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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of December 16 and December 23, 2020

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Well…here we are again, closing in on the end of another year. And covering only TWO weeks of new comics instead of 4+!

I’m typing this on Christmas Day 2020…probably gonna let this post go "live" day after just to be relatively timely. Who knows?


Week of December 16, 2020

An odd sort of week…even with a couple of DCs, mostly non-DC…and no Marvel..!

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The Walking Dead Deluxe shouldn’t appeal to me. I got into the series via the collected volumes back when TPB vol. 5 was new. So I shouldn’t care for single-issue versions of those issues. But this is a colorized version…and very much in the vein (to ME) of TMNT Color Classics or the Usagi Yojimbo classic reprints from IDW. And at least for the moment, it’s more enjoyable getting and reading each of these issues than it is most others. And the physical quality of the book seems to be pretty good, too, making its $3.99 seem a better value than most other $3.99s!

Batman #105 seems to conclude an arc and set stuff up for a new arc. But now we first get 8-9 weeks of Future State before #106…and I’ve seen solicitation stuff that suggests (again, to ME, I haven’t properly/fully researched yet) that with #106 the title goes to $4.99 as a REGULAR price point, albeit with an added "backup" story…but the BACKUP STORY will be multiple-part and cross over with Detective Comics, and so I’m feeling REALLY disenfranchised with it and DC in general on the matter.

These Tales from the Dark Multiverse things are not as enjoyable this time around as the first…though even the first wasn’t some total success for me. But for a cross between Marvel‘s What If..? and DC‘s own Elseworlds of years past, I’ve been getting them. How you can do a full such story retelling an alternate version of year-long and dozens-of-issues-long events is beyond me…and probably part of why they haven’t been holding up fully to potential (though the Flashpoint one has probably been my favorite of this year’s specials).

Commanders in Crisis I’m getting because of getting previous issues and not wanting to miss out. Though I’m also torn as I saw something indicating this is to be a 12-issue series. Do I really care to follow along for that many issues without it being an actual ongoing? And I have to wonder how similar (or not) it’s going to be to Crossover.

Then there’s Stillwater which is a similar thing–I got and read and was curious on the first issue, and getting subsequent ones though I’m behind on the reading. Probably ought to stop while I’m ahead, but as long as i’m not snagging loads of DC and Marvel, might as well get other stuff?

Pile Second Coming onto that list/reasoning, too, I suppose. I wasn’t gonna chase after the series, but being able to get the issue last-second off-the-shelf…yeah. Got it.

Finally…after putting it off from the previous week, since the Adventureman hardcover was still available, I went ahead and snagged it. I think it only contains 4 or so issues–so fairly expensive for its content…BUT it’s a hardcover, and oversized, and seems much more worth the price FOR it. All the more against generic Marvel or DC fare.


Week of December 23, 2020

…annnnnd we’re caught up to current week already!

And actually quite a small week for NEW stuff, at that! And it’s NOT EVEN the week BETWEEN Christmas and New Year!

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New Spawn (STILL HOLDING THE LINE AT $2.99!) and GI Joe: A Real American Hero #277. Funny, such high numbers when other publishers SHUN anything double-digit, let alone triple.

Some other stuff sorta interesting, but like the JLA: Winter’s Edge or whatever…with Death Metal still going on/lotta tie-ins, now this event, and Future State in the wings…it’s just event on Event on EVENT and it’s all going on at once but they’re separate…and thus semi-meaningless to me.

So I dug through back issue bins looking for Wolverine #1000. No luck on that, but did find this Exit Wounds issue that caught my eye, so why not? And only $5.25 or so, putting it well in line with current issues…but it’s a bit more rare and "special" because it’s a (gasp!) back issue! Yet it’s new enough to not reek of being a bloat-priced 25-cent-bin-book. (Though with recent "speculation" and such, how long are quarter-bins gonna hang around?)

Then, as with Adventureman the week before, I snagged Reckless a week after its initial release.

AND adding to the price for the week, a couple other THICK volumes for under-$20 each (a good half-or-so-off) caught my eye. So snagged them, cuz I’d rather get 12+ issues’ content for the price of 4-5 single issues.

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Draaaaastically inflating the price for the week as well was this new Gallery statue of Superman. I don’t think I realized this was coming out. I saw it, and decided to get it. It’s Superman, he’s got the trunks.

AND it’s available. Right there. No "hunting," no "chasing," no frustration trying to get it, no "luck" involved, etc. Just a SIMPLE MATTER OF: "here’s a product and its price" and "I will pay that price" and voila! Transaction’s done!

Something that toy company NECA and Target do NOT seem capable of grasping with their various TMNT figures.

So if they don’t want my money, since I have no real chance of getting say, April O’Neil with a generic battered footbot…I CAN get this Superman statue, farrrrrr less fuss and hassle!

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Since Comixology did away with its origins as a pull list thing, I’ve been using League of Comic Geeks to keep track of my weekly plan-to-buys. They showed this Sham Comics 80-Page Giant for this week. Buuuut it’s Source Point Press…which apparently broke ties with Diamond, so I wasn’t going to be able to get the issue at the shop.

So I went to the SPP website to see what issues were available and such. I wasn’t about to pay shipping for just one issue. Turned out all previous issues of the series were available, and at cover price. So…for interest piqued on ONE NEW ISSUE, I ordered all 7.

AND where I expected them to SHIP sometime NEXT week…they not only shipped but ARRIVED this week. BEFORE Christmas!

The issues were just the issues in a box. No bags/boards, no simple bag around all the issues…so I’m not impressed with the PACKING. But the shipping speed impressed me. And since none of the issues were particularly damaged…I’m happy enough with ’em.

This "go to the site and find what issues exist AND they’re all ACTUALLY AVAILABLE thing is REMARKABLE…and something other publishers (especially small-press/indie stuff) should look into. And/or make stuff print-on-demand. My qualms with MODERN not-first-print issues is the way everyone feels this need to make 2nd-or-later print issues with a different cover entirely, or inferior (i.e. "sketch") cover, or otherwise make it see like some dumb afterthought "consolation prize" if you were so unfortunate as to discover a series a few issues in, but too late to get the original printing/Kickstarter/etc.

Anyway…none of that frustration in getting these so I’m a happy camper on ’em!

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At a Walmart, found these guys. And I’m impatient, so I was happy enough to get them now rather than waiting for an online order. They’re not the cartoon versions…but at least they’re REASONBLE on price and affordable. Not the second hand $169 and $237 and such people are charging for the cartoon versions!

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I also went back to the comic shop after verifying which volume(s) I already had for The Complete Clone Saga Epic.(I had volume 1 already). So now I have 1-2. Maybe stupid of me–3-5 are probably long outta print and $300 apiece on the secondary market now. But whatever.

And the Ghost Rider volume has 19 issues, so…not a bad buy. And I’m very much a sucker for these nice, fat volumes instead of piddly tiny ones that fit in a bag and board same as any single issue.

These also fall into the above rant on NECA: they don’t want my money, I’ll spend my money where it’s appreciated and I can simply walk in and get something.


Just a few more days and 2020 is over.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 15, 2020

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This week’s a bit more in line with what I’d like, where I can actually get several comics without racing headlong into $30+ at the register!

One more expensive issue, a $2.99, and a $3.99…plus two $3.99 replica editions/facsimile editions that are well worth $3.99 apiece compared to fair market value on the original editions!

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I haven’t gotten around to reading the first issue of this Question mini yet….but on strength of the creators and the character, I’m interested, and if I get to binge-reading, I’d regret not having all issues. And as I’ve passed on a couple other similar projects, I think I’d decided that if I was getting the first issue, I was getting the later issues, barring some significant reason not to.

The new Spawn issue puts us 4 past 300. I’d think 300 issues is impressive, but is anyone else buying this title? I mean, it’s over 300, that’s hitting triple-digits legitimately, 3 times over, and starting toward the 4th! No one wants any issue numbered higher than can be counted on their own fingers and toes, right??? Or is there something to ACTUALLY keeping the numbering going, AND actually keeping to a reasonable price? This is the 48th consecutive issue I’ve bought of Spawn as a new issue…on strength of that $2.99 instead of $3.99. It was $2.99 when DC was at $3.99 for everything. It was $2.99 when DC cut back to $2.99 and double-shipping with Rebirth, and it’s still $2.99 as DC has leapt back to $3.99! (Meanwhile, Marvel‘s cranking out the $4.99+ books!)

Apparently Second Coming is a mini-series. Or a "season" (blah!). I’m pretty sure I’ve snagged all 5 previous issues, but unfortunately I’m not 100% on that. Still…it sorta proves my point to myself to quit knowingly buying short mini-series and wait for the collected volumes! At this point, after all, I assume a collected edition will make its way along very shortly, perhaps for only $9.99, but even if "only" $19.99 that’ll be like a "free" issue content-wise over the singles, which I’ve paid basically $24 to get.

Then we have Detective Comics #359 (Replica Edition) and The Incredible Hulk #180 (Facsimile Edition). Two reprint editions of comics from…well, some years before I was even born. The former being the first appearance of Batgirl and the latter having one panel at the very end of Wolverine, apparently making it the first appearance of the character, despite the next issue generally being the one credited. (I mean, if you get technical I absolutely would go with #180 as the first appearance, but what’s the POINT when it’s JUST one single panel? I’d much rather have the issue where you see the character DO STUFF and actually find out a little about him and see him face the Hulk and all that!)

I have to give Marvel credit…I’d swear I saw some ad or it was the solicitation text pointing out they gave us #180 last year, so now they’re giving us 180 since it’s "also" part of the first appearance and such. For these reprint editions, I’m actually all for that. Heck, I would PROBABLY buy a bunch of Marvel books if they simply every month published reprint editions of various older runs in this facsimile/replica format!

Comic Shop News meanwhile hits #1700. I’d swear I remember when it was in the mid-ish 300s back in the ’90s. It’s cool to see something like this still going after all this time. In some ways–with it being hard to count on being available by the next week, even–issues of CSN are almost like a "ticket stub" of the weekly purchasing. Or a "proof of purchase" or such. A "souvenir" of being a weekly comics person. Of going to a bricks and mortar shop (I don’t believe the online retailers provide CSN…though I could be wrong).

It’s rather telling that I have NO new Marvel issues; and though The Question is technically DC, it barely counts, given the way they’re pushing this larger physical size and the Black Label…um…label…so much. I’d consider it Black Label more than DC in the same way one used to be able to consider something Vertigo more than DC.

And as said…a decent week, a little over $20, but closer to $20 than $30. And it’s my enjoyment of replica/facsimile editions that lands two of the 5 on my pile this week. I feel like I’m finally getting back to a GOOD "balance" where there’s "enough" worth getting to keep to the weekly thing, but without having massive sticker-shock or buyer’s remorse.

Of course, 20 years ago, this haul would’ve probably been $8 cheaper. But this is the here and now.

That said…we’ll see what next week holds!

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Deadpool/Cable #26 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Rating: 4.5/5

X-Men: Second Coming #2 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

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

New Mutants #14 [Review]

Second Coming (chapter 11)

Written by: Zeb Wells
Art by: Ibraim Roberson, Lan Medina and Nathan Fox
Colored by: Brian Reber, Matt Milla and Jose Villarubia
Lettered by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover by: Adi Granov
Associate Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published by: Marvel Comics

Xavier enters the mind of his son, David (Legion) Haller, to prepare him to help the X-Men. In the real world, Cyclops deputizes every mutant present as X-Men…the dome trapping them and the nimrods arriving every few minutes means that every individual must come together, to “Fight or die.” Meanwhile, Rogue and Hope share a moment, as Colossus and Namor have their hands full holding the Golden Gate Bridge against Nimrods. In the future, the X-Force contingent has their hands full with their own problems…including multiple Master Molds. Back in the present, Hank McCoy–Beast–says his goodbyes as he prepares to enter the fray, and another player joins the battle.

The multiple artists / multiple colorists team is quite noticeable, and while in some ways it’s distracting, it’s also fitting to the story, as we’re dealing with several very different locales: David Haller’s mindscape, the X-Men in present day, and X-Force in a dark future. I’m not particularly a fan of any of the art–the only issues of this series I’ve bought have been whatever issues were earlier chapters of Second Coming–and offhand I don’t even recognize the artists’ names from any of their previous work that I might have seen. Of the differing visuals, the most off-putting is David Haller’s mind…but that seems intentional, and works well. The future scenes with X-Force are fairly slick, and I do like the distinctiveness. The present-day scenes are probably my favorites.

The story seems fairly simple and generic in that this is “just” another chapter in the ongoing crossover Second Coming. This continues from the previous chapter, and leads into the next chapter; we get forward movement in the crossover, but as a shared story, there’s not a whole lot moving whatever the New Mutants story is along, that I can tell. Again, as with the art…this isn’t a bad thing…perhaps because I have no real interest in this title standing alone, don’t know the newer characters, and picked this up as Second Coming Chapter 11 rather than New Mutants #14. Despite that, I really don’t feel lost–and the unfamiliarity is something I expected for this story, since I barely touched the X-books after Messiah Complex. I enjoyed the interaction with Rogue and Hope–the characters seem well suited for each other, and could make for an interesting friendship in future issues.

All in all, another solid chapter of Second Coming. I’m not yet sold on whatever the story is that’ll immediately follow this arc’s conclusion, nor the next big story with the vampires. Still, this keeps me interested in Second Coming, and I’m very, very interested to see what unfolds next week. This issue’s cliffhanger also reminds me somewhat thematically of the season finale to the first season of the 1990s X-Men animated series.

If you’ve already been following New Mutants, or are following the Second Coming main story, this is not an issue to be missed. If you’re not following this, you’ll probably be better off waiting for the next arc.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

The Rest of the Stack: Second Coming, Superman, & Deadpool

When I want to touch on more than I care to review, I post “mini-reviews” under this heading. These, after all, ARE the rest of my stack for the week.

X-Men – Second Coming: Prepare #1 –  I got back into the X-Men comics for a short time a couple years back for the Messiah Complex story. I don’t think I even really meant to, but I wound up picking up the one-shot that kicked the story off, and found myself interested enough to follow it through the various books. I even followed some of the books for a short time after, taking in the new direction of the X-Men stuff (and the milestone issues of X-men and Uncanny X-Men). I passed on Messiah War, though I still hold some small hope at eventually acquiring the hardback to get to read that story. This preview is very underwhelming in and of itself, but the preview art, the slight bit of characterization given of Wolverine, Cyclops, Magneto, and Cable pricked something within me that now has me on the fence about picking up this arc. The “reference materials” in the back of this issue seem to be reprinted from various other works–though as those had been freebies as well, I’m not bothered by it, and they are pertinent to this current stuff. This was a free issue, and there’s a chance it might have done its hoped-for job with me. Time will tell.

Superman #697  – I’m tired of the current Mon-El stuff. I don’t care for the costume–at all, not just the recent changes–and the way the character’s been handled…I just don’t care for the character. There’s not a huge case of dislike, just a case of disinterest. I feel like I SHOULD like the character, but I don’t. This is yet antoher issue of Superman in which Mon-El is the stand-in, though we do see a bit of personality and authenticity here when he admits that he wasn’t ready to take Superman’s place. Though the story and art are not to my liking in general–they just don’t appeal to me–possibly my largest complaint is the gratuitous near-nudity, and general explicitness of a sexual relationship Mon-El’s involved in, which seems to be something that wouldn’t be shown in such detail between Superman and Lois, and does not strike me as something that needs to be anything more than alluded to in general. It looks like Adventure Comics (#8 continues the story from this issue) is becoming little more than an extension of this book…but if that speeds getting this story over with and Superman back into his own title, I’ll be more than happy for that.

Deadpool #20  – After what has seemed at points to be longer than 4 weeks but less than 8 weeks between issues, this title now has reached a 3-parter being told in 3 weeks of 3 consecutive issues. Though I enjoy Deadpool, and am leaning toward a consideration of choosing a single Deadpool title to follow (and this one’s in the lead should such a decision be made), I’m still not a fan of Hit-Monkey or Hitman-Monkey or whatever the character is. I do like that this issue saw the return of Deadpool’s hallucinations–to great effect, I might add. I also like the fact that Spider-Man clues in on and confronts Deadpool about his apparent fear early in this issue, as it addresses a question I had…and was wondering if Spidey was gonna just get screwed over (er…that is, if the character hasn’t already been that way for a couple years now). This is the best (and MOST) of Spidey I’ve read in awhile, and I appreciate the opportunity to read the character as himself, without having to face the changes wrought in that infamous story. Definitely a worthwhile issue for Deadpool fans; not sure it’s a selling point in and of itself for new readers, though. Probably’d also be enjoyable for Spider-Man fans as well…especially those avoiding the Amazing Spider-Man for one reason or another.

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