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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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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of 5/19, 5/26, 6/2, and 6/9 2021

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Looks like when I last posted, I’d speculated on covering a second week in the same week.

How laughably wrong I was!

Now it’s been nearly FIVE WEEKS with zero new posts in this blog.

Soooo…here’s four weeks’ worth of weekly hauls…so I can at least still shoot for "covering" the entire year of hauls, eventually…


Week of May 19, 2021

It’s also been a weird several weeks, with some stuff getting jumbled across multiple purchases. Stuff from May 19th was indeed–as I’d expected–a huge week, though!

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With the X books, we had Way of X #2 and Wolverine #12…then continuing on with Marvel, also had Amazing Spider-Man #66 and Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 (The ‘60s)! I’d thought I was staying out of Marvel but they’re simply offering a LOT more of actual interest to me than DC at this point…though most of that is my holding my nose and taking the plunge to be "all-in" on the X-books, and deciding to hang onto Amazing Spider-Man in case something gets good beyond my daliance with the story (forgettable enough for the moment) that was going on when I grabbed that issue awhile back for the cover!

Branching outward to Image, there was Ultramega #3 which is yet another title I want to support but have yet to get around to the actual reading yet. It’s a huge book, but I’m sucking it up and paying the price for it being huge.

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Then getting into a mix from picking up 5/19 and 6/2 stuff from another shop together, we have X-Men #20–which is the penultimate issue of this iteration of the series before another reboot in numbering in July.

Alien #3 marks the 2nd issue I’ve not read, and with the hassle I’m having even getting the omnibus and lack of WORTHWHILE "buzz" on the series, I’m considering just dropping the title. Maybe when I catch up on my reading of it, I’ll feel differently?

Spawn #318 is interesting…that’s 18 issues beyond the 300th issue. We’re also getting very close to the title being at the point that Uncanny X-Men was number-wise at the start of the Age of Apocalypse…which makes me feel rather old to consider!

Walking Dead Deluxe #15 seems too high a number to already be at…I suppose the series is shipping a couple times a month, and for that I won’t actually complain! We’re getting close to Michonne’s first appearance…and I wonder how many variants THAT is gonna spawn?

Against much better judgment, I ended up grabbing Milestone Returns #0 as I was picking up a bunch of other random stuff to "try." And I remember the original Milestone launch from 1994 or so and had a bout of nostalgia prompting the purchase.

TMNT: Best of Splinter #1 is the latest "Best of ____" issue from IDW‘s TMNT line. While I don’t think any of these are reprinting anything I don’t already have, I still like the idea of them, AND the completist/OCD in me still counts these as "TMNT single issues" since they’re not squarebound TPBs or such, and I’ve bought 1 of every single issue since the series kicked off in 2011. (Shame they’re not doing a 10th anniversary special or some such..!)

Even though I’ve tried to stay away from mini-series and such and had been passing on random titles…The BeQuest is another series I ended up getting the first issue…and then subsequent issues so I don’t have orphaned issues if I read and enjoy the thing. #3 is the latest issue here.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #3 is another of a recent "class" of titles including BeQuest that I’m getting lately and hoping will actually be a good read…and continuing to buy so I don’t have to hunt the issues later or miss out or such.

A third title in this "class" of titles is Stray Dogs, already at issue #4 and I think rapidly approaching its conclusion.

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Playing catch-up the other week, I also snagged a bunch of "random" issues that I’d either forgotten I missed or hadn’t known of and decided to "try" in addition to several months’ worth of those other series like BeQuest, Stray Dogs, and Jonna.

Looks like I missed photographing Radiant Black in the mix, but had that in there.

Then there’s Stillwater #7 which was a slight "surprise" to me that it existed…I’d thought the series was a 6-issue mini…but apparently it’s continuing on, albeit with a "hiatus" between arcs. Which is something I’m quite fine with…better a gap of several months between arcs than delays plaguing the thing mid-arc!

Possibly in the vein of World of Warcraft, we have Helm of Greycastle, which actually caught my attention initially for its title…and the similarity to "Greyskull" from He-Man/Masters of the Universe. Seeing a single cover image it’s CLEARLY absolutely NOT that property…but a fantasy property and I’d been curious about it when the first issue got ready to come out…but apparently then missed it. So coming across it, I snagged both #1-2 and we’ll see if I notice subsequent issues.

Red Sonja: The Superpowers #1-3 caught my attention for the covers, AND there being 3 issues available at once. Turned out it’s apparently a 5-issue series, so I decided to give it a shot, and mildly cheaper/simpler to get the single issues than paying the publisher’s price on a TPB and such.

Catching my attention for being something to do with "kaiju," Jenny Zero #1 was another that something had happened where I missed out on the first issue initially…but spotting it when I did, went ahead and grabbed it.

Finally for the week, another issue that caught my attention on a whim was The Girls of Dimension 13 #1. This being another $4.99 Aftershock book, I’m not entirely keen on it. But I’m liking stuff from the publisher, not seeing variants to a degree that cheeses me off, and with my wanting nothing to do with the likes of Boom, I think I’m seeing this publisher as a "replacement" for me.


Week of May 26, 2021

May 26 made for a smaller than usual week for me…though that also allowed the purchase of a tpb which is out of character for me of late!

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The Last Ronin #3 finally came out. While the series itself was initially delayed quite a bit I believe over art stuff, I feel like they should have delayed it further and waited til everything was ready to go monthly instead if it being something between "quarterly" and "thirdly" or whatever that word would be.

Getting the Dawn of X vol. 16 TPB "completes" the "first act" of the Krakoan-era X-stuff for me in collected volume. I’m tempted to "drop" these BUT still feel like I need to "support" the format–the "anthology-style" TPBs for an entire line. That said…having giant hardcovers of House of X/Powers of X and then 16 of these paperbacks for stuff between and then X of Swords…but other "mini-events" already like the Hellfire Gala and Trial of Magneto and Inferno (or is that a TITLE or mini?) coming up it sort of busts my notion of having a long run of paperbacks periodically interrupted by huge event. Time will tell.

New Mutants #18 was another "just the next issue" for the week, for getting all the X-stuff.

I apparently duplicated on Spawn #318 which could be worse, I guess…though I’ll be happier to get multiple titles entirely than the variants. As long as this stays at $2.99 for a pricepoint, though, I’ll overlook variants in general.

Finally for the week, had Summoner War: Legacy #2 that I know nothing about but looks like a fantasy title and based on a game or such…yet I got the first issue to try and opted to get the second here.


Week of June 2, 2021

This week was another big one that got split due to unavailability of some issues, and ended up "trying" a couple things I normally wouldn’t go for.

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Marauders #22 was my first issue of the Hellfire Gala, I believe…and the only X-issue still in stock when I got to the shop, having forgotten to message ahead for holds.

While I think I only read #1, I’ve continued buying issues of Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon, which concludes here with #6. I’ve heard mixed things but will judge for myself. It’s Larry Hama, which "sold" me on the book at all, so we’ll see.

Amazing Spider-Man #67 is another "the latest issue" pickup.

I’d nearly forgotten entirely about Batman/Catwoman as a series…and #5 here was a surprise of sorts. I have mixed feelings on the thing at this point but I’m "invested" already and might as well "support" it as I don’t care for OTHER stuff DC is doing, and this series is supposed to wrap up stuff from King‘s run on Batman from when I was all-in on the publisher’s Rebirth stuff five years ago when they had regained loads of goodwill.

I’m not keen on variants, but for the heckuvit, decided to pick up North Force #0, which is technically a variant of Savage Dragon #259, as while I’m not buying Savage Dragon in singles, I might be tempted to try a spin-off title, and this would seem a decent starting point. I also appreciated the novelty of the thing, rather than being a straight up reprint of #259. I think it reminded e a bit of Spider-GIrl #0 from back in 1998 (?) that reprinted a What If..? issue but with cover dress to fit the new series..

Vampirella 1992 is not my normal fare, but I believe it’s a one-shot, and set in 1992, and something about it put me in mind of the year-specific titles playing up nostalgia…and hey, 1992 has its share of nostalgia for me, so I snagged the issue.

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With several issues sold-out/not available on the 2nd, I ended up placing an order online to shore things up for the week.

X-Force #20 and Hellions #12 are chapters of the Hellfire Gala mini-event.

It didn’t register for me that I had a variant of Fire Power #12 so I ordered the proper cover, sucking it up on getting stuck with a variant. I suppose I have to decide if I’ll continue double-dipping on single issues while getting the TPBs or not, or just shift to the TPBs.

Then to wrap things up, I’d noticed Jenny Zero #2 and decided to get that after all–I had #1 by then and needed something extra to pad out the order to better justify the price of shipping.


Week of June 9, 2021

Coming current with the most recent week June 9 was a decent size and included a couple of back-issues.

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X-Men #21 and Excalibur #21 are both chapters of the Hellfire Gala. Children of the Atom #4, however, is not…but I believe this series was intended to be out last year, so it’s not exactly "in sync" with the rest of the X-line.

Amazing Spider-Man #68 is the second issue of the series in as many weeks…but also "the latest issue."

TMNT #117 is another "latest issue," and I’m not sure where I stand with this title anymore. 3 more issues and #120 will mark 10 years of IDW‘s series and I think THE longest I’ve consistently, unbrokenly followed any series/title with no gaps. That said…it’s time for the title to pick up again, as it just hasn’t been holding me as previous chunks of the run have; though it took a few issues after #50 to re-engage me where it had felt like a new title, but by the run-up to #75 I was really enjoying it again (and we had the Krang trial stuff). I’m not really getting that feeling at this point over a year-and-a-half post-#100 and the series just hasn’t been all that engaging or interesting and thus has–for me–been rather forgettable and blurred into a single slog that I read out of obligation, OCD, and continuity.

I vaguely remember many years ago when I’d followed a few issues of Savage Dragon, the series guest-starred some character from another series…and there was something about Larsen having either bought that character or was taking stuff on in support…but if I recall correctly, that character was Ant. And here/now seeing Ant #12 that supposedly wraps up the long-unfinished initial run and sets up a new run (?) or such, I decided to grab the issue…much like North Force #0 the previous week.

Geiger #3 is the latest issue, and I still haven’t read the first. It’s another that I may not have the purest motives to support: It’s Johns and Frank while NOT being DC and thus I’m wanting to support it out of spite. Plus, I’ve generally enjoyed the creators’ collaborations…they’ve at least been good themselves and pretty to look at, even if I didn’t care for their impact on continuity. As a creator-owned thing from Image I expect to quite enjoy the book!

And as with previously…Batman Scooby-Doo! Mysteries #3 is a $2.99 book and I feel the "need" to "support" a $2.99 book from DC when they’ve jacked most of their other titles to $4.99 and $5.99. I’ll buy for $2.99. I won’t for $5.99 and the publisher can pound sand at those higher price points!

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I blame Chris Sheehan for bringing the Curse of the Man-Thing mini-event back to my radar, and I wound up snagging the 2nd and 3rd (of 3?) chapters that were presented as one-shots initially in Amazing Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing #1 and X-Men: Curse of the Man-Thing #1. Now that I have these, I’m bound by OCD to seek out the Avengers issue that serves as chapter 1 of the mess. I’m NOT keen on the $4.99 price point NOR Marvel‘s publishing these all as #1 issues without even anything to clearly indicate on the cover that they’re chapters 2 and 3 of a larger story. I’d initially passed on the Spidey issue that was put in with my pulls a few weeks back. I guess I should’ve gotten it then and grabbed the Avengers issue when/while I could!


I’ve snagged some other stuff of note recently, and maybe I’ll show stuff off in another post soon. Or maybe it’ll be AUGUST now before I post again. Or something in-between.

Time–and some health stuff in my personal life and family–will largely guide that, I suppose.

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of May 5th and May 12th, 2021

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Annnnnd once again, covering multiple weeks in one post, because real life has more than gotten in the way of blogging and such lately!


Week of May 5th, 2021

Looking at almost two weeks ago with the 5th of May.

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Not a whole lot to say on stuff.

New Fire Power…hard to believe we’re already 11 issues in!

New Hellions and new Marauders…perhaps the two best X-titles of the Krakoa-era. Or at least had been…we’ll see when I get to them.

This Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon mini is almost done. It’s by Larry Hama, which was the entire selling point for me to even try it, and I’ve stuck with it cuz I"m a glutton for punishment on singles of mini-series and such.

The Thanos Quest gets a reprint in this Marvel Tales collection of Thanos Quest. $7.99 reprints both issues of the formerly-prestige-format mini from 1990? 1991? 30-some years ago, whatever. I’m a sucker for the story, so all about stuff like this!

I had started with this Carnage Black White and Blood mini as a novelty alongside the Wolverine counterpart. However…I’m second-guessing myself now as I type this, as it seems there’s yet ANOTHER Carnage event upcoming. Blah.

And finally, another "the latest issue" of Amazing Spider-Man. I think I’ve somewhat put "75" into my mind as going to 75 with the series. I’m not keen on most of Marvel nor the series, but…it’s NOT DC so I give it a bit more leeway, I suppose.


Week of May 12th, 2021

And then last week’s books…triple-shot of X and even a DC issue!

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The week’s X-books include the premiere issue of X-Corp, which I believe is a mini-series. Children of the Atom gets its 3rd issue already (oops, still haven’t read 1-2!). And the newest X-Factor…which is a bit of a bummer as apparently the series is ending with only a couple more issues.

Geiger I’ll continue with on strength of Johns‘ name…AND this NOT being a DC book. GI Joe: A Real American Hero continues along, chugging its way toward its 300th (?!?) issue. (Well, about a year and a half yet, but that time is gonna fly!). And rather than staying contained in an already bi-weekly title, we have a Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man issue for King’s Ransom (ugh…another event already?!?).

And finally, Batman/Scooby-Doo Mysteries that I’m basically getting SOLELY to "support" the $2.99 price point!

In the land of $4.99+ titles, I feel like I "have to" support this at $2.99 to show that SOMEONE (me) is willing to buy randomish stuff from DC at the price point, where I refuse on principle to buy $5.99-only issues or $4.99 issues and so on. (Heck, I’m not even keen on getting $3.99 issues from DC!)

And oh, look…according to Comic Shop News‘ cover, looks like Red Sonja is getting into the black/white/red thing, apparently. Maybe I’ll check that out. Support an "anthology" title. Though my biggest hassle for stuff from Dynamite is their having way, far too many VARIANTS on every. single. issue. of every. single. series. It’s not something I want to put on a pull list…but then it loses out if I cannot get the "A" cover "off the rack" without trouble. Whatever.


Looks like the week of May 19th will be one of my biggest in awhile, not to mention most "diverse" in terms of not being primarily Marvel and/or DC.

Maybe I’ll have a second "Weekly Haul" post up this week.

Or maybe not.

Who knows?

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of April 21 & April 28, 2021

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Well…I made it 3 1/2 months before missing a week, and thus doubling-up on these Weekly Haul posts! So, here you go, if anyone other than me myself cares about these! (Since these largely are a way for me to have record to go back to easily and see what I’ve snagged).

Whatever.


Week of April 21, 2021

Second-to-last week of April…and one of THE biggest weeks…and most complex weeks! Wound up piecing these together from two local shops and mail-order!

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Radiant Black is my chance to follow a Higgins series, since I won’t buy his Power Rangers stuff specifically because it’s (currently) published by Boom. TMNT is a staple…been buying this monthly since #1 nearly ten years ago. and Alien #2 is…well, it’s Alien, but it seems that Marvel is really half-arsing it…especially after they DOVE into numerous Star Wars and Conan titles virtually immediately. If all they were gonna do is a Dark Horse-tone book and a series of variant covers, but not even launch into a bit of world-building/re-establishment…seems like they’re squandering the license.

Way of X is the second book in the "third wave" of titles to launch for the Hickman-era of the titles. X-Force is "the next issue of a series I’m buying regularly now." and the Carnage book is…I don’t even know. I started getting the Wolverine anthology like this, and this one kinda slipped in with it. Maybe I want to support Marvel doing this sort of title? Maybe I just want a taste of "classic" Carnage? Who knows/

Amazing Spider-Man is a "next issue," ditto for The Walking Dead Deluxe. And apparently I neglected to realize I’d already bought the Star Trek: The Next Generation issue a couple weeks ago. Oops.

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Then there’s the new issue of Usagi Yojimbo, which I think has surpassed the Mirage run now, number-wise. I wasn’t keen when its Dark Horse iteration switched to mini-series near the end of its run…but I’m more than agreeable to a new #1 when it’s from a new publisher. I believe the continuity is ongoing, though, regardless of publisher. I’m in for a good, solid read whenever I get around to diving in to catch up on the IDW run. Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is a title I’m not sure what to make of…but feels like something to support for NOT being published by Boom. Hey…it’s Oni, so why not? I followed Letter 44 for 30-some issues or whatever it was from them…

Then there’s the 15th volume of Dawn of X, which I’m determined to at least finish its run up to X of Swords…but also supporting out of principle. It’s great to see an entire family of books being collected like this, for someone who wants to go all-in on the X-stuff. It seems like it’d be interesting to do this for more families of titles…and then collect the INDIVIDUAL series into their own books later, rather than this being the "side thing."

While I’m years behind reading any, I have great respect for the products put out by TwoMorrows, and definitely appreciate historical comics stuff, so Back Issue is a great magazine I like to get when I notice it…even if it DOES pile an extra $10ish onto the total. Well worth it for the content and time it’d take to read the issue cover to cover.

Also snagged a classic back-issue of the classic Warlock series…brings me ONE issue closer to having the full series!

As to Comic Shop News, I’d be more interested in the Milestone stuff if it WASN’T DC at this point, and wasn’t yet another attempt at relaunching the line. I wish the Milestone folks plenty of success, though DC is just so thoroughly on my crap-list that I’m steering clear. Also figure there’ll be enough variant covers and other speculator things associated, and I’m not gonna be "speculator-bullied" into buying it JUST to not have to pay higher prices later. Either it’ll be a speculator’s dream, or it’ll be fair-priced if not bargain-priced down the line. The latter two would mean I can get it later.

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Snagged Ultramega #2, Stray Dogs #3, The BeQuest #2, and a GI Joe: A Real American Hero: Serpentor Uncoiled special online. These arrived on Tuesday, so still count as the week of the 21st. Still have to read their first issues, but…whatever. I’m hardly any smart guy when it comes to stuff.


Week of April 28, 2021

And now we catch up to the "current" week with the 28th, and FOUR X-books…one of them FREE!

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Cable and New Mutants are "the next issue" right now/still. But then X-Men Legends is largely the same..but a new classic-X-Factor story, apparently! And the image seems familiar…I’m thinking (offhand, as I’m typing) it’s an homage to either X-Factor #1 or the first annual for the title. And then we have this Hellfire Gala Official Guide…a "preview" book of stuff–designs for characters and whatnot–for the upcoming event. I MUUUUUUUUCH prefer such content be presented like this–and as its own unit–and "free" at that–than as a bunch of content padding out a regular issue claiming "bonus content" when it’s NOT material I want to pay for, nor is it padding out repetetively a bunch of unrelated books for the sake of padding them out with "preview pages" and such. In this way it’s a nifty little bonus thing, can file it with the X-books, and enjoy it AS its own thing.

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Helm of Greycastle…a bit like "Grayskull," right? Nostalgia, looks fantasy-ish, and can check out this first issue. Whatever. Ditto for Summoners War: Legacy. I think this is based on some videogame, but…it caught my attention. So what the hey?

Newest issue of Spawn; #317. This is the 50th issue after I jumped back onto the title, after the cover to #257 caught my eye way back in 2015! (Making this my 51st continuous issue of the series!) This might put Spawn second only to the current TMNT run in that regard! I may have to think more on that…certainly something for its own post, perhaps.

Next is the final issue (I think) of the second story from the CLASSIC Usagi Yojimbo series, now presented here in COLOR.

Finally, an issue of GI Joe: A Real American Hero that…turned out to be a darned variant. I hate variants. #280…I think I jumped back onto the title around 245 or so, so it’s been several years. Haven’t read in I don’t know how long…mostly just "supporting" the titles continuation and such. You can BET that I’d jump off if Hama leaves…this is verrrrrry much HIS book! And I’d love to fill the gap in issues from the low-160s to the 240s and just have the whole thing. But it’s a lot like Spawn, apparently: folks that HAVE the issues are hanging onto them, and they haven’t exactly had high print runs.

And…Comic Shop News.


I’m

I’m a bit worn down lately as "real life" has intruded big-time…particularly with work.

This is my first post in a couple weeks, and I lost the flow of covering Magic: The Gathering – The Shadow Mage. Hopefully I’ll get caught up on that again soon. And I’ve loooooads of X-stuff to read, to where I’ve neglected new comics for way too long and have those to catch up on.

First world problems, I guess?

Who knows what the coming week holds…

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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 14, 2021

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Another week, some new comics…

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Nothing all that exciting this week. Wolverine and Children of the Atom are "the latest X-books this week." Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon is the latest issue of that series…cruising on along on strength of the first issue and Larry Hama‘s name.

Then Star Trek: The Next Generation: The GIft as a reprint of an older story and getting some nostalgia. I’m not much interested in "modern" TNG comics, but occasional stuff like this I’ll check out. Cheaper than "hunting" back-issues to get the story, anyway.

GI Joe: A Real American Hero #279 is another "latest issue/issue-out-this-week."

And the Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries is the first time in a few weeks that DC has been on here. But it’s a $2.99 comic! Given their shift mostly to $4.99/$5.99 and such…I’d be just part of the problem if I complain about their prices but then DIDN’T support a $2.99 book!

Finally, for the Comic Shop News issue this week…Looking just at the top, my first thought was "…again?" on The Mighty Crusaders/The Shield. My second thought was "Huh…that looks like Rob Liefeld art…" Unfolding the issue…sure enough, saw the ‘signature’ on the art. Say what you will about the man’s art…it’s typically very recognizable!

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The ’90s Revisited – Magic: The Gathering – The Shadow Mage #2

[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!]

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Writer: Jeff Gomez
Pencils: Val Mayerik
Ink: James Pascoe
Painted Color: Mark Csaszar
Letters: Adam Niedzwiecki
Editor-In-Chief: Bob Layton
Cover Painting: Val Mayerik
Cover Date: August 1995
Cover Price: $2.50

Well, one thing to notice straight away is that you really need to pay clooooose attention to years to know what sort of time has passed! The first issue opened on "Autumn of 1265, by the reckoning of the Sages of Minorad." That issue referenced time in relation to that–a week later, a month later, seven years later. This issue opens in "late Summer, 1280 by the reckoning of the Sages of Minorad." So it’s been nearly 15 years since the events that opened the first issue…and doing the math, we’re opening some 7-8 years after the previous issue ended! So quiiiiite a gap, there.

The young Jared Carthalion is now 14ish, having spent the last 3/4ths of a decade training to take on Ravidel. However, while Ravidel knows where and how to find Jared, knows that Jared’s got access to magic, and even declared that their final duel had begun…he apparently decided to kick back and leave Jared alone for awhile, rather than finishing his would-be opponent while he could.

So we get some verbal exposition–as Jared is pained using his magic, Ezer has had him attempt to train physically so he can put up SOME sort of fight, if not magically. A giant spider is summoned to them and attacks–Ezer immediately recognizes it as "a minion of Ravidel" because of course. This is the last straw, and NOW Jared determines to fight back, and summons a Hurloon Minotaur. In the midst of the giant spider attack, the Minotaur and Jared discuss what’s happening, share introductions (the minotaur’s name is Sings Two Ways, and he and his people were granted a boon by the elder Carthalion that they cannot repay, and thus Sings Two Ways gladly fights in defense of Jared and Ezer). Jared sees the spider apparently winning and steps in and the two slay the creature.

The spider defeated, Sings Two Ways laments he must leave…he’s been poisoned and will die unless Jared returns him to his people. Their home destroyed, Jared and Ezer are now homeless in the rain in the streets of Arathoxia. Jared spots a beautiful young woman and laments his raggedness by comparison. Before long, he and Ezer are in a hospice, the older man dying, and Jared determined to seek out some way to save him. Leaving the hospice, he’s set upon by Yorgo and his gang, and Jared summons some goblins, but is then horrified when they nearly kill the boys and laments, wondering if butchering others is what his power can do. We get a page of Arathoxian politics re: Ravidel, and then find Jared speaking with the Vizier’s wife in House Carthalion, where he has ventured for help. She references "the battle of Aster Fall" (which contextualizes the previous issue a bit) and shows him a Black Lotus, but they’re interrupted by the vizier’s return so she gives him an Alabaster Potion and sends him off. Jared steals the Black Lotus, recognizing its power, but while he tries to figure out how to use it, is greeted by that beautiful young woman–who invites Jared to Beggartown that evening.

After giving some of the potion to Ezer, Jared meets her there, where we find a whole community of thieves/beggars, including Yorgo’s group…and they’re none to happy that Liana has brought Jared into their space. But Jared offers some of the remaining potion to one of the boys hurt by the goblins earlier, though it earns him no thanks. The city’s guards descend on the group from nowhere, and Liana stops Jared from using his magic as that would bring the wrong sort of attention. As the crowd flees…Jared and Liana are suddenly confronted by none other than Ravidel himself! Jared lashes out immediately, but the more experienced planeswalker casts a spell and defeats Jared. Liana steps in–apparently she and Ravidel have some history–and drives the planeswalker off after revealing she has multiple moxes and referencing "The Treaty of the Shard." Ravidel claims a proper duel now would run counter to his plans, so leaves. Hours later, Jared and Liana pose for the page, as we see she’s second-guessed what she was going to tell Jared, as the boy realizes he’ll have to go it alone.

Well…that’s a loooong summary, and I’m sure I really glossed over some key details! There’s enough going on here to fill 3-4 issues in terms of modern comics’ pacing and such. This is a really dense story…and one that relies on the reader to have picked up on and remembered a number of subtle details! The reader also gets to fill in a lot of blanks, between the 7-year-gap between issues to imagining the details of Sings Two Ways’ relationship to Jared’s father, to the nature of House Carthalion. There’s also the curiosity of Ravidel allowing so much time to pass without expending much effort to personally confront Jared until he’s begun finding apparently-powerful allies, such as Liana! While I have some meta-textual knowledge of "The Shard," I’ll leave that to discuss more as it comes up in other Armada Magic issues, since I’m going issue-by-issue through one series at a time here.

The story continues to hold more potential than what it executes…it’s not bad, but feels too dense, too "compressed" for me after 20 years of "decompressed" storytelling in comics, and more years removed from the depths of Magic: the Gathering knowledge. Back in 1996, I was fresh into the game and fairly steeped in knowledge of the various cards and bits of lore. Taking stuff month by month, where the game had only even existed for a little under two years, it was a whole different thing back then than now, some 25 years later reading this from a muuuuch different vantage point!

The art is good, and I feel like I liked it better in this issue than the previous, though it’s the same art team! Perhaps because–while dense story-wise–this issue didn’t have to cover 7+ years, so there was more of a sense of consistency…and I’m beginning to get a better sense of characters, now that things have settled a bit, and been able to build a bit on what’s come before, which I suppose allows me to appreciate the art more, not being as overwhelmed with "everything."

This definitely looks like a fantasy comic, and continues to remind me a bit of Barry Windsor-Smith‘s art for some reason.

I was also interested to note ads in the issue…particularly for the Chronicles set. This was the set, after all, that released in August or so 1995, offering white-border "unlimited" editions of previously-limited black-border cards from the Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, and The Dark expansion sets…and which led to Wizards of the Coast establishing their "Restricted List" that persists to this day.

We have the addition of Liana–apparently a planeswalker herself–to the story, and it seems obvious something bigger is afoot. There’s the general knowledge displayed by House Carthalion of the battle of Aster Fall; their possession of a Black Lotus; and Liana having history with Ravidel. At the second issue here, that suggests "the world" of Magic is about to get a whole lot bigger than Jared’s little corner of things.

As mentioned in covering the previous issue…this story is one built around the cards…rather than the cards being built around the story. The issue–as with the first (though I didn’t get into it)–has a bit of "backmatter" with words from the editor to the reader, as well as a mini-column "Seer Analysis" by Shawn F. Carnes where Carnes looks at the issue from the point of view of Magic: The Gathering the game, pointing out details such as a Hurloon Minotaur being a 2/3 creature, while a Giant Spider is 2/4, and so while the two creatures would indeed damage each other, neither would one-shot-kill the other.

Also like the first issue, this issue’s cover announces the inclusion of a genuine Magic: The Gathering card. UNlike the previous issue, though…this one has the card in a clear plastic insert/wrapper stapled into the issue itself, rather than being loose in a polybag. This certainly allows a better situation wherein one can READ the issue itself and choose whether or not to remove the card! It may be a crapshoot if you find this issue "in the wild" on whether it includes the card or not, but it’s more likely, perhaps, than if you find #1 in the wild. [Edit to add: the card this issue comes with is a 4th Edition Blue Elemental Blast]

I also have a certain amount of personal sentimentality to this issue, as I recall a visit to my grandmother and having this comic with me, as I associate this cover with that visit; it also puts me in mind of an aunt, who had tried to show interest in my comics for my sake. I know I had consciously recalled bits of the first issue, as well as this issue from its cover (and it’s great that the cover shows something from the issue itself–a Hurloon Minotaur vs. Giant Spider!). I don’t have the same conscious recollection of the covers, even, of the 3rd and 4th issue of this series, nor even the story or how things turn out…even consciously recalling having re-read this series a few years ago!

Two issues down, and we’re halfway through this entire mini-series…

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