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The Weekly Haul: Week of November 13, 2019

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This past week felt like the sort of balance I REALLY prefer to have with new comics. Though I may be "missing out" on other stuff…it’s still a bit more than I may have "time" for…especially with other distractions that I’ll get into down below!

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Though it’s another $6 book, Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night (the 3rd in a series of these specials) is sorta worth it…I’m willing to let it slide by for being a squarebound thing AND coming out alongside a $1 reprint of the original Blackest Night #1. Plus, having enjoyed plenty of Elseworlds stuff back in the day…if DC isn’t going to bring that imprint back, I can handle stuff like this. I’m still a bit wary and suspicious that this is leadup to some major event for the sake of a major event–and I’ve little intention of "buying back in" on such a thing with the way the new status quo is shaping up (and with Superman revealing his identity for the 2nd time in half a decade).

The Catwoman issue I bought because of having read that it offers her side to "the Wedding stuff," and I’m interested enough in that. And the "fancy cover" for the SAME PRICE AS USUAL is a very positive factor!

GI Joe: A Real American Hero is a title I’m still woefully behind on reading, but am still very supportive of, if only for its high numbering! I have a large amount of the original run and have the notion of filling in earlier issues in this run to eventually have the whole series. But time will tell.

I believe this 6th issue of the IDW run of Usagi Yojimbo is the 30th anniversary issue. I’m pretty sure I saw something on Facebook from Stan Sakai about that.

And then the The Tomb of Dracula facsimile edition is another I got on simple principle OF being a facsimile edition. I’ve lost track of the number of these…I’m not sure if they’re quite "weekly," but I’m certainly appreciating their frequency. I’d probably be quite happy if Marvel (and DC!) simply did a "series" that itself was simply these reprint editions–where one could "subscribe" TO the "line" without hassle to the comic shops.

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Having already had the first 5 of the 6 issues of Event Leviathan, I decided to finish that out. I’m continuing to be discouraged by the issue apparently "ending" with the "launch" of another event/series already. But at the same time, that also backs up my notion of it being time to back away from a lotta this stuff.

I’m not entirely sure what this Marvels X thing is that headlines the previews thing…but it seems like they missed the 25th anniversary of the original series. As a contained thing I might be interested, but time will tell.

And finally, Comic Shop News, spotlighting Superman revealing his identity to other heroes…and the reason I finally pulled the trigger on dropping Superman and Action Comics.

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On a more positive side…a Kickstarter project I backed recently came in! The second issue of Cat & Mouse by Roland Mann & Co. with the revived Silverline. As a Kickstarter thing, I’m more forgiving of variants and such, especially the Kickstarter Exclusive Edition covers–because the CONTENT is still available to anyone, even if the special cover isn’t. As a sucker for nostalgia, I’m cool with the Retro edition. There’s even some difference to the coloring, it looked like–which I appreciate! Finally, the "graphite edition" is not JUST a "sketch cover" (which I dislike as variants). This is a whole different edition of the issue, where the interior is also like this–so the cover is NOT some "inferior" thing, it’s actually a perfect match to its interior! And it gives a different look at the contents of the issue that I find rather cool as a novelty like this.

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The new Pokemon game came out last Friday. I broke with "tradition" of getting the "red" versions to get Sword…largely because of knowing a friend had pre-ordered Shield and I wanted to know I had a trading buddy. Then I realized that when I’d bought in on the Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon re-issue of the previous game, I’d also gone "blue" so…c’est la vie.

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I also snagged this nifty felt banner (the flip-side is a map of this new games new "region" in the Pokemon world) as well as the plush starter critter, Scorbunny. I’d gotten the plush of Litten 3 years ago with Pokemon Sun, so it just seemed fitting to make that a tradition of getting the plushie of the critter I’d start the game with!

I also then promptly blew away the weekend with first being up Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday, then spending the majority of the day Saturday and again into wee hours, and a decent chunk of time Sunday playing. As of this typing Monday evening, I’ve left off having acquired 5 of the 8 "gym badges" in the game. I also "bred" a couple Farfetch’d and Scorbunnies for trade, but pulled myself away from that side of the game for the time being. Mindless stuff with that almost 3 years ago is what led to my binging the entirety of How I Met Your Mother into 2017!

Heading fast toward "the holidays," I don’t know how long it’ll take me to "finish" the play-through of the "main game," but I’ve already sunk more time into this game than any other game since the original Pokemon Sun, in such a short span of time. I’ve probably got a way to go yet to match Breath of the Wild, but that was spaced across weeks before I lost interest. I certainly feel like I’ve already more than gotten my money’s worth out of this game compared to every other game I’ve bought other than Breath of the Wild.

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The ’90s Revisited: Lord Pumpkin #0

ultraverse_lord_pumpkin_0000The Return of the Great Pumpkin

Storyteller: Dan Danko
Illustrator: Aaron Lopresti
Finishers: Gary Martin, Aaron Lopresti
Letters: Gail Beckett
Color Design: Micky Rose
Interior colors: Foodhammer! with Sharleen Gaertner
Editor: Roland Mann
Published by: Malibu Comics
Cover Date: October, 1994
Cover Price: $2.50

Happy Halloween! For this day, I figured I’d post about one of my favorite "Halloween-themed" characters… Lord Pumpkin! (Even though this totally jumps the gun on an "eventual" Ultraverse reading project).

And why not just cover an entire issue devoted to the character as my means of doing so?

Much as I enjoy the character/concept (if only for the sheer visual ridiculousness), I still have a huge blind spot in terms of concrete comic knowledge of the character and events involving him, outside of a slight memory of the character being featured on the Ultraforce cartoon series, and sharing a "flipbook" for three issues of NecroMantra before the two characters’ stories collided in NecroMantra #4.

But that gets ahead of things a bit.

This issue opens with a pumpkin-headed (or rather, Jack O’Lantern-headed) character arriving on Earth, seemingly with no memory of who or what he is. We then flash back to the GodWheel where we witness a band of fighters seeking to take down the Pumpkin King. On Earth, we see the character essentially "enslaved" by a traveling carnival, and befriended by a young boy. Another player enters the scene, looking to stir up some mischief, providing the boy with a special candle for his pumpkin-headed friend…which leads to a sort of awakening. Ultimately, we see the fate of the fighters and their simultaneously doomed attempt on the evil king’s life as well as said attempt’s impact on Earth, and we see our abused character exact a certain key revenge for his imprisonment…while getting some foreshadowing for the sinister, recurring nature and visual iconography of Lord Pumpkin.

To the best of my un-confirmed, un-researched knowledge, this issue was a one-shot, providing us with a Lord Pumpkin-centric story giving some background on the character–where he came from, who/what he is, and all of that…an "origin story" of sorts. (Yet with the aforementioned NecroMantra flip-book, and a Limited Special Edition variant, one can functionally have Lord Pumpkin #s 1-4 in addition to this #0).

I enjoyed this well enough as a standalone special. We’re introduced to the character, given some background, witness some developments that’ll likely factor into the character’s position as a villain of the Ultraverse, and get a conclusion (while stuff’s left open for later stories). While the character concept is rather ridiculous–a villainous Jack O’Lantern with a human body?–it works, and I am more than willing to suspend disbelief regarding the character. Of course, certain factors that one might question with the character–particularly the pumpkin-for-a-head–is actually dealt with in context of the character/story, and makes for an interesting element for the "villain is seemingly killed but we still know he might be back" trope.

Story-wise in itself, I’m not overly impressed…but then, for a single-issue self-contained thing with a character I recognize more than I "know," and lacking other immediate/conscious context, I don’t supposed I should be. Still, it’s a solid issue and a complete story in itself…serving both as a one-off tale and situating the character within the then-current Ultraverse line.

Visually, I really dug this. The art seems at once simplistic in a way, yet rather complex…and looking at it, it just feels like an Ultraverse comic. It does not look out of place for what memories I have of the line. I was rather interested at realizing Lopresti did the art here, recognizing his name from later Marvel and DC stuff, and not remembering that he was involved in at least this issue of the Ultraverse.

ultraverse_lord_pumpkin_0000bAlong with the "main" cover, there’s a cool variant (I can’t believe I just said that, but I’ll get into the subject of Ultraverse variants in another post) that is also quite fitting for Halloween, and I’m glad to have BOTH.

While not AS "special" as, say, a mail-away special (Ultraverse Premiere #0, Rune #0, The Solution #0) this is still a worthwhile issue to get if you come across it in a 25-cent or 50-cent bin. It stands alone as a self-contained story, but should provide additional complex if you’ve come across the character in other issues…and sets the character up for appearances in later Ultraverse comics (there’s an ad in this issue for the GodWheel mini-series that Lord Pumpkin gets a role in).

I found it rather fortuitous the timing of going through my Ultraverse comics and realizing I had just the time to get to this issue for Halloween.

Sad thing (to me)? I wasn’t yet 13 when this issue was new…yet with an October 1994 cover date, this issue is now 22 years old!

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