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Free Comic Book Day 2015 – A Few Issues’ Thoughts

Free Comic Book Day was this past Saturday, and I picked up a number of issues. Rather than attempt to write up single posts for each FCBD issue, here are some of the ones I’ve had a chance to read so far and my thoughts on them.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles FCBD 2015

fcbd2015_tmntI think this is the one I was looking forward to MOST of all the FCBD issues this year. And truthfully, I was not particularly disappointed. We get an all-new story–an in-continuity continuation of things that seems to fit within the present–it does not spoil the Mutanimals stuff, and takes place after TMNT #45, which works well with me getting it 3 days after #45. The art fits right in with the main series itself, so doesn’t even stick out. This isn’t some integral issue to stuff–I’m pretty sure one will be able to read the ongoing without ever knowing they missed this, but reading this will give newer readers some context of recent events and even core tidbits going back to the start of the IDW continuity. A lot of the issue is contextual exposition that I’m not used to seeing in the series…but given the nature of this it works very well for me, and I think would give the newer readers enough to contextualize the current story while teasing the detailed nuances of the actual stories that came before so one might seek those out.

The Tick FCBD 2015

fcbd2015_tickI remember watching and enjoying the animated Tick series Saturday mornings back in the day…scary to think it’s been 20-some years! Sadly I can’t really clearly remember the characters’ "conversational" voices in my head. This was still a quick, fun issue for the most part–the first story with Tick and Arthur dealing with a giant creature eating the city, and the third story with them being distracted by one threat or adventure after another, keeping them from holding a spot in line for the art museum. The middle story wasn’t really to my taste, explaining some of Tick’s time blacked out, apparently from an old #1 issue. Probably a lot more fun for long-time fans of the COMICS, but it means nothing to me not having read those. The art’s good, and the stories fun, and the price was certainly right. As "just" a fun FCBD issue, this is definitely worth reading, and I enjoyed reading it.

Secret Wars #0

fcbd2015_marvelsecretwarsMarvel’s hype-machine has certainly done its job…at least in getting me to where I’d actually be interested in getting a copy of this free issue (at a $4 discount from USUAL Marvel pricing!) The cover particularly stands out to me. However, I am not at all impressed by the interior…and was honestly rather disappointed to see Hickman’s credit on the cover and be consciously reminded that this IS actually his story. This issue didn’t really give me context for stuff, and I had no idea if it’s a "catch readers up to prepare them for the rest of the series" #0 or a "This is where the story truly begins" #0. The story seemed to actually try to be both, but felt choppy and lacked any kind of "editor’s notes" to refer me to any specific stories or to even place this against whatever issues are already out for various titles. Given I’ve hardly touched Marvel in a couple years, I’m lost. So while my frustration with DC and Convergence might give way to trying Secret Wars #1, I’m more curious about several of the tie-in minis and may well skip the core Secret Wars book…especially for the price point and knowledge that there’s virtually no way this does NOT get a collected volume whether I "support the single issues" or not.

Valiant 25th Anniversary Special

fcbd2015_valiantI already bought and read Bloodshot Reborn #1 weeks ago, so while I could buy into a story set some time after the last I’d seen the character within The Valiant, now suddenly finding this "untold" story segment kinda bugs me. This could’ve been included somehow in Bloodshot Reborn #1 or done as some other sort of giveaway or such. Or perhaps hold off a few weeks and kick off May with Bloodshot Reborn #1 next week, so this would have fallen where it should have. The lists of first appearances, greatest team-ups, greatest battles, etc. included both classic and contemporary Valiant so didn’t really interest me as presented. There are a couple teaser images for Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong that are interesting enough. I honestly did NOT appreciate the inclusion of a chunk of Ninjak #1, given that came out awhile ago and #2 just came out last week…again, better to have held the release of #1 til after this, or "preview" something else. Give us a nice image for each title and a page apiece listing all the contemporary Valiant’s titles with their collected volumes available, perhaps. Give us some sort of timeline of where the various volumes fall in relation to each other. SOMEthing. Aside from the opening page TELLING me it’s been 25 years of Valiant, this did not feel at ALL like anything "special" for it…for that, give us the new stories from the hardbacks that kicked off the new Valiant close to a decade ago. Give us some new art from classic AND contemporary creators. I don’t know. This just felt like a big preview book and ad…but hey, it’s "free," it’s "just" a Free Comic Book Day issue to try to "sell" people on the stuff, so not like i"m even the target audience. C’est la vie.

Divergence #1

fcbd2015_dcdivergenceI don’t actually know what I expected of this issue, but whatever it was, this wasn’t it. I suppose I’m glad this is "original" material…I’m certainly quite tired of "just" reprint or "preview" material trying to sell me on stuff. Given the text intro addressing what this issue IS, I gather I’m not alone in that regard. We get the identity of who it is in the Batsuit taking focus in Batman come June, as well as a new status quo for SUperman (did Lois do her thing in a recent issue, or is this the first we’ve gotten of it?). And I had a hard time with the Justice League short, even though Johns wrote it. I found myself skimming it and I’m honestly just not any more interested in Darkseid now than I was nearly four years ago nor any previous time: I just don’t care about the character at any real length, especially as portrayed in the last 15-20 years. I also get tired of the constant messing about with characters for the sake of trying to appear new and hip and cool and relevant. Just goes to show how much I am NOT the target audience and have no particular problem continuing to primarily ignore DC stuff. Plus I have half a year’s worth of Batman Eternal to "catch up" on and I am burned out on weekly stuff.

All-New, All-Different Avengers

fcbd2015_allnewalldifferentavengersSomething to the cover of this issue just looks like some sort of "all-ages" comic rather than an actual in-continuity Marvel main universe continuity comic. And it certainly highlights just how out of touch I am with contemporary Marvel…I see the female Thor, a new Vision, the Nova I don’t care for, the Spidey I’m not interested in, some weird anatomy for the kid Marvel I know nothing about, Captain Falconamerica, and "Iron Man" (Stark, Pepper, who-knows-who). I have no real context for their story on the interior except it’s "the future," which could mean simply we’re getting an advance look at status quo, or this is a story set a few years down the road…I don’t really, honestly care enough to think too much. We also get a short story with a couple people turned into Inhumans and meeting a core group of experienced Inhuman characters…and maybe it’s just me, but it comes off very much of the Inhumans somewhat replacing mutants, which just does not sit well with me. This isn’t a horrible issue if you’re into the current Marvel stuff, but it does nothing positive toward "selling" ME on the Marvel Universe moving forward, and is truly something that I would not BUY and only have/read because it was free.

 

Doctor Who

fcbd2015_doctorwhoI actually couldn’t even "get into" this. I muddled through the chapter with the Twelfth Doctor, but only slightly skimmed the Eleventh and Tenth. For having so thoroughly enjoyed the tv series I just don’t seem to be able to get into the comics. Perhaps because the tv show is tight enough and thorough enough that I find it hard to "get into" adventures set within existing continuity "between episodes" or such. I picked up several copies specifically to share…but I’m half wondering as of this typing if I want to do that to anyone. At least they might enjoy the single issue as a random piece or for the photoshopped cover, even if it does nothing toward getting anyone interested in the comics. There’s also the issue of pricing and format…namely having four ongoing Doctor titles plus a rotating series of mini-series for the other Doctors, and hardbacks instead of paperbacks. At least when IDW had the license there were larger collected volumes than what Titan has done thus far (granted, they’ve only been publishing Doctor Who for about 10-11 months now).

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Not So Free Comic Book Day

Last weekend included Free Comic Book Day 2014 on Saturday, May 3rd. While the “free” side didn’t work out QUITE as planned, I did wind up scoring some stuff I would not have if I hadn’t been out with a friend hitting 5 shops and a Half-Priced Books in one day:

FCBD2014_01

Since Batman Eternal #s 1-4 were all available in one go, AND “only” $2.99 rather than that frustrating $3.99 “everything” seems to be these days, I decided to take ’em as a “set” to give the thing a shot. I’m also all about Image‘s $9.99 vol. 1s, and will try most anything at that price point. Half Price Books had the New Avengers vol. 1 OHC for $9.99 as well, so I figured: why not?

FCBD2014_02

I also found Conan the Savage #4–a magazine/comic I’ve been trying to find for over a decade. Also picked up the “classic Valiant” Magnus #s 7 & 8…a bit pricey at $6/ea, but still well below my max of $10 for any single back issue of anything in 25 years. Found the old Bizarro’s World TPB for cover price (even all these years later) and decided to snag that as well.

Also snagged some 50-cent-bin comics–primarily a bunch of the post-Zero Hour #0 issues from DC from 1994 and a bag/boarded copy of the original The Ray mini-series #s 1-6.

The New 52! #1 [Review]

The New 52! #1

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Kenneth Rocafort, Gene Ha
Color: Alex Sinclair, Rod Reis, Blond, Art Lyon
Cover: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor: Kate Stewart
Editors: Dan Didio & Eddie Berganza

This issue is mostly teaser, and seems especially designed more for those following DC‘s The New 52 for the past 9 or so months moreso than a brand-new reader that might be sucked in for Free Comic Book Day 2012.

We’re shown a sentencing for a trio of characters, all of whom–if not off the bat, then by their fates–have a certain familiarity, as we see the origin of “Pandora,” who we see here has a much larger role to play in the new DCU in the near future. These three characters have been condemned by The Wizard (as in Shazam), punished for contributions to harm of mankind. In the present day, Pandora stirs up some trouble stealing back her box as she seeks to unravel her curse, and we’re then shown a glimpse into the near-future of the DCU, and the coming “event” due out “next year.”

There’s a whole mix of art to the issue, culminating in a fold-out posterlike 4-page spread by Jim Lee spotlighting the main Justice Leaguers in the “near future.” Overall, given this is essentially a sampler issue and I had no idea what to expect of it, the art didn’t stand out all that much to me. Some characters are familiar, others not so much, and I’m not sure if the unfamiliarity I have is with the New 52 in general, or with concepts being “introduced” in this issue.

Story-wise, there’s not a whole lot; this is like having the “origin” of Pandora (and a couple other characters) thrown in front of us to pull one in, like “hey, remember these guys? Here they are! See! Now you HAVE to read the coming event!”

As a free issue…yeah, this is worthwhile. If it weren’t for the credits taking up much of the bottom of the image, I’d be inclined to pull the center out of the issue and stick it on the wall as a small poster, at least. Almost half this issue is a section of 2-ish page “previews” of the second wave of DC titles, and I skipped over ’em. I already bought Earth 2 #1, and NOT being an art person, have no interest in the 5-7+ page previews DC‘s often stuck in the back of its books, and 1-2 pages mean even less.

Probably for the worse (to me), this issue makes it clear that The New 52 is building toward some huge event (coming next year, though), and since I’m not willing to invest in a bunch of titles as-is, I have even less interest now.

Story: 4/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 6/10

Free Comic Book Day 2011

IMG_0454Today was the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day–a day that’s been organized in the comics community to celebrate comics, and provide a very specific event for comic shops to promote themselves and what comics have to offer. After all…maybe a sale will draw in some people, but a free comic will draw in more.

Offhand, I’m pretty sure I’ve been out to (a) comic shop(s) for all 10 years so far. The first two years I would have gone to JC’s Comic Stop in Toledo, OH. I really don’t remember any specifics from that one–I may have gone alone, though I suspect I at least had my friend Drew with me.

In 2003, I remember heading out with Drew for the 2nd annual event, and getting held up when we bumped into folks who needed some help setting up for a social event on-campus, though I’m pretty sure we just made it to the shop before they closed.

In 2004-2006 I would have gone to Sports ‘n More and probably Comic Heaven–alone, unfortunately–to snag whatever I snagged those years.

In 2007 I recall making the rounds of the comic shops with my friend Hillary. In 2008 we reprised the trip, with our friend Andrew along.

2009, went out to several shops with my friends Michael and Bridgett. In 2010 we had an abbreviated outing to a couple nearby shops.

This year, we were able to get our friend Earl into the mix, and made it out to 4 different shops in 4 cities.

Continue reading

Blackest Night #0 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com

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

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