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New Year, New Toys…ish.

Facebook marketing works, when done correctly. Like, say, having a Page, that I’ve Liked, and putting content out (particularly of stuff I might be interested in buying), and mentioning prices that aren’t otherwise visible.

Plus, I’m a sucker for photos that essentially allow me to browse a store’s stock at my leisure without being there.

So when I saw a post in my newsfeed from a local shop on Saturday, since I saw it via the app on my phone, I was able to view the photo, and ZOOM IN to look at stuff!

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While none of the slightly larger statues/busts really appealed to me (especially for the prices, even being on sale!) the DC figurines caught my attention, and I saw several that appealed to me. So I figured ok, I had to dig my car out from under two days of snow anyway, might as well reward myself for the effort with a brief trip to the shop (plus parking at a couple of Pokestops to restart streaks in Pokemon Go).

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While they’d not grabbed my attention in the photo, on looking at them in person, the JLA pewter figures looked pretty cool…particularly the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. Though it’s cool as-is…the thought’s dawned on me that it could be primed and painted…which could be an interesting project sometime!

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The figurine that most grabbed my attention from the initial Facebook photo, though, was Booster Gold! And since he was still there, I got him! I was pleasantly surprised at the weight of these…being so used to action figures and such, pewter/lead/metal figurines are a relatively new thing for me, in terms of DC/comic/super-hero figurines like this!

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I saw/recognized Supergirl in the photo, and seeing that that figurine was still there, I decided to get it as well…though I neglected to pay it much attention (said attention had been grabbed by Booster Gold!).

And getting it home, I realize I’m not very happy with it…the character is not really a version I like, and projecting the weirdness (to me) of a young/mid-teen girl being made to look "sexy" and I’m an adult male more than twice the character’s supposed age!

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I realized that what really got me was the cape–I love the gold trim, as well as the yellow S on the back! So this is the view that I like for the character, and I think it was reflected enough in the display case that it’s what had most grabbed my attention.

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So I start out the new year with metal figurines…a bit more "upscale" than 3.75" action figures or "adult collector" figures, basically miniature statues. They are static–no re-posing them to interact with other figures or such. But for the price, at least, quite appealing, and I could easily see getting several more…assuming they’re still there after a new paycheck!

The Weekly Haul – Week of October 12, 2016

This week proved to be another "small" week for me, though also "key" and "expensive" in others.

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Firstly, yet another week with a new Superman comic (Action Comics, specifically)…I’d have to dig back, but I’ve gotta be getting close to the half-year mark of the week-to-week actively wanting to get the next Superman-related comic out that week, just for the next bit of story. And unlike even the New Krypton stuff (which PALES by comparison to Rebirth!), this is a FUN excitement, a new/updated status quo that I like and am not just going with. And rather than tease me with pseudo-triangle-numbering, the two main Superman books are just coming out, telling solid stories, and now with this issue of Action we’ve even got footnotes again–referencing the sister title (Superman) as if BOTH TITLES are actually taking place in the same timeline, part of the same universe, etc! We also get a nice reference to another series that means next issue will be interesting as well…

I was going to hold off on Supergirl, but that cover just grabbed me! Not so much the rendition of the character herself (this art style is not very much to my liking for her) but the Cyborg Superman, and the promise of potential that it holds in that image.

And I pulled the trigger on the Hellblazer volume to get that outta my system…I don’t think vol. 15 is due for another few months, and unfortunately, I worry too much about stuff going out of print these days, thanks to Marvel refusing to keep anything in print all that long or predictably. This volume is also a bit more of a "key" volume than I’d considered initially.

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With Hellblazer vol. 14: Good Intentions, these new editions have fully caught up to where I came into the series back in 2001 (just over 15 years ago!). This single volume combines three previous paperbacks, as it collects Hard Time, Good Intentions, and …Freezes Over. Sixteen issues in one volume; three story arcs…plus material from Vertigo Secret Files: Hellblazer.

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Now begins the steady march through as the new editions finish, and hopefully over the next several years, we’ll get a full Hellblazer library of volumes that actually look like the single series that they are, and allow one to–in this format–have the entirety of the 300-issue 25-year series.

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Even if the new, numbered editions do not end up spanning the entirety of the run…I do have–with the probable exception of the Hellblazer: Bad Blood mini–the run between the new editions and the smaller "original" editions.

The Weekly Haul – Week of September 7th, 2016

This was a much better haul this week, with a visit to the usual comic shop, and only a passing visit to the closer-by one.

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Though they’re doomed to be duplicates with the Rebirth bundle from DCBS, snagged Superman and Supergirl. Also Darkwing Duck and Aliens: Defiance, from previous weeks’ pulls.

Then I did end up hitting the bargain bins.

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A quick glance at the bargain bins told me there was nothing really of interest, but I flipped through anyway, once I spotted a bin that I hadn’t seen at first. In this one, for 80% off, I found the Marvels: 10th Anniversary Edition, and quickly did the math in my head. Yep. For $10, on a $50.00 book that I have honestly wanted since I first learned of its existence some twelve years ago, this was a no-brainer. The book sports a little bit of wear–or at least, the dust jacket does. But it’s more than acceptable given the price!

Then the Wolverine hardcover was a freebie for buying something from the 80% off bin! At the closer-by shop, after seeing it for several weeks, I "gave in" and snagged the Heralds volume. Oversized hardcover, contains 4 issues (I think), at the price of one single regular-sized Marvel comic? Considering I couldn’t find it showing in my ‘inventory’ on my phone, opted to go for it.

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There were a lot of "new" ’90s books in the quarter-bins, and I snagged a few, though they were still collectively cheaper than two current Marvel books!

The Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 I recall as–at one time–being listed in Wizard as a $40 book. 25 cents today! It wasn’t til I got the thing home that I noticed a scribble on the cover…could be an autograph, though there’s no certificate or anything for its authenticity. Still, for only 25 cents, I’m quite happy. I actually had forgotten that the cover folds out…and this on a roughly standard-priced single-cover "iconic image" issue. Today these would be 3 different covers, all for this first issue: the center image as the "main" cover, the left panel as the "original Azrael" cover, and of course, the actual "Batman" cover for the right.

And there’s just something–to me–appealing with a handful of the Marvel #1s that Marverick and Mutant X are a part of.

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I’m quite interested in assembling the entire 18-issue run of Eclipso, and have been for years. Ideally from 25-cent bins, as I could probably just go online and get it relatively easily as $1+ single issues. Snagged the Prodigy variant because of the art, and nostalgia (Slingers was a cool concept, to me!). The Sovereign Seven Plus issue is one I may or may not have already, but not a bad one to snag. And the Doom Force caught my eye initially as a #1, then for curiosity with the "Suggested for Mature Readers" note. And the cover just looks like a ’90s book..! So why not?

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I’ve been working on an extra set of Mantra, and this Giant-Size issue comlements that nicely. The Superman issue is one of my favorite cover images, one I’d love to have a poster of! Nomad #1 for the sake of hey! Nomad #1! And though I had a copy from several years ago, I think this copy of Parallax: Emerald Night is in better condition and so will be a ‘replacement copy’ as well as a ‘convenience copy’ to have my "core series" set of The Final Night unified for now.

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I’m a sucker for old Wizard issues, especially as they are a relative rarity at all in bargain bins, and I have a shelf full of all my old issues and then some. The Image themed Wizard Special Edition is a new one for me. And this copy of #12 is in far better condition than the copy I had previously, thus serves as an excellent replacement copy for the rather beat-up copy I’d had. The Mage issue/collected edition was an oddity that caught my attention…it’s a Book One yet has a #9 on the cover…I still don’t have the issues all straight for this series. But for only 25 cents, I added it to the stack!

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These six issues were relatively random. Several for nostalgia, others for probably filling-in-of-holes in runs. All of these would likely be $2+ at Half-Price Books, with the Batman issue probably getting priced at $5-$10, based on recent patterns of pricing. All six for 25 cents each at the actual comic shop that knows the value of these sorts of issues.

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And finally, several Marvel Annuals…I may eventually see if I can assemble a set of all of the ____ and ____ ’98 annuals. For now, two new (I think) ones, plus the ’96 X-Force and Cable. I would have passed on the Gen13/Generation X and Generation X/Gen13 issues had both not been present. I found one in the back of one box, the other in the front of an adjacent box, and decided to grab them. Some weird synergy to them, and hopefully an interesting read eventually!

All in all, considering the stack of older stuff, the hardcovers, AND the new issues, this was an excellent haul…though one that certainly could have been a lot more expensive.

Supergirl Premiere

I was a half-hour or so behind…but otherwise, I basically watched this pilot “live.”

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Though I’d had no particular high-hopes when the show was announced, and stuck to my usual avoidance of trailers and news and stuff about development (failing to completely avoid some character names that would be in the show)…over the last several weeks I found myself interested.

Then curious.

Finally, just truly looking forward to this.

After all that…I saw several commercials…and was eagerly looking forward to the premiere.

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This was a pilot episode. So we were introduced to a lot of stuff, in a rather cheesy fashion at points. But it sets things up. And certainly left ME ready for the next episode.

We see Krypton, and “the origin” and such…we even see Superman (with creative lighting, though). We get Kara, her adoptive family (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman‘s Dean Cain is the father, Helen Slater of the 1980s Supergirl film is the mother). We see Kara in her private life, are introduced to the supporting cast–her boss, Cat Grant; “best friend” Winn, and office newcomer James “Jimmy” Olsen.

We learn some interesting stuff about her adoptive sister Alex, and meet Hank Henshaw, albeit one who does not pilot the doomed ship Excalibur.

Kara brings friends “into the fold,” setting the stage for stuff to come, while we see her perform super-feats and get some practice using her powers.

And like sister-show The Flash we get a teaser scene at the end to give a sort of “sub-plot” to be unraveled as the season progresses, with a character I wonder at my lack of familiarity even as I’m willing to roll with it.

And though it’s my initial reaction–and I’m typing this immediately post-viewing, to get some initial thoughts down before I can be influenced by others’ thoughts, reviews, discussions, etc.–I really very highly enjoyed this.

While I’m typically rather averse to gender-and-race-bending characters, given this is something wholly separate from the comics, we’ve already had numerous versions of Supergirl herself, and my understanding is that this technically will share a universe with CW shows Arrow and The Flash and there’s been effective character developments there that I totally overlook and enjoy…I’ll overlook it here.

James Olsen holds a lot of potential to me–getting away from the annoying down-on-his-luck dude-in-distress cub reporter and giving us an adult, cool, confident character with plenty of charisma in this episode alone. Hank Henshaw is a bit of a name-drop, but given the ties to “my” era of Super-comics, I’ll take it, and hope for some interesting developments there, given what the character was and became in the ’90s and early 2000s Superman comics.

I hope I keep up with this and don’t lose track of it. My enjoyment overall suggests this will be one of my initial watches each week, and at least for this first episode…this is truly an immediate favorite show for me, and a welcome guilty pleasure (even if it should be no surprise, given my history with Superman).

Convergence: Adventures of Superman #2 [Review]

convergence_adventuresofsuperman002Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciller: Roberto Viacava
Inker: Andy Owens
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Sotocolor
Cover: Mikel Janin
Assistant Editors: Brittany Holzherr, Michael Kraiger
Editor: Marie Javins
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I bought this primarily because I’d bought the first issue, and it just seems too weird to me to buy only HALF a story. Plus…this is Superman, and Supergirl, and moreso, it’s Adventures of Superman, back for a shiny moment.

We open on the Phantom Zone villains beating on Superman, while Supergirl tries to save him. In the “real world” Lucius is able to contact the Super-duo and prepares to bring them back. Superman forces Supergirl to go but remains behind until she uses one of Lucius’ devices to bring Superman back through, destroying the portal before the PZ villains can come through. Then the two join up with Kamandi to fight the gorilla invasion and ultimately realize they have to take the fight beyond the city to actually make a difference.

Frankly, I found this issue to be boring. I don’t much care for the over-use of the Phantom Zone, the re-use of the villains (nor their redesign to match Man of Steel (the 2014 film) rather than classic pre-Crisis costumes), and something just seemed “off” about Superman in particular here, like he was more caricature than anything else. Supergirl seemed overly obsessed with the notion that Superman MUST Live and concern over her own pending fate to a degree that she, too, felt fairly two-dimensional. The characters, their environment, etc. continue to fall into the appearance of “based on ____” rather than BEING the same characters I’d remember or know from the past and so significantly lack any sense of true importance.

That this issue has a to-be-continued note (into Convergence #6, which I believe was out LAST week) was a surprise as I’d thought these were to be self-contained two-parters…so rather than any real attempt at an ending or any finality, and having dropped the main Convergence title due to feeling it was irrelevant to my weekly reading experience…I now find that to not be the case, which is annoying and puts me off more than a little bit.

I’m not familiar with the art aside from the previous issue of this mini, and can’t say I’m overly enthused by it…though it’s not bad or put-offish in itself. I think the primary issue I have with the visuals is that this LOOKS too “modern” for the characters involved. The cover has some interesting contrasts in colors, particularly Superman and Supergirl against the Gorillas…but the whole thing just has a certain “flat” look that I don’t particularly care for.

While I’d consciously choose to like this issue if I could, I just don’t like it, despite appreciating Wolfman‘s past with comics and that he’s handled these characters as well as post-Crisis versions before and those hold a key point of nostalgia for me.

Along with the main story there’s a Martian Manhunter short that makes this issue thicker…but as I have zero interest in the character in this context, of a reinvention or such and have an active disinterest in DC‘s “mini relaunch” in a couple weeks, I couldn’t bring myself to truly READ the thing, and skimmed it instead. It adds nothing to this issue for me, and despite knowing it’s technically new/original content it just seems out of place and just like any other “preview” I am more than used to actively ignoring. Given what it is–that it’s supposed to promote the upcoming Martian Manhunter book I’m surprised there’s no blurb or any kind of indication on the cover…if it’s a “selling point” that there are 8ish bonus pages of original content promoting the June lineup in the various Convergence issues this month I would think they should be on the cover.

In and of itself this seems quite skippable in general, particularly if you’re not keeping up with Convergence. Nothing about this issue really seems essential, fun, or important…and for the cover price, you’re better off passing on this unless you feel compelled to get it for the same nostalgic factors that hooked me, or because you really want the Martian Manhunter content because you plan to check that book out.

DC Futures End Month, Week Three

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1

futuresend_supermanwonderwoman001This issue caught me a bit by surprise, as apparently it’s the 2nd of a 2-parter, continued from the Wonder Woman issue. Not what I expected, and not something I was thrilled with, but hey…it is what it is. I read it anyway, even though I might’ve waited to track the first chapter down. But I wasn’t in the mood for that game, and since I feel like I’m always going on about how it isn’t horrible to “figure things out” in context, no reason not to put that to the test. Sure enough, I was able to figure out quite a bit just by reading alone…it helped that the nature of these stories is that there’s been a time gap anyway, so I’m already mentally wired for not having “the full story.” That said, this was one of the better issues in terms of story and felt like it really could have been setting things up for a new status quo in the ongoing if this wasn’t just a five-years-later deal. As I’m already following Soule’s run on this book anyway, it’s good–to me–to have this issue in there as well.

FUTURES END: BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1

futuresend_batmansuperman001I expected an actual fight between Superman and Batman in this issue. What I got instead was a Batman-centric story, where the confrontation happened sometime in the five-year-gap and left Batman in bad shape for where this issue picks up. Not following the ongoing series, I don’t know where this fits…whether it’s dropping any hints or particularly drawing from that. This issue also felt rather familiar in terms of Batman suiting up against Alfred’s advisement and putting himself in a situation where his body’s ready to fail him and he’s doing irreparable damage to himself, etc. I picked this one up on a whim…I had not planned ahead of time to get it, and it unfortunately proved more disappointment than not: I should have left this one on the shelf.

FUTURES END: SUPERGIRL #1

futuresend_supergirl001Of the various DC titles, this is the one that I’m probably most torn on. I liked stuff last year enough that I went backward several months on the title and kept up with it for several months after, though I did eventually let it go. This issue plays off from last year’s introduction of the Cyborg Superman, bringing us a Kara who is now herself a cyborg…though it quickly becomes apparent that the Cyborg exerted a certain amount of influence over her that takes old friends to bypass and get her back into her right mind. While certainly not an “ending” story, this one definitely felt like–if not the start of a new chapter–certainly the ending of one. There are plenty of questions about what happened in the Five Year Gap, and I’m all the more interested in Kara’s story simply for the various places her story can go, and hoping that it would never turn out like this. I’m also left quite curious about her relationship with other characters, particularly Captain Comet and whether that’s just a possible development or if it’s been dealt with in the Red Daughter of Krypton arc or such.

FUTURES END: JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

futuresend_justiceleague001This is the concluding/second chapter of the two-parter begun in Justice League United. On the whole it’s this massive battle between the heroes and former hero Captain Atom, who is determined to break free of Mars no matter the cost–to the heroes, to himself, to the planet itself. And of course, the heroes have to gang up to stop him, while also dealing with the other freed villains. While in some ways the cost to the characters is higher than it might be in a regular ongoing story, it doesn’t feel all that permanent. More like the end of an arc leading to a new creative team and/or new status quo on one or more books. All in all the issue isn’t particularly memorable for me except in seeing Captain Atom play Dr. Manhattan on Mars (the latter actually based on the former). I got my 2nd chapter of 2 that I intended, though on the whole nothing particularly special to this for me.

FUTURES END: BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

futuresend_batmanandrobin001I don’t know much about this Heretic character nor do I much care. I was expecting something more Damian-centric, be it memorial or I don’t know what. Instead this is just some teaser issue with a possible future-Robin, who (from this issue alone) I know nothing about and haven’t a clue why I need to care (nor how Batman’s gotten along this long in his apparent condition over Damian…which is not to suggest anyone should merely “get over” such a hurt or loss just because it’s been 5 years. That the focus of the issue is Batman’s pursuit of the true identity of this Heretic, that he does indeed get his DNA sample…it’s infuriating to me (as this is a one-shot) that we as readers do not get let in on whatever the truth is…and this made me feel like the issue was a waste. Apparently I expected at least some sort of cliffhanger-like ending stating who the Heretic was…or even was NOT. If this were a continuing issue, I’d be totally fine with what I got as it’d be likely to pick up next issue. As-is…I’m directed into the Robin Rises stuff, and I’m not going there in single issues.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1

futuresend_greenlanternnewguardians001I grew up with Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. I get that I’ve hardly read anything with the character in years, and don’t know much about the status quo of the character for the last 30 or so issues’ time (and several GL crossover/”house events”). But from solicitation text and the cover, I sure expected more Kyle than I got. This was another passing-of-the-torch sort of issue, though I’m actually only GUESSING that this White Lantern was Kyle, based on the cover: nothing in the issue itself that I noticed confirmed or pointed out that this was Kyle, and at one point some name-dropping made me actually think perhaps this was Hal. Along with Batman and Robin this was definitely–for me–a stinker of a book and one I really would have been better off not getting. This is also the only one of the books this month with these 3D covers where the logo was given the treatment rather than just the image the logo and such is placed upon.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 3

Outside of the Supergirl issue, this week was pretty much a stinker for me, despite being one of the higher ones in terms of my expectation and such. Supergirl was definitely my favorite of the bunch, both the cover itself as well as the story. It may have been a circular logic sort of thing, but I didn’t even get around to reading these for a few days…and it was really only the Supergirl issue that pulled at me…the others I mostly read this week because I didn’t want to have NOT read them before the week four books would be out. Some of this is probably also blame to be lain at the feet of the price, and sticker shock this month, as virtually every one of these DC books has been a $3.99 book I would not normally get…and is on top of a bunch of other stuff, both regular and new.

Off the top of my head I’m most looking forward to the Booster Gold issue. Other than that, probably Red Lanterns and Superman…we’ll see what else may or may not grab my attention for the final week of the month…

The Weekly Haul – Week of September 17th, 2014

Another monstrous week price-wise…outside of Batman Eternal and the $1 reprint/special edition of Gotham Central #1 (perfectly timed for Monday’s premiere of Gotham) (and the freebie Banned Books Week guide), everything was that price point I so despise…but at least they were the spiffy 3-D covers that sucked me in again this year!

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And of course, perhaps conspicuously so, one might notice the absence again of anything from Marvel. Such a shame, especially considering how much I enjoyed the X-Men in the ’90s and certain parts of other stuff in the last 10-12 years.

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Definitely a good-looking crop of the DC 3-D books for Futures End this week. Might be the classic-looking yellow-and-red logo against the blue field, but I think that Supergirl cover is my favorite this week.  I wasn’t going to pick up Batman/Superman…but figured it’s a one-shot, already spending a lot for the week, it’s Batman, and Superman…so I might as well add it to the pile.

So here’s to a lot of interesting reading and the third of four weeks of getting fairly deeply re-acquainted with a bunch of DC output.

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