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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of April 21 & April 28, 2021

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Well…I made it 3 1/2 months before missing a week, and thus doubling-up on these Weekly Haul posts! So, here you go, if anyone other than me myself cares about these! (Since these largely are a way for me to have record to go back to easily and see what I’ve snagged).

Whatever.


Week of April 21, 2021

Second-to-last week of April…and one of THE biggest weeks…and most complex weeks! Wound up piecing these together from two local shops and mail-order!

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Radiant Black is my chance to follow a Higgins series, since I won’t buy his Power Rangers stuff specifically because it’s (currently) published by Boom. TMNT is a staple…been buying this monthly since #1 nearly ten years ago. and Alien #2 is…well, it’s Alien, but it seems that Marvel is really half-arsing it…especially after they DOVE into numerous Star Wars and Conan titles virtually immediately. If all they were gonna do is a Dark Horse-tone book and a series of variant covers, but not even launch into a bit of world-building/re-establishment…seems like they’re squandering the license.

Way of X is the second book in the "third wave" of titles to launch for the Hickman-era of the titles. X-Force is "the next issue of a series I’m buying regularly now." and the Carnage book is…I don’t even know. I started getting the Wolverine anthology like this, and this one kinda slipped in with it. Maybe I want to support Marvel doing this sort of title? Maybe I just want a taste of "classic" Carnage? Who knows/

Amazing Spider-Man is a "next issue," ditto for The Walking Dead Deluxe. And apparently I neglected to realize I’d already bought the Star Trek: The Next Generation issue a couple weeks ago. Oops.

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Then there’s the new issue of Usagi Yojimbo, which I think has surpassed the Mirage run now, number-wise. I wasn’t keen when its Dark Horse iteration switched to mini-series near the end of its run…but I’m more than agreeable to a new #1 when it’s from a new publisher. I believe the continuity is ongoing, though, regardless of publisher. I’m in for a good, solid read whenever I get around to diving in to catch up on the IDW run. Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is a title I’m not sure what to make of…but feels like something to support for NOT being published by Boom. Hey…it’s Oni, so why not? I followed Letter 44 for 30-some issues or whatever it was from them…

Then there’s the 15th volume of Dawn of X, which I’m determined to at least finish its run up to X of Swords…but also supporting out of principle. It’s great to see an entire family of books being collected like this, for someone who wants to go all-in on the X-stuff. It seems like it’d be interesting to do this for more families of titles…and then collect the INDIVIDUAL series into their own books later, rather than this being the "side thing."

While I’m years behind reading any, I have great respect for the products put out by TwoMorrows, and definitely appreciate historical comics stuff, so Back Issue is a great magazine I like to get when I notice it…even if it DOES pile an extra $10ish onto the total. Well worth it for the content and time it’d take to read the issue cover to cover.

Also snagged a classic back-issue of the classic Warlock series…brings me ONE issue closer to having the full series!

As to Comic Shop News, I’d be more interested in the Milestone stuff if it WASN’T DC at this point, and wasn’t yet another attempt at relaunching the line. I wish the Milestone folks plenty of success, though DC is just so thoroughly on my crap-list that I’m steering clear. Also figure there’ll be enough variant covers and other speculator things associated, and I’m not gonna be "speculator-bullied" into buying it JUST to not have to pay higher prices later. Either it’ll be a speculator’s dream, or it’ll be fair-priced if not bargain-priced down the line. The latter two would mean I can get it later.

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Snagged Ultramega #2, Stray Dogs #3, The BeQuest #2, and a GI Joe: A Real American Hero: Serpentor Uncoiled special online. These arrived on Tuesday, so still count as the week of the 21st. Still have to read their first issues, but…whatever. I’m hardly any smart guy when it comes to stuff.


Week of April 28, 2021

And now we catch up to the "current" week with the 28th, and FOUR X-books…one of them FREE!

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Cable and New Mutants are "the next issue" right now/still. But then X-Men Legends is largely the same..but a new classic-X-Factor story, apparently! And the image seems familiar…I’m thinking (offhand, as I’m typing) it’s an homage to either X-Factor #1 or the first annual for the title. And then we have this Hellfire Gala Official Guide…a "preview" book of stuff–designs for characters and whatnot–for the upcoming event. I MUUUUUUUUCH prefer such content be presented like this–and as its own unit–and "free" at that–than as a bunch of content padding out a regular issue claiming "bonus content" when it’s NOT material I want to pay for, nor is it padding out repetetively a bunch of unrelated books for the sake of padding them out with "preview pages" and such. In this way it’s a nifty little bonus thing, can file it with the X-books, and enjoy it AS its own thing.

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Helm of Greycastle…a bit like "Grayskull," right? Nostalgia, looks fantasy-ish, and can check out this first issue. Whatever. Ditto for Summoners War: Legacy. I think this is based on some videogame, but…it caught my attention. So what the hey?

Newest issue of Spawn; #317. This is the 50th issue after I jumped back onto the title, after the cover to #257 caught my eye way back in 2015! (Making this my 51st continuous issue of the series!) This might put Spawn second only to the current TMNT run in that regard! I may have to think more on that…certainly something for its own post, perhaps.

Next is the final issue (I think) of the second story from the CLASSIC Usagi Yojimbo series, now presented here in COLOR.

Finally, an issue of GI Joe: A Real American Hero that…turned out to be a darned variant. I hate variants. #280…I think I jumped back onto the title around 245 or so, so it’s been several years. Haven’t read in I don’t know how long…mostly just "supporting" the titles continuation and such. You can BET that I’d jump off if Hama leaves…this is verrrrrry much HIS book! And I’d love to fill the gap in issues from the low-160s to the 240s and just have the whole thing. But it’s a lot like Spawn, apparently: folks that HAVE the issues are hanging onto them, and they haven’t exactly had high print runs.

And…Comic Shop News.


I’m

I’m a bit worn down lately as "real life" has intruded big-time…particularly with work.

This is my first post in a couple weeks, and I lost the flow of covering Magic: The Gathering – The Shadow Mage. Hopefully I’ll get caught up on that again soon. And I’ve loooooads of X-stuff to read, to where I’ve neglected new comics for way too long and have those to catch up on.

First world problems, I guess?

Who knows what the coming week holds…

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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 31, 2021

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And here we are, back for another week’s haul of new issues, "current week." Not a bad week in and of itself, even with forgetting to message ahead.

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X-Men Legends #2 has the same trade dress as the first issue, which I do like…overall. I do think the corner box would be a bit more appealing with the number there, as the large issue number with the logo suggests this is X-Men Legends 2, #whatever, at a glance…much like X-Men Forever or such had been.

Spawn is now at #316. When Uncanny X-Men‘s original run was at #316, I think that was summer 1994, around the Phalanx Covenant!

And we have the new issue of Batman/Catwoman–#4–and I’m a bit iffy on this series, but at minimum, my "OCD" has me wanting to just get the series to slot in with the rest of King‘s Batman Rebirth run.

I’m extremely confident that this month’s issue of Crossover is an homage to CatesGod Country #1, given the "landscape" orientation vs the standard "portrait" orientation. [Edit: ok, looks like it was a cover for #2 of that series. So much for the aforementioned confidence!]

Interestingly enough on the timing…Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #5 (the current iteration of "Color Classics" reprinting early UY content) is ALSO a "landscape" cover! Surely coincidence, but highly noticeable anyway!

And while I opened on X-Men Legends, I close here on X-Men #19. For the moment, yet another "just the next issue available of an X-title," until I get caught up.

Finally, this week’s Comic Shop News features something called Seven Swords. I did a quick search online and seems that it’s at least NOT something from Boom Studios, so maybe I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’ll at least likely recognize this cover image, so if that’s available and not drowned out/hidden by others…well, maybe I’ll try it spur-of-the-moment?


This was a five-Wednesday month. Having six new issues, though…does not seem like stuff was necessarily shuffled to accommodate the "extra" week. I’m good with it, though.

We’ll see what April holds. I know I’m looking forward to the debut of Way of X…and I can’t quite remember if Predator launches in April, or not til May. Also considering the Aliens Omnibus vol. 1 from Marvel solely on the "completionist" angle. Again…time shall tell.

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X-Men Legends #1 [Review]

xmen_legends_001The Burning Blood Part One: Shattered Crystal, Scattered Dreams

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Brett Booth
Inker: Adelso Corona
Colorist: Guru-EFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editor: Lauren Amaro
Editor: Mark Basso
X-Men Senior Editor: Jordan D. White
Cover Date: April 2021
Cover Price: $4.99

Possibly my earliest conscious memories of X-Men comics are the X-Cutioner’s Song event/crossover issues polybagged with a trading card…because a friend was collecting that crossover. It didn’t mean anything to me at the time, personally…though I wasn’t too far behind getting in thanks to the then-new XTAS, and Fatal Attractions event/crossover. There’s still the nostalgia for me for those ranges of issues as such. Two of the earliest issues I can remember owning for myself are Uncanny X-Men #300, and X-Men #24. I do NOT remember "Adam X" nor much of anything about a "third Summers brother" at the time despite whatever issues I was reading…anything I DID know or think surely came from trading cards and/or Wizard Magazine. When Brubaker got to tackle the definitive answer to the question of that brother in 2005’s Deadly Genesis it also didn’t mean too terribly much to me for not being all that invested in there being or who was "the third Summers brother."

Anyway…X-Men Legends #1:

We open on Erik the Red directing his minions–the Crystal Claws–to attack Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. After much destruction and death, they find the people they’re after: Philip and Deborah Summers. The scene then shifts to find Cyclops and Havok–Scott and Alex Summers–back to back opposing a different wave of these Crystal Claw folks. Once victorious, they seek out Xavier for answers, given his relationship with a certain Shi’Ar. Before they get any, the brothers are called to Alaska where they learn of their grandparents’ kidnapping and ransom. The scene changes again to some flashbacky stuff of the childhood of a character calling himself Adam. He’s meditating in a field and when confronted, gets to show off his abilities with throwing weapons by killing a snake. Cable shows up and talks before giving Adam’s location to the Summers Brothers. While Adam deals with more memories, he finds himself set upon by Hepzibah and Raza of the Starjammers. Their fight is interrupted by Cyclops and Havok, and Adam fights them as well. When the three find themselves at a questionable stalemate, a ship decloaks to reveal Corsair–father of Cyclops and Havok. While he notes the confusion on their faces, Corsair reveals that he knows more than they do, and fires his weapon at them. To Be Continued…

There’s something refreshing and yet challenging about this issue. It’s refreshing to have an issue that has so much packed into it…rather than the decompressed, semi-cinematic, un-captioned, un-narrated, dialogue-less nature of too many modern comics. It’s refreshing to have a first issue start out right into action, rather than being all setup for the next five issues or so, as a mere 1/6th of a singular story. It’s refreshing to have editor’s notes and footnotes. And it’s darned refreshing to this fan of ’90s comics and ’90s X-Men to see Cyclops, Havok, and Xavier in their early-’90s look, not to mention an adult/older Cable, and various other touches that feel very reminiscent of the ’90s. It’s a bit challenging, however, coming 26-27 years after the comics it’s meant to fit around, and though familiar with the general time-frame, I’m not steeped enough in conscious memory of 1994 continuity, "Adam X," and the finer details of that. I don’t feel like I knew Erik the Red prior to Uncanny X-Men #350 in 1998 or so, and I’ve never been a huge fan of the Shi’Ar and such. I’ve also been conditioned especially over the past 20+ years to the decompressed format of modern comics, so found it a bit jarring to have so much going on in this single issue, jumping all over the place. For a new-in-2021-comic, it feels very out of place and a bit choppy/clunky.

The art team manages to capture a ’90s feel in addition to simply depicting the consistency of a ’90s-era "house style" of the characters’ costumes and such. It’s by no means a perfect fit, as it is still a comic actually published in 2021 with seemingly contemporary art, carrying with it a modern aesthetic I can’t quite put to words. The visuals are clearly intended to evoke the colorful, dynamic, over-the-top-ish frenetic action that I, at least, tend to associate by reputation with ’90s comics. This isn’t Jim Lee art by any means, but I liked it and found it rather enjoyable, particularly in the moment as I read this issue. At the minimum, the visual style helps the issue to show us this is a ’90s-era-style story, rather than just telling us the fact.

Nicieza‘s name was a huge selling point for me–he was one of the main X-writers when I first got into the X-Men in 1993 or so. Getting a new story from him that’s meant to fit right into existing continuity and that is not further-ballooning out modern elements was extremely appealing to me. I mentioned earlier that this issue felt very out of place and choppy/clunky. That’s in the context of being a comic published in 2021, based on modern 2021 comics tropes, generalities, and conditioning over much of the past several decades to the fairly strict, rigid decompression of every 6 issues being a single story, rather than having multiple core stories and numerous plot threads woven across 6 issues. The Summers brothers’ interactions; the quick shift to Xavier for information, the convenience of plot elements falling into place within pages…it worked for me.

If this was a modern issue, I’d expect a multi-page sequence of a mysterious ship approaching a planet that turns out to be Earth followed by multiple pages of attack and double-page spread(s) of the devastation left behind and a cliffhanger of two people with the surname SUMMERS being found. Instead, that’s just several pages’ prologue. In that regard, this issue could pretty easily–by modern standards–be broken out into 3-4 issues. At 30 pages of story in a $4.99 comic…it (grudgingly) actually seems worth its price compared to most same-length/same-priced comics.

This felt like a much longer read than I expected, and I enjoyed the details and captions and such…it’s not that the reader is spoon-fed, but the reader gets to read a story–they don’t have to participate, they don’t have to nitpick and think-deeply and pick stuff apart from subtle visual clues that lack any sort of dialogue or caption reference for key parts of the story…and the only "homework" the reader would need to do–if so chosen–is follow the editor’s notes to check back to X-Men #39 (immediately prior to Legion Quest and the Age of Apocalypse) and a Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell, I presume) issue. There are no "infopages" nor "infographics" interrupting the flow of the story, and really what you see is what you get.

This is by no means a perfect issue, and it is $4.99. But it’s an issue that I was looking forward to for awhile, based primarily on the concept and the cover; and that $4.99 gets you 30 pages of story rather than merely 20ish for $3.99; an extra 50% of story for only an extra 25% of price. The cover sports the "classic" bold, blocky 3-D-ish X-MEN logo certainly associated with the ’90s comics (and then some!) with "Legends" and "#1" worked into it…much the way the ’90s Superman comics fit "Action Comics" and "The Man of Steel" in against "Superman." The cover image of the main/standard/non-variant cover (pictured above) strongly evokes the ’90s to me and lent itself strongly to my sense of nostalgia and thus interest in checking this out…as a series, and certainly as a first issue.

Given that this is a story by a prior writer, meant to fit into a point of continuity nearly half the property’s existence in the past, this certainly won’t be for "everyone," nor will it appeal to everyone. It absolutely appeals to someone like me that grew up with the ’90s X-Men and looks fondly upon that period of the property. While likely a curiosity to readers brought in by Hickman‘s House of X Powers of X, Dawn of X/Reign of X/X of Swords and such…this is absolutely non-essential to what I understand of the current books, and more a chance for older, lapsed readers to get something new. Or for newer readers to get a taste of something out of the past that is actually new.

I’m certainly not keen on a comic’s being $4.99, but I definitely feel I got my money’s worth out of this issue and am really looking forward to #2 and beyond. Honestly, a telling point should be that I so thoroughly enjoyed this issue that it prompted this review at all, marking my first review of a "current issue" in maybe a year or more!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 17, 2021

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Another week, another haul…

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The Last Ronin #2 finally came out. I’m not sure anymore off the top of my head how long this series is. 3 issues? 5? 6? But it’s been nearly 4 months since the first issue shipped–that one came out October 28th! So this thing’s not monthly, not bi-monthly…it’s not even quarterly. Seems more Doomsday Clock in schedule.

I’ve been looking forward to X-Men Legends for a fair bit; very cool to actually have it out now! I definitely like the idea of having an X-title like this that brings back older/classic creators to tell new stories set in various prior points of continuity!

This latest Iron Fist mini-series is by Larry Hama which was the selling point for me on the first issue. I enjoyed it well enough, so here’s issue #2!

Where I’d basically given up on King‘s Batman/Catwoman series after it being a no-show for most of 2020 (where I believe it was originally expected for late-2019!) it was the cover of this third issue that I think re-“sold” me on the series. I do look forward to getting this read and see how things are shaping up…though we’ll also see if I hold the patience for its story being all over the place without much in the way of transitions.

The Walking Dead Deluxe continues to be an enjoyable series, and I’m continuing to be glad to get the series in this format and re-read stuff. 9 issues already? Seems like it just started. But I’m definitely not complaining for now!

Then Marauders #18 and Cable #8 are the week’s new X-issues. I’ve read the latter 2/3rds of X of Swords but haven’t pressed further yet…I’m torn between flying on ahead of it and THEN backtracking, or continue playing catch-up from the beginning of Dawn of X first.

Speaking OF Dawn of X, vol. 13 is here, and it looks like the books are nearing their end: solicitation suggests that volume 16 will be the lead-in to X of Swords, and I’m somewhat assuming that will get an omnibus or otherwise standalone volume(s). Then again, maybe vols. 17-20 will BE X of Swords? I’m definitely double-dipping because as I’ve said pretty much all along: I really want to support this “anthology” format, and as much as I grouse about other stuff, this is something I can proactively “put my money where my mouth is” or whatever saying rather than simply “not buying” something.

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While I was getting photos for this post, Sarah-cat decided to waltz in seeking attention. Here she is with several X issues (that will actually get their own post eventually).

Next week’s gonna be another big week…though with a couple minis concluding at least.

We’ll see how stuff goes.

Also of personal note for myself…with this post–Friday, February 19–it’s been 4 weeks of 5-days/week posts, plus a 4-day week before that. I can’t remember the last time I managed such a run on this blog, nor how long this’ll keep up with personal stuff. (Something I keep saying time and again).

Here’s to the end of another week and hopefully a good weekend to come all around!

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