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Extermination #5 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Losing Two Titles From My Pull-List

Two out of the Three Boom! Studios comics I’ve been following end this January. Higher Earth with #9 and Extermination with #8.

Neither of these series has had enough time (to me) to REALLY build a true foundation. They’re only just now starting to gain some tread after laying the groundwork in the first few issues. So much of the potential they hold seems like it’s just being tossed down the drain.

It’s also rather discouraging as I figured I’d hop on board with the singles instead of “just” waiting for eventual collected volumes the way I usually do. Yet, here these are canceled and it just seems sorta pointless.

While Hypernaturals gets to continue, who’s to say it won’t just be canceled in another month or so?

For $3.99/issue, I’d rather be investing in something that’s at least gonna be around a year or more, and see room to really grow organically from an actual foundation. That’s already more than paid off with TMNT at IDW, and seems to be paying off with Valiant.

Bad enough one title’s being ended, but two? Out of THREE? Not exactly much incentive to buy the single issues until a series is a couple years in and proven it’s more likely to stick around awhile.

via Bleeding Cool’s post: Avatar, Boom, Dynamite And Valiant Solicitations For January 2013.

HYPERNATURALS #7 MAIN CVRS

(W) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning (A) Andres Guinaldo, Tom Derenick (CA) Tom Derenick, Kris Anka

With their greatest enemy on the loose, the Hypernaturals are left with little choice but to pursue the only avenue of inquiry they have left, one that might save the Quantinuum, or plunge the universe into a greater, more terrifying darkness…

———-

HIGHER EARTH #9 MAIN CVRS

(W) Sam Humphries (A) Francesco Biagini (CA) Frazer Irving, Garry Brown

THIS IS IT, THE FINAL ISSUE!For the first time in her life, Heidi is absolutely certain of what she must do next…and Rex is forced to face the consequences of the events he has set in motion, as the final push against HIGHER EARTH comes to its epic conclusion!

———-

EXTERMINATION #8 MAIN CVRS

(W) Simon Spurrier (A) V Kenneth Marion (CA) Tom Derenick, Antonio Fuso

FINAL ISSUE! It all ends here — in the heart of the Abattoir, Nox and Red Reaper attempt to unleash Absolute on the world. Will their final gamble succeed in ridding our dimension of the EDDA infiltration? Will they both survive the encounter? And what will become of the post-post-apocalypse? The superhero epic comes to its conclusion, straight from the minds of Simon Spurrier and artist V Ken Marion!

True Fresh Starts vs. Mere Rebooting of Numbering

archerandarmstrong001New #1s may work. In a way, they’ve worked quite well on me in the past year. If I recall off the top of my head, I bought around 30 of ’em last September/October with DC‘s New 52 initiative. Of course, I didn’t stick around very long on any of the titles, topping out around 8-9 issues of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. While I’ve largely kept up with Batwing, that’s been always a month behind for the “discount” on the digital, and I suppose another exception would be following up from Batman with a couple digital issues closing out the Night of Owls stuff.

extermination001cBut this summer, I’ve found myself fairly invested in and enjoying 7 new titles from #1, as well as the just-past-the-one-year-mark Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title from IDW.

Despite the $3.99 pricing, I’ve made exceptions for these for being non-Marvel/non-DC mainstream books.

And they’re all either completely new, original properties, or PROPERLY-done relaunches/reboots.

The Boom! titles (Higher Earth, Extermination, and The Hypernaturals) bloodshot001are all brand-new original properties that I’ve gotten in with on the “ground floor” from #1 (or the FCBD) issues, and thus far am following them with the new release of each single issue. As new properties, obviously these are fine being in the low numbers. They’re not mere continuations of existing continuity or new iterations of otherwise identical titles (and sometimes creative teams).

And then with the Valiant books (Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, and XO Manowar), the original titles have been gone more than 12 years, and the current company is ITSELF a whole new iteration, sharing only name and teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw001properties with the original Valiant. And since they’re not picking up with where the original Valiant properties left off in the late-1990s, it only makes sense to start fresh, with both new #1s and new continuity.

Even TMNT is forging a whole new universe from any of the prior-existing universes, and I’m enjoying the plethora of stuff that IDW‘s been pumping out there. With a year or two between the end of the “Volume Four” series by original TMNT co-creator Peter Laird and draining the last of the done-in-advance queue of work on the higherearth001aTales of the TMNT title, a whole new company in control of the characters, a new license…it makes sense there’d be a new #1, and new “history” for the characters.

It just does not sit well with me the constant renumbering that Marvel–in particular–does; such that it’s actually in itself on principle turned me off to everything post-AvX (and got me to drop all the tie-in AvX titles). DC has at least had the “guts” to hold to the new numbering, keeping the books on schedule, and giving in and having various “waves” of books–cycling titles OUT that aren’t working and xomanowar001cycling in new ones, such that there’s beginning to be a hint of numerical diversity rather than “everything” being the same number each month.

But having come through the 1990s and the 2000s, having followed many characters for nearly two decades, the new stuff just isn’t (as a whole/in general) sitting well with me, and I’m even more put off by the pricing. I’ve bought DC and Marvel since their output was $.75 to $1, and as the prices have crept (and LEAPT!!!) upward…it’s just so hard to “justify” $3.99 (even $2.99) on titles/characters I hypernaturals001aremember paying only $1.50 to $2.25 or even the more recent $2.50 for.

With the Boom and Valiant stuff…it’s starting at $3.99, and broken record though I am, I’m just somehow more “able” to accept the higher price for stuff that’s rooted in the present, with today’s prices, rather than paying today’s prices for yesterday’s properties.

I also don’t have lengthy backstory to try to catch up on at high prices or out of print collected volumes to justify paying high premiums for. harbinger001And rather than be told that continuity doesn’t matter because of the sheer volume of continuity…these are all young enough titles that the “continuity” isn’t even an issue yet any more than it would be for ANY self-contained story.

After 23 years of keeping up with comics, it’s sort of sad to realize that of the ongoing titles I’m keeping up with, I’m looking to bail on the only title in triple digits (The Walking Dead) in favor of the collected volumes, which leaves the highest-numbered issue to the TMNT at #13 (last week).

Boom! Studios’ Extermination

I started watching Falling Skies last year, and found that I enjoyed it overall. Granted, I “lost track” of it along the way and have yet to finish the first season, but look forward to catching up on both seasons on DVD in the not-to-distant future. I mention that because in a way, I think this title could be (in broad strokes) described as Falling Skies with super-heroes.

We open with a character that fits the Batman archetype, Nox. Human, no powers, self-made and all that; even has the dark uniform and cowl/mask. With him is the Red Reaper, a science-based villain…yet the two are working together. Of course, in a world overrun by aliens that have practically exterminated humanity and are trying to finish the job, the whole “hero vs. villain” thing doesn’t hold up–after all, even the villain bent on ruling the world, accumulating vast financial gain or pretty much any goal that’s roughly sane doesn’t want the world destroyed by a third party.

By the second issue, we have a bit more camaraderie between the two–they’ve survived some alien attacks and had some setbacks. When they find a band of survivors, they’re put to the test. Reaper is quite happy to throw in with the survivors…but Nox can’t get over the fact that he recognizes their leader as a former villainess.

The third issue involves more characters in the story as we continue to learn about this world past and present–what it was like before the invasion and where things sit at present. Particularly memorable is what we learn about Nox and where his motivation may not actually be what it seems to be, which could be trouble for the survivors.

I particularly like the story so far. There’s plenty of the familiar–especially in the flashbacks–with heroes and villains fighting, and even some in-fighting with the heroes. But the post-apocalyptic “present” holds a lot of potential and details a situation that I haven’t seen all that often for an ongoing series. Obviously a post-apocalyptic future setting isn’t new; even forcing a hero to work with his enemy isn’t new. But as the status quo for an ongoing series, I like it, and it actually seems a bit fresh…particularly compared to the standardish fare from DC and Marvel of late that just isn’t doing it for me anymore.

The art’s good, and nicely captures both the past and present settings. I also (once I picked up on it) like the way the “present” is conveyed with full-bleed pages while the flashbacks maintain the blank white borders. The story often compares and contrasts the two time periods, and the art drives it home without the need for captioning to describe which is which or when.

As with Higher Earth, I find myself giving this title a “pass” when it comes to the variant covers and $3.99 price point. While this could easily be just one of a number of titles exploring the after-effects of some temporary-status-quo-changing “event” that ties in with other titles to give a full picture…this is just one title, isolated to itself, telling THE story. That there’s room for so much more makes it feel that much more epic, but as of present, it’s a single title that doesn’t require any other series to “complete” the current/ongoing story. As to the variant covers, I’ve simply requested the “A” cover for consistency, and ignore as best I can the solicits and advertising and such that show other covers.

I look forward to seeing the progression of the relationship between Nox and Red Reaper, as well as what becomes of the survivors. In that regard, I definitely hope that this becomes something comparable to The Walking Dead in that it’s a superhero story, a story of characters interacting, and the aliens trying to exterminate humanity become background in the setting. While I have little hope , really, of any new comic making it even past a full year, I would love to see this last awhile…at least long enough for the creative team to tell their story in full, if this proves a finite series.

Also: My thoughts on Higher Earth #s 1-3 at Fantasy Rantz.

The Rest of the Stack: Week of June 13, 2012

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

AVX: VERSUS #3

Well, this concept has worn totally thin on me. Yeah, yeah…nothing-but-the-fight, no plot, blah blah blah. I don’t mind just a fight, but darnit, put some intelligence to it! And really…”AR” here? I should NOT have to bust out the smartphone (note to writers, editors, publishers: *I* might have a smartphone to have the app, but not everyone will!) just to be able to read half the dialogue! The Colossus/Thing battle’s nothing but punching, basically…big hairy deal who wins. The Black Widow/Magik fight…basically the same. And why would the Widow–in battle with a Russian girl–keep arbitrarily switch between Russian and English? I don’t care if there’s low to no plot…but geez, have some consistency other than “hey, look what we can do if you use an app!” Ugh…this might make me break from the completist mentality and see if I can drop the rest of this series. Absolutely NOT even BEGINNING to approach anything worth $4…this should be one of those supplemental freebies Marvel sends to the comic shops to GIVE out. “Hey, look at this fight! Look at the sweet art! If you want art AND story, pick up the series this is based on!” (4/10)

AVENGERS #27

I don’t know what it was about this issue, but nothing to it really struck me as all that good. And I feel like I’ve missed something outright…I mean, aren’t these characters also involved with the Captain Marvel “resurrection” stuff, too? I don’t mind the art on this issue…there’s one panel in particular that I really like of Thor. But this stuff with Protector or whatever his name is…I just don’t feel at all invested, and so I don’t care about the character (or maybe it’s the other way around). Given this arc ties in with the main series, it also seems rather odd that a week after #5 of AvX ships, we have an issue concluding a story that takes place before #4. BUT…at least we have some notes now to place stuff in the overall timeline. I guess part of what’s soured my mood is thinking about the price of these issues. Yeah, there’s that download code thing, but I don’t have an iPad or a physically roughly-the-size-of-a-comic screened tablet, and if I’m paying to get the physical comic, I’m probably gonna read that, not a digital copy. Shame it’s not a case of buy a physical $3.99 issue, get a free digital copy of “any” new issue. I’d be all for that. Looks like a new story arc with the next issue…maybe that’ll work better? (6/10)

X-MEN: LEGACY #268

Ok…so this is basically a one-shot spotlighting Frenzy. Who until a few days ago I didn’t give a crap about. But having recognized the name, it seems this character actually dates back to the X-Men “relaunch” of 1991 or so…or at least the Fatal Attractions crossover of 1993…unless it’s coincidence that one of the Acoyltes was named Frenzy? Anyway…not a bad issue here, and it’s kinda nice getting a done-in-one story on a character within the context of the overall AvX thing. Story’s good–we get some insight into Frenzy as a character, what she’s been through and come from as well as seeing her making at least the overall attempt to be a better person and all that. The art’s not bad, either. Definitely the best of this week’s AvX issues! (8/10)

UNCANNY X-FORCE #26

I dropped this title a few weeks back, but had to finish out what the LCS had already ordered for me. And now with AvX and half hoping this title would tie in, I find myself still snagging it off the shelf. On the one hand, I don’t care for this idea of Omega Red’s powers being split amongst a group of assassins, but something about this title makes it work. And while I don’t know how long this title will last, even when I want to ignore it or give it up due to the $4 price and not always following the subtleties…it’s one of the better, creative titles I’ve found, and so help me, it keeps me curious over what happens next. Some of that helps from seeing that “Kid Apocalypse” (Genesis) was a development being used in the greater X-universe and not just this title…which lends more to this title actually mattering. I guess I’m taking it a month at a time until I miss an issue and don’t miss the read and simply don’t bother to pick it up…and leaving it off my pull list will be the extent–for now–of my official protest of the price of this title? (7.5/10)

TMNT COLOR CLASSICS #2

I absolutely love these color reprints of the classic TMNT material. I’m not sure if the “micro series” one-shots will be tossed into this series’ numbering or be their own things…I sorta hope this keeps in line with the original series’ numbering, though, to keep stuff straight. Whatever the case…this issue reprints the original TMNT #2 which introduced April O’Neil, the mousers, Baxter Stockman, and showed that the turtles weren’t just themselves a one-shot thing. I like the combination of the original art with the new colors…it’s the best of both worlds. The writing/story is a bit rough, but it was what it was, and picks up by the time we get to one of my favorite arcs in the Leonardo one-shot and issues 10-11. Whether new fan interested in older stories without springing for those huge hardcovers or an old fan looking to pick up single issues at a relative bargain, or whatever…you can’t really go wrong with this series, at least this second issue in. (9/10)

EXTERMINATION #1

Boom‘s got one thing right–the price point. Their recent launch of new titles have wound up in my hands due to a standing order with my LCS for $1.00 and under issues. For $1 (or $.50 or $.25) I’m willing to give stuff a look where even $2 or definitely $3 or $4 would be more than I care to gamble. This takes a Batman-esque character and has him teamed up with one of his old villains as the two try to survive in a post-apocalyptic/alien-invasion world. I have a lot of questions, and it took me about half the issue to make the distinction visually between “present day” and “flashbacks,” but overally I found this issue quite worth the $1…even though it took me an extra week to get around to reading it. I’m curious about where it’ll go…but I’m very hesitant to plan to continue due to the $4 cover price. It’s also a bit of a principle thing for me with the price and the “variant covers are standard issue no matter the issue number” thing, and since it’s not TMNT it does not fall into my conscious exceptions category. If my attention’s grabbed by one of the covers for #2 and it’s a small week, I might give it a continuation to really draw me in for the story. The art’s good, so if $2.99 and pinups-instead-of-variants was standard fare, I’d be far more likely to dive in. (8/10)

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