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The Weekly Haul – Week of February 17, 2016

Raided the 80%-off bin…and snagged these four volumes. $25 for the four.

Four decently-thick (especially Inferno) volumes…for the price of 6 current single issues. And given Marvel‘s propensity lately for the $4.99 to $5.99 #1s…hey…these make for that much more of a value-purchase.

tpbs_acqu_02172016

The drawback is now going to be tracking down the 2nd volume of the Complete Collection by Matt Fraction run, having scored vols 1 & 3 here. But considering what it would’ve been for all 3 at full price, even if I’d pay full price for it, I’m still well ahead on things.

Deals like this continue to totally blow away even convention deals, as most dealers seem to primarily stock $10 bins of scattered Marvel hardcovers ($19.99 cover price)…while “complete” collections or thicker volumes like these are scarce, at least for reasonable prices.

As to regular comics this week…a $1 reprint under my “all $1-or-less issues” and an off-the-shelf Power Man and Luke Cage issue…because of a couple friends, figured I’d TRY the first issue if only to be able to talk about it with them…though I can’t see following it on a regular basis unless it surprises me and totally sucks me in.

Avengers vs. X-Men #12 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Avengers vs. X-Men #11 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 2.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

Avengers vs. X-Men #3 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Avengers vs. X-Men #2 [Review]

Round 2

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung and Laura Martin
Assistant Editor: John Denning
Associate Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Consulting Editor: Nick Lowe
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Published by: Marvel Comics

The battle breaks out here, as the Avengers attempt to take the beach while the X-Men seek to shove ’em back out to sea. The issue is primarily a big brawl, a long fight-scene, with snippets of stuff sure to be expanded on in the Vs. mini-series and/or tie-in issues. While the two groups duke it out, Cyclops is focused on seeing Hope to safety, while she wants to be in the thick of things, fighting rather than being fought over. By issue’s end, we see the toll the fighting’s already extracted from everyone–and possibly what’s to come as it’s pushed Hope to new levels, and Cap’s “away team” in space finds shock and awe in the approaching Phoenix force.

Story-wise…I’m not too impressed here. There’s more fighting than anything else (at least when taken for face value–there’s more depth than there looks, despite my summary above). It’s definitely interesting seeing some of the match-ups…and the Captain America/Cyclops slugfest made me think perhaps the cover of Avengers #25 is the REAL tie-in of that issue, as I’d swear that cover was yanked right out of this issue. Definitely liked the Iron Man/Magneto match-up…the narrative boxes surrounding that initial fight worked extremely well for me in summing up both characters’ strengths and natural bents.

Visually, little to complain about. The issue was action-packed enough that I honestly did not notice any of the AR logos except on the cover, so I’m even LESS impressed here than I was with ’em on the first issue. Romita‘s art isn’t my favorite, but a darned sight better in my eyes than a number of other artists, and I liked the work in this issue in general.

On the whole, this is another solid issue that moves things in the overall story forward–the battle is joined (not teased and put off til mid-arc), we see further development of things with Hope and the role she seems to be destined to play, and there’s enough to the individual fights that while they can clearly be expanded, it’s not just a panel here, panel there, go read another issue for the actual battle.

And as with the first issue, this issue does leave me looking forward to the next issue. Though I may not feel this way in the end or if I think too hard about the price tag…on the whole I kinda like that this is biweekly. 12 is a large number of “core event title” issues, but biweekly this should be over by early Fall…quite a bit crammed into half a year.

Recommended.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Fear Itself #3 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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

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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