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Plush Poké-Buddies

I now have three of my favorite Pokémon characters as plushies!

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Eevee has got to be the cutest, most adorable critter of ’em all! While I like most of the "Eeveelutions" as well, this little furball’s top of the pile.

And Litten was my chosen starter for Pokémon: Sun, decided as soon as I saw (my) first "spoiler" image of what the three would be…despite some significant disappointment over not receiving a "pre-order with us and get this bonus poster!" poster from Gamestop (an employee insisted they were only for people who had pre-ordered BOTH Sun and Moon), I still wound up (at a different store!) snagging the plush Litten the next day.

And finally, closing out 2016, I came across the plush Snorlax, which fits as one of my other primary characters in Sun, that has been on my core roster without fail as the other five slots have seen a rotation.

Plushies, (in)action figures, a Nintendo 2DS, Omega Ruby, Sun, and X can really all be traced back to Pokemon Go for me, rekindling the dormant Pokémon interest back in early July.

Another X Book

x2013000I remember 1993 or so–Dark Horse launched their Comics’ Greatest World 16-week event. 16 weeks, 16 books, $16. At the time, many new comics were in the $1.50-$2 range, so even then $1 was a bargain of sorts.

This event introduced a bunch of (I presume) new characters to the company’s stable of titles; each had its own logo and a few actually went on to support ongoing books for a time; Barb Wire I believe even got a movie.

The year after, they did a 12-week single-title series Will to Power, following one character in particular–I believe the character was Titan (one of the characters from CGW).

Anyway, the one that most stood out to ME was X. This masked guy who would “warn” his “victims.” If I recall correctly, one slash across the face was a warning. But when you were marked with two–forming the letter X–you were marked for death. And it was criminals who were marked; X was a vigilante, an “anti-hero” of sorts.

comicsgreatestworldweek01xI recall getting a couple of promo issues with Hero Illustrated magazine, and having an issue or two of the ongoing series. Mostly I was familiar with its existence moreso than the book itself.

I noticed the X Omnibus last year or the year before, and was quite interested recently to hear the character had returned in Dark Horse Presents…and grabbed the single-issue X #0, collecting those DHP-serialized story segments. And then last week despite my usual avoidance of MINI-series and even telling myself to wait for the “graphic novel” edition, I bought X #1.

It took me a few days to get around to reading it, but Sunday night I read #0, then went on to #1, and then just because I had it handy from a recent bargain bin purchase, I read the original Comics’ Greatest World: X issue, and quite thoroughly enjoyed the thing.

x2013001While typing this post, I got curious–I don’t remember ever seeing Comics’ Greatest World itself nor Will to Power collected into single volume editions. While doing a bit of digging, I came across a Dark Horse Heroes Omnibus, that appears to collect both stories into a single volume. Including shipping, I paid about $14, which–when you think about it–is less than the cost of 4 contemporary $3.99 issues.

And there are two volumes in the X Omnibus series (the second seems recent-ish)–near as I can tell, those together collect the character’s ongoing series from the mid-1990s, including those Hero Illustrated promo issues. So I may eventually seek to acquire those. There seem to be several volumes of Omnibii for Ghost, which seems to have been THE most successful property of the 16 introduced in CGW.

Thinking on it the last couple days…X is a character I know next to nothing about, though; I couldn’t even tell you the character’s “real name” if he has a “secret identity” or such; nor anything about his “origin” and all that. Could be a good thing (i.e. this is the beginning of a journey-of-discovery regarding the character) or a bad thing (perhaps the character is actually really boring).

I suppose time will tell.

Labor Day/End of Summer comics

newcomics002_thumb[9]My local comic shop was having an “end-of-summer”/Labor Day clearance sale last week. A bunch of sale books and games and such, as well as extra bargain bins, and all the bargain bins–usually 25-cent comics–were 5-cents apiece or $12 to fill-a-box.

On Wednesday, being there on my short lunch-break, I could only flip very quickly through a few of the bins, and found an issue of Siren and an issue of Necro Mantra/Lord Pumpkin; far as I can tell, the Necro Mantra/LP issue is new, newcomics002_thumb[8]while the Siren issue was a duplicate. But for 10 cents total…I can afford to take the duplicates’ chance.

Friday after work I went back, and scored Angels of Destruction #1 and Witch Hunter #1, both also only 5 cents each. Picked up Firearm #4 and Foxfire #2, both figuring to be duplicates, but for the price, I was taking the chance (and actually, I bought every Ultraverse comic I found, which is sorta sad there were so few in those bins!)

The store owner also gave me a great deal on some other sets. I was already picking up a run of X (Dark Horse Heroes) for $3 and Wonder Man (Marvel)

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for $2; (and the week before, had bought a run of Steel for $6ish and Zen: Intergalactic Ninja for $8). So between the 5-cent comics and pretty solid runs of Grendel, The Ferret, the Superboy series based on the tv show, and Resurrection Man…I walked out Friday with a full longbox and the equivalent of about half a shortbox, all for only slightly more than the cost of 8 or 9 new comics.

Ultimate Comics X #1 [Review]

His Father’s Son

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Arthur Adams
Colorist: Aspen MLT’s Peter Steigerwald
Digital Inks: Aspen MLT’s Mark Roslan
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comic Craft’s Albert Deschesne
Production: Irene Y. Lee
Assistant Editor: Sana Amanat
Senior Editor: Mark Paniccia
Cover: Art Adams
Published by: Marvel Comics

Okay…so, I can hardly remember the last time I read an Ultimate comic. After reading from issue #3, I let Ultimate Spider-Man go around issue 80 when I gave in on the realization that the stories just weren’t being written for the single-issue format, and I wasn’t enjoying the pacing for the price per issue. I’m pretty sure I gave up on The Ultimates before that due to lateness, and I don’t recall sticking with Ultimates 2 more than a couple issues. All the hype over Ultimatum and the Ultimate Comics relaunch didn’t pull me in. I read Ultimate Iron Man 2 when I scored the hardback for the $6.

I’m not even sure what intrigued me with this issue. The teaser ads? Perhaps in small part–after all, WHAT is there to be done with Wolverine that’s NEW? Would this be something interesting like the Mary Jane and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane series? Would a book about a teenaged Logan in modern high school (thinking “Wolverine” instead of “Sparkly Vampire”) come across well?

So, despite my extreme dislike of the $3.99 cover price, I grabbed the issue–choosing the cover whose image I recognized from the teaser ad. Behind Siege #2 (which was spoiled for me via twitter prior to reading), this was near the top of my stack this week–bypassing Deadpool and even a couple Blackest Night issues.

One of the things that Marvel has done well for many years is “The ‘Previously…’ Page” at the start of their issues. This is a page that is basically prose or just non-story content that serves to get a reader up-to-speed on stuff, contextualizing the story that’s about to begin; it also serves to have the issue’s credits all in one place, so that when this page is omitted, a collected volume flows as one long work, uninterrupted by titles and credits every chapter or so.

Opening this issue, we have a series of images with seven simple sentences that serve to place this story. Context provided–whether as wholly new information, or to catch one up. I’d read The Ultimates, and Ultimate Spider-Man, followed a bit of Ultimate Fantastic Four, and even some of the Ultimate X-Men. The pictures and words tell all I need to know–and the world in this issue is apparently the same as I’d read before, but much changed by Ultimatum. The world exists, but even though I haven’t read in years, I’m not lost.

This issue’s story begins with narration from James Hudson, talking about his son–a son brought to him by an old friend years earlier. That old friend wasn’t able to raise the boy, but knew James and his wife Heather could, and so entrusted them with the child. Now a teenager, and running concurrent with the narration of how the boy came to be Hudson’s son, we see this son discovering what he is, and how his being different changes his life. Kitty Pryde–a name and character I’m somewhat familiar with from both the Ultimate comics and mainstream Marvel continuity–enters, with a classic trapping of such stories: the message from a person to their loved one, recorded shortly before dying. This child–Jimmy Hudson–is confronted with the image of his father, and the reality of who he really is. We also learn the difference in his mutant ability from that of his father.

The story, surprisingly enough as I have really not enjoyed Loeb‘s work for years–is relatively engaging. It’s not perfect, but I remained interested throughout the issue, and that’s quite the achievement in my eyes. As a long-time comic reader familiar with much of the Marvel universe in general throughout much of the last couple decades, names were familiar, but as this is not the mainstream Marvel universe, I had zero problem with the Hudsons being different than the characters I knew before this issue, and rather enjoyed the reference to how James’s codename is come about. There was also something to the realization of who the main character is that is at once obvious and yet not exactly what I expected–and any duplication of a similar character in the main Marvel books works so much better to me here.

The issue reads like an origin issue. We have the introduction of characters who are (presumably) going to be much of a supporting cast. We’re introduced to who assumably is the main character of the book. We learn where he came from, how he is seen by his family and others. We see his discovery of his identity, and what that does to him. We’re left on an ending that both provides actual conclusion to this specific single issue’s story, and yet it is clear this is by no means the end–the issue is not a one-shot.

The art isn’t the greatest I’ve ever seen, but–except for one panel that really put me in mind of Millar‘s Kick-Ass–never really took me out of the story. It’s clear what’s going on throughout the issue, even the effect as we find out Jimmy’s “other” mutant ability. Particularly with no previous issue to go on, Adams’ art actually stakes itself as definitive to me for this character, and does quite a good job of it.

Again–I despise the $3.99 price point, particularly for a mere 22-page issue. As I’d already compromised my principle (avoiding all Marvel $3.99 books) with Siege and Siege: Embedded, I allowed myself a further compromise to pick this up, since it’s a debut issue of a new series, and I was actually somewhat intrigued.

What I got was a very enjoyable issue, that really does what a first issue of any series ought to do…and it stands alone. I won’t be picking up future issues, as I refuse to pay $3.99 as a regular, ongoing price for a “standard” comic.

In and of itself, though, this was a good read, and actually mostly worth its cover price for the experience. While I don’t plan to purchase future single issues…provided the inevitable collected volume is reasonably priced, I expect I’ll have some interest in picking that up to read this story and go from there.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7.5/10
Overall: 8/10

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