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New Books And How They Could Have Been Better

Taking advantage of an online discount, I snagged several volumes recently that I was really quite interested in…if not entirely "justified" in ordering.

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I’m at least the previous volume behind in reading on The Walking Dead. But I really did not want to let myself get away from "keeping up with" the series in collected volume format…and I can definitely see sitting down and binge-reading several in one go, my periodic binge rather than slogging through issue by issue.

I’d heard really good things about Titans Hunt, and rather than track down 7 or 8 issues at $3+ apiece, I waited a couple extra months for the collected volume. While I certainly do NOT disapprove of it also containing an issue of New 52 Justice League along with the Titans: Rebirth issue…it kinda makes the Lois and Clark volume look a little light by comparison.

I thoroughly enjoyed Superman: Lois and Clark as a series before I had any inkling of a Rebirth or this Superman (the closest to "my" Superman I see in modern comics) "taking over," and was quite thrilled that "even though" the series was retroactively a "mini-series," it was leading into the character taking over the main books.

But honestly…if Titans Hunt can include two additional issues beyond its core-titled run…why the heck did this Superman volume not contain Convergence: Superman #s 1-2?!? The inclusion of just those two issues would have pretty much made the volume as perfect a collected volume as I could imagine.

I have no desire to buy one of a bunch of other TPBs "just" to have those two issues on my bookshelf. I might have to just bag the Convergence issues and slip ’em in between this and whatever’s on the shelf next to it.

Thoughts on Rebirth #1, Lois and Clark #8 and Superman #52[SPOILERS]

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I’d been looking forward to these issues for awhile, with way more excitement and interest than I’ve had in most comics in ages.

Please be forewarned, I’m going to spoil these issues here, especially the Rebirth issue!

Superman: Lois and Clark #8

I remember highly anticipating the first issue of this series, due to the prospect of this meager “bone” tossed to me as a fan of the pre-Flashpoint Superman. It’s been a rich series, giving me so much that I’ve wanted, particularly as “my” Superman was now like I remembered the pre-CoIE Earth-2 Superman–not being the focus, not being “the” Superman, there could be hugely major shakeups in the status quo, such as Clark and Lois actually having a (biological) son. There’s the huge, overwhelming (to me) loss of the pre-Flashpoint world they knew…but with stuff in Rebirth I think there’s something to be said/suggested in this Superman sticking around but at least us as readers having “hope” that his world and past and loved ones are still “out there somewhere.”

While the above was more speculative and incomplete, I’ll be “spoiling” Superman #52 below as well as the Rebirth issue after it.

Superman #52

This issue concludes the Super-Leag…er…The Final Days of Superman story that’s crossed the various Super-books for the last few weeks/couple months. I’ve known what was coming, it was part of why I opted to follow the story. Get the story, see the events that lead to the apparent death of the New 52 Superman.

SPOILERS!

I don’t know what I expected, but this was not it. Surely there’s more DEPTH to stuff, things to be explored, subtexts one can root out…but on the surface, on initial reading, reading to get to the end…I felt like this was a letdown.

That’s it?!? That’s how he goes out?

And even with an 8-part story leading into it (remember, 1992’s Doomsday! arc (aka The Death of Superman was 6 chapters plus a Justice League tie-in) that should have made this epic, this felt padded and drawn-out, and while Superman “knew it was coming” this seemed like a weak way for him to go out, despite doing so literally in a “blaze” of glory (and that is NOT intended as a reference to the character Blaze).

Clark–the pre-Flashpoint Superman–steps in, the two DO meet (albeit briefly–and yeah, here’s the selling point that had me buying the #50s…I wanted to see them MEET), and we get an abrupt end to the New 52 Superman, which paves the way for the other Superman to ‘take over’ or ‘step back into his rightful place’ or some such.

The story ultimately doesn’t seem to have had much POINT except to “clear the board” and allow for things to keep moving FORWARD without actually backtracking or saying someone didn’t exist, etc. And that will surely also be coming into play in the next few months of stories.

Below, I SPOIL stuff in the issue, so be forewarned!

DC Universe: Rebirth #1

Now that I’m ready to actually write about this, I’m at a loss for words.

The art was an immediate attention-grabber…it just looked GOOD. And with the likes of Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, and so many other “brand name creators”, how could this not? These are The Big Guns, some of THE big names whose art I’ve so enjoyed in the past (over the last 10-15 some years), so seeing their work was a huge treat, and I did not mind the bits of difference between ‘chapters’ and such…I was far, far more interested in the story itself.

And that story takes place across nearly 70 pages, with so many little moments that I really can’t even begin to properly “summarize” it, nor am I going to offer a page by page commentary on the issue.

Suffice it to say, I’m spoiling this issue.

This.

Is.

Your.

Final.

Bit of.

Spoiler.

Space.

To quote one River Song… “Spoilers, Sweetie!”

So…

Wally is BACK. My Wally. Original Wally. Wally West, Wally that was Kid Flash, in the Teen Titans, great friends with Dick Grayson, that became Flash after Barry died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally that “died” during Zero Hour, Wally that was the focus of more than 226 issues of his own ongoing series, Wally that disappeared and was seemingly–at best–“replaced” to be in line with the then-upcoming/now established tv show.

And he’s brought back in a way, it’s explained such that it does NOT invalidate the New 52 Wally West, it allows both to exist, to co-exist without my having any particular problem with it.

All the hype, and in getting to that, typing that…I’ve realized that THAT was my take-away with this issue.

Wally West is BACK!

Add to that we have some coy setup, more someone behind the scenes of the ones behind the scenes of the ones behind the scenes.

I remember the woman from Flashpoint #5, the ending, when stuff was somewhat supposedly “put right,” she had influence on what became the New 52 including the incorporation of the Wildstorm characters into the main unierse along with elements formerly/primarily Vertigo. Well, this woman–Pandora, I believe–is dealt with, and whatever power she had? She’s minor compared to this other power.

And from Wally’s narration, there’s this concept that 10 years had been “stolen,” that “love” had been stolen, “legacy” had been stolen, that it had all been stolen to make the heroes weaker, prevent them from being capable of taking something on.

Everyone being YOUNGER. A Superman in his early/mid-20s instead of mid-30s, and never married, etc. Barry, with no Legacy; no Jay to Barry to Wally to Bart. A compressed span of time in which Batman went through numerous Robins. Etc and so on and so forth.

And ultimately, to ME, to MY reading, the way I read this, the way I took it to heart…this “salvages” things. This validates the New 52 against pre-Flashpoint DCU. Essentially we have someone messing behind the scenes, manipulating vastly untold powers in ways that affect the very multiverse…and there’s still something COMING.

Continue reading

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 25th, 2016

This is it–the week I’ve been looking forward to for awhile, at least a couple months!

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While I was disappointed to learn that–as I’d expected–Superman: Lois and Clark was NOT going to be some long-running ongoing series…the title’s got a darned good reason to not be continuing, as its purpose is basically ceded to the main titles.

And we have the final chapter of The Final Days of Superman in the final issue of the New 52 iteration OF the Superman title. This is the eighth chapter, that I want to say I’ve followed weekly now since at least the second chapter–I don’t recall if I had to wait a week to get the 2nd or if both were already out or not when I “gave in” on the Superman #50s.

Most importantly, though, we have DC Universe: Rebirth #1, a supposedly-80-page issue for $2.99. (What they neglect to advertise is that those pages include house ads for titles that begin showing up next week or so…there are only 68 STORY pages of actual content. Though I’ll certainly be drowned out in the general internet hubbub, I’ll touch on the three issues (primarily Rebirth) with tomorrow’s post.

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The second issue of the new Aliens series is out (I guess it HAS been a month already!), as well as the 25th issue of Letter 44, which though I’m way behind in reading I’ve been following since the bargain-priced $1 premiere issue grabbed my attention a couple years ago. IDW gets in on the action of self-promoting the top __ books everyone should buy from _____ (insert publisher. In this case, IDW!)

And doing what I hate, and giving me possibly my first big regret to the “standing TMNT order” for the pull list, IDW put out not only two issues of the TMNT line the same week instead of spacing them out, but two issues of the SAME TITLE, one being a totally ridiculous $5.99 ($6! What kid’s gonna drop $6 on this cartoon-based comic with some arbitrary sports star?!?) For TMNT Amazing Adventures, that makes this a $10 week!

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I swung by the other shop I sometimes get to, and ended up hitting the $1 bins…scoring several issues of Spawn that I don’t think I have…though the cover to #16 gives me serious déjà vu (making me think it’s 1. an image used on the cover of Wizard back in the day, 2. an issue I already have, and/or 3. an iconic image that stuck in my mind over the years from an ad [probably in Wizard if so!]). As I’m settling in with current issues and actually getting to enjoy them a bit and seeing more potential on the series, I’m increasingly interested in back issues, and kinda curious at how hard it would be for me to put together a run of the title.

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I also scored a couple other issues, as well as some “ephemera” (I love that word, perfectly describes a lotta the random crap I saved over the years. “Legitimizes” it and all that!).

The original first issue of the first mini-series of Savage Dragon, as well as a one-shot (or at least, just one issue here) continuing the Solar, Man of the Atom property back in the Acclaim days.

Ephemera-wise, there’s a promotional 75-cent Incredible Hulk ashcan; a Spawn comic originally packaged with one of the earlier action figures from McFarlane…and a Now Comics news-zine thing of some sort that piqued my curiosity enough to snag for 25 cents (though with Real Life going on right now, I haven’t a clue when I’ll get around to digging into it).

No collected volumes this week, no pending orders, etc… I’m burning out a bit from the stream of recent-ish purchases…and looking at a month of a crapload of DC titles.

That the DC books are gonna be $2.99 is SUCH a huge refresher, given the wealth of $3.99 stuff out there. Even stuff double-shipped that winds up costing $5.98/mo would be 40 content pages and is two issues rather than 2/3 of that for a single issue.

Surely much more discussion on that angle of topics soon.

The Weekly Haul – Week of April 20, 2016 (new stuff)

This week ended up being a huge week for new comics stuff…far bigger than I’d had any intention or inkling before mid-day.

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DC‘s obviously getting back into my good graces (or at least attention) based on this week’s stuff. A JLA book for my $1-or-under/promo-priced pulls; Legends of Tomorrow since I enjoyed the first issue enough; Superman: Lois and Clark (seems to be prelude to stuff on a much larger scale than I’d imagined when the title started). Action Comics because I’m OCD and am interested in seeing what DOES actually happen with the New 52 Superman as well as sincerely wanting to ‘support’ an outwardly-indicated (aka “triangle numbering”) system of continuity in Super-books. And then Power Man and Iron Fist cuz ok, I’m a sucker.

Of course, I need to figure out and then track down whatever would be “triangle number” #2, as I have 1 and this is 3…where the heck is 2?!?

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Scored the two Essentials volumes from a $3 box…figuered hey, 25% cheaper than a single issue of a new Marvel comic…you betcha! I believe the X-Men one is all-new to me. The Classic X-Men is a replacement copy so I’ll have 2 of 3 volumes in the same trade dress instead of 3 volumes and 3 different trade dress styles.

And for the price of any of the recent DC #50s (or the Barnes & Noble/BaM! standard price of most issues) got a second print of Dark Knight Returns #2 (Dark Knight Triumphant)!

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And finally (of new stuff), the book I’ve been waiting for since last August finally came out (in a new/second printing), but now being ‘current’ and NOT “out of print” it was discounted significantly through instocktrades and thus “affordable” in a way that cover price–for me–is not.

I’d ordered this last week and it arrived today, neatly coinciding with New Comic Day.

Second print? Looks fine to me! Looks like it’ll match the Companion volume? That’s what I wanted. Saved nearly $60 off cover price? I’m great with that!

Superman: Lois and Clark #1 [Review]

superman_lois_and_clark_001Arrival, part 1

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Lee Weeks
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterers: A Larger World Studios’ Joshua Cozine & Troy Peteri
Cover: Lee Weeks and Brad Anderson
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marion
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: December 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve been looking forward to this, at least in concept. Superman…and Dan Jurgens. It can’t get much better than that, right?

I came into the thing expecting this to be “my” Superman sent back to help stop the Crisis and then picking up 5 or 9 or however many years later–with him, Lois, and their son (born in Convergence: Superman). Maybe I never thought through the details, maybe I was hung up on the notion of actually, finally getting “my” Superman (of sorts) back. The pre-Flashpoint Superman.

What I’ve found is that Superman apparently living on the New 52 Earth (or one very much like it), with things striking me as being pretty much the same as the “current” DC Comics Superman. Having realized the world was quite different, he stuck to the background, and even went “underground,” taking the name White, and operating strictly in secret, restraining himself from getting involved.

Since the New 52-ish world is similar in many ways, he’s–while operating in secret–sought to do what he can to prevent the rise of certain entities, prevent certain events from coming about. Meanwhile, Lois has written a number of books as an anonymous author, impacting the world as she can that way, while together they raise their son Jon.

When I think of Dan Jurgens on Superman, everything goes back to 1992’s Superman #75, The Death of Superman…particularly VISUALLY. It’s an unconscious thing, that issue, that story being such a key part of my childhood and early days in comics. As a result…it’s a bit jarring and such when my brain wants to see Superman one way visually and get something different.

Though he’s the writer, the art is actually be Lee Weeks, with a style distinctive from Jurgens‘ own. Getting past that, I like the art in this issue. Aside from “noticing” it’s not Jurgens‘ art, I really have no active/overt gripe with it. I never got pulled out of the story, out of the reading experience by any surprise or “weirdness” or such; there was no oddity to my eye with the depiction of the characters. And maybe it’s my earliest issues of Superman/Adventures of Superman–when I was introduced to the modern version of the character–but I really dig Superman/Clark with a beard.

Story-wise, this was a bit of an odd experience…having a lot of loaded pre-conceived expectations and notions as to what this should be, what I wanted to see, how I hoped the characters would be shown, etc. Given my personal “history” with Superman–the character being THE core of my comics-reading experience and the reason I was even first introduced TO comics–I freely admit that there’s really no way this was going to live up to my idealistic hopes.

What I got is mediocre compared to what I’d hoped for.

In and of itself? This was a solid issue. There’s some flashback/exposition that I’m not sure would make MUCH sense to someone just jumping onboard to “try” this, without familiarity with pre-Flashpoint continuity or having read Convergence and the Superman 2-parter from that. It provides just enough for me, to get around the lack of a textual “previously” page (and sets this up for the inevitable “graphic novel”) and to clarify that yes, this is the pre-Flashpoint Superman, yes, he went back and helped end the first Crisis, yes, he’s aware of this world’s other heroes, and despite reservations, he’s left them to their things and focused on protecting his family while helping in secret as he can.

We’re introduced to a couple of elements I don’t believe have been dealt with in the New 52 Superman stuff (or if they have, it’s not been in the limited handful of stuff I have personally read/been made aware of). Intergang, and Hank Henshaw. Lois is working on something with this world’s Intergang (a dangerous proposition)…while Clark seeks to make sure that Henshaw’s spacecraft does not meet the same disaster it did in the world HE remembers.

Of course, as always…the world is different, and there are other forces at play, and this is only the first issue of four or six or some such (though I’d love for it to be an ongoing series).

There’s not enough here to truly display the historical significance of this version of Superman/Clark and Lois, or of their having a child, being married, etc. The significance comes from being an “old” fan, to fully appreciate the unspoken, unmentioned context that gives plenty of weight to this. I can only assume that otherwise–to a newer reader–this is nothing more than an alternate, older version of Superman. That this Superman is now what the “Earth-2” Superman may have been to others in the silver age comics, or the “pre-Crisis” Superman to readers in the time I was getting into comics.

This book can surely be enjoyable for new readers and old alike, but I am on-board as the older fan/reader, and appreciating this bone I’ve been tossed, as SOMETHING for me that isn’t New 52 or some “out of continuity” one-off.

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