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A Weekend Haul: Week of August 5, 2020


Well…six weeks with no actual posts. Tons of partially-typed up "drafts" and such, but…my heart’s just not in it these days.

I’m (as I think I’ve mentioned in the past) fortunate enough that I was NOT laid off–at the start of things back in March, nor in the time since. It’s amazing how much more draining it can be, though, when it seems like "everyone else" is laid off and suddenly has weeks and months of spare time, and my schedule’s stayed the same or been a bit more demanding.

And recent shakeups in comics have hardly been encouraging to me.

Among other things, since the state started "reopening" I’ve not gone back to Wednesdays. DC has screwed that up, trying to force Tuesdays. They’re within their rights, sure, but doesn’t mean it’s a good look and all.

And with state-mandated restrictions forcing stuff…I just haven’t had the heart to "bother with" stuff during the week.

So I still haven’t had a New Comics Wednesday since sometime back in March. And with other life-stuff going on, never got around to weekly-ish posts to "keep up" with these "Weekly Haul" posts and had to intermix stuff to clean up "piles" and trying to read stuff and all that…lost track of what was from which week and all, so…screw it. Documented 2019’s new comics purchases basically in full, but 2020 has had its share of crap and I’m foregoing any beginning-of-the-year goals.


On to the weekEND haul, officially stuff for the week of August 5.


Fire Power has been THE new title for me. It even hit in such a way that I arranged for several friends to also get the first OGN. I loved that we got such a big chunk of story starting out. UNfortunately, it makes the first issue after the "wait" something that doesn’t begin to live up to that. Buuuut…in addition to snagging another copy of the FCBD issue (to now have copies for the friends I gifted the OGN to) I also snagged the "regular" #1 issue. Yeah it’s basically a duplicate of the FCBD edition, but my OCD insisted I get it anyway. "But Walt!" you might be thinking "Don’t you HATE/LOATHE/DESPISE variants!?" These are wholly different editions rather than "variants" and though the content is basically the same, there’s also the events of 2020 screwing with stuff such that I’d rather give Kirman & Co. a bit extra like this than get some random DC or Marvel book that’s just gonna annoy me.

So…FCBD edition, regular #1, and regular #2 of Fire Power. #2 was about half a silent issue which was disappointing to me…but I’m invested enough I’ll be back for #3 anyway, and go from there.

Dark Horse losing the Aliens and Predator licenses is another of the aforementioned discouragements…so you bet I’m gonna support Dark Horse while I can with this Alien: the Original Screenplay adaptation.

Batman #96…I think this marks six issues that I’ve accumulated again but yet to read. Thanks to missing some initial release of Nightwing tying in, I’m flat-out not getting ANY tie-ins for this Joker War thing. And this far, I’m basically finishing out to Batman #100 in a couple months and planning on walking away from there. Satisfy my OCD on the series, but even though DC changed course and apparently is NOT gonna relaunch/renumber to a new #1, I’m still ready to be done. I’m tired of the overhype (perhaps it’s more a certain rumor site’s crap than DC‘s but DC shoulders plenty of blame in my general frustration with them lately).

The newest issue of Usagi Yojimbo–#11–though I’ve lost track of where I left off reading. I’ve sorta folded UY in with TMNT and so it gets a "pass" where other titles wouldn’t.

Finally, snagged the FCBD reprint edition of The Boys #1 to check out.


Then, seeing that I’d barely crack the $20 mark for the week, figured I’d grab something else, and saw this Marvel-Verse Thanos digest-sized book. I decided if it was $14.99 I’d leave it…but if it was $9.99 I’d get it. Since it’s pictured here and I’m talking about it, I’ll let you figure out the price.

It’s got a handful of random Thanos issues it it; stuff I’ve mostly got in other editions (except a reprint of a Ka-Zar issue from 1998 or so). But whatever…something like 5 issues’ content for basically $2 each rather than the $4/$5/$6+ Marvel‘s pushing for nowadays.

Looks like the coming week is gonna be another "light" week of comics. I suppose that’ll make up for stuff a bit, and for other recent expenses and such.

And I’m definitely increasingly willing to spend more on single back-issues…particularly when they’re issues I’ve known about and/or been "interested in" to some degree for a number of years…or just see that I’d flat-out APPRECIATE them much more than "just some new issues" released any given week.

More on that sooner or later, I suppose.


Oblivion Song #1 [Review]

oblivion_song_0001Writer/Creator: Robert Kirkman
Artist/Creator: Lorenzo De Felici
Colorist: Annalisa Leoni
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Associate Editor: Arielle Basich
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Cover: Lorenzo De Felici
Published by: Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics
Cover Date: March 2018
Cover Price: $3.99

Seeing some hype on this book ahead of time, when I saw it was "finally" out, I grabbed it to give this #1 a chance. I’m far from "wowed" with this, though there’s a bit of potential to it.

For the first 11 pages of the issue, the whole thing is basically some alien world with creatures that we have no idea what they are, some people that we don’t know who they are, we don’t know what’s going on, and as a comic book, I would expect a fair bit of dialogue or narration/captions to provide some exposition. Instead, it’s like something trying to be a storyboard or some other cinematic thing INSTEAD OF being a comic book.

Agh! Wha–?! Where?!

Huff! Huff! Huff!

Oh, crap.

No, no, no!

Oh, God!

Piece of junk…

C’mon… c’mon…

Work–damn you…


That would be sparse dialogue/word balloons for one page…but for 11 pages, that’s an average of a mere TWO words. Per PAGE.

Now, I count 23 more pages (several of which have similar quantities of dialogue), but that does put this issue at 34 pages, for "only" $3.99 compared to say, Marvel giving 20 pages for $3.99. So I suppose that makes up for this 11-page near-silent "prologue," though I’d almost expect something like that to have been a preview or prologue ISSUE or such with some other content–interview with the creators, some sketch pages, etc. and then the opening of a "regular" #1 to refer to it to remind a person there was content immediately preceding story-wise.

Essentially, over the course of this issue, we learn that some event happened in the past that shifted part of a city into some other dimension. While most have considered those people to be dead, there’s been cause for hope in some returning. We meet Nathan Crenshaw–who has some personally-developed tech allowing him to cross into that other dimension and with some sort of injection, return himself–and/or others–to Earth proper. He needs funding to be able to do this on a large scale, to thoroughly cover ground in the other dimension and rescue those that can be. He’s denied said funding, as we also come to learn that his primary motivation is rescuing his own brother. When he goes back for another go at finding him, we’re then introduced to some inhabitants/survivors of "Oblivion" including an individual certain to be crucial to the situation presented throughout the issue.

Story-wise, this issue does a fair bit of world-building, set-up, and introduction to the concept of the series. It definitely comes off as the pilot episode to a new series…even having the aforementioned cinematic feel that came off to me as counter to the purpose/point of being depicted on the page of a comic book. The scene might play well as live action, but for a comic book, I did not care for it at all–ESPECIALLY as THE opening sequence of a brand-new series.

That said, this is Robert Kirkman, who brings us The Walking Dead, and seeing as that series has run over 150 issues, there’s a lot more to go on from that series than this for now. Everything has to "start somewhere" and this being a whole different story, whole different world, and so on, there’s no context for "shorthanding" anything to convey more than what’s actually given. We’re only able to go on exactly what Kirkman gives us to figure out this world.

Visually, I have no complaint outside of just having zero context for the creatures of Oblivion and being tossed in to try to interpret what I’m seeing with no idea what I’m supposed to be looking at. The art in and of itself is good, and for the depiction of the people in the story and no point of comparison, it just works for me as "a comic book’s art." I imagine I’d have more to say for a subsequent issue, at least in terms of whether or not it stays consistent or such. I’m also glad that as short as much of the issue is on dialogue/words, at least there weren’t double-page "splash pages" to breeze by with but a glance.

This is an extra-length issue, based on assumption of 20-22 pages being a standard-length issue for $3.99; I would not expect so many pages in later issues (though would not mind them!) and would expect the extra pages made up for and allowed for the extended "silent" scenes. I’m curious to see what/how this develops, and on the strength of The Walking Dead would be inclined to give this series a shot. Of course, as with most comics and virtually all "indy" titles, I suspect I’d personally enjoy this more by waiting for a collected edition.

If you can find this for cover price (and not some jacked-up "speculator price") and enjoy Kirkman‘s work in general, I’d encourage picking this up to try for yourself and see how it comes off to you. As long as I’m not duped or otherwise vexed by a variant cover in the meantime or at point of sale, I’ll probably check out the next issue before I decide for sure if I’ll pass on the single issues and wait for a trade. Assuming this would get a "$9.99 Volume One," even getting the first couple issues AND a trade, it’ll cost about the same. That said, I’m not particularly "impressed" with this, and leave it as a more "passive" recommendation than anything "active."


Invincible #144 [Review]

invincible_0144The End of All Things (part twelve of twelve)

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Pencilers: Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker
Inkers: Cory Walker, Mark Morales
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Covers: Ryan Otley, Cory Walker, Nathan Fairbairn
Published by: Image Comics
Cover Date: February 2018
Cover Price: $5.99

I’ve read relatively few issues of Invincible over the years. Off the top of my head, I remember reading some sort of #0 issue when the main series was in its 20s on numbering. Whether I read them or not, I remember when Invincible guest-starred in a couple of Marvel issues Kirkman was writing. I want to say I read #50 or so, and I remember the one-issue-summer-crossover-event Invincible War thing. I have the first paperback of the series, and recall getting the first couple hardcovers to read from a library. And at one point, I had the title on my pull list, though that didn’t wind up lasting terribly long. Without digging all that deeply, I’ve previously covered several issues:

And now it’s been a number of years since the last time I read an issue, consciously–I believe there was a 25-cent issue last year that I got but do not recall reading. So offhand, it’s been more than 1/3 of the series since the last I read, and here I went and bought the last issue, and read the last issue. The final issue "ever," until some follow-up special or mini-series or such is done.

I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it. I knew I was buying the final issue, that it comes at the end of the series, the end of a 12-part story, etc.

Needless to say…spoilers ahead!


Again, I have NOT read the previous 11 chapters of The End of All Things.

This issue picks up with Mark Grayson–Invincible–telling his son about where he comes from. The sense of deja vu that I got reading this makes me almost certain it is a recreation of a scene from the first issue of the series, as Nolan told Mark about himself and such. A fitting bookend sort of scene. We find that Mark is leaving, and Markus–his son–will be remaining on Earth with Scott, a character I’m not familiar with, but suspect was a fairly major character around #100, and apparently Markus’ acting father, or "real dad." Mark himself is now leader of the Viltrumites, and is leading them off into space to a new sort of greatness–as a peaceful people, rather than a warring empire of domination and conquest. And then the bulk of the issue is vignettes of the years that follow–as we see moments from the various characters’ lives, defining incidents, etc. Mark and his daughter visiting Earth, Markus getting his costume, incidents in space, a revelation about Mark’s wife, and finally, a reflective moment as Mark looks out upon the peace that he has led.

This is definitely a final issue sort of thing. It feels more like an epilogue…but then, an epilogue is still part of the story, so, we’re getting into stupid little technicalities there. In part through the use of the slice of life/vignettes, I suspect a number of lingering plot threads were dealt with, albeit over my head as of this first reading, addressing probable concerns such as Mark’s son, what Markus’ life might be like and if he’d follow in Invincible’s footsteps; and of course we see a number of things play out in broad strokes. In some ways, this seems to offer answers long-term and by covering so many years (centuries?) it effectively lays to rest the story as a whole. Maybe there’ll be other Invincible content or revisitations in years to come, but the broad strokes have been established; we see where everyone ENDS UP, even if we don’t have the page by page issue or story-length details.

I’m sure this is not nearly as satisfying for me as it would be if I was a lot more invested in things, if I had read more of the series and more recently. That said, I really like the way it ended, doing all this–while it gives me some idea of a handful of characters that survive, and some idea of those who don’t, and broad strokes of where things wind up, it also intrigues me–makes me want to find out the details, to go back and get to read the entire series from the start, all the way through. Even if I obtain the compendium volumes–and I suspect 3 of those would get the whole series, possibly with room for spinoffs–I have no idea when I’d actually get around to such an undertaking.

That Invincible gets to end like this–on the creators’ terms, that it gets an ending on their timing, and it becomes a "finite story," I think makes it a lot stronger in some ways, and as long as the series as a whole is kept in print, it will be interesting to see how it lasts, and what sort of fans come in "after the fact," that jump into it knowing/seeing it to be a finite story instead of just another indefinite ongoing series without end.

I’m not thrilled with high priced single issues, and this was $5.99 with multiple covers. I’m not even sure if I got the "main cover" or not, so I’m a bit less thrilled with that. But assuming I did succeed on that front, and given the extra length of this issue AND that it IS a final issue, a finale, a sendoff…I’ll give it a lot more leeway for a one-time "incident" of high pricing, as it’s definitely double-length, so at least justifies its cost.

The story is solid, as said, and seems to wrap up numerous plot threads and the like. Visually, this shares art by the two artists associated with the series, which is a nice touch, giving both a chance to handle this final issue.

All in all, I enjoyed the issue, I’m glad I got it, I’m not overly troubled by the price (only the use of variant covers), and would certainly recommend this to anyone already following the final story. It may be worthwhile also for you if you’ve read the series here and there, TO see where things have wound up and where they go. Yet, as a #144, if you’ve never read the series, this is hardly the place to start.

I wouldn’t consider this a masterpiece, but it seems like a solid wrap-up to a series, and caps off the series well while transforming it into something it would never be able to be as an indeterminate-length ongoing series.


The Walking Dead #100 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Walking Dead #96 [Review]

A Larger World (Conclusion)

Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Penciler, Inker, Cover: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Editor: Sina Grace
Published by: Image Comics

Rick and “our” survivors get a taste of this other facility where so many live, and have their own perspectives on the whole thing. While they’re learning about the situation in general, Rick finds himself in position to make a deal for long-term survival, though his friends aren’t entirely thrilled with it.

Story-wise, not a bad issue. I hardly remember the last issue, so surely lost something in between that and this. As story conclusions go, this is a bit less thrilling than some, so a bit of a let-down…but it sets things up for other stories to come, and the run-up to #100 (which by usual 6-issue arcs will kick off the 2nd half of the next arc).

Visually, nothing new or shocking, really…the art’s one of the most consistent things about this comic (actually, same can be said for the writing).

Frankly, this is no jump-on point…but it’s the latest issue of The Walking Dead, and it’s not bad.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

The Walking Dead #55 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good

Rick faces his past while Glenn faces the future.

walkingdead055Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler, Inker, Cover: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Aubrey Sitterson
Publisher: Image Comics

We open on a flashback scene–Carl races toward the street with Rick in pursuit–yanking his son away from the street as a car zips by. As Rick talks to Lori, she transforms into a zombie and rips him apart…while he stays put and takes it, feeling he deserves it…and then he wakes. The nightmare prompts Rick to take Watch rather than wake his son, and we get to see a bit more of his coping mechanism in dealing with recent losses.

This is yet another very character-driven issue; a slice-of-life to which we actually have 54 issues’ worth of context. The writing is just where it needs to be–consistent, believable (given the zombie apocalypse that makes up the environment our characters find themselves in), and no real problems. Kirkman doesn’t let things get stale, though–the issue’s end suggests that these characters’ status is far from “quo.”

As the writing remains consistent and believable, so too does the art. No problems here; the art team keeps a nice, consistent style that fits well with the writing.

While it’s probably not “ideal” to jump into a series 55 issues in, this issue kicks off the next six-issue arc, and as such is about as good a point as any to jump into the deep pond if you’re up for some swimmin’. The final page will have an impact on long-time readers, and might just hook a newer reader into staying around to see what happens.


Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Walking Dead #54 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good

Rick & Co. interact with newcomers/survivors who claim to know what caused the outbreak of the walking dead.

walkingdead054Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler, Inker, Cover: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics

After last issue’s cliffhanger suggesting revelation this issue, we begin the issue with the follow-up: one of the new-comers indeed has knowledge as to what caused the plague of the walking dead. But he needs to get to Washington to deliver said classified knowledge. The two groups of survivors clash over this as well as what to do with the immediate future, driving to the issue’s conclusion…which promises more change.

The story here is as always top-notch. After the last couple arcs really driving home the idea that no one is safe and strangers bring disaster, this issue plays with those expectations a bit, making me feel that it is that much more realistic–it’s certainly a great read as part of the ongoing story! Even though we don’t get to know a whole lot about the newcomers, there’s just enough there that I’m interested, and want to find out more about them and how they’ll play into the ongoing narrative. There’s a consistency–in character portrayal, as well as character growth based on recent/prior events that adds to the strength of the issue.

The art–also as always, top notch–keeps a dark mood on these characters with lots of shadow really conveying how dark a point many of the characters have reached. I have no complaint visually–this simply is The Walking Dead, recognizable in style if not specific characters.

This is the tail-end of the 6-issue TPB cycle, so not really the greatest point to jump on…though if you don’t want to start at the very beginning, this arc is certainly a good point to jump on-board. I see no reason for long-term/continuing readers to pass on this issue.


Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Walking Dead #53 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good

Rick, Carl, and Michonne find they’re not alone, and actually get some down-time.

walkingdead053Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler, Inker, Cover: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics

Last issue’s cliffhanger saw our heroes being approached by a couple of figures on horseback…Glenn and Maggie, who apparently have managed to survive. These two take Rick, Carl, and Michonne back to where they’ve been staying–Hershel’s farm. Once there (and into a bit of relative safety) the three try to decompress, each in their own ways, and we get some nice character moments…and then a new development threatens the safety they have, and some answers might just be forthcoming.

Story-wise, there’s not a lot of progression in this issue. Oh, there’s progression, don’t get me wrong. But as with so many issues of this series, it’s very character and story-driven…so I for one would probably be just as happy with no zombies in the issue as I would with an issue full of zombie-butt-kickin’ action. Kirkman maintains such a sense of consistency in his writing…I continue to enjoy the story he is laying down month after month, and after so long with these characters, he certainly knows them (and created them, for that matter); other than the fact that I’m now intrigued at where he’s going to take things from this issues cliffhanger page, I’m quite satisfied.

Visually, Adlard & Rathburn continue to also maintain a consistency on the visual front that keeps me impressed. Even characters I haven’t seen in half a year are recognizeable, and as with the writing….I just don’t have any complaints.

All in all, another strong, consistent issue. While not a lot happens, we’re introduced to several new characters, and reintroduced to some old. Not a horrible point to jump on board to check things out, though one might prefer to start with the beginning of the arc, if not the beginning of the series for the full scope and context.

Certainly worth the cover price!


Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

The Walking Dead #52 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good

Though reunited with an old friend, Rick & Carl are far from safe.

walkingdead052Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler, Inker, Cover: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics

Rick and Carl continue to go about their lives–such that they are–seeking survival in this unsafe world they live in. Rick tries to teach Carl to drive–a practical thing that Carl takes a bit differently. The two presently discover that they are not alone, and this reunion changes the outlook of their evening. Though mistakes are still made, their survival skills seem to be holding…though they probably wonder at it when a pair of horses and riders approach.

The story in this book continues to be engaging, month after month–so much so that I’d love to have this as a weekly (or at least more frequently than once monthly) book. Kirkman‘s characters continue to hold my interest, and all the more after the previous major story, I find myself drawn into the issue, wondering what’s going to happen next, and even if the characters will survive the issue or otherwise emerge relatively unscathed. In short, the writing is of the same high quality I’ve come to expect on this title, and this issue does not leave me disappointed.

Similarly, the art is also of the same high quality I’m used to. There’s not too much to say on the art other than that. Everyone’s recognizeable, I’m not left wondering what’s going on in any of the panels where that’s not the intention, and it simply looks ‘n feels like The Walking Dead.

If you’re willing to sorta jump in, get wet, and check out your surroundings, this is about as good an issue as any to jump in on. I don’t imagine it’d be too hard to get the basic idea of what’s going on and catch the surface-level story. Obviously a long-time reader will find more depth than the newer, though.

As with previous issues, this current issue is a comic that I’m willing to buy monthly now…and then buy again when the collected volume eventually ships.


Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

The Walking Dead #49 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good

Rick and Carl face an uncertain future as they begin to deal with all that they’ve lost…and still, those pesky zombies abound!

walkingdead049Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler, Inker, Cover: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics

This issue seemed like a very quick read. On the one hand, that’s not so good: I’m not a huge fan of plonking down $2.99+ for something I read quickly and then have another few weeks to wait for the next segment of story. At the same time…the story is engaging, and I’m very interested in finding out what happens–interested enough to forego waiting for a collected volume to read an entire arc in one go.

We were told that “no one was safe,” and that Big Changes were in store for this title. Those promises have been delivered, and while it’s sad to see the loss of so many familiar characters, this issue is like the first issue of a whole new series. The world is full of zombies. A man and his son are on the run, seeking only to survive, both nursing the loss of loved ones. Even as they hold to each other, safety isn’t likely to be found…and life is certainly not to be taken for granted. While the bulk of this issue’s story focuses on Rick and Carl, we’re also showing a couple other characters, hinting at their whereabouts and present situation. As with most issues in this series, the individual issue seems mostly character-focused, as the characters dialogue and face the world in which they find themselves.

The art remains perfectly suited for the story, and is as instrumental in conveying the mood as the writing itself. The story without these visuals would not be the same at all.

While the impact of this issue would be greatly increased by having read the prior issues if not the entire series…I think this is a decent jump-on point if you’ve been hearing about the series or otherwise been curious, but wondered where to begin. This is certainly worth checking out!


Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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