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Fantasticon and B&N Haul from March 10, 2018

Over the weekend, I attended a local-ish convention–Fantasticon, in Toledo/Ohio. I went with several friends, stuff was good, and got a few things, and then more at a Barnes & Noble we went to after dinner.

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Probably the main thing for going was that Dirk Manning was going to be there. Always great to see him…probably the best creator I’ve interacted with over the years in terms of enthusiasm, approachability, and all that.

And having just debuted it in the last couple weeks or so, I was able to get a couple copies of Hope #1 by him and K. Lynn Smith (one for me, one for a friend). Busy rest of the weekend so haven’t read it yet, but I hope to have a review up in the near future!

Then there was a randomish back-issue-bin-dive where I came across a still-sealed black-bag-edition of Superman #75–the Death of Superman issue. (Yeah, that issue!). It was marked $3, and cost $3, and is the first copy of this edition that I’ve bought in over 25 years. The bag’s a bit wrinkly and some color damage to it like it had stuck to something or something had stuck to it…but darnit, for $3, the stuff inside is more than worth it, and I very definitely intend to open this thing…perhaps that will also be a near-future-ish post!

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Outside of (re) meeting Dirk and getting that issue of Hope, my "back issue comics goal" was several issues of New 52-era Action Comics…which wound up being a miserable failure. Ditto for issues of the Marz/Banks early-Kyle-era Green Lantern run.

However, I did find a run of Green Lantern: Mosaic…that when combined with the issues I got a couple weeks ago, give me a complete run of the 18-issue series, right here, right where I know where all eighteen issues are right this moment together.

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To some degree, this is a small culmination of 23+ years, having been aware of this series from a friend getting issues from #1 back in 1992. I wasn’t immediately interested myself until later in the run or shortly after. Though I’ve often seen #1 or a handful of issues, I’ve never in all this time (until now) managed to come across or assemble a complete run. From these last several weeks, I now definitely have at least 3 copies of #1, if not more…and certainly several duplicates…but at least I have a single, full run now in one place and I am comfortable not having any further inclination to buy more copies of any of the issues!

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For less than the price of two modern Marvel comics, snagged this Emerald Twilight Parallax figure from the Kenner Total Justice line. This was basically half the cost of a contemporary 3.75" figure, cheaper than basically any "basic" figure, period, these days, and 1/3 the cost of a DC Multiverse "full-size" figure. I’ll need to get this outta the packaging before I change my mind…he’s gonna look quite good against a backdrop of my Green Lantern shelf!

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I’d long since resigned myself to never getting the Thanos "mini-figure" from Lego as I was not spending the money for the set that he came with, and I wasn’t even gonna begin considering "online prices" for a single figure, as any reasonable price would be obliterated by factoring in shipping. But finding this large mini-fig for the price of only 2 modern Marvel comics was a no-brainer for me…especially as I’m keen on Thanos at present, anyway!

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At a Barnes & Noble, found these three Funko Dorbz figures of the TMNT in a $2 bin on clearance. Quite disappointed not to have found all 4…but these were the ones that were present, and my friend even did an extra dig-through to make sure I hadn’t overlooked it!

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And then, partly because they were half-off so I could get both for the price of one, I got Sam I Am and his friend cuz…why not? I’d considered getting them a couple other times, and found them individually other times without the other; and figured I’d wind up kicking myself if I passed on these.

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Turned out that these were also only $2 apiece. Since they’re usually $6+ each, and I didn’t have any of the DC and am still missing several of the TMNT, 8 boxes worked out to be like buy-3-get-5-free (but slightly cheaper).

Of course, me being me, my first choice would be wanting Superman, and then ideally blue-and-grey Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. For the TMNT I was most interested in Bebop, Casey Jones, or Splinter.

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I wound up with three specific ones I was interested in most, and glad to at least have gotten a Batman to go with Superman and Wonder Woman. April O’Neil is a duplicate from the TMNT wave; and I’m not thrilled with Power Girl, and would have a number of the other minis ahead of Black Manta and Harley Quinn. But for the cost, it was well worthwhile (though also means I probably won’t buy any more as I now have extremely-high odds of getting a duplicate!).

All in all, including admission and the Barnes & Noble stuff, I spent about $8 more than what it would have cost me just to get in the door into Wizard World Cleveland had I gone to that the weekend before.

So…not bad at all!

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The ’90s Revisited: Green Lantern #64

90s_revisited

green_lantern_0064Parallax View: The Resurrection of Hal Jordan, Part 2

Writer: Ron Marz
Pencils: Darryl Banks & Mark Bright
Inks: Romeo Tanghal & Mike Decarlo
Color: Steve Mattsson
Letters: Albert De Guzman
Associate Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: July 1995
Cover Price: $1.75

We pick up where the previous issue left off, albeit with a different visual angle, double-size (double-page spread) shot at that, and shift in speaker. The previous issue ended with Hal standing over Kyle’s battered body, interrupted from delivering a final blow by Green Arrow calling to him, and showing that this gathering of heroes is here to stop him. Now, in this issue, we "pick up" with Ganthet berating Hal, and then revealing the gathering of heroes he’s brought to oppose him. Sure, it’s a dramatic sorta scene, and worked perfectly well picking up this issue to read a day or so after the previous. But looking at the two issues back to back/side by side, it seems rather glaring. But as said before…this is from a time when collected volumes were not common, but individual issues were by no means written/designed/intended for the trade: they were intended to be single issues, and treated as such.

Hal seems to have won, Kyle on the ground before him, the battle between the two occurring in #63. Kyle still gets a sucker punch in, spurring the others to action. Hal–as Parallax–proceeds to take down Flash, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and Green Arrow. In the midst of this, Ganthet pulls his disappearing act again, realizing he forgot someone. As Hal finally gets "his" ring off of Kyle’s finger and his appearance changes to his old Green Lantern costume, Ganthet reappears with the missing hero–Superman. He and Hal slug it out, before Hal gets the upper hand. With all the heroes unconscious before him, Ganthet lectures Hal on his "achievement." Hal, in turn, fires back about how the Guardians failed him, and the universe. Kyle’s gotten back up, and whacks Hal in the back of the head with a pipe, and the two have their own exchange–Kyle’s outpowered, outmatched, has no chance…but fights anyway. "I know you can beat me, but I can’t give up. That’s not what a hero would do. That’s not what a Green Lantern would do." Hal has a change of heart, and gives the ring back to Kyle, accepting that he–Hal–is not Green Lantern anymore, and it’s time for him to be something else. When Hal turns to Ganthet to inquire about the status between the two of them, Ganthet declares "Still, this must be ended." He dissolves into green energy that flows into Hal’s Parallax armor, and Parallax takes off. Flashing forward, the recovered heroes find Kyle leaning against a car overlooking the site of the battle, brooding over what’s happened. At Superman’s encouragement and Green Arrow’s affirmation, Kyle slips the ring back on, transforming into his Green Lantern costume, as Superman declares "…because now more than ever, you ARE Green Lantern." The scene shifts to a kid mourning his missing dog, when Green Lantern Hal Jordan shows up with the dog, flashing a heroic smile and receiving the genuine gratitude of the boy and his dog. We then zoom out from the scene to see that it’s playing out in Hal’s mind, as he’s trapped in some alien landscape–or perhaps within his own mind, a personal hell to torment him with what he once was and can never be again.

Throughout this story–both this issue and the previous–I caught a ring of Superboy-Prime in Hal’s voice, talking about how he just wanted to fix things, just wanted to make things better, or for things to just go back to the way they were. Of course, that’s 2018-me, going on a decade after Superboy-Prime, while this story was published a decade before Superboy-Prime.

In some ways, this two part story has felt somewhat surfacey, as it can be boiled down to Hal showing up, demanding Kyle’s ring and the two fighting over it, the other heroes show up and also fight Hal over it, then Hal suddenly changes his mind, merges with Ganthet’s energy and leaves, with Kyle yet again having the torch passed to him, yet again declaring him to be the one, true Green Lantern.

There’s more depth to be had, though, if one looks for it; if not to the story itself, then at the "meta" level," as the creative team (and editorial) try to plug the various "holes" in stuff and further solidify both in-story and out that Kyle Rayner IS Green Lantern. PERIOD. Dialogue also tries to soften over the sharper edges of what Hal has done–and completely avoids outright specifying Zero Hour. And as the issue closes, it would seem to show a guilty, penitent Hal Jordan, longing solely for the innocent, heroic days of his past–not the tainted thing that he’s become. A step toward "redemption," perhaps…redemption that, mid-1995, was still almost a decade off.

This issue has two pencilers and two inkers…something that, in the reading, I would not have noticed. It’s only now as I write this that it dawned on me that Mark Bright and Mike Decarlo probably did the 3-page Hal "epilogue" the issue closed with, which (in a mix of memory and reasonable logic) I believe worked on the pre-Emerald Twilight issues of this book, so would be a fitting way to "send Hal off" here.

For the main part of the issue, the art is the same, familiar and consistent look from the previous issue, and fitting my memory of the mid-’90s DC characters’ appearances. I really liked the art overall, and seeing the characters in this style…and especially the designs for both Parallax and Kyle. Full-page and double-page spreads are a "tainted thing" with me in 2018, the way they seem vastly over-used as shorthand "filler" for overpriced single-issues. But here, from 1995, they’re effective and accentuate parts of the story–coming back in from a cliffhanger a month’s publication earlier, and to end on what’s intended as a high note, and generally to show the enormity of things…even though THIS battle between Hal and a bunch of heroes does not span a 5-week line-wide multiple-dozens-of-issues crossover.

All in all, I’m surprised at myself for not being consciously aware of or remembering this story, and for never having read it before. I’m glad that I have, now, and it leaves me all the more interested in revisiting the early Kyle era of the title; whether I’ll actually get to that soon or not is another story.

I’d definitely recommend this issue if you find it with the previous issue, to have the two-issue "official" arc; particularly if you come across it in a bargain bin. I suspect these issues will be in a second Kyle-centric trade, and may already be out…though they’ll then blend in as part of the trade, rather than stand out as single issues the way these two did to me.

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The ’90s Revisited: Green Lantern #63

90s_revisited

green_lantern_0063Parallax View: The Resurrection of Hal Jordan, Part 1

Writer: Ron Marz
Pencils: Darryl Banks
Inks: Romeo Tanghal
Color: Steve Mattsson
Letters: Albert De Guzman
Associate Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: June 1995
Cover Price: $1.75

This issue is billed on its cover as being “part one of two,” but from the start it feels like a part two, a middle chapter.

We open on a battered and angry Kyle Rayner, surprised Ganthet, and calm-looking older-Hal Jordan who has apparently just walked in the door. I can guess that the previous issue ended with a cliffhanger like “–YOU?!?” and Hal stating “Yes, I’m here to reclaim my ring!” or such. Hal’s here and he wants Kyle’s ring–that he–Hal–considers his own ring. Ganthet gets in Hal’s face about how he destroyed the Guardians and all they had built, while Kyle tells him “No.” There’s some posturing and such–and contextually I piece together that part of the previous issue was apparently Ganthet showing up to take the ring himself. Then we get to the fighting. Ganthet disappears, and Hal lays into Kyle. While the two fight–interspersed in our seeing it–Ganthet visits a number of other heroes. Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Black Canary (who is then left behind after revealing she no longer has her sonic scream), Flash, Hawkman, and Green Arrow. By the end, Kyle’s even worse off…but now looks to be answering to an iteration of the Justice League!

The story is not bad, really–but as said above, this feels like a middle chapter, the first being whatever I missed with #62. We get the three characters “discussing” stuff prior to leaping into a fight, then the fight itself, with a sort of “subplot” of Ganthet gathering the other heroes, and then the “new” situation of Kyle in bad shape and the others ready to take on Parallax.

Visually, this issue is a real treat. It’s a very familiar-looking take on Kyle, and Hal, and even Ganthet…and the other heroes look quite familiar as well, perfectly within what I recall of them from the 1990s; fitting with whatever “house style” there may have been; none of them look wonky or “off” to me, which is a definite credit to the visual team!

Overall, for jumping into this issue cold–not having read the previous issue, not having read the next–and being pretty sure I’ve never read this issue before, period–this was a solid read, and I look forward to getting into the next issue. It also has me quite interested in revisiting this entire run, catching up on stuff I did read back in 1994/1995, stuff I missed, and stuff that I know came later in the series.

I think I would definitely recommend this, with the caveat that you’d want to get #62 as well, and the “2nd” chapter in #64. While I note that this feels like a “middle chapter,” that may also simply be that this is from a time when comics would stand alone simply as “the next chapter” in an ongoing story, with subplots and story elements carrying along, written FOR the single issue and not designed to have every 6 issues be a single complete-ish story.

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Zero Hour Revisited – Zero Hour #0

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zero_hour_0000Zero Hour

Story and Layout Art: Dan Jurgens
Ink Art: Jerry Ordway
Letters: Gaspar
Colors: Gregory Wright
Asst. Editor: Mike McAvennie
Editor: KC Carlson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

Here we are, at last–the final issue of Zero Hour itself. We’ve seen time anomalies pop up, and worsen. We’ve seen heroes discover time is being destroyed in the past and the future, working toward the present. We’ve seen the emergence of Extant, and the fall of the Justice Society. We’ve had dozens of tie-in issues where few have directly been part of this core event, though a fair number have danced on the edges. We’ve seen Hall Jordan–former Green Lantern, now Parallax–revealed as the sentient, actual manipulator of things as he seeks to wipe the slate clean after his own trajedies. The heroes have failed, all time and space has been destroyed, and a handful of heroes pulled outside it all, while another small handful remains with Parallax.

Hal prepares energies for the re-creation of the universe, of all existence. His way will see many worlds, and all wrongs will be set right. There will be the Earth everyone knew, minus stuff like the Coast City disaster. There will be a world that Batgirl remembers, in which she was never assaulted by the Joker. Even Extant will have his own world to rule over. Everyone will be happy. This is opposed–how can Hal be God? Waverider and his group of heroes attacks, disrupting Hal, and ultimately–after quite a scuffle–the universe IS reborn…but it unfolds "naturally" withOUT any one entity controlling it, tweaking it. As such, events unfold mostly as remembered, but here there are no alternate timelines, so everyone, everything is folded into one single chronology. The potential time-loop is closed, and all it costs is Hal Jordan and the young Kyle Rayner…while Green Arrow is wracked by the guilt of losing (having had to try to kill) his best friend.

For some reason, the phrasing "the universe is born old" sticks out to me, reading the issue. That may be random or personal and get into stuff I’m not really going to get into in a comics blog, but it’s a key phrasing to my reading.

A lot happens in this issue–look a couple paragraphs above, and that feels like scratching the surface. And yet, it’s a simplistic issue. Time is restarted; Hal wants to tweak it his way, but he’s stopped and so it restarts and unfolds naturally, so it’s similar to before, with small adjustments that functionally "explain away" continuity glitches and timing and such; shuffling a few events here and there to mash into one specific timeline.

We’re left with the notion that anyone that died via entropy or the time fissures has been restored…while anyone who died "outside of Time" (such as the Justice Society) remains dead. Victory, but at a cost.

The art and visuals remain excellent here with clean, crisp pages and dynamic layouts and (to me) iconic scenes playing out.

I don’t know if I’d recommend this as a stand-alone issue out of context of its other issues, but in a way it does work as a singular thing. You open on nothingness, and from that, Hal and his group; the opposing group, we see the FINAL final battle, the villain defeated and the universe restored…and a hint of what’s to come, as well as a fold-out timeline laying everything out for now and moving forward into the rest of 1994 and beyond. So it works as an artifact of sorts, as seeing the end of the story. And if you’re actually going to read it–whether re-read or you’ve never before read it–it’s definitely worth getting if you come across it. But it’s even better if you can snag all five issues–4/3/2/1/0–and read this core story even without any of the other tie-ins!


Going beyond the issue itself and expanding on stuff…

This is a really effective issue and makes me think. There’s a part where Hal smiles, explaining he just wants to make everything right, he wants everyone to live, where I wonder if the intent was to go for a "creepy" smile, or a "mad" smile, as if Hal’s insane. Personally, I have always–and again this time through–found myself wondering ok, why SHOULDN’T he be able to fix things? He’s not talking about recreating a universe that he RULES, or subjugating entire populations, or ending his actions with half the living entities dead, or stuff like that. He’s not targeting any particular people to wipe them out–he’s not even talking about killing Mongul. He just wants a universe where wrongs are set right, and Coast City never blows up.

Yet the argument opposing him makes sense–who is HE to singularly dictate events? Things happened for a reason, and need to remain that way, or Time WILL be altered. So really, my heart hurts for the guy, on the surface, and without considering that he was willing to wipe out the entire universe (he was gonna put it back…). And in the end, all the ramifications and little detailed points are far too numerous to address in a blog post.

I buy into this. I didn’t get into comics until about 2 1/2 years after the original Crisis. While I’d read a couple issues of Armageddon 2001, and a number of Eclipso: The Darkness Within and eve more of the Bloodlines stuff…and of course Doomsday/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen, as well as Knightfall, KnightQuest, and KnightsEnd…this was my first DC Universe-wide event of this scale. This story ironed out details I didn’t even know at the time were issues. But it did solidify for me the notion of everything being in one single timeline…and the issue even provides a timeline, concretely laying out where/when major things happened (at least as relevant to the publishing schedule of DC in 1994!).

This was epic, and really set the standard for me of what great events could be. Of course, I’d mainly read only the core series, the Superman chapters, and several others, so it wasn’t until my current reading project of going through the entirety of the event–every single tie-in I’m aware of–that I saw the major cracks in that, and how so many issues were only loosely connected.

Looking back on this current reading experience vs. 22 years ago, I don’t feel like I actually DID "miss out on" anything back then. I did not find anything in these various issues that expanded my understanding of the story or filled in any gaps that I’d truly wondered about or that truly impacted the story…and I was disappointed at some that I’d expected would be expanded on/filled in that really were not. It seems like the issues I’d read back in the day–the Superman titles, Batman, Green Lantern, the core mini–were very much a complete enough experience.

That said, this has provided me a "survey" of a month’s worth of DC titles from July 1994, basically sampling over 30 different titles (though several "families" of related titles are in that).

There’s a lot more that can be discussed on Zero Hour itself–as a story, as an event, on ramifications and implications in-story and on a meta level. Structurally, I found this to be a solid event, and going back the 22 years, it really "set the standard" for me, and I truly MISS when even a universe-wide MAJOR event would "only" take up one publication month–with a WEEKLY core series and just one issue of tie-in per TITLE (though related titles could expand to have larger arcs tying in).

Zero Hour Revisited – Zero Hour #1

90srevisited_zerohour

zero_hour_0001Story and Art: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art: Jerry Ordway
Letters: Gaspar
Colors: Gregory Wright
Asst. Editor: Mike McAvennie
Editor: KC Carlson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

We pick up with a group of heroes–Guy Gardner/Steel/Supergirl/Batgirl–being pulled back into stuff from where-ever they were. Extant is put in his place (with green energy from the mystery figure–who is apparently a "bigGER bad" than Extant who has been the "focal villain" thus far). The Legion/Legionnairres fade out as the Time Trapper is ‘killed’ again; Power Girl’s baby is about to arrive, while heroes from other times (Impulse, Booster Gold both from the future) start fading out as Time is being eaten away from both ends. Representing the past, Jay Garrick (the original Flash) gets an in-person meet with the Spectre right before fading away (as Spectre swears he’ll be avenged). Things continue to deteriorate for the heroes, and Extant looks like he’s about to take out the remaining resistance when the day seems saved at the sudden appearance of Waverider–an alternate timeline Waverider, anyway. The last heroes wrest the ‘upper hand’ and things seem just about over when the TRUE "big bad" of the piece finally steps in to take an active role…taking out Superman with one punch, as the rest of the heroes look on in shock. The clock runs out as Hal Jordan–former Green Lantern, now going by the name Parallax–declares "It’s over. Your time is over. All time is over. This is Zero Hour." He then steps into nothingness, talking of how the universe needs to be remade…and even hints at a multiverse.

I’ve been approaching even this re-read with the full knowledge of who was ultimately behind everything…so re-reading the beginning was interesting as my memory jolted and I recalled that initially, Extant was played as the central villain of the piece…which had made sense at the time, given he was already involved with time-travel stuff and mucking with time, from the Armageddon 2001 stuff barely 3 years earlier. I continue to be impressed at how tight this core story actually is, how CONTAINED it is. Despite the many tie-ins, thus far there’s been so very little that actually seems to be any kind of driving force to the plot of this core story, making it all the more key as it has a huge impact (if only short-term) on so many characters.

And I continue to love the art on this…all I can really say right now is that it is solid, great, conveys everything, and is such a real treat to see, reading through the issue.

It’s also interesting to re-consider certain memories I’ve thought I had from the story and the covers…stuff I’ve thought I remembered but didn’t happen here, and stuff that I didn’t remember that does, and stuff I’ve just plain forgotten. I definitely remember being rather surprised the first time I ever read this–I’d already read Emerald Twilight so knew what had "happened to" Hal Jordan, but up until turning to that particular page, I never guessed that he would be behind things (even though it seems so obvious when I go into the reading any time since, as well as the cover of the paperback giving it away!).

We’ll see if any of the "final week" tie-ins "matter" to the story–I recall them all ending on blank pages, signifying the "fade out" of all existence at the end of this issue where the heroes seem to have failed.

Convergence – Week of April 15th, 2015

Convergence–the two-month “event” that covers for the absence of the “regular” DC books while the editorial offices are transferred from the East coast to the West–is officially in full swing. This week’s releases were the #2 issue of the core mini and a bunch of #1s for tie-in 2-issue minis.

Rather than try to cover stuff singly, I decided continue like last week and just do one huge post for the Convergence stuff I bought this week. We’ll see how coming weeks go, in this regard.

Convergence #2

convergence002This week got the price down…now that we’re done with the "special" #0 issue and oversized #1, the "core" of this event drops to $3.99…which is rather steep for yet being a $1 DROP in cover price. This issue gives us more detail on the Earth-2 refugees and presumably backstory to cover the events of Earth 2: World’s End for those who didn’t read that series. We also see the Flashpoint Batman (Thomas Wayne) meet his son from the pre-Flashpoint world and the two make a plan for dealing with their situation. The others from Earth-2 make a stand against Telos that unfortunately doesn’t work out all that well…and then a new ally shows up.

The art for this issue isn’t that bad, though I don’t believe I’m familiar with the penciler or inker. The art got stuff across, and nothing stood out in a negative way enough to be memorable to me. The story, though, borders on formulaic, boring, and generic despite having a lot of potential. I’ve yet to get around to actually reading the entirety of Flashpoint but I have read the core story and the Batman mini so I appreciate the presence of Thomas Wayne here as well as his meeting with a pre-Flashpoint (judging from the costume) Bruce.

That the story so far seems largely a framework for a lot of punching and has yet to really involve characters I’m really looking to see more of is a definite turnoff. To me, Flashpoint was always self-contained as a single event rather than serving as an "era" or particular period of comics. And seeing the Earth-2 characters as New 52 characters…this just doesn’t do much FOR me.

I’m tempted to jump off for now on this core series…maybe it’ll read better as a single whole in collected format. At $2.99 an issue I’d be more inclined to suck it up and keep up…but the $3.99 (as always) very quickly wears thin on me.

Convergence: Batman Shadow of the Bat #1

convergence_batmanshadowofthebat001This issue got my attention by its title alone. Batman: Shadow of the Bat was the first Bat-title I was able to get from #1 back in the day and followed for a good chunk of its early run, returning at its end with No Man’s Land. I wasn’t thrilled at the notion of Azrael’s presence, but if I had any doubt on picking the issue up…the cover absolutely sucked me in. Despite being relatively generic in a sense, the coloring and the title logo make this easily one of my favorite comic covers of 2015 so far.

The story sees Jean-Paul Valley and a still-healing Bruce Wayne both trying to work undercover to find out how a new (to us) villain is going to hit the city’s food supply. The two work together while yet at odds with one another’s methodology, and when the dome drops find themselves quickly facing a couple of Wetworks agents that promise to make their already rough day even worse.

The art on the issue is good overall with an almost quasi-painted look at points. Some panels are just ugly–at least the villain’s appearance–but that’s presumably intentional. On the whole, though this definitely looks and feels much like an issue of the old Shadow of the Bat title. As with the other #1s I’ve read so far we have the tie-in to the first issue of Convergence with Telos’ speech…which is starting to feel a bit repetitive to me despite whatever positive I had to say of its inclusion previously. I suppose I somewhat expected a staggered timeline and not getting that is something I’ll have to soon decide if I’m ok with.

Convergence: Superman Man of Steel #1

convergence_supermanmanofsteel001I’d intended to pick this one up on title alone…to go with Superman and the forthcoming Adventures of Superman and Action Comics, to have a couple months of picking up "all 4" classically-titled Superman books. While I enjoy the Steel character I was decidedly disappointed at the cover logo showing this is actually a Steel book with a missing Superman.

With Superman missing from THIS Metropolis, and all super-powers being nulled out, Steel’s in a position of being one of the most powerful individuals in the city. Having taught his nephew and niece how to repair HIS armor, the two had secretly created Steel armor of their own. When some rogue Lexcorp battlesuits show up, Steel takes them on single-handedly…just before the dome drops and the Gen13 kids show up. Despite Steel’s orders, his kids join the battle (as does the re-powered Parasite), and by issue’s end Steel’s very fate is in question.

I’m not as familiar as I’d prefer to be with Steel…I have most of his 50-issue series but have yet to read more than a handful of issues…I’m most familiar with the character from Reign of the Supermen and guest appearances in the main Superman books…and probably much longer once he was no longer Steel and was simply around as a non-suited supporting character in the books in the 2000s. As such, I don’t have much attachment here…certainly not as much as I’d like.

The art works well enough for me, as does the story (in and of itself) but I’m not too keen on the Gen13 kids nor of this being a Steel issue vs. a Zero Hour-era Superman. While I’m curious as to Steel’s fate I’m not certain I care enough to follow into the next issue. If I do it’ll likely be more on the "principle" of this being "only" 2 issues and my OCD not justifying having bought HALF the series only to leave the other out.

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #1

convergence_greenlanternparallax001I have fond memories of the early Kyle Rayner days. The numbering had even worked out at the time for the first year or so–issue #50 of Green Lantern was Hal’s final issue, and Kyle was the full star in #51…essentially a #1. I remember the first few issues–particularly what happened to his girlfriend, and then his #0 issue post-Zero Hour with Hal.

As such I decided to pick this issue as one of my select few…for that ’90s nostalgia. So the premise of Kyle and Hal both being present was sorta interesting for that…and yet Hal being present doesn’t quite work for me with what I remember of his timeline, going essentially from Green Lantern #50 to Zero Hour to…where-ever.

Given the notion that it’s the power from internalizing the rings and main power battery from Oa that drove Hal mad, the power being cut off by the city being taken and domed, the guilt-ridden Hal turns himself in to be jailed…his only regular visitor being Kyle, who tries to convince him he’s needed. When the dome comes down as Telos kicks his fight-for-survival thing into motion, Kyle’s ring picks back up with the charge it had…though Hal’s "clarity" as Parallax returns along with HIS power. Parallax finds himself attacked, and quickly seeks out the source city to put an end to it.

I’ll be interested in seeing Hal/Parallax kick some butt…especially as I have zero emotional investment in Lady Qark and that city/world. I’m aware OF it but it’s from far enough before my time and outside my experience with pre-Crisis stuff. And for what this is, as a 2-issue series, I don’t have any particular misgivings about picking up the next issue to see how things wrap up.

I’d’ve been happier if this was simply a Green Lantern issue…having the more modern Parallax logo on the cover kinda spoils things as it’s a logo I don’t currently recall seeing til well after Zero Hour (either circa Final Night or the post-Rebirth era around the Sinestro Corps War).

Overall Thoughts This Week

Where last week I stuck with the Core Mini Plus Two, I allowed myself 3 issues this week. I seriously considered the Superboy and Supergirl issues as well, but wound up holding my ground on principle with the $3.99 price point and trying to keep my "double dipping" at a minimum as I suspect I will seek the entirety of Convergence in collected format when all’s said ‘n done.

As said above, I was disappointed that the Superman: Man of Steel issue was Steel-centric and that as a result I did not get to see "my" superman from the Zero Hour era (which could be argued was a different Superman than the pre-Flashpoint one).

I believe next week’s books are Crisis on Infinite Earths-era centric, and I look forward to the Adventures of Superman one WITH Supergirl, but not planning presently on much else…and may even pass on the core mini moving forward, as noted above. While I can justify limited double-dipping with the notion that I’ll have a handful of issues from any given volume on the tie-ins…I all but KNOW the core mini will be its own volume and thus a far more DIRECT double-dip.

Whatever excitement I had is definitely wearing thin only two weeks in, and broken record that I am…a lot of that is certainly to be blamed on the $3.99 price point of the entirety of the event.

The ’90s Revisited: Parallax: Emerald Night #1

parallaxemeraldnight001Emerald Night

Writer: Ron Marz
Penciller: Mike McKone
Inker: Mark McKenna
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Associate Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.95
Cover Date: November 1996

I missed Final Night when it originally crossed the DC Universe. (Of course, that was an easy enough thing to do, as back then an event even of this magnitude seemed to be contained to a single month rather than spread out across half a year or more!)

I came across this issue in a random box of comics I got for $5. I knew it had ’90s stuff in it; my interest was piqued by some Onslaught (Marvel/X-Men) issues and a couple issues of Wizard magazine on top of the stack. This was one of the brightest “gems” of the entire box, though, once I actually dug through…well over 100 issues and yet I found myself leaving everything else partially sorted and began reading this, just because of what it was!

Kyle Rayner finds Hal Jordan–Parallax–and explains that Earth really needs him…the hero that he WAS, anyway. A sun-eater has darkened Earth’s sun, which means if it’s not reignited…well, that’ll be the end of the world, within days. Jordan wallows in indecision given his checkered recent-past, and winds up visiting several figures from his past in order to seek internal “guidance” on making a monumental decision. As we see him interact with Guy Gardner, John Stewart, an old mechanic ally and finally Carol Ferris, we see the influence they’ve had on him, and Jordan–Parallax–makes his decision.

Story-wise, this issue is rather cliche. The Hal Jordan I knew and have had thrust upon me for the last decade or so certainly wouldn’t have had this hesitation…yet, this was a much different character, and was Parallax at the time, which we’ve come to know means he was possessed and thus not entirely himself anyway. That doesn’t remove the cliche, but makes it bearable as a piece of the past, filling in a small gap in my experiential knowledge of this character. Yet, this is a Ron Marz issue, and it’s nice to see the way he handled the Kyle/Hal stuff, and the rest of the Hal stuff…what I recognize retroactively to be making the best of a bad situation.

Visually, I liked the look of this overall–I rather enjoy McKone‘s work–yet it didn’t seem quite as refined as I expected, and something was a bit “off,” keeping this from being as much a visual enjoyment as I expected for the name on the cover.

Still, as something that I functionally paid maybe 4 or 5 cents for, this was very much a worthwhile read, worth my time and I’m glad to have read this. The primary drawback is that now I want to find my other Final Night issues to reread that core story, and I’m re-interested in tracking down the actual Green Lantern issue(s) that tied in, as all these years later I’ve still never read those in any form!

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