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Thoughts on Rebirth #1, Lois and Clark #8 and Superman #52[SPOILERS]

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I’d been looking forward to these issues for awhile, with way more excitement and interest than I’ve had in most comics in ages.

Please be forewarned, I’m going to spoil these issues here, especially the Rebirth issue!

Superman: Lois and Clark #8

I remember highly anticipating the first issue of this series, due to the prospect of this meager “bone” tossed to me as a fan of the pre-Flashpoint Superman. It’s been a rich series, giving me so much that I’ve wanted, particularly as “my” Superman was now like I remembered the pre-CoIE Earth-2 Superman–not being the focus, not being “the” Superman, there could be hugely major shakeups in the status quo, such as Clark and Lois actually having a (biological) son. There’s the huge, overwhelming (to me) loss of the pre-Flashpoint world they knew…but with stuff in Rebirth I think there’s something to be said/suggested in this Superman sticking around but at least us as readers having “hope” that his world and past and loved ones are still “out there somewhere.”

While the above was more speculative and incomplete, I’ll be “spoiling” Superman #52 below as well as the Rebirth issue after it.

Superman #52

This issue concludes the Super-Leag…er…The Final Days of Superman story that’s crossed the various Super-books for the last few weeks/couple months. I’ve known what was coming, it was part of why I opted to follow the story. Get the story, see the events that lead to the apparent death of the New 52 Superman.

SPOILERS!

I don’t know what I expected, but this was not it. Surely there’s more DEPTH to stuff, things to be explored, subtexts one can root out…but on the surface, on initial reading, reading to get to the end…I felt like this was a letdown.

That’s it?!? That’s how he goes out?

And even with an 8-part story leading into it (remember, 1992’s Doomsday! arc (aka The Death of Superman was 6 chapters plus a Justice League tie-in) that should have made this epic, this felt padded and drawn-out, and while Superman “knew it was coming” this seemed like a weak way for him to go out, despite doing so literally in a “blaze” of glory (and that is NOT intended as a reference to the character Blaze).

Clark–the pre-Flashpoint Superman–steps in, the two DO meet (albeit briefly–and yeah, here’s the selling point that had me buying the #50s…I wanted to see them MEET), and we get an abrupt end to the New 52 Superman, which paves the way for the other Superman to ‘take over’ or ‘step back into his rightful place’ or some such.

The story ultimately doesn’t seem to have had much POINT except to “clear the board” and allow for things to keep moving FORWARD without actually backtracking or saying someone didn’t exist, etc. And that will surely also be coming into play in the next few months of stories.

Below, I SPOIL stuff in the issue, so be forewarned!

DC Universe: Rebirth #1

Now that I’m ready to actually write about this, I’m at a loss for words.

The art was an immediate attention-grabber…it just looked GOOD. And with the likes of Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, and so many other “brand name creators”, how could this not? These are The Big Guns, some of THE big names whose art I’ve so enjoyed in the past (over the last 10-15 some years), so seeing their work was a huge treat, and I did not mind the bits of difference between ‘chapters’ and such…I was far, far more interested in the story itself.

And that story takes place across nearly 70 pages, with so many little moments that I really can’t even begin to properly “summarize” it, nor am I going to offer a page by page commentary on the issue.

Suffice it to say, I’m spoiling this issue.

This.

Is.

Your.

Final.

Bit of.

Spoiler.

Space.

To quote one River Song… “Spoilers, Sweetie!”

So…

Wally is BACK. My Wally. Original Wally. Wally West, Wally that was Kid Flash, in the Teen Titans, great friends with Dick Grayson, that became Flash after Barry died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally that “died” during Zero Hour, Wally that was the focus of more than 226 issues of his own ongoing series, Wally that disappeared and was seemingly–at best–“replaced” to be in line with the then-upcoming/now established tv show.

And he’s brought back in a way, it’s explained such that it does NOT invalidate the New 52 Wally West, it allows both to exist, to co-exist without my having any particular problem with it.

All the hype, and in getting to that, typing that…I’ve realized that THAT was my take-away with this issue.

Wally West is BACK!

Add to that we have some coy setup, more someone behind the scenes of the ones behind the scenes of the ones behind the scenes.

I remember the woman from Flashpoint #5, the ending, when stuff was somewhat supposedly “put right,” she had influence on what became the New 52 including the incorporation of the Wildstorm characters into the main unierse along with elements formerly/primarily Vertigo. Well, this woman–Pandora, I believe–is dealt with, and whatever power she had? She’s minor compared to this other power.

And from Wally’s narration, there’s this concept that 10 years had been “stolen,” that “love” had been stolen, “legacy” had been stolen, that it had all been stolen to make the heroes weaker, prevent them from being capable of taking something on.

Everyone being YOUNGER. A Superman in his early/mid-20s instead of mid-30s, and never married, etc. Barry, with no Legacy; no Jay to Barry to Wally to Bart. A compressed span of time in which Batman went through numerous Robins. Etc and so on and so forth.

And ultimately, to ME, to MY reading, the way I read this, the way I took it to heart…this “salvages” things. This validates the New 52 against pre-Flashpoint DCU. Essentially we have someone messing behind the scenes, manipulating vastly untold powers in ways that affect the very multiverse…and there’s still something COMING.

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The Weekly Haul – Week of May 25th, 2016

This is it–the week I’ve been looking forward to for awhile, at least a couple months!

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While I was disappointed to learn that–as I’d expected–Superman: Lois and Clark was NOT going to be some long-running ongoing series…the title’s got a darned good reason to not be continuing, as its purpose is basically ceded to the main titles.

And we have the final chapter of The Final Days of Superman in the final issue of the New 52 iteration OF the Superman title. This is the eighth chapter, that I want to say I’ve followed weekly now since at least the second chapter–I don’t recall if I had to wait a week to get the 2nd or if both were already out or not when I “gave in” on the Superman #50s.

Most importantly, though, we have DC Universe: Rebirth #1, a supposedly-80-page issue for $2.99. (What they neglect to advertise is that those pages include house ads for titles that begin showing up next week or so…there are only 68 STORY pages of actual content. Though I’ll certainly be drowned out in the general internet hubbub, I’ll touch on the three issues (primarily Rebirth) with tomorrow’s post.

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The second issue of the new Aliens series is out (I guess it HAS been a month already!), as well as the 25th issue of Letter 44, which though I’m way behind in reading I’ve been following since the bargain-priced $1 premiere issue grabbed my attention a couple years ago. IDW gets in on the action of self-promoting the top __ books everyone should buy from _____ (insert publisher. In this case, IDW!)

And doing what I hate, and giving me possibly my first big regret to the “standing TMNT order” for the pull list, IDW put out not only two issues of the TMNT line the same week instead of spacing them out, but two issues of the SAME TITLE, one being a totally ridiculous $5.99 ($6! What kid’s gonna drop $6 on this cartoon-based comic with some arbitrary sports star?!?) For TMNT Amazing Adventures, that makes this a $10 week!

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I swung by the other shop I sometimes get to, and ended up hitting the $1 bins…scoring several issues of Spawn that I don’t think I have…though the cover to #16 gives me serious déjà vu (making me think it’s 1. an image used on the cover of Wizard back in the day, 2. an issue I already have, and/or 3. an iconic image that stuck in my mind over the years from an ad [probably in Wizard if so!]). As I’m settling in with current issues and actually getting to enjoy them a bit and seeing more potential on the series, I’m increasingly interested in back issues, and kinda curious at how hard it would be for me to put together a run of the title.

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I also scored a couple other issues, as well as some “ephemera” (I love that word, perfectly describes a lotta the random crap I saved over the years. “Legitimizes” it and all that!).

The original first issue of the first mini-series of Savage Dragon, as well as a one-shot (or at least, just one issue here) continuing the Solar, Man of the Atom property back in the Acclaim days.

Ephemera-wise, there’s a promotional 75-cent Incredible Hulk ashcan; a Spawn comic originally packaged with one of the earlier action figures from McFarlane…and a Now Comics news-zine thing of some sort that piqued my curiosity enough to snag for 25 cents (though with Real Life going on right now, I haven’t a clue when I’ll get around to digging into it).

No collected volumes this week, no pending orders, etc… I’m burning out a bit from the stream of recent-ish purchases…and looking at a month of a crapload of DC titles.

That the DC books are gonna be $2.99 is SUCH a huge refresher, given the wealth of $3.99 stuff out there. Even stuff double-shipped that winds up costing $5.98/mo would be 40 content pages and is two issues rather than 2/3 of that for a single issue.

Surely much more discussion on that angle of topics soon.

Superman/Wonder Woman #29 [Review]

supermanwonderwoman0029The Final Days of Superman part 7: Fire Line

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Karl Kerschl
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: July 2016
Cover Price: $3.99

This is it–the penultimate chapter of The Final Days of Superman, and of the New 52 Superman’s story, period, it would seem, at least as he’s been given to readers since September 2011.

We have Solar Flare Superman facing New 52 Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Meanwhile, Convergence/pre-Flashpoint Superman gets his wife and son to the fortress he’s kept secret from them, and he and his Lois have a ‘discussion’ over the matter. While Batman gets New 52 Lois away from Solar Flare, New 52 Superman and New 52 Wonder Woman do a number on Solar Flare Superman, before the Flare entity gains the upper hand. Learning of the ongoing battle, Supergirl leaves the DEO only partially-powered to join the fray, and we leave off with New 52 Superman in the clutches of Solar Flare.

Which is all a slightly obtuse, quasi-intentional way of expanding on the fact that not much of anything really HAPPENS here, except some pieces are moved around the board, marking time for the concluding chapter yet to come as we head into Rebirth itself as well next week…and to emphasize the fact that we have three different Supermen in play in this issue alone, as well as two Loises who don’t even meet.

Story-wise, this isn’t BAD at all–that’s not what I’m saying. But we basically have a big fight scene punctuated by accounting for several “subplots” (as much as such things actually exist in 2016 DC comics). Being well aware of this being chapter 7 of 8, and of what’s about to happen, and expecting it to unfold in the final chapter of this story and spill into the big Rebirth issue next week, I can’t truly fault the writing for not being able to DO much in this issue except move pieces around the board.

Visually I’m not enamored…while everyone’s quite recognizable, the linework just makes everyone look a bit “off” to me…and that is something firmly accentuated with the addition of color effects, to say nothing of just not caring for–or being used to–a Superman in any sort of armor, whatever its backstory/reason/necessity (or lack thereof). I also don’t care for the layouts…though they vary page to page, many pages seem to have too-big panels with too few words…and whether that’s art expanding to fill a lack of script or a script allowing an expansion of art, I’m not sure…but it makes $3.99 feel that much more expensive for the quick read this issue is as a whole (particularly compared against comics read this week from 1996, 20 years ago, purchased for 20 cents each!).

Finally, the cover isn’t all that appealing…I’ve not gone back to check out later printings of earlier chapters, though I saw a couple in passing and this one seems to fit those. The cover copy “Burning Love!” seems ill-placed as well, and the entire image is a bit misleading as Supergirl is not involved in the core action of this issue.

All in all…this issue is for those following the entirety of The Final Days of Superman, or completing a run of this particular title. If you’re just looking for the apparent death of the New 52 Superman, that should be next week; and if you’re not already following stuff, this chapter does not give enough to justify itself in and of itself for anyone to try to “jump in” just for this particular issue as any sort of “random” purchase.

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 18, 2016

For being a really small week with only one pull-list book and going in planning on one off-the-shelf book…this turned into a huge week of new-to-me comics!

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Been following–and quite enjoying–the Final Days of Superman story, if only for the fact of it being a multi-part story spanning four titles with a new chapter coming out each week, wherein I’m following the story itself and not so concerned about what title any given chapter falls in. Then there’s also Spawn, added to my pulls to support the high-numbering that’s been maintained through an age of renumbering/reboots/etc, as well as holding to the $2.99 price point amidst a sea of $3.99+ books. And I have yet to talk myself out of Power Man and Iron Fist, which I’ve thus far been enjoying overall.

And I’m definitely a fan of some of the Wizard specials…the Zero Hour book wound up costing me a whopping 20 cents this week!

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For $1 each–or all four of these for the price of a single Marvel–snagged these classic “digest” editions. No real rhyme or reason, just that they were there, lotta Batman on the cover, and they’re those classic digest editions!

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Getting into the bargain bins–freshly stocked, and I thought 25-cents-each (but turned out for the shop’s 29th-Anniversary-Sale, discounted to 20-cents-each), got a couple “shiny” dupes for the heckuvit. Then there’s The Longbow Hunters…I thought I was grabbing “all 3” issues but got home and realized that in my haste to delve into the fresh treasures of the expanded bargain bins, I only wound up with two distinct issues and a dupe-on-the-spot. Win some, lose some, I guess!

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First seven issues of The Power of Shazam!–dupes, all, but I recall several of my prior editions having some sticky residue or such, so worst-case, I have some dupes to choose between when I get to the sorting phase with my collection and that initial-pass to weed out dupes.

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Several one-off gems: a silver edition of The Strangers #1 as well as the mail-away The Solution #0. “Limited,” “hot” books around 1993/1994…25 cents here today! I’m kinda kicking myself for not snagging the bunch, but there were a number of The Brave and the Bold issues. My personal focus being Superman, though, I restrained myself from picking more up just because they were there. They weren’t in great condition, but for the novelty, I grabbed #150…thicker anniversary issue, and something just seemed really familiar to me–triggering nostalgia–with the cover. And then, even though it’s a bit wrinkly–probably water-damaged–DC Comics Presents #85, the “infamous” Swamp Thing issue I’ve been wanting to read or re-read or otherwise have…but couldn’t remember if another copy is truly hiding amidst my longboxes or not. For 25 cents (or as it turned out, 20 cents) absolutely a great purchase.

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Quasi-spoiling the find, I was unable to locate the fourth/final issue, but along with Underworld Unleashed #s 1-3, scored three special tie-in issues that I don’t think I’d ever consciously known existed…or sure didn’t remember, anyway.

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And then totally throwing my budget for the week out the window, nearly 50 issues of Wonder Woman. #s 89-136, and Annual #4. I’m truly curious now to “discover” what I actually own of this series…I have a bunch of early issues from a lot Dad bought for me years ago, and think I recall getting another run of issues somewhere in the 60-80 range, now this. Definitely a good way toward having the entire run, and at the very least, this purchase in itself gives me a four-year run of the title!

All in all…bought 75 or so comics, when I went in planning on 2. SOMEDAY I’ll get around to reading everything…

The Weekly Haul – Week of April 27, 2016

This seems to be a small week overall. I’d thought I had more stuff on my pulls than I actually had waiting for me.

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I’ve been looking forward to Aliens: Defiance for ages now; and I’m following the current Superman story as we head toward Rebirth, and wasn’t about to pass up the new Darkwing Duck (especially with no personal conflict–I have yet to have any problem with this publisher, while I’d’ve been quite conflicted if it was again a Boom product).

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Taking up some of the “slack” I did a final raid of the Essentials bargain bins. I got these four volumes for the price of a whopping TWO new Marvel single issues.

I honestly would’ve snagged a bunch of other volumes, but they were “later” numbered volumes in series that would be financially prohibitive to try to track down amidst everything else…to say nothing of simple shelf-space which has come to be a definite premium on the whole.

Then there’s the online stuff…where my doubt and stubbornness paid off in placing an order today that I’ll likely post about next week when it arrives. Along with the Age of Apocalypse Omnibus, it takes care of the “splurging” part of my tax return for the year, I think.

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