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The Weekly Haul: Week of August 2, 2018

The first week of August…and a decent-sized week of new comics, including a piece I’ve been looking forward to for some time!

Of course, Chloe was quick to come by and check things out as I took these photos, so I’ll give her first spot in this post!

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I’m a sentimental fool when it comes to this cat…and I simply enjoy her company and love when she actually stays put like this for a good photo.

On with the week’s new comics!

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We’ve got the first issue of the 12-issue (planned) "maxi-series" Adventures of the Super-Sons, following their 16-issue ongoing series that ended not too long ago. The newest issue of Batman, essentially a "#2" in my eyes, for "the Next 50 Issues" of this run and considering #50 a finale of sorts. (However, I extremely highly totally completely hope that DC does NOT renumber the series anytime before a new 200+th issue!)

I’ve gotta catch up on the actual reading, but we’ve got part 5 (somehow I thought it was a 4-parter) of the Deathstroke Batman story. Then there’s the 10th issue of Mister Miracle, and the 254th GI Joe: A Real American Hero.

And for the heckuvit, of this week‘s round of "indy" #1s, I decided to check out Leviathan. As much as the out-there premise caught my attention from a text/blurb preview, it was honestly that title logo that got me. I love the big, blocky logos, and find skinny generic-typeface-minimalist logos completely uninteresting and a bit pretentious. So a big, bold title that actually looks substantive and significant…it’s a dumb aesthetic thing, but it sold me!

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Then the book I’ve been looking forward to for awhile–TwoMorrowsComic Book Implosion, an "oral history" of the DC Comics "Implosion" of the late 1970s. Having long heard the term and been vaguely aware of it in broad strokes, a nice historical piece in-depth on the subject, in print format for me to get to as time allows…this had my attention from the publisher’s first social media post I saw about it!

Hard to believe it’s been another month already–DC Nation #3–but here it is. I also quite like the way the animated Star Trek look fits so well with the ’80s animated Transformers look. I might actually check out the first issue if it’s out on a "slow week," and go from there!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of June 13, 2018 #NCBD

This week’s haul is a rather large one–at least for lately!

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The latest Man of Steel issue; the 2nd chapter of Flash War (Read Blake Petit‘s review of that over at ForgedBy4!), and the latest issue of Mister Miracle.

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Against better judgment and preference, I went ahead and grabbed Hawkman #1, just to "try." Same for Plastic Man #1. I’m trying to avoid mini-series from DC lately and in general, but something to it had gotten my attention and I figured with getting various other #1s as well, why not?

Giving in to the "hype" I’d pretty much decided to check out The Magic Order; and I think I’d seen something about a premise to Stellar #1 and decided to give that a try. I’m all for Image #1s, but since I far prefer Image collected volumes, these are–again–"just to try."


I’m pretty sure I’ve "let go" on Oblivion Song; I’d tried the first issue, bought the 2nd and maybe the 3rd…but that "maybe the 3rd" and not recalling if I even actually read #2 is enough reason to stop buying. Maybe I’ll get a collected volume, maybe I’ll catch up… but if it didn’t grab me enough to keep up with and such, not something I need to be following in single issues!

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Both cats–Chloe and Sarah–played photo-bomber when I tried to get the usual photos for this post. Here’s Chloe checking out the #1s–she was laying on the stack, but let me spread them out for her, and she stayed put for the photo.

I know I say it most of the time but…here’s hoping next week is a small one again!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of May 30, 2018

This ended up being another pretty small week for new issues!

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We have the first issue of BendisThe Man of Steel, starting a 6-week 6-issue "event." GI Joe: A Real American Hero #252 is part 2 of the Special Missions arc that apparently is focusing on individual specific characters.

We finally have another issue of Doomsday Clock. I very nearly passed on this, but in the HOPES that it actually has the Joker in it, that there’s some sort of dealing with the "three Jokers" thing from Rebirth, I opted to get it after all.

I’m not sure if or how late Bane: Conquest is at this point…I don’t remember what I last read, just that I’ve been keeping up with the issues since I had several, to eventually have the full run TO read. I’d forgotten this even existed, though! One more issue to go, though, and I’ll be done.

Then, on strength of the writer’s name, I decided to actually try an Image #1 in The Last Siege, despite it being apparently an 8-issue mini-series.


Outside of the new issues, I wound up ordering 18-19 issues of Cat & Mouse by Roland Mann from mycomicshop.com. I just backed the Kickstarter for a new Cat & Mouse series’ #1 issue, and on realizing I could get a bunch of classic issues, jumped on that.

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Oblivion Song #1 [Review]

oblivion_song_0001Writer/Creator: Robert Kirkman
Artist/Creator: Lorenzo De Felici
Colorist: Annalisa Leoni
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Associate Editor: Arielle Basich
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Cover: Lorenzo De Felici
Published by: Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics
Cover Date: March 2018
Cover Price: $3.99

Seeing some hype on this book ahead of time, when I saw it was "finally" out, I grabbed it to give this #1 a chance. I’m far from "wowed" with this, though there’s a bit of potential to it.

For the first 11 pages of the issue, the whole thing is basically some alien world with creatures that we have no idea what they are, some people that we don’t know who they are, we don’t know what’s going on, and as a comic book, I would expect a fair bit of dialogue or narration/captions to provide some exposition. Instead, it’s like something trying to be a storyboard or some other cinematic thing INSTEAD OF being a comic book.

Agh! Wha–?! Where?!

Huff! Huff! Huff!

Oh, crap.

No, no, no!

Oh, God!

Piece of junk…

C’mon… c’mon…

Work–damn you…

AHHH!

That would be sparse dialogue/word balloons for one page…but for 11 pages, that’s an average of a mere TWO words. Per PAGE.

Now, I count 23 more pages (several of which have similar quantities of dialogue), but that does put this issue at 34 pages, for "only" $3.99 compared to say, Marvel giving 20 pages for $3.99. So I suppose that makes up for this 11-page near-silent "prologue," though I’d almost expect something like that to have been a preview or prologue ISSUE or such with some other content–interview with the creators, some sketch pages, etc. and then the opening of a "regular" #1 to refer to it to remind a person there was content immediately preceding story-wise.

Essentially, over the course of this issue, we learn that some event happened in the past that shifted part of a city into some other dimension. While most have considered those people to be dead, there’s been cause for hope in some returning. We meet Nathan Crenshaw–who has some personally-developed tech allowing him to cross into that other dimension and with some sort of injection, return himself–and/or others–to Earth proper. He needs funding to be able to do this on a large scale, to thoroughly cover ground in the other dimension and rescue those that can be. He’s denied said funding, as we also come to learn that his primary motivation is rescuing his own brother. When he goes back for another go at finding him, we’re then introduced to some inhabitants/survivors of "Oblivion" including an individual certain to be crucial to the situation presented throughout the issue.

Story-wise, this issue does a fair bit of world-building, set-up, and introduction to the concept of the series. It definitely comes off as the pilot episode to a new series…even having the aforementioned cinematic feel that came off to me as counter to the purpose/point of being depicted on the page of a comic book. The scene might play well as live action, but for a comic book, I did not care for it at all–ESPECIALLY as THE opening sequence of a brand-new series.

That said, this is Robert Kirkman, who brings us The Walking Dead, and seeing as that series has run over 150 issues, there’s a lot more to go on from that series than this for now. Everything has to "start somewhere" and this being a whole different story, whole different world, and so on, there’s no context for "shorthanding" anything to convey more than what’s actually given. We’re only able to go on exactly what Kirkman gives us to figure out this world.

Visually, I have no complaint outside of just having zero context for the creatures of Oblivion and being tossed in to try to interpret what I’m seeing with no idea what I’m supposed to be looking at. The art in and of itself is good, and for the depiction of the people in the story and no point of comparison, it just works for me as "a comic book’s art." I imagine I’d have more to say for a subsequent issue, at least in terms of whether or not it stays consistent or such. I’m also glad that as short as much of the issue is on dialogue/words, at least there weren’t double-page "splash pages" to breeze by with but a glance.

This is an extra-length issue, based on assumption of 20-22 pages being a standard-length issue for $3.99; I would not expect so many pages in later issues (though would not mind them!) and would expect the extra pages made up for and allowed for the extended "silent" scenes. I’m curious to see what/how this develops, and on the strength of The Walking Dead would be inclined to give this series a shot. Of course, as with most comics and virtually all "indy" titles, I suspect I’d personally enjoy this more by waiting for a collected edition.

If you can find this for cover price (and not some jacked-up "speculator price") and enjoy Kirkman‘s work in general, I’d encourage picking this up to try for yourself and see how it comes off to you. As long as I’m not duped or otherwise vexed by a variant cover in the meantime or at point of sale, I’ll probably check out the next issue before I decide for sure if I’ll pass on the single issues and wait for a trade. Assuming this would get a "$9.99 Volume One," even getting the first couple issues AND a trade, it’ll cost about the same. That said, I’m not particularly "impressed" with this, and leave it as a more "passive" recommendation than anything "active."

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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 7, 2018

This week ended up being a relatively small, simple week for me as far as new comics go.

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New Superman issue, new Batman issue, 10th issue of Bane: Conquest (of 12). I nearly missed noticing Rogue & Gambit. I gave in on “hype” for trying Kirman‘s new title Oblivion Song. Having quite enjoyed the animated series in the ’90s, I’ve been getting The Tick‘s new series.

And seems we’ve got a new wave of True Believers issues this month for Spider-Man and Venom. I snagged the re-purposed reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #300, billed here as Venom vs. Spider-Man. I was pleasantly surprised at the thickness of the issue, especially for “only” $1! (and for better or worse, this is probably the ONLY way that I’m gonna own a single-issue edition of Amazing Spider-Man #300!)


Fresh Start: No More Marvel

I did notice that X-Men: Red #2 was out…after so-so feelings from the first issue, I was considering getting #2 and giving the series a chance. The same goes for Avengers: No Surrender. After pointedly getting the issues for 6ish weeks running, I stopped cold-turkey. I am so incredibly sick and tired of Marvel‘s absolute unwillingness to stick with ANYTHING for more than a few months. In this case, they announced yet another mass renumbering to start in May, with a new Avengers #1, and Venom is renumbering, and a bunch of other titles. Rogue & Gambit is a 5-issue mini-series to my knowledge, and I’m treating it as its own thing, being a definite fan of the characters…and a definite “sentimental value” to it. And I’m willing to buy reprints like the 300, because it IS a reprint, is an issue I do not own, it’s an issue I have not read, and it’s “only” $1! Best of all, these reprints do not themselves have variant covers on release (and as reprints themselves I do not consider them variants, given the True Believers banner).

I feel like I should have totally, completely stuck to my guns regarding Marvel, but opted to sorta “buy into” a little bit with Legacy and had some now-obviously highly-misplaced “faith” that they MIGHT ACTUALLY “stick with” the “legacy numbering” even if they did other stunts and such.

However interesting stuff may look, however appealing, I’m trying to force myself to just be DONE with them. No Infinity Countdown, no Hunt for Wolverine, no X-Men: Red, no Avengers: No Surrender, no Astonshing X-Men. No Fresh Start for me. I’ll finish out Rogue & Gambit, I’ll perhaps snag reprint editions in True Believers, but as far as new/current stuff with Marvel…I intend to be done!

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Invincible #144 [Review]

invincible_0144The End of All Things (part twelve of twelve)

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Pencilers: Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker
Inkers: Cory Walker, Mark Morales
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Covers: Ryan Otley, Cory Walker, Nathan Fairbairn
Published by: Image Comics
Cover Date: February 2018
Cover Price: $5.99

I’ve read relatively few issues of Invincible over the years. Off the top of my head, I remember reading some sort of #0 issue when the main series was in its 20s on numbering. Whether I read them or not, I remember when Invincible guest-starred in a couple of Marvel issues Kirkman was writing. I want to say I read #50 or so, and I remember the one-issue-summer-crossover-event Invincible War thing. I have the first paperback of the series, and recall getting the first couple hardcovers to read from a library. And at one point, I had the title on my pull list, though that didn’t wind up lasting terribly long. Without digging all that deeply, I’ve previously covered several issues:

And now it’s been a number of years since the last time I read an issue, consciously–I believe there was a 25-cent issue last year that I got but do not recall reading. So offhand, it’s been more than 1/3 of the series since the last I read, and here I went and bought the last issue, and read the last issue. The final issue "ever," until some follow-up special or mini-series or such is done.

I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it. I knew I was buying the final issue, that it comes at the end of the series, the end of a 12-part story, etc.

Needless to say…spoilers ahead!

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Again, I have NOT read the previous 11 chapters of The End of All Things.

This issue picks up with Mark Grayson–Invincible–telling his son about where he comes from. The sense of deja vu that I got reading this makes me almost certain it is a recreation of a scene from the first issue of the series, as Nolan told Mark about himself and such. A fitting bookend sort of scene. We find that Mark is leaving, and Markus–his son–will be remaining on Earth with Scott, a character I’m not familiar with, but suspect was a fairly major character around #100, and apparently Markus’ acting father, or "real dad." Mark himself is now leader of the Viltrumites, and is leading them off into space to a new sort of greatness–as a peaceful people, rather than a warring empire of domination and conquest. And then the bulk of the issue is vignettes of the years that follow–as we see moments from the various characters’ lives, defining incidents, etc. Mark and his daughter visiting Earth, Markus getting his costume, incidents in space, a revelation about Mark’s wife, and finally, a reflective moment as Mark looks out upon the peace that he has led.

This is definitely a final issue sort of thing. It feels more like an epilogue…but then, an epilogue is still part of the story, so, we’re getting into stupid little technicalities there. In part through the use of the slice of life/vignettes, I suspect a number of lingering plot threads were dealt with, albeit over my head as of this first reading, addressing probable concerns such as Mark’s son, what Markus’ life might be like and if he’d follow in Invincible’s footsteps; and of course we see a number of things play out in broad strokes. In some ways, this seems to offer answers long-term and by covering so many years (centuries?) it effectively lays to rest the story as a whole. Maybe there’ll be other Invincible content or revisitations in years to come, but the broad strokes have been established; we see where everyone ENDS UP, even if we don’t have the page by page issue or story-length details.

I’m sure this is not nearly as satisfying for me as it would be if I was a lot more invested in things, if I had read more of the series and more recently. That said, I really like the way it ended, doing all this–while it gives me some idea of a handful of characters that survive, and some idea of those who don’t, and broad strokes of where things wind up, it also intrigues me–makes me want to find out the details, to go back and get to read the entire series from the start, all the way through. Even if I obtain the compendium volumes–and I suspect 3 of those would get the whole series, possibly with room for spinoffs–I have no idea when I’d actually get around to such an undertaking.

That Invincible gets to end like this–on the creators’ terms, that it gets an ending on their timing, and it becomes a "finite story," I think makes it a lot stronger in some ways, and as long as the series as a whole is kept in print, it will be interesting to see how it lasts, and what sort of fans come in "after the fact," that jump into it knowing/seeing it to be a finite story instead of just another indefinite ongoing series without end.

I’m not thrilled with high priced single issues, and this was $5.99 with multiple covers. I’m not even sure if I got the "main cover" or not, so I’m a bit less thrilled with that. But assuming I did succeed on that front, and given the extra length of this issue AND that it IS a final issue, a finale, a sendoff…I’ll give it a lot more leeway for a one-time "incident" of high pricing, as it’s definitely double-length, so at least justifies its cost.

The story is solid, as said, and seems to wrap up numerous plot threads and the like. Visually, this shares art by the two artists associated with the series, which is a nice touch, giving both a chance to handle this final issue.

All in all, I enjoyed the issue, I’m glad I got it, I’m not overly troubled by the price (only the use of variant covers), and would certainly recommend this to anyone already following the final story. It may be worthwhile also for you if you’ve read the series here and there, TO see where things have wound up and where they go. Yet, as a #144, if you’ve never read the series, this is hardly the place to start.

I wouldn’t consider this a masterpiece, but it seems like a solid wrap-up to a series, and caps off the series well while transforming it into something it would never be able to be as an indeterminate-length ongoing series.

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The Weekly Haul – Week of October 18, 2017

A game I’ve been looking forward to for awhile now finally arrived! Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. This is basically an adaptation of the Betrayal at House on the Hill, with Dungeons & Dragons elements. Given I quite enjoy both, this was a definite one for me to pick up!

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Of course, the next challenge is getting to actually play the game.

On to this week’s comics

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Hard to believe it’s been over a year and a half now of the "weekly" Superman stuff again, and not liking the "skip weeks" because those are weeks without a new issue of Superman or Action Comics.

Also hard to believe that just between #s 225 and 227, I’ve acquired Savage Dragon 1-101 and assorted mini-series, specials, one-shots, etc.

Quite enjoying the Metal books, story and foil covers! Since the things would be $3.99 anyway, why not have some fun with the foil and such? If ever there was a series that "deserved" the metallic/foil covers, it’s this!

Sadly, the Marvel Legacy stuff is virtually dead on arrival for me. Yet, much as I did this past spring, I’m doing a small sampling to at least (grudgingly) give things a chance. I’m down enough on contemporary Marvel stuff, but if I flat-out never buy anything from them, well, I hardly have room to complain then, right? And at least with these, along with the jacked-up pricing, we get "fancy covers." Unfortunately, these are utterly craptastic quality covers compared to DC‘s. Looking basically head-on, they’re blurry with glare, and neither image truly comes through clearly! More on that matter in another post (or posts) later sometime.

Rounding out the week, trying a randomish Image #1 in Maestros. No clue what it’s supposed to be about, but figured I’d check it out. Wonder Woman/Conan‘s here because I got the 1st issue, and don’t want to have to "hunt" this later. Ditto on Dead of Winter. And I very definitely want to support Alterna and their "newsprint comics," even to being happy to buy an issue multiple times, as even 2 copies of an issue are still cheaper than any one single issue of a Marvel series.

All in all an interesting week with a mix of stuff. Though it definitely pales next to an order I’m expecting by the weekend (that I’ll almost certainly document here once it arrives).

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