Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ramblings and the West Coast Avengers

 I apologize for missing Mutant X Mondays for the past coupla weeks.  Been just one of those life things.  I was kinda sick feeling last night and really only felt like doing small stuff after running errands earlier in the day.  I didn't even turn the computer on yesterday.  I am noticing people coming to the Blog and I want to say thank you.  Even though comments are not made, it is nice to see that there are page views on a daily basis.  I will try and keep content fresh.  Just know that sometimes life and health will get in the way.

As I have said, I really want to one day have all these collected posts on series runs.  One that now I can add to try and do is the West Coast Avengers, or as later known, the Avengers West Coast.  I love the Avengers in general.  The thing is that there has always been something about the West Coasters that appealed to me.  It has had most of my favorite Avengers on the team at one point or another.  That is a big plus for them.  They also were kinda like a soap opera.  The Avengers had drama, but the adventures were first and foremost.  West Coast had drama and the Adventures were many times tied to that drama.  I liked that I think.

One problem I have had in recent years is buying duplicate issues.  I realize now that I can stop doing that.  I took the box last night and went through adding the one outstanding issue it seemed I needed and have a bunch of issues for the yard sale box.  I own the complete issue run excluding a few Annuals. I didn't realize that until last night as I was sorting through.  It is cool to add another series to the completed list.

This group of Avengers was always the fun group in my opinion.  They had turmoil, but that didn't stop them from having fun.  There were dates and love affairs combined with rivalries and fights.  Redemption was a central point of this group as well.  Disgraced and fallen heroes were brought back to heroic form in this book.  If you want to collect back issues of Avengers but feel overwhelmed at the number of the Original series I suggest you collect this book.  It has 102 issues and is easily accessible in fifty cent and dollar boxes at both Flea Markets and Comic Shops.  As you read you will see some of the great names in the creators list of credits.  This would be a good book to collect a run of for reading enjoyment.  You can also add the short run title Force Works to the collecting as it is what came after the team disbanded in Issue #102.  I have all of those as well.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Flashback Friday: The Might Thor #353

Walt Simonson is by far the Master of Thor Comics.  His Art and Story drived this character from epic adventure to the most absurd situations.  One thing he always brought what that EPIC and IMMORTAL feel of Thor and the world he came from.  This issue is proof of that statement.  It is the culmination of a massive tale pulled from the Norse Mythology and crafted with the Marvel Universe as backdrop.  The Demon Lord Surtur has sought to light his Twilight Sword in the Eternal Flame so he can set the Universe ablaze.  It has built over multiple issues.  This tale is not unlike a great symphony with this as the climax of each note and instrument.

I dare say that an issue like this will never be seen again.  The current comicbook creators lack the ability to tell a story like this in an issue.  "The Finale Of The Surtur Saga" is across the book.  It is well and truly finished in these pages.  Today it would take five issues or more just to tell what this lone comic does.  There would not be the dialogue and really probably not be as good.

The action is almost more than the pages can hold.  We have Avengers, Asgardians, and others lead by Beta Ray Bill fighting hordes of Demons on Earth.  Johnny Storm is helping a man try and repair the Cask of Ancient Winters while battling Frost Giants and fairies.  Then there is the Battle Royal with Odin and his sons Thor and Loki battling Surtur in Asgard.  That is a tremendous fight that showcases the powers and skills of each warrior.  This is the ultimate in what Marvel was when it valued story and respected the reader.  This entire Saga is one great read, but the end is also a great stand alone.  Plus, BETA RAY BILL people.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Teaser for Flashback Friday

Here is a peek at tomorrow's 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mutant X Mondays: Mutant X #10 & #11

 I decided to combine this week's edition and give you two issues of Mutant X.  I gave you a tease last issue so as to not really give the cliffhanger away, but as the cover shows it is Magneto and the X-Men that have come home in this alternate dimension.  Magneto is majestic on the last page of issue 9 as he tells us a little boy asked him to come and get his father.  He is no less a force as we see him stand up to the Goblin Queen in the opening pages of issue 10.

She retreats before what appears to be a strong and commanding Magneto.  We learn later that Polaris is propping up his powers with her own.  It is just her and her Dad, Magneto that saved Alex.  This deviates from the 616 Marvel Universe as there Polaris was deemed to not be Magneto's daughter.  Still Alex is faced with the image of the woman from his reality that he loves still and the man that for years he has held as an enemy prepared to take him home to his not really my son Scotty.

Oh if that were the case.  You see the Goblin Queen has now truly been able to combine the demonic life forces within her Sentinels and a light show of that power leads the trio into a trap.  Even a demonic version of the futuristic Sentinel Nimrod appears.  All would seem lost if not for the arrival of the X-Men.  Roll call is as follows; Mystique, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, and rounded out by the already present Polaris.  Soon Havok blasts all foes and they all escape and live to fight another day.  Or just read Issue 11 already and see what happens next.

This is a Scotty Summers issue.  It starts with him watching everyone discussing his Mom and what to do.  Soon we have Bloodstorm abducting him.  I am sure if she had not her vampiric powers Electra would have killed her.  That is one skilled nanny little Scotty has.  In the between pages we get a glimpse of Madelyne Pryor as she seems to be trying to gain the advantage over the Goblin Entity.  It is a neat concept here having this opposite to the Phoenix Force.  It is pure evil and soon we watch it consume Maddie once more, but it strikes a note of foreshadowing.

We watch as Brute comes to see Scotty and because his mind is simple maybe it is why he is the first to fight off the Goblin Queen's mind control.  Soon he is trying to get Scotty free and becomes barbecue under The Fallen's flames.  The Fallen reveals that he is operating under his own mind and tries to kill Scotty.  Iceman and Bloodstorm become clear head long enough to aid Scotty.  The Maddie appears and The Fallen is in for a world of hurt.  That is when the strange happens.  Maddie hugs her boy and sends Brute away with him before we get full Goblin Queen again.  This leads us up to a milestone issue 12 of the series.


How Do You Promote What You Don't Read

I very much have this question in mind of late.  It is something that is causing me to feel like I come off as a "Comicbook Elite" when I talk with someone about Marvel's movies.  I walked completely away from all current Marvel titles around 2007 because of the "One More Day" story in Spider-Man's books.  I thought for a long time that Marvel was going away from character driven stories to a more here is a story and let us make a character we want fit the story way of making comics.  I suffered through Civil War and then watched Spidey betray all Aunt May and Uncle Ben taught him.  I held on to one title, Nova.  That ended as the crossover event driven model began to dominate and Nova was sucked into that as well.  So I stopped reading any current Marvel.

In fact I remember reading and even listening to Joe Quesada say at HeroesCon that if I (readers) didn't like the current stories that there were plenty of back issues we could read.  I took his suggestion.  I now read plenty of DC and have my smaller press companies, but my loyalty to Marvel was broken.  The few people who know me online can attest that this was a big break for me.  Still, it brings me to my current situation.  When people know you are a comicbook collector and love comics they want to discuss the current mainstream stuff with you.  I am having problems saying no I have not seen Wolverine and not becoming Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons in qualifying why I have not seen a movie.

Even though I dislike what and where Marvel is going I do not want their films to tank as Wolverine has in terms of the market for his film compared to the first in his franchise.  I want it to help lead people to the real stories.  If people like that type of story and they start buying books it is good for the industry in my opinion.  So how do I support the industry and not support Marvel?  It is difficult.  The shear size of the behemoth that is Marvel dominates the comicbook pop culture landscape.  So I feel bad when I seem wishy washy on support to really non-comicbook fans who are trying to connect.

There is no real answer.  I just have to try and not dampen the person's interest while relaying that I am not currently reading a bunch of current Marvel.  Be polite and just steer the conversation to what they liked.  That works well.  You do not sound arrogant and along the way you can put little nuggets into the conversation by letting them know which is a long time character and which is a new for the movie character.

As for skipping Flashback Friday, well, nothing jumped out as a book to put up last Friday.  I also had given you posts during the week.  I thought letting the Greg Rucka book stay up a bit longer was better.  I hope to have Mutant Monday up today.  The pic I found and used reminded me of something I did in college.  It was the Wall O' Marvel.  I stuck Marvel trading cards on my wall and had what looked like a giant poster.  It was cool and a nice time consuming project when I was bored.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Greg Rucka's LAZARUS ONE and TWO


One of the best times I had at HeroesCon was listening to Greg Rucka discuss WHITEOUT at a panel.  I sensed some seed of hurt from him in terms of how the mainstream work of the business had dealt with him.  What did show clear was his love of words and crafting a story.  I saw this comic listed after the Con in the back of one of my Witchblade issues.  I failed to remember to have it added to my list and thought I might have missed Issue One.  Luckily both Issues One and Two were available at the shop.

This is really the first time I have gotten into the start of one of Rucka's "Girls" as Forever will now be termed.  I love Queen & Country, especially the novels.  From Batwoman to Perfect Dark Mr. Rucka has a knack for writing strong female leads in his stories.  Forever lives up to that in just two issues of the series.  She also appears to be more than just a human.

The opening to Issue One is very graphic and according to Mr. Rucka the basis for the entire series.  He has a great commentary in the back detailing the journey to this point in the life of this comicbook.  It is all about what our country and the world has and is experiencing.  The future here is one where an even smaller 1% has subjugated the rest of the 99%.  Families own portions of the world and each has their own fiefdoms that provides for a few who do the work while the rest of humanity is known as the "Waste."  Some will say that it could never happen.  To those I say pick up a newspaper and just read every day and see how close this future really is right now.

Advantages to not being able to go to the shop every week has me reading Issue Two right after I finish the first issue.  The foul language increases so I warn all parents out there to know that straight on.  The intrigue also increases.  I found it a more compelling issue.  There are hints as to Forever and her standing in the Family Carlye.  All members are shown.  There appears to be a twin incest thing happening.  Think of Dallas and Game of Thrones being put in a blender and you can start to see the way this world is forming.  Our girl Forever has a sword.  I am a sucker for a gal with a sword.

This is good grown up drama in comicbook form.  Makes me want a LAZARUS novel from Mr. Rucka.  He is outstanding as a writer in whatever form he chooses.  This is a great read and two strong issues to start out a book.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Angel & Faith Volumes 1, 2, & 3

 I am a long time fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  I have been with the Buffy comics since the beginning and have every issue of both the regular run that happened during the TV Show lifetime and the Seasons that have followed in comicbook form.  Recently I will admit that the Buffy TVS comic has been leaving me flat after reading them.  I was on the cusp of dropping the title from my pull box.  It has been really close and only a better focus in terms of story has saved the book.  I have been hearing about the Angel & Faith book.  They answer letters for that book in the letters column for Buffy TVS.  Money has kept me from trying out the title.  I just could not afford to test the waters, especially when Buffy TVS had been disappointing me.

So how did I come to purchase the first three volumes of the collected Angel & Faith?  Timing is the easiest answer.  I had taken so things in to a local used book store and recieved around $40 in store credit.  It sat there for a few weeks and on my last trip to the comic shop I also visited the bookstore.  They had the three volumes and all were under $10 in price.  I saw Christos Gage was writing and Rebekah Isaacs was handling the art and it sealed the deal.

To be honest this is really a Faith driven comicbook.  She is the main character in most ways.  Angel is there as the draw I guess more than anything.  He provides the main plot for the series.  Angel wants to bring Giles back to life.  He killed him and his guilt is driving him to do this act.  One big problem is that magic no longer really exist in the world of Angel & Faith thanks to Buffy destroying the Seed.  All the rules have changed and even traveling to other places is whacked up.  Faith is now watching over Angel and this quest while living in London.  She inherited all of Giles fortune and stuff.  She also is watching over Slayers that are displaced because of the actions of Buffy.  This is a second plot thread that is brewing and has potential to train wreck for Faith.  

I really like what has been done with Faith's character here.  We get the same gruff gal, with a bit more wisdom and maturity.  Watching her realize she is teh mature one in any group is great fun.  Gage has brought the fun of Faith into a version that is more of what her potential always implied.  There is a thread in Volume Two concerning Dads and we get a glimpse of Faith as her Dad comes calling.  The Dad part for Angel is a guest stint for Drusilla.  Watching a non-crazy Drusilla was neat.  It gave a cool balance to the story having Angel as a Dad and having Faith visit her Dad.  Conner is mentioned and it will lead into Volume Three.  Did I mention Willow comes along for that adventure.

Adding Giles' Aunts to the story has some element of mystery.  One wonders if they are trust worthy.  One is gung ho on bring Giles back while the other seems determined to stop it.  All the time Faith is like a see saw on the topic.  One moment she is determine to stop Angel when he goes too far and the next she is convinced he should bring Giles back.  This internal struggle is a nice burden to see her have as it make her character deeper.

I wish the Buffy TVS comicbook were this good.  I definitely wish Rebekah Isaacs was doing some of the art in Buffy.  Her work on this book is outstanding.  I am glad I picked it up and look forward to reading the next collected edition I can get my hands on.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Mutant X Mondays: Mutant X #9

Back from his adventure protecting the Nexus of all Realities, Havok finds himself once again running from the jacked up Demon-Sentinels in New York.  This leads to him being swallowed by the pavement and joining the Resistance.  Not really joining, but at least accepting there invitation to hide.  It is nice that Ben Grimm will remain true to character and join up with the Mole Man even in an alternate reality.  The Resistance has been formed by the underground duo of Mole Man and Callisto.  They make an interesting match up.

Seems that the Underground as they call it has been slipping people away from the surface.  All are living in this big pit and slowly being removed to other parts of the world.  All Havok cares about now is getting home to his little boy Scotty and the hot Nanny Electra that is taking care of him.  Why the rush?  The last phone conversation was not a good one.  Something strange happened on the other end of the line.  It sets up the great cliffhanger to come.

Really this is the last issue with the Goblin Queen before it gets a bit repetitive in plot.  We have a great betrayal in this issue.  There is a horrific scarring of one character.  Ben Grimm threatens to kill Havok numerous times if he is a traitor.  Just a good roller coaster ride of an issue.  That last page is so good.  The comment made after the show of power was outstanding.

Soon we will have multiple battles with the rest of the mind controlled Six and The Fallen.  Reed Richards has been ordered to build something and use the Presidency to hasten the job.  Goblin Queen is becoming a bit of a tiresome adversary.  There is a payoff at the end of this ride, but from here on things become static.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Flashback Friday: DC Comics Presents Lobo 100 Page Spectacular

This week's Flashback Friday would go in a file folder titled "What was I thinking?"  I really do not like the character Lobo.  I think he is a vile creation and really just do not care for the guy.  In my loyal only to Marvel days I would have called him a poor man's cosmic Wolverine.  So, why may you ask did I buy this book?  I can tell you one thing, I didn't pay the $7.99 cover price.

No, this was a fifty cent book that I bought on impulse during one of my local shop's special events.  I saw Superman on the cover and figured he was beating the tar out of Lobo inside and gave it a chance.  I figured it could always go in my yard sale box and make the fifty cents back.

The book in question has three stories in it.  Two are long mini series type tales while the third is a short and comical piece.  Let us go in reverse order discussing the adventures.  The third story is one where a group of villains are swapping stories and the like.  The evil gal Phobia relates her run in with Lobo as she was stealing from S.T.A.R. Labs.  In this tale we see Phobia able to conjure the one thing in all the Universe able to frighten Lobo.  Kinda funny, but really short.

Second and in the middle we have a team up tale with the Demon Etrigan.  It is crass and vulgar as one would expect when these two characters are involved.  Plot goes as such; Angel hires the two for a job retrieving Heaven's One Trillionth Soul.  The dude has been accidentally sent to Hell.  They go, they fight and fight and fight and fight and fight.  Like an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon.  The Heavenly Soul is corrupting Hell and all around it.  Is a weird story with one scene that has a dream of God smiting Lobo over and over again.  Twist at the end and we can move on to Superman fighting Lobo.

Our comicbook begins with a cosmic corporate Hedge fund type group wanting Earth's water for an addictive drug.  Seems the pollution has made it very addictive and valuable.  Superman foils the deal and they sic Lobo on him.  Big action ensues and a betrayal makes Lobo turn and we do not get to see Superman pound on him any more.  Really good Superman story.

So there you have my tale of impulse buying.  Have a great weekend.