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Half-Price Books Haul May 13, 2016

It’s been at least a couple weeks since I’d been to the one Half-Price Books a bit further away, but since I was functionally going right past, stopped off tonight to see if they had anything new/good for a great price…got more than I’d intended!

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The primary treasure of tonight is the Giant-Size X-Men hardcover. $40 cover price..got it for $16. I figured part of the thing being marked a bit more than half off was that it’s not shrink-wrapped, and being sold to HPB, surely the original owner must’ve redeemed the digital copy. But, for kicks ‘n giggles, once in for the night, I logged into my Marvel account to try the code…and it worked! So…not a bad price at all!

And having just last weekend bought Criminal vol. 1 (Image edition), spotting vol. 2 for half price was a no-brainer: why pass on it tonight when within a week or so I’m just gonna be chomping at the bit to acquire it anyway?

Then, in the clearance section, found nice, clean, un-battered/etc copies of Grisham‘s The Testament and Brown‘s Inferno in hardback…both books for the price of a single Marvel comic? Very much worthwhile!

The drawback to the experience for the night is that this particular HPB recently moved their graphic novels to a more closed-in aisle space closer to the front registers. I had been standing there less than 30 seconds when someone came up edging me in, then stepped to another aisle for maybe 10 seconds, then back in…then someone was called to the buy counter for their offer and he left, so I figured it was just someone trying to look "real quick"…but less than 30 seconds after that he was back again crowding up against me, and two more people crammed into the aisle…so I cut my browsing short to get outta there.

So much for personal space and/or patience. If I was trying to flip through a bunch of books, or stand there (or sit on the floor against the shelves to read cover to cover right there) I would hope people wouldn’t stand for my crap. But to crowd into my personal space, when I wasn’t even allowed 3 minutes to quickly-ish scan spines on the shelves, not even an "excuse me" or "hey, Man, mind if I squeeze in here?" or such… it’s exactly the sort of thing that keeps HPB from being an entirely positive experience, and diminishes my "faith" in "humanity." (Considering I would have hung back, once I made sure someone knew I was there (as in "don’t stand there and read a book cover to cover) but allowed them time to look, and probably have wandered to a nearby aisle to allow them some time/space.

Such is life, I guess…

The Weekly Haul – Week of February 17, 2016

Raided the 80%-off bin…and snagged these four volumes. $25 for the four.

Four decently-thick (especially Inferno) volumes…for the price of 6 current single issues. And given Marvel‘s propensity lately for the $4.99 to $5.99 #1s…hey…these make for that much more of a value-purchase.

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The drawback is now going to be tracking down the 2nd volume of the Complete Collection by Matt Fraction run, having scored vols 1 & 3 here. But considering what it would’ve been for all 3 at full price, even if I’d pay full price for it, I’m still well ahead on things.

Deals like this continue to totally blow away even convention deals, as most dealers seem to primarily stock $10 bins of scattered Marvel hardcovers ($19.99 cover price)…while “complete” collections or thicker volumes like these are scarce, at least for reasonable prices.

As to regular comics this week…a $1 reprint under my “all $1-or-less issues” and an off-the-shelf Power Man and Luke Cage issue…because of a couple friends, figured I’d TRY the first issue if only to be able to talk about it with them…though I can’t see following it on a regular basis unless it surprises me and totally sucks me in.

Secret Wars – Week of June 10, 2015

Several weeks in and finally getting to some of the #2s for the Secret Wars tie-ins. I enjoyed the week’s reading overall, though none of the #2s particularly stood out or overly impressed me. As always, I’m not thrilled with the $3.99 price point, but these could have been worse for the price. We also had the Marvel Zombies #1, which I covered by itself.

Inferno #2

secretwars_inferno002I definitely picked this up because of the first issue, and was curious at where things would go. This issue manages to lose the “shiny newness” factor of the first and settles (for me) into a middle ground of “good” but “not terribly memorable in itself.” Even though I did read the issue, its content and the specific details of the issue mostly faded from conscious memory…outside of what happens to Nightcrawler. I’m quite sure I’d have enjoyed it more if I was familiar with the original Inferno story; but here, I’m simply experiencing the details of this iteration with a general knowledge of continuity after the original. While I’m not overly engaged at this point, the only real negative for me (story or art or overall) is a passive lack of engaged interest. Nothing actively puts me off or kills my willingness to continue with the series.

Secret Wars 2099 #2

secretwars_2099002I’m still not entirely sure what to think of this book, but as a Peter David one I really find myself wanting to like it. This issue gives us more background (and questions) on the Avengers 2099…particularly Captain America and her alter ego. We also re-meet the Hulk of 2099 and see him face off with the Avengers. I only loosely remember the existence of the Hulk 2099 title and character, with a lot more “awareness OF” than actual reading experience on the character. While we have Miguel heading Alchemax, this is sort of the first (familiar) 2099 character for me, grounding the new characters (Hercules simply seems to be “my” Hercules but traumatized). Taken alone as itself I don’t think I’d care nearly as much for this title; but as a 2099 combined with David‘s writing, I want to see where this goes, and look forward to the next issue.

Ultimate End #2

secretwars_ultimateend002Things start to make a lot more sense to me here and explain stuff I was unclear on with the first issue. For one thing, I assumed the first issue had some bit of flashback going on, or something preceding the start of Secret Wars itself; I get clarification here that what I’m actually seeing is heroes from two different worlds put together and trying to figure their situation out, but AS a part of Battleworld. We get some nice character interactions between the two Tony Starks, and other Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Ultimate Gwen and Aunt May. We also get a Green Hulk vs. Gray Hulk fight to cap off the issue. I’m also seeing that unlike my initial assessment, this is much like any of the other tie-ins to Secret Wars in that we have characters from the given setting(s) and get a story involving them, in the context of Battleworld.

Overall Thoughts on the week

I’ve definitely found myself significantly more interested in the #1s to “try” them than with the continuations of the series. I’ve already passed on Secret Wars Journal #2, and suspect that in the coming weeks/months I’ll “drop” other titles and possibly pass on even more. No matter how interested I may be or how “fun” the thing might look…I have a limited budget, and $3.99 upon $3.99 stack up REALLY fast, and whatever of these tie-ins I buy are ON TOP OF stuff I’m already getting, and are not going to supplant any of those. The “sticker shock” of Marvel‘s $3.99 books continues to be THE #1 detriment for me. I look forward to the next couple weeks, with less tie-ins that I’m after, and hope that what I *am* getting with balance out more across the weeks as the event goes on.

Inferno (2015) #1 [Review]

secretwars_inferno001Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Javier Garron
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Javier Garro and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Assistant Editor: Xander Jarowey
Editor: Katie Kubert
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I have yet to read the original Inferno saga. I remember and recognize its logo from comics I first saw in a friend’s collection, though now know it more personally through comics in my own collection, issues I’ve seen in passing in back issue and bargain bins, and know of it historically through prior revisitations and references as well as the “after-effects” it left on the X-Men-universe. But as a sucker for classic X-stories (with added appeal of late for lack of great X-stuff to get into), I was quite interested in this, if only to “check it out.” I wouldn’t necessarily choose Inferno–it’s hardly at the top of my list of favorite X-stories–but this issue was yet a mostly enjoyable read for me.

Several years after the demons took over the city, we find the Colossus willingly submits to doing Cyclops’ bidding in exchange for being allowed to–one day per year–take a squad of X-Men into the Inferno to attempt to free his sister from the demons’ grasp. After a particularly costly such encounter, the losses are driven home all the more, and Colossus finds himself nearly cut off, faced with one final rescue attempt that does not go nearly as he had hoped.

The story itself is good, taking the core concept of the classic story and giving it a different ending, pulling a “present” timeline out of that change. I’m not consciously familiar with the art team, but there’s a definite air of familiarity to me with the visuals, reminding me (I think) of Chris Bachalo‘s work…though that’s not entirely a positive. The art is not horrible or anything but it’s not exactly to my liking. Stylistically, it fits the story pretty well, and much of its simplicity works for getting across what’s going on. It could certainly be a lot worse, a lot more jarring, so I’m good with it as-is.

Where The Infinity Gauntlet had originally been its own title, and the 2099 line was basically a bunch of books with the 2099 tacked onto something (Spider-Man, Punisher, X-Men, etc) and so works with the current Secret Wars as Secret Wars 2099, Inferno works a little less so as a standalone to me. The logo is familiar and simple but on the cover seems to just be floating. Perhaps it’s the lack of a Secret Wars or Battleworld logo stretched across the top, but this mostly looks like a Bachalo-esque image with the logo elements pasted onto it.

In and of itself, this was a good issue and I’m definitely interested to see what happens in the next issue. I liked the stand-alone nature of this book: consciously I know it’s part of Secret Wars, one of the realms in that world, but on the whole this could just be an introductory issue of some parallel reality with the X-Men characters…and that works in a good way.

Perhaps not entirely worth $3.99, but getting an older, more classic-ish X-story back in the forefront is good enough for me. And given the seemingly arbitrary pricing model of Marvel‘s collected editions, I’m definitely ok with buying this as singles. Recommended particularly to fans of the original story, or early-’90s/pre-’90s X-stuff.

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 27th, 2015

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile, but here we go again.

This was a big Secret Wars (2015) week for me, snagging four first issues to try the series:

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As Secret Wars is just kicking into gear and I’m living so many of its notions, DC‘s counterpart–Convergence–comes to a close. I jumped straight to Convergence #8, and now having read the end find I’m not at all eager to bother reading Booster Gold or Blue Beetle…and I can’t even remember what happened in Blue Beetle‘s first issue!

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And finally to the pull-list stuff: TMNT and Valiant. The latest TMNT issue as well as the “Director’s Cut” TMNT/Ghostbusters #1. Which I thought was a one-shot meant to address the entire mini-series…but turns out to be a prestige format edition of the first issue with “commentary” and script and such thrown in…making this a total double-purchase thing, but one I’m glad to for the format and (presumably) only one-issue-per-month thing. And Valiant‘s Divinity concludes, and the second arc of Timewalker begins.

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Along with all these issues I also had to dig deep into the wallet as I found quite a score in quarter bins. Back in 2005/2006, I used DC‘s One Year Later stunt as a jumping-OFF point for the Teen Titans series that I’d followed–at that point–from its first issue. This week, I found a complete run from that point into the #90s as well as a couple Annuals and such, and several of the pre-One Year Later issues so if I delve into reading before I unify these with the nearly-decade-old issues hidden away in a longbox somewhere, I can refresh slightly before jumping into all-new stuff I’ve never read.

I also found several interesting-looking random issues, along with a beat-up but perfectly readable copy of the Uncanny X-Men/New Teen Titans #1 from back in 1982.

All in all, a HUGE week I hope not to repeat in a single week again anytime soon…but LOADS of reading.

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