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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 24, 2021

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This is a mixed week of stuff. Not a whole lot, so…I’ll just dive on in!

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Cable #9 and Excalibur #19…as the latest X-issues.

IDW‘s latest TMNT: Best of _______ issue, this time spotlighting Michelangelo. This reprints the original Mirage Michelangelo one-shot ("micro-series") issue from the ’80s; the IDW Michelangelo "micro-series" issue from early in their run; and then their more recent Michelangelo "macro-series" prestige-format/deluxe thing in the build up toward #100.

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Unfortunately, someone at the publisher did not correct/change/update some text properly, and so the issue actually claims on its title page to have a TMNT: Leonardo Macro-Series issue instead. And it was just a few weeks ago that IDW also printed a GI Joe comic with "$3.99" on the cover, despite it being a $5.99 book.

Semi-sorta-finally, Amazing Spider-Man #62 as "just the next issue of a series I’m buying out of habit, really"…at this point.

And then as I’ve jumped back into the X-books in a big way, I definitely wanted to snag the preview catalogue thing, all the more featuring the upcoming Hellfire Gala and such.

I spotted the Millennium Edition Superman #1 reprint on display…and the display worked! $5? Not bad at all for such a thing, especially at this point, over 20 years later! I remember when these were first coming out new and have more recently been starting to track some of them down. Kind of stupid how expensive some are for being reprints. But as part of that huge series of Millennium Edition reprints DC did…they’re their own thing there, separate from modern replica/facsimile editions, and from a very specific time!

I’ll end now with Comic Shop News…I quite enjoy Alex Ross‘ art, and this is a relatively cool-looking piece on the cover. No clue about the Cap title(s) itself/themselves lately…been years since I’ve been interested in an actual, modern/"new"/"current week" Cap comic. I think I even missed some anniversary issue this week or last, but it doesn’t actually bother me all that much.

Actually got outta the LCS for under-$30. Unfortunately, no Alien #1, so that’ll get its own post some other time, I guess.

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Resumption of X: Purchase #9

This purchase was part of a MUCH larger purchase overall…at the Winston World sale at Carol & John’s the weekend of March 5-7.

I had attempted to attend the March iteration of that show I went to back in October, but they were "at capacity" before I even got there with no signs of that changing and a long line down a hall, through the lobby, and down another hall in the hotel, and that with a $5 "cover charge" to even gain admittance.

So I went to CNJ instead…and wound up spending my entire "show budget" on primarily X-back-issues…current AND back to the ’90s.

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With these nine issues…I’m now down to missing Excalibur #12, New Mutants #s 13 & 16; X-Force #s 3, 4, 8, & 13; Wolverine #6; and Hellions #s 3 & 5.

That’s about 33% less than the number of issues I bought in one go back in early February.

Of course, that excludes Deadpool 2-9 of the latest run…but I don’t count that the same way as it’s not a "branded" Dawn of X/Reign of X title with this semi "digital"-looking style to the logos.

And several of these missing issues are early X of Swords chapters…where I’ve passed on 2nd prints. I do want first prints…the "actual" issues, all the way through…it’s my OCD and desire for consistency.

But with the comic shops in the area not having them…I had counted on the comic show to find more…and I suppose now we’ll see how things are for one in the area next month and how compatible that is (or is not) with some real-life situations going on at present.

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Resumption of X: Purchase #8

Another Lonestar (mycomicshop.com) purchase netted another 11 issues of the Hickman-era X-books. 10 shown, as I promptly after that bought one of the same issues, totally having forgotten to mark it in my ever-dwindling checklist!

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Finished off the Fallen Angels 6-issue mini or whatever it was. It sounds (from what I gather from Chris Sheehan (Chris is on Infinite Earths / X-Lapsed)) that the current Hellions is largely a continuation of this book, possibly "rebranded" or some such (my phrasing, not his). Either way…nice to knock an entire run off the "missing issues" checklist!

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And then four of the five Giant-Size X-Men books from last year; got the Nightcrawler one from Midtown as detailed in my previous post in this series of "Resumption of X" stuff.

Annnnd Juggernaut #1, which completes that limited series. I suppose one thing about such an "unconnected" series is that whenever I go to read it I’ll probably binge the entire series, rather than trying to read through in roughly publication-order hopping across 6-10 books.

Nine purchases in–7 of them ranging from "large" to "huge"–and that being after buying 2/3 of X of Swords in one go–I’m down to a pretty-manageable list of missing issues from this era of X-stuff.

As of this typing (though not sure when this post will go live) I’m a few days out from a possible comic show that I’m hoping might allow me to pretty much be totally caught up to current.

So as always…time will tell for what’s next. Suffice it to say that I think the primary binge-buying is done, now, outside of what I might be able to get at the show–I’ve exhausted what I can find at four local comic shops and two major online shops…which pretty much leaves stuff like a show or otherwise happening across issues.

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Resumption of X: Purchase #7

Here we are…another post in my series continuing to chronicle my "Resumption of X"–the ridiculously-(relatively)-quick resumption of collecting X-books from the Hickman era and trying to be "caught up to current" all the way back to HoX/PoX.

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This was a small order I somewhat gritted my teeth on, ordering from Midtown. Three $5 issues PLUS shipping. I feel like it’s too few issues to place an order–with shipping amounting to 25-30 percent of the entire order!

But the Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler issue was the only one that Lonestar did not have of those 5 specials and for roughly cover price. And they’re a bit on the "older" side, where as with the other #1s…it was Midtown to the rescue in being able to get them (and first prints/regular covers at that!) for roughly cover price!

So the same followed for Hellions #1, which I had missed when I did the earlier order with the #1s for the first wave of titles. And Deadpool as an "adjacent" title (much as Juggernaut and X-Men Legends…stuff typically tied to X-stuff but not necessarily branded with the trade dress/style/etc of the main Dawn of X/Reign of X titles).

As mentioned above about Lonestar, I was placing orders with them as well as Midtown, and that order should be the next post in this series.

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Resumption of X: Purchase #6

In the ongoing "Resumption of X" I’m chronicling the material actuality of my trying to as quickly as possible catch up on the Hickman-era/Dawn of X family of X-titles.

Here’s another purchase from Comic Heaven, with what I call "priced back issues" (that is, comics bagged/boarded, priced, and filed in longboxes–as opposed to "recent back issues" that are still out loose on the "rack" or such simply at cover price).

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This time, snagged a couple more issues of the Hickman "adjectiveless" X-Men core title…as well as another issue of Excalibur.

Unfortunately for me, I had neglected to mark in my phone’s checklist that I’d already ordered the X-Men issue with Mystique on the cover, so…oops. I’m not too keen on some of the duplicates I’m winding up with between mistakes like that, and variants/2nd printings.

But with a couple more online orders supplementing what I’m able to get at the LCS, and looking at another local show coming up, I’m thinking even if I can’t score any "grails", I’m wondering if I might be able to be "caught up to current" on this era of X-books by April?

Time shall tell!

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Resumption of X: Purchase #5

In my ongoing quest for catching up on the Dawn of X-era X-comics, I had aimed to visit Comics and Friends for the first time in farrrrr too long (first time since stuff started reopening after the initial shutdowns last year) on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, I also ran a couple of other errands and found myself having arrived at the mall about 15 minutes after closing time. Whether that was just online-posted closing time I wasn’t sure but I decided to forego hiking through a cold parking lot just to find a gated store and such.

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So I went back Sunday afternoon and had no problem getting in and as hoped/expected, finding a small selection of recent back-issues!

Several more issues of New Mutants and Excalibur starting out.

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Then three issues of X-Men. Couldn’t find anything from any of the other titles that I didn’t already have or have coming soon from the online shops.

But I did notice Juggernaut. While they didn’t have the first issue…they had 2-5, which I snagged with the expectation that by the time I get around to reading the series I should hopefully have been able to find the first issue.

While not strictly-speaking a Dawn of X title, I’ve heard good stuff about it and figure–like Deadpool‘s recently-concluded 10-issue maxi-series–it would be a decent addition to my mass of issues.

Despite these significant purchases, I’ve still got quite a few issues to track down for the Dawn of X-era stuff. But I’d say I’m probably a good 3/4 of the way there, and I think what I’m missing is pre-X of Swords, which means I can at least READ the stuff on Marvel Unlimited, even if I don’t yet have it in my OCD-fueled print collection.

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Resumption of X: Purchase #4

Visiting Kenmore Komics I was able to snag another 21 issues of the Dawn of X-era X-comics. I think all the issues were a whopping one cent over cover price–rounding that penny from $3.99 to $4 even.

And with buying a bunch, got an unexpected (but welcome) discount on the issues!

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A scattering of issues from Excalibur, Hellions, Marauders, Wolverine, and X-Men

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Then a good chunk of X-Force, a little over a third of the run!

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And another chunk of New Mutants; about a third of its run! The covers threw me a bit, but as best I can tell, the issues are all first prints and "A" covers, rather than variants. A bit trippy, though on some of those! But somehow reminiscent of what I know of the original series and its art, so that’s fitting, I suppose?

I definitely had not planned on getting so many issues, but I was armed with a checklist of everything I was aware being out so far for the Dawn of X stuff, and basically went through the back-issue bins and I’m pretty sure I pulled every first print "A" cover available!

Since I’m after the issues anyway and going to be spending the money anyway, even with a bigger chunk at once, just as well to go ahead and buy ’em while I actually have the money and rather than dragging the whole thing out…or at least, that’s how I’ve been justifying to myself such a huge outlay of cash lately on X-comics.

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Resumption of X: Purchase #3

While I shared this in my "Weekly Haul" post for February 10th, I realized it deffffinitely fit this series and should be called out as its own thing! Especially with utilizing a number of comic shops to track down as many of these issues as I can as "recent back issues" or roughly-cover-price back issues!

At Comic Heaven, I was able to snag 7 recent back issues–Marauders, Excalibur, and Hellions issues–as well as a couple of "priced back issues" bagged and boarded in the official back issue bins for about 25 cents above cover price (which to me covers the bag-and-board!)

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Though apparently I did overlap on Marauders #17…oops! I guess that could be worse, and I’m not too concerned in the grand scheme…especially considering how much I’m spending lately to try to catch up on 16-18 months’ worth of an entire family of modern titles in very short order!

While I can largely go with publication order for the first six issues of the initial wave of titles, I’m honestly not quite sure what issues of which series take place after or during X of Swords–with stuff like (I believe) New Mutants having only a single issue in the mix, while other titles may’ve had 3 or more issues in the crossover.

I suppose I’ll get that figured out eventually…part of me is eager to dive into post-X of Swords reading while part of me wants to fly through/catch up TO the event from the beginning before going forward.

If nothing else, I imagine i’ll at least be following Chris Sheehan and the issue order he takes for his X-Lapsed podcast covering every. single. issue. of Dawn of X (and then some!).

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Resumption of X: Purchase #2

In tandem with an order placed with Midtown Comics, I placed an order with Lonestar Comics (mycomicshop.com) for a number of other Dawn of X/Reign of X issues.

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Three issues of Wolverine, including the first! And six issues of Excalibur…though I didn’t realize the one issue was a 2nd print. Sort of annoyed with myself but could be worse I guess. Also some double-dipping where i’d been "forced" to buy variants or 2nd print for X of Swords issues just to get ’em at all.

I get particularly annoyed with variants and covers that don’t look like their marketing and such…and not at all keen on "settling" for 2nd or later prints, especially when the firsts should be around overall!

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Five issues of Marauders, and four of X-Men. I don’t think I’d realized any of the actual X-Men issues had tied in with the Empyre thing…I thought it was an Empyre: X-Men mini-series separately. Or maybe there was that as well as these. I dunno…I’ll figure it out eventually!

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Finally, the first seven issues of X-Factor. Definitely a big chunk, but very cool to be able to get the whole series thus far. (At least, I think it’s the entire series thus far!)

I definitely like the logo on this one as well. It keeps the Dawn of X style but is a definite callback to the classic original series.

25 issues and another expensive chunk down…but issues being at cover price or under was again a definite advantage here!

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X-Men Legends #1 [Review]

xmen_legends_001The Burning Blood Part One: Shattered Crystal, Scattered Dreams

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Brett Booth
Inker: Adelso Corona
Colorist: Guru-EFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editor: Lauren Amaro
Editor: Mark Basso
X-Men Senior Editor: Jordan D. White
Cover Date: April 2021
Cover Price: $4.99

Possibly my earliest conscious memories of X-Men comics are the X-Cutioner’s Song event/crossover issues polybagged with a trading card…because a friend was collecting that crossover. It didn’t mean anything to me at the time, personally…though I wasn’t too far behind getting in thanks to the then-new XTAS, and Fatal Attractions event/crossover. There’s still the nostalgia for me for those ranges of issues as such. Two of the earliest issues I can remember owning for myself are Uncanny X-Men #300, and X-Men #24. I do NOT remember "Adam X" nor much of anything about a "third Summers brother" at the time despite whatever issues I was reading…anything I DID know or think surely came from trading cards and/or Wizard Magazine. When Brubaker got to tackle the definitive answer to the question of that brother in 2005’s Deadly Genesis it also didn’t mean too terribly much to me for not being all that invested in there being or who was "the third Summers brother."

Anyway…X-Men Legends #1:

We open on Erik the Red directing his minions–the Crystal Claws–to attack Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. After much destruction and death, they find the people they’re after: Philip and Deborah Summers. The scene then shifts to find Cyclops and Havok–Scott and Alex Summers–back to back opposing a different wave of these Crystal Claw folks. Once victorious, they seek out Xavier for answers, given his relationship with a certain Shi’Ar. Before they get any, the brothers are called to Alaska where they learn of their grandparents’ kidnapping and ransom. The scene changes again to some flashbacky stuff of the childhood of a character calling himself Adam. He’s meditating in a field and when confronted, gets to show off his abilities with throwing weapons by killing a snake. Cable shows up and talks before giving Adam’s location to the Summers Brothers. While Adam deals with more memories, he finds himself set upon by Hepzibah and Raza of the Starjammers. Their fight is interrupted by Cyclops and Havok, and Adam fights them as well. When the three find themselves at a questionable stalemate, a ship decloaks to reveal Corsair–father of Cyclops and Havok. While he notes the confusion on their faces, Corsair reveals that he knows more than they do, and fires his weapon at them. To Be Continued…

There’s something refreshing and yet challenging about this issue. It’s refreshing to have an issue that has so much packed into it…rather than the decompressed, semi-cinematic, un-captioned, un-narrated, dialogue-less nature of too many modern comics. It’s refreshing to have a first issue start out right into action, rather than being all setup for the next five issues or so, as a mere 1/6th of a singular story. It’s refreshing to have editor’s notes and footnotes. And it’s darned refreshing to this fan of ’90s comics and ’90s X-Men to see Cyclops, Havok, and Xavier in their early-’90s look, not to mention an adult/older Cable, and various other touches that feel very reminiscent of the ’90s. It’s a bit challenging, however, coming 26-27 years after the comics it’s meant to fit around, and though familiar with the general time-frame, I’m not steeped enough in conscious memory of 1994 continuity, "Adam X," and the finer details of that. I don’t feel like I knew Erik the Red prior to Uncanny X-Men #350 in 1998 or so, and I’ve never been a huge fan of the Shi’Ar and such. I’ve also been conditioned especially over the past 20+ years to the decompressed format of modern comics, so found it a bit jarring to have so much going on in this single issue, jumping all over the place. For a new-in-2021-comic, it feels very out of place and a bit choppy/clunky.

The art team manages to capture a ’90s feel in addition to simply depicting the consistency of a ’90s-era "house style" of the characters’ costumes and such. It’s by no means a perfect fit, as it is still a comic actually published in 2021 with seemingly contemporary art, carrying with it a modern aesthetic I can’t quite put to words. The visuals are clearly intended to evoke the colorful, dynamic, over-the-top-ish frenetic action that I, at least, tend to associate by reputation with ’90s comics. This isn’t Jim Lee art by any means, but I liked it and found it rather enjoyable, particularly in the moment as I read this issue. At the minimum, the visual style helps the issue to show us this is a ’90s-era-style story, rather than just telling us the fact.

Nicieza‘s name was a huge selling point for me–he was one of the main X-writers when I first got into the X-Men in 1993 or so. Getting a new story from him that’s meant to fit right into existing continuity and that is not further-ballooning out modern elements was extremely appealing to me. I mentioned earlier that this issue felt very out of place and choppy/clunky. That’s in the context of being a comic published in 2021, based on modern 2021 comics tropes, generalities, and conditioning over much of the past several decades to the fairly strict, rigid decompression of every 6 issues being a single story, rather than having multiple core stories and numerous plot threads woven across 6 issues. The Summers brothers’ interactions; the quick shift to Xavier for information, the convenience of plot elements falling into place within pages…it worked for me.

If this was a modern issue, I’d expect a multi-page sequence of a mysterious ship approaching a planet that turns out to be Earth followed by multiple pages of attack and double-page spread(s) of the devastation left behind and a cliffhanger of two people with the surname SUMMERS being found. Instead, that’s just several pages’ prologue. In that regard, this issue could pretty easily–by modern standards–be broken out into 3-4 issues. At 30 pages of story in a $4.99 comic…it (grudgingly) actually seems worth its price compared to most same-length/same-priced comics.

This felt like a much longer read than I expected, and I enjoyed the details and captions and such…it’s not that the reader is spoon-fed, but the reader gets to read a story–they don’t have to participate, they don’t have to nitpick and think-deeply and pick stuff apart from subtle visual clues that lack any sort of dialogue or caption reference for key parts of the story…and the only "homework" the reader would need to do–if so chosen–is follow the editor’s notes to check back to X-Men #39 (immediately prior to Legion Quest and the Age of Apocalypse) and a Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell, I presume) issue. There are no "infopages" nor "infographics" interrupting the flow of the story, and really what you see is what you get.

This is by no means a perfect issue, and it is $4.99. But it’s an issue that I was looking forward to for awhile, based primarily on the concept and the cover; and that $4.99 gets you 30 pages of story rather than merely 20ish for $3.99; an extra 50% of story for only an extra 25% of price. The cover sports the "classic" bold, blocky 3-D-ish X-MEN logo certainly associated with the ’90s comics (and then some!) with "Legends" and "#1" worked into it…much the way the ’90s Superman comics fit "Action Comics" and "The Man of Steel" in against "Superman." The cover image of the main/standard/non-variant cover (pictured above) strongly evokes the ’90s to me and lent itself strongly to my sense of nostalgia and thus interest in checking this out…as a series, and certainly as a first issue.

Given that this is a story by a prior writer, meant to fit into a point of continuity nearly half the property’s existence in the past, this certainly won’t be for "everyone," nor will it appeal to everyone. It absolutely appeals to someone like me that grew up with the ’90s X-Men and looks fondly upon that period of the property. While likely a curiosity to readers brought in by Hickman‘s House of X Powers of X, Dawn of X/Reign of X/X of Swords and such…this is absolutely non-essential to what I understand of the current books, and more a chance for older, lapsed readers to get something new. Or for newer readers to get a taste of something out of the past that is actually new.

I’m certainly not keen on a comic’s being $4.99, but I definitely feel I got my money’s worth out of this issue and am really looking forward to #2 and beyond. Honestly, a telling point should be that I so thoroughly enjoyed this issue that it prompted this review at all, marking my first review of a "current issue" in maybe a year or more!

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