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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 17, 2018

This ended up being an interesting week for me for new comics!

weeklyhaul_10172018a

New issue of Batman, of course. I snagged Nightwing #50 last weekend, knowing #51 was coming out. I love the foiling on the cover, too! New issue of TMNT; new issue of Mr. & Mrs. X (I really need to find the wedding issue and 1-3 to catch up on actual READING!). I ended up getting Green Lanterns #57 as (I believe) the final issue of that series, thanks to a spoiler of the Cyborg Superman being in it (which, along with the cover, got my curiosity up for dealing with continuity TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD!). Another ending, Simpsons Comics‘ final issue (#245). This might be my first issue purchased of the actual series…perhaps sorta morbid to jump on for the final issue, but c’est la vie! Finally, based mainly on the foiling and partly on tying in to Heroes in Crisis (Maybe 80/20 split for me), picked up Green Arrow #45 from a whenever it came out–last week, or a couple weeks ago.

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Over the weekend, wound up swinging by Half-Price Books due to an errand involving going right by the exit. Came across Superman & Batman: Generations and Superman & Batman: Generations II paperbacks. While I know I have at least a few of the single issues for both, I’m not sure where, offhand. And since they were there in front of me, and I don’t remember the last time I even saw these in-person (and they’re fairly old–predating the 2005 DC logo switch!) so I opted to get them so I wouldn’t kick myself over passing them up later! (However, I did pass on several volumes of The Flash Chronicles, that were priced at or ABOVE cover price due to being "out of print"–I haaaate that HPB does NOT separate such volumes out from their general half-price mission/collection! But that’s a topic for other posts…)

I also found out that the reason the newest Marvel digest from Archie wasn’t/hasn’t been out is that the digest series has apparently been flat-out cancelled. As a consumer (rather than businessperson), that sucks, and is a major, conscious negative for me toward both publishers (regardless of my "understanding" from the business standpoint…if it wasn’t selling, it wasn’t selling). It’s something I liked and was buying, and with it cancelled, that’s one less thing I’m getting from either of them!

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Mighty Minis Got Mighty Mechs!

I’ve accumulated quite a few Mighty Mini figures the last couple years or so, however long the things have been coming out.

But until a recent clearance sale at Target, I had only stuck to the Mighty Mini figures themselves.

green_arrow_and_batman_mechs

Along with recent acquisitions of various 12-inch figures…I found these Mechs for Green Arrow and Batman…sized for the miniature figures.

In a certain way, I have to wonder if there’s much more awesome than this. Batman? Giant Mech robot battle suits? As one?

To top ’em off…I found clearanced minis and got a second Green Arrow and second Batman, so my originals can stay with my display of the minis, but also have a copy to go with the mechs, where-ever/how-ever I wind up displaying them!

 

Tomorrow: The Death of the Super-Blog Team Up!

0T8L8Dst.jpg large

Forgive this being yet another token/simplistic showing-off-the-shelves post. Tomorrow’s post should more than make up for the last few token posts, as well as hit another point that I’ve been toying with awhile.

No pun intended.

Until then…


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The ’90s Revisited: Green Arrow #101

90s_revisited

green_arrow_0101Run of the Arrow

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Penciller: Rodolfo Damaggio
Inker: Robert Campanella
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Darren Vincenzo
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: October, 1995
Cover Price: $2.25

I’ve wanted to read this for years…maybe 20-21 (it came out some 21 years ago). I’d known THAT Green Arrow had died; that Superman was there, that it was a plane explosion; that his son took over, etc. But until this reading, I’d never actually read the actual issue. Not too long ago, battling insomnia, I bought/read (for the first time) #100 to "finally read the issue where Ollie died." Imagine for a moment my surprise that it DID NOT HAPPEN IN THAT ISSUE…yet had you asked me any time up until then, I would have simply told you, from "knowledge," that Ollie died in #100 and his son took over in #101.

But that leads us to the story of the issue: We open off the cliffhanger from #100 with Ollie pushing buttons on the device he’s trapped in. Remove his hand/arm, and it detonates, and lots of people die. Superman’s solution would be to amputate–save Ollie’s life. But Ollie’s having none of that, and so (knowing Superman would survive because hey, invulnerable!) Ollie detonates the device. Superman finds no remains…and the rest of the issue ties up loose ends from #100 and the story leading into that, apparently…while setting up Ollie’s son Connor to take over.

Really, there’s a lot going on in this issue (and the explosion is a 2-page spread as pages 2 & 3!) so the bulk of the issue is the aftermath (#100 was already a larger anniversary issue…not sure why it didn’t just get the extra pages to have the explosion happen there and repercussions pick up from the "cliffhanger" that would’ve been). I’ve not read a lot of stuff with Connor, but I knew of the character; I even connected a supporting character with an antagonist in the earliest issues of the Mike Grell run that kicked off this title. I didn’t care much for most of this development (so most of the issue), and felt that Ollie really got a crummy send-off…though I have to admit I appreciated the fact that that itself was touched on within the issue.

Visually, I’m not familiar with the Penciller/Inker team, and the art looks it: I recognize characters, obviously, and there isn’t really much of anything WRONG with any of them…but the visual style just doesn’t do anything in particular for me except have the appearance of "mid-’90s DC."

While I typically enjoy Dixon‘s work–especially on the Bat-titles in the ’90s–I did not here; and from this issue alone would only peg it AS a Dixon-written issue because of the name on the cover. Granted, this is an isolated issue read weeks after the previous issue was itself read in isolation, and I haven’t even read the first 4 chapters of the specific story this comes out of. But given that…outside of you either reading the entire story, or (like me) specifically wanting to read for yourself the actual issue where Ollie was killed off for a few years…there’s nothing of particular value to this issue. Alternatively, it might be worthwhile if you settle in to read the run with Connor as Green Arrow. But all in all, this was a disappointing read for me…I’m glad to have read it (past tense) now, but this feels more like an arbitrary thing than the culmination of an event or any truly "heroic" end.

That said…it’s worth 25 cents.

The ’70s Revisited: Action Comics #428

action_comics_0428Whatever Happened to Superman?

Story: Cary Bates
Art: Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson
Editing: Julius Schwartz
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: October, 1973
Cover Price: 20 cents

The Plot to Kill Black Canary!

Story by: Elliot Maggin
Drawn by: Dick Giordano
Edited by: Julie Schwartz

GBS has had a new satellite launched. Superman flies into action to stop a fire raging far above easy reach of firemen, and conveniently (and extremely quickly) locates and flies in an iceberg, melting it with his heat vision to put out the fire. But the world sees just a storm cloud and rain. As Superman investigates this phenomenon, he becomes aware of the fact that everyone believes Superman hasn’t been seen in ten years–even going so far as to (as Clark Kent) do a shirt-rip on live TV…but all anyone sees is Clark revealing an undershirt. Of course, the real villain turns out to be Lex Luthor. Luthor mouths off, revealing his plan when Superman poses as a newly-assigned inmate occupying the "empty cell," convincing Luthor he’d been double-crossed and had himself been "forgotten." All’s well that ends well, right?

Meanwhile, in the Green Arrow (and Black Canary) portion of the issue, we see Ollie on the phone, declaring "Listen, Trump–when Ollie Queen says his Public Relations Agency will make your motorcycles sell…they’ll sell!" He then springs into action, recruiting Dinah Lance (aka Black Canary), and convinces her to participate in a stunt for a commercial. Later, Ollie’s made aware of a planned attempt on Dinah’s life, so he goes back into action and saves her (though she’s not at all happy about it, as he should’ve just told her what was going on). Again, all’s well that ends well, right?

Visually, this issue simply "looks like" one of Grandpa’s comics. And I’m pretty confident that that literally is what this one is–one of Grandpa’s comics, from back in the day, that somehow got mixed into stuff that wound up in my family’s garage, where I found it recently.

And that obviously makes sense–Curt Swan? Murphy Anderson? Dick Giordano? Big names I recognize from the time period and associate (particularly) with DC Comics; Swan all the moreso with Superman. And of course, I recognize the other credited names as well from the time. For where I’m at, the credits read like a roll call of classic creators, all of which have a good name to me when it comes to comics.

I’m not the fondest guy when it comes to pre-Byrne Superman comics–I was introduced to and grew up on the post-CoIE Superman, and hold that as my favorite to this day. But I also have plenty of fond memories of laying on a bed, having pulled out many of Grandpa’s comics from a cabinet, literally surrounded with more comics than I could truly hope to read in the limited time(s) I had there. For the 8-9-year-old-Me, that was a key time for me, when Superman comics were just Superman comics, and I had no clue who any of the creators were, never noticed any of the credits, and hardly even noticed any numbers or saw much distinction, say, between Action Comics or Superman or such…they were just titles on a cover, and I don’t recall ever sorting the comics to put them into numerical order or systematically reading through any given title. I just looked for the coolest-looking cover, or whichever character(s) I was interested in reading at the time.

So, I can definitely say that this issue held up to that. It’s not the craziest or silliest or most out-there story. It’s–as many such were, and particularly compared to modern post-2010 comics–a highly-compressed story. Thirteen or so pages, and I could easily see how this would be grounds for a six-issue (at least) story nowadays*.

(*As a de-compressed story, I figure the first issue would include a bit more detail of Superman doing super-feats and perhaps a bit more foreshadowing with the satellite and such, and likely end with an initial revelation/question like "What are you talking about? Superman’s been missing for TEN YEARS!"–To Be Continued. We’d then get several issues of Superman investigating the phenomenon while performing further super feats and being increasingly stressed at not being "seen" as Superman; we’d get details of it affecting him in private life, and possibly relationships with others, as he starts questioning his own sanity. There might even be one-shots or a JLA mini-series to see how other characters are reacting to a world seemingly without Superman; how their attitudes toward the hero gig are affected by believing Superman’s been missing for a decade, and so on; and maybe even a couple new characters introduced that are trying to follow in the legacy of the "missing" hero.)

As-is, it’s fast-paced, introducing the problem, exploring it, and resolving it, with little deep exploration of the implications of stuff, and we’re done start-to-finish in just this issue, half the issue.

The Green Arrow piece looks remarkably good…though I guess I shouldn’t seem surprised (yet, I was!) The character looks exactly as I like him, with the hat and goatee and such. I looked up the dates, because it felt like the Ollie from the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run, but I suspect this was from just after or near the end of that run…this being 1973, while that run started in 1970.

The GA story itself is rather simplistic, and seemed a little heavy on pushing whatever dynamic it is with Ollie and Dinah. Being such a short story and characters I’m less familiar with from this time, it’s a bit short to try to dig in and analyze much…suffice it to say I wasn’t enamored with it as a singular, stand-alone story. It seems like something that would read better in a group of stories for longer context. Of course, there’s also the fact that it was a Green Arrow story when I set out to read a Superman comic. That said, I was quite grabbed by the opening with Ollie yelling into the phone to Trump.

THAT Trump.

The Liberal Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, enthusiastically doing business for Donald Trump.

What a difference 40+ years makes, right?

All in all, this issue was an enjoyable read, and a nice trip down memory lane. I’m glad to have read the issue, for myself. I’m awed at considering the timeframe, that the cover references 35 years of Superman, and here it’s been another 43 years since then…this issue is from less than HALFway into its run and Superman’s existence and all that.

Other than the Trump reference in the Green Arrow/Black Canary piece or interest in the actual reading experience of the Superman story given my lack of brevity discussing the issue, I don’t really see or know anything of this issue to make it singularly a stand-out issue or to overly differentiate it from any other issue from the early-’70s with the creative teams. Still, it’s not a bad issue, and if you find it cheaply, it’s not a bad one.

Zero Hour Revisited – Zero Hour #0

90srevisited_zerohour

zero_hour_0000Zero Hour

Story and Layout Art: Dan Jurgens
Ink Art: Jerry Ordway
Letters: Gaspar
Colors: Gregory Wright
Asst. Editor: Mike McAvennie
Editor: KC Carlson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

Here we are, at last–the final issue of Zero Hour itself. We’ve seen time anomalies pop up, and worsen. We’ve seen heroes discover time is being destroyed in the past and the future, working toward the present. We’ve seen the emergence of Extant, and the fall of the Justice Society. We’ve had dozens of tie-in issues where few have directly been part of this core event, though a fair number have danced on the edges. We’ve seen Hall Jordan–former Green Lantern, now Parallax–revealed as the sentient, actual manipulator of things as he seeks to wipe the slate clean after his own trajedies. The heroes have failed, all time and space has been destroyed, and a handful of heroes pulled outside it all, while another small handful remains with Parallax.

Hal prepares energies for the re-creation of the universe, of all existence. His way will see many worlds, and all wrongs will be set right. There will be the Earth everyone knew, minus stuff like the Coast City disaster. There will be a world that Batgirl remembers, in which she was never assaulted by the Joker. Even Extant will have his own world to rule over. Everyone will be happy. This is opposed–how can Hal be God? Waverider and his group of heroes attacks, disrupting Hal, and ultimately–after quite a scuffle–the universe IS reborn…but it unfolds "naturally" withOUT any one entity controlling it, tweaking it. As such, events unfold mostly as remembered, but here there are no alternate timelines, so everyone, everything is folded into one single chronology. The potential time-loop is closed, and all it costs is Hal Jordan and the young Kyle Rayner…while Green Arrow is wracked by the guilt of losing (having had to try to kill) his best friend.

For some reason, the phrasing "the universe is born old" sticks out to me, reading the issue. That may be random or personal and get into stuff I’m not really going to get into in a comics blog, but it’s a key phrasing to my reading.

A lot happens in this issue–look a couple paragraphs above, and that feels like scratching the surface. And yet, it’s a simplistic issue. Time is restarted; Hal wants to tweak it his way, but he’s stopped and so it restarts and unfolds naturally, so it’s similar to before, with small adjustments that functionally "explain away" continuity glitches and timing and such; shuffling a few events here and there to mash into one specific timeline.

We’re left with the notion that anyone that died via entropy or the time fissures has been restored…while anyone who died "outside of Time" (such as the Justice Society) remains dead. Victory, but at a cost.

The art and visuals remain excellent here with clean, crisp pages and dynamic layouts and (to me) iconic scenes playing out.

I don’t know if I’d recommend this as a stand-alone issue out of context of its other issues, but in a way it does work as a singular thing. You open on nothingness, and from that, Hal and his group; the opposing group, we see the FINAL final battle, the villain defeated and the universe restored…and a hint of what’s to come, as well as a fold-out timeline laying everything out for now and moving forward into the rest of 1994 and beyond. So it works as an artifact of sorts, as seeing the end of the story. And if you’re actually going to read it–whether re-read or you’ve never before read it–it’s definitely worth getting if you come across it. But it’s even better if you can snag all five issues–4/3/2/1/0–and read this core story even without any of the other tie-ins!


Going beyond the issue itself and expanding on stuff…

This is a really effective issue and makes me think. There’s a part where Hal smiles, explaining he just wants to make everything right, he wants everyone to live, where I wonder if the intent was to go for a "creepy" smile, or a "mad" smile, as if Hal’s insane. Personally, I have always–and again this time through–found myself wondering ok, why SHOULDN’T he be able to fix things? He’s not talking about recreating a universe that he RULES, or subjugating entire populations, or ending his actions with half the living entities dead, or stuff like that. He’s not targeting any particular people to wipe them out–he’s not even talking about killing Mongul. He just wants a universe where wrongs are set right, and Coast City never blows up.

Yet the argument opposing him makes sense–who is HE to singularly dictate events? Things happened for a reason, and need to remain that way, or Time WILL be altered. So really, my heart hurts for the guy, on the surface, and without considering that he was willing to wipe out the entire universe (he was gonna put it back…). And in the end, all the ramifications and little detailed points are far too numerous to address in a blog post.

I buy into this. I didn’t get into comics until about 2 1/2 years after the original Crisis. While I’d read a couple issues of Armageddon 2001, and a number of Eclipso: The Darkness Within and eve more of the Bloodlines stuff…and of course Doomsday/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen, as well as Knightfall, KnightQuest, and KnightsEnd…this was my first DC Universe-wide event of this scale. This story ironed out details I didn’t even know at the time were issues. But it did solidify for me the notion of everything being in one single timeline…and the issue even provides a timeline, concretely laying out where/when major things happened (at least as relevant to the publishing schedule of DC in 1994!).

This was epic, and really set the standard for me of what great events could be. Of course, I’d mainly read only the core series, the Superman chapters, and several others, so it wasn’t until my current reading project of going through the entirety of the event–every single tie-in I’m aware of–that I saw the major cracks in that, and how so many issues were only loosely connected.

Looking back on this current reading experience vs. 22 years ago, I don’t feel like I actually DID "miss out on" anything back then. I did not find anything in these various issues that expanded my understanding of the story or filled in any gaps that I’d truly wondered about or that truly impacted the story…and I was disappointed at some that I’d expected would be expanded on/filled in that really were not. It seems like the issues I’d read back in the day–the Superman titles, Batman, Green Lantern, the core mini–were very much a complete enough experience.

That said, this has provided me a "survey" of a month’s worth of DC titles from July 1994, basically sampling over 30 different titles (though several "families" of related titles are in that).

There’s a lot more that can be discussed on Zero Hour itself–as a story, as an event, on ramifications and implications in-story and on a meta level. Structurally, I found this to be a solid event, and going back the 22 years, it really "set the standard" for me, and I truly MISS when even a universe-wide MAJOR event would "only" take up one publication month–with a WEEKLY core series and just one issue of tie-in per TITLE (though related titles could expand to have larger arcs tying in).

The Weekly Haul – Week of September 28, 2016

As far as visiting a comic shop goes, this was another "small week" for me…with actually only one totally new-this-week issue!

weeklyhaul_09282016

Action Comics has remained an immediate-buy for me, even when it’s out the same week I expect the monthly shipment from DCBS. For "only" $2.99, the title has remained thoroughly enjoyable to me and well worth the immediacy to get to read it day of release.

At a friend’s recommendation, I’d checked out Teen Titans last week, though it was actually from the week before, with it following up on the situation with Tim Drake. But much as with Justice League #52 with the Lex Luthor "prologue" to the current Action Comics run, I wanted a copy in print to file with all my Rebirth stuff. (I passed on the Teen Titans: Rebirth issue as I’m expecting the DCBS shipment in the next couple days and figure I could wait a couple/few days rather than double-purchase numerous extra issues).

Finally, in part listening to a podcast with folks discussing the Mike Grell Green Arrow run, I decided to snag the first volume. I know there are already at least 5 or 6 volumes, with a 6th or 7th solicited for December, so I know it’s a good series of volumes with plenty available…not like I’ll get stuck only being able to read 1 or 2 before having to resort to singles or such. While not the "fat volumes" I’ve been preferring for late-’80s/early-’90s reprints from DC, at the smaller issue count, it has a smaller price…so…c’est la vie.

$21 for an all-DC purchase of a 6-issue TPB and 2 new/recent issues…where the same would likely have been $30ish for a Marvel purchase.

Zero Hour Revisited – Green Arrow #90

90srevisited_zerohour

green_arrow_0090Writer: Kevin Dooley
Art: Eduardo Barreto
Colorist: Buzz Setzer
Letterer: John Costanza
Editors: Scott Peterson, Darren Vincenzo
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

Well, this was an interesting issue, even if it is–as with too many–yet another issue that does not actually add anything to MY understanding of Zero Hour as a whole, or flesh anything out from the event itself, or meet other expectation(s) I’ve long had for these tie-ins.

We open on a full page, of Ollie clocking some gang-banger, saving a woman and her child. And then the pages go split-screen on us, the top half showing Ollie catching the kid before he makes a getaway, and the bottom half showing him a second slower, having to give chase. Eventually the "dual timelines" converge again, and then we see them split back off again–the top half sees Ollie live, the bottom half, he’s shot to death. Then Batman arrives, saying "We need you," and walks the traumatized archer away…while the police clear a body, and the world fades to white.

I recall Guy (Guy Gardner: Warrior) AND Ollie being closely involved in Zero Hour itself, and being there with the other heroes at the "end" and then also being there at the end of Zero Hour itself (#0) and not off on their own adventures…so I suppose I expected some expansion on things related to that, more clarification or details of their experiences going through the event. With Ollie particularly, I’d always assumed he had some adventure–or at least meaningful extra scene–with Batgirl, to further Ollie’s righteous anger at her loss. So these issues being part of the final week of ZH, ending with stuff going to the white, blank pages–I guess it just doesn’t really work for me.

Story-wise, the issue reads really quickly–far too fast. I’m a words-reader…I appreciate art/visuals, but I tend to take the visuals in "in passing," as part of the experience…very rarely as any kind of FOCUS. (That’s why I don’t mind minimal backgrounds at points, as long as the characters in the foreground that I’m actually seeing are detailed and good looking). Something like this with large panels, "split screen," and largely "silent" have my attention for the novelty, but don’t really do much for me as a reader.

The lack of dialogue, or caption boxes, or anything to really slow me down, and HOLD my attention on any given panel means I breeze through, "taking in" the action as little more than frames of an ongoing scene.

So there’s not "much" story here. "Ollie catches the kid and he gets away, Ollie gives chase, and lives" vs. "Ollie chases the kid, and dies." While the art is solid–indeed, the focus of the issue (to my chagrin as detailed above)–it’s not the sort of work that suggests "Easter Eggs" or stuff–it carries the story, never looks weird (except the blood at the end looks like it’s a victim of censorship, yet I don’t see the Comics Code stamp on the cover), and generally is not something to push me away from the book.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to "get" out of this issue–the cover says it’s the conclusion of a story, but I haven’t read those chapters–maybe this issue would "mean" more if I’d read those chapters. For all I know, this is a three-part story (or two, or 4+) and the entire thing is in this split-screen style.

Whatever the case…in terms of Zero Hour, nothing really here, and as an isolated issue, nothing particular about it to be a draw.

REBIRTH WEEK 3: Titans, Superman, Batman, Green Lanterns, Green Arrow

This is the third week of DC‘s Rebirth initiative…and already the fourth week including the one-shot DC Universe: Rebirth #1. And though so far it’s basically all a ton of #1s on covers…it’s truly the quality of the stories that’s got me so all-in and interested and excited and just simply digging these stories, loving the DC Universe again!

TITANS: REBIRTH #1

titans_rebirth0001I’ve been looking forward to this issue probably more than any of the other Rebirth books. As much as I’d been pulled back into the Superman books with the Final Days of Superman story…the reveal several weeks ago of Wally West and his return was really the tipping point, the selling point, for me on this whole Rebirth thing. It was what pushed me from curiosity into embracing it. And here, we get to see the returned Wally West–formerly Kid Flash, now…something. Flash? In a new costume reminiscent of the Kid Flash outfit but sporting “adult Flash” colors. And while seeking answers, Wally winds up tangling with his old friends…but soon realizes that running away from his problem is no help…tactile contact sparks their memories, restoring Wally to them. By issue’s end, they remember him, know who he is–and they share with him that they’re already on the trail of someone they know messed with their memories…whether this is the same “big bad” Wally is pursuing as well remains to be seen.

I totally “appreciate” the Titans, and Teen Titans…I even followed a run of Teen Titans for several years into Infinite Crisis. But particularly at the New 52, they just failed to hold my interest, and so my enjoying this as much as I did is an extremely welcome thing. Add to that the (to me) “official” reunion image–and Wally realizing he’s home–and this was a highly enjoyable issue!

SUPERMAN #1

superman(2016)_0001I really dug this issue, especially as a #1. Of course, this is a #1 geared for someone like me…even as it provides this starting point, a jump-on point, for new readers. We get to see the title character both in costume and out, as well as meet supporting cast–his wife Lois, his son Jon…even the neighbor’s daughter (surely to be a Lana Lang type figure). There’s even an early double-page spread that in some ways I “ought to” complain about (given my usual complaints about so many double-page spreads being “cheats” and “wastes of space” and all that)…but it just made me grin. I think the first official “shirt rip” as this Clark changes over to Superman to go into action.

What disturbs me about the issue–there’s a scene in which young Jon races off across a field along with the family cat…and he sees the cat snatched up by a bird (a falcon of some kind?)…and we see a display of his as-yet uncontrolled power: Jon lashes out instinctively at the bird with his heat vision…but–lacking control–the blast incinerates bird and cat. The kid is certainly not happy about this–a definite weight of failure on him–but it very definitely broke my heart…ESPECIALLY having imagined the joy at seeing the boy fly, or race after the bird, and rescue the cat. An argument with his parents, perhaps–he HAD TO use his powers, he saved the cat! But instead, in attempting to save the cat…

I’m an easy mark for stuff with fuzzy animals. I am admittedly desensitized to human death in fiction, but even in fiction I can’t not feel something at the loss of an animal…especially like this.

That said…the fact the scene hit me as it did, I can also see so much potential for stuff, and I look forward to more (even as I’ll try to “forget” those particular panels).

The cover, too, looks like a #1, and I’m again glad FOR the “regular” cover actually having an iconic look to it.

BATMAN #1

batman(2016)_0001In a way, I actually was not looking forward to this issue. I don’t know now what I was fully picturing regarding it–something like the Court of Owls, but people embodying the City itself, another “secret society” going after Batman. Seeing Batman leap into action to try to save a plane–or at least minimize catastrophic damage and loss of life when it crashes–was both exciting and a bit over-the-top. I’ve really grown tired of a Batman prepared for anything/everything. But I have to be honest that despite that, it’s still exciting and impressive to see the character in action like this, and to picture it as just some big summer action/blockbuster thriller that’s over the top but right in range of what I’m looking for.

While I certainly had zero expectation of yet another “death of Batman,” it was also–for me–quite effective seeing a Batman really not even phased at facing death. Regretful, perhaps, at unfinished/unfulfilled objectives, but plans in place for such circumstances…and then a mortal moment, wondering if his parents would be proud of him despite his dying. Aaaand then we get a couple of new characters–though for a moment I actually thought they might’ve just crossed over from Superman #1 and felt a thrill of continuity-excitement there. What I got leaves me “interested” and curious, definitely looking forward to the next issue.

And the art? I like this rendition of Batman…it’s slightly “off” but works, and I just simply like it.

GREEN LANTERNS #1

green_lanterns_(2016)_0001This title is a real surprise for me. I can say I definitely “miss” Kyle and Guy, even Hal. But where I was not at all interested in anything with Simon Baz in the “meta” sense several years ago in the hubbub of the character’s original introduction…now that I’m actually reading stuff with him and it’s tempered with another character completely new to me (yet who I can certainly identify with–probably way more than I’d prefer–I’m really enjoying this, and it’s technically only the first issue!

I like the idea of two “rookies” working together…and at least so far am definitely digging the dynamics we get here–the two focal characters vs. the world, vs. each other, and the simmering background developments with the Red Lanterns (whose series I have yet to really read). I don’t know how long my interest will hold, but I’ll definitely get the next issue!

GREEN ARROW #1

green_arrow_(2016)_0001I usually don’t much care for stuff tying in to TV, or feeling like a comic is drawing inspiration from a tv show inspired by the comic. But I haven’t really read much Green Arrow in so long, and a lot of stuff with what I had been reading had gone “downhill” that–the TV show Arrow being my main exposure lately–I rather welcome it. With “the goatee” and fond expressions like “Pretty Bird” being back, I’m cool with other differences and such, and willing to go with the flow, just glad to be on the ride and actually enjoying a book with this title again. I know Seattle had been the characters’ town for quite awhile in the ’80s and such during the Grell run, so even seeing them back there is a bit nostalgic, and yet there’s still a sense of freshness to me.

I actually waffled on the cover for this issue–I really liked the image on a variant, but figured while it was a great image, this one fits both the issue and my expectation better. Though I feel like the end of the issue is just a cheap shot at a clichéd cliffhanger…it actually leaves me curious, wondering at a couple possible directions stuff could be taken, depending on what the writer’s got in store, though the more jarring surprise would seem to fly in the face of this whole initiative. I’m definitely gonna be looking for the next issue, though! (and in the end, THAT is what shows the effectiveness…I’m looking forward to ‘finding out’ regardless of assumption or cliché!).

OVERALL:

These FELT LIKE #1 issues. We’ve had the prologue/#0/ __: Rebirth one-shots to set things up, but just as those felt appropriately like prologue, these feel like true #1 issues. However, they’re not cold-start, from-a-blank-slate #1s. These embrace their new directions, the modified status quo, giving us both beginning AND continuation. It’s been years since I’ve read Green Lantern, even more years since Green Arrow, I have not kept current with Batman, I only just “came back to” Superman a couple months ago, and really haven’t touched Titans or Teen Titans overall since well before the New 52. But I’m back in, I’m following stuff, I’m enjoying the reading, being reunited with characters/concepts I’ve enjoyed in the past and learning of newer ones I’m less–or not at all yet–familiar with.

And I’m truly having a blast, having a larger stack of comics each week that I’m actually eager to read into. Not shift a couple books to read while others go in the “I’ll get to it whenever” pile but actually ordering the issues, eager to read them ALL.

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The Weekly Haul – Week of June 15, 2016

For the fourth week in a row, DC has topped my new-issues pile, which is such a refreshing thing!

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This week there’s only one ___: Rebirth issue…but we get four actual new #1 issues for ongoing series as part of the whole Rebirth initiative.

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Then there are a couple more TMNT books clustered…though I really cannot complain about it as Bebop and Rocksteady is a mini-series…and weekly for its run. (And how long now have I been saying I’d love a weekly TMNT book???). We also have an issue of Darkwing Duck that I had not consciously realized I’d missed, though I’d pretty much decided I had to have missed it. Bought it as “back in stock,” and added it to my pull list so I don’t have to worry about watching for and/or missing it again. And then for the fact of its physical format–prestige format, squarebound, cardstock cover, feels like it fits right in with the “original issues” of Dark Knight and Dark Knight Strikes Again…yeah, it got me. (Even while DKIII continues to hold zero interest for me).

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I took a cursory glance at the bargain bins…the shiny-ness of the “chromium” Shadowman #0 grabbed my attention, and as a sucker for these “chromium” covers, I added it to the stack. Also spotted the #100 issue of The Warlord–I believe I might own an Annual and possibly one or two other issues…but figured “why not?” and snagged it, too.

Even with DC‘s lower price point per “regular” Rebirth/single issue, the fact I’ve really ramped up my quantity still made this week more expensive than some of the times I’ve walked out with a huge stack of quarter-books.

There’s something very positive (to me) about the fact that I’ve already read over half of the entirety of my purchase this week, enjoying everything I’ve read so far–slowing only really to get this post up today, and to prepare some thoughts on the specific, individual Rebirth issues.

REBIRTH WEEK 1: Superman, Batman, Green Lanterns, and Green Arrow

This week saw the release of the first of the individual titled Rebirth one-shots, that serve (functionally, it would seem) as #0 issues leading into new relaunched titles from the publisher, utilizing a new status quo set up by last week’s DC Rebirth one-shot.

SUPERMAN: REBIRTH #1

superman_rebirth_0001I really dug this issue. It touches on the events from The Final Days of Superman, and begins transitioning the pre-Flashpoint Superman into the lead role. We get some interaction between him and Lana, as well as some flashback/context establishing some differences between this Superman and that of the New 52. I really liked that we got to see reference–even 24 years later–to an event as significant as the Death of Superman–even as it is used to add depth to this world’s fallen Superman. That these events are brought up while the older Superman seeks to resurrect the younger pays definite homage to the fallen hero, while establishing that we’re getting a somewhat reluctant Superman–he’s stepping in out of necessity, and certainly NOT from any desire to replace a counterpart. This issue has some great art to go with the solid–and refreshing–story, and makes this (for me) probably the best, most exciting Superman issue I’ve read in a long, long time in terms of “new” issues…and surpasses last year’s Superman: Lois and Clark #1.

BATMAN: REBIRTH #1

batman_rebirth_0001I’m way outta the loop on Batman…I only just a couple weeks ago read the Endgame arc, and never read beyond the first half of Batman Eternal nor beyond the first couple issues of Batman and Robin Eternal. I’ve not kept up with any of the “family” books for various reasons, despite any initial interest. So I don’t know who this Duke is, or his context…but I roll with it. Alfred has both his hands, it seems, which sure beats the way Endgame ended! It seems that Batman is training a new “junior partner,” but getting away from the Robin model. We see him face the Calendar Man–who threatens Gotham with a dangerous spore. Batman and Duke keep things under control but remain challenged–having to better themselves to keep up with a comes-back-better-each-time villain. I’m not familiar with this villain, but there’s enough in this issue for me to “get by,” and to be interested in the new/ongoing Batman title. I enjoyed this as I read it, but didn’t retain much from it in conscious memory. Still, a solid issue–one that does a great job of being a one-shot WHILE also setting some stuff up for a continuing, ongoing story.

GREEN LANTERNS: REBIRTH #1

green_lanterns_rebirth_0001Other than the plurality of the title and “knowing” that there would be multiple Lanterns starring in this issue, I had zero idea what to expect. I figured ok, read it, but I wasn’t expecting to like it or care about any of the characters or the title…it’s just another Rebirth issue. But darned if the art didn’t impress me, even as I enjoyed reading about Simon Baz as well as an (apparently) new character that I could identify with, in that I’m not much of a social person, so being thrust into any kind of public eye would be quite anxiety-inducing. This gives us a glimpse of Hal as he initiates the new GLs of Earth and sets before them a mission and motivation. We see that they don’t (yet) get along or care for each other…but despite that Hal is forcing them to work together, and if they don’t, they won’t even be able to power their rings (an arbitrary limitation that I can already see being a major weakness for villains to exploit). When I opened the issue I cared nothing…on reaching the conclusion, I’m anxious to read more and see where things go with these characters. I’d call that a pretty effective (and successful) introductory issue!

GREEN ARROW: REBIRTH #1

green_arrow_rebirth_0001Once upon a time, I considered myself somewhat familiar with Green Arrow. I jumped in with Kevin Smith‘s run back in 2001, and followed it through the end of Meltzer‘s arc or so. Prior to that, I’d had some exposure to the character–primarily a scene in 1994’s Zero Hour that moved me then and moves me to this day, and a bit to his son via the “next generation” stuff with him and Kyle. When they undid the Ollie/Dinah marriage heading into the New 52, I wasn’t that bothered–by then I wasn’t following the character and didn’t really “miss” anything. But…I wasn’t interested in the “new” Green Arrow, either. Then Arrow hit tv, and has led to quite a tv universe, and I’m once more interested–at least conceptually–in the character. The Ollie/Dinah scene in the Rebirth special last week hit particularly well…and so I really quite enjoyed this issue. While not as “old” as the Ollie I remembered, I’m good with appearances…if nothing else, “someone” stole 10 years or so from our heroes, right? So he’s younger. But the goatee is there, the attitude is there, he and Dinah “meet” and it’s no rocket science to see where things COULD go from here. The story itself didn’t make  much of an impression on me beyond that…it was just an enjoyable issue that has me looking forward to where things go!


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