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Unplanned Books-A-Million Clearance Purchases 11/3

Thursday evening, I found myself at a Books-A-Million for the first time in quite awhile. Where I’d figured maybe I would find a cheap book or a comic frame…I didn’t expect to find a giant stack of books that had my interest for the price.

I eventually pared a stack of about a dozen books down to three:

weeklyhaul_11022016_b_1103bam

I got all three books for the price of 5 standard Marvel issues and a True Believers issue.

I was disappointed that Captain America and the Falcon by Priest that I found in the clearance section was not actually on (discounted) sale. And while they had a bunch of the Secret Wars (2015) skinny volumes for $4.97 apiece, they weren’t the greatest condition nor interest to me. I absolutely would have gotten the Age of Apocalypse one if that’d been there for that price, though!

The Wolverine volume is Wolverine; and collects a few issues from the latter part of The Essential Wolverine vol. 5 and the earlier issues from The Essential Wolverine vol. 6…but in full color. I quite like the Essentials line, but for this period of the title, the black and white/graytone effect gets very muddy and doesn’t work nearly as well, so getting this run in this format is very cool. All the moreso for the price!

The Avengers: Scarlet Witch fits thematically with my Avengers: Quicksilver volume. And I’ve been interested in reading Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl for awhile, especially since getting/watching the first season of the tv show last year (though I’ve yet to be able to see the second/final season).

It’s amazing, though, to consider just how highly-priced most Marvel volumes are, such that I virtually never buy any at "full price," because that price is just not worth it to me; while DC has had a number of volumes that I’m willing to pay full price for (even though I’d prefer cheaper means!)

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Marvel December Launches [Checklist]

December 2015

A-Force #1
All-New Inhumans #1
All-New X-Men #1
Daredevil #1
Guardians of Infinity #1
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #1
Red Wolf #1
Scarlet Witch #1
Spidey #1
Squadron Supreme #1
Starbrand & Nightmask #1
The Totally Awesome Hulk #1
Weirdworld #1

marvel_december_launches_checklist

[Source: Promotional postcard, pictured above]

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: X-Men Chronicles #1

aoa_revisited_logo

xmenchronicles001Origins

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Terry Dodson
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Matt Webb
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Cover: Carlos Pacheco, Cam Smith
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 1995
Cover Price: $3.95

"Traditionally," this is one of my favorite Age of Apocalypse issues. As much as anything tied to the larger AoA epic really is, this is a self-contained issue, functionally a one-shot. And it’s double-sized, a larger chunk of story in one go than anything but X-Men: Alpha itself so far.

Everything else to this point has been set in the "present-day," the contemporary X-Universe of the time, 20 years after the death of Xavier. This issue is set some years earlier than that–at the dawn of the Age of Apocalypse itself, at Apocalypse’s "first strike" of sorts, against humanity at large.

We meet a young-ish Magneto training his band of X-Men in a secret location in the mountains. The group is introduced to a new teammate–the older and more dangerous man known as Logan…or Weapon X. As training draws to a close, a second new member is brought to their location–a young woman named Rogue. Amidst all this, Apocalypse strikes…forcing Magneto into action sooner than he’d expected. And while he and his young mutants fight off Apocalypse’s minions…another strike is carried out against their home.

Probably the most "glaring" thing about this issue–for me–was a narration box stating (after introducing the characters) "Together, they from the mutant team known as…the X-Men." They FROM the mutant team? Not form–eff oh are emm–they "from" it? A simple transposing of two letters, but for me it stands out in a huge way. Maybe it’s been corrected in digital reprints or other reprint editions, but I’m pointedly reading the single issues that were actually put out at the time.

But to be frank on it…if the worst I see in editing is a spelling glitch and I’m not grousing about huge giant plot-holes or character inconsistencies…I’d say things are going pretty well on that front. Being human, I can forgive the only spelling error I’ve noticed in however many issues so far.

The art has an interesting flavor to it, feeling at once "typical ’90s" to me and yet definitely conveys an "older" tone just from the look, even though the story is pointedly set in the past. As I often find myself saying: the visuals don’t blow me away, but they were quite well for the issue and I didn’t particularly notice anything worth grousing about.

Given the real-world quantity of comics chronicling the adventures of the X-Men through the years and the amount of time purported to have passed for these characters…there is still a huge body of stories that could be told of the characters in this Age of Apocalypse timeline. At the time this was published, everything was ‘face value’ and this issue was the sole, primary glimpse into "the past" of the characters, giving us one of THE key stories–that of Apocalypse’s first strike against humanity as well as the fate of the Scarlet Witch.

And this has that feel…sort of like having all these contemporary issues, but then picking up an old issue and reading a good story that "still matters" in current continuity. While I’m consciously aware of plenty of "Untold Tales from the Age of Apocalypse" stories that eventually came out, this is the first and one of the best. We see a version of the characters both familiar yet different…but not yet as "dark" as they are by "present day." This gives us–as readers–the chance to witness the introductions of Rogue and Weapon X to the team, Apocalypse striking out, without having to solely be "told" it happened.

It’s also rather nice to get "just" a story of these X-Men that does not directly tie to the premise of the main epic, of bringing pieces together for the final showdown at the end of the Age of Apocalypse. Knowing solely the basic premise–that Xavier was killed in the past and Magneto formed the X-Men instead–one can easily read and enjoy this issue in and of itself as a one-shot without even having to read any of the other Age of Apocalypse issues.

To me, this truly is Age of Apocalypse done right…unlike most everything done SINCE the 1990s involving the timeline.

Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 8

This is another fairly boring (to me) “page” in this series. I’m not all that familiar with Splice or Tiger Shark, though I definitely know of the other characters and have read a fair amount with all of them through the years.

While the image is simple enough to see what’s going on without being overly “busy” like some of the others in this set, the characters’ individual cards seem to be some of the more individualistic of the set so far. Tiger Shark definitely gets the raw end of things, being shown taking a repulsor blast, rather than getting a cool pose.

I remember Namor’s “savage, new look” from around this time…at the least, it’s interesting to see the character with long hair, compared to his usual style.

Not much else really stands out to me with these…though it IS interesting to realize that I would have been exposed to Wonder Man this early, despite my earliest conscious discovery of the character being his return early in Busiek‘s Avengers run and then backtracking to learn of his early-’90s fate.

Continue reading

Avengers vs. X-Men #0 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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