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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 13, 2019

This week proved to be rather huge for new comics…at least for me, by my own standards! One might even say it was a Giant-Size week!

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Double dose Batman this week with Detective Comics and the Flash crossover. We also have the debut issue of Wonder Twins, which I opted to check out as I’m pretty much giving this whole Wonder Comics thing a chance.

Then there’s the newest issue of Superman as well as the newest Supergirl. And TMNT is into the "final countdown" to issue #100, as #91 hits!

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Marvel actually got me on MULTIPLE issues this week! The usual with Mr. & Mrs. X #8. I "gave in" on Savage Sword of Conan #1…though I’ve no conscious intention of getting #2 and onward. There’s a nostalgia factor here, and I’m willing to "sample" the thing and get the #1 because it IS Conan, and I want to at least have "tried" one issue if I’m gonna be down on Marvel with it. If I’ve never bought so much as one issue, where do I have any authenticity to criticize?

I didn’t even know about Marvels Annotated until the last second. I’m a sucker for this sorta thing…and as a "key" series from my youth, I’m more than willing to "double-dip" with getting this series again, with notes from the creators. Given the story AND visual quality–and this issue has both the original first issue AND the later-published #0 issue–along with the notes, it feels to me like an EXCELLENT (by Marvel standards) value!

Criminal is back and I realize I have yet to read #1. Though I have all the TPBs (I believe) of the series thus far, with this new iteration, I figured I’d give it a few issues as single issues to see if/how it grabs me, AND see what any collected volume may look like, if it’ll be in line with the others, and so on.

And Alien 3 (the William Gibson adaptation) comes to a close. Unless Tristan Jones is doing further covers of the newest Aliens mini, I’m pretty much done with the property as single issues and will opt for the collected volumes.

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And then DC and/or the vendor that handles these at Walmart opted to drop ALL SIX of their MONTHLY 100-Page Comic Giant issues in the SAME WEEK. Even though these are a solid value at only $5 apiece for their size (these’d be $10 through Diamond to regular comic shops)…SIX of them at $5/each still stacks up to a whopping $30!

A mere 8 months into the "experiment" and we already have TWO re-titled/re-numbered books with the Teen Titans book switching to the Titans title, presumably to capitalize on the DC Universe app/service show but other than the logo on the front and a #1 instead of #8, I believe it’s otherwise exactly what we’ve BEEN getting. The same thing with Justice League being retitled to Wonder Woman.

Then we have the new additions of The Flash and Swamp Thing, after "experiment" issues in a Swamp Thing issue last October and a holiday special in December.

Of the original four, only Superman and Batman continue on with their title and numbering.


I’ve a bit of mental "sticker shock" as I look all these over and tally up the costs–seven $5 issues, an $8 issue, and everything else $3.99. At least the Walmart issues don’t have six out every week; and the Conan and Alien3 issues are one-offs at this point. I’m only getting a couple issues of The Flash for this particular crossover with Batman. I jumped back onto Detective Comics for the run-up to #1000, but have yet to decide if or how far beyond #1000 I’m going to go. At the least, I am NOT impressed with the "Decades Variants" and so expect to simply get a single copy of the regular cover edition and let that be that. (Where last year, I got the standard cover, decades variants AND a couple other retailer covers for Action Comics‘ 1000th issue).

Though I’ve been "mid-life crisis-ing" with some purchasing recently…that cannot and will not extend to comics, at least NOT long-term. Huge weeks like this remind me just what a poor value comics truly are, and will push me to all the more drastic decisions regarding what I’ll buy regularly.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 7, 2018

Been a long while since doing one of these posts. But, since I’ve not been in the mood for other posts, wanted to get something up this week. And this week does have several big books in it!

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First off, the Swamp Thing Winter Special that I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. Though it’s an $8 book, it boasts more than two issues’ worth of pages, maybe three…justifying its price. And as a "squarebound" issue, it’ll be able to go on the bookshelf with a growing number of such issues from the last few years. X-Men: Red #1 is here, and at $5, needs to do a LOT to justify its price…though I suppose ultimately it’ll simply fit with X-Men: Prime and X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold from last year. I’m definitely a fan of Adam Warlock, so at least somewhat interested in this, if only as a curiosity. Not so keen on Starlin feeling driven from Marvel, though, and haven’t been overly keen on the character in hands other than his. So we’ll see.

Then, of course, Superman and Batman, basically "givens" for me. And Justice League if only because I haven’t figured out where/if to break my run.

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Rogue & Gambit as I am a fan of the characters, and together. Been debating whether or not I’m sticking all the way with Avengers: No Surrender, but definitely in favor of a single title instead of umpteen different Avengers books with erratic shipping schedules. I picked up Jean Grey #10 that I’d considered last month, but since it lacked the Phoenix Resurrection logo, figured it wasn’t going to actually tie to that (boy, was I ever wrong there!)

Getting toward the end of Bane: Conquest, and same for Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica and The Jetsons.

I’ve a lot of reading to catch up on, and find myself wondering just how it was I used to get to read as much as I did just a couple years ago. It’s a shame there aren’t regularly-released "audio-comics" for commuters to listen to and get something of a story out of it. Maybe not the art itself, but…something.

Whatever the case…a huge, expensive start to February, and certainly reminds me of the need to be cutting back on titles, and to REALLY assess what I’m gonna get around to reading right away vs. just as well off to wait for a collected volume!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of November 8, 2017

This week was a pretty solid week for new comics, with several issues I was actively looking forward to, some just interested in, a surprise, and a couple bargain-bin issues!

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This week has the concluding chapters of The OZ Effect in Action Comics and A Lonely Place of Living in Detective Comics. There’s this week’s new issue of TMNT/Ghostbusters 2.

The latest Metal one-shot/special/tie-in, and the new issue of Fighting American. And since I’d bought the "#800" variant of Superman #34, figured this Wonder Woman one would be a nifty match (I hope whatever Batman one will be as easy to get!).

As said last week, something like this is where a variant actually IS warranted, "fun," a nice nod, etc. And it’s a hugely great thing that it’s NOT–after over a year and a half of "Rebirth numbering" now jumping the titles to the legacy numbers. (Action Comics and Detective Comics are definite exceptions, where it works, as they ONLY have ONE "gap" into which the low-numbers and style CLEARLY differentiate them from their 1930s/1940s counterparts…as opposed to cramming three, four, five-plus #1s/2s/3s/etc in to a single number string).

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The new Mister Miracle and Ragman issues; cases where mini/maxi-series are interesting enough to get as singles…especially when NOT all are "default-priced" at $3.99. These may not be Rebirth-branded titles, but that does not disqualify them (as default) from $2.99 pricing. Same goes for Gotham City Garage (which is–I believe–essentially a "reprint collection" of digital-first chapters).

Then from some Vertigo bargain bins, I snagged the two Swamp Thing annuals; only added $1 to my total, so definitely well worthwhile.

All in all, not a bad week’s worth of issues…though I have GOT to get everything from the last few months rounded back up and properly sorted, and dive in to actually READ, after leaving everything aside to charge through 60+ Savage Dragon and related issues!

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JLDark and Early Digital: Really?!?

I saw this ad this week, for the new Justice League Dark animated movie. And at first glance, I thought I had missed its release–despite being in a Walmart on Tuesday and actually looking at the movie section and new-release endcap without anything jumping out at me.

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But no…I didn’t actually miss it. I realized the ad says on digital January 24.

I swear, every time I see ads like this, they just make me more and more angry, and less and less likely to buy anything new in the way of movies.

Bad enough the high price and shrinking "first week discounts" (if any) the last several years.

But this "digital-only" "window" just bugs the crap out of me.

Is there anyone who is REALLY just so desperate to see something like this, that they’d rather pay the $20ish for digital ONLY when a "mere" TWO WEEKS later for that SAME PRICE they can add blu-ray AND dvd to their stock?

Maybe if the digital version was say, $10, I’d consider it. I’d wait this one out on principle if I didn’t know myself and OCD on these. With the voice cast, content, and having all the previous such animated releases since the line started back in 2008, I’d kick myself for "missing" the thing.

But I’ve already gotten to where–despite loving them in the theater–I refuse to buy Marvel MCU movies; the way they screw around with "formats" and "combo packs" shut me out years ago.

The ’80s Revisited: Swamp Thing #72

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swampthing072Gargles in the Rat Race Choir

Writer/Penciller: Rick Veitch
Inker: Alfredo Alcala
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Tatjana Wood
Editor: Karen Berger
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: May 1988
Cover Price: $1.25

Way back amidst my earliest memories of having comics in my life, there was a pack of comics that included Swamp Thing #72 and ROM [SpaceKnight] #51 along with something else I can’t recall (possibly an issue of Detective Comics). I was at a friend’s birthday party, and these packs of comics were the "party favors." I was not yet particularly aware of most characters out there, and had no idea what this Swamp Thing series was–as a series or the main character, even. I may have flipped through the issue, but I do not recall actually reading it; whether I did or not my 2015 reading yielded an appreciation and enjoyment I certainly would not have had at age 10 or so when I received the comic.

Flash forward nearly a quarter-century and I saw the issue in a quarter bin and the nostalgia and curiosity hit me. For a mere twenty-five cents, I would finally read this issue and gain the conscious experience of having done so…see if I remembered the story itself from when I was a kid or if it truly was just the cover I remembered.

To say this was worth that 25-cent piece would be an understatement: even as a totally isolated, context less single issue, I quite enjoyed this issue. I have a long way to go in terms of learning about the Swamp Thing, but I’ve come to know a heckuva lot more than I did as a kid, both in the basics of the character as well as his place in the wider DC Universe, then Vertigo continuity, back to DC Universe, and so on…as well as his history with John Constantine, the Hellblazer. And that latter certainly contributed to my enjoying this, as Constantine plays no small role in this issue.

The issue is fairly dense, shifting between Swamp Thing, Constantine, and other involved parties. Swamp Thing and Constantine essentially are working different angles of the same problem–some sort of sprout involved in the succession of elementals/agents of The Green is being corrupted for lack of a proper host/soul. Swampy consults with Abby, and then we follow someone named Alden–seeing his annoyance at home as he gets around and goes to the office…where a secret that’s been cultivated lays exposed by Constantine. While this threat is dealt with, Swamp Thing spawns elsewhere (utilizing a package of potato chips to do so). Despite his efforts and Constantine’s results, the situation on Earth is not getting better, and we see that The Green has set something into motion (which we’ll have to pick up later issues to see).

This looks and feels much like an early issue of Hellblazer, which I really like. Of course, that makes sense given the issue’s date–I’m pretty sure Hellblazer started in 1987/1988. I do recognize Veitch as a name, whose work I’ve seen previously–though off the top of my head as I type this, I can’t quite place where (probably other Swamp Thing and/or Hellblazer stuff). The page layouts are interesting, and I think some of that comes from this being both written AND drawn by Veitch, allowing that much more synergy with the story and art, with both influencing the other.

This was published with DC‘s NEW FORMAT label and marked as being For Mature Readers…this pre-dates the Vertigo imprint by several years. Though the issue obviously is not aimed at kids, it’s more the subject matter and themes and violence that would make it questionable for the younger crowd…I doubt I would simply hand it to a pre-teen but it seems appropriate enough for teens and up; the Mature Readers wouldn’t seem to have to mean "18+" in this case.

By itself, this was certainly very well worth my twenty-five cents, and it rekindles my interest and curiosity in Swamp Thing as well as my appreciation in the ties between Swamp Thing and Constantine the characters, as well as Swamp Thing and Hellblazer the comic series.

DC Futures End Month, Week One

I wasn’t going to do it. I was going to just flat-out ignore all of DC’s output this month. I even dropped the weekly Futures End series a few weeks back to avoid being up to date on it and thus that much more eager to buy into things.

But I just HAD to look at these things at the shop. And where I’d thought from the previews that the 3D part was just the center image…like last year, it’s the ENTIRE cover. And I’m certainly more impressed with these than I am of the recent Valiant chromium covers.

And there’s the fact that despite all tying in to Futures End…these are all functionally one-shots, so like with the Villains issues last year, I don’t REALLY have to follow any of these issues with any subsequent issues.

FUTURES END: ACTION COMICS #1

futuresend_actioncomics001No matter how much I try to avoid the current stuff, there’s just no getting away from the fact that I’m a Superman guy.

This one caught my attention because the image reminded me of the sand-creature Superman, and I was curious if perhaps that would be some key clue to the fate of Superman in this continuity.

What I found instead was a short, slightly disjointed but overall enjoyable-for-what-it-is story about Superman and his powers, what he can do, as an inspiration to others.

Overall a rather generic issue, and it actually REALLY could have been set in the present…one might have questions as to status quo, but take away the “Five Years Later” caption common to all of these issues and you’d have a generically timeless Superman story. Still…I enjoyed the read, short as it was, but I’m quite glad it’s “just” this one-shot.

FUTURES END: DETECTIVE COMICS #1

futuresend_detectivecomics001It just didn’t seem right to me, somehow, to buy a number of DC books and not have Batman in the mix. While I’m not a particular fan of the Riddler or the way the character’s been trumped up as a new major “big bad” in Batman’s rogues gallery, the cover art here was just too good to pass up, so I got it into my head to give it a shot.

While ultimately, this seemed to be a Batman a bit harsher than I’d expect, it also seemed decently spot-on for the most part.

There’s usually something at least vaguely interesting about seeing him forced to “team up” with one of his rogues, and this was no exception.

I could’ve done without the various “Zero Year” references, but that just drove home the point all the more how much that story is being played as “the” Batman story of the New 52, and seems JUST interesting enough that I’ll probably gladly buy it Ii f it’s ever put out in one of these under/around $30 volumes.

FUTURES END: GREEN ARROW #1

futuresend_greenarrow001Given the cover and Green Arrow’s fate in the ongoing Futures End series, I was definitely interested here to see what the story would hold, what light it might shed on stuff leading to the character’s demise, or how his immediate “supporting cast” were dealing with the loss.

What I found instead was an interesting yet sort of dragged-out story that I guessed from the start was headed right up to the character’s death.

While it could have been totally cliché, the story did give some background and a new element to be played out in the ongoing Futures End book with more detail given to where GA was headed immediately prior to the death in Futures End #1.

Maybe not the best single issue, but I definitely enjoyed the read, and am glad I tracked this down.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN #1

futuresend_greenlantern001I really had no idea what to expect from this going in….but flipping through it in the store I caught that it involved Black Lanterns, and I enjoyed that the logo is the same as it’s been for the past 10 or so years, and Hal looked good on the cover, and I figured if I’m randomly picking up an assortment of the DC books this month, Green Lantern ought to be one of ’em.

The story seemed rather disconnected from Futures End other than the fact that it’s set 5 years in the future and references the war between the Earths.

I’m not usually a fan of anything involving the Source Wall or anything Fourth-World/New Gods related, but I liked its use here. I have yet to actually read any of the stuff dealing with Relic, but still enjoyed the character’s appearance here and the way he and Hal played off each other, and contributes to my curiosity to stuff I missed already involving the character.

FUTURES END: SWAMP THING #1

futuresendswampthing001I’ve been particularly interested in Swamp Thing since the character “returned” after Brightest Day; and it was one of the titles I stuck with longest after the initial New 52 launch.

So it made sense to me to check in on the character (plus the more I looked at that cover, the more I was curious).

This was a nice standalone story of Swamp Thing’s apparent end, but works nicely seeing his final “quest” to cover his bases before undertaking his final act.

I recognized some elements, and others simply fit, so this was a “fun” casual read for me…as well as solidifying some suspicions I’d had for stuff I’ve missed, and reminding me that this is a title whose collected volumes probably would actually be worth my checking out at some point, given the chance.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 1

As said earlier, I was dead-set on avoiding these when I first walked into the shop. But the more I looked at them and considered, the more my curiosity got the better of me.

As did that little voice inside that prompted me last year to say the heck with it, and “give in” to the gimmick and buy a bunch of these one-shot issues since it’s just for this one month and not going to be any sort of ongoing thing.

And since I never was able to find any sort of “bundle” deal to get ALL the issues, and I’ve mostly decided not to keep up with the ongoing, I figured I’d just give in on the 3D covers, and go from there.

Where last year I had a checklist and interest in several specific villains and all to plan in advance, I’m thinking this year I’m just going to stick with the notion of seeing what grabs my attention each week on-the-spot, whether based on the title/character itself or just an attractive cover.

Looking back to last year, I “only” bought 4 issues that first week, while I bought five this year…but then I also had bought the first issue of Forever Evil with stuff last year, and there’s no such event/mini-series premiere this time around so it still worked out.

Could be worse…definitely going to make for a huge few weeks. But it is what it is, and I guess it kinda makes up for all my DC avoidance the rest of the year.

DC Villains Month, Backtracking

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With the end of Villains Month and all the issues I wound up getting, I still found myself curious about a few more issues…and ended up “backtracking” and picking up several of the “leftover” 2D editions for a few issues…and figured I’ll offer some some thoughts/commentary associated with each of these same as I have all the rest this month.

ARCANE (Swamp Thing #23.1)

foreverevilarcane001I jumped into Swamp Thing at the start of the New 52, but never got to “meet” Arcane himself. I’ve heard of the character through the years, been aware that he existed, but never actually encountered him. I also–based on where I left off when I dropped the title before the Rotworld stuff or whatever it was–knew “something” was going on with Abby, so her appearance here (while not to my taste) isn’t all that “shocking.” It’s interesting finally meeting the character, and it’s easy to see just how dangerous he really is; I could also tell that there seems to be some retconning going on as he interacts with Abby. No problem with the story or art; this one issue is not enough to draw me back in to the ongoing series, though it gets my curiosity up where I’ll be interested in learning where things go, down the line…and/or perhaps I’ll seek the series out in bargain bins someday or snag the issues digitally if there’s a sale or such. Definitely enjoyed this, and I’m glad I picked it up.

BIZARRO (Superman #23.1)

foreverevilbizarrow001Bizarro is another character I’ve really never cared that much for. I didn’t mind the interpretation used in Byrne‘s Man of Steel mini, and the Bizarro’s World arc not long after the Return of Superman wasn’t bad (as I recall). But I’ve never been thrilled with the more recent version from the early-2000s to present. However, having checked out a number of the other Superman-related villains’ issues this month I figured I’d check this out, and have to say that I found this at least somewhat “interesting.” I actually think I’d prefer this interpretation of the concept to a singular character, as this makes more sense to me than some backwards quasi-duplicate of Superman. This issue fits the “Morrisonian” aspects of my understanding to the New 52 Superman, and this felt like it would’ve been right at home in the pages of Action Comics moreso than Superman, but c’est la vie. As an issue I “backtracked” on, I’m glad I didn’t pay $3.99 for the 3-D cover as I’d’ve been particularly disappointed…but as a 2-D edition “after the fact” this was a good read.

H’EL (Superman #23.3)

foreverevilhel001I’d already bailed on the New 52 prior to the recent H’El on Earth Super-book crossover, and never paid attention to any of the solicitations or covers for that story, so knew virtually nothing of the character until seeing this cover. This was another issue that I got–backtracking–because of having grabbed other Superman-family villains’ issues, I figured I might as well be a bit more comprehensive in my “experience” for the month. While I don’t entirely buy into the time travel aspect of stuff, I still felt like I got a better handle on this character from this issue…enough that if there’s a single-volume collected edition of H’El on Earth I might be inclined to try to get/read that sooner than not. Along with that, I’m ALMOST inclined to watch for the Action Comics Annual, except I actively want to keep from getting sucked into more monthly titles right now. I probably would’ve enjoyed this had I bought the 3D edition when I had the chance, but I’m satisfied with the 2D edition and simply having read the issue.

PENGUIN (Batman #23.3)

foreverevilpenguin001The Penguin was one of the earliest Bat-villains I remember becoming familiar with, in whatever iteration. I don’t think I consciously noticed the shift in the character from washed-up umbrella-guy to master gangster, but now that I have noticed that, it’s a fitting role for the character, in my eyes. This issue touched on a number of things I do like about the character and associate with him–from his past having been bullied to present-day exacting revenge upon those (and other) bullies, as well as being a kingpin-like character. I also definitely enjoyed seeing confirmation that he’s not JUST some backseat leader…this Penguin is dangerous on multiple levels and quite capable of wading in and getting his hands dirty, doing his own dirty work, when provoked. This isn’t enough to get me to rush out and buy the recent Penguin mini-series…but if I find the collected volume for a decent price I’m more inclined to check it out, or might even be inclined to on a whim buy the issues digitally since they’re all well into the discounted 2+ months old range. All that said, this issue felt rather short–it pulled me in and the whole thing flew. I’m actually rather disappointed that I didn’t pick this up the week it came out…but content with having read it as I did rather than waiting til sometime later.

TWO FACE (Batman and Robin #23.1)

forevereviltwoface001I’ve got a mixed history with Two Face…generally I’m not that enamored with the character, though I’m not necessarily going to avoid his appearances. I did avoid this issue earlier in September…but found myself curious and so tracked this down to read for the immediacy. I’m not all that impressed by the issue’s story–of the character using his coin-toss to decide to help or hurt Gotham–but it “works” with what I know of and think of regarding the character. It might have been the quick read of flying through the issue but I didn’t get much “substance” from this, and really didn’t feel I gained any particular insight into the character or anything of much interest to consider watching for later. This was just sort of a slice-of-life/what-he’s-up-to kinda thing to me. I would have been quite disappointed buying this at $4 (or the marked-up $10+ I saw the 3D edition going for)…but as a $2.99 issue, not AS disappointed.

The End of My Run With the New 52: Swamp Thing and Animal Man #7s

Animal Man and Swamp Thing were my final DC holdouts. From around 30 of the New 52 #1s in September 2011, these were/are my March 2012 DC pulls. And it’s with these that I’ve pretty much made the decision that on the whole, the New 52 is not for me.

In Animal Man, we’ve seen the reintroduction of Buddy and his family. We’ve been introduced to the idea of his daughter as the new champion of The Red, and that they’re all going to be facing The Rot. After an adventure in The Red where things have been set up, this issue finds the Baker family on the run, just trying to survive and figure out what comes next. Of course, any proactivity as to “what comes next” is out the window when they find a less than pleasing sight outside their RV.

In Swamp Thing, we’ve had the reintroduction of Alec Holland and Abigail Arcane, the reintroduction of The Green and the idea of them having to face The Rot. Seven issues in, and we seem to finally find Alec Holland once again being placed into his most well known form–as the Swamp Thing. And by issue’s end, something new has been set in motion, as this title finds itself on a collision course with events being set up simultaneously in Animal Man.

Where Swamp Thing was one of my original “picks” of the New 52, it was positive buzz over Animal Man and the realization of it tying in to Swamp Thing that helped draw me into that book. Yet, seven issues in with both titles…I find myself simply uninterested. The issues feel fairly short. I’m not a huge fan of the art on either title–the art on Animal Man is rather disturbing–in a way that fits this version of the title, but it’s not to my tastes; while on Swamp Thing it’s pretty to look at but still has something “off” about it. I don’t really want “surreal” in the visuals, and neither book seems to just flow visually, distinctively.

And at this point, I’d just as soon wait a few months and snag the issues from bargain bins, or perhaps sometime next year or in a couple years double back for the collected volumes–if there are any, at DC’s glacial collecting pace.

These aren’t bad titles–there’s loads of potential, and I still have an interest in where things are going. Just not enough interest…not for going month by month when I have to basically force myself to read the single issues.

Fitting, I suppose, that what look to be my final “regular” DC purchases for the foreseeable future were two of the first books to sport DC‘s new Get Glue-ish “hey, everyone’s all about these ‘stickers’ things!” logo.

The Rest of the Stack: Week of November 2, 2011

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The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

ANIMAL MAN #3

animalman003I liked the first issue quite a bit. I liked the sound of it even more, which is why I picked it up at all, though I did so a week or two late after hearing reviews. By now, though, with this issue…I’m just finding myself not enjoying this. The story’s good, yeah…but the art just bothers me. I know this is a horror book, it’s basically a Vertigo book under the DC banner…but the imagery just really bothers me, beyond simply being creepy. And so really, I’m getting the increasing feeling that this is not a book for me, or at least not in singles with monthly doses. I’m more a fan of Animal Man the super-hero…and this seems to be specifically moving away from that, saying that the super-hero stuff was a phase, to be there for a time in preparation for what comes now. So it’s a case of…this is not bad, in and of itself…but I’m realizing that it’s not for me. I may stick around for a couple more issues, finish out this story…but time will have to tell, on that. (6/10)

INVINCIBLE #84

invincible084I’m not terribly thrilled with this title in general. There’s something that just doesn’t exactly work for me, and I don’t find myself all that engaged with the characters. Perhaps it’s going from feeling like I only have to read this title to realizing there’s more going on–Guarding the Globe, and at least one other tie-in mini-series, and all those backups I couldn’t get into that I skipped (or read but don’t remember the content). AND YET…and yet, this title is doing something smart. I’m finding that I like this new method the character is trying: instead of just punching things, he’s trying to talk things out, figure out underlying motivations, and generally do more than just maintain some status quo. In this issue, he sees that despite putting the villain behind bars, the same exact result the villain was going for is being carried out…so maybe the villain isn’t as much in the wrong as thought. Which gives Invincible something to think about…and though the results are looking sort of familiar, the motivation seems a bit more genuine–and permanent–than just some one-off story arc for where I’ve seen this thing done before. And since the title’s still at $2.99 and I’ve dropped so many others recently…I’m gonna stick around awhile. Maybe get the Invincible Compendium and a couple trades to fill the gap, and get caught up. Might even be able to engage more. (7.5/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #3

justiceleagueinternational003I’m sure I’m coming off as some sort of curmudgeon this week with the whopping 4 new comics from my pull list. I’m not exactly excited about stuff, and finding it far too easy of late to drop stuff. Reading this issue…I realized that I really don’t much CARE about these characters. Booster–the character and reason I’ve been getting this title to begin with–doesn’t have room to really be developed and shine, he’s just another character in the bunch. I can get more Guy Gardner over in GL Corps; and I’m getting Batman in his own title. But just as I’m ready to simply write this title off, yet another to wait and potentially consider via collected volumes, there’s a seemingly “key” moment. Something about August General in Iron that I did not know, and which adds something else to the character, something deeper that I’m a bit curious about. It reminds me of what I’ve read about X-Men, and the way the Wolverine character was developed out of an art mistake. And it’s stuff like that, that I miss about comics. So, maybe I’ll at least stick around for the rest of this arc…but after going from no DC to 13/14 DCs with the New 52 relaunch…my patience for 20-page issues isn’t there, and I have a feeling I’m not yet done dropping titles. (7/10)

SWAMP THING #3

swampthing003I kinda see this title going hand in hand with Animal Man in a loose sense. Swamp Thing deals with “the Green” while Animal Man deals with “the Red.” We also learn in this issue of “the Rot,” which means there’s more to be explored and developed. Of course, this title’s visuals are less disturbing than Animal Man, and I do have a bit more “history” and reading experience with Swamp Thing…so this is a bit more interesting. Abby Arcane finds Alec Holland, and brings him up to speed on stuff. She needs his help to save a boy who could end the world…and as the issue progresses, we learn how. And also–who this boy is, which ties to long-time continuity (if you know your Swamp Thing history) but is simply the current threat if you don’t. Of course, the cover blurbs do not seem to fit this as a relaunch–there has not yet been time to even delve into the character’s past…so “Once his greatest love…now his deadliest enemy?” suggests a lot more history than 3 issues. I’m interested, though…and of the 3 DCs I picked up this week, I’d say this one’s the safest from being dropped. (8/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 5, 2011

allofthestack

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

ACTION COMICS #2

actioncomics002Superman’s been smashed by a train, and captured by the government. While his captors question him, Supes is working up enough focus to break free–and woe to those who stand in his way. Meanwhile, his indestructible cape is also put to the test, while Lois Lane gains entry thanks to her father. And it seems Luthor’s out of his depths. Oh, and the actual CONTENT of this issue, the story itself, the thing that I buy any given issue for? 20 freaking pages. For $3.99. Meanwhile, there are 8 pages of generic extras–sketches and internet stuff printed for the sake of pages thrown in to make the issue feel that much thicker, and then the USUAL back-of-the-issue preview for something I’m not even going to buy, and which is not going to change my mind, because either I’m NOT BUYING WHAT IS BEING PREVIEWED…or I’m NOT GOING TO READ it because I am planning to buy it, and don’t want to read a QUARTER to THIRD of its contents before I pay too much for cover price. So on principle alone–$3.99 for 20 pages–this thing is a huge disappointment, and I discourage anyone who hasn’t already from buying the single issue, as such. Collected volume? Sure. I think this’ll be a strong story in the end. But I for one refuse to support this sort of crap for a $4 issue when bought alongside several $3 issues with the EXACT SAME LENGTH STORY. (2/10)

ANIMAL MAN #2

animalman002Lots of death, decay, and gore in this issue. Disturbingly so, really. Buddy finds himself drastically affected by “The Red,” and his daughter seems more powerful than her father, leading him to follow the call of the Red. The cover alone is quite disturbing, and the interior visuals are, too. Even some of the tamer stuff is rather creepy–the skeleton of a cat squatting for milk especially rattled me. And yet…for essentially a horror book, something that typically would’ve been Vertigo…it’s fitting. The story doesn’t have nearly the blown-away effect on me the first issue did. But still, something to this–I’m curious where it’s all leading. And hey…it’s Vertigo, yet not. A worthy second issue, and there’s nothing to this one that prompts me to drop it or otherwise not come back for the next issue. (6/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #2

justiceleagueinternational002I wish I was overtly enthusiastic about this issue. There’s something just sort of mediocre about it. It’s nothing spectacular. The story’s not terribly engaging, and doesn’t send me running for back issues and chomping at the bit for the next issue. But the story’s solid enough. The art’s not bad–I do like it, really. And together, they make for a quality book. And while there isn’t much that really jumps out or stands out…I liked it. We have the team, already assembled from the first issue, we see them in action, we see them in down-time, we get interaction and we get a built-up threat that justifies the group staying together. And on the whole, this feels like a second issue–we’ve been introduced to the characters, but here we learn a bit more. Unfortunately, there are a lot of characters, so there’s little focus on any specific character. Much of my not being bothered too much by that is my history with these characters’ prior incarnations, so I’m “projecting” what I know of those onto these. Still sticking around for the next issue, and seeing where this goes…if only for Booster Gold. (6/10)

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