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Further Shame of Conventions vs. Awesome LCS

Further putting conventions in general to shame, last Friday I’d gone BACK to the LCS in the hopes of snagging the rest of the Action Comics issues I’d passed on on Wednesday, and with it being Friday, and after work, and the store nearly empty…I did a more thorough flipping through the quarter bins than just the relatively quick pass through barely 1/3 of them that I’d done previously.

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Eleven of the first Twelve X-Men Forever issues.

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Pretty sure I’d recently snagged Strangers 1-16, so tacking several issues onto that for convenience doesn’t hurt.

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I am not sure if or where in the run of Hellblazer collected volumes this series was ever reprinted (Might have only been one of those Vertigo Resurrected issues I’m missing). For $1, not a bad acquisition…have not read this since summer 2001 when I was first introduced–solidly–to Hellblazer in general.

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For shiggles, grabbed several Spawn issues to be thorough…though I think I already had them. Better an extra $1 now than, say, $9.50 or more per issue (a local Half-Price Books had the Spawn #30 priced specifically at $9.50!).

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Several unrelated books, one-off things that had caught my attention–the Malibu issue has a hole through the entire issue–I don’t recall if this would be “THE” infamous bullet-hole issue from the early-’90s or just some stupid die-cut/hole-punch thing. But hey… 25 cents. And Adam Warlock, penned by Jim Starlin, with that classic The Infinity _____ logo? Beautiful cover, 25 cents with a digital download code (a digital purchase would cost at least 99 cents)…yeah, sort of a no-brainer, particularly as “just another issue” tossed on the stack.

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A bunch of #0 issues from the original Zero Month from DC Comics, immediately following Zero Hour. So many memorable, “iconic” covers, some of the more recognizable (particularly for the theme)…

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17 or so Mantra issues, for the potential convenience of an earlier re-read, or an extra set to look into getting bound!

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Minus one issue, the complete run of R.E.B.E.L.S. (’94, ’95, ’96).

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And of course, the Action Comics issues I’d even gone back looking for. I’m now only missing about 15 issues from having #532-904…

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…and I’m not gonna turn down cheap (25-cent!) copies of so many other Bronze Age issues…I have zero illusions of ever going all the way back to #1, but I expect I’ll eventually settle on a specific year or somewhat-reasonably-attainable number to work to fill in from–whether it’ll be MY “earliest” issue to current, or some number even if I have several earlier issues.

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Even snagged several post-Byrne issues, because why not? #700 is truly “iconic” to me, and the others…well, I have a mental image of my first personally-owned issue but didn’t know if maybe I was picturing something else, and went ahead and tossed these on the stack.

Of course, this week, I have every intention of sticking “just” to the Rebirth books and anything else already on my pulls…the past week’s acquisitions are not a sustainable pace!

Nearly 200 25-cent books and some great finds at a couple Half Price Books stores ultimately yielded a haul that far surpasses most anything I could (reasonably) actually imagine from a convention!

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R.E.B.E.L.S. #4 [Review]

Quick Rating: Decent
Story Title: From Beyond

Dox’s team is coming together, and the villain is revealed!

REBELS Cv4 dsWriter: Tony Bedard
Penciller: Claude St. Aubin
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: Swands
Asst. Editor: Rex Ogle
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Cover: Ed Benes and Rob Hunter
Publisher: DC Comics

Dox’s team is coming together, and we as readers find out a bit more about what’s set current events into motion, and who it was that took over LEGION.

The story feels like it’s loaded with potential, particularly on the cosmic side of the DCU; drawing from older characters and concepts but placing them well within current events of continuity and whatnot. However, even four issues in, I’m not really feeling like I have much to care about with these characters nor their situations. The "main villain" for this arc is one of my least-favorite in the DCU, and even being revamped a bit visually still doesn’t interest me. I’m not familiar enough with these characters to know how their depiction here works with prior versions of them, but they do seem consistent within this series, at least. We’re only four issues in, so hopefully a lot of this is simply foundation-laying, building toward some solid payoff in the near future.

The visuals maintain a nice consistency from earlier issues (even with a different artist). Visually, I can’t help but feel that this is to "cosmic DC" what the earlier issues of the 2003-launched Outsiders series was to the more traditional DCU. The art may not be for everyone, but as what it is, it certainly works for this book and gives it a style that sets it apart from a lotta other books.

Bedard seems to have a good grasp of the cosmic stuff, and if you’re a fan of his stories or of the old LEGION characters, this book’s probably right up your alley. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like anything terribly essential as yet.

Ratings:

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

R.E.B.E.L.S. #2 [Review]

Quick Rating: Not Bad
Story Title: The First Recruit

Vril Dox and Supergirl take on the mercenaries, while Dox finds out more about his benefactor and what he’s expected to do moving forward.

rebels002Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Andy Clarke
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: Swands
Asst. Editors: Rex Ogle
Editors: Marts & Cunningham
Cover: Andy Clarke
Publisher: DC Comics

Resuming where the first issue left off, we find Vril Dox and Supergirl fighting the mercenaries that are trying to capture Dox. Dox finds himself faced with a message from the future intended to help him, but opts to use his own methods to go about attaining his goals. Making for Starhaven, Dox’s recruitment drive is in full effect, as we see that this is not a character we’re meant to like overall–he’s a real jerk (to put it mildly).

The story itself isn’t bad, though I’m not all that familiar with most of the characters overall (except Supergirl). Though I recognize Dox and a couple others, I don’t recognize most of the characters, and so am not all that interested. The writing seems solid so far–there’s enough foreshadowing that at least for this arc, it seems there’s a build toward some decent payoff–though I’d prefer to be more engaged in the story.

The art’s not bad, though it’s a bit different than what I’m used to, particularly on the Superman family of books and their depiction of Supergirl. Clarke’s art does bring just enough grittiness to make this seem like a book that doesn’t just fit in general into a generic DCU, but has an edge that reminds me of the earlier issues of Outsiders from 2003 to Infinite Crisis.

All in all, a decent book. Unfortunately, as it’s failed so far to really engage me, I suspect I wouldn’t miss it much (if at all) if I simply skipped it. If you’re interested in the cosmic stuff, you’ll probably enjoy this a bit more; ditto if you’re more familiar with Vril Dox as a character.

Ratings:

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

R.E.B.E.L.S. #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Decent
Story Title: The Future is Now

Vril Dox (Brainiac 2) arrives on Earth with pursuers on his tail, and seeks out Supergirl for a special purpose even he doesn’t know.

rebels001Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Andy Clarke
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Asst. Editors: Siegel & Ogle
Editors: Marts & Cunningham
Covers: Andy Clarke
Publisher: DC Comics

This is the second time offhand that I have bought a R.E.B.E.L.S. #1. The last time I did so was way back around September 1994. L.E.G.I.O.N. was rebooted during Zero Hour as R.E.B.E.L.S., and was one of the series I’d decided to jump on to check it out from the very beginning. Fourteen-and-one-half years later, this new incarnation of the title had my curiosity, if only for nostalgic value.

This issue opens with a bit of a cliche–people going about normal life, talking about something that then sorta comes true with the arrival of an alien or whatever (in this case, Vril Dox), who asks for something rather simple that I for one normally wouldn’t expect an alien to ask: "Where’s the nearest restroom?" We quickly find out that Dox is being pursued, that his own organization has been taken from him and is now being used against him. Being rather cool and calculating (or rather, not-so-compassionate) he is prepared to see numerous human lives lost to attain his goal. Once Supergirl enters the fray, a couple secrets come out, and we find that there is a good deal at play, just waiting to be revealed.

Overall, I like Clarke’s visuals in this issue. There’s a certain level of detail and a style that seems to fit the story very well. The main complaint I have is that Supergirl looks a little "off," but characters I presume will be main/starring characters for this title have a good look about them that does NOT seem "off." One of the aliens reminds me a bit of both the Aliens as well as Arkillo from the GL books, and yet still has enough of a unique look to be its own thing, while evoking those others–regardless of the intentionality of the similarity.

The story is fairly basic, dealing with a bit of cliche–at least on the surface. Cliche or otherwise, there are some hints dropped as to stuff-to-come, and at least one bombshell drawn from existing continuity that casts characters in a new light. I’ve not read much of Bedard’s work, but recall liking what I have read. This issue really–aside from Supergirl–is playing in its own sandbox away from other DCU books. That sets it apart for me as it is not directly involved in other current stories that I’m following and thus has room to develop and build a bit.

There’s not enough here in this issue to convince me that this’ll be a great title nor that I’ll want to be in for the long haul, but there’s just enough of something to it that I’ll probably give it a couple more issues to pan out and really hook me. In the meantime, it’s a debut issue of a new series and it’s still within my $3 general threshold.

Worth checking out if you’re curious, but doesn’t seem an essential read.

Ratings:

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

Plastic Ring quest #4

And now the ‘ring quest’ is complete.  For many others who have also completed this set…it’s a goal poor Larfleeze–“Agent Orange”–will likely never get to do.

As I’ve said before, I think this is just about the coolest promotion for comics I’ve seen.

Of all the rings, of COURSE the coolest wound up being the Green Lantern ring. Because when you come right down to it–whether that first year or so following Kyle’s book, or that brief period after reading the Amalgam “Iron Lantern” issue when I was all the more interested in GL, to more recent years–it’s the “original” of the Corps.

Another thing that I wonder about is what other similar promotions could be done?  Including the year it came out (1991), next year (2010) will be 20 years OF The Infinity Gauntlet; 2011 obviously being the 20th “anniversary.”  How cool would it be to have something like this ring promotion for a re-issue of the original mini-series (6 gems, 6 issues…nice, no?).

Or sticking with DC: what about a Legion of Super-Heroes ring?  As with all these Lantern Corps rings…just change the color of plastic used and the little symbol on the top piece.  Such a ring could be tied to a special Legion issue or annual or issue of Adventure Comics or the like.

And what about a Flash ring?  Given Barry’s back, and I believe the Flash-costume-in-a-ring-for-easy-access was his thing…so why not use the red plastic again and put the lightning bolt on the top piece? And tie this, say, to the new Flash #1 by Johns.

Plastic Ring quest #3

Another week, two more rings.

This week’s rings were the blue and violet (or Star Sapphire). They came with Adventure Comics and Outsiders.

Amusingly enough, if you put ’em together, they look more blue and pink, almost as if they are something for kids.

With these rings, we’re left only missing the Green and Red rings…those are due next week, I believe.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 [Review]

The Son & the Stars Part One

Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Andy Clarke
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: Swands
Asst. Editor: Rex Ogle
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Cover: Kalman Andrasofszky
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue opens with a brief re-telling of the origin of L.E.G.I.O.N. and what got characters to the current R.E.B.E.L.S. status quo. The characters deal with the ongoing conflict with Starro, and we see Dox losing control as his son is taken by agents of Starro, and the forcefield he’s created to contain Starro is endangered. As Dox and crew jump into action to deal with this, they encounter seveal Sinestro Corps members…and discover that something even WORSE is chasing the sinestros. The issue ends on a relatively high “holy crap…that’s awesome!” moment (though it was topped by this week’s ending of Green Lantern Corps #42).

The writing’s solid, and the art is good stuff. There’s a distinctive style to the visuals that sets this apart from a lot of other comics; sets it above, actually. It fits the story and gives a definite feel that adds to the narrative.

On the whole, not a bad issue. I’m somewhat familiar with the characters, mainly from giving this series a try for its first 3-4 issues. I’d dropped the book for boredom and not really caring about the characters. This issue doesn’t do much to change that…but the context of the Blackest Night tie-in makes things a bit more interesting. And the ending has me VERY interested in what comes next–all the moreso if it adds a lasting element to the status quo BEYOND Blackest Night. Didn’t take much, but this certainly out-did the Doom Patrol tie-in last week, which earns it additional credit in my sight for that alone. Not as good as the Booster Gold issue this week, or GL Corps…but still a worthy chapter of the overall Blackest Night story.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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