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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 14

This is another page that most of the characters didn’t mean much to me at the time, though several have come to mean quite a bit in the years since I was exposed to them here.

I’m probably least-familiar with the Ovoids and the Rigellians. I know of the Brood and their history with the X-Men; the Titans and their history with Thanos; the Badoon I know of from issues of Warlock/Warlock and the Infinity Watch and their role in Gamora’s past, I believe.

The Asgardians I came to “know” more during the Heroes Return run of Dan JurgensThor, the Skrulls I now most associate with Secret Invasion (though remember their significance to some X-Men stuff in the later-’90s/early-2000s). THe Kree and Shi’ar I most associate with Operation: Galactic Storm, which is one of the earlier “major stories” I was familiar with when my grandfather and uncle collected it as it came out.

Considering this rather “busy” image, this page works pretty well for me, and reminds me how much I’ve missed some of the “classic” cosmic Marvel stuff.

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Avengers: Warriors of Plasm?

avengerskreeskrullwarcardscoverI remember back in 1993 or so, a comic publisher (Defiant) teamed up with a trading card publisher and put out a set of trading cards. When assembled in 9-pocket pages, these cards became a quasi comic book, a zero issue.

Now, 18 years later, Marvel‘s hopping on-board with Upper Deck to do an Avengers: Kree-Skrull War “issue” that same way.

(see an official article at Marvel‘s site –  Kree-Skrull War: Upper Deck-ades in the Making | Marvel.com.)

plasmzero001What I don’t get is if something like this will actually sell. Granted, I’m absolutely NOT the target audience…but it seems that straight up “trading cards” fell out of favor with the advent of Trading Card Games/Collectible Card Games. I know I myself haven’t had any interest at all in buying cards that can’t even potentially be part of a playable game.

Then I spotted this gem:

The comic-card hybrid revolution is further celebrated with additional insert cards, richly presenting the set’s magnificent “cover” art by Harvey Tolibao–in full color as well as black and white–and even variant cover art by Paul Renaud.

avengerskreeskrullwarcardscover2“Love” the buzzwords here. Even in CARDS, can’t escape the “variant” cover for Marvel’s comics (DC, Dynamite, IDW, etc are guilty of the variants craze, but they’re not partaking in this card thing).

So even assembling a full set of the “basic” cards, one still has to track down the “insert” (aka “chase”) cards to have a TRUE “full set” by way of a so-called “variant” cover/art.

The cards come 9 to a pack, and I’m going to guess the packs individually will cost at LEAST $2. But let’s be generous and pretend they’d be $.99 per pack of 9 cards. And let’s assume that — just for the STORY — you get a complete set in the smallest number of packs necessary to physically acquire that set. plasmzero003190 cards, 9 to a pack…that’s a minimum of 22 packs. For just the story itself–supposedly “over 40 pages”–let’s assume 40 even. The cards’ll be double-sided, so a pack of 9 would make 2 pages (1 page on the fronts, 1 on the backs?)…so you’d need 10 packs BARE MINIMUM to assemble the story. $9.90 if there’s no tax. But probably double that as the cards would almost have to be $2/pack. Add another few dollars to account for inserts and variants.

And already this becomes at best a double-length “comic” for a minimum of $20, and probably closer to $30 or $40 on the cheap side when you account for the random assortment causing you to wind up with lots of duplicates to assemble just one actual unique set.

plasmzero002And then what? Are they going to sell a special binder for the set? Charge for the uniqueness of the card binder, maybe extra for special cover art?

And will card COLLECTORS really want to do all that JUST for “a comic?” Will “comic fans/comic collectors” really want to go to such trouble “just” for a complete set of cards to “read” the “issue”?

Me? I’d much rather take and spend that sort of money–if I had it–on a quality oversized hardcover or small omnibus, with 18-30+ ISSUES’ content or a couple/several TPBs or such.

Secret Invasion #8 [Review]

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Production: Irene Lee
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover: Gabrielle Dell’Otto
Publisher: Marvel Comics

That’s it?!?

This issue presumably picks up from where the last issue left off–but I’m not 100%, because I have only gotten certain beats of this story, being a reader who took ’em at their word that one would be able to just buy the main series and get a full story.

The Wasp apparently was turned into some sort of biological weapon (wha? when?), and rather than see the action moving forward, we’re treated to an opening sequence that seems to be more of a time-jump, going from a current in-your-face event to “well, now that we’re DONE, what exactly HAPPENED out there, Guys?!?” retrospective. Though The Wasp (insert arbitrary long-standing character here) died, the Skrulls were defeated, and now that the Skrull Plot has been brought to light, let’s see those who can take the fall do so, to shake things up for yet. another. “new.” “status quo.

The art on this issue isn’t horrible, but there’s something to it that doesn’t quite seem what I’d expect from Yu. While his style worked very well for me when he was on Wolverine a number of years ago, his style here isn’t really to my liking–many of the characters look odd to me…something much different from the “gritty” style I liked. Still, the art mostly shows what’s going on, and characters are recognizeable, so no huge fault there. (You can flip through the issue and determine if you like the visual style or not, as it maintains a consistent style throughout).

The story…

Well, I’m not satisfied. I bought the first issue of the series to check it out, and despite knowing better, I was hooked and bought the second issue. At that point, I’d bought a quarter of the series, so figured I’d grudgingly give it a shot for a few more issues, just to see if I could be proven wrong…and with this “8th” and “final” issue (I use quotes there because frankly, it is absurd to believe you can read a “core mini-series” for a Marvel event and not have to buy the umpteen specials, mini-series and tie-in issues as the event went on, and there are even epilogue/follow-up Secret Invasion issues BEFORE we even launch into the new “event” hot on the heels of this year-long monstrosity.

This issue was choppy, and tried to cram way too much in–we had at least three issues that did virtually nothing and now we have an issue with everything but the kitchen sink crammed in almost more to set up the next story than to truly provide an ending to this story. We hit a cliffhanger, then get a couple pages of resolution (tack those pages into the previous issue, and call this an epilogue/transition).

If you’ve been following the series, sure….pick this issue up. If you’re looking for surprises…well, avoid anything Marvel-related until you read this in one format or another. I’m not interested in where things are going, and maybe am not the target audience.

Story: 3/10
Art: 5/10
Whole: 4/10

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