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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 Weekly Haul: Week of April 7, 2021

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Another week, another haul. AND no DC stuff!

  • 4 Marvel
  • 3 Image
  • 1 Aftershock
  • 1 IDW

Marvel‘s got the X-stuff. Image has new stuff; as does Aftershock; and IDW with a hefty, thick reprint volume.

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Geiger I bought for names alone: Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. No idea what the comic’s supposed to be about, but with these creators involved…certainly something to take a look at! Especially for NOT being something published by DC, particularly given Johns‘ history with DC.

Project Patron caught my eye somehow and seemed like an interesting enough concept at the time for me to decide to give its #1 a chance. We’ll see if it goes further, as I REALLY do NOT like $5 comics. I’ll accept ’em a bit more from a small publisher like this (compared to, say, Marvel or DC), of course.

Fire Power is definitely truckin’ along. And unlike most other recent "new series," it’s one I’ve actually kept up on, at least in buying. It’s an enjoyable enough title, though I may opt out on the singles and switch to the paperbacks. The initial hype has worn off, for me. Then again…it’s not DC and so more of a worthwhile book of late.

Nocterra is another exception: I’d picked up #1 on creator name (Scott Snyder) and though I’ve yet to read #1, snagged #2. Similar boat: creator(s) I know from DC but on a book that’s…(you guessed it!) not from DC!

Both Marauders #19 and Excalibur #20 are here by virtue simply of being current X ongoings. I’m into the #8s of the "first wave" of Dawn of X stuff…apparently up to right about a year ago just ahead of The Hiatus. So a bit to go, yet, and then the first third of X of Swords and then "catching up" from there to current, and hopefully STAY current. I suppose I now need to aim to catch up in time for the Hellfire Gala stuff…

Amazing Spider-Man is a definite "morbid curiosity" thing at this point–I’ve been "starved" for Spider-Man stuff and it’s at least "the main/traditional title" over stunt minis and such. I need to find a point for a good, clean break I think. Or keep watching it FOR the aforementioned morbid curiosity…

I have NOT been all over the Marvel Tales books the way I’ve tried to be the facsimile editions. That said, I got it into my head to get this one…though I’m more looking forward to the upcoming Thanos Quest one. Squadron Supreme is primarily a blind spot for me in Marvel stuff; so things like this offer to fill in that gap a tiny bit. IF I ever get around to reading it!

And finally, Tranformers ’84: Legends & Rumors. $7.99 for "100 pages" (not sure if ads and such are included in that page count or not). But still, for the price of two skinny comics with maybe 40-44 pages (let’s say even 60 between them with ads), this is like a third issue "free" and the Transformers are another relative blind spot for me, so the would-be nostalgia gets me.


All in all, not a bad week. Still pretty darned expensive…but a good third of that is the two $8 reprints issues. If I factored out reprints, "new stuff," and X-stuff, that’d leave me with Fire Power for the week. And that wouldn’t even really justify going to the comic shop!

Next week looks to be a decent-sized week as well. Until then…

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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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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 10, 2021

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And here we are…this week marks one week since the company I work for immediately transitioned to 100% remote work. That didn’t affect me too much as I was already working 100% remotely. But it was also only a week ahead of what felt like stuff hitting all the more a week later…and then the shutdowns catching up to the comics world.

And of course…DC. In their (Or rather, AT&T‘s) rush to do stuff, dropping Diamond and all the other shenanigans of stuff…well, look at this image below. NO DC. And of the 8 issues this week…7 of them are Marvel!

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This week starts with MY first new X-book #1 with the obvious trade dress/branding of the Dawn of X/Reign of X stuff since 2019’s X-Men #1…Children of the Atom #1. Not sure what to expect from the title, but as I’m currently all in mostly all-in on these I suppose I’ll find out. And being a #1 maybe I’ll find out sooner than some other stuff. Or save it for when I catch up as I’m (as of this typing) currently plugging through the #4s of Dawn of X wave 1.

X-Factor #8 adds to the X-stuff for the week, and is my first new issue of that title since diving back onto the family of titles!

Amazing Spider-Man #61 boasts of a new costume, and the cover reminds me a bit of one of the Complete Clone Saga Epic tpbs’ cover.

While his latest ongoing series (vol. 8? vol. 9?) just ended…we get a one-shot special issue celebrating Deadpool’s 30th anniversary/birthday in Deadpool Nerdy 30 #1. While–like Gambit and Cable–I missed the character’s actual first appearing, I came in only a couple years after…and have been around and aware of the character for a good 28 or so years of this 30!

Next up, we have TMNT Jennika II #5 (of 5? of 6???). Defffffinitely buying this for the sake of TMNT completion…I miss having other minis telling side-stories and such that dealt with multiple characters or other characters. But with the 3-issue 2020 mini and now this, in less than 2 years as a turtle, Jennika the character has gotten more solo-titled issues than any of the other turtles have in 37 years! (Each had a one-issue micro-series from Mirage; I believe I recall each having a 4-issue series from Mirage in the early-2000s under; and each hada one-issue micro-series early in IDW‘s tenure and then each had one-shots leading up to #100. So that’s 7 each in 37 years while Jennika’s already got 8 and maybe a 9th in a few weeks in only a little over one year…)

Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #4 is newly out this week…and I got taken in by nostalgia over the logo, and decided to go ahead and get it, as well as back-issues #s 2 & 3…which leaves only #1 to hunt down (perhaps this weekend?). I suppose DC has pushed me so far that I’m now forgiving and embracing stuff from Marvel that I shouldn’t (look at all these $4.99 books!) but I think for the moment, the X-stuff is approaching TMNT territory where I’ll give a pass that I won’t just broadly give to "everything."


But time will tell with the X-stuff. I’m not sure what’s up next week, but I think the week after is the first Marvel-published Aliens issue. And then the Omnibus in April or so. Still have to decide if I actually want that or not, given my aversion the last couple years TO Omnibus volumes over smaller, more manageable volumes. That being said…Aliens is probably more likely to get "Exception Status" than a broad pass to every X-title.

Who knows?

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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 03, 2021

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Here we are with another medium-ish week! However, this week has a lot of first issues to it, with little guarantee of any #2s (for me). But time will tell!

Let’s get into the week’s books!

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Fire Power #9 probably marks the longest I’ve stayed with a non-The Walking Dead Kirkman title in one go. While my interest isn’t nearly as high or hyped as it was for the first several issues, I’m still enjoying the series enough and determined to keep up for awhile just on principle of it being self-contained and not DC.

Given the sheer hype of Peach Momoko and the absolutely ridiculous/crazy/stupid speculation and such rampant in modern/current comics, I "speculated" myself that I’d better snag the first issue just to be ABLE TO at cover price. I do NOT get what the hype is all about for this creator, and while I’m pretty much all-in on the Hickman-led X-books for present…that does NOT (yet) include ALL related mini-series…so as I type this I also feel a little foolish regarding this Peach Momoko Demon Days X-Men book. C’est la vie, I guess.

Despite determining to bail on DC post-Future State and more pointedly on Batman due to the jacked-up $4.99 price and a "backup" feature continued in Detective Comics…for some reason, I’ve been a sucker for Swamp Thing for…heck, I guess it’s been about a decade now (since that Search for Swamp Thing mini-series back in 2011 or so). So I couldn’t quite force myself to not buy this latest iteration #1. Of course, if I opt to (as is likely) pass on #2…that’s probably gonna be the next huuuuuge "key" book for something. (You read it here first, everyone! I’m even scooping Bleeding Cool!)

Hellions #10…aka Fallen Angels #16? Whatever the case…this one threw me a bit by its cover. It not only has a "corner box" which is quite abnormal for a modern Marvel…but even has a faux UPC box with an image of Sinister in the style of direct market editions of many ’90s books. As of this typing I’m nearing the end of the #4s in the initial Dawn of X stuff, so still quite a bit of reading to get caught up totally. But I’m working on it!

DC‘s Infinite Frontier #0 is something I was NOT going to buy. But I think I changed my mind figuring there MIGHT be something to it, something worth reading…and, it WAS their Rebirth one-shot that–a little less than five years ago–prompted me to go all-in on the main DC Universe line for over a year! They’ve pi…ugh…squandered away all goodwill bought with that issue, really, but I’m nothing if not a glutton for punishment.

Walking Dead Deluxe is already at its 10th issue. Only two issues left to complete the second arc. This issue also marks the 1/3 point to where I "discovered" the title for myself way back when, as my getting-onboard-point was the release of the 5th TPB (to issue 30) and then waiting several months for the next arc to conclude to jump into the single issues with #37.

Now we come to three more new #1s…maybe soon I’ll look back and tally up how many #1s I’ve "tried" in the last few weeks…and see how many have "stuck."

Nocrterra grabbed my attention somehow…maybe a well-placed mention on League of Comic Geeks, maybe something else; maybe that it looked to be a small week. But I’d messaged ahead to have a copy held, committing myself to this first issue. As I was checking out, we discussed that it looked like classic Image; and I remarked that the character on the cover looks a bit like Magik from the X-books. We’ll see once I get it read.

Undone by Blood: The Other Side of Eden #1 caught my eye primarily for being a #1, and the Afteshock logo. I’m rather appalled at myself for all the $4.99 comics I’m buying lately, but for the higher paper quality/cover stock it at least feels a BIT more worth it…as well as being a comic from a publisher that does NOT have a huge international corporation behind it.

I feel like Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters has been overhyped a bit…but it ALSO looks to me like something typical for Boom, which I’ve avoided buying anything/everything for over half a decade now over their Power Rangers #0 stunt. However…this is Oni Press. So…seeing one copy on the shelf and it NOT being a variant, I decided to REWARD it specifically for NOT being published by Boom.


And thus another Wednesday’s haul accounted for.

Nothing really that I was singularly looking forward to or excited about (I’m definitely looking forward to Radiant Black #2 and curious about Children of the Atom #1 next week or so). Had I truly "stuck to my guns" so to speak, this week might’ve been Fire Power, Hellions, and Walking Dead Deluxe…a mere 3 issues. Hardly worth rushing to the shop over.

I also specifically passed on Brzrkr (or however it’s spelled) from Boom because as said above…I refuse to (and have for almost 62 months now) buy any single issues from Boom. I’d obviously be part of their target audience for that book, but that IS something I’m sticking to my guns on. No. Boom. Single. Issues. Period. And really, nothing from them at all, if I’m being honest.

Looking like there’s a local one-day "dealer room" show coming up this weekend–masks and temperature-taking required of course–that I’m leaning toward going to. Partly to hunt some grails, partly to hunt more X-stuff, partly just to "do" something…anything…semi-social.

And "retail therapy" and all that.

We’ll see how it goes!

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Another Example of the ’90s Doing Gimmicky Covers Better: Avengers #s 379-382

While I don’t have sources to cite/link offhand, nor do I feel like digging for any…I can still say that I frequently "hear" (read) the notion that "the ’90s" were SOOOOO horrible with VARIANT COVERS. Or the comparison made of modern "variants" and ’90s’ covers and such.

I make a huuuuuge distinction, though. For as much as the ’90s are known for all sorts of gimmicks and shiny foil holographic die-cut bullet-shot covers…even the most egregious and "aggressive" such programs did not even touch every single issue of any single series. And for as frequent as they appeared, they were NOT so incredibly prevalent as to be able to suggest that every single issue of every single title from every single publisher every single month had some gimmick!

In the ’90s, typically even IF there was some gimmick cover…it was either simply a "gimmick cover" or it was a SINGLE variant…more a different EDITION with one version being a "newsstand" edition and the gimmicked one being the "Collector’s" edition or such.

(I lay out a bunch of such covers in a post from early 2020 displaying the "era of excess" with Super-Blog Team-Up)


ANYway….

I recently came across a 4-issue block of the original Avengers title…issues 379-382. All were billed as a "double feature" with a Giant Man feature as a "flip book."

That is…you had the main/regular issue…but if you flipped it over, the back was another cover image, and you’d read from that side like the other and it’d be like reading two comics, but they’re a single unit!

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So, what really caught my eye with the issues is that the flip-cover is a 4-part image….when you put all four together you get a larger singular image. Fitting both for it being a GIANT image as well as being a "fun" gimmick if you happen(ed) to get all four issues!

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Nowadays…these would absolutely be VARIANT covers. There’d be NO "flipbook" aspect–it’d just be extra-sized with a "backup" feature, and multiple variants covers per issue, with ONE being this.

Or even more egregiously…I would NOT put it past modern Marvel to have all four of these be variants on the SAME ISSUE, incentivising the purchase of no less than four copies of the exact same issue…and they’d do this for multiple characters or costumes. Getting one to buy 16+ comics for a four-issue story.

But back in the ’90s? The price of the given issue was increased fairly proportionately to the increase in content, with the added bonus of the flip-book to let it "feel" even more like a bonus/extra issue, and all that.

Which–if one is already paying an extra price for an issue at all is far better than chasing variants and multiple variants PER extra-sized & extra-priced issue.

These particular copies of the issues?

I paid $1 for the 4-parter. 25 cents per issue…and incidentally, 12.5 cents per cover!

I would gladly welcome back the ’90s and the ’90s sort of covers over this modern deluge of variants. And heck…at least the way MY memories are…it’d even be preferable to the MODERN speculation bubble that’s been bubbling up more and more the last several years, too!

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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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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 27, 2021

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Another week, another batch of comics. A sorta diverse week publisher-wise…while wholly lacking in any DC product!

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First is the new issue of Spawn…#314. I believe the next issue will mark 60 issues–nearly 1/5 of the entire series–that I’ve been buying the monthly issues! I was NEARLY tempted into buying a variant for this issue–as an additional piece–but couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I’m happy to support the $2.99 price point–which is what helped KEEP me in 5 years ago once the cover of #256 drew my attention. But I’d rather have a secondary title at $2.99 to support than variants.

I have to blame Chris Sheehan (Chris is on Infinite Earths / X-Lapsed) for my snagging this issue of Deadpool–#10. And that little shark character. I suppose it helps that this is "only" #10, and I believe the final issue of this iteration of the title, so a little bit of blah/laissez-faire or whatever. Even as a $4.99 issue, I’m apparently going a bit "soft" on the price point for certain issues.

Then the latest Amazing Spider-Man, which I think I’ve pretty well had my "current-year/current-week" Spider-Man itch scratched the last few weeks. This is a frequently-shipping title and I’m not ENJOYING it AS a title the way I would want, so I’m ready to bail…I might determine the immediacy after I’ve read this one, though.

Then we have the third issue of the second iteration of a "color classics" Usagi Yojimbo. I think I even missed an issue or two of the main series, and not sure if I got around to READING any issues past the main IDW Usagi Yojimbo title’s second issue. I see it–sort of–like a companion title to TMNT, but I’m waffling on whether to stay with it or catch back up or what. I don’t want a "mini-series" for every single storyline…I’d much rather see color classic volumes at least matching the original publishing runs–sure, do new #1s when it gets to what was originally published by Mirage, and then when the title went to Dark Horse–but not for each 6-7-issue arc!

A friend had mentioned Kaiju Score recently-ish and I came across the first two issues, so noticing that #3 was out this week, I went ahead and bought it. I’m not keen on its $4.99 price point…but as I continue to bristle at a lot of DC stuff and looking to walk away from that publisher, I suppose I’m wanting to find something else to follow…or at least check out titles I maybe wouldn’t pay attention to otherwise.

I bought the previous issue of Wolverine–#8 (but apparently the 350th issue if you add up alllll the different volumes of the series over the years). And that was gonna be IT. But I’m sort of curious about what the cover depicts–an auction apparently for Wolverine’s hand (including claws!) being auctioned. Seems to me that should be impossible, knowing firstly that there’s been no hype over the character being permanently maimed (like losing the hand Age of Apocalypse-style) and secondly that the adamantium should prevent this. And perhaps thirdly, some nostalgia kicking in and there’s something more interesting to this iteration of the title to me now than some earlier volumes years back.

And finally, as a possible Bought it For the Cover candidate, seeing two issues of apparently the same title caught my eye. Heroineburgh. (Though in the moment I had a bit of a hard time making out the actual title with the coloring of the logo on the cover of the first issue). Some design issues (to my eye) there, but whatever. I flipped briefly through and it didn’t look horrible. Then I noticed a name on the cover and realized that this title’s something truly indy–and figured it was something hand-distributed by a creator (with the issues signed as a ‘bonus’) and decided to give it a shot, cuz hey…why not? And if I’m gonna be grumpy at "the big guys" and their stuff, might as well check out some stuff like this. What little research I did after the fact to see what I could find out about it did not impress me–this is apparently comic adventures bridging seasons of some YouTube video series, so I already wonder (not following nor having seen or heard of said video series) how much the story’ll hit me. Family ties with Pittsburgh, and it’s NOT New York or some other common comics-city, so…we’ll see.

And this week’s Comic Shop News features The Marvels with a pretty picture and I’m reminded that while I like some of the concepts and such the last couple years with stuff recognizing the 25th anniversary a year or two back of the original Marvels series, it just seems like it’s a branding that’s being highly diluted and stretched way too thin for me (all the more with having been sucked in a bit with Marvels X thinking that to be more X-based when it was a prequel to Earth X!).

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Along with randomly picking up the Heroineburgh issues, I checked back-issue bins for Dragonlance. I didn’t find any, but being in the generic "D" section gave me Dungeons and Dragons, which in this case was the distant "cousin" of what I was looking for, and I found a #1 for some mini-series and decided to grab it.

And while not part of the actual weekly haul, a rigid cardboard mailer had arrived just before I went to the comic shop, and opening that revealed the Serpent’s Eye…I mean Birthright…issue I’d ordered from some Amazon seller a bit over a week ago.

So these’ll go in the TSR comics collection (though I doubt I’ll go far on IDW D&D…time will tell in the end).


With this post, I think that’s 4 or 5 weeks in a row now hitting each week’s haul. Also looks like this is the 9th post out of 10 weekdays…a post rate I haven’t had in ages.

Let’s hope that 2021 doesn’t blow up like 2020 did after I was getting on track like this last year!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 20, 2021

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Another mixed week of stuff. First time in awhile that I’ve snagged a "current Marvel" due to the writer!

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So I may have known there was a new Iron Fist comic coming, but what I had not consciously noted was that it was written by Larry Hama. That alone would be enough to sell me on it. But something about the cover also helped sell it. I haven’t decided if it quite fits my recent Bought it For the Cover category, as I think I’m holding that for "live" attention-grabbed-by-the-cover.

We’ve got the second issue of Batman/Catwoman…and I’ve figured I’d give it at least the first 3 issues or so. Though all coming a year later than they were supposed to, a certain sense of relevance has worn off.

I’m continuing to enjoy Walking Dead Deluxe…#7 here starts the 2nd arc, which puts us juuuust past the "novelty" of a colorized vol. 1 graphic novel. Though come to think of it, I think it was said that these color editions are NOT going to be collected anytime soon…so I dunno. My frustrations in general particularly with DC of late (kinda "numb" to Marvel) leave me embracing stuff like WDD as something a bit outside the norm but holding enough familiarity to feel normal.

It’s sort of annoying on principle that IDW let BOTH the new issue (#113) of TMNT as well as the secondary mini-series (TMNT: Jennika II) both come out the same week. Along with generally spacing all books from a given publisher across a month, it seems that attention should be given to spacing books that are part of the same tight "family of titles" are spaced out as well. This issue of TMNT itself seems to pick up a bit from the past year’s worth of issues; we have a couple of "new/classic" characters introduced…though the issue certainly does NOT fit the solicitation suggestion of what happens in the issue! And I think I read Jennika II #1, but wasn’t even interested enough to read #2 (yet)…buying because it’s technically TMNT and I have every (regular cover) single-issue of TMNT and non-promotional minis/one-shots as published by IDW thus far.

Then there’s the newest Dawn of X TPB–vol. 11. Still wanting to support these, and hoping they at least continue through/including X of Swords, and ideally beyond. Though they could do to be a bit more frequent given the addition of other titles, specials, and mini-series. Collecting half a month’s worth of books each month (or less-frequent) helps lose relevance. 11 volumes in is quite an investment at this point, but proven to be a cool (to me) way to get stuff that does NOT involve having to chase down numerous iterations/printings/etc of a bunch of titles with oodles of variants apiece and all that.

Finally…Batman/Catwoman #1. Yup…#1. Cuz dummy that I am, I misplaced the copy I’d bought a couple months ago when it came out. So I opted to buy a new copy since it was available (and at cover price!) so I could read that and then #2, instead of allowing another series to get backlogged because I can’t find a previous issue. Not something I’ll do regularly…and having read the first two issues now, I can honestly say that I have no idea what’s really going on, except it seems to be split between at least three different time periods, though I’m guessing since there are NO captions to clearly deliniate "present" or "the future" or "a few years from now" or whatever. Nothing even particularly clear to separate any "present" from "flashback." But 105 issues of Batman since 2016, 85ish of those being the basis for B/C and I’m stubbornly interested in seeing stuff to its conclusion, however challenging that’s become.

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