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Ringquest Update and the Weekend Haul (Weekend of 11/9/2019)

Hard to believe it’s been 10 years now since Blackest Night was going strong, and DC gave away a bunch of plastic rings as promotional items with tie-i issues of the event. And then a few months later they did a couple additional rings. If you search "Ring Quest" in this blog, you’ll find some entries from back then; and here’s one that shows most of the rings 9 1/2 years ago.

Well, after all this time, we have ANOTHER ring!

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With the launch of the 2019 umpteenth-iteration of Legion of Super-Heroes, we get a new, updated ring; with a slightly more angular design on the logo, making it look a BIT more sleek and "newer" than the one we had before.

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Here’s the old one. It really DOES look a bit clunkier than the new one.

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And here they are side-by-side. I like the gold coloring of the older one a bit better…it has a bit more "sparkle" in my eyes; while the new one is a bit "shinier" but also very cool. These put me in mind of a lot of logo redesigns I’ve seen where the bulk of the logo is kept, but stuff is angled slightly to be more angular than blocky.

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And here are all the "recent" (2009 to present) plastic promo rings that I’m aware of existing; at the least, they’re the ones that I myself own, as laid out here for this very photo!

These are by far my favorite promotional items. As fun as some of the various pins and buttons can be as collectible objects…these things are just a whole other level of awesome!

Long after I’ve forgotten which specific comic most of them came with, I remember the general time and obviously still have the physical rings, even a decade later!

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A weekend visit with actually having TIME to BROWSE at Comic Heaven, I wound up buying a set of these Comico issues. It’s a set of 8, and only s3…somewhere between 25 cents and 50 cents an issue. And the first two volumes of Edge. These are from Crossgen when they had two "anthology titles" that collected 4 of their ongoing/monthly books into these monthly tpb collections. I really do wish other/current publishers would do something like this. I’d probably pretty happily pay $10 or so (mayyyyyyyybe even $15ish) for something like this with at least 4 issues’ contents.

And the Previews Gift Guide Holiday 2019.

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On Sunday I went to Carol and John’s where I snagged the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (with the plastic ring!). I also got the Black Hammer 3 for $1 issue. 3 issues’ content for only $1…hard to beat that these days!

Then at Half-Price Books I snagged the Heavy Metal-published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Quarter Century Celebration paperback from 2009. And using a 50%-off coupon, got Gambit: The Complete Collection vol. 1.

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They also had two of the Walking Dead hardcovers on sale for $3 apiece–these are the Jay Bonansinga novels from a few years back.

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Backtracking a bit–on Friday, lured in by a coupon for 40% off a single item, I visited a Half-Price Book in Mayfield Heights, Ohio…where I was pleasantly-ish surprised to find a significant collection of Mechwarrior: Dark Age novels.

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A couple months ago, I visited 7 Half-Price Books stores in 2 days, and one of my "goals in that was looking for Mechwarrior/Battletech books. Unfortunately, I’d only found a mere 2 that were worth getting.

But this shelf of books yielded 9 times that. 18 books in the series. Of course, my coupon–the reason I was there–was only good toward ONE item. So I saved a whopping $1.20.

BUT I added 18 books to my library, which takes me from missing more than two dozen to missing maybe a half-dozen in having the entire series. MUCH more manageable!

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Also finally snagged the X-Men promo trading cards from the "free stuff" counter at Carol and John’s. Missed these when I’d picked up X-Men #1 a few weeks back, and then where I’d seen them elsewhere, they’d still been "you have to buy X-Men #1 to get them." Having been a few weeks, now I have a set. Unfortunately, it’s after I’ve elected NOT to dive into the revamped X-line.

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Seven cards in the packet–one card each showing the cover of each first issue in the first "wave" of titles. On the back it lists the primary characters in the title; and the Krakoan language "key" is double-sided. This sure would have been VERY handy during HoX/PoX, but whatever.

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The ’90s Revisited: X-O Manowar/Iron Man in Heavy Metal #1

90srevisitedxomanowar_ironman_heavymetal001Heavy Metal part 1

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Andy Smith
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy
Color Art: Twilight Graphics
Assistant Editor: Omar Banmally
Consulting Assistant Editor: Nancy Poletti
Consulting Editor: Mark Gruenwald
Editor: Lynaire Thompson
Editor in Chief: Bob Layton
Published by: Acclaim Comics/Valiant
Cover Date: September 1996
Cover Price: $2.50

I vaguely remember when this series was originally out. I don’t remember details, but I’m supposing (in retrospect) that the Iron Man connection is what caught my eye…though there was probably Wizard coverage, and I wasn’t unaware of X-O Manowar from the #0 issue at least. Of course, there was the video game, which this is based on or inspired by or what-have-you. Given Acclaim was doing the video game, and had bought Valiant, it makes a lot of sense that there’d be a tie-in comic.

While I’ve found many of the "later" Valiant comics, this issue has eluded me until recently when I noticed both issues of the "crossover" on eBay. Being edged out on the bidding at the last second I looked for other instances, and including shipping scored a copy of both this X-O Manowar/Iron Man issue and the companion Iron Man/X-O Manowar for the price of a single contemporary Marvel comic. While this oughtta be quarter-bin fodder, not finding it that way made it worthwhile to me to pay a bit of a premium just to HAVE the issues.

The cover looks rather odd to me–far from an ideal thing, and rather generic. There’s something a bit "off" to me about both armors…probably the "early digital" art, which may even be a still from the video game (I don’t care enough to investigate further). Either way for a cross-company crossover this does not look like anything special from the cover alone.

Upon opening the issue I immediately saw an art style that did not appeal to me. I don’t know if I’ve seen or liked anything else from Andy Smith, but in this issue, I am not a fan. It’s not horrible art, and it’s certainly far, FAR superior to anything I could possibly do myself. It gets things across and isn’t too wonky or anything…basically it does its intended job but does not stand out as anything special.

Seeing Nicieza‘s name as the writer was an immediate appeal for me…but getting into the issue I felt rather left down. This thing’s all over the place and does not feel developed at all. We jump from villains we aren’t given much about to other villains; and world to world. I found myself confused to realize partway through that we’re actually dealing with MULTIPLE sets of Iron Man/X-O Manowar and not just the two characters being matched up for a single double-universe adventure.

I believe this was a time when Iron Man had been "de-aged" or replaced by a younger parallel-dimension version of himself or some such, so that’s not ENTIRELY off-putting to "learn" here but that’s not really explained. And given this is an issue from Acclaim, it’s certainly well-past the X-O Manowar stuff I was familiar with, am familiar with…and having just read a 2015-published issue of the contemporary X-O Manowar series found the character dull and not at all 3-dimensional here.

I’ve often enjoyed Nicieza‘s work, particularly his X-Men stuff, and find myself seeing this as being completely hobbled by BEING a video game tie-in, presumably with a bunch of "checklist" points to be hit during the issue. And with Acclaim and Marvel both getting to publish an issue, there’s probably a certain bit of symmetry that had to be achieved as well. All of which ultimately leads to an issue that I didn’t enjoy.

I would be incensed at having paid full price for this–particularly had it been published in 2015 and passed off as anything supposedly special. However, it’s still something that I’ve been curious about for years, and a definite "artifact" of its time…so despite not enjoying the issue, I do expect I’ll read the Marvel-published one as well just to "get the story," and all that. Unfortunately this does somewhat taint my expectations toward the bulk of the Acclaim-published Valiant stuff and makes me hesitate just a bit on diving into reading any of those anytime soon.

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