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The Weekend Haul and Completing Subcollections

This past weekend was Comic Heaven‘s anniversary sale (Well, last Thursday and Friday! So into the weekend). I stopped in, and took advantage of the sale to snag some cool stuff!

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For what worked out to be LESS THAN the price of 3 Marvel regular, standard, non-fancy, run-of-the-mill, boring comics, snagged these three paperbacks! They were already bargain-priced…but for the sale, it was buy-2-get-1-free!

The Majestic one fits in with my Superman collection as this is the story from 2004 or so when Majestic crossed over into the DCU and for the arc "replaced" Superman in his own titles! (a fun sorta meta-textual thing, as I believe there was a lawsuit years earlier over Majestic’s similarities to Superman). The Iron Man: Disassembled is the final arc on the Heroes Reborn iteration of the title before leaping into the renumber-every-year-or-few era of Marvel. And Five Ghosts I’ve heard of, and as an Image volume one, certainly worthwhile for me to get to read/try.

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For 30% off back-issues, I picked up this Savage Dragon Companion, which I’d swear was not there the last time I looked at Savage Dragon stuff (orrrrrr I may have been so focused on stuff between issues 50-100 that I neglected to look through the whole of the SD collection available). The marked price was cheaper or similar to what I’d seen on Midtown, and with the 30% off, extremely worthwhile to me!

And nearly 25 years (give or take a month) after the fact, a bagged/boarded FIRST PRINT of Superman #75 that even back then was quickly going for $5+ was marked at a mere $4…the price of a current/contemporary standard/boring Marvel comic. At 30% off, it was cheaper than a current well-priced DC issue, and well worth getting for the "convenience" (and I’m a sucker for these). Especially as I remembered my other "handy/convenient" copy of the first print was a barcoded edition, not the "direct edition".

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Then, another gem was this set of (3rd print) individual issues of the original Batman: The Dark Knight Returns series (back when The Dark Knight Returns was actually only the title of the first issue). With the 30% off, this set cost me less than the original collected edition paperback I bought half a lifetime ago!

Additionally, this set "completes" my "subcollection" of "key" Batman single issues that stood out. I now have single issues for Batman: Year One, Batman: Year Two, Batman: A Death in the Family, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

I have never held any illusion/intent of getting first prints of TDKR…but have long held that I want a set of the single issues. ESPECIALLY since the cover images remain the same–it’s only (I believe/assume) the color of the title text that changed between printings, these absolutely fulfill my personal requirements for "qualifying" as single issues fit for "completing" this part of my collection!

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Finally, on a whim, I’d stopped into a Books-a-Million to check their "bargain shelf," on the UNexpected minimal slight off-chance that they’d have the X-Men – The Age of Apocalypse: Alpha volume on sale, as they never have for the past year/almost-year that I’ve been checking…but they did this time, so I grabbed that for sure!

And thus, "completed" this "subcollection" of thick paperbacks. I’m pretty sure by hitting the bargain shelves and a couple bargain bins at comic shops, I managed to get these six for about the cost of 15-16 Marvel single-issues. Or in other words, got the set for essentially about 70% off cover price. Of course, to do so, it’s been across at least 10 months or so, maybe more.

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Dark Knight Returns and Death of Superman Hardcovers

I’ve long been very interested in the Death of Superman hardcover edition from the line of Graphic Novel + Original Movie + Digital releases from Warner Bros. Not all that much the movie (though the documentary with it is well worth the price alone!).

Thing is…I wasn’t going to pay $27-something for it.

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Browsing at Walmart, having given up actually spotting anything of interest, I did a double take and realized I’d stumbled across a “super-hero display” in the home media section. As my eyes moved upward, I spotted these (as well as an empty Batman Year One slot, and overflowing Justice League: War and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis slots…with one copy of Dark Knight Returns and several Death of Superman.

All were price at $19.96 or so (think “$20”)…but while I knew they were usually $27, I noticed that the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns had a $34 cover price…so I wasn’t going to pass on it and find it upped to $25 or so…nor did I want to pass on it and then waste hours and gas trying to track these down in a Walmart for this price again.

Frankly, if I was buying the Batman one, I couldn’t not buy the Superman one, so I splurged and bought both.

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This also solves my “problem” with the DKR/DKII oversized deluxe hardcover: I now have THE one I particularly want, and got it for a mere $20. (I think the paperback edition is that price) plus I get the bluray, dvd, and digital combo pack of the movie…where the book itself is worth the price to me.

Ditto on the Superman one…and at least with the digital copy, that’s something all-new for me.

I’d also wondered about the packaging, only ever seeing these shrink-wrapped and un-openable: there are pockets built into the inside back cover to hold the bluray and the dvd; the  Batman one had an extra, un-attached sleeve for a bonus features disc; and the Digital Redemption Sheet was not attached. (Only two discs to the Superman book, so no extra sleeve).

It’s a bit of sticker shock buying both, but knowing myself and my OCD, I figured it was better to just buy them now than waste resources in a couple weeks trying to hunt them down.

This does make me want an animated Kingdom Come movie all the more, though.

My Dark Knight Three

dkiii001The newest chapter in the Dark Knight series began last week, with the release of DK III #1.

I passed on it–I was disgusted by all the variant covers and incentives and such, the multiple editions and all that…worse (to me) if this is so special, it deserves the squarebound treatment the first two series had. This looked to be just a standard (cardstock-ish) cover, and I don’t want to deal with individual issues when the inevitable collected volume will be far preferable to me. DK2 was–each issue–functionally a mini paperback itself.

I’ll probably buy the collected volume when the paperback comes out (unless I break down and get The Dark Knight Saga hardover and DKIII gets an oversize hardcover that can match it). But for now…I’m not buying/supporting DK III as single issues.

I do have my own "Dark Knight Three," though:

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The original ’80s edition, by Warner Books; the 1996-ish Tenth Anniversary edition, and the more recent paperback edition with trade dress to match DK2.

A local library had that original edition, and it was one of the first graphic novels/collected volumes I’d ever read…probably matched with a copy of The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told (not to be confused with the more recent Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told volumes) and A Death in the Family.

I’m sort of surprised DC did not include this in that series of graphic-novel-and-Blu-Ray releases they put out recently.

DC Villains Month, Week Three

THE ROGUES (Flash #23.3)

foreverevilrogues001This was a last-second choice for me, but ended up being one I’m quite glad I made! I got pulled into The Flash back in 2002 or 2003–with Johns‘ #197 or so, starting off the Blitz story arc introducing a new Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom/whatever. I’d heard plenty of good prior to that, and finally checked in on the series, and found the issues focusing on specific Rogues to be extremely enjoyable–adding far more depth to cheesey characters than I would have ever seriously considered. Similarly, I’ve heard about some “changes” to the Rogues in the New 52; of their prior “gimmicks” being turned into “powers” through machinations of one of their own…but I never bothered to follow up. So this issue gave me a sampling of exactly what I wanted out of the issue and expected: a glimpse at the Rogues; how they’re interacting, what they’re like, and all that. Seeing that they still have a Code; that they may not get along perfectly but still have each others’ backs…I like that. That it’s mixed with seeing where they’re headed in light of the Crime Syndicate’s bursting onto the scene shows there’s a lot of potential. The cover’s fairly generic/”iconic,” but I still like it…though I seriously doubt it would have grabbed me in and of itself.

CLAYFACE (Batman: The Dark Knight #23.3)

foreverevilclayface001I’ve never been a huge fan of Clayface, though he always had potential. Yet, while that’s a singular thing…my very first “true” Batman villain in comics I owned as a kid was Clayface…or rather, it was the Mud Pack–Clayface II, III, and IV banded together attempting to bring back the original. And it was the fond memory of that 1980s arc that prompted me to want to check out this issue, and while it certainly doesn’t measure up to 25 years of sentimentality, I found it to be a solid issue. We get a glimpse at Basil Karlo in this case…a rather different Clayface than I remember pre-New 52, or from The Mud Pack. Here, he’s basically a thug with a temper and powers, who refuses to blindly follow others and prefers to act on his own plans and initiative. Nothing here particularly struck me or interested me in seeking out other stuff…but it was still an enjoyable enough issue, and with the 3-D cover, certainly “worth” my $3.99 for the issue.

LEX LUTHOR (Action Comics #23.3)

foreverevillexluthor001This was probably my favorite issue of the Villains stuff this week, and definitely one of my favorites for the month. Seeing Luthor BE Luthor…businessman and evil and all that, yet not without thought/motivation. We get to see him–amidst dealing with other stuff–take apart a rival businessman’s life for slighting him, JUST to make a point. And while a feat on that level to many would take a lot of time and effort…it’s hardly a second thought for Luthor. It’s also a look at what he does–can do–outside of solely plotting and executing plans for Superman’s downfall. Probably what hit me the most was that it reminded me a lot of Luthor from the late-80s/early-90s…not an exact fit, but I could see this Luthor propositioning a waitress just to mess with her, and then drive off, leaving her to wonder what her life could have been. That this issue leads directly into Forever Evil #1 which I read a couple weeks ago adds to my enjoyment…here I’m only really visiting DC stuff again for a month, and there’s already some “continuity connection.” I was also quite glad that–despite the cover–Luthor was NOT the power-armored mad-scientist in this. The cover itself doesn’t blow me away or anything, but works for the issue…I suppose I have to “accept” that the power-armored Luthor IS rather “iconic” in general.

ECLIPSO (Justice League Dark #23.3)

foreverevileclipso001The first real “crossover”/event I remember “experiencing” in comics was the Eclipso: The Darkness Within story that crossed through a bunch of DC‘s Annuals back in 1992, and carried with it some iconic moments for me, and gave me a rather serious introduction to the character beyond his goofy-ish earlier appearances that I–to this day–have yet to read. So getting to read an issue focusing on the character now in the New 52 seemed ripe for an enjoyable check-in of sorts…though I found myself somewhat disappointed with the issue. There’s a lot of potential, but there’s no way one lone issue can hold the level of story that a dozen Annuals held…there’s just not that much room! Add to that the hassle getting this issue in the edition I wanted (3-D cover) and it just wasn’t gonna measure up to expectation. That said, I by FAR prefer this take on the character to the stuff post-Identity Crisis, and wouldn’t mind reading more dealing with this character. I do quite like the cover itself as well–for one thing, Eclipso’s name is spelled out pretty much as its own logo, so the Justice League Dark logo looks like just more dark energy radiating from the background swirl or the black diamond energy. The issue’s not worth the hassle I went through getting it…but it was worth reading, and I’m glad I did get to.

DC Villains Month, Week Two (Part 2)

BRAINIAC (Superman #23.2)

foreverevilbrainiac001I was surprised at this issue. I’m not a huge fan of the Brainiac character, especially the comics version–there have been so many interpretations that it might as well–to me–be outright inconsistency. Geoff Johns attempted to bridge that a few years ago, positing that we’d only essentially seen “avatars” of the one, TRUE Brainiac…but that story came rather late in the pre-New-52 era, and did not really seem to get time to develop. This is my first exposure to the New 52 version of the character, and we get a bit of a blend of past versions. That this version of the character strongly resembles Johns‘ take works well for me; we also see that there are other emissaries out there working for Brainiac. This issue worked QUITE well for me as an origin story, as we see where Brainiac came from and how he got to be what he is and what set him off on his quest to shrink and preserve alien cities. That we get a mix of the 5th dimension (I don’t believe Mxyzptlk has shown up in the New 52 as yet?) and a DC version of the Annihilation Wave (a nice nod to Marvel) tied in to Brainiac gives an interesting depth and motivation to the character. As with all the other villains issues so far, I’m hardly inspired to go seeking OTHER issues beyond this one…but like the Zod issue, my interest is piqued, and I wouldn’t be oppose to reading a full story in collected edition should the occasion arise.

MR. FREEZE (Batman: The Dark Knight #23.2)

foreverevilmrfreeze001I seem to be quite a sucker for this character. Like many people, one of my favorite episodes of the 1990s’ Batman: The Animated Series is the one that introduces a new version of Mr. Freeze and gives him a tragic backstory and plausible motivation. I don’t remember the character really appearing in any form in most of the Batman comics I read throughout the ’90s and early 2000s…but when the first New 52 Batman Annual focused on Mr. Freeze amidst the Court of Owls stuff last year, I went ahead and bought it, and quite enjoyed it. It was the memory of that annual that led me to include this issue with the villains issues I’d get, and I wasn’t really let down. This one does less exploration of an origin and more “where the character is now,” actually taking place after the events of Forever Evil #1 and leaves Mr. Freeze “out there” for whatever story he gets involved in next. This was an enjoyable one-shot, and while I wasn’t blwon away by the art, I actually enjoyed the interior more than the cover.

RIDDLER (Batman #23.2)

foreverevilriddler001I’m no great fan of the Riddler, even though I do rather appreciate some of his riddles as written by whoever’s used the character at the time. I actually can’t remember ever particularly enjoying any of the Riddler-centric stories in the comics. I had not planned on buying this issue–I intentionally did not include it in the list of requested issues I submitted to my comic shop last week–but when I found myself filling an unexpected gap in what I’d planned on spending, I pulled this from the shelf and added it to the week’s buy. And surprisingly enough, despite really expecting to dislike the issue, I found myself enjoying it. While the story is set somewhere between the ongoing Zero Year stuff I’ve not been reading and whatever comes next in Zero Year, this seemed more like a “timeless” story, and a (morbid as it sounds) “fun” one-shot focused on the Riddler. We see how dangerous he can actually be, yet a hint of depth beyond simply a gimmick…and this, quite frankly, stands out as probably my favorite Riddler issue at this point.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 2

At least this week being a “big week” was somewhat planned…though it still proved to be a bit larger than I’d intended. All six of these Villains Month issues are ones that–two weeks ago–I’d had no intention of buying.

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It’s extremely dismaying to realize that I bought TEN new comics this week (at least DOUBLE what I usually buy in a week!) and they were all $3.99 books. At least these DC Villains issues with the 3-D plastic-ish covers FEEL like they’re actually WORTH the price, physically. They’re regular-sized issues content-wise, but the covers are certainly sturdy, high quality.

I’m continuing to enjoy that these are by and large truly one-shot issues. Even though they carry the “point whatever” numbers on the covers tying them to series I’m not actively following, FUNCTIONALLY they remain single-issue stories focused on the titular villain. Some of the issues do say the story continues into a series/issue, but as far as I’m concerned–for what I’m buying these for–I’m rather satisfied with what I’ve got and nothing’s led me to chomp at the bit for another issue or the next appearance…though some have got my interest such that I’ll at least read about issues they might appear in and perhaps pick up a collected volume that I probably wouldn’t otherwise have any interest in prior to all these issues.

Batman: The Dark Knight #6 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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