• December 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Zero Hour Revisited – Justice League International #68

90srevisited_zerohour

justice_league_international_0068Triumph

Writer: Priest
Penciller: Phil Jimenez
Inker: John Stokes
Colorist: Gene D’Angelo
Letterer: Kevin Cunningham
Assistant: Ruben Diaz
Editor: Brian Augustyn
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

I really WANTED to like this issue, and the story, given Priest‘s the writer and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed other stuff he’s done. But particularly for this final chapter, I’m just left rather underwhelmed.

We basically pick up with the pieces from the first couple chapters of this Return of the Hero story, and a mashup of scenes ultimately results in defeat of the enemy, and the group(s) making up with Triumph, some subplots touched on for later, and finally the Zero Hour final-week fade-out to white.

I suppose this simply was a product of its time, to say nothing of having the FEEL of a random "filler" story thrown in to bridge whatever had come before and whatever was coming next, providing some filler story that could tie in to "time travel/time anomalies" and serve as the three Justice League titles’ entries in the Zero Hour event.

The story in and of itself isn’t horrible or anything, but just isn’t much to my taste; perhaps largely for being in the middle of a major "blind spot" for me with the League and the characters involved–this is not the Justice League that was "current" in 1992 tying into the Death of Superman, nor is it the Morrison-era League from when I branched out more in the later ’90s.

The art also isn’t bad, but it doesn’t blow me away, either. It fits the story, and has the "feel" of the era.

Perhaps there’s more depth to be found, but I’m reading from the perspective of "just read and enjoy the entirety of Zero Hour." From that angle, this is filler that fits better than a lot (it involves time anomalies) but doesn’t really seem to directly affect anything with the "core" Zero Hour story itself and so is ultimately passable. I would not recommend this issue by itself as a sole, single issue…but if you can find all three chapters of Return of the Hero! in the 25-cent/50-cent bins and you’re interested in a Priest-written Justice League story set firmly within its 1994 context, this’d be worthwhile enough.

All in all, I’m ready to move on, and have actually kinda burned myself out on these such that it’s getting to be a bit of a slog to get through all these tie-ins…especially as I’m itching to get to Zero Hour #0 itself.

Zero Hour Revisited – Justice League America #92

90srevisited_zerohour

justice_league_america_0092Return of the Hero part 1: The Program

Writer: Christopher Priest
Penciller: Luke Ross
Inkers: Cramer, Banning, Faucher, Marzan Jr.
Colorist: Gene D’Angelo
Letters: Clem Robins
Asst. Editor: Ruben Diaz
Editor: Brian Augustyn
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

This issue was a bit confusing to me at first…though it was a very pleasant surprise to see Christopher Priest listed as the writer of the issue…whatever conscious knowledge I had of his work on this book was lost to Time, given my genuine surprise.

The confusion for me began with being dropped right in the middle of the story, not knowing what was going on…all the more because unlike the End of an Era story in the Legionnaires/Valor books, this one is labeled as part 1, so “should” be more setup than not. We see an older version of the Justice league–led by a guy apparently named Triumph. He’s calling the shots, guiding/coordinating them as they take on an alien menace. Though they have some initial success, things fall apart rather quickly, and it finally comes down to Triumph himself having to save the day…and then we jump to the present, finding that this has been a story Triumph himself has been sharing with the “current” Justice League, unaware of the status quo–from his point of view he’s been trapped outside the normal flow of Time until now…but if he’s now free, so are the alien attackers.

This isn’t a bad issue by any means…and I look forward to getting more of this 3-part story for more context and seeing how stuff develops. As-is, the story itself doesn’t impress me…it’s just another story of an older version of the Justice League “before.” Before the “bwa-ha-ha” era and whatnot. I’m certainly soured by stuff I’ve read in the past 10-15+ years…I’m not a fan of “previously unknown or forgotten” individuals showing up, essentially being “retconned” into the story(ies).

And yet, ultimately this WORKS, because with Zero Hour going on, Time anomalies popping up all over the place…that means somewhere “out there” is a universe where this guy DID work with the Justice League. Just not in the timeline that I–as the reader–have read about in this version of the DC universe.

The art’s not bad, though it’s kinda run-of-the-mill for me. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but something about the visuals just SAYS “early/mid 1990s!” to me…perhaps knowing I had a several-year “blind spot” between the late-’92/early-’93 JL stuff and Morrison‘s JLA. That that particular blind spot was this era would explain why I associate it there.

While this issue doesn’t engage me all that well–it’s not something I’d want to pay much per issue for, and if I was paying $3.99 I would certainly NOT be happy with it as a standalone–it’s the start (apparently) of a story, and does it kinda creatively, and definitely in a “classic” non-linear way that I associate with Priest thanks to Black Panther (some 4+ years later than this) or Quantum and Woody (perhaps around the time this came out).

As a Zero Hour tie-in, I like this… it may not tie directly to ZH itself, but does make use of the event to tell a story involving a likely Time anomaly that does not have to be the focus of the story itself…instead, the focus can simply be on the anomalous agent. in this case, Triumph.

That name is interestingly familiar to me, though I can’t quite place the character…whether it’s deja vu and/or I’ve seen the name on this cover before, or because there’s more to do with Triumph in the DC Universe in general. I guess this begins shedding some light on that dark spot in my DC knowledge.

Captain America Hot Wheels, Books on the Shelf, and Priest’s Black Panther

I’m not a cars guy. Not “into” them, I don’t care about horsepower, the type of engine, special tires, speed, etc. They’re utilitarian, mine gets me from point A to point B (mostly, work) and the fanciest thing is that I have a license plate with the Superman S-shield printed right on it.

captain_america_hot_wheels

So last Friday when I was wandering through a Walmart half hoping to find the Pop! Vinyl Black Panther (which they apparently did not stock or were sold out of) I did happen across several bins of Hot Wheels cars…and the Captain America #100 and Captain America & Bucky ones caught my attention.

I noticed they were numbered, indicating there were 8 cars total in the “set.” Me being me, the OCD kicked in and I “had to” see firstly if they had all 8 to begin with, secondly what they all looked like, and thirdly after completing a set in my cart, for the price, I failed to talk myself out of them. In an age where Target charges $13+ for a 3.75″ figure in minimal packaging and $20.59 for 6″ figures I remember getting for $5.99-$7.99 12 years ago…I was enthralled at the notion of buying a full set of 8 toys for less than $1 apiece (sure, 3 cents under, but still!).

death_of_superman_new_editions_on_the_shelf

Also over the weekend I was able to get the new editions of the Death of Superman volumes shelved, officially “replacing” the original editions in the “main” shelf. As original editions and several of my earliest collected volumes from when such things were overall quite rare to exist, they’ll always have a place in my collection.

blackpanther001_009

And where I’ve been meaning to since last summer when I first checked out the Marvel Unlimited thing, I finally dove into Priest‘s Black Panther run again, reading the first 9 issues over the weekend (and more since saving the cover images, and by the time this post goes live, I’ll be even further into the run).

For ME, Priest‘s Black Panther is THE definitive take on the character, and the first 50 or so issues are the definitive run and a definite favorite piece of my entire collection of single issues, if only for the nostalgia of the covers. It’s rather scary to realize that it’s been nearly 18 years since this run originally began, and it ended about 13 years ago!

captain_america_hot_wheels_bStill…it’s great to have a film (Captain America: Civil War) inspire me to want to read something like this, spurring me into action…rather than leave me cold on something and end any particular enthusiasm toward “related material” the way a certain other film this year did.

While I really highly enjoyed the film and plan to see it again while it’s in theaters (something even Avengers: Age of Ultron failed to do last year), I do not know if I’ll get around to covering it here the way I did the aforementioned “certain other film this year.”

Seeing the new Cap film was a fun experience, the film itself was very good, and I really appreciated the way it ended with the story progressed, pieces set for Events Still To Come and yet it provided a sort of resolution that left me more satisfied than not with things.

And a re-increased interest in Captain America. Even while it also made me feel rather old, having realized that Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, and Elizabeth Olsen are all younger than me (to say nothing of a handful of other key Marvel Cinematic Universe actor/actresses.

"Upgrading" and beyond: Priest’s Black Panther

black_panther_old_and_newOne key comic series for me during college was Priest‘s Black Panther. I’d first tried the series because of its part in the launch of Marvel Knights in Fall 1998, and kept up with it for a few issues. I was nearly ready to let it go–and posted something about that on an old usenet forum–and was convinced to try a couple more issues. The way I remember it, the very next issue was “that” one with the big revelation about why T’Challa actually joined with the Avengers…and I stayed with the series through the end of its run and even followed the short-lived The Crew that followed it.

While I have the entire series in single issues, I remember being thrilled to find the series in paperback (though I don’t remember these early volumes being QUITE so early–2001 based on the indicia). And I was QUITE disappointed when nothing else got collected beyond the first 12 issues, and when this series was basically ignored and “forgotten” for everything that’s come since.

black_panther_book_stack

black_panther_one_volume_thicker_than_two_oldNow, in one single volume, we get 17 issues…five more than the previous two volumes combined. Which really makes this quite an “upgrade.” The two prior volumes collected 5 issues and 7 issues each. Though my photo doesn’t show it very effectively, the new volume IS thicker than the previous two, even with the extra set of covers. The old volumes are also noticeably of their time-period, as they’re from when Marvel tried to save money by shaving 1/8 inch black_panther_new_taller_than_both_oldoff the height of their publications to use less paper or something to that general effect.

This new volume also stands out as being another where after all those years, Marvel switched to a red box with white text for their logo instead of the red text on white box.

While I was left hanging with only the first twelve issues collected, with 17 issues or so per volume, three volumes would get us through the first 50 issues or so, and a fourth would be able to include The Crew as an extension of this series.

I’m definitely hoping the cover/title of this edition holds true: Black Panther: The Complete Collection by Christopher Priest.

Though an Omnibus or other hardcover series of collections would be preferred…I’ll gladly take this over nothing, and it sure beats the skinny little 6ish-issue collections.

black_panther_old_prices

Despite the decade or so waiting, the price of this new volume is surprisingly well in-line (if not better value) than the originals. $15 and $17 got me 12 issues for $32; another $3 adds five more issues (the same quantity as the first $15!). Of course, I don’t recall what I paid for these originals, whether it was full cover price or a discount; given I’d’ve sworn I got them during grad school as they came out, but they seem significantly older.

black_panther_new_price

And of course, I paid significantly less than cover price by pre-ordering this from Amazon this time around.

black_panther_new_book_back_text

I doubt I’d care whatsoever about the Black Panther character if it wasn’t for this series. So while I’m shying away from Marvel‘s print products lately…stuff like this gets through on the nostalgia factor.

And being able to have the contents of two books in one with even more content, I’m actually glad to “upgrade” to have–hopefully–the entire series in nice-looking paperbacks that actually look like they go together, on the shelf…and AS a series, having numbering. Perhaps I’m odd, but I prefer the numbers, as it makes it more obvious this isn’t just a single contained story or volume…and the publisher has more “confidence” in it to give a number rather than just one skinny volume at a time with no apparent intent to go beyond the current.

Still…a  Black Panther by Priest omnibus would be quite a volume–even as two volumes–to sit on a shelf with the Classic Quantum and Woody volume.

From Ad to Home: Quantum and Woody Omnibus

This past summer, I was rather excited at the announcement of the first-ever Valiant Omnibus volume, featuring the complete classic Quantum and Woody series.

quantum_woody_omnibus_ad

It just seemed such a great concept to me…and almost immediately I decided it was definitely a volume I was going to want to own. Rather than “only” 8 or so issues like the classic Bloodshot or Ninjak volumes I got a couple years ago, or even going back several years to the X-O Manowar, Harbinger, and Archer & Armstrong hardcovers….I loved the idea of the ENTIRE SERIES being collected into a single volume.

quantum_woody_omnibus_home

And now several months later, my copy of the volume finally arrived, and I’m quite pleased with it!

While there are 20-some issues in the volume, it doesn’t seem OVERLY thick or unwieldy…as volumes like this go, it seems a nice, sturdy size. Larger than a “standard” oversize hardcover content-wise, with double the pagecount of the 12ish-issue volumes, but not some ginormous wrist-breaking thing, either.

quantum_woody_omnibus_home2

I like the look of the the book in general, the cover, and overall, I’m just very happy with this. EXCEPT that now it makes me want the upcoming X-O Manowar Classic vol. 1.

But…Valiant just continues to put out excellent product that rewards the fans. So long as they don’t rush a bunch of these out, I could see picking up the later omnibii editions…and as long as they keep their deluxe hardcovers in-print awhile longer, I certainly want to get those–particularly the Harbinger Wars one.

Quantum and Woody (2013) #1 [Review]

Quantum and Woody (2013) #1World’s Worst part 1

Writer: James Asmus
Art: Tom Fowler
Color Art: Jordie Bellaire
Covers: Ryan Sook, Marcos Martin, Andrew Robinson and Tom Fowler
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Editor: Jody LeHeup
Created by: M.D. Bright & Priest
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

I don’t know when it was that I first heard of Quantum and Woody, but I’m pretty sure it was at least a decade ago. Of course, I didn’t know their significance at the time–no, the appreciation I’ve developed has come only in recent months and thanks to Comixology’s 99-cent sale of the classic material a few months back.

I also don’t recall now if my Comixology purchase of the entire classic series preceded knowledge of this new series, though I’m pretty sure my interest was actually sparked by knowing there’d be new material and wanting to read some of the original.

Whatever the case–I’m familiar with the first half of the original run, which I think made this new #1 actually more enjoyable for me.

That being said, like what I’ve read of the original, the reader is kinda thrown into things here, to pick up information through flashbacks and such.

We open on a scene of our heroes, Quantum and Woody, falling from a building and making the news, basically seen as the world’s worst super-heroes, if indeed that’s what they are. We then flash back to their past as adoptive brothers, before moving to the present where the pair learns of the death of their father. As things unfold they learn that all was not as it seemed–and they seek answers that throw them together into a rather explosive situation leading to the obligatory To-Be-Continued.

Visually I’m quite pleased with this issue…no real complaints or negatives for me on the art side of things.

Story-wise, I rather enjoy the maintenance of the “chapter headings” Priest made popular back in the day on the original series as well as in his Black Panther run for Marvel Knights. While stylistically different from the other Valiant books, it gives a certain familiarity to this that is welcome and appreciated…it also keeps this book fairly unique, providing a different “voice” than the other Valiant titles right now.

Though the bulk of the issue is essentially “origin” stuff, I the non-linear narration allows for an appearance of the characters AS Quantum and Woody in this issue; introduces the characters behind the hero-guises, and sets up the motivation that drives them…which to me is quite good for being the first issue of a brand new series.

While this is a Valiant #1, retains the standard trade dress of all the contemporary Valiant titles, etc. you don’t need to have any background whatsoever with other Valiant books in order to “get” and enjoy this issue. If you were merely handed the pages to read and had never heard of the property before, there’s nothing whatsoever here that requires you to have read anything else.

I will probably never like the $3.99 price point on any standard-size comics, but as only the sixth one-issue-per-month Valiant title, I can handle this a lot better than double-shipped $3.99 titles from other publishers, and I consider this a welcome addition to my own pull list and definitely look forward to the next issue. (And while I wait, I have half of the classic run yet to read to keep me busy!)

%d bloggers like this: