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Justice League Dark and Constantine

Justice League Dark finally made it to stores in its physical form (as opposed to digital-only crap) and one version includes a John Constantine figurine!

justice_league_dark_with_constantine_figurine

When this line of DC animated moves started, many of the releases had a Best Buy exclusive version, packed with a little figurine of one of the main characters. Eventually, that sort of release expanded to a non-chain-exclusive thing, and the figurines changed, matching a line of figurines one could buy separate as well.

Now we seem to be back to the rectangle-base "generic" figurine…only significantly larger than the early ones.

And while I wouldn’t have necessarily been all that interested in yet another Batman…and wouldn’t really care for a Zatanna…John Constantine was an on-site no-brainer for me (not having actually known ahead of time which character would get a figurine this time around). Granted, a Deadman or Swamp Thing would be very cool…but with a 12-year-old Keanu Reeves film, a one-season tv series, a guest-starring role on Arrow and apparently an upcoming animated series of his own…Constantine would seem an obvious choice.

And frankly…I really like this figure…it’s easily one of the most impressive to me, particularly in size.

Perhaps I’ll actually get to watch this film this weekend!

constantine_figurine_hellblazer_library

Meanwhile…Constantine’s got a whole shelf of books to hang out with…

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JLDark and Early Digital: Really?!?

I saw this ad this week, for the new Justice League Dark animated movie. And at first glance, I thought I had missed its release–despite being in a Walmart on Tuesday and actually looking at the movie section and new-release endcap without anything jumping out at me.

jldark_ad_digi_early

But no…I didn’t actually miss it. I realized the ad says on digital January 24.

I swear, every time I see ads like this, they just make me more and more angry, and less and less likely to buy anything new in the way of movies.

Bad enough the high price and shrinking "first week discounts" (if any) the last several years.

But this "digital-only" "window" just bugs the crap out of me.

Is there anyone who is REALLY just so desperate to see something like this, that they’d rather pay the $20ish for digital ONLY when a "mere" TWO WEEKS later for that SAME PRICE they can add blu-ray AND dvd to their stock?

Maybe if the digital version was say, $10, I’d consider it. I’d wait this one out on principle if I didn’t know myself and OCD on these. With the voice cast, content, and having all the previous such animated releases since the line started back in 2008, I’d kick myself for "missing" the thing.

But I’ve already gotten to where–despite loving them in the theater–I refuse to buy Marvel MCU movies; the way they screw around with "formats" and "combo packs" shut me out years ago.

DC Villains Month, Week Three

THE ROGUES (Flash #23.3)

foreverevilrogues001This was a last-second choice for me, but ended up being one I’m quite glad I made! I got pulled into The Flash back in 2002 or 2003–with Johns‘ #197 or so, starting off the Blitz story arc introducing a new Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom/whatever. I’d heard plenty of good prior to that, and finally checked in on the series, and found the issues focusing on specific Rogues to be extremely enjoyable–adding far more depth to cheesey characters than I would have ever seriously considered. Similarly, I’ve heard about some “changes” to the Rogues in the New 52; of their prior “gimmicks” being turned into “powers” through machinations of one of their own…but I never bothered to follow up. So this issue gave me a sampling of exactly what I wanted out of the issue and expected: a glimpse at the Rogues; how they’re interacting, what they’re like, and all that. Seeing that they still have a Code; that they may not get along perfectly but still have each others’ backs…I like that. That it’s mixed with seeing where they’re headed in light of the Crime Syndicate’s bursting onto the scene shows there’s a lot of potential. The cover’s fairly generic/”iconic,” but I still like it…though I seriously doubt it would have grabbed me in and of itself.

CLAYFACE (Batman: The Dark Knight #23.3)

foreverevilclayface001I’ve never been a huge fan of Clayface, though he always had potential. Yet, while that’s a singular thing…my very first “true” Batman villain in comics I owned as a kid was Clayface…or rather, it was the Mud Pack–Clayface II, III, and IV banded together attempting to bring back the original. And it was the fond memory of that 1980s arc that prompted me to want to check out this issue, and while it certainly doesn’t measure up to 25 years of sentimentality, I found it to be a solid issue. We get a glimpse at Basil Karlo in this case…a rather different Clayface than I remember pre-New 52, or from The Mud Pack. Here, he’s basically a thug with a temper and powers, who refuses to blindly follow others and prefers to act on his own plans and initiative. Nothing here particularly struck me or interested me in seeking out other stuff…but it was still an enjoyable enough issue, and with the 3-D cover, certainly “worth” my $3.99 for the issue.

LEX LUTHOR (Action Comics #23.3)

foreverevillexluthor001This was probably my favorite issue of the Villains stuff this week, and definitely one of my favorites for the month. Seeing Luthor BE Luthor…businessman and evil and all that, yet not without thought/motivation. We get to see him–amidst dealing with other stuff–take apart a rival businessman’s life for slighting him, JUST to make a point. And while a feat on that level to many would take a lot of time and effort…it’s hardly a second thought for Luthor. It’s also a look at what he does–can do–outside of solely plotting and executing plans for Superman’s downfall. Probably what hit me the most was that it reminded me a lot of Luthor from the late-80s/early-90s…not an exact fit, but I could see this Luthor propositioning a waitress just to mess with her, and then drive off, leaving her to wonder what her life could have been. That this issue leads directly into Forever Evil #1 which I read a couple weeks ago adds to my enjoyment…here I’m only really visiting DC stuff again for a month, and there’s already some “continuity connection.” I was also quite glad that–despite the cover–Luthor was NOT the power-armored mad-scientist in this. The cover itself doesn’t blow me away or anything, but works for the issue…I suppose I have to “accept” that the power-armored Luthor IS rather “iconic” in general.

ECLIPSO (Justice League Dark #23.3)

foreverevileclipso001The first real “crossover”/event I remember “experiencing” in comics was the Eclipso: The Darkness Within story that crossed through a bunch of DC‘s Annuals back in 1992, and carried with it some iconic moments for me, and gave me a rather serious introduction to the character beyond his goofy-ish earlier appearances that I–to this day–have yet to read. So getting to read an issue focusing on the character now in the New 52 seemed ripe for an enjoyable check-in of sorts…though I found myself somewhat disappointed with the issue. There’s a lot of potential, but there’s no way one lone issue can hold the level of story that a dozen Annuals held…there’s just not that much room! Add to that the hassle getting this issue in the edition I wanted (3-D cover) and it just wasn’t gonna measure up to expectation. That said, I by FAR prefer this take on the character to the stuff post-Identity Crisis, and wouldn’t mind reading more dealing with this character. I do quite like the cover itself as well–for one thing, Eclipso’s name is spelled out pretty much as its own logo, so the Justice League Dark logo looks like just more dark energy radiating from the background swirl or the black diamond energy. The issue’s not worth the hassle I went through getting it…but it was worth reading, and I’m glad I did get to.

Trinity War [Checklist]

JUNE 2013
PRELUDE: Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1

JULY 2013
PART 1:
Justice League #22
PART 2: Justice League of America #6
PART 3: Justice League Dark #22
TIE-IN: Constantine #5
TIE-IN: Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2

AUGUST 2013
TIE-IN:
Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #11
PART 4: Justice League of America #7
TIE-IN: Trinity of Sin: Pandora #3
PART 5: Justice League Dark #23
PART6: Justice League #23

trinitywarchecklistfront

trinitywarchecklistback

source: promotional postcard (pictured above)

From the back of the bandwagon: My DC New 52 thoughts, Week #4

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1

batmanthedarkknight001I think the main thing about this issue for me is the art. I tend to enjoy Finch‘s art, and here…it sure is lookin’ good. Jenkins being part of this project is what drew me to actually buy this…but the story just doesn’t really “do it” for me. Some of the narration’s good, but I’m reminded too much of Batman #1, which makes this feel like just a repeat of something I already read in a different issue earlier this month. Sure, there’s definitely something to the repetition (probably what Bruce is supposed to feel about getting stuck at all these “high society” events) but I don’t care for actually experiencing the boredom of the situation. We’ve got a possible new character–she’s new to me, anyway. And we get the beginnings of follow-up to Bruce Wayne having told the world he’s the financial backer of Batman (though I don’t believe we’ve had the scene in front of us in the New 52 as yet). Ultimately, the issue’s got potential and pretty art, but I think I’ve settled on the idea of sticking to only two Batman titles, and this doesn’t seem likely to be one of ’em. Maybe in the collected-edition format. (6/10)

THE FLASH #1

flash001This was yet another of the month’s last-second “decided-to-pick-it-up-to-try-after-all” issues. After a sort of promising start–I wasn’t blown away by the first part of the issue, but I found myself interested in this take on Barry–I was ultimately let down with an ending that was somewhat confusing and meaningless at best. I like the CSI-With-Superhero feel this started to have. But by the end, there just wasn’t ENOUGH for me. It’s kinda nice seeing someone other than Johns handling Barry, though. Visually I wasn’t too impressed. The stylized art isn’t entirely my cup of tea. It works for this issue…but also doesn’t do much to draw me in. Maybe I’m still too attached to the old DCU, and Wally, but this seems to be yet another Flash series that I’ve given an issue to hook me, but for now I’m not planning on coming back for #2. (7/10)

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MEN #1

furyoffirestorm001I’ve never been a huge fan of the Firestorm character. I did give the character a chance in the Jason Rusch series back in ’04 or so, and didn’t care one way or the other when Ronnie was killed off in Identity Crisis. Firestorm was a title that I drifted away from and never got back to. I thought it an interesting dynamic what we saw in Blackest Night, and on hearing this title would feature both Jason and Ronnie, I figured I’d give it a chance. All the hubbub over multiple Firestorms didn’t really grab me…but it’s an interesting concept. I liked that this issue gives us a fresh start–this is certainly the sort of thing I want out of a #1 issue. Introduce the bad guys, introduce the heroes, show us the costumes and powers, etc. And this does it quite well. The story’s solid…the visuals are fantastic. And for simple enjoyment alone, I think this is one of my favorite of the New 52. Definitely coming back for the next issue! (8.5/10)

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1

greenlanternnewguardians001I figured I’d pick this one up for a look-see, given I’ve sampled the other 3 titles in this franchise. Wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so went in pretty open. The first few pages took me by surprise, wondering if this was set after events in the Green Lantern Corps issue somehow, or what…it was not clear from the start that we open on a flashback. Of course, it very quickly became apparent, and lit me up realizing this was a retelling of the scene that introduced Kyle Rayner way back in 1993, slightly expanded, updated visually, and focusing solely on Ganthet and Kyle with no reference to Hal and what had just happened. As the issue progressed…I liked what we got of Kyle. Didn’t really care about the other Lantern representatives, I have no idea what’s going on with the rings, and while I’d love to simply read a Kyle-centric book…I’m not interested in the other Lanterns enough to fully engage here. Depending on timing and pricing, I could see coming back to this in collected volumes…but while it’s another title with a lot of potential, it doesn’t quite make the cut for a book I’m going to put on the monthly list. (7/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1

justiceleaguedark001This was one of the titles I decided ahead of the time to get, and for me the main reason was that it’s the book with John Constantine in it. However, there’s no real reference, even, to the character in this issue, and I care NOTHING for stuff with the Enchantress. The appearance of the Justice League seems superfluous at best…and they seem really out of place here–at least, Superman and Wonder Woman do. There’s one panel with Superman that just looks horrendously ugly that if I hadn’t already read and so enjoyed Superman #1 would risk souring me altogether on his new look. I’m also not all that familiar with Madame Xanadu…I think she was in Demon Knights #1 as well, which raises some questions with me about the character. And ultimately…I’m just really disappointed that Constantine wasn’t even in this issue, and that this is another title starring a team that doesn’t truly feel like it’s even headed toward being a team book. At the least, it seems that my favorite character, for whom I was interested in the title at all will be at best a small player in the title. The story’s not bad in and of itself…though not enthused about the art despite it fitting the atmosphere of the story overall. So chances are, this’ll be a title that I’m not going to bother coming back for another issue. (5/10)

TEEN TITANS #1

teentitans001Yet another title I honestly hadn’t planned on buying at all, even to try. But something of the last several weeks–maybe it was Batman #1 seeing Dick, Tim, and Damian with Bruce…or Superboy, catching a glimpse of the Red Robin outfit…maybe other stuff: I decided I had to check this out. And while I just groused above about not having a team fully assembled in this one issue…I was buying this for interest in Tim Drake, and doggone it…I got Tim Drake and loved the depiction put forth here! Tim seems very much a leader here more than I’ve really seen him. And I actually really, REALLY like the new costume. It takes the best of Tim’s Robin costume as well as the “classic” Red Robin uniform and makes a great getup for this version of the character. The “wings” are a great touch, and as the most “bird-like” costume to date, so fits the character I’m amazed it’s taken this long for this costume to be developed. Story-wise, I like where things seem to be headed, and the introduction of Kid Flash and Wonder Girl, and the place these teen costumed characters have in this revised DCU. Though Tim might only be front ‘n center for the moment, gathering the team…that that’s his role at all suggests a great maturity to the character, and somehow works in just the right way that I’m excited to read more. Surprisingly, I may be back “into” a Teen Titans book for the first time since hopping off at the final pre-One-Year-Later issue of the last Teen Titans series. (9/10)

My picks of the DC: The New 52 books

I’ve just emailed my comic shop with my list of the #1s I want to commit to at present for checking out.

Waited til the last second because 1. time’s flown far faster than I ever anticipated and 2. I’ve been of several minds about all this, and finally decided to just make this decision for now and see what happens.

Though I’d at one point considered going “all-in” with the 50% with purchase of all 52 from Discount Comic Book Service, I quickly realized there’s no way I cold afford even that…nor did I actually particularly want to.

As it is, I’m buying into the “hype” HERE. But whether the issues I’m passing on are good or not–(and there are some that I’m just simply not interested in–if there’s good buzz, I may check ’em out; and there are some that I’m actively disinterested in–though again, if there’s good buzz, I might check ’em out).

mynew52dcupicks 

Action Comics, Batman, Detective Comics, Firestorm, Green Lantern, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Resurrection Man, Superboy, Superman, Swamp Thing, and Static Shock.

The NEW DC Universe

With the relaunch of DC’s superhero line in September, things start off with 52 #1 issues. Justice League August 31st, and the other 51 in September. The titles for this initial launch have been reported as follows:

  • ACTION COMICS
  • ALL-STAR WESTERN
  • ANIMAL MAN
  • AQUAMAN
  • BATGIRL
  • BATMAN
  • BATMAN & ROBIN
  • BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT
  • BATWING
  • BATWOMAN
  • BIRDS OF PREY
  • BLACKHAWKS
  • BLUE BEETLE
  • CAPTAIN ATOM
  • CATWOMAN
  • DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS
  • DEATHSTROKE
  • DEMON KNIGHTS
  • DETECTIVE COMICS
  • FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF SHADE
  • GREEN ARROW
  • GREEN LANTERN
  • GREEN LANTERN CORPS
  • GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS
  • GRIFTER
  • HAWK & DOVE

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