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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 6, 2019…and Fantasticon Toledo 2019

This was another small-ish week for new comics–single issues, anyway. But a much bigger week with other stuff!

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The week has the new issue of Batman with #66, resuming Tom King‘s run after the 2-issue Flash crossover. We’re "already" at the 3rd issue of Young Justice (time’s flying!). And we’re now 2/3 through this 12-issue Super Sons series.

On strength of Hama‘s stuff and the longevity of the series, I opted to also snag this GI Joe Yearbook issue rather than try to hunt it down later.

And though I had not planned on it for the week, the new issue of Back Issue was out, and had my attention from the Alex Ross Earth X cover.Though I somehow have not managed to finish previous issues, I can attest to the strength and value of this magazine, that I’ve quite enjoyed issues I’ve managed to get!

I’m not sure what to think of the notion, even, of Savage Avengers…but that’s what Comic Shop News chooses to spotlight this week.

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As new comics stuff at the comic shop goes, though, the real gem for me is the Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman Deluxe Edition. Much like last year’s Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman Deluxe Edition, this is a huge volume with a number of stories from throughout the history of the title, and I love that the trade dress was maintained to make the two books visually quite complimentary!


Along with new comics, this week also had a couple of conventions. Wizard World: Cleveland was held this weekend (I live close enough that if you’re not local, I can claim "Cleveland-area" geographically). However, where I’d’ve adored having a local Wizard World show 15, 20, definitely 25 years ago, I haven’t yet been to a Cleveland iteration.

Admission is just too high, with too many extra/hidden "fees" and such tacked on to manipulate the actual price, and too few comics dealers and comics-related things for me to justify the massive expense!

That said…I attended Fantasticon in Toledo, Ohio, with a couple of friends, and had quite a good time of it! And the admission price for that convention was under $10–I’m pretty sure a good 75% cheaper than WW and probably more comics in the room!

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Going into the con, my two main "goals" were to pick up the Plume Omnibus by K. Lynn Smith, as well as the new issue of Haunted High-Ons from Dirk Manning.

As it worked out…that was a complete success!

Manning has got to be one of the most personable, friendly creators I’ve ever met, and he’s honestly been "the" draw for me with several shows (or at least the deciding factor). And through his work, I’ve "discovered" Smith, as well as a number of others. But while I couldn’t justify the omnibus the last time I was at an appearance, this time I went in with it as the #1 thing on my list.

Manning has become a definite "exception" in my eyes–akin to my TMNT "exception"–such as my willingness to purchase a variant cover, or to find enjoyment in some "exclusive edition" of something.

The creators have a joint project in Hope, the first issue having been out in an early edition last year, and getting a wide, improved release this upcoming May for Free Comic Book Day. And they’ve (as of this writing) got a Kickstarter project that’s already fully-funded (so if you "back" it, it’s basically a "given" that you’re getting the book, no coming down to the wire and wondering if the thing will squeak across a fundling goal).

I’m quite judicious in my opting to back any such projects…but this was one I backed immediately. It’s for a collected edition of the first six issues of Hope, and though it’s not due til sometime next year, I’m happy to pay for it now and know it’ll be coming!

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The convention was a bit less successful in terms of other comics. I did get a print of this Firestorm cover from (and signed by) Gerry Conway. I found the Amazing Adventures issue and the Flash #1/2 in a 50%-off-marked-prices bin (so, cheaper than any contemporary new comic!). And for the heckuvit at another booth, saw this Aquaman #1 for $1, and decided to go for broke and buy it.

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At another booth, I came across this Rafiki with Simba Pop vinyl figure. I’d seen this at Toys R Us back in 2016, I think, maybe earlier, maybe later–but obviously some time prior to the chain’s closure. And I couldn’t find it again after that, so when I saw it for a "standard" price (as opposed to some jacked-up stupid price) I went ahead and got it.

At a Gamestop after the convention, saw some Captain Marvel Pop figures and remarked to my friend that if they had Goose the Cat I’d probably get it. Well, she had a keener eye than I did, and long story short…I got the figure. I’d hoped with it being a bit smaller it MIGHT be an "exception" to the "all-Marvel Pops are bobble-heads" but unfortunately that’s not the case. I’d be interested in a lot more of the Marvel figures if they were NOT bobbles..!

As another not-exactly-the-convention purchase, someone had a small table set up selling Girl Scout Cookies, so I snagged a couple boxes, as I missed out last year, and possibly the year before.

And I’d had another toy arrive that I’d ordered the week before…and which will likely be detailed in an upcoming post. But including that, and some other stuff, it’s been an incredibly expensive couple weeks.

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Fantasticon and B&N Haul from March 10, 2018

Over the weekend, I attended a local-ish convention–Fantasticon, in Toledo/Ohio. I went with several friends, stuff was good, and got a few things, and then more at a Barnes & Noble we went to after dinner.

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Probably the main thing for going was that Dirk Manning was going to be there. Always great to see him…probably the best creator I’ve interacted with over the years in terms of enthusiasm, approachability, and all that.

And having just debuted it in the last couple weeks or so, I was able to get a couple copies of Hope #1 by him and K. Lynn Smith (one for me, one for a friend). Busy rest of the weekend so haven’t read it yet, but I hope to have a review up in the near future!

Then there was a randomish back-issue-bin-dive where I came across a still-sealed black-bag-edition of Superman #75–the Death of Superman issue. (Yeah, that issue!). It was marked $3, and cost $3, and is the first copy of this edition that I’ve bought in over 25 years. The bag’s a bit wrinkly and some color damage to it like it had stuck to something or something had stuck to it…but darnit, for $3, the stuff inside is more than worth it, and I very definitely intend to open this thing…perhaps that will also be a near-future-ish post!

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Outside of (re) meeting Dirk and getting that issue of Hope, my "back issue comics goal" was several issues of New 52-era Action Comics…which wound up being a miserable failure. Ditto for issues of the Marz/Banks early-Kyle-era Green Lantern run.

However, I did find a run of Green Lantern: Mosaic…that when combined with the issues I got a couple weeks ago, give me a complete run of the 18-issue series, right here, right where I know where all eighteen issues are right this moment together.

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To some degree, this is a small culmination of 23+ years, having been aware of this series from a friend getting issues from #1 back in 1992. I wasn’t immediately interested myself until later in the run or shortly after. Though I’ve often seen #1 or a handful of issues, I’ve never in all this time (until now) managed to come across or assemble a complete run. From these last several weeks, I now definitely have at least 3 copies of #1, if not more…and certainly several duplicates…but at least I have a single, full run now in one place and I am comfortable not having any further inclination to buy more copies of any of the issues!

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For less than the price of two modern Marvel comics, snagged this Emerald Twilight Parallax figure from the Kenner Total Justice line. This was basically half the cost of a contemporary 3.75" figure, cheaper than basically any "basic" figure, period, these days, and 1/3 the cost of a DC Multiverse "full-size" figure. I’ll need to get this outta the packaging before I change my mind…he’s gonna look quite good against a backdrop of my Green Lantern shelf!

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I’d long since resigned myself to never getting the Thanos "mini-figure" from Lego as I was not spending the money for the set that he came with, and I wasn’t even gonna begin considering "online prices" for a single figure, as any reasonable price would be obliterated by factoring in shipping. But finding this large mini-fig for the price of only 2 modern Marvel comics was a no-brainer for me…especially as I’m keen on Thanos at present, anyway!

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At a Barnes & Noble, found these three Funko Dorbz figures of the TMNT in a $2 bin on clearance. Quite disappointed not to have found all 4…but these were the ones that were present, and my friend even did an extra dig-through to make sure I hadn’t overlooked it!

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And then, partly because they were half-off so I could get both for the price of one, I got Sam I Am and his friend cuz…why not? I’d considered getting them a couple other times, and found them individually other times without the other; and figured I’d wind up kicking myself if I passed on these.

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Turned out that these were also only $2 apiece. Since they’re usually $6+ each, and I didn’t have any of the DC and am still missing several of the TMNT, 8 boxes worked out to be like buy-3-get-5-free (but slightly cheaper).

Of course, me being me, my first choice would be wanting Superman, and then ideally blue-and-grey Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. For the TMNT I was most interested in Bebop, Casey Jones, or Splinter.

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I wound up with three specific ones I was interested in most, and glad to at least have gotten a Batman to go with Superman and Wonder Woman. April O’Neil is a duplicate from the TMNT wave; and I’m not thrilled with Power Girl, and would have a number of the other minis ahead of Black Manta and Harley Quinn. But for the cost, it was well worthwhile (though also means I probably won’t buy any more as I now have extremely-high odds of getting a duplicate!).

All in all, including admission and the Barnes & Noble stuff, I spent about $8 more than what it would have cost me just to get in the door into Wizard World Cleveland had I gone to that the weekend before.

So…not bad at all!

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AvX: Consequences #4 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

AvX: Consequences #3 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Avengers vs. X-Men #12 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Rest of the Stack Catch-Up: TMNT and AvX

The Rest of the Stack logo

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.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted much, so this is part of my “catching up” on the past month and a half or so.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES COLOR CLASSICS #3

I’d forgotten this issue’s story. I guess it had to be somewhere, but my memories of these early issues jump from the turtles meeting April and dealing with Stockman and the Mousers right into what is probably going to be in #4. Yet, we get some pretty important stuff going on here as the turtles find Splinter missing (possibly killed by the Mousers), and actually turn to April for help. We also get the obvious inspiration for “the Turtle Van” (but less commercial). And the issue ends with the introduction of characters that inspired one of the primary characters in the classic cartoon series. The story itself is pretty basic…nothing all that deep, but still enjoyable enough in itself. I really like the art here as it’s just “classic” for me (biased though I must admit I am). The color added blends very well with the original black and white, such that it’s hard to believe this wasn’t a color series to begin with. (7/10)

RAPHAEL #1

Beyond the first issue of the TMNT Color Classics, I wasn’t sure how IDW was going to go about reprinting these issues, and sorta feared the Micro-Series issues would be merged in with the numbering, resulting in TMNT Color Classics being its own numbering that wouldn’t correspond with the issue being reprinted. However, this issue simply reprints the Raphael issue as itself, and I love that. The issue’s story is pretty basic and cliche, lacking much of the depth that we eventually get with the characters. Casey’s introduction here doesn’t work so well for me, but every character has to start somewhere. There’s also some clunky dialogue with Raph that just doesn’t seem to fit ANY version of the character I think of. The art’s classic Eastman & Laird (duh) and looks quite good in this new colored format. (7/10)

AVX #8

This issue is largely focused on Namor, as he lays waste to Wakanda, and the Avengers dogpile him, ultimately learning some useful information about the Phoenix Force and its interaction with multiple hosts. Storywise, this was one of my least-favorite issues–but then, that’s largely because Namor’s one of my least-favorite of the Phoenix Five (coming in just behind Illyana). It’s also increasingly difficult to take the scope of this story serious in the face of ongoing stories in other books seeming to have nothing to do with what’s unfolding in AvX, and that even some of the actual tie-in books are barely pulling a “red skies” level of involvement. The art’s a mixed bag for me, with some of the pages looking good and others just looking horrendous to me. (4/10)

AVX #9

Nine issues in and there’s just enough of a “completist” in me to grin ‘n bear it: I started following this series, and now I want to finish it, just on principle of finishing it–though I dropped all the tie-ins cold-turkey due to frustration at Marvel continuing its cycle of not even letting one event finish before announcing the next, and the spoiling of the end of this series, and Marvel Now… This issue’s another beat-down issue, with the Avengers piling on Colossonaut and Magik, with Spider-Man taking the worst beating of the bunch this time. The art continues to be mixed, with some panels looking excellent while others look generic and a bit rushed by comparison. This is the three-quarters mark of the series, and I’m quite ready to get to the end. (5/10)

AVX #10

Cyclops has shown up to take Hope away from the Avengers, though she makes it clear she does not wish to go with him. Fighting breaks out, and Hope even gets to ride a dragon, before turning her powers on Cyclops with an unintended effect. After the previous issue, the Phoenix Force is all the more concentrated in Cyclops, which makes Hope’s effect all the more meaningful. With the ending of this issue actually pulling me back into stuff and looking forward with interest to seeing how this story’s going to conclude. (6.5/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of June 6, 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-O MANOWAR #2

This issue continues (obviously) from the last, offering first a flashback and then picking up in the “present” with Aric and his fellow slaves tending to The Vine’s whims. Aric is mutilated when he attempts to defend a fellow slave, which seems likely to be a key point to be played on as this series unfolds. We then flash forward a few years, and see the slaves’ rebellion against The Vine, and see Aric bond with the X-O armor. I continue to like the story–this has all sorts of echoes of the classic #0 issue from the old series, but updated and expanded a bit. Normally I wouldn’t really like that, but it’s working here for me, as actual development (especially since we’ve actually had appearances by the X-O armor in both issues thus far rather than being put off for several). The art’s also working well for me. I’m also pretty sure that this is a new record for me…two consecutive months of buying X-O Manowar as it comes out. Quite enjoying this new Valiant, and looking forward to a hopefully lengthy run of this quality! (8/10)

AVENGERS Vs. X-MEN #5

The Avengers and the X-Men have gathered on the moon, to fight over custody/freedom of Hope…but the close proximity of the Phoenix causes Hope to lose control and beg Wolverine to go ahead and kill her before it’s too late. But it is–the Phoenix Force itself has arrived. Tony Stark flies a device into the Phoenix to attempt to destroy it, but it turns out that the expectations we all had were just a bit off, as the true host of the Phoenix is revealed. I like this issue overall, and less than half way through the 12 issues, I’m glad to see that the Phoenix has arrived and all that–we’re not left waiting til #9 or 10. I’m rather tired of the “match-ups” between the various characters…though I suppose in this main series I’d rather the “cameos” to wasted space on the fights themselves (I’ll get the detail on those in other tie-in issues if I keep up with ’em). The art’s not bad, though somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that we’re due for a switch, and I’m just now getting used to this visual style. Possibly the best part of the issue–and this ‘event’ so far–is this issue’s ending, where we get a surprise that I was honestly NOT expecting, I like the design unveiled here, and I’m actually interested in where things are now headed (and what it’ll mean long-term for the new Host of the Phoenix). (8/10)

UNCANNY X-MEN #13

While the fight for Hope between the X-Men and Avengers unfolds on the moon, Magneto, Storm, and Psylocke find themselves stuck “just waiting” to see what the outcome is with the arrival of the Phoenix. Meanwhile, some of the mutant kids have escaped “captivity” at the Avengers Academy, and confront Danger and Unit about how they might be able to participate in the conflict. Unfortunately, Unit pulls a fast one on ’em, leaving everyone in bad condition…and the conflict on the moon ends, and we revisit the revelation from the end of Avengers vs. x-Men #5. The art for this issue’s not bad…and I kinda like the look we get at Magneto, Storm, and Psylocke–three very powerful mutants who aren’t part of the major battle, and how they interact while they “wait.” I’m not a huge fan of the kids, though, and as I’ve begun glossing over the “Previously” page, I actually MISSED the note that this issue takes place AFTER Avengers Academy, so AA #31 was spoiled for me for reading this first. Not a bad issue for a tie-in, though I would have liked more focus on Magneto and less on the kids. (7/10)

AVENGERS ACADEMY #31

Seems that expectations of Sebastian Shaw may have been off the mark as he reveals different colors here. Despite orders to the contrary, the Academy folks realize they can’t follow those orders–so they manage a rather amusing (particularly Hercules’ part) “out” for the situation. I think I was expecting a longer arc, but this seems to be the end of a 3-parter. I have no problem there–I do get rather tired of fixed 6-parter-every-story situations, but it’s come to seem rather rare to me. The writing for the issue is good, and I’m liking the characters overall. The only real trouble is that there are quite a few, and I’ve not yet really connected with most, nor do they stick out to me as individuals yet once I’ve put an issue down. That limits my personal liking of the book, but I trust that continued exposure will change that. The art’s quite good; I really enjoy Grummett‘s work in particular. All in all, not a bad issue on the whole, and Protective Services arc seems to be over, I hope the next issue continues with the AvX tie-in, as right now that’s a great excuse for following this book. Still, so long as it’s $2.99 I may follow this post-AvX, though I’ve not tried to make that decision for any of the tie-in titles yet. (7.5/10)

BLEEDING COOL #0

Though comic-sized physically, this is technically a magazine. And I have to admit, it was the $1.49 price point and the Valiant stuff that motivated my purchase. I’ve followed Rich Johnston‘s stuff for years–from Lying in the Gutters that I looked forward to every week at CBR and then the Bleeding Cool website when that launched. I’m not expecting any kind of high journalism here, and I don’t get any impression that the BC crew intends that with this project. But I quite enjoyed having something in-print physically to read and learn from, as well as seeing some of these images on paper instead of just a computer screen. I don’t trust the “price guide,” though if anyone wants to make me a BC-price-guide-level offer on The Walking Dead, I’ll sell you my singles from the past year or so! I’m kinda not-thrilled to get this #0 issue at the beginning of June, and have to now wait at least 4, maybe almost 5 months for the full launch of #1 in October. I’m also not sure what physical size/format this is going to be in the long haul–but I certainly appreciate the comic book dimensions, whether stapled or square-bound, as opposed to the larger “magazine-size.” Keeping this to a comic size will allow far easier storage, and a squared binding means I could stick it on a shelf. Overall, I’m quite happy with my $1.50 purchase here, and I’m definitely looking forward to the ongoing editions. (9/10)

AVENGERS: THE AVENGERS INITIATIVE

Even though this issue came out awhile ago, it was on the recent-issues rack, and I bought this to meet a $5 minimum purchase to use my credit/debit card at another comic shop. I waffled between this and Dark Avengers (formerly Thunderbolts) #175, but wound up buying this since it’s a one-shot to make sure I wouldn’t get sucked into another ongoing series. Unfortunately, I quite regret that logic, as I wasn’t 100% sure what this was, but halfway hoped it was a 616-universe story involving the movie Avengers characters. But this was a sort of pointless (to me) prologue to the Avengers film showcasing why the characters were originally chosen by Fury to be considered for the Avengers Initiative, with a scene for each that backs up Fury’s points. The story is flimsy, though the art’s rather pretty to see. I do appreciate that while visual cues from the films are maintained, the characters don’t come off as trying to be direct renditions of the actors. This wasn’t a horrible purchase, and I get what I chose by logic to get–an inconsequential one-shot that leaves me nothing else to buy related to the issue…unless I get overcome by curiosity and pick up that Dark Avengers issue with the new week’s comics. (5/10)

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