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General Mills Presents: Justice League (2017) #3 [Review]

general_mills_2017_justice_league_0003Truth Hurts

Writer: Ivan Cohen
Penciller: June Brigman
Inker: Roy Richardson
Colorist: Jeremy Lawson
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover Artist: Dan Panosian
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Steve Buccellato
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Design Director: Larry Berry

I like these semi-yearly promotions, with DC Comics in cereal. However, this has been THE worst one yet, from two prior Justice League sets and last year’s Batman v Superman: it took an absurd 19 or so boxes of cereal for me to get ONE copy of this 3rd issue. (Meanwhile, I have 9 of #4!) And contrary to the first two issues by what I would consider "name creators" that I recognize, this issue is the worst of the three so far. Or perhaps "worst" is a "strong word," but this is the most generic of the three so far, and comes off worse for comparison to the first two issues.

This one focuses on Wonder Woman where the previous two focused on Superman and Batman, respectively. The Justice League arrives at the site of a volcano that’s about to erupt. The team splits up to approach the situation in their own ways to try to minimize destruction. Aquaman winds up unleashing an underground stream, dousing the League. Then everyone turns on each other, apparently selfish and irritable and downright mean. Wonder Woman–Diana–reflects on an incident from her childhood where she was hurt by stuff her friends had said about her and fled to another island, where she faced the wrath of a minotaur. Based on that experience, she applies the lesson to the present and ultimately the group discovers that something in the water had affected them all, and they resolve the conflicts by admitting the truths that were brought to the surface, and are able to deal with the volcano, preventing any loss of life, though there’s plenty of property damage. Finally, Diana proclaims that real friendship can survive any revelation, and the Justice League are the truest friends of all.

Again, this is the most generic of the issues for this promotion, and comes off that way both story-wise and perhaps even moreso, visually. The story reeks of the "very special episode" and such…perhaps I’m also annoyed and more sensitive to it given the number of duplicates of the other issues I amassed just trying to get this one. But I didn’t feel like the other two issues were nearly as "preachy" on the "special message," though I had noticed a "message" to each of those as well.

The art here is ok–not horrible, but far from wonderful. The characters and designs are recognizable but seem a bit inconsistent, and lacking the "big name" or "recognized" creators, this comes off all the more as what it is–a generic freebie from a box of cereal that happens to have "current" versions of costumes with characters that aren’t given room for much depth (a one-off single-issue story with numerous characters and an attempt to "focus" on Wonder Woman).

That I went through the hassle I did, accumulated a year’s worth (or more) of cereal goes to show my personal OCD and such (and marks me as an ideal "target" for this sort of promotion!). Though the numbering of these–#s 1 through 4–makes for a "complete mini-series" of sorts, if you’re NOT interested in having all four, I would not worry about trying to get this issue unless you want the specific focus on Wonder Woman (a focus that is more of a "gets more pages" than being a Wonder Woman STORY).

Ultimately, for a "free" comic from a box of cereal, this isn’t horrible, but is far from wonderful. I found myself recalling the likes of The Untold Legend of the Batman, which I believe had a "cereal edition" in the mid-1980s. Those were reprints of an actual in-continuity story…I think I’d almost rather see something like that (re)-attempted…or at least, I think something like this (offering miniature editions of comics in cereal) would be ripe for promoting some of DC‘s actual #1 issues to try to hook readers.

I certainly would not begin to consider this issue "worth" a standard cover price, and not worth the boxes of cereal I bought to acquire it…though at least the variety and quantity means I’m not going to have to buy cereal again for a long time, as I will actually (eventually) use it all.

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General Mills Presents: Justice League (2017) #2 [Review]

general_mills_2017_justice_league_0002Dark Reflections

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciller: Rick Leonardi
Inkers: Bob Wiacek and Scott Hanna
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover Artist: Scott Koblish
Cover Colorist: Val Staples
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Steve Buccellato
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Design Director: Larry Berry

This is the "second" issue of four being made available to the public "blindly" via insertion into specially-marked boxes of General Mills cereal. Though the issues ARE numbered, the first issue and this one do not seem to draw on each other or lead into the other with any singular story, so the numbers are–I’m pretty confident in saying–there to stimulate collectors’ OCD to collect ’em all.

This issue focuses on Batman, though it guest-stars the rest of the Justice League.

Batman arrives home after a "typical" night out. After talking with Alfred and having a flashback to his youth where his parents were still around, Bruce catches a glimpse of a reflection in the mirror that is most certainly not him looking back! Turns out that Mirror Master (one of Flash’s Rogues) has expanded his reach (with the unintentional assistance of Flash himself) to vex the entire Justice League. Using mirrors as gateways, interdimensional counterparts of our heroes are brought through, and the heroes square off with them. While everyone tangles with their mirrored counterparts, Batman (through recalling an incident from his youth) develops a plan to deal with this threat and stop Mirror Master.

Nicieza and Leonardi are a couple more names that I’m definitely familiar with, though I’m far moreso with the former than latter. I’m honestly impressed at the way this issue–and this round of GM Justice League as a whole–has the talent and appearances of something much bigger and less generic than "just" cereal-box comics. At the same time, unfortunately (by seeming necessity) these ARE rather smaller and more generic than non-cereal counterparts.

The story itself is fairly basic, drawing on some basic tropes of comics in general…particularly the lead-in with Batman having just gotten back from a night out, talking about the off-panel adventure, remembering something from his childhood while his parents were alive, and that conveniently being relevant to the current story at hand. Yet, while that may come off as a negative…it fits perfectly into what these comics can and might be–someone’s first. These days, it’s not hard to imagine that there are countless staunch fans of even "obscure" comic book characters…yet said fans may never have actually experienced a comic book! So while these are overdone, overly-familiar things to me as a nearly-30-years comics reader, they may well be someone’s first exposure and be at least some small part of their journey into comics.

The story elements overall do not particularly contradict what I know of the characters, and particularly Batman in this case, though this definitely comes detached from the nuances of recent continuity that I’m familiar with. My biggest eye-opener is the notion of the characters nonchalantly hauling the moon out of its orbit with zero repercussions to the Earth. Perfect for a comic like this, maybe, but epic event-level stuff in general continuity.

Visually, if the pages were "regular" sized and I didn’t see a cover, I wouldn’t really know this was "just" some cereal-box comic…it has "established talent," and does not look like some generic thing. The art is quite good in and of itself, though as with a lot of comic book art, its primary drawback is simply in not being by one of a handful of my favorite comic artists. Once again, these characters look like they’re right out of early-2017 full-size DC comics, down to Batman’s current gold-outlined black bat symbol. Superman’s look is about to be out of date, but fits well into the past ten or so months’ worth of DC Rebirth.

As with the first issue, this was an ok read with good art. It’s a cereal comic and certainly worth reading, but it in no way affects continuity nor particularly draws from it. You might appreciate this more if you’re NOT up on current comics, as you may be less likely to do hard comparisons. I wouldn’t go out of the way to hunt this down, but if you like the cereal and it’s in the box, definitely give it a read-through!

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General Mills Presents: Justice League (2017) #1 [Review]

general_mills_2017_justice_league_0001Power Play

Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciller: Jerry Ordway
Inker: Juan Castro
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover Artist: Ale Garza
Cover Colorist: Luis Guerrero
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Steve Buccellato
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Design Director: Larry Berry

Once again, DC Comics and General Mills have teamed up to put comics in boxes of cereal. And, once again, I’m buying cereal specifically to get a copy of all four issues available as part of the promotion. This is the fourth such promotion I can recall in "modern" comics’ times–two prior Justice League runs, last year’s Batman v Superman, and now this. As with the previous ones, these LOOK like they fit in with contemporary issues, just that these are missing UPC boxes, and are atrociously TINY. But hey…they’re "free" with the purchase of a specially-marked box of cereal, and no hassling with coupons, mail-aways, shipping/handling, etc.

As with previous promotions, though these issues are numbered, I’m almost certain there’s no sequential "continuity" to them–this first issue is self-contained with no cliffhanger or anything "driving" one to the next issue. I’m pretty sure the PRIMARY purpose of the issue number is to help "legitimize" the thing as a miniature comic book (and not just some mini-magazine/"insert" or such) and to–as successfully accomplished with me–trigger the OCD to track them all down, because darnit, there are FOUR numbered issues, so I want all 4 issues, and won’t want to have a #4 withOUT 1-3 and so on.

Getting to the issue itself, as an issue…I’m quite impressed with the main creative team. Tony Bedard‘s name is definitely recognizable to me, and even topping that is artist Jerry Ordway, who is an old favorite from my earliest days in comics.

The story is rather prescient given its timing–at least for me as I read this. We open on the Justice League (current Rebirth incarnation, with everyone looking on-model for Rebirth year one) in Metropolis, being celebrated for all their work and constant saving of Earth. A large group statue is unveiled, and almost immediately comes to life, forcing the Leaguers to face off against their giant bronze counterparts. The mischievous antagonist is quickly revealed: Mr. Mxyzptlk! Muddying matters, the League must summon Bat-Mite–another 5th-Dimensional imp–to counter Mxy’s fun. Tricking Mxy yet again into saying his own name backwards, Bat-Mite extracts a promise from the League and then disappears himself…a small bronze addition left with the once-more-inanimate statue, celebrating Bat-Mite side-by-side with the rest of the League.

This story comes outta nowhere: no prologue, nothing setting it up. Just the "typical" generic "our heroes gather to be celebrated by the common people they’ve saved, however reluctant they may be with such adulation and then must save them yet again." Of course, this is NOT some issue partaking in any crossover or event, nor is it "merely" some reprint of just any random issue from within a run…and it’s not anything someone reading the regularly-published comics needs to track down to get a full story, so it’s rather necessary, then, for this to be its own thing in a relative "vacuum." Additionally, there is no cliffhanger, nothing left hanging to "force" or "coerce" someone (while many adults may track these down, I’d assume a large majority of readers are children whose parents had to provide the cereal for them to have the comic) to "have to" get the other issues.

Yet, while the story is pretty simplistic, and doesn’t necessarily play up individual character elements that’d be present in solo books, the characters are recognizable as who they are, and the lineup seems to fit in such that someone reading this and then walking into a comic shop would easily find current DC issues featuring these very characters. Bedard doesn’t really get room to shine as a writer, but he doesn’t play the characters as fools or overly talk down to the audience (though there’s a little bit of that "special lesson" to be imparted to kids: "don’t run from your problems, own up to them…and sometimes you will have to ask for help from others, and that’s ok."

The cover’s art is a bit "off" and generic to me….Superman’s costume (at least on my copy of this issue) seems a bit weirdly-colored and the whole image is basically generic poses of the characters on a yellowy-orange burst-effect…no background setting or situation (though also nothing to give away the antagonist from within). Ordway‘s art on the interior is a huge treat for me, and I really like the depiction of the characters. I don’t much care for Simon’s version of the Green Lantern costume–never have–but it looks as good as is possible here. And somehow most notable to me, Mxyzptlk looks really good in this issue–much like in my first conscious exposure to the character back in 1989 or so.

I imagine I’d have quite loved this as a kid. As an adult, it’s simplistic but pretty…and as something "free" in a box of cereal, it’s much better than it has any "right" to be. Even if you’re not a fan of the cereals, I’d recommend this as a quick-read novelty item…especially as I doubt this or any of the previous ones will ever warrant a full-size collection of their own, so this is likely the only way to read ’em!

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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…

Many More Mighty Minis!

Hokay, cheesy post titles aside…

I have yet to see any episodes of Justice League Action…heck, I have yet to even attempt to set a DVR to even attempt to catch any attempt at an episode…but that’s a story for some other post.

I was pleasantly amused recently to see something about a new line of Mighty Minis showing up in stores, and feeling like they were colorful again (after the somber, dark, muted colors I picture with Batman v Superman).

So when I came across ’em myself…I gave in and bought a couple. And then a couple more.

mighty_minis_2017a

My first purchase yielded me a Robin, which I was very pleased has the "classic" stylized "R" I associate with the Tim Drake Robin (rather than the Damian Wayne version or the generic one with Dick Grayson). Said purchase also yielded a generic Lex Luthor that I’m very annoyed about…the mini I least wanted out of the ENTIRE WAVE of these.

The second purchase yielded the Batman, Flash, and one of the two remaining that I most wanted: Blue Beetle! That leaves Firestorm, and (yes, I know my math…) then Superman, cuz hey…Superman.

These join some from last year:

mighty_minis_2016a

…Though I mostly like the newer ones better. The main reason is probably that they’re less bulky. It was last year’s Robin that caught my attention and led to me buying any at all.

Perhaps duplicates, but I’d’ve sworn I had more than these, but after moving last summer and clearing out a desk of 9 years’ stuff when I was laid off..who knows? I also had several of the BvS ones, but none turned up in time to have their photo taken for this post.


These Mighty Minis (whatever the assortment/wave) are "blind pack" things–you buy a sealed packet (reminds me of some sorta fruit gummies) with no idea which of the eight to twelve minis it contains until you open it.

They come unassembled, further confounding the "cherry picker" unless there’s one particular character that’s especially bulky…or you at least narrow it down to "has a cape" or "doesn’t have a cape." The packets also come with a folded paper insert providing a checklist of what possibilities there are.

In this case, it shows this first wave as well as "spoiling" the upcoming second wave.

With Robin and Flash new versions, I’d be interested in the Green Arrow in the next wave, as well as The Atom and Wonder Woman (to hopefully go with Batman and Superman from this one).

While a bit pricy for their size, that’s kinda relative considering the price of figures only about twice the size. While two or three of these could almost buy one non-blind-pack figure…unless one is buying multiple packs at a time, these are relatively inexpensive and easy enough to "toss on the pile" when buying a load of groceries and other actual essentials.

These are a bit bigger than Heroclix minis…and there are farrrrr fewer per wave, which makes them much more accessible, rather than something people are gonna ascribe $70+ value to in the secondary market. These are what they are, and outside of perhaps paying a bit more to know I’m not "just" getting a duplicate (at present, I now have a 63% chance of getting a duplicate rather than not!) I can’t see these seriously going for much money; I still have seen some of the first wave of last year’s minis in stores like Five Below as well as Walmart and Target; and wouldn’t be surprised if Toys R Us still had them.

Final thought: where the heck are the Pokemon blind-pack toys?!? If ever a property was worthy of blind-pack miniatures and such, it’s that…

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The Weekly Haul – Week of January 11th, 2017

This week–for the "main haul"–certainly proved to be extremely small in its way.

At the first shop, I snagged…Action Comics. The 50%-off TPB bargain bins–from which I’d anticipated getting a couple more volumes if they were still there–were completely gone. Period. So I wound up sticking with just the single issue…

…such that this week, I paid with cash out of pocket, because it didn’t seem worth using the debit card for a single DC issue.

weeklyhaul_01112017a

Given how much I’d mentally budgeted, and how little that one issue was, I had no problem going to the second shop.

Which had two issues I wanted that the first did not: God Country and the Vixen issue. And since even those added together were still rather low…

weeklyhaul_01112017b

I snagged 3 more of the figurines I was interested in, rather than "risk" their being gone by the weekend.

Bizarro actually has the "Bizarro #1" placard but that had come off in the bag, and I neglected to realize until after I was done with blog-photos.

I’d forgotten about this old Batgirl costume…it SORTA justifies the current Bat-emblem that I don’t like on Batman’s costume at present.

Unfortunately…in looking for a couple things online, I discovered there’s a Tim Drake Robin figurine from this line that I’m very interested in now…sadly, it costs more than these three were combined!

And a $40 statue I’d been interested in is apparently going for over $200 at the moment.

Such is life.

Such is stuff.

And hey…these figurines will be seen a lot more than any Marvel single-issue #1s, proving to be the far superior value there!

The Weekly Haul – Week of January 4th, 2017

Despite hitting two comic shops today, it proved to be a relatively small week…particularly for adding the second shop-stop into the mix!

weeklyhaul_01042016a

Picked up the week’s new Superman issue; got the first issue of the Captain Atom mini-series (Added bonus: ONLY $2.99 and it’s a mini-series! Seems all the other minis DC has been doing have been the old $3.99…which is why I’ve not been buying those!)

Had to go to the second shop for the Justice League of America: The Atom – Rebirth. Not sure if the first was sold out, or shorted, or what. And then from the 50%-off/bargain bins at the first, snagged The Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection vol. 1. Cheaper than 5 single-issue Marvel contemporary stuff. Also re-accentuating the appeal (to me, at least) of Marvel stuff preAvengers: Disassembled, and particularly the nice, thick books that actually feel significant…not the VASTLY over-priced, over-skinny flimsy things with 4-6 issues’ content!

At the second shop, I also scored four Walking Dead Mini-Mates 2-packs…for 99 cents apiece! Can’t beat that pricing!

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