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The Weekly Haul: Week of July 14, 2021

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Annnnnnnnd we’re back to covering a single week’s haul in a single post!

This time out, looking at stuff from the week of July 14!

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Starting with the X-stuff, we’ve got three for the week: Way of X #4, Excalibur #22 (and officially a "senior book" over the adjective-less X-Men now), and X-Corp #3. Can’t say I’m thrilled at the prospect of this latter one…and definitely not a fan of the "whitespace" and "minimalistic" look to it. It also makes the title logo look all the more like a "fon" in a way that I am not keen on and why I initially was not thrilled with this style. The other two at least look interesting and the Excalibur cover makes it look like something actually happens in the issue.

Then we have Sinister War #1, kicking off this ‘event’ in Amazing Spider-Man at least (I think). The logo "font" draws from the ’90s Spider-style, and definitely prompts a bit of nostalgia for me. We also have the 4th issue of Carnage Black White & Blood. And then Aliens: Aftermath #1 which I’m not entirely sure if this is a mini-series or one-shot…but it certainly looks more interesting than the other Alien (singular) comics Marvel has published to date!

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We have a new issue of TMNT and yet again, I’m buying far more out of "habit" and such than anything else. I’ve bought the title monthly since #1 in 2011 nearly 10 years ago…but I don’t think there’s been as relatively DRY a stretch as 101-119 here otherwise. Even as "slow" and weird as I initially found the first few issues post-#50, stuff picked up again pretty quickly. We’re nearly 5 arcs into this "Mutant-Town" era and other than an Annual, what have we REALLY gotten to move the story forward from #100? Feels like next to nothing, to me, at least.

This Savage Hearts #1 caught me for its title logo. This is also a #1, so in-the-moment I figured why not? I’m not keen on the art on the cover…but the strength of the LOGO grabbed me. (Minimalistic-logo/trade-dress/design folks, it’s a comic book…the more stylized and bold and BIG the logo, the more it looks like a comic book and likely will grab my attention over blending into every OTHER minimalistic thing…!)

The Batman/Scooby-Doo Mysteries continues to get my $2.99 in support of the price point and lack of variant covers!

Mouse Guard is an interesting title–and size/format for its issues–and coming "back" after (I think years) too long, I was all about getting this issue. It (barely) gets a "pass" being Archaia–I realize the brand is owned by Boom but I believe it’s still its own thing overall, and the issue lacks a Boom LOGO so that gets this around my no-Boom-single-issues thing.

And the Vampiverse thing on Comic Shop News gives me mixed feelings…given the TONS of variant covers Dynamite does, it seems like they already have LOADS of Vampi titles; they probably publish more COVERS for one title than many smaller publishers publish titles!

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Next up is the second issue of Skybound X, which I’m hearing mixed things on and have yet to read myself, but kinda bought in on multiple fronts, though it’s sounding less "celebration" and more "extended ad the buyer pays for"…

Bunny Mask is an odd title for me, but I’d bought the first issue, saw this second one, and decided to get it. Plus the Aftershock brand is growing on me a bit. Helm Greycastle‘s 3rd issue puts this at or over halfway through the series, I believe/hope. The title puts me in mind of Masters of the Universe stuff, while knowing it’s not that. Some stuff I saw with solicitation for the series bugged me a bit, but I’ll ignore that for an ok-at-least story, and already have 2 issues, so might as well keep on (contradictory as that is to my lamenting mini-series finishing before I’ve read a #1 and might as well have waited for the collected volume).

GI Joe: A Real American Hero #284 puts us with a mere 16 issues to the big #300. And with getting stuff at multiple shops, the regular cover of TMNT (if I’m double-dipping, might as well get a different cover. I’m not buying multiples FOR the cover). Same with Batman/Scooby-Doo.

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And then just because it arrived and was handy when I was getting photos for the blog…I fiiiiiinally pulled the trigger on ordering this metallic Fugitoid figurine from Mirage (it’s a Playmates figure, some sort of thing not sold in regular stores, that I ordered from Mirage itself). I actually forgot that I’d ordered this (it was that much of a whimsical order) but now having it, I’m quite glad to have it.


This week definitely skewed a bit Marvel-heavy. That’s fairly "incidental" in terms of the X-books, though: I’m getting them for being X, not for being Marvel. The Black/White/Blood thing caught me with Wolverine so the Carnage mini I’ve treated as a bit of an extension; and Sinister War is a Spider-thing…and while I’ll probably suck it up with the inevitable $10 ginormous thing that’s likely to be the 75th issue of Amazing Spider-Man, I’m looking at winding back down on the title. Especially if they’re looking to sideline Peter Parker for awhile. I’m really not interested in a non-Peter ASM title right now.

I think the new Blue Beetle/Booster Gold book starts next week, which will get me back to general-ish DC…on strength of the title and creator (Dan Jurgens)’s involvement. For wanting such a title for so long, I can’t NOT support it, though my support is still going to be grudgingly given, just for it being DC at this point.

But that’s stuff for next week, methinks.

This is it for this coverage of a single week’s new comics…let’s see if I can get back to at least doing this much with the blog on a regular basis!

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of 6/16, 6/23, 6/30, and 7/7, 2021

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Once again, I’ve been lax in posting and so have another MONTH‘s worth of hauls to catch up on!


Week of June 16, 2021

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Planet-Size X-Men #1 is an issue I’d been curious about. Why call it that? Well, as spoilers that made their rounds ahead of time gave notice, the name was quite appropriate! Then New Mutants #19 continues the Hellfire Gala mini-event. Seems that X-Corp #2 does as well, but…I’m not hearing good stuff about the title and am in no rush to read it, though I’ll eventually get to it, I suppose.

Demon Days: Mariko is another Peach Momoko thing. About all I can say about it…but snagged it because it’s an X and I’d picked up the previous issue, so might as well get it new rather than have to hunt for it later.

Alien #4 is "already" the fourth issue and I haven’t read since issue #1. I don’t even really care as that first issue underwhelmed me, and I’m still a bit cranky at the license moving to Marvel from Dark Horse…seemingly ONLY for Marvel to reprint stuff and do variant covers!

While I was absolutely going to completely avoid the Milestone stuff from DC, the cover design was such that I "had to" snag Static: Season One #1 for nostalgia alone. This is the most I think a cover has looked like the classic Milestone since those classics. And since I’m not interested in main DC, I suppose I can check a couple of these out at least…at least the first issues.

Next, Seven Swords #1 is another Aftershock first issue. I don’t care for $4.99 prices but I’ll accept them more readily from a non-DC/non-Marvel publisher. I’m feeling like i"m noticing Aftershock more and more lately…maybe I’ll eventually go "all in" on them? Especially if they’re NOT dealing in oodles of variants.

Finally, Compass #1 is an Image #1 that I grabbed to "check out" if I ever actually get around to reading it. Bolstered an otherwise small-ish haul for the Wednesday.

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Picking up stuff later, got UltraMega #4 as a "next issue" for that series. Then ditto for Stillwater #8, Stray Dogs #5, The BeQuest #4, and Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #4. By rights I should NOT be buying these, but I’m curious…and apparently I DO actually want to support new (or new-to-ME) stuff.

Walking Dead Deluxe #17 has us ALMOST to the end of the third arc in the title, but in color. I do want to catch up on reading these in color, but definitely appreciate the format and intend to continue "supporting" it.

While not quite TMNT level, I fairly closely associate Usagi Yojimbo  with the property, so continue to support the series through this 20th issue, though I couldn’t begin to recall where I left off reading. Another in the "I’ll catch up–EVENTUALLY!" category.

And then The Blue Flame #2, picked up as I’d bought the first issue at a random shop in early June while visiting a friend in Columbus and (again) decided a subsequent issue is worth the pickup for whenever I actually get around to reading so I don’t have "orphaned" first issues and ridiculous hunts for stuff just to read later.


Week of June 23, 2021

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Spawn’s Universe #1 is the precursor to multiple ongoing Spawn titles. And hey…I’m game. I’ve been buying the main title if only to support its $2.99 price point for over half a decade (60+ issues!) now…why not embrace the universe?

On the X front, this week brought more Hellfire Gala chapters in Way of X #4 and Wolverine #13 as well as the (non-Gala) new issue of X-Men Legends #4.

I really dug Spider-Man: Life Story, so am "grudgingly" giving another such series a chance with Fantastic Four: Life Story #2.

And for however long now, been getting Amazing Spider-Man, and as the current writer’s tenure is drawing to a close soon, I’ve decided I might as well ride this out to the "end" so the "next issue" in this case was #69.

Another "grudgingly" book for me is SWORD #6; but it’s an X-book, so it gets "grandfathered" in where I otherwise would leave it out.

And finally (for the week), TMNT #118 marks the 18th issue BEYOND the huge #100 issue. And I don’t really much care…if I hadn’t been getting every issue anyway since its debut in 2011 I’d have dropped this title for being boring, uninteresting, and…forgettable.


Week of June 30, 2021

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This week was an expensive one with few "units"!

The cheapest issue of the week being Spawn #319–my 63rd issue consecutively/ongoing for the title itself, plus whatever else filled some gaps.

Crossover #7 continues the series…I think I read through issue 3 so far, so I have some catching up to do.

Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy #1 is apparently ANOTHER one-shot to add/pad out stuff rather than just keeping it within the main series. With the current run apparently ending around #74 or 75, it reeks of drawing stuff out "manipulatively" for the numbers on the main title.

On the X side we have a final issue and a penultimate issue in X-Factor #10 and Cable #11. I believe this is the final issue of the former and was spoiled ahead of time for me; while the latter has one more issue to go if I recall correctly. Shame to lose the titles, but there’ll surely be more to fill their slots.

On the even more expensive side Green Arrow gets a one-shot commemorating 80 years with the Green Arrow 80th Anniversary special. I snagged the 1980s & 1990s covers for the nostalgia, despite the cost…though I’d actually intended to put the 1980s one back.

And finally for the week, we have Reign of X vol. 1 TPB picking up where X of Swords left off. Though I’m firmly getting the single issues, I’m double-dipping in support of the "anthology" format, believing strongly in it! This is really the way I feel most comics should go: collect 6 or however many titles for a month into a tpb and let me get that to "get everything" in book format without having to chase single issues!


Week of July 7, 2021

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The first New Comics Day of July brought us another X-Men #1. Not sure what "volume" we’re up to, but…it’s an X-book. Hellions #13 & Children of the Atom #5 round out the week on the X-side.

Fire Power #13 is another "latest issue" that I need to catch up with reading on.

Image Firsts: Spawn #1 was only $1, so picked up for the "nostalgia" and price. And it’s Spawn. Why the heck not?

Another book I’d bought a first issue and now keeping up with is Jenny Zero #3. Something kaiju-ish, so…yeah.

Back to "next issues," we have Amazing Spider-Man #70. Nothing much to say on it.

GI Joe: A Real American Hero Yearbook #2 is another reprint…but worthwhile for completion’s sake on the branding. And then I’d totally forgotten about Snake Eyes: Dead Game; and then suddenly we have #5! Apparently this one has all sorts of guest creators…c’est la vie.

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Other issues snagged are more I’m starting to associate with a certain "grouping" in my own mind.

Skybound X #1 kicks off a 5-week weekly series that…I gave in on hype. Also from Skybound, the next issue of Walking Dead Deluxe #18. I think the next issue introduces Michonne…so hopefully it’s not a pain to get. With this issue we’re at the end of the 3rd 6-issue cycle; and halfway to where I started buying the singles the first time around for the title!

Geiger #4 and Nocterra #5 are more "next issues"; while Ordinary Gods #1 got picked up for being an Image #1 to "try."

Finally… Werewolf by Night #32 Facsimile Edition as I still quite enjoy these editions, whatever the title. And I want to support them. I’d gladly "subscribe" to a "series" that was simply these facsimile/reprints of a series. Heck, do a parallel publishing program from Marvel of some old titles reprinting all issues as single issues and I’d probably pay for ’em!


READING-wise I’m at the start of X of Swords in the X-titles, having read from the #1s…and that reading has kept me from "new issues," adding to my "reading deficit." We’ll see what I actually catch up on and when, though.

But hey…this’s been another month’s worth of "new" comics’ hauls. With my boring "thoughts" in very brief to fill out the space showing these off.

At least they give ME record for MY future self of what issues I got, and roughly when they came out.

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Pulling Out the Past: Mechwarrior Dark Age ‘Mechs

A little over a week ago, I hauled a bunch of stuff out of a storage closet in the basement to get at my old Mechwarrior: Dark Age miniatures.

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Based on the state of the plastic bins I had them in, I probably hadn’t had any of these OUT of the bins since 2006 at THE most recent.

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But with a recent re-interest in Battletech, I was eager to get these out and see what ‘Mechs I had beyond the Spider (Dragon’s Blood faction) and the Atlas. (These I absolutely specifically recalled as my favorite/most memorable!) I remember being at a panel at Origins in 2002(?) with a couple friends and getting to see prototypes of these, and it was the Atlas that most impressed me.

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Once the game actually came out, there were four of us in particular getting the game–the two friends I’d gone to the convention with, and another friend we’d made that school year; and it became "tradition" for us all to meet up on Fridays after we got out of class for the week and go to the game store for a booster (or more) and then back to the dorms to play.

I recall the four of us largely "claimed" a faction (mine was Dragon’s Blood) and we’d try to trade favorably to each other to beef up the respective factions, while also maintaining other faction(s).

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I had bins labeled for Dragon’s Blood, Spirit Cats, Bannson’s Raiders, and Misc. So with possibly-faulty memory, I must’ve had the Spirit Cats and Raiders as "secondary" factions. I do recall the Atlas was NOT "my" faction, but as a "unique" and the one that had most ‘sold’ me at all, was an absolute "keeper" for me!

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I also remember one weekend late my senior year coming across a stash of cash I’d tucked into a graphic novel and thought I’d lost…which put me in position to–along with the other guys–splurge big-time on boosters as we all bought about 10 boosters apiece!


Plenty of nostalgia there, combined with having bought the Beginner Box last year, and a few weeks ago hunting down a copy of the main A Game of Armored Combat box, as well as several of the current-edition "print-on-demand" editions of Battletech novels. I completed reading D.R.T. a few days ago…the first actual novel I think I managed to read/complete since sometime in 2019! (A shameful fact given how many books I used to read regularly…albeit less shameful in that at least I’m reading…if only comics!)

Battletech definitely seems to be a new "phase"/mini-obsession for me. And "recent mini-obsessions" is a topic I may cover specifically soon, detailing a bit more…though some may be repetitive of this post.

Time will tell, though!

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PCS TMNT Villains Statues

Over the weekend, I happened across something that REALLY caught my eyes: some TMNT villains statues that looked a LOT like the Marvel Gallery and DC Gallery statues from Diamond. Except these are PCS (or Premium Collectibles Studio, apparently).

I’d been somewhat aware of them from seeing a Green Ranger thing at a GameStop in early 2020 before the shutdowns. But then seeing these, I remembered (vaguely) having seen something about these coming up, though I’d completely forgotten about them.

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Initially, I shrugged them off. Kinda cool, but where would I put them? Besides…the GameStop I saw them in did not have Shredder. So I passed on them.

Later that evening I found that Shredder was available to order online for pickup in-person at a GS just a few minutes away, so I pulled the trigger on that and let it go.

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The more I thought on it, though, and after watching some YouTube reviews of these, I decided I indeed wanted all four.

And when I went to pick up Shredder, I lucked out–they also had Bebop and Krang. If I was only to get two total, it would’ve been Shredder and Krang; but why not get the other two?

While they did not have Rocksteady in stock…another GS–the one I initially saw these at, at the local mall–did. So…back to the mall I went, and picked up the fourth and final for this wave.

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Like the Diamond Gallery statues, these are relatively simple to get out of the packaging, which is great. They’re secured and centered within the packaging like a Funko Pop; but the plastic packaging splits apart to release the statue easily once out of the main box!

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And of course, that made them all the better to get out of the packaging. They’ll very easily go back into the packaging should I ever want to do that, so absolutely got them all out to be displayed free-standing!

These are a pretty good size, definitely larger than NECA cartoon figures, but similarly cool. And far EASIER to locate/acquire!

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As statues, they’re already posed and have no articulation…but they’re display pieces, about as any NECA figure would be, so just as well!pcs_tmnt_villains_shredder

Shredder‘s base–unlike Bebop and Rocksteady‘s–is the edge of a building, so he doesn’t actually "blend in" as well with the others (their bases look like they’re in the Technodrome!). Taken totally alone, it works; but might’ve been cool to get two bases to choose from.

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As I saw mentioned in one of the YouTube reviews, this Krang can 1. stand on its own even without its base and 2. looks quite excellent alongside the NECA figures.

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While I’m not 100% enamored with the Android Body’s pose (it looks a little too much like it’s reaching out to stagger forth after some braaaaaains) it works well enough.


All in all, these are some great little statues! Especially for the price–at "only" $49.99, they’re slightly under the price of a NECA two-pack. Buuuuut as said NECA packs are scarce and even rarer to come by, and these are significantly larger, these are a welcome value, and an excellent alternative if one doesn’t want to hunt those figures!

I’m a bit torn now on whether I want to seek out the turtles themselves. Had I stuck with "just" Shredder and Krang, the turtles would’ve been definite no-gos for me. Adding Bebop and Rocksteady, though…they’re tempting. And my "OCD" kinda wants the turtles since they should pretty much be in-scale with these, and "complete the set" and all that.

But then, I saw and am also interested in Goldar and Rita Repulsa from the Power Rangers line…especially if they have or will have Lord Zedd. I have enough actual figures and figurines of the Rangers themselves. But the villains I have less of, and would be more willing to have without "needing" to get 6-7 Rangers!

And looks like there are some GI Joe ones, which I figure would be more appealing at this point than the Classified line and withOUT the stigma of more Target-EXXXCCCCLLLUUUSSSIIIVVVEEEE-ness.

The primary issue for me is shelf space and these are already prompting me to consider some innovation and changes to my space to accomodate stuff in a better way!

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The ’90s Revisited – Magic: The Gathering – The Shadow Mage #3

[I’d ‘revisited’ this series as a whole back in August/September 2012 for a group blog that doesn’t exist anymore. And due to a personal issue with Boom Studios’ comics I refuse to buy their new Magic series. So, instead of buying THOSE new comics, and to have my content covering this series fully on my own blog (so as to not disappear when an external blog shuts down), I’m revisiting–as single issues–the ORIGINAL Magic: The Gathering comics published by Acclaim through their Armada imprint back in 1995!]


The ’90s Revisited – Magic: The Gathering

The Shadow Mage #1  |  The Shadow Mage #2  |  The Shadow Mage #3  |  The Shadow Mage #4


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Writer: Jeff Gomez
Penciller: Val Mayerik
Inker: Rick Bryant
Printed Color: Mark Csaszar
Letterer: Bethanne Niedz
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Layton
Cover Painting: Val Mayerik
Cover Date: September 1995
Cover Price: $2.50

After an unplanned three-month hiatus (hey, just like real comics!), I’m back to cover the THIRD issue of this mini-series. And rather than having covered the entire mini while the new Boom series was still on #1…I’m now "in line" with their series, covering the third issue of this classic Armada series while Boom‘s is around #3 or #4..

Perhaps it’s because I’ve had this issue sitting around for a few weeks waiting for me to write up this post, but the cover feels fairly "iconic" to me at this point…though I believe I’d mentioned in my post about #2 that I didn’t even remember the cover and figured it was forgettable. We see Jared in a strange pose somewhat holding up Ezer–or catching him as he falls (but in that case, Jared’s arm should be under his mentor at the man’s back, not around his chest!). Jared looks rather wild and desperate…which is appropriate if he’s facing an enemy more menacing than the Juggernaut carting up behind him!

Getting into the issue itself…we begin with an attack on Arathoxia. Juggernauts break down the city’s gates, before we shift to the Lady Verdenth speaking at Ravidel as the citizenry react to the attack…including Yorgo and his gang, who take up arms to defend "his" city. We shift to the watchtower of Tobias Kavrel, Lord of Stonehaven’s eastern plains, where the lord and his minions come under attack from a Demonic Horde…though they wish to leave the lowly paupers to their fate, Ravidel’s forces aren’t discriminating. Ravidel bids his minions have fun (think Shredder sending Tokka and Rahzar out in TMNT II)…and the scene shifts again. We find Yorgo and crew dealing with Drudge Skeletons before Jared arrives and aids them with a Disintegrate spell. (Amazing in a way that I remember/recognize these). Back in the Sultan’s palace, we learn that he wishes to have the "shadow mage" found, which will give Ravidel what he seeks. Chaos and death continue throughout the city. In House Carthalion, the man who almost caught Jared in the previous issue is found dying. He mistakes Jared for Liana; and while Yorgo and his crew cannot locate "the old woman" Jared bids them find, the man confesses to having part in the murder of the Lady Carthalion (Gwendolyn)…and "releases" Liana. From what, it isn’t immediately apparent. Jared, Yorgo, and crew continue to (try to) help others flee the carnage, while the Lady Verdenth unleashes powerful magic at Ravidel. As that battle (or "duel") continues, Liana retrieves Jared and Ezer, and Ravidel emerges victorious against Verdenth. As Jared prepares to challenge Ravidel himself, Liana intervenes…it’s not yet time. And Jared vows that he will have vengeance against Ravidel.

I’m a bit mixed on the art this time through. On the one hand, it’s not bad in itself, and some of the spells are certainly recognizable if one’s familiar with pre-Weatherlight Magic: the Gathering card art. Other than that it’s mostly "generic fantasy-ish" art…not horrible, but not wonderful. I appreciate the recognizability of characters and spells…but if I didn’t recall the cards and art from way back when, it’d be that much more generic overall. The "planar barge"–that is, the corpse of the Elder Dragon Chromium/Rhuell–is impressive and fairly striking throughout. That Ravidel addresses the corpse as if alive–and it blasts stuff with bolts from its mouth–is interesting, considering it IS, at this point, a corpse, though not obviously a zombie creature or such!

Story-wise, this is also fairly generic in its own way…and yet, we have some progression of stuff. We learn that it was the Lady Verdenth who used her Green magic to save baby Jared while he and Ezer slept in the woods before getting to ‘Thoxia. We also see more "political intrigue" and bickering with the various Houses of the city. And we see Jared’s helplessness and fury at Ravidel amidst allies helping guide him.

As "next issues" go, this one is ok, though not what I’d call "great" or anything. I’m willing to hold it in higher esteem primarily for nostalgia, as this came out in a similar time to the HarperPrism novels, and the whole of Magic: The Gathering lore was still in flux without the directed timeline it enjoys today in 2021. This continues to be a story built around card references…rather than being the story of the cards, or the story on which cards seem based themselves. Re-reading this and poring through to write this post, I re-realize how dense this is…and if my summary above seems to have gaps, I’m trying not to re-write the issue itself as I’d almost need to, with how much is crammed in. Between taking time to "cross-reference" and pick out character names and locations as well as looking at the art based on cards and the sheer density, there’s a lot more time to spend in the issue itself than most modern comics that weigh it at twice or more this issue’s $2.50 cover price…so there’s present-day "value" there, if one already owns and simply reads the issue, or acquires it for the price or less of a modern comic.

To be 3 issues in on this series with a mere single issue remaining…even by pre-2000s standards, it would seem hard to see how this could wrap up with a satisfying ending. While I don’t recall the ending…I do recall that this series was followed up by a 5-issue mini-series…which leaves me assuming that this series did not actually wrap things up in a satisfying way.

Finally…this issue originally came with a sheet of tiny punch-out creature tokens. At one point back in 1995, I had a small container that I kept them in, and actually used them playing some games of Magic. It’s possible I still have that around somewhere, though actually finding them anytime soon/specifically likely would not happen. I’m pretty sure I’d snagged a couple copies of this issue from a bargain bin in the last several years specifically for the tokens, as a novelty-bonus. (Same as I sometimes snag other ’90s comics from bargain bins solely for the polybagged-in bonus item/ephemera).

I’m eager to get to the next issue…as well as to get to more "canon lore"–or at least mid-’90s versions of such–in the Ice Age and other Magic: The Gathering issues.

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