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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 15, 2020

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This week’s a bit more in line with what I’d like, where I can actually get several comics without racing headlong into $30+ at the register!

One more expensive issue, a $2.99, and a $3.99…plus two $3.99 replica editions/facsimile editions that are well worth $3.99 apiece compared to fair market value on the original editions!

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I haven’t gotten around to reading the first issue of this Question mini yet….but on strength of the creators and the character, I’m interested, and if I get to binge-reading, I’d regret not having all issues. And as I’ve passed on a couple other similar projects, I think I’d decided that if I was getting the first issue, I was getting the later issues, barring some significant reason not to.

The new Spawn issue puts us 4 past 300. I’d think 300 issues is impressive, but is anyone else buying this title? I mean, it’s over 300, that’s hitting triple-digits legitimately, 3 times over, and starting toward the 4th! No one wants any issue numbered higher than can be counted on their own fingers and toes, right??? Or is there something to ACTUALLY keeping the numbering going, AND actually keeping to a reasonable price? This is the 48th consecutive issue I’ve bought of Spawn as a new issue…on strength of that $2.99 instead of $3.99. It was $2.99 when DC was at $3.99 for everything. It was $2.99 when DC cut back to $2.99 and double-shipping with Rebirth, and it’s still $2.99 as DC has leapt back to $3.99! (Meanwhile, Marvel‘s cranking out the $4.99+ books!)

Apparently Second Coming is a mini-series. Or a "season" (blah!). I’m pretty sure I’ve snagged all 5 previous issues, but unfortunately I’m not 100% on that. Still…it sorta proves my point to myself to quit knowingly buying short mini-series and wait for the collected volumes! At this point, after all, I assume a collected edition will make its way along very shortly, perhaps for only $9.99, but even if "only" $19.99 that’ll be like a "free" issue content-wise over the singles, which I’ve paid basically $24 to get.

Then we have Detective Comics #359 (Replica Edition) and The Incredible Hulk #180 (Facsimile Edition). Two reprint editions of comics from…well, some years before I was even born. The former being the first appearance of Batgirl and the latter having one panel at the very end of Wolverine, apparently making it the first appearance of the character, despite the next issue generally being the one credited. (I mean, if you get technical I absolutely would go with #180 as the first appearance, but what’s the POINT when it’s JUST one single panel? I’d much rather have the issue where you see the character DO STUFF and actually find out a little about him and see him face the Hulk and all that!)

I have to give Marvel credit…I’d swear I saw some ad or it was the solicitation text pointing out they gave us #180 last year, so now they’re giving us 180 since it’s "also" part of the first appearance and such. For these reprint editions, I’m actually all for that. Heck, I would PROBABLY buy a bunch of Marvel books if they simply every month published reprint editions of various older runs in this facsimile/replica format!

Comic Shop News meanwhile hits #1700. I’d swear I remember when it was in the mid-ish 300s back in the ’90s. It’s cool to see something like this still going after all this time. In some ways–with it being hard to count on being available by the next week, even–issues of CSN are almost like a "ticket stub" of the weekly purchasing. Or a "proof of purchase" or such. A "souvenir" of being a weekly comics person. Of going to a bricks and mortar shop (I don’t believe the online retailers provide CSN…though I could be wrong).

It’s rather telling that I have NO new Marvel issues; and though The Question is technically DC, it barely counts, given the way they’re pushing this larger physical size and the Black Label…um…label…so much. I’d consider it Black Label more than DC in the same way one used to be able to consider something Vertigo more than DC.

And as said…a decent week, a little over $20, but closer to $20 than $30. And it’s my enjoyment of replica/facsimile editions that lands two of the 5 on my pile this week. I feel like I’m finally getting back to a GOOD "balance" where there’s "enough" worth getting to keep to the weekly thing, but without having massive sticker-shock or buyer’s remorse.

Of course, 20 years ago, this haul would’ve probably been $8 cheaper. But this is the here and now.

That said…we’ll see what next week holds!

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The Weekly Haul Catch-Up: Weeks of November 20, 2019 to December 11, 2019

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Once again, it’s been a few weeks since a "Weekly Haul" post. Though I did get a random post up the other day with some bare-bones random brief thoughts on Marvel‘s 2099 stuff…and a path-to-500 for DC to give us a Robin #500 (semi-tongue-in-cheek, using "Marvel Math.").

So let’s play catch-up on the last few weeks’ hauls. Or rather, the "main" hauls…as I have partial plans for a couple other things from recent weeks as well!


Week of November 20, 2019

Having dropped some titles, I’ve been finding my regular weeks a bit more manageable, and even been willing to "try" a bit of randomness with other titles for whatever reason(s).

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Batman has long been a pull; I believe this may be the single longest run of the title I’ve had, at least for issue quantity. I have the entirety of King‘s run thus far, and though I’ve planned to "finish out" the run, since I think they’re shifting to monthly from biweekly AND there’s no sign yet of the promised Batman/Catwoman series, I may go ahead and continue along. With rumours of yet another relaunch next year anyway, It probably can’t hurt too much to get a few more issues and simply have a complete run.

He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse is just an interesting premise to me, mixed with a bit of would-be-nostalgia, that I decided to get the first issue in a slight bit of "support," slight bit of gambling. I had/have no intention of subsequent single issues, though I may watch for reviews to pick up a collected edition.

I’ve settled pretty firmly into enjoying/appreciating the various "Facsimile" edition reprints, so the Green Lantern/Green Arrow drug issue was a no-brainer.

I need to catch up on reading TMNT Urban Legends, especially as we’re getting close to the couple of issues I’d had in college that showed me how much the characters had been changed and solidly impacted a paper I wrote about the Turtles.

Doom caught my eye along with the classic "font" for the title 2099 so I gave in and bought the first issue for the sheer nostalgia of the thing. I opted NOT to pick up subsequent issues…though my interest in the ORIGINAL 2099 stuff has been rekindled.

I snagged the Death of Superman: The Wake tpb because…well, Death of Superman. This collected a digital-only (or digital-first?) mini-series and I was interested for its title and concept, thinking it’d give some insight to the "current version" of the infamous now-27-year-old story. (Unfortunately, I was highly disappointed and found the thing to be something better-suited for distribution in cereal boxes!)


Local Comic Shop Day (November 23, 2019)

I’m not very keen on "Local Comic Shop Day" in general. I’m fairly accepting of "Halloween Comic Fest" but LCSD isn’t much of a "thing" to me.

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That being said…there were a couple issues I wound up picking up. The Walking Dead: The Alien one-shot, and a Super DInosaur reprint or whatever it is. I am pretty sure I have the original Super Dinosaur issue(s) from back in the day…somewhere. And given the nature of the Walking Dead issue–new story, not by Kirkman himself, and not previously available in print, and with the final volume of the TPBs out MONTHS ago, seemed like a decent companion piece to the series.


Week of November 27, 2019

Having decided in 2015 that it was officially my "next Grail," I was ‘officially’ on the lookout for an in-my-price-range copy of Uncanny X-Men #266 up until finally scoring a copy earlier this year.

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So hardly six months after finally getting my genuine, actual real Uncanny X-Men #266…Marvel puts out a facsimile edition of the issue. Not that I wasn’t going to buy the thing, but it kinda figures, on the timing. I can’t be sure if the facsimile edition would have satisfied me in terms of my personal collection, though. C’est la vie.

We also got the final (for now) issue of Hope, which I look forward to binge-reading/catching up on.

I’d picked up the Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer issue a few weeks earlier, and decided to also get the first issue of what I BELIEVE is an ongoing new Hellblazer series. I enjoyed both issues well enough and they definitely have the general feel of the original 300-issue series, while being a different version of the Constantine character. I may well grab the 2nd issue if I notice it when it’s out, and go from there.

Continuing their pattern, along with the Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis, we also got a DC Dollar Comics reprint of the first issue of the original Infinite Crisis #1.

I’m pretty sure I have all the earlier issues of Second Coming so grabbed the latest issue. It’s one that I really need to get around to READING to decide whether I genuinely want to be getting it…though at this point I’d likely have been much better-served just waiting for a collected edition.

And finally, I decided to grab a recent-back-issue in Dark Horse‘s The Little Mermaid. It’s a mini-series, but being from Dark Horse I was curious how it’d stack up to the IDW stuff as well as how it’ll wind up in collected format, as well as being curious if it was actually a reprint as I’m fairly sure we already had a comics adaptation of the film.


Week of December 4, 2019

And getting into December…

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New Batman issue.

And the fifth/final issue of the 5-issue TMNT: Shredder in Hell mini-series. A mini-series that saw its first issue come out in January 2019. And I’d believe the series to be monthly, that it was due to wrap up by May or June…yet it only JUST made it ahead of TMNT #100…and I believe MAY have caused the apparent delay in that issue.

The latest Spawn issue. At #303, it’s my 47th issue in a row for the series…coming up on MY 50th as such!

The newest Usagi Yojimbo gets us to #7 of the latest series. And having just picked up the first issue, I decided to get the second of The Little Mermaid.

I swore off all Boom! Studios books nearly four years ago.However, my primary "exception" in comics is the TMNT. So a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers/TMNT book was an interesting quandary for me. In the end, I opted to allow my "TMNT Exception" to OVERRIDE my refusal to get single issues from Boom! Studios…though I ALMOST reconsidered when I saw the variant cover (or one of them, anyway) was a turtle’s hands holding a Power Ranger helmet…like it was just being insulting at that point.

Finally for the week, a facsimile edition of the "death of Flash" issue of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths; as well as a facsimile edition of Marvel‘s original Star Wars #1. And for good measure, a DC Dollar Comics issue of Birds of Prey.


Week of December 11, 2019

…and now we’re up to the most recent week and (perhaps) back on schedule! I’m also a bit unsure of what the remainder of the year holds, with this week’s December 18 being the last non-holiday Wednesday of the year, with the following Wednesday being December 25th–Christmas Day; and the very next Wednesday will be New Year’s Day (also, January 1st, the first day of a new year!)

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IDW‘s ongoing TMNT title finally hits its 100th issue! This also marks 100 issues that I’ve kept up with the series, buying every single issue, from #1 to #100, as it came out. Which is also a record for me, I’m sure, for ANY single run of ANY comic series in all my 30-some years of being into comics.

Then, despite dropping the Superman books, I ended up grabbing a copy of #17 off the rack while waiting in line at a Black Friday sale, so went ahead and–against better judgement–picked up #18 as well. I suppose it says ENOUGH that I didn’t immediately read either issue. And I guess we’ll see if I pick up any of the specials further dealing with "the reveal." As of this typing, though, I’m ready to wash my hands of the thing, though!

I would not have bothered with the Defenders issue except for it being a facsimile edition, so I went ahead and got it for the sake of having it. I’m highly confident that it’s GOTTA be better and a much superior time-value than any MODERN Marvel $4.99 issues!

Finally, the Tales of the Dark Multiverse: Teen Titans – The Judas Contract as well as the DC Dollar Comics reprint of the ending of the original Judas Contract story (as I believe it’ll be the ending of the story that diverges things for the Dark Multiverse).

I think there was an "off" week for Comic Shop News, and I’d’ve sworn we just had one of these previews, but maybe not? Either way…a cheery sorta Hembeck image of the characters ready for 2020!


Neca, Target, and Turtle Two-Packs

Along with the Wednesday comic shop visit on the 11th, I also ducked into a Target across the street, in a vain attempt to find a certain two-pack of figures.

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I was rather shocked to actually find them…as I’d been in Target stores well over two-dozen times across the four weeks ending with December 11th (and at least 7 or 8 different Target locations amidst those!)

But I finally scored the only 2-pack I wanted from the new wave of classic-TMNT figures, and for retail price, rather than the 2X-3X pricing of scalpers.

‘Nuff said.

While I’m interested in Leatherhead coming up for the line, I have no particular interest in Slash, nor a pixelated Shredder. So if these waves continue to be the turtles themselves, re-issues of Foot Soldiers, and a pack of new characters, I would just hope that Leatherhead could be his own thing, or come paired with a Foot Ninja and that the 3rd wave is something that would NOT require such frustration and effort to track down.

I found this Bebop/Rocksteady pack the very day after I’d more or less officially decided to "give up" on the line, at least until after the new year, but since I was across the street from the Target figured what was ONE MORE try after so ridiculously many for the previous several weeks?

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52 Week #28 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Beyond the Black Stump

Batwoman’s back, Tornados show up, and a check-in ‘n revelation in the goings-on of the lost-in-space heroes (and heroine).

52week28Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Drew Johnson
Inks: Jack Jadson, Rodney Ramos & Ruy José
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Stephen Wacker & Michael Siglain
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

After the ‘revelation’ that Montoya and the Question stumbled onto last issue, the two are back in Gotham City to contact Batwoman, and make her aware of what is prophesied to transpire with her involvement. We get a look at a group of people apparently playing with parts of the Red Tornado…truth be told, I’m not terribly sure what’s going on there. Finally, just earlier this week I’d been thinking about how it’s been a number of weeks since we got to check in with the heroes-lost-in-space…and voila! Here they are again…though a different light is cast on Lobo and the entity they’re facing in combat.

Overall, I am enjoying this series. Just over halfway in, it seems we’re into the thick of things, stuff’s happening, and there’s a number of questions cropping up as well as pointers at the title holding more significance than simply being a one-year/fifty-two-week periodical.
A certain pace seems to be in place, and being this deep into the series, it’s no longer as unfamiliar or unexpected as it seemed in the beginning.

This issue in particular I’m not nearly as thrilled with: I don’t care at all about this Batwoman character, and if I recall the previous issue correctly, there was a certain logic-jump that seems rather "forced" to me (isn’t BatGIRL’s surname Cain?)

I’m also not familiar enough with the Red Tornado to particularly care at the ‘cameo’ situation in this issue.
Structurally, this series could greatly benefit–in my opinion–by an introductory page to remind us of where things were left with certain characters when we last saw them, given the number of pages between appearances.

Visually, nothing jumped out at me; the art is solid and on the whole, it works very well for me; no complaints from me on that.

This is definitely an issue that will likely only really appeal to those already following the series; there doesn’t seem to be anything that in this issue singly that greatly affects the greater DCU, and doesn’t seem to particularly stand all that well on its own without the ongoing context of the series-as-a-whole.

The Origin of Catman
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Dale Eaglesham
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Ed.: Harvey Richards
Assoc. Ed.: Jeanine Schaefer
Editors: Wacker & Siglain

Not a bad couple of pages; this pulls together the different portrayals of the character and makes for a singular narrative of the character, acknowledging both the ridiculous/goofy past and the sharper current stuff. The art’s attractive, and as far as these origin segments go, this fits right in with the rest.

I still would prefer a single special with nothing but origins, in exchange for a couple more pages of actual story per issue, though.

Ratings:

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

52 Week #18 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Dismantled

Black Adam attempts to bestow an honor on The Question and Montoya, while the Shadowpact and Ralph attend to the helmet of Dr. Fate…and as an ‘afterthought,’ Booster gets a funeral.

52week18Writers: Johns, Morrison, Rucka, Waid
Layouts: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Rob Stull
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Travis Lanham
Asst. Editors: Jann Jones and Harvey Richards
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

I’m not terribly thrilled with the choppiness on these issues–it sometimes seems like the story "jumps" a bit, and given the format/size of the issues, there’s not much room for "smooth transitions" exactly…and I can see where one would totally benefit from reading several weeks’ issues in a row. Even for a comic that’s out each week, a "previously" page would certainly come in handy. Viewing this series as a massive tv series (2-3 seasons in one, by giving new episodes for 52 weeks) makes for a good way of looking at it–with some episodes having a focus on one theme, others focusing on a specific character or largely on just a specific character. But even weekly shows often show a few clips of what happened "Previously, on __________."

Noticing the art seems to me to come largely from reading others’ thoughts the last several months, about there not being "top-tier talent" on the art for this series–I honestly don’t mind the so-called "second-stringers" on art–as usual, I’m not offended by the art, the characters are all recognizeable, and it’s clear what’s going on panel-to-panel, really. There’s nothing in the art that totally jumps out at me or blows me away–but I for one am definitely satisfied with said art.

We’re basically 1/3 through the story now, and starting to get some handy payoff to plots that’ve been building throughout. Ralph Dibny seems to be getting around quite a bit, when he does show up. Here he’s interacting with the Shadowpact, as they attend to the helmet of Dr. Fate, and the liquified previous user (who, I suppose, was previously established somewhere, but the name means nothing to me). I’m definitely interested in Ralph’s story, a lot more than I would’ve thought a few weeks ago–but between his dealings with the Connor-Cult and now the helmet…I’m interested in where these writers take the character.

This issue also gives us a look into the aftermath of the Question and Montoya’s actions at the Black Adam/Isis wedding and the impact things are having on them–especially Montoya. I don’t remember much detail from anything I read of her in the first One Year Later, except that she apparently dealt with some traumatic stuff in the missing year–this looks to be at least one of those events.

We also get to see the crap-fest that is Booster’s funeral. Apparently the pall bearers are of some "classic" significance to long-time readers; I didn’t recognize any visually or by name–but I suppose that’s as much the point as not. I don’t like the way Booster’s been portrayed in much of this series–but one has to admit, at least, that even in the funeral situation–there’s a consistency to this particular portrayal.

There’s a glimmer of potential as to the future found in this issue, and if you’ve seen the cover to next week’s issue online, you should have a pretty good idea of what’s coming.

Overall…this issue’s a bit of "same old, same old" as far as this series is concerned–the story moves forward, the art gets the visuals across to complement the story, and there’ll be an issue next week.

If you’re following the series anyway, it’s worth keeping up. If you’ve not been drawn in yet…I don’t think this issue’s gonna do much to change your mind.

The Origin of the Question
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Joe Bennett
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Asst. Edits: Harvey Richards
Edits: Stephen Wacker

I’m still not entirely thrilled with these origins…the visuals can be cool, but the way I, for one, am wired, I see panels laid out and I want a story, more of a narrative than just fade-in/fade-out flashes with a little bit of text in captions.

The highlight for me of this particular origin is that it’s a character I am not terribly familiar with, so it at least has some new information for me–or at least, confirms stuff I’d sorta picked up without realizing it.
While I’d prefer a couple extra story pages to this sort of "origin," 1. I could see these making for a nice special issue in themselves, as a collection of all these "origin backups" once the series concludes. Perhaps as Who’s Who of 52 or some such. and 2. even though not highly detailed, they at least would allow someone to be able to say "Hey, I recognize that guy..!"

If you’ve enjoyed these 2-pagers, this should be no exception.

Ratings:

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

The Question #37 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 2/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Final Crisis: Revelations #5 [Review]

Final Crisis: Revelations part five

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Lettering: John J. Hill
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Covers: Tan, Glapion & Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

As the Radiant fades, Renee and the Huntress decide to make their stand against Cain (Vandal Savage). While they fight Anti-Life posessed Gothamites, Crispus Allen finds that he is dead again, and faced with a “choice” of involvement with the Spectre. Taking a huge risk and willing to sacrifice all, Renee’s gambit pays off, with deep ramifications.

I have no complaints with the art on this issue–it fits perfectly with the story, with some very nice panels that particularly stand out–particularly Crispus and the Spear. I wouldn’t suggest picking this up for the art alone…but the art is definitely a bonus point to the issue’s story.

The story comes to a rather satisfactory conclusion. With forces like Cain and the Spectre at odds, and the introduction/development of the Radiant character, and stuff that’s apparently been built up since 52 with Renee as the new Question and Crispus as the Spectre’s host since Infinite Crisis, this has made for a great ride that moves these stories forward and really serves to cap stuff off, solidifying characters’ places in the DCU.

As a mini-series, it would seem pointless to jump in with a 5th/final issue–if you’ve already been following the series, don’t skip this issue. If you missed the series, this one is certainly worth getting as a collected volume! (This series FELT to me like it has more importance for its characters than the core Final Crisis series did for the DCU as a whole.)

Very much recommended.

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

Final Crisis: Revelations #4 [Review]

Final Crisis: Revelations part four

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Lettering: John J. Hill
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Covers: Tan, Glapion & Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

Opening where the previous issue left off, we see a horribly wounded Spectre at Savage/Cain’s mercy, while the spirit of Mercy finds herself unable or unwilling to act, as Montoya and the Huntress seek just to survive this encounter. Retreating to a church to regroup, theology is debated as things spiral downhill for the heroes. The Spectre continues to be a powerful figure at the heart of this story’s conflict, with potentially vast repercussions to come as Savage/Cain makes his move.

I’m not entirely sure what to think on certain points in this issue. I can say that while it can be good to see some stuff brought up here–we don’t see characters discussing actual religion and theology all that often–I personally find a lot of faulty stuff here that–while it may work in context of the DCU–puts me off a bit.

It’s interesting to see the development of Mercy here; I’ve long been aware of and somewhat familiar with the Spectre; seeing a counterpart does make sense based on what I know of the Spectre character. At the same time, given the apparent scope of this story, it feels almost like THIS should have been the core book–this feels much more like some unverse-impacting crisis situation than what I’ve gotten out of the main Final Crisis book.

The art in this issue is quite good….I have no complaint with it. I like the way the Huntress and Question are portrayed here, and all the characters carry a certain detail that works quite well in giving visuals to the story.

All told, this is a nice, solid issue and as with some of the other tie-ins, I found this far more enjoyable and satisfying than the main title. Whether you’re reading Final Crisis itself or not, this is well worth picking up if you’re following the Spectre or Question characters, or have been following this series anyway.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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