hit this week. The Batman issue is probably THE most disappointing issue I’ve read in ages–VIRTUALLY a "silent" issue that can be flipped through in moments and summed up as "Batman chases someone, and the identity might be a surprise." It includes a scene that references the Batman/Elmer Fudd issue from a couple years ago if you know what you’re looking at…but that’s hardly worth $3.99 on its own!

TMNT has its 92nd issue–we’re a "mere" 8 issues away from the first-ever TMNT #100 at this point! The new issue of Criminal is out. And I was juuuuust curious enough about Spider-Man: Life Story to get it…and it’s by far THE single best Marvel comic I’ve read in ages! A lotta personal stuff to it with personal nostalgia and such, but even so…I’d highly recommend it despite the $4.99 price!

I gave in on some "hype" over the Immortal Hulk issue and decided to check it out…it’s #15, and it’s the first Hulk comic I’ve bought as a new issue in YEARS and it wasn’t actually all that bad. It has be curious about the series, and maybe I’ll check it out via Marvel Unlimited…and maybe I’ll get the next issue. We’ll see.

Finally, the IDW iteration of Avengers has its 3rd issue–now an issue ahead of Spider-Man despite starting after that one.

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And since I was getting a splash of Marvel and didn’t hate the Captain Marvel movie, snagged the preview thing of CM stuff. And the usual Comic Shop News stuff with a spring 2019 preview I may or may not actually page through.

Depending on what personal life holds, I’ll hopefully "catch up" and actually get stuff posted for several other recent acquisitions in the toys-arena…as well as some new shelving arrangements.

And though I’ve been saying it for years now, perhaps this spring I’ll actually, finally get around to a full showing-off of my "comic cave." Though the space has come to resemble a cramped comics/dvds/games/toys store.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 13, 2019

This week proved to be rather huge for new comics…at least for me, by my own standards! One might even say it was a Giant-Size week!

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Double dose Batman this week with Detective Comics and the Flash crossover. We also have the debut issue of Wonder Twins, which I opted to check out as I’m pretty much giving this whole Wonder Comics thing a chance.

Then there’s the newest issue of Superman as well as the newest Supergirl. And TMNT is into the "final countdown" to issue #100, as #91 hits!

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Marvel actually got me on MULTIPLE issues this week! The usual with Mr. & Mrs. X #8. I "gave in" on Savage Sword of Conan #1…though I’ve no conscious intention of getting #2 and onward. There’s a nostalgia factor here, and I’m willing to "sample" the thing and get the #1 because it IS Conan, and I want to at least have "tried" one issue if I’m gonna be down on Marvel with it. If I’ve never bought so much as one issue, where do I have any authenticity to criticize?

I didn’t even know about Marvels Annotated until the last second. I’m a sucker for this sorta thing…and as a "key" series from my youth, I’m more than willing to "double-dip" with getting this series again, with notes from the creators. Given the story AND visual quality–and this issue has both the original first issue AND the later-published #0 issue–along with the notes, it feels to me like an EXCELLENT (by Marvel standards) value!

Criminal is back and I realize I have yet to read #1. Though I have all the TPBs (I believe) of the series thus far, with this new iteration, I figured I’d give it a few issues as single issues to see if/how it grabs me, AND see what any collected volume may look like, if it’ll be in line with the others, and so on.

And Alien 3 (the William Gibson adaptation) comes to a close. Unless Tristan Jones is doing further covers of the newest Aliens mini, I’m pretty much done with the property as single issues and will opt for the collected volumes.

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And then DC and/or the vendor that handles these at Walmart opted to drop ALL SIX of their MONTHLY 100-Page Comic Giant issues in the SAME WEEK. Even though these are a solid value at only $5 apiece for their size (these’d be $10 through Diamond to regular comic shops)…SIX of them at $5/each still stacks up to a whopping $30!

A mere 8 months into the "experiment" and we already have TWO re-titled/re-numbered books with the Teen Titans book switching to the Titans title, presumably to capitalize on the DC Universe app/service show but other than the logo on the front and a #1 instead of #8, I believe it’s otherwise exactly what we’ve BEEN getting. The same thing with Justice League being retitled to Wonder Woman.

Then we have the new additions of The Flash and Swamp Thing, after "experiment" issues in a Swamp Thing issue last October and a holiday special in December.

Of the original four, only Superman and Batman continue on with their title and numbering.


I’ve a bit of mental "sticker shock" as I look all these over and tally up the costs–seven $5 issues, an $8 issue, and everything else $3.99. At least the Walmart issues don’t have six out every week; and the Conan and Alien3 issues are one-offs at this point. I’m only getting a couple issues of The Flash for this particular crossover with Batman. I jumped back onto Detective Comics for the run-up to #1000, but have yet to decide if or how far beyond #1000 I’m going to go. At the least, I am NOT impressed with the "Decades Variants" and so expect to simply get a single copy of the regular cover edition and let that be that. (Where last year, I got the standard cover, decades variants AND a couple other retailer covers for Action Comics‘ 1000th issue).

Though I’ve been "mid-life crisis-ing" with some purchasing recently…that cannot and will not extend to comics, at least NOT long-term. Huge weeks like this remind me just what a poor value comics truly are, and will push me to all the more drastic decisions regarding what I’ll buy regularly.

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of January 02 & January 09, 2019

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Despite my best intentions, starting 2019 out with doubling up on the "Weekly Haul" posting. Some planned changes/updates with logos and such also hasn’t happened yet for the blog, so rather than a hard break with the year, stuff’ll just roll out as it rolls out! Even this post’s "logo" above is not the final version, but I was messing with stuff the other day and decided I’d toss it up, whether it gets used just this once, or becomes a regular. If you’ve any thoughts on it, feel free to leave a comment!


Week of January 2nd, 2019

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The first week of the year started out pretty small, with only a handful of issues. I don’t recall, nor do I care to check back, but I’m not sure if we had an issue of Heroes in Crisis in December, even–of course, this is only by a week, so negligible, but whatever. Much as I’ve liked this writer’s Batman stuff, I’m really not caring for this event…it doesn’t feel like anything’s really HAPPENING. Or not enough per issue. But 4 issues in, and it NOT being $4.99, nor has it slipped to some bi-monthly (or less-frequent) schedule, so I’m probably in for the entire thing at this point…if only to see what comes of it.

It also seems that Action Comics slipped slightly…with #1001 having come out in July, January should see #1007.

While it’s fitting that Marvel (in particular!) honor Stan Lee…it appears to me that they’re only doing so by removing the logos but keeping regular images for covers. To me, that just makes these look like DC variants, and since the cover images don’t incorporate his likeness in any way or such, and it’s not like they’re putting the black memorial band OVER a logo. And given his own large/over-the-top/grandiose-ness…it seems to me a disservice to hide the big, bold logos and such of the characters that directly or tangentially are here because of him.

And Marvel sure wasted NO TIME rushing a ton of Conan stuff out. Much as they did four years ago with Star Wars. And frankly, that really puts me off quite a bit; as well as apparently having a couple more series debuting soon, and just…flooding the market. I opted to get this first issue just to try, but haven’t gotten around to reading it, and have yet to hear anything all that good about it.


Week of January 09, 2019

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This week was definitely a bigger week with more stuff out…though it also annoyed me to a certain degree.

Firstly, we get the premiere of the new Young Justice series with the new Young Justice #1. I quite enjoyed the issue, and look forward already to the next!

This is a Batman week, with both Batman and Nightwing out. I need to catch up on READING Nightwing OR just cut my losses and drop the title. Time’ll tell on that.

We’ve got the premiere of the new iteration of Brubaker and PhillipsCriminal title. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of this title in the past (and particularly remember the 10th anniversary issue!) so definitely giving this issue a shot…though I’ll likely trail off and wind up going with the collected editions. Again…time’ll tell.

The week had TWO issues of Aliens stuff. The conclusion of the 4-issue Dust to Dust mini. and the 3rd of (I believe) 4-issue adaptation of Gibson‘s screenplay for Alien3. I’m pretty sure I’ve wound up with variant covers for both series, just trying to get issues, and Dark Horse is back to the seemingly-rigid 4-issue cycles, so I’ve pretty much decided that for the multiple variant covers every issues and preferring the full(er) stories I’ll get the final issue of this Alien3 thing and then I’m done with the single issues. "Nostalgia" might prompt me to go against this if they do another Fire and Stone or Life and Death-style saga, but otherwise, at least collected volumes don’t USUALLY come with a bunch of variants!

And finally, we’re halfway through Adventures of the Super Sons now, and I have got to get the previous series and all 6 of these pulled together to get caught up on my reading.


I’m really looking forward to the new TMNT: Shredder in Hell mini that starts with the week of January 16th; as well as getting Bendis‘ "backstory" filled in on Jon Kent’s missing time between the end of the Rebirth stuff and his run (or the flashbacks, technically, from Bendis Man of Steel).

And depending on how the week shakes out, I may do a couple other posts soon for some other acquisitions of "stuff." As I’m repeating through this post, though…time will tell!

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Half-Price Books Haul May 13, 2016

It’s been at least a couple weeks since I’d been to the one Half-Price Books a bit further away, but since I was functionally going right past, stopped off tonight to see if they had anything new/good for a great price…got more than I’d intended!

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The primary treasure of tonight is the Giant-Size X-Men hardcover. $40 cover price..got it for $16. I figured part of the thing being marked a bit more than half off was that it’s not shrink-wrapped, and being sold to HPB, surely the original owner must’ve redeemed the digital copy. But, for kicks ‘n giggles, once in for the night, I logged into my Marvel account to try the code…and it worked! So…not a bad price at all!

And having just last weekend bought Criminal vol. 1 (Image edition), spotting vol. 2 for half price was a no-brainer: why pass on it tonight when within a week or so I’m just gonna be chomping at the bit to acquire it anyway?

Then, in the clearance section, found nice, clean, un-battered/etc copies of Grisham‘s The Testament and Brown‘s Inferno in hardback…both books for the price of a single Marvel comic? Very much worthwhile!

The drawback to the experience for the night is that this particular HPB recently moved their graphic novels to a more closed-in aisle space closer to the front registers. I had been standing there less than 30 seconds when someone came up edging me in, then stepped to another aisle for maybe 10 seconds, then back in…then someone was called to the buy counter for their offer and he left, so I figured it was just someone trying to look "real quick"…but less than 30 seconds after that he was back again crowding up against me, and two more people crammed into the aisle…so I cut my browsing short to get outta there.

So much for personal space and/or patience. If I was trying to flip through a bunch of books, or stand there (or sit on the floor against the shelves to read cover to cover right there) I would hope people wouldn’t stand for my crap. But to crowd into my personal space, when I wasn’t even allowed 3 minutes to quickly-ish scan spines on the shelves, not even an "excuse me" or "hey, Man, mind if I squeeze in here?" or such… it’s exactly the sort of thing that keeps HPB from being an entirely positive experience, and diminishes my "faith" in "humanity." (Considering I would have hung back, once I made sure someone knew I was there (as in "don’t stand there and read a book cover to cover) but allowed them time to look, and probably have wandered to a nearby aisle to allow them some time/space.

Such is life, I guess…

Free Comic Book Day Haul 2016

Free Comic Book Day is no fun alone.

Suffice it to say, I went to one shop that was nearby for the weekend, picked several issues, bought a collected volume I’ve been intending to purchase for a couple weeks now, and got out.

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Free Comic Book Day’s good for when schedules work with friends–a group thing, a social thing.

Of the books, really the only one I “went in looking for,” or was particularly aware of ahead of time, was the ROM #0 issue. But I’d actually already “accounted for” that so it was not going to be a problem.

It just seemed a shame to NOT go out for FCBD, as I don’t think I’ve actually missed any of ’em yet.

Criminal: Tenth Anniversary Special Edition Magazine

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Editor: Ray Archer
Content Editor: Ed Brubaker
Art and Design: Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Production: Drew Gill
Publishing Liasons: Eric Stephenson, Robert Kirkman
Cover: Sean Phillips
Frontispiece: Phil Jacobs
Published by: Image Comics
Cover Date: April 2016
Cover Price: $5.99

I’ve long been “aware of” Brubaker‘s Criminal series. I’ve read a few issues in the past, and quite enjoyed them…as I have most things he’s written/put out, particularly in this sort of capacity. While I’m blanking on the title offhand, I also remember sampling a spinoff/parallel series more recently, but never stuck with it at length…unfortunately, this sort of thing tends to read better in collected format to me, and when ‘everything’ is a mini-series within an overall continuity, I’d just as soon wait for an entire story…just that by the time it gets collected I’m often chasing other stuff and leave the less-familiar/top-of-the-mind stuff for “later.”

That said, I saw this issue–a 10th-anniversary special–and initially passed on it. A couple days later I saw it at another shop…along with the “Magazine Edition” of it, that REALLY caught my eye. I picked it up off the rack at that point to flip through, and put it back. Then picked it up again, flipped through a bit more, started to put it back, and looked at the price. And considered the format. As well as the fact that this is a 10th-anniversary thing, a special, a one-shot…not some new mini to invest in, not just some “latest issue of ____.” And honestly, the novelty of the thing got me.

While the “regular” edition looked just that–“regular” if a bit thick–the magazine edition is made up to look like some beat-up, well-read, well-worn 40-year-old paper product. And some of the interior pages–of this Fang, the Kung-Fu Werewolf–are as well, really steeping this in the mid/late 1970s.

Essentially, this issue gives us the slice-of-life of a boy–about 12–“on the run” with his dad. His dad had gotten a phone call without explaining, took his son, and they hit the road. We get the story from the boy’s perspective–knowing something’s up, but not fully knowledgeable of the details, just “surviving” the situation. At one stop along the way, the guy buys his son a magazine/comic–Deadly Hands–which he reads and enjoys, and then seeks out further issues. At another town, the boy is turned on to a local shop that might have an issue. While his dad disappears for a couple days, the boy is somewhat befriended by a girl, and the two bond a bit. It’s summer, there’s no school, and they’re free to hang out, do what kids do. Ultimately, the brief moment is spoiled as things come together for the kid’s dad, and we get a less than happy ending, as we truly see that this really is a “slice of life” sort of thing. Interspersed with the main story are pages the kid is reading in the Kung Fu magazine, giving us just enough to be interested in that story as well and nods to the likes of ’70s Marvel (at least, that’s where my mind went, though I’m hardly an expert on this particular genre or history of publication).

The magazine edition is a whopping $5.99. However, because of the thickness, and physical dimensions–of being magazine-sized rather than “just” a standard comic book size–as well as being a one-off novelty/nostalgia thing, I had no problem whatsoever with it. I would be hard-pressed to be willing to pay that for an ongoing series of issues, but as a one-time thing, a brand I recognize from a writer whose work I enjoy, I was willing to pay the price.

Actually reading the issue, I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed this a great deal more than most contemporary comics I’ve read lately. I drew a slight connection here to Watchmen, simply for the fact of the story-within-the-story and such, of reading pages of the story a character in the story was reading–but actually didn’t dig too deeply there. I simply enjoyed this, and the only thing taking me out of the story was looking at the effect of the pages and the jumping back and forth between “actual story” and the “story within the story,” but even that achieved something of its own effect that I liked.

Brubaker‘s name–along with the title itself–are the selling point for me. But while it’s the story that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was the visuals of the package that sold me, and thus Phillips and Breitweiser should not be overlooked. The art itself–particularly of the main story–would not have grabbed me, BUT was quite effective in getting things across, and reminded me somewhat of Steve Dillon’s work. The story–both the main and the Kung Fu Werewolf–is conveyed quite well and gives the required feel to both visually…firmly accentuating the writing and making for an attractive overall package, especially in having now read it cover to cover.

If you’re firmly into super-heroes or such, you may not care for this…but if you’re a casual-ish comics reader and/or interested in comics beyond superheroes and zombies, this was a great read. As said, a big part of the ‘fun’ for me was buying the magazine edition, but for the story itself alone, I’d recommend the issue, giving it a certain positive grade myself. While I don’t have the regular edition for comparison, this was ad-free, except the back cover’s faux-ad, part of the effect of the vintage-magazine appearance. I dare say this is at once representative of the high quality of Brubaker and co.’s work on Criminal, though this may well outshine regular issues for being longer and self-contained (whatever nods to prior Criminal stuff–if any–were over my “ignorant” head in this reading).

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