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Zero Hour Revisited – Guy Gardner: Warrior #24

guy_gardner_warrior_0024Killing Time!

Story: Beau Smith
Pencils: Mitch Byrd, Phil Jimenez, Howard Porter, Mike Parobeck
Layouts: Jackson Guice
Inks and Finishes: Dan Davis
Colors: Stuart Chaifetz
Letters: Albert De Guzman
Edits: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

I expected a lot of this issue, and unfortunately found myself rather disappointed. Guy, Steel, Batgirl, and Supergirl face Extant, and are thrown through time, bouncing from dinosaurs to Guy’s own past with a woman he’d loved but who died in Coast City.

Reading this issue as an isolated thing, it just didn’t do much for me. Now, I’m a fan of Guy, and have read at least a couple issues of his series before (including, I think, some sort of Year One story and a followup to Emerald Twilight–so with this, that’s probably at least 10 issues of this series I’ve read). I’m familiar with the character from the Eclipso: The Darkness Within annuals (his appearance in the Adventures of Superman one where he first has the yellow ring) and his being part of the Justice League at the time (Death of Superman stuff), and have gotten a lot more familiar with the character in the 20+ years since.

But this issue just felt like it was all over the place…and all I can REALLY tell is that Guy’s new getup is just that–new–he’s still learning what it (and he himself) can do. That these characters are fighting Extant in this issue, that they’re bouncing around through time–that certainly makes this a nice tie-in to Zero Hour, one that truly deserves that banner on the cover, and serves as a RELEVANT tie-in. So even being all over the place, its "fun factor" is there a bit…though I don’t know that I’d particularly recommend it in and of itself.

Visually, I noticed a mix of art styles–PARTICULARLY toward the end when the visuals went toward something resembling Batman: The Animated Series and Darwyn Cooke…it was not until I keyed out the credits for this post that I realized there were FOUR different pencilers. I’m not sure if it helped having Guice doing layouts or not…except that despite multiple artists it at least kept panels to one vision so nothing was overly "out there" or varying drastically from the others. None of the art singly was bad, but it was a bit jarring going from grittier to simplicity reminiscent of Cooke. Not knowing any behind the scenes stuff regarding this specific issue, I can’t comment on that–but I do definitely appreciate what I know now about comics in general in 2016–where I can "assume" that this issue was running late and so the art was divided up to make sure the issue would be done on time as it is a Zero Hour issue and thus HAD TO be out during Zero Hour, which only lasted one month. And with this ending on the blank pages, that sticks it as intended for the last week of the month…where even a SINGLE WEEK slip would put it out of sync with the event itself.

I don’t care for the cover–I kinda consciously "know" that’s supposed to be Extant’s face…but with the fire effect, just the face looks like this is some other villain or a fire-entity or like some X-Men character or something…show me the image without the Zero Hour banner and I would not at all think "Extant" OR "Zero Hour."

Ultimately, this is (along with Batman #511) probably the closest-tied issue to Zero Hour, making it one that you’d definitely want to read with the main series if you’re going for an all-in experience on the reading. By itself, I would not recommend it AS some destination-issue or to seek out as a single issue. As part of Zero Hour or as part of reading the title in general, I think it fits quite well.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of May 04, 2016

Outside of several pretty hefty recent book purchases, actual comics made for a big week this week…and probably my widest, most “diverse” (publisher-wise) such haul in ages!

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In my main/regular/new issues, I have five publishers represented. I was not going to buy the Thunerbolts issue…while I’d greatly enjoyed the late-1990s/early-2000s and somewhat tried again with the series with Marvel Now, I’d trailed off. Something about this cover, though, just REALLY triggers the nostalgia factor for me. While I’d prefer the title be at the top of the cover, for the image they went with, it works…sadly, I am certain this “main” cover is hardly the only cover…thus it lacks the iconic status of the original 1997 Thunderbolts book.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, Thunderbolts (2016) #1 is only $3.99! I have been so extremely put-off by Marvel‘s high prices and the seeming stream of $4.99+ #1s that I’ve written ’em off as too expensive for my interest. I’d far prefer $2.99, but at this point I’ll “support” $3.99 OVER $4.99 for #1 issues, regardless of size (standard or extra…short me on size and the complaint’s renewed!)

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I’d picked up the first two issues of X-Men ’92 recently to “check them out,” having bought the series last year with the Secret Wars stuff…seeing the third issue, I decided to take a chance and buy this one so I’m “caught up” for the reading. I’d been quite surprised that the first couple issues were “only” $3.99 apiece…that #1 was not $4.99 was a major selling point for me!

A $1 issue from IDW, and a catalog of Marvel collected volumes round out the “normal” stuff for the week.

Which brings us to issues of timing, with their release falling on May 04.

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Star Wars Day seems to have become an official Thing, May 4th each year. As in “May the Fourth be with you.” So rather than stagger them across the entire month…Marvel threw us ten $1 reprints of #1 issues. For the price, I’m cool with them; they were pulled for me as part of my “$1 and under promo-priced stuff” part of my pull-list. In addition, I snagged an extra copy of several issues to give to coworkers.

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Given the relative (I believe) “recency” of several of the issues, I’m quite glad I waited. As is, I’m a bit miffed at these now-$1 copies of the $4.99 Star Wars #1 and Darth Vader #1 from last year…ditto on the Vader Down issue. Still, these give me a first-issue jumping-in point to help determine if I want to buy the trades…

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I also hit the quarter-bins, where I snagged several random-ish issues. The Wolverine issue brings back definite memories from when it was originally released, so I grabbed that on the nostalgia alone. I snagged the Captain Marvel because it was #1, did not have the other issues in the bin, and I wanted an ‘even number” of books. Turns out the Generation X/Gen13 books are variants of the same issue. I’m disgusted on principle but can’t be too upset…they’re wraparound covers, and I’m only out 50 cents for a double-length story.

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I totally forgot several weeks ago to follow up on an offer on the Guy Gardner issues–the store owner was planning on clearing them out “soon.” While I think I “missed out on” several early issues in the run, these issues are mostly what I recall being present at the time, so it all worked out in the end. I’m pretty sure somewhere in the Abyss that is my collection of longboxes I have the first 20+ issues–at least the bulk of the run before the book became Warrior…so I mostly passed on those for now, as I’m hoping to get the entirety of my comics collection sorted sooner than not…and I’m trying to exercise a bit of restraint in this regard (though adding 30 25-cent issues ($7.50) to an already cringe-inducingly large week on top of other expenditures may not be the most intelligent thing to do.

Chasing Back Issues: Guy Gardner: Warrior #29

There was a time that I figured I’d never be one to dig through back issue bins and multiple shops just looking for a random issue. Years of great quarter-bin finds and other bargain-bin acquisitions had somewhat numbed me to the notion of paying more than $1 for any given ’90s comic, having come to see most as merely 25-cent fodder.

More recently, I’ve specifically sought out an issue of Adventure Comics because of an ad for it in an issue of The New Adventures of Superboy. I bought a DC Comics Presents Annual due to some talk of the series on a podcast. I’ve sought out "random" issues of a couple other titles due to podcast discussions on them. I tracked down Green Lantern #81 for never having seen it in a quarter bin and wanting to finally read it. And so on.

And really, it’s been awakening this suppressed "joy" of the search (and finding) of certain issues. Thus far, it’s been more success than not, and really is very enjoyable to go into a week with a specific issue of a specific series in mind, and with a single trip through a handful of shops I frequent, find that issue. No ordering online and paying shipping and waiting; just finding the issue, being quite agreeable to the asking price (and it’s right there on the issue, no taking it to a counter and someone looks it up in a "price guide" NOW THAT someone is actually interested in purchasing it).

And in a post on his blog, covering the issue, Chris really piqued my interest in a Guy Gardner: Warrior issue the other day. If I already have the issue somewhere, I don’t recall it, and being intrigued, I went into a nearby shop over the weekend not truly expecting them to have the issue.

They had about half a dozen issues from the entire run…including this one, #29, that I was specifically interested in. And while I was thinking I’d prefer the newsstand cover, finding the "deluxe" "collector’s edition" for under $4 was quite pleasing.

back_issues_guy_gardner_0029

The price was all the more agreeable as it’s only 55 cents more than the cover price…and even adding in TAX, I only paid $3.75 for the issue.

To put that into perspective: I had a specific issue of a specific series in mind, that was published more than two decades ago, with a typical-’90s "enhanced cover," and I was able to walk into a comic shop and buy it–bag and board included–with tax–for 25 cents LESS THAN a modern 20-page Marvel or DC comic.

Instead of "just" "the latest issue" of something, I specifically sought this out, wanting it…and that wanting it, knowing it would NOT "just" be available at any/all comic shops on a rack prominently displayed…well, that just adds to the satisfaction of the purchase.

Yeah, I may still hold to EXTREMELY RARE exceptions to not paying more than $10 for any given comic, period…but I’m certainly more thoroughly enjoying back issue hunting than I would have thought, and continue to find myself enjoying back issues much more than most any new comics Marvel or DC are currently publishing.

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