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Detective Comics #965 [Review]

detective_comics_0965A Lonely Place of Living Chapter 1

Writer: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Eber Ferreira
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Covr: Barrows, Ferreira, Lucas
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino
Editor: Chris Conroy
With Gratitude to: Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Jim Aparo
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: November 2017
Cover Price: $2.99

I’ve gotten woefully behind in actually reading Detective Comics, though it seems it should be one of my favorite titles. But I was a bit put off by the supposed ‘death’ of Tim Drake early in the new run last year, and wasn’t in a big hurry to follow anything "long-term" with that for a number of reasons. And time passed.

Recently, I was quite excited by a familiar-looking image, in an ad for the then-upcoming (now here) Detective Comics story A Lonely Place of Living. For the cover alone, standard or variant (in an extremely rare bit of sentiment) I was going to get the issue ASAP: it’s a callback to my own earliest days "in comics." My first-ever issue of Batman was #439–the closing chapter of Year Three; my second issue was #440…the opening chapter of A Lonely Place of Dying, which is where this story gets its title (sorta like the recent The Lazarus Contract‘s title playing off the classic The Judas Contract).

So for nostalgia alone I was gonna get this issue. But given continuity things of the last six years, I didn’t know exactly what the story itself would yield, outside of the story title and the cover playing off the classic.

We open on a flashback–Tim confronting Dick as he visits the circus he grew up with, showing him photos of Batman going off the deep end and explaining that he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne and that he–Dick–is Nightwing, formerly Robin. In the present, we find Tim being questioned by Mr. Oz–recently revealed to be (a?) Jor-El, father of Kal-El (Superman). We’re treated to brief flashbacks to the events of A Lonely Place of Dying, and then the beginning of the original Robin mini-series as Tim dons the duds and officially becomes Robin. Jor-El reveals his "truth" to Tim even as Tim exerts some control of the situation. He soon finds himself in contact with Batman…only it’s not the Batman he expects…rather, it’s a Batman he swore would never exist. Before much can come of that, the two find themselves facing possibly the most dangerous creature Oz had captured, which leaves us waiting for the next issue.

I would have to actually go back to the original issues or one of the collected editions on my shelves to confirm, but the dialogue in the flashbacks hit pretty darned CLOSE to my memory of the exchanges between the characters, and honestly gave me a slight chill at the way the flashbacked-scenes brought up memories for me.

As of reading this issue, I already knew the "big reveal" of Oz’s identity (though I’m still not sure if or how I’ll accept it–I’m still waiting for some other swerve and imagine it’ll be quite a long time before I’d accept it as the canon it’s being presented as and not just another plot point on the way to something else). I definitely dug Tim’s ingenuity, seeing that despite his time as a prisoner, he’s continued working on a way to escape (and after another earlier escape that we saw in Superman Reborn).

I was not prepared for/expecting the older Bat-Tim to show up or be any part of this at all…I honestly initially saw him as "just another character" of no significance; some swerve to this story or some trap for Tim or some such; it was seeing someone’s comment about the Titans of Tomorrow story that jogged my memory and contextualized the character…making this all the more cool as a story.

I’m not particularly familiar with Tim’s story or origins from 2011-onward; really since before 2009 as I’d lapsed as a reader early in the Red Robin run, and got right back out of the New 52 iteration of Teen Titans that I’d tried at the start. But at least for this opening chapter of A Lonely Place of Living, I feel like I’ve got "my" Robin back, "my" Tim Drake.

Which is a rather personal thing for me as the character debuted AS I got into comics…

Story, art…all in all, this is an excellent issue, certainly for playing on my nostalgia. The story is strongly rooted in continuity, in history…and the art just looks good, with nothing taking me out of the story. This issue just is.

If you’re a fan of Robin, or Tim Drake, or the current run of Detective Comics, I highly recommend this. Really, even if you aren’t a fan of them…this feels like something big, and all the moreso to me personally. Only this first chapter in and I already know I am absolutely looking forward to the inevitable double-dipping of getting the collected volume, and wondering what form that might take–as well as whether or not we’ll get any new version of a collected volume of the original A Lonely Place of Dying story!

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The Weekly Haul – Week of June 14, 2017

Another Wednesday’s come around…and a couple new books I’ve been looking forward to…as well as yet another week (over a YEAR now!) in which there’s a Superman comic I’m interested in "by default"…!

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I get tired of the far over-used kneel before Zod! schtick…but it works for this cover…or at least, it did when I first saw the image when the issue was solicited a couple months back. Seeing it now, I’d forgotten about it…but it works, AND it fits the story (Revenge).

I’m actually curious about this Dark Days thing, and since it’s DC and they’ve earned back plenty of my ‘loyalty’ I’m willing to let them have the occasional $4.99 special issues that truly DO seem…y’know…SPECIAL. Since I have a copy on hold, my "convenience/immediacy tax" edition is one of the variants just so I don’t have multiple copies of the same cover (SINCE variants are all-pervasive and I can’t simply will them outta existence). I would have liked the Superman & Batman cover…but I still can’t stand Kubert‘s art when it comes to Superman in particular.

The homage nature of the Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny issue really "sold" it for me…and I love the look of these various DC/Looney Tunes crossovers, so why not? They actually ARE special things, so I’ll bite the higher cost, at least as long as the cover’s attractive and properly "sells" the issue (and I don’t get stuck with zero choice as to cover, etc).

And finally, because it was cheaper than two Marvel single issues, and only slightly more expensive than two DC Rebirth issues, I snagged the X-Men vs. Avengers/Fantastic Four paperback. It’ll fit into my collection, or at least disappear into it, quite well I think!

While a bit expensive for only 4 things…I got everything for less than cover price of the paperback, so that’s pretty good, I’d say!

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 3rd, 2017

This ended up being a "decent’ week of new comics–not horrendously expensive, but not all that small or cheap, either! But a bit of a spread on stuff I’ve been looking forward to, stuff I continue with, and some new stuff. Though it would have included Youngblood #1…except–thanks to all the variant covers–the "advertised" cover on the Image website was NOT available. Since I couldn’t get the advertised (and thus assumed to be "standard" or "basic" or "CVR A" or "regular") I did not buy the issue at all…and they lose any chance of my buying into nostalgia and trying any further issues. For screwing around with variants, they lose me entirely.

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This week sees part 3 of the Batman/Flash crossover The Button. A new Superman issue. Though I don’t plan to follow all 12 issues offhand, curious about the Bane: Conquest series, and the cover having a familiar-ish font for the logo and iconic look in itself as an image. New Captain Atom…and a couple new Ninja Turtles!

I am ESPECIALLY happy to see the return of the "classic" ’80s TMNT logo on the Funko Universe issue. E, after even the "classic" toys line adopted a "corrupted" form to make it look more like the newer branding!

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Having just last weekend "caught up" on the Life and Death mega-arc through the AvP properties, I’m rather keen for more all around, so definitely welcome this new Predator series.

I missed the Kamandi Challenge issue last week. And as to Swordquest….twenty-five cents. Not about to pass up that one…all the more with my nostalgia-factor kicked into high gear lately on stuff after listening to the unabridged audiobook of Ready Player One (and presently being "on the hunt" for War Games to watch for myself!).

No bargain/back-issues this Wednesday, no collected volumes.

We’ll see what’s waiting at week’s end…and Free Comic Book Day…and of course, the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie premieres tonight/Friday.

Some Thoughts On the Week’s Comics (Week of April 19th, 2017)

This week involved a lot more comics than previous recent weeks…and of course, that meant a higher quantity of immediate-reads, too. As I’ve been doing the last few weeks, since I’m not getting to full-on single-issue reviews, I’m just offering some of my immediate thoughts related to given issues, even if it’s more meta-textual than about the actual issue.


Batman #21

batman(2016)_0021I’ve been looking forward to this issue for months. Though I’m a good 19 issues behind in READING the title, I had no real problem jumping in…this feels sort of like checking in on a tv show that typically has a lot of slow episodes, where I can jump in after awhile and know I have missed stuff, but not have any trouble coming up to speed with the current episode I’m actually watching.

Essentially, it seems Batman is finally ready or able to "get serious" about this button he found waaaay back in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.

However, he faces an unusual threat over the course of the one minute it takes Barry to get to the Batcave.

For a detailed synopsis and coverage of the issue, check out Chris Sheehan‘s review at his blog, Chris is on Infinite Earths.

This seemed to be more action than substance to me…but darn was it pretty to look at! (Despite the physical violence). I got the "lenticular" cover–quasi-3-D with a shift from Batman to Flash; though I really dig the standard cover, too! This is one of VERY few issues that have seemed actually WORTH a $3.99 cover price (the "enhanced cover" justifies the cost, much as such covers did in the ’90s.) Also AS an "enhanced" cover, where it’s basically still the same image as the standard cover (except the standard one does a "splitscreen" thing), it’s not "just" slapping another artist’s stock image on the thing to sell more issues. It’s a story that looks to be central to the throughline of Rebirth in general, and thus–with ’90s logic–is ok with me to have this as an extra cover, where I do NOT care for variants in general.

I’m very much looking forward to the next few issues of the story, and really hope the Flash issues hold up to the visual quality and story quality of this issue…if not delving deeper story-wise!


Superman #21

superman(2016)_0021I’m much more interested in Superman Reborn: Aftermath stuff right now, so this Black Dawn stuff isn’t really doing it for me. Despite that, I’m actually enjoying the heck out of this title in its own way, especially with Batman and Damian guest-starring, seeing Damian and Jon interacting, and the whole "family element" that seems strong in this title.

We get some development of stuff with the Kents’ neighbors, we get to see the Super Sons in action along with Superman, and even have a returning element from the beginning of this iteration of the Superman book.

I’m sorta anxious to get along to the "back to Metropolis" stuff that I believe is coming up…but at the same time, I’m glad that it wasn’t something that was "just there because now it’s always been there" with zero explanation except that it’s how it is.

I’m wondering what developments are going to mean for certain supporting cast characters that I was starting to like with the pre-Reborn status quo, and hope they get handled well/believably, as roughly 20 issues seems far too short a time for their presence.

I’m quite enjoying the character-sharing going on, and that even without having read the main Batman book or most other titles lately, I still get a dose of them here.

As good as this title’s been…even a less-than-thrilling issue of Superman still beats the heck outta most other titles out there for me!


Highlander: The American Dream #3

highlander_american_dream_0003I was not sure what to expect from this series, and in a way, still don’t. But I actually read #s 2 & 3 back to back, and I’m enjoying it. I think I’d much prefer this as a full singular story than issue-sized chunks, but it’s cool reading Highlander again, and really feeling this is a solid prequel to the original film.

The art feels rather "off"–if I was just looking at this, I would not recognize Connor MacLeod as himself…he doesn’t really look to me like he does as portrayed in the films, in whatever time he’s shown. I get more of a Casablanca Humphrey Bogart vibe here than I do Connor MacLeod or Christopher Lambert.

Story-wise, though, this holds the feel of the original film’s continuity and does not feel like it strays into the tv series’ continuity. In this case, I’m liking that. I like(d) the tv series quite a bit, but it seemingly "retconning" the films is one thing…this holding to them is a welcome change…especially on the understanding/assumption that this is a limited series, hence the subtitle The American Dream.

Whatever the case, this far in, I’m pretty much "stuck" with the singles, now, barring a full-blown double-dipping. Given the price of IDW‘s collected volumes, though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. All the more with having no idea if they’ll hold the Highlander license long enough or "bother to" put out enough for any significant collection(s). I do definitely look forward to the next issue(s), though I’m tempted to stockpile ’em til the 6th issue to read all at once.


Spawn #272

spawn_0272This is my 16th issue (17 if we count the Spawn Kills Everyone #1 from last year when there seemed to be a delay) keeping up with this title…doubling my prior "longest run" with the title.

This is, though, a title where I’d be hard pressed to really summarize an issue, or retain many character names "consciously," though I’m getting to occasionally recognize characters in the title.

But I’m enjoying the series enough and able to follow along each issue pretty well–or well enough–and so I stick with it.

Of course, with this not being a "favorite" or anything, if they manage to annoy me with variants or a price increase straight from current $2.99 to $3.99 or such, I’ll almost surely drop it cold-turkey. At the same time, I’m kinda hoping to just stick with it to #300…though that’s a good 2 years (at least) away.

Time will tell, but between "jumping in" around #257 and just sticking with it, along with the $2.99 price point when so many others have climbed on to $3.99, this is a welcome monthly-ish title to me. I also greatly appreciate the high number, as it is now THE highest-legitimately-numbered series out there, as far as Marvel/DC/Image/Archie and such go (and excluding the iffy-ness of some of the Disney titles that have not been in constant ongoing production).


It’s nice having an assortment of titles from an assortment of publishers to go through in a given week. Also to have shorter, weekly, compact "event" stories that are "just" crossovers between titles, and not full-blown separate mini-series with tie-in mini-series and entire tie-in story arcs in other titles [The Button]. I’m certainly looking forward to the next chapter of that, as well as the next issue of Action Comics, and figure we’re due for new TMNT stuff.

That said…looking forward to a considerably smaller week as far as new issues at full price go!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 19th, 2017

Much as expected, this was a huge week for me, in quantity of NEW comics, in PRICE, and having looked forward to stuff in general!

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I’ve been looking forward to The Button for months now, pretty much since it was announced, and to finally have the first chapter leaves me anxious for the next, now!

I had not even realized that I missed an issue of Highlander; so I believe NOW I’m actually caught up. And I decided to try the Riverdale Digest #1 half thinking it was going to be original material. Nope…it reprints the first issues of several of the "new" Archie titles. For $6, not a bad thing…and I’d be happy to pay $6 on a continuing monthly basis for a digest like this cycling through "monthly" issues of each series it contains! (Beats the heck outta $3.99 for one issue, and wading through two-DOZEN variant covers!)

weeklyhaul_04192017b

I’m WAAAAAY behind on READING Letter 44, but haven’t wanted to give the title up. Of course, I just found out that it apparently will be ending at #35 in July…so hopefully life will be such that I’ll be able to dedicate some serious reading time to re-read what issues I actually HAVE read, and then on through the whole run!

I’m definitely into the "habit" or "groove" of following Spawn, though I’ve no clue where it’s going or whatnot. As long as it stays at $2.99, I’ll probably keep up. However, it’s one that I definitely WILL drop on principle if it jumps to $3.99! The price point is one of its high selling points for me, and what helped get me onto it over a year ago.

Despite being quarter-bin fodder, I snagged a number of these True Believers editions/reprints of key X-Men premiere issues. Though I’m sorta (morbidly) amused at having paid $1 for the X-Men "Blue" issue, considering how many copies I have of it, and that I’ve bought copies of the "deluxe" edition (that this reprint’s cover is a panel from) just to rip the cover off as a poster.

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I also raided the bargain bins…though I found a lot more in an expanded 50-cent bin than the 25-cent bin that I was interested in. Knowing I’m already looking to fill in some 49-50 issues of Action Comics and nearly as many Superman as-is from the New 52 era, I figured with these issues of Superman Unchained, I think now I just need to snag #9 to have the whole series.

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Then there were some 25-cent issues of Detective Comics; at least 2 of which I don’t think I already had.

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And continuing my general trend…I’m happy to get ’90s Marvel comics from bargain bins. 50 cents on these, though I know I already had the Marvels issue, and 99% certain I already had the Amazing Fantasy 16-18 run. Still, for the convenience and all, and the four issues combined being still only HALF the price of a contemporary issue, not bad.


It’s also proving to be an interesting week with a convergence of release dates and such for several things I’d pre-ordered and/or had on my "radar" that I finally realized were out!

Definitely hoping next week will be a lot smaller at least price-wise, but we’ll see!

Some Recent Effective/Appealing Ads from DC

I usually try to ignore ads, or avoid them, or get past them ASAP. But some of them work, and actually ARE appealing and/or effective. Here are several recent ones that caught my attention, from Superman #20 and Action Comics #977.

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Initially, I wasn’t sure what to make of the news of The Button…it was "news" but seemed so far off. Now, lately, this ad has me chomping at the bit for the story…I’m not sure if this image is two parts of the same "lenticular cover," or if it’s an amalgamation of two, or what…but this ad itself, this split-down-the-middle image is one I really dig, and has me extremely interested and eager to get to the story!

Perhaps it’s that it still feels rather new to me (relatively speaking) to see Batman and the Flash so closely linked.

dc_ads_early_april2017_teentitans_judascontract

Then there’s the new Warner Bros. Animation animated film Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. Sure, it’s an updated "based ON" sorta thing, adapting the ’80s story to fit a 2010s-era setting (characters, versions of said characters) and to shoehorn it in to the DC Animated Universe.

But as one of THE original stories I remember being talked about for these films, way back in 2007 or 2008 or whenever it was that this line started (was it really a decade ago?!?) it’s good to see that this is finally getting a release.

Of course, it also means I’ve long passed my window for reading the original story first…something that I (shamefully) have never actually read myself.

dc_ads_early_april2017_baneconquest

I’d known Bane was getting a "limited series," AND that Chuck Dixon was back writing the character, but then I forgot again.

I really wish they’d put a cover price with ads like this…either boldly proclaim its worthiness at a certain price…or if it’s thought that the price would be a turn-off, consider a different price!

I don’t know if this will be $3.99 or "only" $2.99 offhand…at $2.99 I might follow it. $3.99 and I’ll probably check out the first issue and then wait for the cheaper collected edition(s).

dc_ads_early_april2017_revenge

I have a definite love/hate thing going on with DC and their portrayal of Zod in the Superman books. I’ve lost track of all the different Zods we’ve had, just in the last 15 or so years, so on one hand, I’m not keen on yet another.

On the other hand, the drama to this image–"everyone" knows the whole "Kneel before Zod" thing–so just SEEING the character, AND seeing Superman…well…kneel…yeah.

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And finally, I have to reiterate that THIS is the way to do the multi-panel "build-an-image" thing with covers!

You do NOT force someone to buy 2, 3, 4, or more copies OF THE SAME ISSUE to form the one image!

You treat someone to a cool, larger image as a "reward" FOR following a larger set of issues (whether a crossover, story, mini-series, whatever)!

I’m tempted to check this out partly in support of that alone (we’ll see if I actually remember or feel the same way once the issues start coming out.)


Of course, there were many, many more ads and such in the two issues, but these were the stand-out ones to me.

A sort of "runner-up" would be a "post card" from a comic shop for a 4-part story in Old Man Logan…the images of Wolverine in different costumes with older comic covers making up the background is a really cool design, and probably would have hooked me…except the issues are Old Man Logan–a Marvel title, $3.99 an issue, and I’d rather read a singular story OR even just wait six months and maybe remember to read it on Unlimited.

Action Comics #976 [Review]

action_comics_0976Superman: Reborn Part 2

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Jaime Mendoza, Christian Alamy, Trevor Scott
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Patrick Gleason & John Kalisz
Associate Editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor: Mike Cotton
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Special Thanks To: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: Late May 2017
Cover Price: $2.99

[ SPOILER WARNING! This issue WILL BE SPOILED below… ]

I suppose I shouldn’t be entirely surprised, yet I still managed to be: after three issues building toward something HUGE…this felt very anti-climactic. Rather than coming off as "organic," to me–at least on this initial read-through–it came off as rather forced and after-the-fact than an organic, planned development.

[ I really will be spoiling this below, so consider this your final warning…spoilers after this line are preceded by plenty of SPOILER WARNING to absolve me of feeling guilty for discussing the issue in detail plainly. ]

We open on Mxy going off on Superman…or at least A Superman. In Mxy’s pocket-existence where Jon’s being held, A Superman and Lois have arrived. Jon recognizes them…they fail to recognize him. While Mxy revels in the chaos, even taunting this Superman, Jon realizes with horror that the woman he believes to be his mother doesn’t even remember him. While two spheres of blue energy approach Jon, Mxy opts to leave, warning of someone far beyond even himself as the cause of everything. That he–Mxy–was merely taking advantage of a situation already present. Channeling power from the blue ‘ghosts’, Jon manages to oppose Mxy, who offers him one last chance to leave this existence. Jon refuses, and Mxy leaves. As the reality crumbles, the blue energy merges with the New 52 Superman and Lois, restoring their memories of Jon and their lives together…and all reality re-knits, merging what we knew from pre-Flashpoint and the New 52 into one continuity, with Superman simply…Superman. But married to Lois, and with their son–Jon–as Superboy. Somewhere else, Mr. Oz looks on and marvels at the situation, at the love shared between Lois, Clark, and Jon, and how it unites realities. And finally, a hint that there’s someone–and/or someTHING–else out there still influencing things.

I feel like this was telegraphed a mile off, so to speak. New 52 Superman and the "real" Superman would merge, their realities fused/merged into one, to simply BE Superman, supposedly no more "divide" and smooth over stuff.

It doesn’t really work for me, as far as the in-story stuff goes. I could even have probably "bought" the notion of Mxy re-setting stuff somehow, though usually his machinations are undone when he disappears. Just continuing to merely "hint" at something else out there is getting old, and I’m ready to just be TO whatever ‘event’ that will be, and get beyond it. To just have A single DC Universe, even if it’s actually a multiverse, and either the New 52 completely wiped away or officially merged and just have a set UNIVERSE that is what it is and get on with stuff.

Visually, parts of this issue were quite "off" for my preferences, but not bad. I really like the "new costume" for Superman, essentially being the classic costume minus the trunks, and a modified (solid) belt (instead of the dots of red thing that’s been going on awhile). We seemed to have pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark turned into energy and merged with the New 52 versions…but then a sort of switch up with the new costume, and it seems that Jon’s been given additional power (I had it in my head that he couldn’t fly, and he seems to be, here).

This resolution and issue as a whole seems to be an attempt to bring stuff together and "unify" fans of either Superman by making it so that both are one and the same–that New 52 Superman was always part of THE Superman, and the pre-Flashpoint Superman we had from Convergence, Superman: Lois and Clark, and the past ten months of Rebirth was not himself whole, but is now, with the merging of the new. This combined with stuff from last November’s Superman Annual would seem to have stuff in line for that, to firmly establish Superman is Superman and now whole, PERIOD.

I guess time will tell.

There’s still plenty of dancing around the fine details…even with the double-pager showing stuff from "both" continuities, it’s hard to tell–for me, at least–exactly what’s what, or supposed to be what–and what’s just looking different because of the artist’s rendition.

While I’ll grant that the "new costume" deserved its full-page "reveal" and the double-page spread of the "new history" deserved the room, I’m also a bit disappointed at how quick a read this was.

My feelings on this issue are certainly victim to the "hype machine," and to wanting to see some overt reference to Superman Red/Superman Blue, to SOMEthing more with the notion, at least, of Red and Blue, and some overt explaining of things. Instead, a lot seems to have been left to the visuals, to whatever the reader wants to interpret. Maybe it’s stuff to be explored in coming issues–but to consider this a conclusion seems to understate things, and though I certainly appreciate NOT having stories stretched out, I think Superman Reborn certainly deserves to be at least another chapter or two, to really lay things out and concretely state what’s what and when and all that.

Superman Reborn started strong, with a lot of epic possibility and potential. Sadly, it–at least for me–ends far short of what I’d hoped for, underwhelming me despite itself. I trust that stuff will play out in coming weeks and months, with further details and ramifications touched on…and hopefully this mainly just means that we’re NOT locked into "the graphic novel" of exactly X issues to a story with hard stop/starts. Perhaps this is just a "main event" and the full details WILL be revealed here and there–organically–as things continue.

I had to go to two different shops to find a copy of this issue, and got the last copy at the second shop…so I’m pretty sure that a number of people have been grabbing this issue even if they hadn’t been getting previous issues. Perhaps the nostalgia, more likely the hype–particularly from sites like Bleeding Cool–and jumping on for whatever this one issue would hold, regardless of continuity. Story-wise, art-wise, it’s a solid enough issue (note my feelings of its failings above) well worth getting if you’re already following either/both titles or this particular story.

But it’s not worth the "hype," at least on one read-through and thinking on it. That said, I won’t be surprised to have my feelings on it changed by further thought, analysis, and points of view…this post simply being my initial thoughts/reaction to the issue on a single read-through.

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