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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of January 02 & January 09, 2019

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Despite my best intentions, starting 2019 out with doubling up on the "Weekly Haul" posting. Some planned changes/updates with logos and such also hasn’t happened yet for the blog, so rather than a hard break with the year, stuff’ll just roll out as it rolls out! Even this post’s "logo" above is not the final version, but I was messing with stuff the other day and decided I’d toss it up, whether it gets used just this once, or becomes a regular. If you’ve any thoughts on it, feel free to leave a comment!


Week of January 2nd, 2019

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The first week of the year started out pretty small, with only a handful of issues. I don’t recall, nor do I care to check back, but I’m not sure if we had an issue of Heroes in Crisis in December, even–of course, this is only by a week, so negligible, but whatever. Much as I’ve liked this writer’s Batman stuff, I’m really not caring for this event…it doesn’t feel like anything’s really HAPPENING. Or not enough per issue. But 4 issues in, and it NOT being $4.99, nor has it slipped to some bi-monthly (or less-frequent) schedule, so I’m probably in for the entire thing at this point…if only to see what comes of it.

It also seems that Action Comics slipped slightly…with #1001 having come out in July, January should see #1007.

While it’s fitting that Marvel (in particular!) honor Stan Lee…it appears to me that they’re only doing so by removing the logos but keeping regular images for covers. To me, that just makes these look like DC variants, and since the cover images don’t incorporate his likeness in any way or such, and it’s not like they’re putting the black memorial band OVER a logo. And given his own large/over-the-top/grandiose-ness…it seems to me a disservice to hide the big, bold logos and such of the characters that directly or tangentially are here because of him.

And Marvel sure wasted NO TIME rushing a ton of Conan stuff out. Much as they did four years ago with Star Wars. And frankly, that really puts me off quite a bit; as well as apparently having a couple more series debuting soon, and just…flooding the market. I opted to get this first issue just to try, but haven’t gotten around to reading it, and have yet to hear anything all that good about it.


Week of January 09, 2019

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This week was definitely a bigger week with more stuff out…though it also annoyed me to a certain degree.

Firstly, we get the premiere of the new Young Justice series with the new Young Justice #1. I quite enjoyed the issue, and look forward already to the next!

This is a Batman week, with both Batman and Nightwing out. I need to catch up on READING Nightwing OR just cut my losses and drop the title. Time’ll tell on that.

We’ve got the premiere of the new iteration of Brubaker and PhillipsCriminal title. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of this title in the past (and particularly remember the 10th anniversary issue!) so definitely giving this issue a shot…though I’ll likely trail off and wind up going with the collected editions. Again…time’ll tell.

The week had TWO issues of Aliens stuff. The conclusion of the 4-issue Dust to Dust mini. and the 3rd of (I believe) 4-issue adaptation of Gibson‘s screenplay for Alien3. I’m pretty sure I’ve wound up with variant covers for both series, just trying to get issues, and Dark Horse is back to the seemingly-rigid 4-issue cycles, so I’ve pretty much decided that for the multiple variant covers every issues and preferring the full(er) stories I’ll get the final issue of this Alien3 thing and then I’m done with the single issues. "Nostalgia" might prompt me to go against this if they do another Fire and Stone or Life and Death-style saga, but otherwise, at least collected volumes don’t USUALLY come with a bunch of variants!

And finally, we’re halfway through Adventures of the Super Sons now, and I have got to get the previous series and all 6 of these pulled together to get caught up on my reading.


I’m really looking forward to the new TMNT: Shredder in Hell mini that starts with the week of January 16th; as well as getting Bendis‘ "backstory" filled in on Jon Kent’s missing time between the end of the Rebirth stuff and his run (or the flashbacks, technically, from Bendis Man of Steel).

And depending on how the week shakes out, I may do a couple other posts soon for some other acquisitions of "stuff." As I’m repeating through this post, though…time will tell!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of July 25, 2018

This week was a fairly small week of new release comics for me…small enough that I "padded it out" a bit.

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The new issue of Action Comics–#1001–was a given, for me. It’s been 3 months coming, since the huge #1000 issue.

After looking forward to The Flash War for so long and even letting the title go for several months, I got back in for the (finally) actual story itself…which seemed too short. This #51 "epilogue" issue is a pleasant surprise-extension of the story.

And Mr. and Mrs. X is Marvel actually getting me with a concept I’m interested in–fially having Rogue and Gambit get to this point (one of my earliest X-Men comics was #24–the "date" issue with the two.

I quite enjoyed the X-Men: Grand Design issues from the turn of the year, and was rather disappointed at the long delay between those and the next ones. Time healed that particular "wound" and it was a pleasant surprise to find this one out this week. Unlike other $5.99 issues, these actually feel heavy and "special" and worth the price.

I hadn’t realized The Hellblazer was ending…but as with the end of the 300+ issue Vertigo run, I opted to snag this final issue "immediately" with the intent to fill in the gaps I have in the story via collected volumes, eventually/someday.

Because I was "curious" after stupidly "buying into" some hype over the Teen Titans Special several weeks ago, figured I might as well give this issue a shot and see if it actually goes anywhere interesting, or if IT is all-hype/etc.

And finally, because it actually reprints an issue I did not yet own and had never even read before, the True Believers issue reprinting What If..? #1 was a handy addition for only $1. (3 Marvel comics for $11…pretty darned cheap considering their usual prices!)

Still, it’s rather dismaying that even the DC titles were all $3.99. I’ll occasionally be ok with occasional higher-price-point issues–Grand Design being an excellent example–but certainly not as a routine, regular thing. And for me, Marvel has far too often "abused" the higher prices in my eyes, such that I was honestly somewhat surprised that Mr. and Mrs. X was "only" $3.99 for a #1 issue. (Which was another reason to support the title–NOT EVERY #1 NEEDS TO BE a $4.99+ giant-sized issue! And yet, I could argue that this one would be more deserving of a giant-size status. Reprint X-Men #24, and maybe some other key issue from the characters’ pasts. Reprint the Avengers Annual Rogue first appeared in, and Uncanny X-Men #266 with Gambit’s first appearance–juxtapose their first appearances with how far they’ve come. After all, this title is not MERELY "the next month’s issue" of a title with a #1 slapped on the cover…it’s truly a new status quo for the characters, it’s a new title we have not seen before, and so on. (As opposed to the fifth(?) Amazing Spider-Man #1 or the seventh(?) Captain America #1 in the last 20 years)

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The Weekly Haul – Week of June 20, 2018

This was a mixed week, and included a rather unexpected purchase on my part!

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For one thing, I seem to have missed Executive Assistant Iris from Aspen twice. And where I’d meant to get the new issue of that, I actually bought the new Fathom #1 instead, because of getting the 25-cent Primer.

Then there’s X-Men Gold #30. I haven’t touched the series since #1, and had zero intent to–even with the wedding in question. But I’d discovered a major spoiler on Bleeding Cool that made me decide I very definitely wanted to get this issue. This doubles in the unexpected category for the cover: this is an extremely RARE example of my opting to buy a variant over a standard cover. Given the spoiler, it’s this bagged variant that has the image that I wanted. I may well talk about the issue later, but not passing the spoiler along for now.

Then there’s the new Man of Steel and Batman issues for the week…getting us ever closer to the end of Man of Steel and the return of ongoing Action Comics and Superman titles, and leaving us with the very next issue of Batman being the 50th…and "the wedding issue."

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I also opted to partake in a sale, with three $34.99-cover-priced books for $6 apiece. I don’t do much Marvel these days, but for this sort of pricing, and the material in question…very much worth it, ESPECIALLY considering each was a mere $1 more than a standard Marvel #1 issue.

Nothing huge beyond that…definitely a simple-ish week!

Next week looks to be a bit bigger…hopefully not in a major sticker-shock sort of way!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of May 2, 2018

The week of May 2nd was an interesting one for comics for me. Not that big a week in itself, but the week did provide a couple of "firsts" for me!

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This week had the release of DC Nation #0, kicking off 3 events. A Batman one, a Superman one, and a Justice League. I was also able to get a store-exclusive edition that I’ve been looking forward to…I’m a sucker for art like this featuring the shop-cat, Winston. I also snagged the Superman cover with an excellent shirt-rip, as it was "only" $3. I virtually never buy such variants, let alone one marked with such a high ratio…but while something 12 times the cover price is usually prohibitive for me…$3 was not prohibitive.

Then there’s the Action Comics Special, which gave Dan Jurgens a final issue to wrap stuff up before Bendis takes over the franchise. The new issue of Batman has the second issue of this Booster Gold arc. And the second chapter of the Batman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke.

I wasn’t sure if I was gonna continue with GI Joe: A Real American Hero, but like the look of this Special Missions arc focusing on solo characters. Being able to get the "A" cover was also a good thing.

The final issue of this Rogue & Gambit series I think finishes off my Marvel buying in terms of new issues for awhile. I passed on Avengers due to the renumbering, and am so sick and tired of renumbering that I just have near-zero interest in Marvel, period, at this point.

An exception to that is the True Believers $1 issues.

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I think the highlight of the week for me, though, is the Action Comics #1000 poster–in one giant sheet, it shows all 1000 standard/regular/"A"/basic covers from #1 to #1000. I promptly framed this, and mounted it to the door down to my comic space. The poster represents history of the "super-hero," of the longest-running comic book series, and Superman. It’s also extra-appropriate leading into a comic space, even though 1,000 comics are but a fraction of what I own.

It’s also excellent to be able to look at this thing up close, and visually track all these years, from my first issue at #651 to the latest in #1000. Recognizing covers from this event or that event; from when I was a kid, to a teenager; high school; college; grad school, beyond.

And I got this from Comic Heaven, the comic shop I have the most history with, period–going back to 1993 or so!

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Along with the Winston edition of DC Nation, snagged the four-issue Heroes Reborn: The Return from 50-cent bins. Though I own the series already, these are a convenience copy for reading. No clue when I’ll get my main collection organized, so this means that at least for a time, I know where these four issues are, so I have more chance of actually getting to them than if I had to dig through umpteen longboxes to find my existing copies.

And hey…for half the price of a cheap new Marvel issue, I get this complete 4-issue mini-series/event! Really can’t beat that, these days! And this series represented the start of my first real foray into attempting to follow a large chunk of Marvel, albeit 21 or so years ago!

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The ’90s Revisited: The X-Men Collector’s Edition #1

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xmen_collectors_edition_0001Slice of Danger!

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Andrew Wildman
Lettering: Rick Parker
Inker: Steven Baskerville
Colors: Jim Hoston
Editor: Glenn Herdling
Published by: Marvel Comics & Pizza Hut
Cover Price: "$1.50 Value"
Cover Date: 1993

Back in 1993, the X-Men were an extremely "hot property." Their comics were at a definite high, they had a new cartoon series, they had trading cards, they had action figures, they had all sorts of merchandising going on…they were Marvel‘s Merry Mutants and all that. And one of those merchandising deals was with Pizza Hut. For whatever the price of a kids’ thing, you got a pizza, a plastic cup (If I recall correctly), and one of four comic books, commissioned specifically for this promotion. (I believe available for purchase separately were two VHS tapes, each with two episodes of the still-new Animated Series (Night of the Sentinels parts 1 and 2 OR Enter: Magneto and Deadly Reunions); both of which contained a brief roundtable interview with then-current creatives on Marvel‘s X-Men and Uncanny X-Men titles and such.

Where it would have surely been simple to just slap a new art piece and title logo onto something with a reprint of X-Men #1 or X-Men Adventures #1 or such, new cover, new art, and a new story was produced across essentially a 4-issue mini-series; an all-new original adventure exclusively for Pizza Hut.

We open on the X-Men in the Danger Room as Professor Xavier calls them to his meeting room. He explains that something’s happened with Cerebro (the computer that allows the X-Men to make first contact with new mutants before the villains can recruit them) that endangers the machine’s continued functionality. To repair it, various things are needed…which results in the X-Men being broken off into several teams to each get or accomplish something necessary to the whole of repairing Cerebro. Starting off, as X-Men Rogue and Gambit attend to dealing with in-house wiring, the Danger Room is activated with sentinels from "a dark future" (that many readers will recognize to be intended as the future revealed in Days of Future Past). After the two eventually overcome a trio of these killer giant robots (the scene powers down), we get a brief glimpse at a shadowy figure watching all the X-Men in their current endeavor…suggesting some secretive, behind-the-scenes operator working against the mutants!

The art for this issue is what I would consider typical 1990s fare. It’s not bad, but it’s not wonderful. The X-Men are all in their "Jim Lee costumes," the familiar outfits they were in (I believe) as of late-1991’s X-Men #1, also the looks used for the Fox animated series. Everyone is very recognizable as who they are, though the details of the art aren’t my favorite take. This definitely goes on the notion of a "house style" (as opposed to the artist of whatever book simply giving us "their take" on characters). Like a number of "fringe" titles/issues, this both looks like an actual Marvel issue while carrying a sort of generic feel that sorta/kinda/mostly fits with what was being published at that time without being entirely beholden to it nor affecting/impacting any of the "real" stuff.

Story-wise, this is pretty basic, simple stuff. Open on the X-Men in action. Show off one-liners and two-dimensional "character beats" to remind us of attitudes or such, "establishing" these as the characters that were being showcased in the animate series. Split the characters into separate groups to pad out several issues’ worth of content while allowing for "extended spotlights" on characters in manageable chunks. Showcase "key" expected stuff associated with the franchise/highlight all the characters and "locations" of the franchise.

So we get that–from Cyclops vs. Wolverine, to Wolverine’s random outburst, Jubilee’s snarkiness, Xavier having this dire situation but disappearing "to let" Cyclops and Storm handle stuff, to (particularly for this issue’s focus) Rogue and Gambit flirting, etc. The "characterization" in the issue seems generic and surfacey…but I don’t think it’s meant to be anything else. As something that would be reaching (primarily) kids for whom this might be their first/only experience with actual comics, it was important to give them stuff they recognized, both in the characters’ appearance and their behaviors. So the "character shorthand" stuff is prevalent; showing this mini time-capsule of stuff about them at the time, but not really building, changing, or directing anything new about them.

I fondly remember this period of the X-Men; and this promotion (I still have the VHS tapes and recall really enjoying the round table interviews, and those four episodes are particularly ingrained in my memory from this time). I even have one of the large promotional pieces that someone got ahold of for me some years back.

In and of itself, though, there’s nothing special about this issue, or this mini-series; it’s generic, surfacey stuff that doesn’t particularly draw from any deep continuity (despite the "references" to Days of Future Past), and it certainly doesn’t add anything TO the continuity. I certainly appreciated some of Gambit and Rogue’s flirting in this issue, and was surprised at one comment that certainly was "over my head" in 1993 that got a "Wow, they went there?? They said that ON PANEL?" reaction from me in 2018.

This is a fun novelty thing…hardly essential, but fun to have. I have the original copies I got from Pizza Hut in 1993, and I’m pretty sure I’ve come across these just a couple times over the years in bargain bins (maybe twice or so); the copy I read for this post came from a convention dollar-bin, I believe. So you’re not missing out on anything whatsoever in this issue or any of the other three, and I would not consider them to be "worth" anything much except for nostalgia. For that, they’re certainly worth $1-$2ish each. I don’t feel these are typical quarter-bin fare, not seeing them often…but they’re by no means anything high-ticket or worth $5+ an issue idly.

The cover states these are "A $1.50 value," representing the then-standard cover price of Marvel single issues. With a double-gatefold cover and interior cover, being full-sized issues both in dimensions and page count, written by one of the actual regular writers…this is a fun issue to have, and worth getting; though definitely most satisfying as part of a full set of all 4 issues.

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The cover is a double-gatefold; four "panels" including the front cover. When unfolded completely, this is the full image.

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And the flipside of the double-gatefold, viewed from the inside is this image, spotlighting Rogue and Gambit.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 7, 2018

Been a long while since doing one of these posts. But, since I’ve not been in the mood for other posts, wanted to get something up this week. And this week does have several big books in it!

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First off, the Swamp Thing Winter Special that I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. Though it’s an $8 book, it boasts more than two issues’ worth of pages, maybe three…justifying its price. And as a "squarebound" issue, it’ll be able to go on the bookshelf with a growing number of such issues from the last few years. X-Men: Red #1 is here, and at $5, needs to do a LOT to justify its price…though I suppose ultimately it’ll simply fit with X-Men: Prime and X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold from last year. I’m definitely a fan of Adam Warlock, so at least somewhat interested in this, if only as a curiosity. Not so keen on Starlin feeling driven from Marvel, though, and haven’t been overly keen on the character in hands other than his. So we’ll see.

Then, of course, Superman and Batman, basically "givens" for me. And Justice League if only because I haven’t figured out where/if to break my run.

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Rogue & Gambit as I am a fan of the characters, and together. Been debating whether or not I’m sticking all the way with Avengers: No Surrender, but definitely in favor of a single title instead of umpteen different Avengers books with erratic shipping schedules. I picked up Jean Grey #10 that I’d considered last month, but since it lacked the Phoenix Resurrection logo, figured it wasn’t going to actually tie to that (boy, was I ever wrong there!)

Getting toward the end of Bane: Conquest, and same for Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica and The Jetsons.

I’ve a lot of reading to catch up on, and find myself wondering just how it was I used to get to read as much as I did just a couple years ago. It’s a shame there aren’t regularly-released "audio-comics" for commuters to listen to and get something of a story out of it. Maybe not the art itself, but…something.

Whatever the case…a huge, expensive start to February, and certainly reminds me of the need to be cutting back on titles, and to REALLY assess what I’m gonna get around to reading right away vs. just as well off to wait for a collected volume!

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Astonishing X-Men (2017) #1 [Review]

astonishing_x-men_(2017)_0001Life of X – Part One

Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Jim Cheung
Inkers: Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortego, Walden Wong
Colors: Richard Isanove, Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: Jim Cheung & Richard Isanove
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Assistant Editor: Christina Harrington
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: September 2017
Cover Price: $4.99

I was a sucker. I’d seen a poster-image of this issue’s cover, and I vaguely recall the image grabbing me initially when it was first debuted with solicitation or shortly after. Archangel has always been a striking figure for me, and despite the last ten or so years, Bishop (especially looking as he does here) rings quite nostalgic for me. Then there’s Rogue, and while I don’t much care for the “Old Man” version, seeing ‘a Wolverine figure’ here drove it home. But in addition to that, there’s something about the blending of the coloring–the rich orangey-yellow background and the yellow and blue of the logo…and that the logo may not be the “classic” X-MEN logo, but it has a certain blend of the old and new while being its own thing…and NOT coming off as “pretentious” (as if text CAN be pretentious) to me.

I was ALSO a sucker because a local comic shop had sent out an email informing us that any Marvel purchase would get a free “cosmic cube,” and while I am actively disinterested in the current comics Event, I’m a sucker for plastic comic artifacts (such as Lantern Corps Rings), and the Cosmic Cube goes way back. And with Astonishing X-Men #1 being out this week and already having the against-my-better-judgment interest, I figured hey…fine. I tried X-Men: Gold #1 and X-Men: Blue #1, so I could give Astonishing X-Men #1 a go. Especially at $3.99.

After I’d bought the issue (amidst my other purchases), and gotten it home AND read it…THEN I realized that no…this was NOT a $3.99 issue. It was $4.99…so for that, I’m not a happy camper. But where even comic shops are lucky to return comics, it’s not like I can “return” the issue, so I’m sorta stuck with it, whatever “principle” I want to take with it.

I’m not happy that my inattention to detail had me ignorantly buying yet another $5 #1 issue from Marvel (in an industry when other publishers proved $10 vol. 1 collected editions with 5-6 issues).

Buuuuuut…

I enjoyed this issue.

I actually did!

We open on a quick scene, learning that mutant psychics all over the world are dying. Then we come to Betsy Braddock–Psylocke–who is one of the STRONGEST mutant psychics, and the force that’s killing the others isn’t able to subdue her until after she’s sent out a psychic cry for help. We’re also (re) introduced to Bishop; to Angel/Archangel, Gambit and Fantomex, Old Man Logan and Rogue; four of whom are on the receiving end of Psylocke’s cry for help; which draws them all in to her location. The force that’s been attacking the psychics is concentrated, and no longer constrained to just the local psychics. As the group converges, they must face the psychic energy-outlash while saving civilians and surviving themselves. Working together, the immediate, outward threat is resolved…but Betsy reveals that she now knows who is behind it–and that things are worse than even this was. Some of the group must go to the Astral Plane to stop the Shadow King. No time to seek shelter or plan–she sends them immediately, with Angel and Bishop remaining behind to protect them all. Meanwhile, we confirm that yes indeed, this is definitely Shadow King. And he’s got quite a secret…which provides a major “hook” for me regarding subsequent issues of this series!

While I was incredibly skeptical of X-Men Prime, X-Men Blue, and X-Men Gold, I bought the one-shot and #1s to “try,” to go against my anti-Marvel negativity and give the things “a shot,” an ISSUE, at least. And that way I could at least judge for myself how things seemed, and feel like I had more room to criticize–at least I’d have bought the big, over-priced first-issues, and have SOME hands-on “experience,” not just second-hand stuff.

And so, too, I figured for this. $4.99 is too much for a single issue, for a first issue. MAYBE for an Annual, or an oversized special/one-shot. But a $5+ issue should be rare and special…not plentiful as water. Marvel has abused the price point to where I virtually NEVER even bother to look at their comics, because I just KNOW they’re basically the most ridiculously-priced premium-priced things in the market. Real or perception, but that’s where I am.

But I’ve got the issue, I read it, and I actually enjoyed it. We have some prologue. We have character introductions. We have an immediate threat, and we see a group of disparate mutant figures come together, face the threat, and emerge victorious. We then have the setup for an even bigger threat–the one that carries beyond “just” this issue…and it looks to involve other nostalgic elements that work organically with the Shadow King character, as well as perhaps grabbing onto continuity and yanking on a loose thread, in preparation of some re-stitching and mending.

The story is engaging and keeps stuff moving; I can and will allow any “inconsistencies of character” to be credited to the last decade or more of mutant comics and lack of continuity and the apparent attempt here to play with the existing status quo. Visually, I dug this issue. Everyone’s recognizable and I like the visuals; there’s a sense of modernity with the aforementioned nostalgia; new and old, simply making this a good-looking comic. The multiple inkers do not take away from that–I only even know there were multiple inkers due to seeing the credits.

I don’t want to like any Marvel series right now. The X-Men are old favorites, and I’ve felt largely let-down by everything that’s been done with, to, and involving them for years, such that many of them are hardly recognizable to me anymore. I do not TRUST Marvel to not “yank the rug out” from under me, or some sorta bait-and-switch with this. I’ve already seen one or two of the other X-titles tie in to a major crossover event…and I want nothing to do with that, either. So…I might come back for the next issue of this arc, or at least check it out if I notice it on the rack. I am honestly very interested in what this particular story arc holds, and if I’m gonna pay Marvel‘s too-high inflated/”premium” price point, I can justify it a bit easier in smaller doses as single issues than collected volumes.

I actually don’t feel I can really speak to whether old fans or new fans or both would care or not care about this issue…I’m a weird creature when i comes to Marvel, and the X-Men. Suffice it to say that even at that $5 price point and $3.99 otherwise with possible bi-weekly shipping, I’m hooked here where even the likes of Blue and Gold didn’t grab me at this level. That makes this a definite “light in the darkness” of X-Books, and if you can stomach the $4.99 price point, this is about as good an issue for that as any that Marvel‘s put out of late!

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