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Um…Oops? (Or, The Unexpected Quarter-Bin Haul)

Apparently there was a snafu with Diamond and shipping this week in the US, with the holiday and all. I’m not sure actual details, but with Carol and John’s doing New Comic Day on Thursday, I decided I’d stop by real quick, see if they had one issue I was after. And maybe I’d find a second issue for the heckuvit.

I was gonna be in-and-out real quick, buying maybe 2 comics, if that.

cnj_comics_07062017

They’d put out several longboxes of 25-cent comics. After half-heartedly flipping through one, I decided to take on the next, and then a couple more. I had a decent stack going.

Then another longbox was brought out. So, sure, I’ll look through that. Then another.

Bought my stuff, they gave me a box to cart them out in…and here’s another longbox, with the promise of yet a couple more.

Ultimately, I bought 148 comics…only 1 of them "current."

flash_by_waid_rebirth_action_comics_deluxe_01

And on getting home Thursday night, I had a package waiting for me: my latest InStockTrades order.

While I’m waffling on how I feel about the "deluxe hardcover" treatment for Action Comics (as opposed to a "thick" paperback), it’s still a cool volume. And as far as I know, these are the only two Flash by Mark Waid volumes out thus far, and two excellent additions to my Flash shelf.

Finding time to read ’em all, though…that’s gonna be another thing entirely!


With the extra purchasing this week and last, though…I totally blew whatever might have become a "convention" budget or a "sale" budget, so I plan to attend to the recent purchases–and hopefully some solid reading–and am foregoing a convention that would be little fun anyway going alone, and a sale that…well, I’d surely spend way too much at (given half a chance) and other expenses that’d be involved.

C’est la vie and all that. Another week closing out…and we have the new Spider-Man film!

The ONLY trailer(s) I have seen for it thus far were theatrical–and really, I think it’s only one, and was before Wonder Woman or Guardians vol 2. I know OF some stuff, from casting to images forced in front of me…but by and large, I’ve managed to avoid stuff, and intend to continue to do so, even if it means trying to "stay offline" for the day or such.

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REBIRTH WEEK 4: Action, Detective, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Justice League

This post is a little late due to timing and leaving the partially-typed post at work. Six books this week, including the “in isolation” Justice League #52 that I got strictly because of tying to the Superman stuff in Rebirth

JUSTICE LEAGUE #52

justiceleague0052This week starts with a sort of one-shot, posing as an issue of Justice League. This issue is basically a “bridge” issue, taking Lex Luthor from one apparent status quo at the end of The Darkseid War and getting him into position for his role in Action Comics. We get a lot of narration from his side of things, making him definitely a sympathetic character…especially as he comes off–to me, on one reading–as actually being genuine, if not pure in his intentions. This IS Lex Luthor, after all…but I find it a lot easier to identify with this version of the character than I did the pre-Flashpoint one. Ultimately…it seems Luthor gave up rulership of Apokalips and all that would entail to return to Earth, to be a hero, a champion, to better himself such that he would make his sister Lena proud. Whatever else he is, whatever side things he might have going, whatever his methodology and such, he wants to be someone his sister can be proud of. And I kinda dig that.

ACTION COMICS #958

action_comics_0958This issue is the second of this Rebirth run, yet both issues take place after the Justice League issue. (Of course, JL apparently was delayed/late, so…your mileage on the matter may vary). We have Superman and Luthor forced to team up against Doomsday, while various elements of the story are brought to bear. Who is this Clark Kent, and how is he separate from Superman? We as readers know, but characters in the story are left to wonder who this Superman is, given they’ve been told Superman is dead. Lois and Jon watch news of goings-on on tv, as Jon begins to learn a bit more about his father, and we see Lois trying to hide her worry so as to protect her son. Because this is Doomsday, and seems to be THE Doomsday; somehow the same one that DID kill Superman, and not just some construct or entity that can turn into spores and be inhaled or infect someone. Superman–our Superman, this Superman, pre-Flashpoint Superman, recognizes the creature, feels its power, and is himself worried. The issue ends with a cliffhanger that leaves me wondering where the story’s headed, and very interested in the questions half-raised by it in the back of my head…all ultimately stuff that enrichens Superman, Luthor, and the story as a whole.

DETECTIVE COMICS #935

detective_comics_935“Only” two issues in, and I’m quite enjoying this series. Like Action Comics, it feels like a flagship title again. It is definitely, obviously a Batman book…but it’s more a “family” sort of title in that we have Batman, Batwoman, Red Robin, Spoiler, Orphan, and even Clayface in the mix. If I can’t have a Tim Drake as Robin/Red Robin solo book, I’ll absolutely “accept” his presence here…particularly seeing that there IS something between him and Stephanie…an element definitely missed since…too far back. I’m not too sure about Kate’s father and what’s going on there…but I’m interested in finding out. I like this mix of characters. I like seeing them, period. And I’m liking the art, and the story holds plenty of potential. I don’t like Marvel‘s double-shipping because of pricing and feeling “obligated” to a title or such. Here, with Detective shipping twice a month, I’m enjoying the story so far and am actually interested in the story, therefore getting another issue every two weeks is a rather welcome thing…especially with each issue “only” being $2.99 vs. Marvel’s $3.99.

THE FLASH #1

flash(2016)_0001While I had bought the entire The Flash: Rebirth mini-series back in 2009 or 2010, whenever it was–I’ve never been a huge Barry fan. Comics-wise, I’m still not, in that he was GONE when I was introduced to comics, and despite occasionally short appearances (Time being wibbly-wobbly and all that) he served as inspiration for Wally and the rest of the Flash family more so than being present himself. But thanks to the tv series, the character has grown on me, and since I’ve quite enjoyed that and I see some elements of crossover, I’m enjoying this. Granted, this is the first issue and only the second issue focused on the Flash in the Rebirth initiative thus far…so I’ve not had much to go on. The story’s not put me off, and something about the art strikes me as something I would not care for with most other characters, but something to it simply “works” for this character. I’m also quite eager to see what all comes up with the fact of Barry being one of apparently only a few individuals to really know “something” is going on, that ten years have been stolen, and so on. That that mystery is something I’m expecting to be drawn out over a couple years makes this title–as a rarity–all the more interesting as a key part of details being learned.

WONDER WOMAN #1

wonder_woman(2016)_0001Possibly the most appealing thing–to me–of this issue is the cover. That’s a beautiful cover, definitely worthy of a poster. Despite that, I’m not sure at the moment if I’d consider it “iconic” or not…I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what the cover of #2 looks like, as well as other elements such as how the title will be collected…as at least for the first few, we’re going to have one story going on in the odd-numbered issues with a “Year One” going on in the evens. While the cover may be the most appealing part…I still liked this issue. It’s just not singularly-stand-out or anything. I’d quite enjoyed what I’d read of Rucka‘s Wonder Woman back around Infinite Crisis and such, but by the time of The New 52 and such, I’ve had no particular interest in the character…really only having anything to with the character by her presence in other stuff–mainly Superman–that I’d read. I’m still looking forward to this series–these first couple stories at minimum–but this is more of a passive enjoyment than an active “chomping at the bit for more” kinda thing. On this single issue alone I could probably take or leave the title if I had to…but having the next several issues coming (eventually) as parts of bundles, I do look forward to reading them and going from there.

AQUAMAN #1

aquaman(2016)_0001I’ve both been aware and simultaneously ignorant when it comes to a lot of Aquaman stuff…particularly longform continuity and back story. I have a couple mental images of the character from the early/mid 1990s of the long-haired, bearded, harpoon-handed period of the character. Despite a couple silver/bronze age issues of my grandfather’s that I’d come across the character, my main introduction to him was in Zero Hour, with a continued “awareness of” the character through the ’90s. Which is all past stuff, and this is a new first issue, the Rebirth issue being a prologue. I don’t know these characters from much familiarity. The whole Aquaman-and-Mera thing is recent for me, from Brightest Day. I’ve known OF Black Manta as a villain going back to early DC Heroclix days. And I’m pretty sure somewhere I’d come across something about his history with Aquaman (I’m thinking Manta was the one that cost Arthur his hand in 1994). Which is alllll to say that I don’t have enough conscious background to really care much one way or the other for this character and his cast…except I’d heard good things about him with the start of the New 52 (though I never jumped in) and I consciously want to like this here, now. It’s a “good” issue, I’m definitely satisfied for my $2.99…but I’m just not EXCTIED by it. As part of a bundle I’m happy to keep reading the series…taken strictly in a pass/fail capacity I think this would be a “good, but just not my kinda thing for single issues” title.

OVERALL:

Another great week of stuff, with no major letdowns. I’m really glad that I ordered bundles starting with July because this is definitely way too much to keep up with, with any regularity otherwise. As with previous “special months” that DC has done, I will occasionally dive in with a bunch of stuff for that month…but to want to carry over fully into following months…this has not happened in a long time!

At this point, I’m thinking I will definitely throw support behind Action Comics and Detective Comics, as well as Superman–wherein even though I’ve ordered the bundles, I’ll still buy the singles day-of-release at the shop. (For what I’m saving on the bundles I still come out way ahead, price-wise).

Only hard thing will be waiting for the end of the month and then cramming in the time to get everything read!

Action Comics #957 [Review]

actioncomics0934Path of Doom

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Sonia Oback
Associate Editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor: Mike Cotton
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: Early August 2016
Cover Price: $2.99

This issue gives me pretty much anything/everything I could reasonably want from a contemporary, 2016-published Superman comic (post-New 52, post-Flashpoint, post-New Krypton, post-Secret Origin, post-Final Crisis, post-Infinite Crisis…).

The cover–the regular one, at least, I don’t know if I’ve even seen the variant, but the regular cover I’ve seen marketed and that is shown with this review–we have the title carved in a rock, being lifted by Superman–the “pre-Flashpoint” Superman, the Superman that we had prior to the New 52, though the journey has been circuitous. We have a Doomsday-looking thing in the “classic” green suit, suggesting a much more “grounded” Doomsday than anything from Doomed to some entity flitting in and out of the Phantom Zone. We see Luthor in a suit reminiscent of Steel. We have Jon–the son born during Convergence and raised for ten years in hiding on the New 52 Earth. We have Clark Kent–a character virtually purged from Superman, it seemed. We have the Lois married to this Superman…and we have longtime allies Wonder Woman and Batman. So many characters, maybe not the most “dynamic” composition, but certainly “iconic” and hinting at the greatness within the issue! The logo being part of the stone–to be overly analytical–suggests that whatever else, this is Action Comics, with Superman, and it has endured some 78 years, and a reboot, and is still here.

The issue itself drops us into an unfolding terrorist situation…one that is resolved–at least for the moment–by an unseen entity we come to realize is a power-suited Lex Luthor. This is the New 52 Luthor, who has been through Forever Evil, worked with the Justice League, and so on. Foregoing the “classic” purple-and-green thing, this suit is much more reminiscent of Steel’s armor, and we see Luthor is intent on replacing the fallen New 52 Superman (to him, to everyone–THE Superman, the genuine one-and-only). As he announces his intentions to live media, the broadcast reaches Clark White, who has operated in secret for years, avoiding the spotlight and trying to leave events of this world alone to unfold as naturally as possible. Luthor’s boldness spurs him into a seeming snap-decision: he shaves, dons a costume, and reveals himself to the world. If there is to be a Superman, it will NOT be Lex Luthor!

Said revelation occurs in confronting Luthor directly, to the point…and unfortunately, into immediate violence. As the two have it out, we get some bits of subplot…something’s been stolen from an extremely durable vault, and some of this world’s Clark Kent’s allies are shocked at “confirmation” of his death…even as they, and Lois & Jon, and even us as readers get the surprise arrival of Clark Kent (while Superman is actively engaged with Luthor!). And then the arrival of another jarring but familiar character…a green-suit-clad Doomsday…said green suit being one the character has not worn in this way since his first appearances nearly 24 years ago.

Thanks to having the Superman: Rebirth issue prior, as readers (if one read that issue) we have had a slight bit of transition already, to move past and deal with (not simply ignore) the seeming loss of the New 52 Superman. That lets us get right into the action here, characters all fairly well established, stuff in continuity in place to allow this, and the events of this issue also leave plenty of room yet to explore reasons, consequences, and the simple fact-of-the-matter present.

We have a mix of past and present, of being part of a world that’s been around nearly as long now as the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths one had been at the time of the original Death of Superman. Allowing for alterations through the years, particularly changes, tinkerings, and so on out of Infinite Crisis, this is still–as much as is possible–the Superman that can be traced back through the years, to Infinite Crisis, back to Our Worlds at War, to Zero Hour, to Reign of the Supermen, to the Death of Superman.

And while I gush so, emphasizing the above…that’s very much what I consider a joyful reality, an understood-despite-outward-obfuscation recognition of “my” Superman, of reading about–essentially–the same character here, now, that I first read about running low on air as he battled phantoms on some dead planetoid in 1989’s Exile arc.

I can see that far back, and appreciate the incredibly rich depth to be had here. On the other hand, for newer readers…this is a Superman, with background to be uncovered, details to be filled in, and for all he has a role to be earned, despite fitting into it so well.

I love that this is written by Dan Jurgens. I know the writer’s work primarily from his work on Superman from 1992-1999 or so (a range of years that saw me from junior high through high school and just before college). For me, after several years on the side, away from Superman, this is an amazing homecoming (albeit preceded by what I’d initially seen as simply a “bone” tossed to fans like me in Lois and Clark). He merges elements of the “new” with elements of the “old,” where we’ve had status quo changes, aging, advancement…and it’s like everything’s part of one large tapestry.

I have suspicions regarding Clark Kent from this issue, and am eager to see more of the conflict with Luthor play out…as well as seeing how Doomsday is handled at this point. I’m eager to see more with supporting cast characters, and while this title is due to be biweekly, I’d love to have it weekly; for once I want something “decompressed” and frequent, exploring many characters, while an ongoing story unfolds continually forward.

And the art…wow. I’ve seen Zircher‘s work in the past and liked it, but something about it here–and combined with the characters, characterization, and just the sheer feeling of refreshment I get reading the issue–it’s fantastic. Zircher‘s art here is the next best thing to Jurgens himself…and in some ways, melding old with new, I think surpasses the idea of this new issue in 2016 having his art, bringing an excellently-detailed and nuanced appearance to the characters and doing nothing but impressing me, through my own cynicism at a lot of modern takes on Superman.

This is a bi-weekly book now…two issues per month. In other words, it’s being double-shipped. Instead of 20 pages once a month for $3.99, it’s going to be 20 pages twice a month for $2.99 each (40 pages for $5.98). Jurgens on writing, a rotating art team (I believe) (said rotation given the incredible boost of Zircher‘s art kicking things off on such a high note in this issue), and a Superman I’m not just WILLING to read, but eager to read.

I can’t NOT be biased in this–I am far from objective. But honestly–simple, outside objectivity seems to be what led to a Superman character I was wholly uninterested in, and saw me walk away from for nearly four years. Now, I’m not only back but excited for it, as should be evidenced by my gushing above.

It’s said that one can “never go home again,” and that’s true, this is not some over-simplified “return” to the past–it’s like re-uniting with an old, dear friend…recognizing that years have passed, life has gone on, things have changed…but they’re still them, you’re still you, and you’re back together, and feeling great for it.

As a review or ratings would go…I walked away for four years. I flat-out ignored Superman for four years of current comics, punctuated by a handful of issues a couple years ago that did not hold me, and further solidified my giving up and letting go. I’d ceded Superman, and comics featuring him, resigned myself to maybe checking in here or there but mostly only to find the simple, fun ENJOYMENT in back issues.

And now? I loved this issue–story and art. I love the price point compared to the $3.99 the title’s been for nearly half a decade. Whatever the rest of DC‘s Rebirth initiative holds, at least when it comes to Action Comics, as things look now, I’m in for the long haul…the run up to #1000 at least.

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