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The Weekly Haul – Week of November 12, 2014

A slightly late week this week…

weeklyhaulweekofnovember12Three Valiants, three weeklies, and a TMNT. I also snagged the new Serenity hardcover, as–at $19.99–it is a very reasonable value even at “full price,” so I opted to “support” this sorta thing via the LCS…

kitty_and_serenity_leaves

Catching Up A Bit

Unfortunately, I’ve managed to get quite a ways behind on some of my reading the last few months, with a number of personal things going on in life. This week’s been a bit of a catch-up week as I work on resolving the issue…I don’t like being behind, especially when it means I’m buying stuff “just because I’ve BEEN buying it” rather than an actual interest…and typically, once I’ve gotten to about 6 issues of anything built up that I’ve not read, that’s usually a sign it’s time to drop the title and move along.

catching_up_serenity_leaves_on_the_wind

I’d read the first three issues of this year’s Serenity: Leaves on the Wind mini as they came out. I then got backed up on them due to not getting to #4 the week it was out, then misplacing that so it created a bit of a ripple effect until I was able to get all the issues back into one stack. Now I’m looking forward to the hardcover, though I don’t think it’s due out until December or so…and of course looking forward to further Serenity story(ies).

catching_up_letter_44_dream_police

In the same sitting with Serenity, I also read the first issue of JMS’ Dream Police. This was a series that–not having gotten around to the first issue, I didn’t buy any further issues. I’ll probably wait for a collected volume, as it was juuust interesting enough I’m curious what comes next.

With the next issue of Letter 44 due out this week, that’ll put me exactly at 6 issues I’m behind on, so hopefully I’ll get caught up, or at least read enough to determine if it’s time to cut this title. After all, a $1 first issue thoroughly impressed me into immediately adding the series to my pulls…but having trailed off since then and gotten so backed up, obviously I haven’t missed it exactly, even if it’s good.

Of course, along with the various single issues I’ve amassed, I still have a couple “$10 Volume Ones” to get to that I’ve already bought, and there are quite a few others that have come out the last several months that I’ve yet to acquire. And those tend to be a much better value than single issues, even if I never buy a later volume.

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 [Review]

serenityleavesonthewind001Script: Zack Whedon
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Karl Story
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dan Dos Santos
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

I have to blame a friend for my getting this. Firstly, I’m pretty sure she was aware of this then-upcoming series before I was, and then more recently being my “excuse” to “upgrade” my Firefly/Serenity collection. I also recently re-watched the entire series and movie, wrapping up just a couple weeks ago.

Given that recency, I was impressed with the cover from the start. Dos Santos captures Mal’s face in such a way that there’s no doubt that’s as portrayed by Nathan Fillion. The cover in general looks like a scene straight off the screen.

The interior art threw me off a little bit…there’s something almost too “light” or “bright” about its coloring, and some of the panels’ shots seemed a little more “out there” to me than I’d expect after being used to the visuals of the tv show. Granted, this is a comic book, so that change in visual style needs to be afforded a certain level of “pass” allowing for the difference in medium.

In and of itself, the visuals are good. I wasn’t blown away by anything seeming particularly amazing, but everything fit for the most part. There were a couple panels I had trouble telling who was supposed to be who, but I’m not entirely convinced that wasn’t just my brain refusing to parse ’em out without audible voices to identify the characters.

The story works in general. We pick up some time after the events of the film Serenity, so as the issue progresses the status quo is gradually revealed while leaving some questions (or at least the specifics of how things went down) up in the air.

That this is a comic and not the tv show and yet it’s advancing the same story creates an interesting dynamic of sorts that I haven’t experienced all that often…particularly as the two media aren’t usually directly connected in this way.

I could “hear” the characters’ voices in the dialogue, and given context of the story, the characters themselves seemed authentic to me.

Unfortunately and fortunately at the same time, the comic is a different presentation of the material…lacking the movement and charm of the actors and actresses themselves, their voices, and other things tv and film can do that comics can’t. However, the comic can show things on a grander scale than a tv budget can allow, thus opening the scope of the story that much more.

Unfortunately, as only the first issue of six, this is just a chunk of story for now. Far too short to really be compared to a singular episode of the tv show, yet it seems like there’ll be enough content to this story that the better comparison of the eventual whole would be to that of the film rather than a single episode.

In the current marketplace of primarily $3.99 cover prices, this is “only” $3.50…not as much a bargain as $2.99, but a more reasonable step in pricing than the leap to $3.99.

While you may have plenty of questions of the backstory, this also isn’t a horrible place to jump in fresh…though picking up as it does after the events of the tv show/film you’ll encounter a fair number of “spoilers” should you opt to go back to the source material.

All in all, this is an issue I was looking forward to, made “top of the stack” for my reading priority (even ahead of as-yet unread issues from the past several weeks), and was enjoyable to read.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue, and seeing where the characters go!

Battle of the Atom and a Serenity "Upgrade"

Last year, I dropped All-New X-Men due to double-shipping and the $3.99 price point. However, I was quite interested in this Battle of the Atom thing crossing through several of the X-books late last year. I very nearly bought the story in singles…but I held out for the hardcover.

battle_of_the_atom_hardcoer_0121

While I had figured–given other similar volumes–that the book would be at LEAST $29.99, if not $34.99 or a whopping $39.99. There are 10 issues in the volume, so even assuming the collected volume would cost “full single issues price,” I figured $39.99 would be the high end. Ridiculously enough, this rather skinny volume carries a MASSIVE $49.99 cover price! Fortunately, I got it for half-off; a “mere” $25. But at least it’s something I definitely want to read sooner than not…it’s not going to sit around waiting to be read like (too many) massively-DISCOUNTED volumes do.

I also recently passed along my original edition Serenity graphic novels to a friend who was interested in the comics, knowing she’d enjoy them, and it provided me with a perfect “excuse” to upgrade to the hardcovers.

serenity_hardcovers_0121

Though I’d originally intended to snag the books back in December, I ended up holding off a few weeks before finally “pulling the trigger” and ordering them. As it worked out, ordering these alongside X-Men: Battle of the Atom, one way of looking at the pricing is that I either got the X-Men volume “free” by buying these, or got all three Serenity volumes “free” for buying the X-Men volume.

Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Serenity/Star Wars flip-book [Review]

SERENITY

From this issue’s cover, I was hooked. One look, and my first thought was “Awesome!” Daniel Dos Santos perfectly captures Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds. The story itself sees the Serenity put down on a world for some business. While the others go into town, Mal remains with the ship…but quickly finds himself defending it against a local who has determined that he’s going to take the ship for himself.

The story is quite short, but for being a new, original story of the Serenity and her captain any length is quite welcome by me. I could “hear” Fillion‘s voice as I read, a definite credit to the consistency from the story being kept “in the family.”

The art was a bit less to my liking after the cover. While the cover image captures Fillion‘s image as the character, the interior art is very much its own thing. It’s not hard to follow the action or pick up on who’s who, but I would not immediately see the actors playing these characters if the adaptation went from comic to screen.

Ultimately, well worthwhile, and this should be quite a treat for Firefly/Serenity fans to get a little more Mal with a hint of the other characters still around in this series.

Rating: 8.5/10

STAR WARS

This flip-side’s cover is nowhere NEAR as appealing as the Serenity one. The image of Han and Chewie seems extremely familiar like I’ve seen it used elsewhere. But hey…the issue’s free, I already read the Serenity side, so might as well read this, right?

The basic story is rather sitcom-ish and follows Han and Chewie making a drop-off. They’re dealing with a rather unsavory character who not only refuses to fully pay the smugglers for their smuggled goods, but decides he wants the Millennium Falcon itself. Of course, that doesn’t go over well with Han or Chewie, and the buddies survive to meet Luke, Leia, etc. in A New Hope.

Story-wise, pretty simplistic, if a bit amusing. I’m not all that impressed, but reading the story wasn’t a complete waste of time. The art’s about the same…nothing impressive, but it’s not horrible.

All in all, this seems really standard fare, likely to appeal to others specifically interested generally in Star Wars. For me, it simply pales next to the enjoyment I found in the Serenity story.

Rating: 5/10

ALABASTER: SHELTER part 1

Squeezed in between Serenity and Star Wars, this issue gives us a two-page short from some title called Alabaster. The short text overview before the two-pager gave me more context than the story itself, which for a comic is a BAD thing. I only vaguely pick up any real concept, and to try to convey it in this review would be to render it pointless to read. Conceptually I’m mildly interested, to the point I’d probably look at the collected volume if I saw it, but there’s not enough here to truly “sell” me on it.

Rating: 3/10

Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Serenity/Star Wars Overall Rating: 7/10

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