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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of February 8th & 15th, 2017

This week was not a tiny week, nor a huge week…but did have one issue in particular I’ve been looking forward to for awhile, another I was curious about and bought grudgingly despite variant covers. Plus some extras, and an Image vol. 1.

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I’ve been anticipating Super Sons for several months now, and though somewhat initially disappointed at it not being out last fall, was glad for time to be given to letting the characters/situation develop a bit more before rushing the title out. And I’m curious about The Wildstorm, but nearly passed on the first issue entirely due to no less than three apparently "equal ratio" variant covers, none of which seemed necessarily "iconic" or recognizeable. Then there’s the regular Superman issue; the fun Batman/TMNT Adventures, giving the second issue of God Country a chance, and not about to pass up a 25-cent issue (Invincible).

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On Tuesday, taking Carol & John’s up on their Feb. 14th promotion, I stopped in, and wound up purchasing the most recent Hellblazer volume. For my "prize," I got to choose five Marvel single issues. Figured I’d give the first couple a shot; the Star Wars Annual seemed an especially good "value" for being "free," and though I"d let the series go, I’m not opposed to "completing" a run of the short-lived X-Men ’92 series (now only missing 4 issues or so).

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And though I’d somewhat intended to buy the first paperback of the current Action Comics run, Superman: Path of Doom…flipping through the volume, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. $17 for 6 issues I already have, the first issue in print and digital, and handy. Plus, no bonus content, no "introduction" or "afterward" or such…just another 6-issue "graphic novel."

So I opted to snag Seven to Eternity vol. 1…same or larger thickness, and $7 cheaper.

Since I didn’t get around to posting it last week with rushing my All New Fathom #1 review, and the original got bumped for timing this week, below is my Weekly Haul post of stuff from from last week.

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Showing off the Shelves: X-Men January 2017

Today, I’m showing off my current X-Men shelf configuration, with some volumes "weeded out" for present, possibly permanently, or to be added back in once I expand my shelving, which my collection has pretty much outgrown at the moment.

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One of my earliest collected volumes ever was that original The Essential Uncanny X-Men 1 that I bought right before leaving for college back in 1999. Obviously, my X-collection has grown significantly in the last 17 1/2 to 18 years!

I have stuff largely in chronological–or near-chronological–order, moving through the franchise’s history, with this first shelf pretty much covering 1963-1994-ish.

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Picking up in 1995, this second shelf pretty much takes us through the later ’90s, early 2000s, Morrison, Whedon, and up to 2010 or so.

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And moving beyond Second Coming and the Fraction run, a bunch of the miscellaneous/skinnier volumes taper off the X-Men proper, and get into other stuff…primarily Wolverine and X-Factor.

Of course, with Marvel discontinuing the Essential line in favor of the Epic line, I may eventually be swappign out some of the Wolverine and X-Factor stuff, or pay inflated prices to fill the Wolverine run in. Time will tell!

The X-books are–next to Superman–the most significant part of my entire collection, and certainly out-do the rest of my Marvel collection; while not exact, I’d say these account for at least 35% of my entire Marvel collection.

Impressive as they can be…knowing the "gaps" in content from the various X-Men oversized hardcovers and omnibus volumes…I find it kinda hard to imagine sticking just to the omnibus/OHC format…there’s so much more to be had by combining the formats. That said…I’d be interested in the Inferno and Inferno Crossovers volumes if I could get them relatively cheaply…though more immediately I’ll probably be content to just get the paperbacks as those’ll be much cheaper, period, and there are several other paperbacks that I want that do not (to my knowledge) have hardcover counterparts…including several Gambit volumes!

But that all gets off on other topics (like "wishlists")…

The First Mega-Haul of 2017

This past weekend saw my first "mega-haul" of the year, with a combination of Half-Price Books and a trip to the main comic shop, with freshly-stocked bargain-bins!

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At HPB, I snagged the long-outta-print trade-paperback-sized paperback edition of Batman: Knightfall. This is the Barnes and Noble "exclusive," which makes it all the more "rare" with ALSO being "out of print"…yet the thing was priced at a mere $8…HARDLY a "collectible" price for a book in such great condition all these years later! So much for consistency, I guess…their loss, my gain!

I also snagged the Alien: The Illustrated Story because it’s…well, Aliens. I’m a sucker for this stuff, and while I am thinking there’s a more deluxe/hardcover type edition of this available, for the price and being in-hand, I didn’t want to pass this up.

And finally, since I (thankfully) had "inventory" photos of my phone, I was able to determine that I did NOT yet own Dark Victory (It’s Long Halloween and Haunted Knight that I already owned)…and since I’ve intended to complete the "trilogy" for ages now, I figured I’d get that marked off the list.

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At the comic shop, there was a shortbox of TPBs marked 80% off. I was flat-out astonished to find this Superman: Eradication! volume…honestly did a double-take, and checked my ‘inventory’ to make sure I wasn’t crossing this with something else. But sure enough…this truly is the book I’ve been wanting for ages now, and unable to find for a reasonable price anywhere–in person OR online. And then just because it’s Dan Jurgens, Booster Gold, and at 80% off, the price of a single-issue of a current Rebirth DC comic, I also snagged the JLI vol. 1 paperback.

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I also got the latest issue of Spawn (pull list!), which I think puts me at about a full year of having the title on my pull list…a feat the title has never before done!

The TMNT issue I actually picked up at Toys R Us…it was some sort of Mega Bloks promotional issue that I’d been unaware of. Disgustingly, even this has a variant cover (I only saw this "regular" cover available, happily–I’d’ve been highly annoyed to ONLY be ABLE to get the VARIANT). Ridiculously-priced for what it is…but something about it struck me as something that would gnaw away at me if I did not get it, knowing it existed and I could get it FOR the same "cover price" as any other TMNT issue from IDW.

And then we get into the 25-cent bin haul, after the cut…

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Unplanned Books-A-Million Clearance Purchases 11/3

Thursday evening, I found myself at a Books-A-Million for the first time in quite awhile. Where I’d figured maybe I would find a cheap book or a comic frame…I didn’t expect to find a giant stack of books that had my interest for the price.

I eventually pared a stack of about a dozen books down to three:

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I got all three books for the price of 5 standard Marvel issues and a True Believers issue.

I was disappointed that Captain America and the Falcon by Priest that I found in the clearance section was not actually on (discounted) sale. And while they had a bunch of the Secret Wars (2015) skinny volumes for $4.97 apiece, they weren’t the greatest condition nor interest to me. I absolutely would have gotten the Age of Apocalypse one if that’d been there for that price, though!

The Wolverine volume is Wolverine; and collects a few issues from the latter part of The Essential Wolverine vol. 5 and the earlier issues from The Essential Wolverine vol. 6…but in full color. I quite like the Essentials line, but for this period of the title, the black and white/graytone effect gets very muddy and doesn’t work nearly as well, so getting this run in this format is very cool. All the moreso for the price!

The Avengers: Scarlet Witch fits thematically with my Avengers: Quicksilver volume. And I’ve been interested in reading Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl for awhile, especially since getting/watching the first season of the tv show last year (though I’ve yet to be able to see the second/final season).

It’s amazing, though, to consider just how highly-priced most Marvel volumes are, such that I virtually never buy any at "full price," because that price is just not worth it to me; while DC has had a number of volumes that I’m willing to pay full price for (even though I’d prefer cheaper means!)

New "Old" MiniMates: Wolverine and Sabretooth

I’m definitely a fan of miniature figures of favorite characters. Tonight while checking a local Barnes and Noble for the squarebound edition of DC Universe: Rebirth, I spotted a huge clearance table…and ultimately settled on a couple things.

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I have not much cared for the newer iterations of the costumes for Wolverine or Sabretooth…I’m very much rooted in their early-1990s appearance, as depicted on the X-Men animated series. While there may be slight differences in details, I’m quite happy with this pack.

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I’d forgotten that MiniMates come with stands…I’ll definitely need to utilize them to display these guys at work. They barely balanced for this photo, and would topple if a slight breeze hit them, it seems.

For $5…I’m quite happy with ’em…even though they were not something I’d set out to locate/purchase.

Fantastic Friday Find – Spidey & Wolverine

On a whim, I stopped by a Half-Price Books…where despite extreme frustration with their pricing for comics I decided to flip through a few. This issue stood out immediately, and out of simple curiosity, I pulled it to see what exorbitant amount they wanted for it, given their other ridiculous prices on single-issues.

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The price sticker read $1.50. I looked closer to make sure I wasn’t misreading a 7…but yeah, it was $1.50. A whole dollar under cover price, less than half the cost of a contemporary Marvel, yet this issue is nearly 30 years old.

I’ve been aware of this issue for more than twenty years: it’s an issue a friend and I discovered in 1992 or 1993, but weren’t able to get as we couldn’t find it anywhere for a reasonable price.

It had actually come back to mind for me recently as an issue to specifically look for…but this saved me the hunt, and was significantly cheaper than the up-to-$10 I otherwise would have been willing to spend.

Though I’m excited to finally get to read this, I do have a couple other reading projects ahead of it…but just having this issue after all these years is fantastic!

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: Weapon X #4

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weaponx004Into the Maelstrom!

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Cover: Adam Kubert, Dan Green
Editor: Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: June 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

Weapon X and Emma Frost open the issue, showing Gateway a holographic projection of North America…the destruction, the death, the whole mess–as they seek to convince him to lead the humans’ armada to Apocalypse’s door. Though counter-intuitive, it ends up being Logan’s in-your-face attitude that ultimately convinces him–not the images of Apocalypse’s atrocities. Moving to the armada, as things get underway they’re attacked by Pierce, who has also alerted Apocalypse’s forces of the coming assault. Pierce is surprised by a trick not exactly up Logan’s sleeve that allows him to save Gateway…who in turn tries one last gambit to get the Armada where it’s headed.

I’d previously "written off" the events of X-Universe as being entirely tangential to stuff and unimportant…the references it gets in this issue shows–at least–that effort is being made to have it matter, and I suppose it actually does, just not in any essential way. Much of this issue is "action," mixed with some foreshadowing. Though the scene with Apocalypse leaving Magneto’s interrogation and showing off a gene-tank to his minion adds context for Carol’s appearance, explains a fatal flaw in Apocalypse (he could easily stop the armada but chooses to allow things to play out just for the entertainment, justifying it that if he WOULD actually be brought down, hey–"survival of the fittest" and all that) and fills a couple pages.

I do feel somewhat disappointed in this issue–I think I feel like while we’ve SEEN a lot of Weapon X here, we haven’t really gotten to KNOW the character. There’s plenty of posturing, but for me at least, I "hear" and see WOLVERINE more than I do this character. Sure, semantics and all, this IS the Wolverine of the AoA reality and all, but the character serves more as "just another character" amidst the Human High Council and such. There’s something to be said of the character not only being capable of but actually working as part of a team, serving as an "agent" of (in this case, the Human High Council) and whatnot…but in retrospect it seems like Logan’s been a small player in his own title.

I like the visuals of the issue overall. I don’t quite "get" visually that Logan’s arm is all that damaged, and while I appreciate that he IS shot on-panel, it looks a bit "convenient" in a sense, like a box being checked. Otherwise, no real complaints on the art, outside of the usual–I don’t like the sideways double-page spreads, as turning a page and then realizing I have to further physically rotate the way I’m holding the comic itself is a huge distraction.

This issue is definitely a product of its time–the 1990s–both hokey and "fitting." Logan chomping a cigar, the various characters’ posturing and recklessness just to show how "cool" they are, etc. Still, it makes for an issue that feels like that bit in a movie where you realize that what’s come before is about to fall by the wayside for the climactic stuff that’ll end the whole thing and leave you barely remembering the story from the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the story thus far.

Had this been a contemporary series, I would not be surprised if Logan would have interacted with characters in X-Universe, as some of that stuff could have been folded together, this series’ chunk of story having such a huge involvement of the HHC. Weapon X doesn’t really tie much up, outside of Pierce being removed from the equation…but where we leave off here has a huge impact, if I’m correctly recalling, on the events that unfold in X-Men: Omega.

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