Category Archives: Uncategorized

Marvel Comics Reviews (Week of 5/19/19)

Introduction

I mentioned in my previous article that I’m catching up on comics from the last six months. I think I might have said that I hadn’t read a comic in that time. That’s not entirely true. I read The Immortal Hulk and a few of the DC Giants that are available at Wal*Mart.

Now, I can also say that I’ve read some Marvel titles. X-23, Doctor Strange, Avengers, and The Immortal Hulk are all included in this review. I’ve been planning this relaunch of the web page again for a few months and I’m finally out of school again. In addition, I didn’t get a class first summer session. I should be able to get some momentum going before summer 2 starts. As always, no promises, but hopefully things get rolling.

X-23 (Issues 7, 9, 10)

You may notice that Issue 8 is not among the ones read for this review. I’ve had some…difficulty…in keeping up with my pull list.

The Good (Mariko Tamaki is one of my favorite writers)

I don’t remember when I was introduced to Mariko Tamaki. I think it might have been during her run on She-Hulk (which was just Hulk at the time because Bruce was “dead”) and the book was amazing. It dealt with death, mourning, and PTSD. When Marvel reshuffled the deck again and killed the newly-minted She Hulk title, I thought Tamaki was out of my life. A random search while sorting titles showed that she was, in fact, still writing. I have been a fan of the X-23 character since her appearance in Logan. While this isn’t quite that, I will read anything that Tamaki writes.

The Bad (That missing Issue 8 is haunting me)

This isn’t the only issue that I’m missing. It might not even be the most important. As I said, I’ve missed a couple of months of my DCBS pull list, so the Midtown order to fill all of them is going to be huge. But, this is the most relevant to this particular discussion.

The Ugly (Where’s the Pew Pew?)

Mariko Tamaki does it all. She writes complex characters around simple and easy to follow, but still compelling, plots. One thing that this book hadn’t had was the old punchy, punchy. I don’t demand a lot of that from my comics, but I was missing it in this series until she delivered in issue 10.

Doctor Strange (Issues 6-11 “The Two Doctors”)

I really wanted to like this story. But, I just don’t.

The Good (Mark Waid is still writing it)

This is going to sound weird with what I’m about to say, but I do like Mark Waid as a writer. I think there has been some Comicsgate nonsense surrounding him, but I don’t care about that. In my experience, he does a good job. Also, I enjoyed the first story in the rebooted Doctor Strange book about him losing his magic and trying to find it again.

The Bad (This Story Just Isn’t All That Compelling)

With all of that being said, I’m not into this story at all. I was initially interested in the “2 Doctors” story, but that resolved too quickly. I don’t care about who the second doctor turned out being. I’m not all that bothered by the fate of the doc’s demon friend. I just didn’t care enough to even finish these issues.

The Ugly (The Story is Also Confusing)

I mean, they can’t all be winners. On top of not being all that interesting, this story is confusing. Generally speaking, you should be able to drop into a new story and more or less know what is happening. That wasn’t the case here. Admittedly, I did skip the first issue. Even so, I went back and read them in order and stopped after the second reading of the second issue.

Avengers (14-17 “Something Something Dracula”)

The Good (When Good, this book is great)

There have been some panels in this book that have made me want to applaud. When Tony and T’Challa are both trying to deal with their vampire massacre in their own way. New Ghost Rider dealing with the aftermath of his freak out. The big reveal at the end of Issue 17, even though I saw it coming a mile away. Marvel is treating one of their marquee books very well.

The Bad (What is this Story?)

It has been interesting and fun. Also, it’s nice to see Blade and New Ghost Rider get some love in the book. But, I have no idea where this story came from. Sure, I’ve missed the lead in issues, so maybe there was some build up, but it seems completely random.

The Ugly (Everyone Sounds Like Tony)

When I started reading the rebooted Avengers book, I said to Chris that I liked Tony more in this book than his standalone book. I do like Tony Stark, Iron Man, but too much Tony is too much. I don’t exactly get that feeling here, but his snark is rubbing off on the other characters every now and then.

Amazing Spider Man (The Hunted)

Starting here on recommendation by Chris.

The Good (Nick Spencer is writing)

Noticing a theme here? I enjoy the art of comics, but I’m a frustrated writer myself. I associate more with them than the artists. Again, I think that some comic fans might be off Nick Spencer since Secret Empire. I understand why they did what they did there, but I can also understand why people feel cheated by it. Even so, I still like Spencer and was excited to see him writing Spider-Man.

The Bad (Kraven Clones?)

Now, this wasn’t a huge plot point. Okay, that’s not true. It is a big plot point. However, it didn’t take long to resolve. Even so, as soon as I saw clones in a Spider-Man book, I rolled my eyes.

The Ugly (Showdown)

Kraven was dead (spoiler alert). He’s not any more (spoiler alert?) He’s very mad about not being dead. And, he seems to be coming for Spidey (Spoiler Alert!) I, for one, hope that this is a big one.

The Immortal Hulk (The Entire Series)

Drop everything and read this book. Seriously, don’t even read this review. Just read the book.

The Good (Everything)

Okay, you’re still reading the review instead of reading the book. I guess that means that I need to explain myself and why I’m breaking the routine to only talk about how good the book is. Perhaps you read that I wrote in my Spawn review this week that this book is probably the only perfect book right now. So, let me explain why.

I seriously cannot find anything wrong with this book. And, I was a skeptic. Chris will text me periodically that some book or another in the series is starting to spike in price. So, it’s understood if I was skeptical. It would seem that Marvel wasn’t sure what they had with this book and have produced low print runs as a result.

The story has tinkered with some of Hulk’s most basic mythology. Even now, I do cringe a bit when I read that headline. So far, though, it has only added to the appeal of the character for me. The horror element of the comic fits well with the Hulk character and the Jekyll and Hyde dynamic that makes Hulk so endearing is there in prime form.

The art is varied and fits the theme. In one of my favorite issues, they had 3 or 4 different pencillers working on different parts of the story based on who was telling that part of the story. It was a nice touch and kept things fresh for what ultimately was just a “we’ve seen the Hulk, why don’t you believe us” type issue.

Now, we are getting into some more familiar Hulk themes, which is welcome, as well. Loss, trauma, mourning, etc. It hasn’t been handled with the deft hand of She Hulk from a few years ago yet, but there is time to grow into that. Even so, I hope they keep the horror element of the book as they go forward.

The Verdict (Marvel is in an okay place right now)

Marvel was hurting for a while there. It seemed like they had no idea what they wanted to do after Secret Empire. They rebooted (but didn’t reboot) with Legacy after they had just rebooted not that long ago. Then, there was talk of another potential reboot. I suggested at the time that they just take the tact of DC and let it ride for a while. Even though they are releasing far too many books a month (and seemingly increasing that monthly), their core of heroes is in good hands. They just need to keep on keeping on and hopefully the lull in movies for a bit will allow them to focus on the books.

Spawn Review (Week of 5/19/19)

Editor’s Note: I haven’t read comics in about six months. Since the only non-Marvel, non-DC book that I consistently collect is Spawn, I will include all of the back issues that I missed in that time. This review covers #289-294. Going forward, I should be able to branch out and include more books in this section of reviews.

Introduction

I have been a fan of Spawn since the beginning. I have discussed on more than one occasion that I remember going into the comic book store as a spry young teenager to see the fresh new #1 comic books from Image. You must understand that this wasn’t at a time when Marvel and DC were rebooting their books every other year and I wasn’t as much of an independent connoisseur as I am these days. That’s not to say that I’m much of one right now. Simply that I knew nothing about them back then. So, these number one books felt special. Hell, they were special to me.

Many of those books are now dead due to their creators not being able to keep up with the rigorous demands of self imposed deadlines or just not being very good. One, in particular, has stood the test of time and kept Image afloat at a time when comic book companies haven’t exactly had the best time of it. That little comic that could is Spawn. I have to admit that I was a bit worried coming back to Spawn after all this time, but those worries are unfounded as you will soon read.

Besides, we are getting Homage covers again. What a time to be alive.

The Good (Spawn is Still Pretty Good)

Spawn is Still Fresh: Sure, it shows some of the wear and tear of any comic book that has been around for over 25 years. But, let’s save the not so good for those sections. This is all about why you should be reading Spawn right now. The book is still telling great stories quite well. The Dark Horror arc is when I started reading again and it kept me interested enough to keep the book on my pull list in spite of some of the judgy looks and comments I got from my LGS clerk at the time. But, that store is out of business now, so who got the last laugh?

I haven’t been as excited about the latest story. That’s more my issue with the inclusion of the current occupant of the white house in the story. I have taken great strides to even forget that he exists. I understand that I might do so to my detriment, but ignorance is bliss as they say. The rest of the story has been fine, I guess.

Honestly, that hair is the most unrealistic thing about this whole story.

Spawn is Including Current Events: That’s not to say that I consider the inclusion of current events as a bad thing. Sure, we’ve had to see the BLotUS in our beloved pages. But I suppose that’s the price to pay for a comic that likes to dabble in real life for inspiration. And, honestly, he’s played a small role in the story. It’s just my issue that I have with the man and his methods. Your mileage, as always, will vary. The current events have gone miles to keeping the story going and fresh. See the previous comment.

The Bad (There are Inconsistencies in Art)

Two Different Artists: Initially, I liked the odd art of Spawn. It was different from what we are used to seeing out of the book. In my experience, it was always a hyper realistic art style. The dream like quality of the fuzzed borders and muted colors were a nice change. However, another has been bringing a more traditional Spawn art style to the book. It has ruined me for Jason Shawn Alexander’s art. However, that all looks to change as Chris texted me the other day to say that Uncle Todd is going to get together with Greg Capullo on a Spawn project. I’m hoping it is an extended run on the main book. But, we will see. Whatever it is, I’m all over it.

The left is what I consider the more traditional style of art for the book while the right is the the the more “fuzzy” art, so to speak. Both definitely have their advantages and disadvantages. I’m just saying that, for my money, I prefer the left. And, this is my article after all.

The Ugly (In Spite of it All, Spawn Feels Dated)

Spawn Feels A Bit Dated: In spite of all of the changes and attempts to keep it fresh, the book is showing its age as I said earlier. The ultraviolence and swearing feels like it is from a different era. As comic fans have shown, there is still an audience for this type of book, but it doesn’t help the stated goal of trying to expand the audience. Sure, you might argue, maybe that’s not a necessary or realistic goal. Realistic? I’m not sure. Necessary? It sure is. Comics and comic book fans are on the endangered list. Okay, I’m done arguing with myself for now.

The Verdict (While Flawed, Spawn is Worth Your Time)

Is the book perfect? No, but few books are. I would argue that right now, Hulk is a perfect book. Batman, when Tom King isn’t writing filler for in between his big and inspired stories, is a perfect book. Other than that, every book has flaws. Spawns are forgivable. The art style is inconsistent. You can argue that isn’t all bad. And, I sort of did. Also, the overall style of the book makes it feel like it is from a different time and speaks more to teenage me than current adult me. Again, we sort of argued that wasn’t all bad.

In spite of these flaws, you should definitely pick up this book. It is still very entertaining and well worth your time. If you can, get started with the Dark Horror storyline and read through. Besides, 300 is only around the corner and you definitely want to get your hands on that. For me, it’s actually more exciting than Detective Comics or Action 1000.

Rapid Fire!..Random Thoughts 2/19

-To buy a box of M25 or not? I wish the spoilers were flowing a little more freely since the boxes are below $200 at the moment and while the thought of possibly pulling a Jace, the Mind Sculptor out of a pack is dancing in my head, ita��s not quite enough to make me jump and preorder. My prediction for the big ticket cards in the set: Enemy fetches, Tarmogoyf, Aether Vial, Liliana of the Veil, Wurmcoil Engine, Force of Will, Mana Drain and Crucible of the Worlds.

-The first DLC characters for Dragonball FighterZ have been announced; Borly and Bardoc. Bardoc is Gokua��s pops so ita��s essentially another Saiyan which is a little disappointing. While I have gushed uncontrollably about the game, I do wish they would bring in some more non-Saiyan characters. On the other hand Borly should be the largest character in the game so ita��ll be interesting to see how powerful the character actually is.

-A Japanese bike company (Khodaa-Bloom) designed a really cool Megaman themed bike. It can be yours for the low, low price of $2700 USD. For that price, it better come with a friggina�� Buster Shot on the front.

-Not sure where Ia��ve been, but somehow I missed the fact that Gamestop managed to swing a deal to have a Secret of Mana remake for the PS4 be a Gamestop exclusive. Interesting to see if this becomes a thing, (i.e. Target gets exclusive games, Walmart gets exclusive games,..).

-Only 59 more days until God of War 4 is released. But whoa��s counting?

-For all of my Star Wars fans out there, you can preorder the largest Star Wars toy that Hasbro has ever made, Jabbaa��s Sail Barge, for a mere $499.99! This monstrosity is 4 feet long, a little over a foot wide, and a 1 A? feet tall, and comes with either divorce papers or a letter from your child expressing their undying love and gratitude. There is a catch, Hasbro will only start production if they get 5,000 preorders by 4/3 (currently, as of this post, they have 1,259 orders). You can place your preorder at www.hasbrolab.com.

-Finally, I want to thank everyone who follows us on Twitter and/or Instagram!

Rapid Fire! Random Thoughts 1/29

-Ca��mon UPS, bring me my copy of Dragonball FighterZ. Ia��m tired of watching all of the gameplay videos on Youtube, I just want to play the friggina�� game!

-Scott Snyder is taking over Justice League after the next Justice League event. How the heck are they going to fit all of the those character in that book with all of those text boxes?! Hah! I kid, Ia��m sure ita��s going to be really good. Ia��m definitely adding it to my pull list. I am a little confused as he and Greg Capullo kept teasing fans on Twitter about working on a Swamp Thing series. Hopefully thata��s something thata��s still in the works. I personally think his cerebral style of writing would fit Swamp Thing much better than Justice League but hey, what do I know?

-Speaking of the next Justice League event, it starts up after Dark Nights Metal concludes and during the event the title will be going weekly. Much like the Avengers: No Surrender storyline. Hey, Ia��m all for more comics and competition is healthy but how about a price break? I would have to think that having an expedited deadline on each book would cause the quality to suffer a bit. Do you really want to spend $20 a month on just The Avengers or even $12 for just the Justice League? I know I dona��t.

-Looks like Rivals of Ixalan has lit the fire of 2 Guys Gaming again. This weekend we will have a sealed draft and Ia��m pretty excited for it. Quite a few cards in the set have my brain churning out some deck lists.

-I know that my random thoughts are supposed to be rapid but something has really bothered me today. Usually I listen to Boston sports radio station WEEI maybe once a day for an hour or so just to see what the topics of the day are. I tuned in this morning just in time for Tom Brady to call in and, in a really restrained way, tell them that he felt disrespected and that he was going to evaluate whether he wanted to continue his weekly interview with them. This was apparently due to a comment that a host, Alex Reimer, had said about his 5 year old daughter. Last Thursday night, after watching the Brady Facebook documentary series, he decided that he would call Bradya��s little girl an a�?annoying little pissanta�?. Dude. Really? A 5 year old who is just excited about playing a soccer game? What the hell is wrong with you? Of all the things he could have talked about pertaining to the first episode thata��s what he came up with? Thata��s his hot take? No, thata��s his cry for attention and notoriety in the world of sports media. My guess is that he wanted to go for a�?funnya�? shock value but it ended up ruining his career. Or at least it should. He has since been indefinitely suspended as the big dogs of WEEI tear out their hair since Tom Brady basically flipped them the verbal bird this morning and hung up. Tom Brady is a public figure so he is under the media’s microscope at all times, but to sink to insulting his kid? That crosses a line.

I dona��t blame the guy at all, to be honest he probably should have done so a long time ago. The morning guys he talks to are two of the biggest idiots in radio with one of them, Minihane, always going for the hot controversial take in order to keep his name in the papers, keep the ratings up and foster this new culture of shock value that is becoming more pervasive in the halls of WEEI. At this point, the morning show doesna��t even talk about sports, they talk about other journalists, politics, and most of all other hosts of the station. WEEI has turned into nothing more than childish in-fighting between shows with younger hosts saying dumb crap in an attempt to emulate Kirk Minihane. Ia��m essentially done with the station at this point, let me know when it gets back to sports instead of hosts calling each names and criticizing each other. It reminds me of my days working in a warehouse with each shift claiming to be better than the one before it.

This is the reason why I stopped watching ESPN. I cana��t stand Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, both of which personify all that I cana��t stand about sports media. Mindlessly shouting a�?hot takesa�? at each other and arguing over each other for an entire show and collecting a paycheck for it doesna��t take talent, it takes the masses approving of this kind of a�?reportinga�?. a�?Hey! Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless like to yell and say dumb stuff too! Leta��s give them a show!a�? Good idea Fox! Not that I should expect anything less from you.

Arena��t we better than this people? Do you think these hosts really believe half of the garbage they are spouting? You dona��t think ita��s fabricated?! Is watching Stephen A. Smith/Max Kellerman trying to form words to eloquently debate their points and shouting them at each other really entertaining? Whatever happened to just reporting the news and reporting it accurately in order to make a name for yourself instead of always going for the hot take that will get your name out there? It seems like having journalistic integrity is no longer important in our society as all of these shows have decent ratings. Apparently I just need to stay away from sports media all together.

Comic Haul! #1

Comic Haul #1 (Midtown Comics)

Note: Most of my hauls come from, and will come from, Midtown Comics. Being cheap, something that I proudly admit, I refuse to pay full price for a comic as cover prices have become ridiculous (lookina�� at you, Marvel). Since Midtown sells brand new books at 15% off cover they are usually my go-to guys for my comic fix. Plus, every comic you buy comes with a resealable bag and board, which again saves money since you dona��t have to buy the bags and boards yourself. When I first started collecting comics again I would drive to the two comic stores about 10 miles away once or twice a week to see if they had the issues I was looking for, and probably 70% of the time, they were sold out by the time I got there. After a month and a half of not being able to get Batman #24, along with multiple conversations with Shawn about how cover prices were pricing him out of the hobby. I just gave up completely and decided to go with Midtown since they have more buying power than my LCS and essentially had everything in stock along with variants that only they can get. Shipping is reasonable too, from my experience anything up to a dozen books is $3.99, and up to 20 is $4.99. I actually did a cost analysis (I believe I mentioned Ia��m an analyst for a large company), and Midtowna��s shipping charges were actually 7% cheaper than the gas I was burning up driving to the comic stores. All told by buying from Midtown I was saving between 22%-30% depending on the quantity I purchased. I know that this sounds like a blatant sales pitch but at this point in time 2GuysGaming is not affiliated with Midtown Comics, this is me just being honest with my experience of doing business with them and also want to keep this awesome hobby alive for those who currently read/collect and I dona��t want to see anyone else get priced out of it like Noob. So, sorry, LCS, ita��s not you, and ita��s not me, ita��s Marvel Comics. $4 bucks a book is ridiculous in a declining industry, and especially when your main competitor is a buck less. Ia��ve included the Midtown Comics link below.

Ok, onto the haul! This one was a shipment of books that I ordered during their Black Friday sale, most back issues were a whopping 75% off. Yes, I know ita��s almost February and Ia��m referencing Black Friday. There will be frequent a�?haula�? articles being posted while I get caught up to date.

a��68 Last Rites #1 (Image Comics)

Awful. Seriously awful. I took a chance because I have become played out on The Walking Dead and wanted to try another zombie book. This is what I get for taking a chance. Ita��s just mindless violence with a weak story and multiple f-bombs sprinkled in for good measure. At least it was on sale for $1.65 so I didna��t blow too much money on it. I give this one a 0 out of 10. Wait, thata��s not fair, I *did* get a free bag and board out of the deal. 1/10

a��68 Last Rites #2 (Image Comics)

I thought that maybe the first issue was a fluke, a horrible fluke, and that the next issue would solidify the story a bit without relying on gratuitous violence to sell the book to the masses. I was wrong. Just as dumb as the first issue and the art got worse. Even the free bag and board cana��t save it. 0/10

a��68 Last Rites #3 (Image Comics)

Ya��know what? I didna��t even read it. Ia��m sorry but if the writer cana��t sell the book to me in the first two issues then Ia��m done. But hey, at least I cana��t give it a 0/10 since I didna��t read it, right? That wouldna��t fair. Wrong, ita��s my article dammit! 0/10

a��68 Last Rites #4 (Image Comics)

See above. Or dona��t. Maybe the other a��68 miniseries might be better but Ia��m not going to find out. Ia��ll just go ahead and assume ita��s a 0/10.

Batman: The Drowned #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, Foil cover, Metal tie-in)

I really like the cover on this one. Jason Faboka��s artwork keeps getting better and the overall foil cover design looks really cool. Yeah, I definitely just marked out over a foil cover, ..I feel dirty. The origin story itself is one of the better ones of the Dark Batmen one-shots. I kind of hope that after Metal concludes we still see some of these characters, namely the Batman Who Laughs and The Drowned. 8/10

Batman Vol.2 #41 (DC Comics, New 52)

Ita��s Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and it was on sale for only a couple of bucks. You cana��t go wrong. Ia��m actually trying to collect all 52 issues of Batman Vol.2, but ita��s proving to be an expensive endeavor so I was pretty pumped to find back issues on sale. This issue debuts Bruce Waynea��s replacement as Batman. Spoiler alerta��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��..ita��s Gordon with a bad haircut. Regardless, ita��s a really great read. 7/10

Batman Vol.2 #43 (DC Comics, New 52)

Another book I needed to fill a hole in my Batman New 52 run. This issue is the first appearance of Mr. Bloom, which is one of the better storylines of the series in my opinion. Not as good as Death of a Family but better than Zero Year. You really feel like Gotham City is going to straight to hell and how the flip is Bat-Gordon going to save the day?! 8/10

Batman Vol.2 #47 (DC Comics, New 52)

Bat-Gordon vs Mr. Bloom. Will Bruce Wayne return and retake the mantle of Batman? Good god, leta��s hope so because Bat-Gordon sucks out loud at being Batman and has become Blooma��s personal punching bag. 7/10

Batman Vol.3 #1 (DC Comics, Rebirth, 1st printing)

I missed the chance to pick up the 1st issue of the newest Batman series (Rebirth) and had to settle for the 3rd printing instead. As a collector as well as a reader this bothered the crap out of me as I had a feeling the 1st printing would increase in value much like the New 52 first issue skyrocketed. Well my feeling wasna��t quite right as the 1st issue did in fact, rise to $10 but then plateaued. Still, this whole series has been really decent so I had finally made up my mind that I would make the $10 investment and see what happened. Thankfully, Midtown had this issue on sale for $2.75 before I could pull the trigger. Ok, now let me remove my collector hat, the story was a pretty solid start to the series. It was a classic fun Batman action story (missile gets fired at a plane), but then evolved into the introduction of Gotham and Gotham Girl. Like I said, solid start to the series and immediately hooked me. 9/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #48 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

Ia��ll admit that nostalgia played a part in choosing to buy a few TMNT issues. I was a huge fan when I was a kid and had heard really positive things about the series. I remember reading the original series growing up and being a fan of Kevin Eastmana��s art, so while Midtown had several issues on sale, I decided to only get the Eastman variants, hence why I grabbed random issues. After reading this issue and a few other ones (listed below), I texted Shawn, my go-to when I feel the need to make a comic/gaming observation and told him that I actually enjoyed the title. While this issue was weaker than the rest that I bought, it was a fun read and even though it takes place in the middle of an story arc, I had a general idea of what was going on and didna��t feel lost. 6/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #58 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

Leatherhead Part 3. I knew it was the final issue of the Leatherhead story arc when I bought it but unfortunately the other issues were not on sale. Hey, I said I was cheap. I told myself that I wouldna��t read it until I picked up #a��s 56 and 57, but that promise lasted about 20 minutes after the box of comics arrived at my door. As with #48, I wasna��t lost as far as what had happened in the previous two issues and Leatherheada��s origin story was pretty neat and far different from the Cajun gator that I remembered from the original cartoon (Do you remember that awful Louisana Cajun country accent?). This version of Leatherhead is a hundred times better and has a much darker origin. 7/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #73 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

The Trial of Krang Part 1. Yes! I finally grabbed an issue that wasna��t in the middle/at the end of a story arc! Ia��ll be honest, this story sold me TMNT going forward. Krang finally gets brought to justice to answer for his many, many crimes. You would think it would be an open and shut case, but not so fast. Really great story, I highly recommend all 3 parts. 8/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #74 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

The Trial of Krang Part 2. See above. Ita��s good, okay, ita��s really good. The trial begins and as the surprise witnesses show up to testify against Krang, ..SPOILER ALERTa��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��..an invasion begins that forces the judge to postpone the trial until things calm down again. 8/10

Okay guys na�� gals, thata��s it for this haul!

Midtown Comics Link:
www.midtowncomics.com

Rapid Fire…Special Edition

Hey guys n’ gals! It’s your old buddy, Blond! Usually, my Rapid Fire (Random Thoughts) articles tend to focus on what’s making news in assorted nerd circles. This article will be a little different as it will be about what’s new with me as well as what nerd hobbies I’m into and which ones I’m currently a little “meh” about.

-First things first, as Shawn has mentioned, I’ve semi-successfully started an online business selling Magic the Gathering. One of the things that bothered me about buying boxes of cards is all of the clutter left behind once I parsed out the cards I was excited to include into my decks. One of the closets in my place was essentially packed with boxes and boxes of singles that I didn’t know what to do with. Now that I have an avenue in which to unload my unused singles, I can once again justify buying boxes again. Plus the money I’m making goes towards…

-Comic books. I love ’em. But you already knew that. I briefly considered going the trade paperback route due to the amount of money I was spending each month on them, which was one of the reasons Shawn stopped collecting, But then I figured out that if I just ordered from Midtown Comics (cheap plug.), I never had to pay full cover price again and didn’t have to waste time and gas money driving my LCS hoping that they had my titles in stock (which most of the time they didn’t). I know, I know, I’m supposed to support the little guy, but damn, I was tired of leaving the store disappointed.

-As far as MTG goes, well I would like to play it more than I do but since the frequency of games has decreased with time and the group I played with has lost interest/free time so most of my time with the game is now spent selling it. I’m down to just a few decks at this point, but they’re my favorite ones. Not to worry, I’ve saved the deck lists of the ones I sold and will start to share them with you guys. Even though I don’t play as much, Ixalan still peaked my interest, so clearly the game is not completely dead for me at this point.

-Ok, onto the big non-gaming news, I’m getting married! After 12 long years I broke my bride-to-be’s will and she agreed to marry me. I’m beyond excited for our wedding, and with that in mind, I figure that I’ll test Noob to see if he reads my articles when I actually write them. Shawn has been my best friend, and an honorary brother to me for the last 16 years and I can’t think of anyone else who I would rather have as my best man for the big day. Cue the collective “aww”. Sigh..screw you guys.

That’s all from me, as always thanks for reading!

Comics Round Up: Make Mine Marvel! (8/27)

(Editor’s Note: A�Initially, we were going to include issue 9 of Secret Empire in this review, but since the final issue is releasing this week, I decided to do one article dedicated completely to that. A�Look for that one Friday or Saturday.)

Edge of Venomverse

The Good: A�I already covered #2 and #4 in my last review. A�Honestly, though, they remain the only good thing about this series with #1 as an uneven honorable mention depending on your opinion of X-23.

The Bad: A�I was worried about this issue. A�The uneven pacing of the series saw a pattern of meh, decent, ugh, good bordering on great, and then finished with meh again. A�While not as bad as #3 (honestly the worst comic I’ve read in a long time), I just don’t like the traditional character of Deadpool.

The Ugly: A�Maybe my mistake, but I read this book while eating breakfast. A�The graphic depiction of parasitic monsters being surgically implanted into people and then cut to pieces, smashed to bits, and squished almost made me physically sick. A�Even thinking about it now is making me a bit ill. A�Perhaps only my overactive imagination and a recently developed weak stomach are to blame. A�Still gross.

The verdict: A�After a great issue #4, I was looking forward to the main Venomverse event. A�After this let down of an issue, that excitement is tempered some. A�I will still give it a chance, but it won’t be at the top of my list. A�Hey, I’ve been proven wrong before.

Deadpool

The Good: A�I’ve often said that “less is more” when it comes to Deadpool. A�The character always has been parody, but it reached that rarefied air of being a parody of a parody. A�The current book is none of that. A�There are still the core principles that make the character Deadpool. A�However, they are balanced to make him more human. A�I know that’s not what Deadpool fans want, but I like the multi dimensional aspect of the character.

The Bad: A�While this arc has been both entertaining and fun, it has been absolutely heartbreaking at times. A�His decision to kill Coulson, the result of manipulation by Captain Hydra, has caused a domino effect that has led to the loss of almost everything that tethered him to this new Deadpool personality. A�I can see the writing on the wall. A�Speaking of…

The Ugly: A�Rejoice, traditional Deadpool fans! A�I’m only going by title, cover, and description, but it sounds like he is goint to be back in full force for Legacy. A�Prepare your butts for off color jokes, ultraviolence, gratuitous nudity, and breaking that fourth wall. A�Fun! A�*sigh*

Doctor Strange

The Good: A�It has been fun to watch Stephen Strange and Wilson Fisk essentially switch bodies freaky Friday style. A�Dr. Strange got evicted from the Sanctum and lost his magic ability. A�Forced to accept the help of Kingpin, who was taken over by a demon and imbued with magic, the two work together to try to lift the Darkforce dome from New York along with a rag tag group of B-listers. A�It is a silly premise that paid off in a big way. A�This was one of the consistently fun books during Secret Empire.

The Bad: A�They still hadn’t lifted the dome by the end of this issue. While some of the other books, including the main title, have started to turn the corner from “despair” to “hope”, winning the battle, but seemingly no closer to winning the war. A�Oh well, there’s always hope. A�It looked for a while like the space heroes would never break the bubble and they finally did.

The Ugly: A�Nothing. A�Literally nothing. A�As I said earlier, this has been one of the most consistently fun books from the whole of Secret Empire. A�I hope they can keep up the momentum into Legacy.

The Verdict: A�Dr. Strange has always been one of my favorite heroes and books. A�While many considered his movie to be filler, I knew better. A�If they are going to do a Thanos and Infinity Gauntlet/War event in the cinematic universe, they have to include Strange in that story. A�However, I didn’t know how they’d include Strange in the events of Secret Empire, but I’m glad they did. A�It reminded me what I liked about the title. A�I know that I’ve talked some about dropping titles, but this is one that I’m going to be collecting for the long haul.

Weapons of Mutant Destruction

The Good: A�I may have already mentioned in my previoius Marvel review that Greg Pak is one of my favorite Hulk writers. A�I was not a huge fan of his Hulk: A�Generations, but I understand the reasons behind the book. A�Since this book has revolved around Totally Awesome Hulk, he has been able to explore the “softer” side of the Hulk. A�It has been especially fun to watch that butt heads with the likes of Logan, Sabertooth, Domino, and Deathstrike.

The Bad: A�While the characters were well fleshed out and their interactions fully realized, the story didn’t quite live up to the expectations. A�I know it’s becoming a cliche that I follow criticism with the caveat, “It isn’t bad”, but it really wasn’t a bad story. A�I just thought that a story revolving around a “Wolverhulk” created by a secret government organization would have more action.

The Ugly: A�Aside from the slow pacing and massive set up for not much of a pay off in the event itself, some of the failed experiments in the Weapon X attempts to make the “Hulkarine” were the ugliest thing about this series.

The Verdict: A�I usually don’t like the “Hulk Smash” version of Hulk and prefer the Hulks that are more introspective. A�Also, I’ve been on board with most of the reimagined heroes that Marvel gave us. A�However, I initially didn’t like the idea of Amadeus Cho becoming Hulk. A�I think it was mainly the title that turned me off. A�This book, series, and, to an extent, the Generations book has changed my mind. A�The Cho Hulk has both the intelligence of Banner and the struggle of Hulk in a new and refreshing way.

Generations

The Good: A�These books continue to get better and better. A�After a slightly uninspired Hulk book and a very good Jean Grey book, the Wolverine book was amazing. A�The Thor book was slightly less so, but it still had some good moments. A�Marvel got a bit of a dig in on those who were screaming about a female Thor, the Odinson had some other great one liners as a meathead “teenager” Viking without much direction or worthiness, and I can’t wait to see how his story progresses. A�The Wolverine book showed the relationship between the two characters evolve in a very real and touching way. A�Seeing Wolverine show tenderness as he slowly worked through the mystery was fun to read.

The Bad: A�I know that characters don’t stay dead in comic books or soap operas, but I’m just getting to know some of these characters and it has been strongly hinted, if not outright stated, that several of them won’t survive the Legacy switch. A�Female Thor and X-23 are both characters that I’m just meeting and they’ve made a good first impression. A�At least one of them is rumored not to make it.

The Ugly: A�The silly grin on my face as I read these two books wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t exactly flattering. A�These books are bringing up fond memories of being a teenager and reading comic books simply for the joy of it. A�Consequently, and not surprisingly, they are reminding me why I like comics, cementing my interest in the books again, and driving me to buy more. A�None of this is ugly except, as I said last time, to my budget.

The Verdict: A�Unlike some of the other events/series that Marvel has produced recently, this one has consistently gotten better with each book. A�The Hulk book was not bad, but it wasn’t my favorite style of Hulk writing. A�The Jean Grey book illustrated a flash point in that characters history. A�The Wolverine book dealt with the sometimes complicated relationship between parents and children. A�Thor dealt very nicely with some of the elephants in the room as a result of changing heroes and angry nerds not able to deal with the changes. A�I can’t wait to see what the rest of the books do, how it all joins in with Legacy, and what fun awaits us on the other side.

Video Game Collecting Q&A and Tips!

As many of you who regularly peruse our website are aware, Ia��m known for being a retro video game collector above all else. With that in mind, I wanted to write an article that not only answers questions that I get frequently when I have friends/family stop over and see the ola�� game room, but also gives you, the noob collector, a few tips on building a collection on the cheap.

I guess the most common question I get is a�?How did you afford all this stuff?a�?

This is a pretty easy one to answer. Ia��m not rich. I have bills just like everyone else, so I built a gaming budget that I strictly abide by. Ia��ve also learned that building a collection is costly if you buy games individually. Always hunt for lots. Craigslist is an invaluable tool for this. For the most part, it will always be the cheapest route to go. eBay is useful for when you cana��t find that one game you want in a lot anywhere. Lots are the quickest way to build a collection and if it contains games that you dona��t want, then eBay them and put that money back into your gaming budget.

Whata��s your favorite system?

I dona��t even have to think about this one. Playstation 2. It has such an immense library of great games, and Ia��m always discovering ones that I had never heard of before. Also, the price point is perfect right now, more on that latera��Herea��s a quick list of hidden gems:

The Red Star, Darkwatch, Castle Shikigami 2, Samurai Western, Klonoa 2, Arcana Heart 2, Blood Will Tell, Snoopy vs the Red Baron (Yes, really.)

Which one [system] do you play the most?

Well this isna��t a static answer so if I had to answer this question today, it would be the Neo Geo X Gold. I was lucky enough to receive it as a Christmas gift from my sister a couple of years ago, and I use it pretty consistently. As with most Neo Geo products the price for it has jumped significantly and ita��s currently twice as much as my sister paid for it. Which, ya know, fortunate for her (and me), but unfortunate for anyone who didna��t get one in time. Ia��ve been on a shoot a�?em up kick lately and this system came with a few really great shoot a�?em up titles.

How did you get so many games?

I partially covered this in my first answer, Craigslist lots, but there is a slightly more to it than that. Game collecting is kind of like playing the stock market, you buy low, always buy low. What this means is that you wait until a console is fading away into the twilight and then collect for it. Right now is the absolute perfect time to collect for the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3. Even Gamestop is trying to bomb out their preowned inventory for a song, and usually has buy 2 get 1 free sales on last gena��s games. The games are super low because everyone is focused on the Nintendo Switch/Xbox One/PS4. Shawn and I have a running joke that we are always one generation behind everyone else. Well, therea��s a good reason for that, ita��s cheaper to build up a collection when you are buying games that the average gamer doesna��t want anymore. At this point in time, Ia��ve started collecting for the Wii, as the prices for the games are at an all-time low.

Whata��s your favorite game?

Of all time? Ia��ll have to go with Zelda: A Link to the Past. Currently? As I mentioned before, Ia��ve been spending a lot of time playing shoot ema�� ups on my Neo Geo lately. My favorite kind are of the bullet hell variety, and no one does this better than CAVE games out of Japan. There are two amazing games on the Xbox 360 that Ia��ve been playing called Akai Katana and Deathsmiles (This game was featured in one of my articles a few years ago), and as of right now, Deathsmiles is my favorite game.

Whata��s your rarest game?

Ia��ll say Shining Wisdom for the Sega Saturn. I dona��t even have a Saturn anymore, more on that later, but I held onto this game. While ita��s not insanely rare, it does command a steep price ($80-$100). I found it at a indy video game store and got a really good deal thanks to a lazy employee and complete lack of price tags on all of their games. Long story short, I paid $15 for it. Dona��t be afraid to haggle at your local game store.

How do you have time to play all of these [games]?

I dona��t! If you remember I wrote an article a few years ago about the first time I was asked this question and my reaction to it. Ia��ll save you the time of trying to find that article, I sold most of my collection except for the stuff that I played on a regular basis. Something that I regret to this day. These days, I realize that ita��s impossible to play every game from beginning to end. Sometimes ita��s all about the hunt. Ia��m at peace with that fact, and Ia��m enjoying collecting.

Okay so here are my collecting bullet points for all my noob collectors out there:

-Set a realistic budget. Rome wasna��t built in a week and neither is a great game collection.
-Try not to buy individual games. Look for lots on Craigslist and sell off any games that you dona��t want from those lots in order to stretch your budget.
-Obviously sometimes you will be forced to buy a title individually. If thata��s the case, check your local goodwill first. Youa��ll be shocked at what you will find there. Ita��s hit or miss, but when you get lucky there is nothing better than paying a few dollars for a rare game.
-Narrow your focus. If you try to collect for a handful of systems at once, ita��ll get costly very quickly.
When you do choose the system(s) you want to collect for, make sure theya��re ones that have just faded out of the spotlight (Wii, PS3, 360) are all prime targets right now.
-Dona��t be afraid to haggle at the game store. There is nothing wrong with trying to get the right price for your budget. Trust me, at your indy game store, the prices are not set in stone and if you run into an owner who is unwilling to budge, then turn to Amazon. It hurts the owner a lot more to watch that sale walk out of their store. 9 out of 10 times they will budge on the price.
-Visit your local Gamestop when they are having a preowned sale, thata��s when you are getting the best deal that you can get there. Do not make them your first, uh, stop when it comes to finding that title youa��ve been hunting for.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or thoughts for us, just comment below!

Retro Rant Rampage

As the title suggests, this article will be focused on a couple of things that really grind my gears (crappy Family Guy reference). A�Ok, first off all, let’s go for the low hanging fruit of Gamestop. A�I’m fairly sure that I’ve complained about them before but hey, what the hell? A�They do a few things that really leave a bad taste in my mouth and just irritate the crap outta me. First of all, the upselling at the register. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but in my experience, checkout time seems to be at an all-time high. I just want to buy the frickin’ game in my hand, not listen to a sales pitch. No, I don’t want to pre-order. Dammit! I’m cheap! I’ll never buy a brand new $60 game! I wouldn’t sleep at night knowing that the same game that I just bought, will be $40 cheaper in a few months. Yeah. That’s a hard pass on the pre-order. A�I also don’t want to insure my disc for a $1. A�How about you just check and clean the frickin’ disc when it’s traded in?! Speaking of trading in games, seriously people, you are getting robbed. Stop. Ebay your game. Put it on Amazon. Don’t trade it in for a few bucks in store credit, just so you can see your game marked up $10-$15. Holy hell, I know they’re running a business but the trade in program is so screwy and one-sided. A�I stop in from time to time and always cringe when I see the next victim bringing their stack of games up to the counter hoping for a decent payday. Last weekend, I bought a preowned game and the employee, after going through the motions of unsuccessfully trying to sell me extra crap, stuck a coupon in the bag. A�$5 trade in credit. A�How generous. Listen, I know that it’s absolutely not the employees’ fault, they are doing what they are supposed to. I think we have all heard about the reformed quota policy that corporate Gamestop enforces.

Okay, final Gamestop complaint. A�Did you all know that they “sell” retro games and systems online now? Notice how I used quotations around “sell”? Because if you go to actually order something, most of the time it’s out of stock. “Why is that?”, you maybe asking. Well let me just slap on this tin foil frickin’ hat and I’ll tell you why. They never had stock to begin with. So why would they offer the item online and for a reasonable price? Well friends, it’s used as a reference point for trade ins. Think about it, you walk in with an old Dreamcast looking to make some space in your nerd cave. Well they will offer you $15-$20 for it, which is about a third of what they are asking for it online. A�You think the two thirds profit margin would be enough but no, they wait until they get a predetermined number of systems and then they will suddenly not be out of stock and suddenly the price of the Dreamcast increases on their site. A�They run out, the price lowers, rinse and repeat. A�It’s actually brilliant. It makes bartering impossible. They can claim that they are only asking $45-$50 for the system and it has to be tested, cleaned, etc so the piddly offer is actually a decent deal. Which if it was actually 50% of what they flip it for, would actually be fair. But it isn’t, it’s a third at best. It’s not just limited to consoles either, a majority of the retro games are out of stock but still have their low price listed. Strangely enough it’s all the best selling classics like Contra, Punch-Out, etc. It’s the same strategy. Again, brilliant. They realized that there is a growing demand for older games and not wanting to miss out on the cash grab, they hatched a solid plan to get product on the cheap. A�As a guy who works as an analyst for a big ol’ company, I understand the strategy, but as a retro collector, I find it shady as hell.

Ok, whew, congratulations! You made it through that block of text! It’s almost over people! So a few months ago, I, like many others, saw the announcement for SNES classic system and immediately decided that I had to have it. A�I signed up for email notifications from all of the major retailers,(Best Buy, Amazon, Target..), so the minute it would be available for preorder, I’d know and could quickly log in and get my order in. Solid plan right? I thought so too. Until for some frickin’ reason, Best Buy and Amazon decided to take preorders at 4 frickin’ A.M! Oh! And those bastards didn’t send out the notification email!! Are you kidding me?! Why the hell would you start to sell them at 4 in the godamn morning?! A�Not sure why but dammit I blame Nintendo. A�They know that it’s going to fly off the shelves so what do they do? Did they decide that they would produce more so everyone would get a shot at owning one and playing some great games? Oh no, grasshopper! They tell everyone that it’s going to be extremely limited and that they will not produce more. Nice. Needless to say, it’s sold out everywhere today and I will not be getting one. The only thing I hope is that they limited it to one per customer just to screw over those bastard scalpers out there that bought up the NES classics last year.

Comics Round Up: Make Mine Marvel

(Editor’s Note: A�Our last comic round up suffered from, as I once heard Stephen King explain it, “diarrhea of the typewriter (insert your preferred method of typing here).” A�Seeing as how I’m branching out, but still very much a Marvel zombie, I will try to keep this one brief by just giving “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.)

Avengers

The Good: A�Mark Waid is a good writer. A�I really like his Champions book (more on that in a bit). A�But, he doesn’t quite fit this version of the HydrAvengers, in my opinion.

The Bad: A�This team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are actually some of the worst villains in the Marvel Universe. A�While that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, I feel like the execution isn’t so great.

The Ugly: A�I simply can’t wrap my mind around these characters as Avengers. A�I know that we are living in a Cosmic Cube altered reality and that nothing should be comforting necessarily. A�However, while I’ve gone along with most books on this crazy ride, this is a bridge too far.

The Verdict: A�Having been reintroduced to Warren Ellis via Injection and Trees, I couldn’t help but be reminded of his run on Thunderbolts. A�He would be the perfect writer for this hodge podge of characters that make up the HydrAvengers. A�Maybe that would make it easier to swallow. A�I, for one, can’t wait until the Legacy reboot of this team.

Champions

The Good: A�Mark Waid is a great writer. A�The proof is in this book. A�Each character is written with a different personality that shines through in the storytelling. A�This is one of my favorite books right now.

The Bad: A�Two here, but not really anything to do with the book. A�1) A�While I’m glad that they included this book in the Secret Empire arc and that gave me a chance to discover it, I’m not sure that these characters fit exactly the way that they’re trying to make them fit. A�2) A�I wish that I had been on from the beginning because I really enjoy this book.

The Ugly: A�I’m pretty sure that this book is meant for teenagers. A�I’m not sure what it says about me that it is one of my favorite books and I’m 41. A�Actually, I know exactly what it says about me. A�Society, and my wife sometimes, might not approve, but I’m comfortable with who I am.

The Verdict: A�This is one heck of a book and one lone bright spot through the whole Secret Empire event. A�While other books have changed their focus, flirted with disaster, or both, this one has stayed true to the characters and their mission to mirror “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. A�Heck, some of these characters have lost their damn minds in other books, but remained true in this one. A�Really, just a fun book and I can’t wait to see how things progress through Legacy.

Edge of Venomverse

The Good: A�This book and book 2 were very good. A�I liked the quirkiness of Gwenpool with the symbiote and the story of this one was fantastic. A�I haven’t read Old Man Logan yet, so this might have just grown naturally from that, but after the rather pedestrian nature of the first three books, I was surprised by the depth of this one.

The Bad: A�Book 1 and 3 were…not great. A�Book 1 wasn’t bad. A�It just felt very uneven. A�Book 3 was just not good overall. A�I didn’t enjoy the story. A�I suppose that by that pattern, book 5 is going to be meh. A�Given that it is Deadpool and I tire quickly of “old school” Deadpool, that’s a safe bet.

The Ugly: A�I’m usually a sucker for different art. A�Heck, I’ll buy anything drawn by Sam Kieth. A�However, the art for #3 was just horrible. A�Combined with the subpar story, I think that one just needs a do over.

The Verdict: A�An uneven series that seems to have different judgments from different people. A�The owner of my newly adopted (can’t say that in a few months) comic store, for instance, really liked book 1. A�She’s a fan of X23, though, so maybe that’s the reason why. A�I haven’t gotten into that book yet. A�Even so, I have high hopes for the actual series.

Hulk

The Good: A�Another excellent book, written by a writer who knows and has been able to define the character in this brave new world that Marvel has been trying to forge. A�It has dealt with issues of loss and PTSD in a very real and poignant manner.

The Bad: A�This isn’t your father’s Hulk. A�”Hulk Smash” is almost non existent. A�Instead, it’s become a “talkie”, similar to Batman. A�I’m not saying that’s bad, but if you’re coming for that action, wait until Legacy.

The Ugly: A�Wait, they’re bringing back Banner Hulk? (Spoiler Alert: A�They’ve already brought him back.) A�But, one of the major plot points of this series has been Jen’s reaction and attempts to deal with her cousin’s death. A�I know they’re resetting with Legacy, but, still I’ll miss that storyline.

The Verdict: A�I was not initially going to invest in this book. A�However, one week I was short on books and decided to pick this one up because I am a huge Hulk fan. A�I’m glad that I did because it has become one of my most anticipated books each month. A�I’m a little worried how it will endure post Legacy, but hopefully they can figure it out.

Generations

The Good: A�At this point, I’ve only read these two generations books, but they’ve both been decent to good. A�I was a bit surprised that I actually enjoyed the Phoenix book more than Hulk. A�Greg Pak is one of my favorite Hulk writers and the book was good, but I just felt like the Phoenix story was much more in depth and balanced.

The Bad: A�There was a bit too much “Hulk Smash” in the Hulk book. A�I know that’s what people want from our Jade Giant. A�However, I’ve always been more of a fan of the introspective Hulks and less is more when it comes to “Hulk Smash”. A�But, I’ll stick with the book until we get to the deeper stories.

The Ugly: A�Another weekly book that I have to read, Marvel? A�I mean, I don’t have to read it, but I will. A�I just won’t necessarily be happy about it. A�Except, I’m pretty sure I will. A�*sigh* A�Chris is right. A�I may have a problem.

The Verdict: A�Only two books in and I’m okay with the concept. A�I’m intrigued to see how this shapes future books and tries to tie everything together with the past. A�I like what DC has done with their Rebirth books and think that a true reboot can do good things for Marvel, too. A�These books serve to set the tone and so far the tone is positive.

Secret Empire Tie In Books

The Good: A�Both Captain America books have been great. A�I hadn’t heard of Spencer before this event, but I like what he’s been doing with the event. A�While I don’t agree with including Champions in the event, I’m glad they did because it’s a good book. A�Ultimates2 wasn’t even on my radar, but that has been an amazing book.

The Bad: A�I don’t like what Secret Empire has done to Amazing Spider-Man. A�I’m usually okay with different, but the last few ASM arcs I’ve read have just been blah. A�Bear in mind that I haven’t even been around for the latest clone wars, but I read the one where Uncle Ben came back and the one before that years ago. A�The other books like Underground and United have been mostly forgettable, though the Widow “red room” story was interesting. A�Avengers has suffered most from Secret Empire. A�Again, I get the reason to include the team to show how different this world is, but it hasn’t been a great experiment.

The Ugly: A�I went from mildly interested in the event, to promising myself that I’d only get the main books, to buying every stupid book with the Secret Empire/Captain Hydra banner on it. A�Damn it, Marvel. A�Congratulations. A�You hooked me.

The Verdict: A�As is to be expected, these books have been hit or miss. A�Most have been very good. A�Some have been disappointing, but I don’t regret buying the books that I did. A�Overall, they’ve added to my enjoyment of the event and I’m back on the wagon…or is it off the wagon?

Secret Empire

The Good: A�Nick Spencer has done a good job of telling this story and the art has mostly been just as good. A�As an aside, I’m glad that we are in the “hope” portion of the story. A�I couldn’t take much more “despair”.

The Bad: A�I didn’t like the art in a couple of the books. A�I just prefer the realistic art of Steve McNiven. A�The art of these books made me take a step back and try to absorb it before continuing. A�It just took me out of the story for a minute.

The Ugly: A�I almost quit reading the story altogether. A�One of those reason was that it was just getting too real. A�Especially with the recent events in Virginia, I couldn’t sit by idly as my escape from reality started to mirror that reality a bit too much. A�Ultimately, I kept going, but I was close to quitting there.

The Verdict: A�Overall, this event has been entertaining. A�I won’t say that it has been good, but it has kept me reading. A�There are a few times that I wanted to walk away for one reason or another, but I’ve keep reading and I’m glad that I did. A�Ultimately, at this point, I want to see how they write themselves out of this.