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Completing Action Comics…and the Regular Wednesday Haul

The other day I considered driving across town to check another comic shop in my eagerness to “complete” my “From Crisis to Crisis to Flashpoint” run of Action Comics.

I reviewed Action Comics #890 just over three years ago, but with other stuff going on at the time, that wound up being my last issue of the title; I took the plunge and just dropped all the Superman titles altogether, gravitating toward non-DC (and non-Marvel) books. I returned the next year for #900 for the sake of it being the first-ever legitimately-made-it-to-900 American comic, and then stuck around for 901-904 as the series’ end heading into The New 52.

action890891

Of course, three years’ time means #890 is buried somewhere in one of many longboxes, and to expedite reading the entire Black Ring saga in one go, I simply purchased a new copy of the issue (satisfyingly enough, these several years later, at a mere PENNY above cover price…WITH a bag and board!).

#891, though–the “treasure” (so to speak)–completes my run. I now own #583 (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?) through #904 (Reign of Doomsdays) and the end of the pre-New 52 DC Universe.

gambitxternalsbargainbin

I still flipped QUICKLY through the bargain bins to see if anything “new” or interesting caught my eye. I did spot a couple of the Age of Apocalypse minis, but as usual let ’em go (I’m not interested in hunting individual issues). However, seeing all 4 of Gambit and the X-Ternals I pulled ’em. Not bad, considering it’s an entire mini-series for a whopping $1!

Assuming I can do so for 25 or 50 cents an issue, definitely interested in seeing how quickly I can build another full set of the original Age of Apocalypse…though I might go as high as $1/issue for X-Universe, as I rarely see either of those issues in bargain bins.

august072013haul

…and the main haul of the week: Higher Earth #9 (final issue), Cyber Force #5, Legends of the Dark Knight #11, Shadowman #9, and Quantum and Woody #2.

I’m rather non-plussed at Higher Earththis issue was (based on original solicitations) due out in January…7-8 MONTHS ago! Even Hypernaturals has since ended at #12, and I believe IT got its start after Higher Earth. Until very recently when #8 showed up, I actually thought these issues had already come out, as I pretty much put them aside in frustration at the cancellation.

Cyber Force I’ve been picking up but not reading…I believe this issue completes the first arc, so now I’ll read. (And given the series has been pushed as “free,” or in the case of Kenmore, 50 cents, I’m all for a ~$2.50 5-issue story!).

I’ve decided to jump on the print editions of several of the DC Digital-First titles…caught up on Legends of the Dark Knight #s 8-10 this past weekend (a shop had all 3 at cover price), just in time for this new issue.

And of course…I get all standard-cover Valiant issues.

Higher Earth #6 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
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!

Higher Earth #5 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

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

Higher Earth #4 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

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

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).

The Rest of the Stack: Week of May 9, 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.

X-MEN LEGACY #266

avxxmenlegacy266Rogue, Gambit, and the rest of the adults at Wolverine’s school struggle to decide which side of the conflict they’re going to fall on, though they want to still present a unified front to the students. When Avengers show up at the school, they’re asked to remain a specific distance away from the mansion and do their “watching” from there. Of course, not all the adults want to remain strictly conflict-free, and after some provocation, the Avengers vs. X-Men battle arrives at the Jean Grey School. As things spiral out of hand, the Avengers call in a Big Gun. This is another AvX tie-in, and seems to be set fairly early in the overall story–possibly before last week’s Avengers Academy issue. (I do wish there’d be a timeline published to situate the tie-ins with the main AvX title). Art’s good overall; I followed the visual side of things quite well here. Story-wise, not bad…it’s been awhile since I last checked in with these characters, so it’s interesting seeing them again, and I look forward to catching up with ’em over the next couple months’ worth of tie-in issues. Not sure how well this fits in terms of ongoing plot-points, but as another of these many tie-ins, it continues to fill in extra details on the deeper/more thorough side of things beyond the “core” plot points of the main AvX title. (8/10)

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #10

avxwolverineandthexmen010Cyclops and Co. show up at Wolverine’s school seeking momentary sanctuary. Their presence of course isn’t trusted at face value. Meanwhile, Genesis (“Kid Apocalypse”) and Angel deal with their own lack of belonging–Genesis for everyone believing him to be (or capable of becoming) Apocalypse, and Angel for having the appearance of an original X-man but with no memory or trace of the original’s personality. While the Avengers Call comes in, Gladiator’s agents arrive on Earth with a mission that may not be immediately tolerated by the Jean Grey School’s mutants. I don’t care much for the art with this issue…but darned if there aren’t some interesting concepts here! It’s kinda cool seeing Angel and Genesis here–that even if not serving as focal points in Uncanny X-Force the characters aren’t being forgotten as mere plot points but are actually being developed. This might be a book that if I can get myself to tolerate the art I might actually track down back issues for and maybe continue with beyond AvX. Story’s not bad, though pulled down a bit by my distaste for the art…but a solid issue. (7/10)

NEW AVENGERS #26

avxnewavengers026Hundreds of years ago, a new candidate for the Iron Fist is chosen. After an accelerated training period, she tests to become the Iron Fist. She may also be a vessel of the Phoenix and the only hope for the Earth’s survival. I sure hope this retconning in of the Iron Fist vs. Phoenix thing becomes a key point in the main series, as otherwise I really don’t much care about Iron Fist History, and other than the thematic tie it otherwise seems outside the AvX story as a whole. The story itself isn’t bad, and for the most part I really dig the art…especially the cover (misleading though it is). I have the feeling I’m going to “get” more out of these New Avengers tie-in issues once the arc’s further in and I have more context for the character and the “flashback” is fleshed out a bit more (especially now that I realize this entire arc may be a flashback). As I’ve temporarily suspended my avoidance of these Avengers and X-Men titles over the $3.99 price point, I’m trying to just enjoy ’em as part of this unintended immersion…this issue may well be what “hooks” me on the Iron Fist, but it’s sure not something I would have sought out or cared to bother with without the AvX banner. (8/10)

WALKING DEAD #97

walkingdead097Rick’s group encounters their new opponents and sets forth “the” new ultimatum they’ll be operating under. Rick and Andrea have a moment and further process some recent interaction, while Maggie has some important new for Glen, and the rest of the survivors continue about their lives. Nearly half a series beyond that story leading to issue #48 or so and I still haven’t grown all that attached to non-early characters. And things are ramping up toward the big 100th issue, though that seems likely to fall mid-story arc. I’m sorta indifferent about this issue. It’s another issue (second in a month, which I don’t mind so long as it keeps to the $3 price point), meeting with usual expectation overall. Solid story, solid art. Maybe the only downside is that the cliffhanger isn’t quite as “major” as some others have been. I am finding this series to be blurring a bit on the issue-to-issue basis, and am starting to think of stepping back again from the singles and just get the collected volumes…or hold off reading til I have 2-3+ issues to read in one sitting, as some of these issues seem particularly short. Still…I love that even coming late to the party as I did (around issue 32 or 33, perhaps?) I’ve been onboard for 2/3 this series’ existence. (7.5/10)

HIGHER EARTH #1

higherearth001Seems there are multiple Earths if you can punch through the wall between universes. Some are aware of these other Earths, and there’s a system in place to regulate travel between the Earths. Some are considered better than others, and the further “down” you go, the less prestige an Earth has. The “prime” Earth is called “Higher Earth,” and is above the others. We open on a lower Earth, where some sort of warrior arrives in search of a resident, who he has to educate on the fly about the existence of these other Earths, and convince her to travel with him to another. He does this while dealing with “locals” as well as being chased by other forces seeking to stop his quest. This wasn’t a bad $1 issue (which is why it wound up in my purchase…part of my pull list is a standard pull of $1.00-ish or less issues exactly like this). I like the concept, and as a first issue, it does what I’d hope–introduces the premise, a couple main characters, an antagonist or few, and leaves one with something of a “hook” to come back for the next issue. The art’s solid–nothing spectacular, but really nothing to complain about. Incidentally, the older warrior and the young red-head puts me in mind of Cable/Hope from Marvel…which has me curious and interested in where things go. Unfortunately, as with the other week’s $1 premiere of Fanboys vs. Zombies…the trouble comes in the fact that while the issue’s definitely worth the $1 and probably would be at $2.99, I’m assuming this is another $3.99 book…which means that I’m not going to come back for #2 “off the rack.” I may eventually come back to Higher Earth either from bargain bins or a good price on a collected volume, though. (7.5/10)

TMNT COLOR CLASSICS #1

tmntcolorclassics001Continuing the wealth of TMNT material from IDW, this issue re-presents the original TMNT #1…but in color. This is the original comic book that started it all, the original presentation of the TMNT, Splinter, Shredder, and the origin. Though originally in black-and-white, the issue has been colorized by Tom Smith’s Scorpion Studios. If you’re not already familiar with the Turtles as they originally appeared, their story began as they were attacked by a street gang–the Purple Dragons. After a brutal fight, they return home–all having survived. Splinter deems their skills to be at their peak, and reveals to them their origin–of ninjas in Japan, of a doomed love, revenge, and a strange ooze. The turtles challenge the killer of their master’s owner and his wife, and soon the turtles do battle with Oroku Saki–the Shredder. Even though I’ve read this story plenty of times before this week…I quite enjoy revisiting it…especially at the hope of re-reading the original adventures of the TMNT in color on a monthly single-issue basis. I like the colorization of the issue, and will eventually have to compare it to the First Graphic Novel edition. There’s something to the way this was done that–for lack of better phrasing–“respects” the original art, while presenting it in color and thus making this edition “new” rather than “merely” a reprint. Highly, HIGHLY recommended if you’re a TMNT fan and haven’t yet read the original Mirage #1 story! (9.5/10)

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