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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of October 24 & 31, 2018 and Halloween Comicfest

It’s amazing how life gets busy at certain times…and how that can be exacerbated by having the computer one has been primarily using for years suddenly decide to freeze up and then refuse to ever boot up Windows again.

Combined with a couple other things going on, and rather than separate posts, let’s cover "The Weekly Haul" stuff from the past couple weeks AND Halloween Comicfest!


Week of October 24, 2018

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Last week had the foiled edition of Action Comics #1004…and I finally pulled 1001, 1002, and 1003 together and caught up on reading! I have to reiterate how much I’ve liked this low-key "stunt month" that DC did this year, where the foiling did not add to the regular price–$3.99 books stayed $3.99, so it’s purely cosmetic. And as a "stunt month," it’s not like it was all over the place. And the best part is that the fancy covers are the main, primary cover and NOT some variant!

Extra dose of TMNT with the second Macro-Series issue, this one focusing on Michelangelo; and the sixth issue of TMNT: Urban Legends, reprinting the 6th issue of the old Image series!

Then the newest issues of Aliens: Dust to Dust, of Flash, and Die!Die!Die!…where I have some collating and catch-up reading to do!


Week of October 31, 2018

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This week is a "fifth week," and so definitely a bit smaller. DC‘s second issue of Heroes in Crisis hit, apparently a week "late." I was not 100% on picking this up, but especially with being a small week, and I’m now leaning toward "grudgingly" picking it up, if only for morbid curiosity…but perhaps just as much so that I can read it for myself and evaluate it for myself. If I don’t like it, at least I’ll get that for myself. I don’t like it so far, but it feels like it’s got some weird sort of potential. I’m also willing to "support" it with it not having umpteen branded official tie-in chapters (so far), unlike the marvelous competition.

I’m digging the main Batman title of late, having jumped back into current reading with The Gift and the run-up to #50; loved the Freeze story, and just keeping up. As a fifth week, figured what the heck? Been ages since a Secret Files [& Origins] issue, so curiosity (and the foil cover) won me over. Plus…it’s Batman.

And I’m definitely enjoying the True Believers What If..? issues–most of them, I have not read before, so they’re particularly fun for only $1.00, where so many of the True Believers issues are reprints of stuff I do already have and/or have read. This What if…Legion had Killed Magneto? draws from the original Age of Apocalypse stuff from 1995. (And I’d meant to ‘cover’ the issue several years ago when I covered the entirety of that original Age of Apocalypse saga, but never quite got around to it then.)

Finally, snagged some Hordes minis to go with others I’ve bought…I have a good-size selection of these now to assemble, prime, and paint, which could be a way to pass a few weeks coming up or in 2019.


Halloween Comicfest 2018

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While it seemed there were more officially-branded Halloween COmicfest issues than ever this year, many were "mini-comics" or "ashcan-sized," and at least from the covers and being backed up on plenty of other reading and considering last year’s issues and maybe prior years…I opted just to snag these. I wasn’t sure what to make of the Adventures of Aspen Mascots but it looked fun; definitely up for the Hellblazer reprint (especially while DC otherwise doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do with the character) for the 30th anniversary. And the completist in me didn’t want to pass on the Rise of the TMNT mini-comic, though I’m not fond of the tv show from the premiere episode.

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As a far, Far, FAR superior value to me than contemporary Marvel #1 issues, for the same price, I snagged both of these issues of the older Captain America series from the 1960s. My grandfather (who helped get me into comics 30 years ago) had at least one of these issues, though I can’t remember which (and pretty sure he didn’t have the other, as I always mixed up the cover images in my memory). So there’s sentimental value in getting these copies if only for that.

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Going through $1 bins, I ended up opting only to get the Tales of the Marvels issues. There’s just not much in the way of Marvel stuff that I find worthwhile outside of 25-50 cent bins…but especially at the moment due to personal stuff going on.

The Gobbledygook issue will go into my TMNT collection; it was a nice find for 33% off, which put it cheaper than any modern Marvel issue.

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I snagged about $4-$5 worth of 25-cent bin comics. These Battlebooks ones stood out to me immediately for the tradedress…I love the way the white/red of the main logo pops and the characters on top of the crisp black background. These are a bit of nostalgia for me–I remember when these first came out! I think I’d originally gotten the Citizen V one, and can’t remember what the other one I picked up was.

These were a sort of game, where (with rules as described on a couple of inserts included in the issue) two players would have the characters "fight" and the results were determined by grids of statistics on the various pages.

They were more interesting than they sound, but are definitely at best value for 25 cents for the artwork. Still, fun finds!

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I have fond memories of the Slingers title. I have yet to actually read the various Spider-Man issues where Peter Parker took on the four alternate guises (Ricochet, Prodigy, Dusk, and Hornet). But when this series premiered, I went with the Ricochet edition, and followed the series to its conclusion (12 issues and a Wizard #0 issue, if I recall correctly).

As I recall, these were variant issues–the beginning and ending are the same in all four issues, but there’s a several (8? 12? 16? I honestly don’t recall as of this typing) page sequence in each issue that is character-specific, where the Slingers split up, so the Ricochet issue follows him when the four split, while in place of those pages, the Dusk issue follows that character instead.

I absolutely would not want this being done with modern comics at modern prices, since it would be vastly over-used very quickly. But now nearly 20 years in the past and available in 25-cent bins, I find this a fun sorta thing–especially getting all 4 issues for only $1.


And that’s it for October. Here’s hoping November’s a good month! Hard to believe we’re nearing the end of 2018 already…but then, lately it’s hard to believe it’s 2018 when sometimes I feel like I still so clearly remember stuff from 1999, or 1998…that I was self-aware even 25+ years ago (and that all these years later, here I am still into comics as much or more than ever before!)

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The Weekly Haul: Week of July 25, 2018

This week was a fairly small week of new release comics for me…small enough that I "padded it out" a bit.

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The new issue of Action Comics–#1001–was a given, for me. It’s been 3 months coming, since the huge #1000 issue.

After looking forward to The Flash War for so long and even letting the title go for several months, I got back in for the (finally) actual story itself…which seemed too short. This #51 "epilogue" issue is a pleasant surprise-extension of the story.

And Mr. and Mrs. X is Marvel actually getting me with a concept I’m interested in–fially having Rogue and Gambit get to this point (one of my earliest X-Men comics was #24–the "date" issue with the two.

I quite enjoyed the X-Men: Grand Design issues from the turn of the year, and was rather disappointed at the long delay between those and the next ones. Time healed that particular "wound" and it was a pleasant surprise to find this one out this week. Unlike other $5.99 issues, these actually feel heavy and "special" and worth the price.

I hadn’t realized The Hellblazer was ending…but as with the end of the 300+ issue Vertigo run, I opted to snag this final issue "immediately" with the intent to fill in the gaps I have in the story via collected volumes, eventually/someday.

Because I was "curious" after stupidly "buying into" some hype over the Teen Titans Special several weeks ago, figured I might as well give this issue a shot and see if it actually goes anywhere interesting, or if IT is all-hype/etc.

And finally, because it actually reprints an issue I did not yet own and had never even read before, the True Believers issue reprinting What If..? #1 was a handy addition for only $1. (3 Marvel comics for $11…pretty darned cheap considering their usual prices!)

Still, it’s rather dismaying that even the DC titles were all $3.99. I’ll occasionally be ok with occasional higher-price-point issues–Grand Design being an excellent example–but certainly not as a routine, regular thing. And for me, Marvel has far too often "abused" the higher prices in my eyes, such that I was honestly somewhat surprised that Mr. and Mrs. X was "only" $3.99 for a #1 issue. (Which was another reason to support the title–NOT EVERY #1 NEEDS TO BE a $4.99+ giant-sized issue! And yet, I could argue that this one would be more deserving of a giant-size status. Reprint X-Men #24, and maybe some other key issue from the characters’ pasts. Reprint the Avengers Annual Rogue first appeared in, and Uncanny X-Men #266 with Gambit’s first appearance–juxtapose their first appearances with how far they’ve come. After all, this title is not MERELY "the next month’s issue" of a title with a #1 slapped on the cover…it’s truly a new status quo for the characters, it’s a new title we have not seen before, and so on. (As opposed to the fifth(?) Amazing Spider-Man #1 or the seventh(?) Captain America #1 in the last 20 years)

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What If..? Age of Apocalypse #1 [Review]

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Quick Rating: Above Average
Story Title: What If…Legion had Killed Xavier and Magneto?

Summary: Here we’re shown what might have happened had neither Xavier nor Magneto lived to oppose the rise of an age in which the evil mutant Apocalypse rose to rule the world…

whatifageofapocalypse001 Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Dave Wilkins
Colorist: Anthony Washington
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Production: Brad Johansen
Asst. Editor: Nathan Cosby
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Editor-In-Chief: Joe Quesada
Cover Art: Marko Djurdievic
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This holds a lot of potential–the original Age of Apocalypse remains one of my absolute favorite X-sagas, period. And seeing that world played with could be quite cool, taking the concept and pushing in another direction while remaining in the spirit of the original.

Unfortunately, while ripe with potential, this issue lacks the space to truly execute a high-level story re-doing that saga in the space of a single regular-sized comic.

We open with the Watcher informing us that in this reality that we are shown, both Xavier AND Magneto were killed by Legion (the original story saw only Xavier killed, with Magneto’s X-men opposing Apocalypse). The absence of both characters ushers in a different age of Apocalypse; we get a re-imagining of re-imagined characters. When the story kicks off, we see a band of mutants AND other heroes (Captain America, Thing, the "current" Dr. Strange, and so on) mount a final attack to preserve their haven–though one of them has ambition to go beyond merely surviving and seeks to change the whole of reality, despite warnings against messing with such business.

The story’s heart is in the right place, showing this alternate version of an alternate universe. It’s jam-packed with a lot of characters that, for lack of space to truly flesh them out, seem rather contrived and present for the "coolness factor" of showing them; there’s no room to really flesh them out and show where they came from, what brought them to this point.

The art seems rather sketchy, and at points characters seem to be out-of-proportion…This is no standard, clean-lined interpretation of the characters. While this would normally be a complaint with me, something about the context makes it work. The story takes place in a mucked-up world with little to BE bright, sun-shiny/happy about, and the characters can’t afford to be clean-cut "super-heroes" or such, and the visual style lends a certain edge that just works for the tone, allowing a bit of abstractness to get things across.

As with the Onslaught Reborn issue, the quantity of ads managed to annoy me and take me out of the story, and makes me wish all the more that I’d simply waited for the inevitable TPB of all this year’s What If..? issues to read without ads.

Given that this particular story delves back to the core of the Age of Apocalypse, it seems almost out-of-place amidst the others in this batch, taking on stories from the last 3 or so years. In and of itself, it’s an enjoyable enough read, though it feels like a pilot missing a series: I think something like this would have made for an interesting mini-series, giving more detail to the changes brought into the concept and setting things up; all the moreso for the "twist" ending.

You could certainly do better than this issue…but there’s a lot you could find that’s worse. If you’ve followed most of the stories this batch of What Ifs spring from, you might enjoy a collected version more than the singles.

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

What If..? Fallen Son #1 [Review]

What If? Fallen Son: What If… Iron Man Had Died?

Writers: Marc Sumerak
Artist: Trevor Goring
Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Production: Joe Sabino
Assistant Editor: Jordan D. White
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Cover: Ed McGuinness
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This issue derives its story from the intent of answering the question “What if Iron Man had died [instead of Captain America]?” Opening with a recap of events we already know–the heroes’ Civil War, Captain America’s surrender, the bullets on the courthouse stairs–we see the outcome of the trial and where events could have gone had Cap not been assassinated. It is then that Tony Stark falls to events also tied back to the heroes’ war, and we see the world deal with Stark’s death, with snippets we get to check in on tied to the stages of grief. Without Stark to keep things moving as he’d tried, we see that certain more recent events are likely to have played out much differently.

While an interesting concept, I found this issue to be rather weak. I don’t know if that is the writing, or simply the amount of space to play with. We lose several pages to moving events forward without Cap’s death to get to Tony’s…and THEN cram in elements to tie to each of the grief stages, which makes things feel rather forced. Additionally, it seems that one ought to be up to date on subsequent Marvel events to fully appreciate certain moments here to fully appreciate the depth of this story’s events.

The art’s not bad, though not wonderful; it does the job and fits the story.

In addition to the main story, we’re treated to a brief story segment detailing the answer to the question “What if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?” (Written by C.B. Cebulski, Penciled by Patrick Spaziante, Inks by Victor Olazaba, Colors by John Rauch, Letters by Jeff Powell, Production by Joe Sabino, Assistant Editor Michael Horwitz, Associate Editor Chris Allo and Editor Justin Gabrie)

This is a four-page story segment; I don’t have the context nor the interest in it, and would have preferred the few extra pages to have been available to the main story. The art here is not bad, but the story seems a complete waste without having the earlier chapter and not having (nor intending to get) the later chapters. If this story is really worth telling, it should have gotten its own issue and not simply be broken across however many of the What If? issues we have this year.

For me, this issue was a real disappointment, only really redeemed by the fact that against general trend, it is a mere $2.99 cover price, so at least I didn’t waste my money on the new “in” price of $3.99.

Story: 5/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 5.5/10

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