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The Weekend Haul: Weekend of November 2, 2019

This past weekend yielded an interesting haul. It started with the Akron Comicon.

I believe the first time I’d attended the Akron Comicon was in 2012. I got to meet Norm Breyfogle, Mike W. Barr, and a couple other creators. Along with meeting them, I got copies of Prime #s 1, 11 and the Prime Time TPB along with Detective Comics #604 (my first-ever issue of the title) signed by Breyfogle. I got Mantra #1 and my Batman: Year Two collected volume signed by Barr.

In 2013, I went again, and got to meet Jon Bogdanove and got Superman: The Man of Steel #1 signed.

I don’t think I made it back again until 2018.

And now 2019.

Which proved to be quite a disappointment for me. Two creators in particular I’d looked forward to seeing at the show had to back out. Additionally, the "guest of honor" (I think that’s MY phrasing, not the official show-phrasing) was an old Cleveland, OH-area tv host from the 1980s–predating MY experiences in 1988-onward–so I had zero interest in his presence at the show as I obviously had no nostalgia/connection whatsoever.

The show was at yet another "new location," this time in Cuyahoga Falls–just outside of Akron proper. Certainly some quibbles on the name of the show tying to location and such, but whatever. Prior to arrival, I was picturing this rather small (for a convention) location from a friend’s wedding I attended years ago. My primary concern was parking. I cannot speak to the parking situation after Noon or so, as I actually got to the show around 11 or a little before. (I was leaving the parking lot shortly after Noon and there were a few open spots). But it seemed to me a rather small amount of parking for a show expecting a lot of people. I was burned a couple years ago by a different local show on the parking, which has made "parking" a #1 concern for me with plans to attend any convention.

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I had no trouble getting into the show. I essentially followed a couple in, following signage. I was rather surprised to find no line (having had a pretty good wait to get into the Hall of Fame City Comic Con a few weeks ago). Someone with a scanning rod or whatever those things are called–hand-held metal-detector scanners–was checking everyone on the way in. No problem there–just a few seconds, non-invasive, though I was momentarily worried that stuff on one of my carabiners would set it off. No issues, though. I was directed to a table where there seemed to be several stations–picking up pre-ordered tickets, buying tickets with cash, and using a card. I was using cash, so once I realized the stations, had no further wait.

I was then directed to another table for a "swag bag" (I got the term from the bag itself, I don’t recall exactly what was said to me–I was by then already getting some low-level anxiety from being in an enclosed, densely-populated space). A table had several posters I was going to look at, but I saw (volunteers?) putting them into bags and was handed a bag of my own, so I thanked the worker and went on in to get out of the entranceway foot-traffic. After the show when I inspected this "swag bag" I discovered two Netflix She-Ra posters…and a double-sided 5.5" x 8.5" flyer for some sort of bowling and/or restaurant. Nothing comic-related. Nothing listing comic shops in the area, nothing offering a show-floor layout or vendor list, no random trinkets or promo cards for geek/gaming/comic/hobby/etc stuff. If it was merely a "courtesy bag" (cuz hey, how many people necessarily think to bring bags in with them to hold stuff they buy?) that’d be one thing. As a "swag bag" it was almost insulting. BUT as I wasn’t there for any Akron Comicon items, no big deal.

I was primarily on the hunt for:

  • Uncanny X-Men #141 for $30 or less
  • Uncanny X-Men #350 "regular" cover (non-shiny) for under $10
  • X-Men #45 for ideally $4 or less
  • Wolverine #145 "shiny" cover for under $10
  • Spectacular Spider-Man #200 (for under $5)
  • Spawn issues for under $5 each

I did see a Marvel Legends reprint-edition of Uncanny X-Men #141 for $2.50 that I passed on (I have it already, somewhere, and we just had a $1 True Believers reprint in the last couple weeks, if I wanted anything other than the original). I did see a couple of "wall books" instances but as I’m just looking for low-grade $30 or less, I’m not interested in the $100+ wall-book copies.

I did find the Uncanny X-Men #350 regular edition, and it was only $5…so there was some definite satisfaction in that! The same dealer also had X-Men #45, also for $5; I figured for the convenience of taking it off my mental list and not having to hunt, it was worth the "premium." Plus I was able to simply hand over the $10 I got back from my admission $20.

Another dealer actually had Wolverine #145…albeit the NON-shiny version that I got 20 years ago. I’m interested in getting the "shiny" version since I was not able to get it back then. But for the nostalgia and such, and already having a sinking feeling on the convention, I was shifting into the mindset of wanting to at least buy enough to "justify" my $10 admission…so, $6 for that. Not exactly a waste as it’s a convenience copy now of a key (to me) issue AND it’s no worse than some modern $5.99 comic that I would not appreciate the way I do this one.

Finally, Another dealer had Spectacular Spider-Man #200 for $4.50; but he gave it to me for $4 since he didn’t have change (a pleasant surprise, and I thanked him for the discount!).

I browsed the dealers that had comics; I think I saw two with Spawn issues; but as "usual" they were early (pre-26) and/or 290+ with nothing I was missing between 62-256. I did find a couple with some TMNT comics, but of course they were IDW series or the IDW reprints for the most part; several Mirage issues but no prices and I figured I’d go back to them after I’d had a look around the rest of the show floor.

But I quickly had my fill of the place, and with other stuff planned, decided to cut my "losses" and just leave, rather than get to where I myself felt like I was wasting money on buying stuff and just accept the "loss" of "admission."

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I then went to Kenmore Komics and picked up some stuff; chief being Hope #5 (of 6).

I’d completely forgotten I was intending to look for Uncanny X-Men #325 along with 350 and the X-Men #45, but located it here, and for the same $5 I’d paid for the latter, so well worthwhile.

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I also found 5 Spawn issues for $4 apiece (so no worse than buying 5 random modern comics) to continue to close up the holes in my first-100 issues of the series; I’m now 12 issues away from having 1-100!

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Continuing my journey for the day, I headed to Hazel’s Heroes, which I knew thanks to Facebook was having a "Not at Comicon" sale. Unfortunately, by this point nature was calling, so I ducked into a Marc’s in the same plaza to use the restroom. While in the store I found this Justice League Chibis Complete Set for a whopping $3.99. Considering I’d paid half that a few years ago for a single packet with 3 of these, on that pricing it was well worth buying this set to get the rest. I’m quite certain I got Green Arrow and Superman from that packet and can’t remember the 3rd (Cyborg, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, or Batman, probably). I’m a sucker for Robin stuff, and while throwing money away for the day…why not?

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Once into Hazel’s Heroes, I found a treasure-trove of old Wizard issues for $1 apiece as well as some fairly beaten-up copies of tpbs for $1. Thankfully, I’d recently gotten rough photos of my Wizard shelves and was able to zoom in to the spines to see what issues were not presently…present. Though several are issues I know darned well I SHOULD have…they weren’t on the shelf when I took the photos, and for "only" $1 and rarely if ever coming across Wizard in bargain and/or back-issue bins…I snagged these.

Also for "only" $1, grabbed the Dawn of the Age of Apocalypse and the Twilight of the Age of Apocalypse books. These are the original editions from back in 1995 or so, and rather inferior books at this point. But I’m mildly interested in getting a complete set eventually, and as these fall out of apparent favor with newer, fatter editions, I’m not at all opposed to grabbing them for $1 each!

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Then for general back-issues, the sale was something like comics up to $8.99 were $1, $9-something was $3, and so on.

I found the TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #2 which leaves me only missing the first issue of the mini from having the complete mini-series; and 5 or so of the quarterly "special" issues from the series.

I snagged a couple of the Uncanny X-Men issues from just before #350, thinking a re-read of those might go well with a re-read of #350 itself. I didn’t factor in having several more issues handy or not, so it leaves me still "missing" several for these "convenience copy duplicates." Perhaps I’ll just leave those for Marvel Unlimited.

Since they were functionally $1-books, grabbed a few more X-issues for the heckuvit/with meaning to me.

And as one of "those" issues I like getting just to get, a couple more of the deluxe edition of 1991’s X-Men #1 with the gatefold 4-part single cover. I still intend to eventually frame a couple copies of the covers–the exterior as the large 4-part image; and the interior cover is its own vertical 4-panel poster.

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I also got another copy of the Image Firsts edition of Spawn #1–I’m suck a sucker for that cover image!–as well as the DC Dollar Comics Superman #75 (for what the issue is, I’m happy to buy multiples. Plus, then I have copies to give to (a) friend(s)!) Also got another copy of The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. and Dastardly Dirk #1 for a friend.


I spent slightly more at Hazel’s Heroes than I did the convention, and I got a LOT MORE value out of it.

And I spent as much solely on Spawn at Kenmore as I did at the convention, where no one at the convention had issues of the title I needed.

I’m happy enough, really, with what I got at the convention…but that $10 admission brought the average price of the issues up to $7.50 apiece, essentially…and with a bit of shuffling on how much for which issue I probably would have been better (or just as well) served ordering the issues online and sticking to the comic shops.

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The Weekend Haul – Weekend of June 16-18

Over the weekend, I headed down to Kenmore to pick up stuff that’s been pulled the last couple weeks.

Having learned of a sale at another shop–Hazel’s Heroes–and being much closer to it already being down that far south, I ventured a bit off my usual trail to check out the shop, AND the sale. I was loosely aware of the general region of the shop…I’d just never (since becoming aware of the shop’s existence) had the time while down that way to check it out.

I wasn’t sure going in what the sale itself would be, but the Facebook post indicated it was a "big" sale, and with my present (and likely about to fizzle out) hunt for Trial of the Flash-era issues of the silver/bronze age The Flash series, I was all the more interested, as a sale would bring even too-highly priced issues into a reasonable range, or so I figured.

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While I doubt I’ll ever get the whole series, being aware of the Blue Ribbon Digest series, I’ve found I’m interested in those when I find them for a good price. As this sale was, I believe I got both of these for about $1/each.

Pretty sure the same on the TMNT novels. (Beaten to heck, but for the price, well worthwhile for the moment!) The Six-Guns and Shurikens book and Red Herrings I remember reading as a kid. The Donatello: The Radical Robot is one I don’t remember (and apparently there are others for each of the turtles along with Donatello!).

Gotta say…for me, the better value by far is these five books for $5, over, say, Darth Vader #1 (had a #1 in 2015, and now already again in 2017..!).

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The way the sale was structured, the $12 Power of Warlock cost me $5 (again, which is the better value: that or a book that just came out this week?) while the other Power of Warlock issue matched the price of a DC Rebirth issue.

The Tales of the TMNT #5 (original run), Batman and the Outsiders #1, and Robin (original mini-series) #1 cost me a whopping $1/each!

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The Booster Gold issues also all only cost me $1. I mentally kicked myself when I realized for the pricing I missed grabbing #s 0 and One Million; fortunately, I shouldn’t have much issue finding my #0 from my Zero Hour stuff last year, and already found my One Million from last October. The #1 was a "convenience" copy (and for $1, even, beautiful piece!).

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Then, I noticed some boxes of magazines before I could check out. My curiosity got me, and on investigating, found that there was quite a run of old Wizard magazines! Fortunately, despite thinking it wouldn’t even matter, I’d taken a couple photos of my Wizard shelf in lieu of writing down missing numbers. So, I was able to pull something like 25-26 issues to fill in gaps in my existing run of the magazine…plus several issues that I just want a poster out of and for the price, no sense passing them up–these all had an older $3 sticker on them, with a newer $1 sticker.

Since the sale was that stuff up to $5.99 was $1, I expected I was just gonna be paying $1 per Wizard…but the store owner gave me the stack for 50 cents an issue!

So all told, for roughly the price of 9 standard, modern Marvel issues, I got 30 issues of Wizard, most of which fill in gaps in my existing collection (rather than just cheap duplicates), a couple of old Power of Warlock issues, three TMNT books I haven’t seen available anywhere in over 20 years, a couple of (relatively rare) Blue Ribbon Digests, and a few other issues!

Sure beats the heck outta most conventions!


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Finally, while I was at Kenmore, on a whim, I made a non-comics purchase: a Batman bust bank of the Adam West Batman. A bit more than I might’ve wanted to pay, and DEFINITELY a shame that it took the man’s death last weekend to remind me how much I do actually appreciate his Batman and all that. But I was interested, and opted to get this since it was NOT any kind of "special order" or such, and not a case of anyone profiting off Adam West‘s death! (As, sadly, I suspect Batman ’66 stuff may soon be).

Halloween Comic Con 2016: The Convention Haul

Over the weekend, I had a chance to get to a quasi-local (for me) convention–Halloween Comic Con, hosted by The Pop Shop in Sandusky, Ohio.

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Prior to even going to the event itself, a friend gave me a few things he’d had for me, including a couple of Ultimatum hardcovers he’d picked up for me some time back!

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The main Ultimatum volume has Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum itself…unfortunately, does not have the Annuals that were collected in the March on Ultimatum regular-sized hardcover. The Ultimatum Companion includes tie-in issues in the run-up to, during, and after the event for Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, and Ultimate Fantastic Four; it also includes the Requiem issues for those titles.

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All in all, a couple of excellent oversized volumes for the Ultimate collection, and they’re very much the sort of collections I absolutely love: One volume for the “main” event itself and anything “core” to it…then a “companion” volume with the various tie-ins and such! Great package…

Then we get to the actual convention stuff…

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Free with admission we got this Soulfire Collected Edition volume. Nothing overly special (to me), but as a freebie…not bad at all!

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This Superman figure worked out to roughly $4…the price of a single Marvel comic…yet it’s something that generally would be basically a $20 item. Anyone can say what they will about Superman…but me? $4 for a full-size figure like this is something I’m quite game for! (And someday soon I may have to post a photo of my Superman shelf…)

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Unfortunately, none of the other figures in this wave were present… I’m not a huge fan of this version of Wonder Woman, but Flash, Green Lantern, or especially the Captain Marvel figure would also have been great scores!

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I initially made a mental note of the Hawk and Dove figures, though didn’t spring for them right away. Once I’d had a chance to wander the tables, and we were about to leave, I doubled back to check, telling myself they were a set. I would buy both if they were both still present, leaving whichever one was there if someone had already bought the other. Needless to say…they were both still there, and I snagged ’em.

Neither figure is that remarkable or interesting to me on their own…but the two of them, together, are really freaking cool to me!

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The Superman figure above and these four volumes were part of a $5/ea or 5/$20 deal. There’s a whole bunch of Superman paperbacks I’d like to own, but not enough to pay much for. At the same cost as a Marvel comic, though…I’m quite willing!

The Resurrection Man volume “rounded out” the deal, and for the price and having 14-ish issues (from the original 1990s run), not bad at all!

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Moving on into stuff, I snagged a 2nd copy of Superman #s 150 and 166 with the extra-shiny-ness thing going on. For the price, I was sucked in with the shinyness and the relative rarity…as in this is only the second time I can think of that I’ve seen this version of #150; and my original copy of 166 suffered some unfortunate rolling/bending years back being in the back of a longbox. For under $2/ea, glad to double-up!

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For “50 cents each or 5/$2,” I added an extra copy of the Superman: Save the Planet! special to the other four issues that had my attention.

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While I’d made sure ahead of this convention that I had my Ultraverse and TMNT comics sorted and missing issues logged…I neglected to log my stack of DC One Million issues…and unwilling to spend the extra $1 or 50 cents or whatever they would work out to on yet more doubles of those, I probably passed on a simple score of wrapping up my set of DC One Million.

That said…I snagged the DC One Million 80-Page Giant as well as what I hope is only a 2-part DC Two Thousand. I’d hoped for Flash: Terminal Velocity (the run-up to #100) but the stock skipped from the early 50s to the 120s…I settled for the four-part Born to Run story, as I couldn’t remember if I had the single issues or not.

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For basically $2 apiece, got Shade the Changing Man #1 and the Prime versus The Incredible Hulk. The former to compare/contrast with the new Young Animal iteration (Shade the Changing Girl) and the latter because hey, that’s a great price for an issue like this! (remember it, as this comes into play a bit later!)

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I believe I dug the Wild Dog and Uncanny X-Men issues out of a $1 bin. Hearing the character will be apparently playing a role in this season of Arrow and the surprise reference in another title recently, I figure I’d be glad to have this issue (unfortunately, they did not have the other issues of the series). And with the rumour of stuff for the upcoming Logan film (aka Wolverine III), I wanted to be sure to snag Uncanny X-Men 229 before it pulls a 266 in pricing on me!

(As an aside: if anyone has or could get me a copy of 226 in the $10ish range up to $20, I’d love to talk!)

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For the price of a single Marvel comic, I “upgraded” Aquaman #1 from a beat up copy to a nice copy…and filled out my Peter David run to now having a full run of #0 & 1-48! This includes “the” key issue–#2–where Arthur loses the hand…and I danced a fine line taking these photos between not actually sitting to read #s 1-3 and 0 and skimming through #2 and #0 in particular!  I remember when this series started, as well as noting Aquaman’s appearance in Zero Hour itself (see my 2016 Zero Hour Revisited posts), but had never gotten into/kept up with the series, to my later regret. Gladly, with ’90s comics being so (financially) cheap, I’ve embraced being able to catch up at a fraction of even the original cover price cost!

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My friend and I found a table with a huge selection of ’90s 25-cent comics. The listed deal was something like 25 cents each, so many for $2, or fill a USPS priority box for something…he saw us both amassing a decent stack, and made us a deal to go in one one together…so sharing the cost, we proceeded to grab some extra issues we’d passed on…and filled a box. Lotta cool/fun stuff…especially for less than 25 cents apiece!

I have (somewhere) a couple issues of the X-Men Archives, and apparently grabbed 5 of the 6 here. My friend pointed out the Magic: The Gathering issue…in a bag and board, it felt extra-thick, so I snagged it for curiosity of the thickness (turned out it included a copy of the Acclaim Comics preview I’ll reference below).

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Nothing really screams “’90s!” to me like these covers (and a handful of others from Image in 1992-1994). The ’90s get a bad rap, and to me, I’d say that a lot of what I think people really think of in the negative can be best referenced with early Image books moreso than stuff that leaked into DC and Marvel (as I obviously have an incredible fondness for the decade when it comes to comics!)

I also get a certain “satisfaction” out of scoring the “hot Image #1s!” of the early ’90s for a mere 25 (or less!) cents apiece.

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gen13_pricing_wizard_52And speaking of…Gen13. I pretty clearly remember this issue being one of THE “hot” issues of its time…to the point that I now probably have bought 5 or 6 copies for 25 cents each just to retroactively stick my tongue out (figuratively) at all the people who may’ve paid $20, $30, even $40ish for a copy of the thing!

Continue reading

Showing off the New Wizard Shelf

I added a new bookcase to my room this week as part of a new effort to re-organize and move away from the “piles” that have accumulated a bit since the last thorough cleaning.

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And I’ve decided once again to let the Wizard library have a shelf, where presently my entire Wizard run fits entirely onto a single shelf. While it’s not a COMPLETE run…it’s still a pretty lengthy run.

What’s pictured above spans issues 1-171 of the magazine’s history, and includes several “specials” published outside the regular numbering as well.

I may have mixed feelings on Wizard, but there’s no denying that it’s a bit of a time capsule and “slice of the moment” to flip back through old issues, see the various covers, and so on.

Random Promo-ish comics

I recently bought a longbox of mostly X-books, which proved to be a significant step toward shoring up gaps in my 1990s’ X-books runs. I also snagged some promo-type comics.

Pretty sure I have the Bravura issue somewhere, and I think I found the Deathmate and Comics’ Greatest World Advance Comics editions this summer, but skinny as these were, grabbed them while I was filling the longbox.

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I do kinda miss this sort of thing; and while I get sick and tired of the 3-7 page “previews” of comics in the backs of current issues, I wouldn’t mind a skinny preview issue every week or couple weeks…at least then it’d feel like its own thing, and I could read it (or not) without being fooled at the length of the issue.

Whatever else there is to say about Wizard…I often enjoyed the #0 issues (and even the send-away #1/2 issues).

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The Defiant issue caught my attention–I may have read an issue of Warriors of Plasm, but mostly Defiant‘s caught my attention this summer as I’ve learned more about 1990s Valiant; figured learning of the comic universe’s origin can’t do much harm.

I also kinda miss these Ashcan comics, though I grabbed these since I was filling a longbox and their space is negligible.

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One of these days I’m going to have to read up on X. Other than the Will to Power weekly $1 mini the one summer, Xwas the main Comics’ Greatest World character I was actually interested in.

Fall of the Hulks: Alpha [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Meeting of the Minds

The Leader and his group of intellectual villains work behind the scenes through Marvel’s history to assemble the lost knowledge of the Library of Alexandria.

fallofthehulksalphaWriter: Jeff Parker
Penciler: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorists: Guru eFX
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover: Ed McGuinness, Mark Farmer, Dave Stewart
Production: Irene Y. Lee
Assistant Editor: Jordan D. White
Associate Editor: Nathan Cosby
Senior Editor: Mark Paniccia
Published by: Marvel Comics

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this issue, except perhaps a jumping-on point in preparation for the coming Fall of the Hulks "event." What I did not expect was what seems to essentially be an "Illuminati" of intellectual Marvel villains and their "backstory" throughout Marvel’s past.

This issue basically follows The Leader, M.O.D.O.K., Egghead, The Wizard, The Mad Thinker, The Red Ghost, and Dr. Doom as they assemble the contents of the formerly-believed-lost contents of the Library of Alexandria through the years. Their first mission is an incursion into the home of the Eternals. Here the protagonists discover there are other locations around the planet with further Alexandrian contents, including Wakanda and Atlantis. Bucking the silver Age trend of simplicity, here we see that it takes months and years for the protagonists to prepare to actually launch a mission to gain the knowledge they’re after, as well as the explanation that allows for what we’ve already seen in the last half-decade of continuity regarding these characters. As the issue closes out, we get some info regarding the Red Hulk, which actually intrigues me after never before this having any interest in even the concept of that character.

The story is pretty good in and of itself. It’s not spectacular, and I’m not a huge fan of retcons…but for my understanding of things, the backstory that is here inserted into existing continuity seems to work. Additionally, I feel like I have a better understanding of who The Leader and The Red Ghost are now than I ever did before.
The art is also quite solid…while keeping its own feel, it also evokes some of the feeling of the different eras the story touches upon.

Though I came to the issue familiar with little more than the characters’ names and visual representations (excepting Dr. Doom), everyone was quite recognizable, and I really enjoyed the visuals.
Even though I’ve not followed the Hulk side of the Marvel Universe since World War Hulk ended, I still really enjoyed this issue and found that I didn’t need to know recent events. I’ve often enjoyed stories that flesh out villain characters and give them depth and motivation, and true explanation for why they would door act as they do, and this is one such issue.

I expect this is little more than set-up in the grand scheme of things, but if you want a Leader story involving a teaming-up of supervillains (including death and betrayal) reminiscent of 1980s stories but with a modern feel, this is a great issue for that.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Fall of the wizard

Well…that sucks.

Wizard Magazine really seemed to go downhill the last few years. But it seemed like the sort of thing that would stick around, anyway.

But as of today, Wizard as it was known…is no more.

Goodbye, another chapter of childhood.

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