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The Weekly Haul: More From the Weeks of December 5 & 12, 2018

I thought I was missing something! But I second-guessed myself and thought I was off by a week or so, and didn’t actually "research" myself so…there you go!

Several things that escaped notice/mention from the other day as well as last week:

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From the week of the 5th, I’d wound up picking up Prodigy. #1, though I’ve yet to read it, unfortunately.

And from the week of the 12th, Superman #6 and Magic the GDathering: Chandra #1.

I ended up binge-reading Superman #s 2-6, which probably made it a lot more enjoyable than chunk by chunk as an issue came out; though I’m "curious" about where things go from here, feeling a distinct ’90s vibe…but not in a good way, despite my usual love of ’90s stuff.

And Chandra #1 I was curious about, and though this thing wasn’t horrible, it mostly felt like it was just simply "Look! Look! Chandra does stuff!" without much of a driving plot or setup…and no real context for where this story is supposed to take place within Magic lore.

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Going back also to the weekend between the 5th and 12th…a visit with friends prompted some purchasing. Firstly, we stumbled across Marvel Rising (the animated pieces) that we ended up watching in full. That prompted me to be interested in actually (finally?) checking out this Ms. Marvel character based on actual exposure rather than "hype."

Some survey/binging of anime and discussion of same (as well as curiosity thanks to some reviews of figures over at FigureFan Zero) led to these other purchases.

First volumes for four manga series…My Hero Academia, as well as its anime series. We watched and discussed some rather disturbing stuff from Goblin Slayer, and one friend also specifically pointed out Kill la Kill, so since I saw the first volume for half price, grabbed that. And thanks to those figure reviews mentioned above, and this first volume being available for half-off, One Piece.


I have no idea when I’ll get around to actually reading these manga volumes or even Ms. Marvel; though the latter might happen sooner. I’ve also discovered that my nook app can now handle graphic novels and such bought through Barnes & Noble, and on a strong recommendation purchased the 3-issue War Bears series from Dark Horse that I’m reading amidst other reading.

So we’ll see.

But as these posts are part sharing with everyone else what I’m getting and part "documenting" for myself…this post is largely for me to have record of approximately when I actually got these.

I’ll likely cover some of this later in some form.

Until then…

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All-New Marvel Now Checklist #1 (December/January)

December 2013
Avengers #24.NOW

January 2014

All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1
Avengers World #1
Black Widow #1
All-New Invaders #1
All-New X-Factor #1
All-New X-Men #22.NOW
Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW
Thunderbolts #20.NOW
Savage Wolverine #14.NOW
Avengers A.I. #8.NOW

Source: Promotional Postcard (pictured below)

all_new_marvel_now_checklist_dec_jan_front

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Eulogy for a Favorite Character

char_death_thumbLast week I’d seen SOMEthing online about something big happening in Marvel’s Uncanny Avengers issue; but I flatly ignored it; get tired of the click-bait claims from Bleeding Cool at times. But then yesterday I saw something a bit more SPECIFIC, including stuff about a favorite character. So, much as I hate doing so for brand-new issues, I bought the issue digitally just so I could get the actual CONTEXT of things for myself.

I’ve seen SO MANY “deaths” in comics that it hardly phases me. It’s mostly “just” another story element at this point. Whether the death of Captain America or Professor Xavier or whoever…I DON’T find myself all that bothered. It’s in service of the story, or I just figure “hey, they’ll be back sooner than I’d like!” or such.

But this one? “Shock value” or WHATEVER…it just sits wrong with me. Sits wrong in a way that most character deaths in comics do not. And I think part of that is that this time it’s a character that’s been one of my favorites through the years…one that I haven’t seen touched by “death,” and perhaps also the fact that it’s a specific female character.

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Superior Spider-Man #10 [Review]

superiorspiderman010Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inks: Stegman & Cam Smith
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Marcos Martin
Assistant Editor: Ellie Pyle
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Ten issues in, and now we’re suddenly, supposedly…um, back where we started, I guess. The new, the superior, Doc Ock is Spider-Man, in Peter Parker’s body…and there is no Peter. Wasn’t that what the original premise seemed to be? But then we had Force-Ghost Peter, revealed that last page of #1, and I was excited for this series, beyond the tentative trying-it-out.

So, here we are, tenth issue…11 if you count the Age of Ultron issue I skipped/ignored. And while Ock continues to smooth out his process of being proactively superior as Spider-Man to Parker’s ways, we see a recurring tattoo, obviously a reference to the Green Goblin. And Ock continues improving things in the personal life of Parker, reveling in his solidified superiority. And that cliffhanger…

Well, ok, I admit some sarcasm’s leaking through in this post. Even though I’m being the usual, purposeful vague in summarizing things–I prefer not to spoil an issue, and heck, too much detail in the summary sorta defeats the purpose of you reading the issue yourself. But having read this issue…I’m just feeling rather sarcastic toward the issue, and the series.

The art’s pretty much consistent with the run so far, so nothing really to complain about, there. It fits the title, and the story, as it’s been what we’ve had. I have no real issue with it overall, though it’s a bit stylistic and such…not what I’d necessarily choose or want specifically for Spider-Man, but after taking a half-decade sojourn from the Spidey-verse and coming back in for the Ock-and-Parker-Swapped bit…it’s worked.

Story wise…I’m just disengaging. Disinterested. I hesitate to use the word “bored,” but I’m just losing interest so fast in this title, and even the status quo.

I remember reading Amazing Spider-Man #700 at the turn of the year, backtracking almost immediately to #698 and #699, and having to wait til mid/late January for the premiere of Superior Spider-Man #1. but here we are, not even June yet, and we’ve got 10 issues. That’s basically 2 issues per month for January through May…at $3.99 apiece.

That’s 3 1/3 issues’ difference in pricing at this point…or another way of looking at it, for only $1 less per issue, I might go another 5-10 issues before burning out on sheer price point alone.

But I’m no longer impressed. My patience has worn out. And this issue, toted as a jumping on point from what I saw in stuff “about” the issue this week…well, I should’ve left this on the shelf. And while I’d be tempted to at least give it til issue #12… Well, where’s the “wholeness” in 12 anymore, what USED TO be a single, full year of a title…when at this pace that’s a mere 6 months?

Infinity FCBD 2013 [Review]

infinityfcbd2013Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Jim Cheung
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editor: Jake Thomas
Editors: Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $0.00

Given my history with Thanos, Adam Warlock, the Infinity Gauntlet (and the Infinity Gems’ involvement in the Ultraverse)…even though I REALLY don’t want to get sucked into another Marvel Event, I wasn’t about to ignore the Infinity issue Marvel‘s got out as one of the Free Comic Book Day 2013 offerings.

The cover has a rather iconic look about it, a shattered pane falling away to reveal Thanos’ grin behind it–and images of a bunch of characters from around the Marvel Universe looking rather disconcerted.

The story is fairly simple, as we’re introduced to some aliens, including one whose latest mission was a success. The alien is given another task, which it sets about accomplishing quickly. A “tribute” is extracted from another alien people–who are but thousands where they were once millions. This tribute is presented to Thanos. And on Earth, we learn that tribute will be demanded there as well, or the world will burn.

This issue certainly serves its purpose–to be a “teaser” of sorts, something within the main story of Infinity yet probably not absolutely essential to understanding the story. This reeks of “prologue,” and other than seeing Thanos, I was honestly not very interested here. I don’t consciously know anything of any of these aliens or their worlds. I’ve yet to get through all of Annihilation, Conquest, or the Thanos Imperative, so other than tidbids of spoilery stuff, I’m not really current with Thanos…but this issue doesn’t hold up, considering I’d expect from the cover to either have more of Thanos himself, or of the general Marvel Universe presented.

The issue also reprints a Thanos backup story from Logan’s Run #6 in which Thanos once more survives the wrath of Drax the Destroyer. This was more to my liking, in that at least the focus was on Thanos, not a bunch of characters I didn’t know. Also, I’d never read this particular Thanos story, so it was still new material to me.

The art of the main story is pretty good, and quite to my liking. Thing is, I’m more interested in a story that I enjoy than I am pretty pictures, so it doesn’t make up for the lackluster story snippet. Meanwhile, the art from the Logan’s Run backup at least looks like classic Thanos, and while not entirely to my liking, is easily forgiven as a product of its time.

All in all…I’m not at all impressed with this “preview” or “prologue” or whatever-the-heck-it-is for Infinity. However, as a free issue, this is certainly worth it, if only for the reprint of the classic Thanos story.

Uncanny X-Men (vol. 3) #1 [Review]

uncannyxmenvol3001The New Revolution

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler/Colorist: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza and Al Vey
Lettering & Production: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Associate Editor: Jordan D. White
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve been looking forward to this debut issue for a number of weeks now…pretty much since I learned this third volume would focus on Cyclops, Magneto, and their group of mutants; particularly after getting a taste of things in the pages of All New X-Men.

The issue has a framing sequence, of a man in shadows speaking with SHIELD about Cyclops, explaining why the mutant leader needs to be taken down. In the “core” of the story, we see Cyclops’ group continuing to reach out to new mutants, and facing off with a group of sentinels–something that once would have been little trouble for Magneto in particular–but the veteran mutants’ powers have been altered due to the recent Phoenix incident…and they struggle to “re-learn” how to use their own powers while looking to train the newly created mutants. The revelation of the shadowed man’s identity is a bit of a twist, sure to introduce further conflict, but not entirely surprising.

Story-wise, there’s plenty of potential for this title. While I’m not a fan of the “villainization” of Cyclops, for what times I’ve “checked in” on X-stuff over the past few years, this current place the character is in seems rather logical and makes sense, given everything we’ve actually seen the character go through–losing his wife, seeing the vast majority of the mutant population wiped out, struggling to protect what mutants remained against a world that still feared/hated them, finding hope and finally seeing a return to numbers and being in a position to reach out to these new mutants now from the start, proactively acting to solidify their place in the world.

I missed out on the re-introduction of Magneto, but have thoroughly enjoyed seeing his place with the X-Men of late; and it’s his character growth and evolution that has struck me almost as much as Cyclops’. That these two men–once bitter enemies–are now working together says a lot for both of them; and I’m interested in seeing where their alliance goes.

Again…there’s plenty of potential for this title.

Visually, however, I am extremely disappointed. From the start, I’m put off entirely by Cyclops’ “new costume” (mask). Going to the red on the outfit doesn’t bother me so much as wrapping red bands around the face as an “X” where the visor has always been. Maybe the X will be explained/become apparent as we learn more about Cyclops’ modified powerset…but visually it’s an atrocious look that I don’t like one bit. If I don’t like the redesign of Cyclops’ headpiece…I don’t entirely mind Magneto’s–though his is far from ideal as well, seeming to fit a more abstract, stylistic imagery that reminds me of how the character might be depicted in a nightmare interpretation (see 1993’s Wolverine #75).

As far as the issue’s art in general…just a couple pages in–having initially ignored the credits page–I stopped in my tracks. “This is Bachalo, isn’t it?” I thought to myself. Flipping back to the credits, I confirmed that–though in this case, recognizing an artist’s work in and of itself is no positive. I’m not a fan of the visual style, and often have trouble trying to truly follow the action, what’s actually going on.

Despite the stylized take on the characters, for the most part they don’t look all that bad; and the double-page introduction of the sentinels reminds me of what I think is a similar shot from 2004’s Astonishing X-Men #1, and is fairly impressive–perhaps simply for the “space” the image has to breathe. In the introduction of the new mutant the group was after, though, I had no idea what was going on, what his powers were, or were doing–I sorta figured out a bit from just reading and the extra curiosity, but it really put me out of the story.

So while the story holds up and leaves me fairly interested yet in where things go–the art is a near-complete turn-off for me. The “AR” stuff holds zero interest–I’ve been “burned” too many times with the smartphone app having trouble actually loading whatever it’s trying to load, and it seems that more often than not, all I get is a transition from “pencils” to the “finished image”–something I have virtually NO INTEREST in…while the AR content might be intended to be “bonus” or “add value” or such to the issue, being more annoying than not with so little worthwhileness, I don’t even bother anymore…even for writing a review.

This is yet another relaunch–the 2nd Uncanny X-Men #1 in 18 months. Where the original numbering was scrapped to put Uncanny and Wolverine and the X-Men on “equal footing” numbers-wise…THAT logic has been thoroughly scrapped now as well.

Worst of all, this is a $3.99 book, and presumably will be mostly double-shipping…which is a pricing strategy I just cannot keep up with. Priced at $2.99 I would give this a few issues; but as-is, I tried this first issue, and I have every intention now of passing on subsequent issues, at least so long as I’d be paying “full price.” I’ll simply have to keep an eye out for these in bargain bins, snagging a collected volume (if still interested by that point) from Amazon, or “going digital” should these fall under a 99-cent sale from Comixology.

Marvel Now: Avengers, New Avengers, and A+X

Avengers #s 1-2

avengers(now)001While I’d heard plenty of good about this title, which contributed to my reluctantly deciding to try these issues, I was fairly disappointed. I’m all for big, epic Avengers stuff…but I guess I’ve largely been “out” of Avengers stories for so long that I’m just not interested by these first couple issues. I’m not familiar with the antagonists, and the sheer scale of this story suggests line-wide crossover, and the fact it’s not happening kinda makes this seem like no more than some one-off out-of-continuity story.

I’ve heard so much good about Hickman and praise for his runs on Fantastic Four and FF that perhaps I’ve allowed my expectations to get the best of me, at least for being only two issues in. Still, at $4/issue I’m not inclined to patience, and if this is truly yet another reads-better-in-five-to-six-issue-chunks deal, it’s not enjoyable enough for me as a single issue thing.

avengers(now)002The art’s not bad, though it also seems a bit “off,” and I’m not quite sure what to make of it so far.

The title is not helped by my being strongly reminded somehow of the Justice Society of America mega-arc Thy Kingdom Come a few years ago.

While it’s possible I’ll pick up #3 at some point, unless it’s a slow week I may just cut my losses with this title, as I hadn’t even planned on giving it a shot at all, and have already given it two issues.

New Avengers #1

I bought this issue primarily because I’d given Avengers 1-2 a shot, and was lured in at the prospect of the Marvel Illuminati, and Infinity Gems and such.

newavengers(now)001I was quite disappointed to find this first issue virtually entirely a Black Panther issue, with a lot of stuff seeming to make it very much a “zero issue” rather than a solid first issue.

I really, really liked the art, though–it was a huge treat to look at, and if the series was $2.99 instead of $3.99, I would actually be inclined to give it a few more issues for the art alone.

As-is, I’m frustrated at #1 issues being no more than “just the first chapter” of a graphic novel instead of truly standing on their own, and at $3.99 and not being truly hooked going in…the title’s not predisposed to do well with me.

Add to that that this seems to be set in some totally different time than Avengers #s 1-2 and I’m not interested in just another Avengers-related story that’s not even tied to the “regular” Avengers title.

While I’m not completely opposed to giving this another issue…like Avengers, I may just cut my losses and stick to other stuff.

A+X #s 2-3

aplusx002I really do like the concept of putting characters together that usually aren’t, for the different dynamics. That each story is told in half an issue really means a lot of compression and getting to the point–something that seems all too rare these days in comics (at least from Marvel or DC). Being “continuity-lite” keeps things accessible–not being mired in ongoing stuff, nor forcing me to go buy other titles to keep up with what’s going on.

But that strength also hinders–as it doesn’t seem like this title really “matters” overall–it’s just these quick shorts with characters thrown together for highly brief slice-of-life stuff.

The Rogue/Black Widow story was kinda disappointing–both characters seemed a bit “off,” particularly Black Widow; and by the end of the story it was like the two had been subbed into some sort of alternate take on the “Girls of Gotham” concept with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. aplusx003The Iron Man/Kitty Pryde story was more interesting–and I suppose contrary to what I said above, does matter: I don’t think I’d ever really seen Kitty as being an official “genius” within Marvel, but after reading that noticed reference to it a couple other places.

The Hawkeye/Gambit story was forgettable and virtually inconsequential to either character; something to it just didn’t sit all that wonderfully with me. And while I never cared for the Black Panther/Storm marriage stuff…the way it was ended seemed sudden and equally forced, almost written off the way the “Angelic Punisher” stuff was when Ennis kicked off the “Welcome Back Frank” arc ages ago. But this quick look at stuff with T’Challa and Ororo kinda “redeemed” the way things went down in AvX.

Ultimately, this series is proving hit or miss, and while I’d be all aboard for only $2.99, I have the feeling that the $3.99 price point is going to really contribute to my leaving this behind sooner than not. By its nature, though, it’ll make great dollar-bin fodder.

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