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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 15th, 2017

This week was a smallish week again, though I got four new comics instead of only the 2-ish apiece the last couple weeks.

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The two Super books. I almost want to wait on reading Super Sons until after Superman Reborn is done, but probably won’t. I already read Superman #19 and posted my thoughts on it). God Country was quasi-accidental, and I’m annoyed (yet again/as always) with variant covers crap (seems despite supposedly cutting back, every time I turn around, Image has stuff with variants out!)

I broke down and bought the $4.99 Star Trek: Deviations one-shot figuring maybe it’d be a "fun" read, but it wound up being rather blah to me, especially after reading the piece after the story about its genesis. And the waste of valuable pages for "sketches" and such involving a variant cover, rather than more pages of actual story. And three two-page segments about three other Star Trek books IDW is currently publishing…all of which referenced something about 3 pages, yet each only had ONE page of actual "preview," and STILL only two including the page that’s nothing but an AD for each series.

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On a higher note, taking advantage of a week of Half-Price Books coupons (but having waited til they got to 30% off an item), I snagged Superman in the FIfties, which I believe leaves me now only missing the In the Sixties volume.

I’ve become quite the fan of the Aliens stuff the last year-plus again, and this "art book" (for slightly less than two Marvel single issues) will more than outpace the time it’d even take to read those two Marvel issues, just reading captions and enjoying the art!

And because I didn’t want to risk "missing" it and it was already cheap enough to basically be a "waste" of a high-percent coupon, I snagged the Green Lantern volume, which puts me one closer to a complete run of these older ones. (Probably just in time for them to start doing those fat $20 ten-to-twelve-issue collections of Kyle’s run)…

I’ve got my eye on a couple other things for the 40%-off coupons Friday and Saturday. I may do a quick weekend post if I score what I’m considering. Alternatively, might just post to Facebook and be done (I do sometimes post photos and other stuff "exclusively" to this blog’s Page…there should be a link on the left of this blog post).

For now, looking forward to next week’s Action Comics issue and "hoping" for a rather "small" week again…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Deviations [Review]

teenagemutantninjaturtles_deviations0001Deviations

Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Zach Howard
Additional Art: Cory Smith
Ink Assist: Joylon Yates
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: Ted Adams
Cover: Zach Howard
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: March 2016
Cover Price: $4.99

Aside from the price, I’ve enjoyed these Deviations issues (having read the Ghostbusters and the GI Joe issues prior to this one). My most obvious comparison to describe the Deviations designation is that these are IDW‘s version of the classic Marvel series What If..? That is, a key story point is chosen, an an alternative outcome is explored. For obvious reasons, IDW phrases it In a World… Where _______ happened! instead of What If… _______ happened?, but the result is functionally the same. This issue (as with the other four one-shots) carry a hefty $4.99 cover price…hefty in general, though admittedly not drastically beyond the standard $3.99 price point of regular-sized issues.

In a world where the turtles join Shredder, we find a hunted Splinter struggling to survive against his sons, who have been fully brainwashed into Shredder’s control and the world of the Foot. Old Hob is brought into things–the turtles getting Splinter’s location from him–and then the confrontation. The turtles capture Splinter, and present him to Shredder. Total victory nears for Shredder–the turtles have defeated rival gangs, brought Splinter (Hamato Yoshi) to him, and he is at the height of his modern power…and then things crumble. Splinter is not unprepared and–along with Hob and (separately) a revenge-bent Hun (father of Casey Jones, who in this continuity was KILLED by Shredder)–battle is joined, with results rather different from “actual continuity,” establishing a new status quo for this world while leaving us as readers to wonder where things might go from here.

While the Ghostbusters issue I read pivots on the original film’s story, and the GI Joe one is more of a generalized thing…this TMNT issue pivots on a specific event within current IDW Comics continuity, specifically the inciting bit of the City Fall arc…where Casey Jones was stabbed (but survived) in this issue, he died; and where Shredder gained control of only Leonardo, here he got all four of the turtles. As with the rest of the TMNT issues, this one involves multiple folks for the story, Waltz for the actual script, and mostly familiar art credits. Howard‘s art fits my memory of City Fall in that while this has its own style visually, it’s not any sort of jarring contrast to Santolouco‘s art. As such, and having followed the IDW series from its start through present I feel more “aware” of stuff with this story and like this is a perfect fit for my expectation of the Deviations books.

The story itself works and feels very much like any given issue of the ongoing series, and the art–as mentioned above–fit very well, making for an all around attractive package and enjoyable read. My chief nitpick with this issue is that it is too short and I’m not a fan of paying more for the sort of backmatter included in this issue, artificially inflating the feel of its size.  We have 24 story pages, and then 6 pages of The Anatomy of a Page where we see plot, script, layout/pencils, inks, colors, and lettering in progression.

I would very much enjoy seeing more exploration of this alternate timeline or even exploration of other alternative outcomes. A world where Raphael never reunited with his brothers. A world where the turtles failed to stop General Krang. A world where the turtles were too late to save Donatello. Etc. To me, this sort of thing would be great for some mini-series…four issues would allow more room than one and would provide for companion volumes to existing TMNT collected volumes. And if a creative team really got involved or an alternate take really hit with fans, it could be revisited multiple times and expand the alternate world.

I’d love to say I recommend this to “anyone,” as it IS a one-shot and thus not like one has to invest in multiple issues…but this really seems more like a treat for the longer-time fans. To really appreciate the story, one would have to have read City Fall…otherwise this is just some generic issue with bad turtles working for Shredder. That this hinges on City Fall inherently allows for a lot more context (the first 20-some issues of the series). Certainly recommended for anyone who has followed IDW‘s ongoing TMNT series at any length or at least enjoyed the first few volumes and City Fall. The $4.99 is steep even for the “extra” pages…but it IS a one-shot, cheaper than the 2012 and 2014 Annuals, and the paper stock is sturdy so it at least feels like a much better quality (physically) than many $3.99 books.

The Weekly Haul – Week of March 30, 2016

This week is both small and yet still managed to be a huge week for new comics stuff for me.

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The only actual new new comic this week is the Deviations one-shot from IDW–this week the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one, wrapping up their 5-week series (the other Deviations books were Ghostbusters, X-Files, Transformers, and GI Joe. I’ve been picking up the Walking Dead paperbacks soon after release for the last several volumes…I could get ’em cheaper on Amazon or other online retailers, but in a week like this, I don’t mind paying full price for the volume (still cheaper than even a $2.99 cover price for the contents). The Oni Press Starter Pack volume contains several first issues, it’s a sampler-pack of #1s. For $6 I’m absolutely game for checking it out; worst-case, I read the contents of some #1 issues I don’t have #2s or TPBs for and want to track something down.

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The Walking Dead vol. 25 comes shrink-wrapped with a reprint of Kirkman‘s Outcast #1… I hadn’t realized until I ripped the shrink-wrap off that it’s gonna be a TV series. I already have the first TPB as well as one of the Image Firsts reprint editions; but hey, no increase in price, and they included a one-sheet print of the cover over top, so that alone’s a nice bonus. Knowing/being reminded/learning of the new tv series and having this issue put right in front of me certainly goes a long way to getting me to finally sit down and actually read the thing, finally!

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An order I’d placed with InStockTrades.com arrived today as well. With special pricing, I got these for basically 50% off, which made them very much a worthwhile pricing for quick purchase. I’ve had my eye on the New Frontier for awhile; and the Infinity Watch and Superman and Justice League America (no of in that last one) volumes just hit last week, I think.

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All three volumes are a good size, especially for their price; I only paid a little more for the three than cover price for the New Frontier volume, and then shipping was less than the price of a single Marvel comic.

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Got the Superman & Batman Magazine issues for 25 cents each…they’re in crummy, battered, very much used condition…but hey, they’ll be interesting to page through! And while I vaguely recall the thing existing, I didn’t rememberuntil seeing these, so they are a neat random-find!

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Also snagged a few issues from an unsorted longbox bound for the quarter-bins.

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These Super books are a neat catch, I think…it’s easy for me to “forget” that there were whole “families” of Batman-related and Superman-related books even before the 1990s.

And the more I shift toward the notion of back-issues over new, I’m more and more interested in working backwards on the Super books of the early to mid 1980s, if not a bit earlier…and stuff like The New Adventures of Superboy and DC Comics Presents are very much on the likely list of stuff I’ll be actively pursuing.

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