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Why not price stuff on a standard?

18issues

  • Deadpool & Cable Ultimate Collection vol. 1.
    18 issues, Paperback, Standard size: $40.
  • The Invincible Iron Man vol. 1.
    19 issues, Hardback, Oversized: $40.
  • Captain America: The Death of Captain America Omnibus.
    18 issues, Hardback, Oversized, the word “Omnibus” branded on the cover: $65.

Because pricing something based on issue quantity/pagecount or trim size and having a hardcover or not would make too much sense, no?

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The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 19, 2011

allofthestack

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.

FEAR ITSELF #7

fearitself007Spoilers ahead. When? When am I going to learn that Marvel does not ever, Ever, EVER actually END an event? It’s just the attempting “hook” of the next thing. This issue hardly made any sense. More posturing. More glowy/Tron Legacy-style characters, more magical weapons transforming characters into weird alternate-version-action-figures of themselves. And just a couple years after all the hoopla over JMS having an interesting story to bring Thor back? Hey, let’s kill him off. AGAIN. And let’s just have all these vague little “moments” to spin off into other stuff. The story ends way early, but wait–there’s more! There are these multiple “epilogues” that REALLY are PROLOGUES to other series and such that Marvel wants you to go out there and buy. And of course, like a complete sucker, I fell in for it. And at $4.99 for this issue. Pretty sure that means I was hoodwinked into paying for those prologues. And the Hulk stuff makes no sense.

FEAR ITSELF 7.0

fearitself007aYeah, in writing this, if you think *I* am being choppy, well…I’m just emulating what I read. I was almost content to not even buy this issue, but figured no, I’ll finish the series, finish the event. But it doesn’t even truly end, it just sets you up for these other spin-off series, and these .1/.2/.3 issues (aka Fear Itself #7.1, #7.2, #7.3 so they can claim you don’t have to buy ANOTHER mini-series to make sense of this one, nor have to admit this series is now 10 issues instead of the originally stated 7). And you know what? I barely paid attention to the art here. Maybe it was ok, maybe it just wasn’t horrible, but I was trying to follow the story, and neither story nor art nor the combination really made things make the sort of sense they were surely going for. I may sound cliche, but fired up as I am at this, and seeing this as being another of Marvel‘s “core” things…well, chance after chance after chance, but I’m sorry, I just am not interested in more than the concepts. The actual stories, the actual execution of whatever ideas…there just isn’t any satisfaction to whatever payoff there is. Very dissatisfied with this issue, this series, and I’m voting with my wallet. I’m out. (2/10)

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #509

invincibleironman509My 10th issue post-500 (counting that 5xx.1 issue)…and yeah, I’m done. Modified my pull list recently, and told my comic shop I’d finish out Fear Itself and Iron Man, but none of the follow-ups. None of the spin-offs. Maybe I’m just out of touch with Marvel, but whatever potential there was here is squandered. Surfacey plan on Tony’s drinking. Whatever this Asgardian armor thing is, he looks like the Destroyer or whatever that robot with the visor is–but no one says anything about it, nor do I get what its properties are, whether this is a quasi-permanent thing or not. There’s some interaction between Tony and a dwarf that could set up stuff for down the road, but time alone will tell on that. Pepper’s situation is “conveniently” dealt with, squandering tension from the previous issue. And much as I loved Fraction‘s first 24-some issues in particular–it’s what got me buying this in the first place–all that goodwill has pretty much been crapped away–though I mainly blame Marvel in general and these darned event-after-event-after-Event-after-EVENT thing they’ve been doing. Art’s the usual for this title. Story’s probably not bad once it gets explained by those more patient than me, or in the collected volume (maybe with some tie-ins thrown in for better flavoring). Again…voting with my wallet. I’m done. This isn’t worth $3.99/issue, I’m caught up, and I’m choosing not to keep buying a title on the offchance it’ll get better “next month” or have an epiphany-type moment. (5/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE #2

justiceleague002If I’m paying $3.99, it’s for extra pages of story. If you want to–on top of a full issue at $2.99–give me extra pages of text or prose or whatever to add to the worldbuilding, sure, great. But if I’m paying for it? No. Not my cup of tea. 22 pages of story for $3.99, with some supplemental stuff. The Superman and Batman design pages were semi-interesting, because I’d listened to an interview weeks ago with Mr. Hamner discussing having been hired to do these guides. But the Steve Trevor transcript segments did nothing for me. Somehow I’m not quite AS fired up about this as I was about practically the same thing happening with Action Comics #2…but the mood I’m in having read this week’s comics, and being so freaking tired of comics’ prices, their VALUE these days, this title’s on my chopping block. Like Action…maybe I’ll enjoy it more in a collected volume, from Amazon, bundled with something else for free shipping, to justify whatever the cost. Get the whole story in one go so it feels like an actual story instead of a segment, and not have it broken up by the same old useless ads and such, and hopefully without stupid PAID backmatter clogging things up. The story–this feels like just another segment of something much bigger, that is INTENDED for a single story, which it will achieve in collected-edition format. The art’s good–it’s Jim Lee, after all–but even some of that seems to be posturing, and doesn’t really “do” anything for me. At $3.99 and not being significantly longer (remember, Superman #1 was what–25 pages for $2.99???) than anything else…you’re probably best off waiting for the graphic novel. (6/10)

BATMAN #2

batman002Best of the week. Which isn’t saying much. Well, I suppose moreso, it doesn’t take much. This has Batman, and Bruce, Dick shows up and we see that this isn’t gonna be some dumb cliche thing. We jump right into the action, then flash back to pick up where #1 left off and resolve things and head to that opening action, and then wrap up from there. Though this is part of a continuing story, we get a functional beginning-middle-end that works, and I’m interested in coming back for the next issue. The art’s good overall, though I don’t much care for some of the panels that just seem…”off.” All in all, solid story and solid art, doing what a single issue should. Also potentially fortuitous that this came out the day after the Batman: Year One animated film, and that I read this issue shortly after watching an interview “extra” on the B:YO disc with Snyder and others talking about Batman. (8.5/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of September 21, 2011

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.

FEAR ITSELF: UNCANNY X-FORCE #3

fearitselfuncannyxforce003I’m of quite mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand…it’s Uncanny X-Force, and it’s only $2.99. But then, this is a Fear Itself tie-in, that in some ways feels like it has zero bearing on the main story. Of course, it has a bit MORE meaning to me than the first two issues did, as I have now read God Loves, Man Kills…so have some basis for the Purifiers stuff. This issue primarily suffers from being the closing issue of an only-three-issues mini outside the main title’s continuity flow, and thus this story has nowhere to “go” at its end. Nothing to really explore coming out of this, no real ramifications. Its timeframe is also questionable given the ongoing Dark Angel Saga in the main title–does this take place before or after that story? Still…it’s this cast of characters, we see them doing exactly what the team’s supposedly been formed around, and so the story is fitting. I’m undecided on the art for the issue–it’s good in and of itself, I like it that way. But something about it seems a little bit “off” somehow. All in all, though…a good issue, even if it means YET ANOTHER issue of Uncanny X-Force in such a short period of time. I think I would’ve preferred this as some triple-sized $5-$6 single issue, though. Worthwhile if you’re a fan of UXF in general and want to see how the characters would deal with Fear Itself, or just to have an extra dose of them and their way of doing things. (7.5/10)

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #508

invincibleironman508I’ve meant to drop this book since #500, but never quite got around to it. Then I found myself figuring that I’m mid-arc, and didn’t want to get caught with a cliffhanger and having to separately track down an extra chapter of something. I’ve generally enjoyed the title…just not for the jacked-up $3.99 price point after being THRILLED to “discover” it was only $2.99 as of the dawn of the Heroic Age. I’ve been having a bit of trouble “following” all this Fear Itself stuff with Tony, and wondering where things are actually going and what it’s going to mean, long-term. The story’s ok in and of itself, though, I suppose…but between the price point and this being something that seems far better suited for collected volumes, I’m not thrilled with it. The art’s good in the way I’ve enjoyed on this title, so can’t really complain about that. I am thinking that I’ll probably get the next issue–what I hope is the conclusion of the title’s tie-in to Fear Itself–and then probably part ways with the title in favor of collected volumes, if at all. (5/10)

THE GUILD: CLARA #1

guildclara001The first thing I noticed about this issue is the HORRENDOUS cover. I don’t really remember the last time I so disliked a cover. If I wasn’t already interested in the issue for the content, I would avoid this entirely just based on the cover! I also didn’t much care for the art on the interior as well. It certainly captures the essence of the character, sure…but it’s a bit too stylized for my taste, particularly given that I’m buying this because of enjoying the live-action web series, and not for this to look like something so different. The story was very good, though, offering plenty of insight into the character and filling in where she’s come from and her relationship with her husband–and kids. I missed the original Guild mini-series, though I’ve been picking up these one-shots and enjoying them. As such, I do plan to pick up what I believe will be the final one-shot of this run in a couple months. I’d recommend this for Guild fans, though I don’t see there being much here for non-Guild fans. (7/10)

STAR TREK #1

startrek001The 2009 Star Trek film is easily my favorite film of the last couple years–and certainly my favorite of 2009. It’s the ONLY film I’ve ever seen 5 times in its first run in the theatre. I think what really hooked me was that with a couple of quick scenes this was established not as a replacement but as an alternate timeline, thus keeping all original continuity intact, and setting this continuity as TECHNICALLY taking place after Nemesis. All that said: I didn’t know what this comic series was going to do, except it features the “new” versions of the characters as established in the 2009 film. That it looks like this series is going to adapt episodes of The Original Series fitting it to this version of the characters was what sold me on this. I hate the $3.99 price point, but I am sufficiently hooked as to at least give this a shot for a few issues. The art’s good–I like how it treads a fine line: the characters look like the actors/actress while also looking like the characters regardless of the live-action actor behind ’em. The story’s good, and a solid read overall. I’ll definitely be getting the next issue. (8.5/10)

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #2

teenagemutantninjaturtles002This issue goes a long way to explaining some questions I had from the first issue, both overt and back of the mind. Seeing the background of the animosity between the Turtles, Splinter, and Hob, as well as the way Raph was taken from them leaves me with a significantly different impression of how the story’s gonna shape up. Additionally, it seems that a significant piece of the puzzle that was missing from the first issue’s hints at the characters’ origin has been introduced, and on the whole I think I’m quite fine with this. The story itself has me totally interested and chomping at the bit for the next issue. That’s also a drawback, though–this feels much more drawn-out as a singular story than I can think of for any TMNT story I’ve read in more than a decade. Laird‘s series seemed to just be one ongoing story without clear-cut arcs, and the Tales title was full of one and two-issue arcs. This feels like it’s going to be a 6-issue arc that’ll make for an awesome read in collected format, but any given issue is going to be lacking structurally. The art is sort of sketchy and at points seems minimalistic…and yet, it works for this title, and so long as Duncan is maintained as a consistent artist, I think the style will grow on me and be as definitive for me as Lawson or Eastman. I do have to comment on the variant covers–I hate variants. The TMNT are my exception to the purchase rule, at least with the first issue. This issue, I actually (thankfully) mostly preferred the “standard”/most-common cover. My comic shop first offered me the Simonson 1:4 variant, but I already thought it was atrocious before seeing it in person, and opted to pass instead for the Duncan cover. I would love to see Eastman’s covers as the “main” cover, despite the drastic difference with the interior art. But I refuse–even with TMNT–to pay the far higher price for the Eastman variants for every single issue. This is by far my favorite issue of the week, and even if it meant different stories and different writers and artists, I’d absolutely love a weekly TMNT book. (9.5/10)

X-MEN #18

x-men018I keep saying it, but it keeps coming to mind: For only buying a couple X-titles, they sure seem to be out every week lately. And for $3.99 it’s getting a bit annoying in its way. Still, though part of me has meant to drop this title since the end of the first arc, due to the $3.99 price point primarily…I still find myself just simply enjoying the title with each issue I read. Gischler‘s stile works well for me, and I enjoy his take on these characters. I’m not as thrilled with the art–there’s something to this issue that felt visually “off,” though that may primarily have been Magneto’s depiction. Overall, though…another solid issue. That this is part 3 of a 4-part story (with a “to be concluded” rather than “to be continued” blurb at its end) is all the better, to me–it fits the story, and it’s great that it’s not simply yet another 6-issue arc for a standard collected volume. I will be dropping this title eventually, given the price point…but I’m in for at least one more issue. (8/10)

Invincible Iron Man #500.1 [Review]

“What it was like, What happened, and What it’s like now”

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover:
Salvador Larroca
Published by:
Marvel Comics

Tony Stark attends an AA meeting, and shares his story, recounting in the vaguest of terms his history as an alcoholic and how it’s affected him throughout his career. After the meeting, we see how actually talking about things affects Tony.

The story of this issue is really that simple. I had my doubts about the accessibility of this issue, of what would make it such a good jumping-on point. And really, for this character…I can’t think of anything better. Telling his story at an AA meeting is a perfect vehicle for touching on some of the major points of the character’s history and if not exactly explaining everything to new readers, it provides a glimpse of what’s come before, as well as insight into the character–stuff that provides a bit of foundation for new readers, or reminds longer-time readers of where things have come in recent years in particular.

This sort of issue–a “breather” of sorts, a “slice of life” or whatever–where characters have a chance to reflect, to have “down time” and just be themselves without an actively-moving high-action story–this is the sort of issue I am extremely fond of. And yet, while do enjoy this type of issue, it’s not terribly deep nor overly insightful…and really is pretty formulaic.

The art is the usual style and quality–which is a very strong positive in my book. No real complaints from me on the visuals.

The issue ends with a double-page series of panels “previewing” what is to come in the next year in this title…reminding me very much of Booster Gold #1, an issue (or issues?) of JSA, and generally the way DC‘s done things. So it’s nothing fresh or new…and unfortunately, it does all of nothing for me. I don’t even know what it is we’re seeing, and it doesn’t do a thing to hook me or have me particularly interested/excited to see context/details of how the situation(s) come about.

Though this issue–as part of the Marvel.1 “initiative”–is designed to be a jumping-on point, and I’d intended to bail after #500, this also serves as a bit of an epilogue to Fraction‘s run on the character thus far…and if there’s a 2nd omnibus-style hardcover for his run, I would be quite satisfied if it ended with this issue.

Whether looking for a jumping-on or jumping-off point, if you’ve enjoyed any of Fraction/Larroca‘s run or have been curious about the title, I definitely recommend this issue.

Story: 7/10
Art:
8/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Invincible Iron Man #500 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 2/5
Art: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5

A quick 2nd-to-last week of 2010 comics rundown

deadpool30 While making my usual trip to the comic shop during lunch on Wednesday, I–along with my pull-list books–bought a small stack of old Archies to give coworkers in place of Christmas cards.

The next day, I wound up at another comic shop in search of Vertigo Resurrected: Shoot (which I should have picked up several weeks ago when I saw it at a friend’s local shop in Michigan). After rejecting several cool/interesting-looking Marvel books due to the $3.99 price (I’ve lost track of how many sales Marvel has missed out from me on impulse sales alone, for that $3.99 point killing any impulse). I spotted Deadpool #30 and saw that it was a tie-in to the just-wrapped Curse of the Mutants story from X-Men.

Seeing the cover—DP’s grin and the label “Vampire Hickey”—was sufficiently amusing as to draw me in. And the book remaining at the $2.99 price point was enough to get an impulse sale there. (Not too thrilled that this 2-parter begins the same week the main story ended, though).

Continue reading

Invincible Iron Man #30 [Review]

Stark Resilient Part 6: Tony, We Don’t Want to Destroy You

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Production: Randall Miller
Assistant Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Published by: Marvel Comics

While one might expect to see someone like Tony Stark cruisin’ the freeway in a fancy car with a beautiful woman, the situation we see Tony in isn’t exactly normal. Tony and Sasha have it out, first through a sort of “dangerous” conversation that explodes into action as the two clash first via wits and then via high technology. While this is going on, Pepper Potts and the others in the startup Stark Resilient have their new car prototype to show investors, and things take an interesting twist for the fledgling company when Pepper leaps into action as Rescue.

Though the excitement has worn off for me with this title–it’s not longer the “shiny, new” thing as the Dark Reign closed out, and it’s not the immediate near-continuation of an epic hardback volume read in under a week–this is still a great read.

The art–while sometimes seeming slightly “off” in a way (lips especially seem awkward, somehow, in particular)–is great stuff, and I really do enjoy the realism of it. The characters don’t exactly look like their movie counterparts…but they have a great blend that is certainly close enough to the movies to be familiar that way, while maintaining a certain bit of the traditional so as to not be entirely new. I normally don’t care for characters looking like their live-action counterparts, but in this case, I don’t mind.

The story itself seems to be bucking the norm–I’d’ve sworn it should have had a bit of a “hard break” with either the previous issue or this one, but the story continues on without a clear conclusion. Having grown used to the “standard” 6-issue arc, this is a bit off-putting…but on the whole, I’m quite pleased to see a story continue in and of itself without having to have that hard break just because this is the 6th issue since the last major arc. Fraction seems to really get these characters, though in some ways it’s easier to see them as closer to the movies’ continuity than long-time, mainstream Marvel…and yet, this is rooted within the main Marvel continuity.

This issue deals with a lot of what’s been developing over the past few issues, so is not in and of itself a specific jumping on point, so this wouldn’t be one for new readers looking for such a point. This issue will primarily be of interest to the ongoing reader.

Even though I keep telling myself that I’m gonna let this title go and wait for the collected edition(s), every time I read an issue I find myself interested in the next issue, and as such, for present I’m hooked on the singles…and in the current comics climate…that’s quite an accomplishment.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

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