Tag Archives: DC Comics

DC in the 1990s

Introduction

In my previous article, I mentioned that Chris and I are going to talk about our affection for a forgotten decade in comics, the 1990s. Some of you out there might argue that they were forgotten for good reasons. Both Marvel and DC lost a lot of their most promising talent to independent books due to their archaic rules and sometimes draconian treatment of talent. Comics, like sports cards, were overproduced. This reduced potential future value and upset speculators. Personally, I don’t care much about that. If I can get my hands on a book, I don’t care about your future value.

I also mentioned in that article that we would not be able to travel to That’s Entertainment, but we would be able to record. Plans changed yet again. Chris’s schedule opened up so that we could go to the store, but mine was more restrictive, so we haven’t recorded yet. Fear not! We will be sure to get together over the weekend and scratch that comics discussion itch for you next week.

I promise you. It will feel this good.

DC on Television

Like Marvel, I was introduced to DC comic book heroes through television. Of course there was the live action Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter. Like The Incredible Hulk, if you were alive in that time period, you watched those shows. It wasn’t like today where almost everything is on demand and you can consume entertainment at your leisure. There was this thing called appointment viewing where everyone watched the show at the same time and then talked about it the next day around the water cooler. At least I imagine that there was a water cooler as I often hear that as a saying, too.

What might be surprising is that I originally discovered Batman through television, too. Well, you might think, that’s not so bad. I loved (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, *insert your favorite Batman series here*) too. DC might not be able to make a decent movie, but their TV series are pretty good. Ah, youth, so innocent and sometimes naive.

You never forget your first.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. As a child of the 70s, who came of age in the 90s, my first and defining Batman was Adam West. But, I have an excuse. My father loved the show. He wanted to share that love with his sons. I took that love very much to heart. When the Tim Burton Batman movies came out, my father warned me, “This isn’t anything like the TV show. Historically, Batman can be a bit dark.” I responded by not seeing the movie until it was on cable. Boy, did I show them! They responded by killing the series by making a decent sequel and then two terrible follow ups that seemed to try to split the difference. It did not work.

DC Comics in the 90s

Eventually, I loved the Tim Burton films and heaped the proper scorn on the other two movies in the franchise. My Batman was no longer the blue and grey suited “dad bod” of Adam West. Joker wasn’t a benign practical joker with hand buzzers and squirty flowers. It was a black suited solitary Dark Knight fighting against a sociopathic murderer in spotty clown makeup who still wears a squirty flower, but with acid.

Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

This shift in attitude and my status as a casual collector meant I only collected Batman and one other DC book. Luckily, it was during the Knightfall story and I collected them all. Unluckily, during one of my moves I didn’t want to move the comic book collection. I also erroneously assumed that I’d never collect comics again. Well, you win some and you lose some.

The second DC hero that I paid attention to at the time was Superman. DC decided to radically alter both of their most popular heroes. Killing Superman (spoiler alert) was such a big deal that they talked about it on the nightly news. That doesn’t seem like much in this era of the 24/7/365 news. Then it meant more. Stations only had three hours dedicated to news. Time was precious. Everyone wanted to see how they would kill the Superman.

I remember the story being good up to the actual death. DC followed it up with “Rise of the Supermen”. I collected those books, too, but the only one I enjoyed was Steel. If you didn’t get a chance to read the story, I recommend picking up the trade. Sure, they redid the story in Batman vs. Superman, but it was a shadow of itself in that movie.

The Verdict

I think that I was more into DC comics back then. The Death of Superman was enough to get me and Kevin to convince his dad to drive us to the local comic book store so that we could get the books on the day that they released. This is while we were both on vacation visiting him in Maryland. The Batman story was less interesting to me, but I did prefer that over almost everything that Marvel was doing at the time other than their 2099 books.

Sure, both stories that got me into collecting DC books in the 1990s were gimmicks meant to sell comics. Well, I never said that I was above falling for gimmicks. Next week, when I talk about my history with comics in the 2000s, you’ll see that both companies got me again with gimmicks. But, heck, the stories were good and I’m glad to have been able to experience them as they unfolded.

 

Comic Hunters 001 – Our Comic Book CV

Introduction

We start the series by talking about what got us into comic book collecting. There is also a surprise reunion at one of our favorite comic book and gaming stores!

We love 90s Comic Books (15:50)

We continue to reminisce by taking about one of our favorite decades in comics, the 1990s. Spawn, 2099, and X-Cutioner’s song, oh my! Look for a deep dive on this topic in a future episode.

Comic Books as Therapy (22:50)

We talk about what comic books mean to us as a social hobby and an escape from reality.

Comic Books as Collectors (26:22)

A visit to a local comic book show inspires us to organize and inventory our collections, which then inspires us to go to Midtown and eBay to buy more comic books. We talk about which books we’re looking for and why.

Nerd Rage? (36:33)

A brief memorial to 2099 leads to both of us trying to figure out where all of the nerd rage and hate comes from. Why didn’t you like the new Marvel heroes? What is wrong with rebooting the numbering every few years? We have some theories.

More Comic Books as Collectors (46:45)

Another brief discussion of books that we’d like to collect. X-Men Volume 1 and Marvel Team Up are prominently featured.

Diversifying Nerddom (51:00)

A chance meeting during Free Comic Book Day leads us to consider why nerds aren’t as welcoming as they could be and a way to possibly remedy that situation. (Spoiler Alert: Just be nice!)

Comics Hunter

Introduction (My Brief History in Comics)

Over the weekend, I realized that I never edited nor posted the comics themed podcast that Chris and I recorded a couple of weeks ago. The realization came as my computer was out of commission during our scheduled recording time for the main title podcast. It works out for this week. I can just release it this week and we can record for next week. The only issue is that I did both of my “state of” articles last week. I might be able to do them monthly, but it will more likely be every other month. I certainly wouldn’t do them weekly. As a result, I had to come up with two different comic themed articles for this week to stay current with the podcast.

I’m not sure, other than the articles last week, if I’ve mentioned Chris and my newly discovered love of comic books. Mine is more newly discovered than his as he generally has a smaller reading list than me and thus doesn’t have to spend as much. I did find a cheaper way to read the comics digitally, but I found myself missing the hunt, so to speak. I’m a collector at heart, so it just didn’t feel right not having those issues.

To set the scene for new readers, I have been collecting comic books since I was in high school. I’ve been collecting Magic the Gathering cards for almost as long. Sounds impressive, no? Imagine all of the profits from those books and cards that I sold. I should be retired on some tropical island surrounded by beautiful people and sipping on a never ending line of drinks with umbrellas in them, right?

Alas the closest I have come is I drank way too many free mai tais on a sunset cruise during our honeymoon in Hawai’i.

Granite State Comics Fest (April 22, 2018)

Why am I not? The short version of the story is that I haven’t been collecting comic books the whole time. I do take breaks every now and then, one time for almost a decade. Another tiny problem is that I threw away all of my comics from when I was a teenager. My wife (then my fiancee) and I moved a bunch before we found our house. During one of those moves, I decided I didn’t want to move the comics anymore. If I had anything worth anything it was either poached by a dumpster diver or recycled into printer paper.

During this most recent break, Chris has been in constant contact. He’s told me about all of the cool stuff in DC’s Metal event. He’s tried to convince me, more than once, that Midtown’s discount is worth it. As a quick aside, he finally got me on board with that one. I’m quite stubborn sometimes, but eventually make the right choice.  I wasn’t ever completely out this time.

The true turning point came during our visit to the Granite State Comic Fest. Both he and I went to the larger convention several years ago. I saw that they were doing a smaller show and suggested that we go. He agreed and both Liam and Aiden expressed interest in joining us. It is one of the most fun days I’ve had in the last few months. More than that, it gave me additional reasons to want to collect comics books.

What’s Next? (Comics on my List)

Our trip to the comic fest and a costly trip to a local store inspired to update my inventory.  I’m a bit jealous of the set up that Chris has for comics now and I want one, too. With renewed purpose and focus, I can do that.

My first idea was to fill out my Spawn run as much as I could. That’s not entirely true. I said to Chris, “I want a full run of Spawn. Shouldn’t be too hard.” Spawn is the first comic not named Spider-Man that made a strong connection. Unfortunately, it has been much harder than I anticipated to pick up the missing books. I guess I still have a 1990s over production mindset and one of the times that I took off collecting must have been lean for Spawn. As Chris tells me, we’ll find them eventually.

After I fill in all of my interested titles from the Rebirth relaunch, I want to start working backwards to the “Final Crisis”. I have some New 52 titles and I have most of the Countdown books. Filling in the New 52 will be an impressive accomplishment. Chris told me this one might be difficult, too. I can fill in with trades. Not as interesting, collector wise, but I’m not going to be an issue snob in the face of overwhelming prices.

I have a few ideas for my Marvel collection. I’m only a couple of issues short of completing Totally Awesome Hulk. I also have most of the (She-)Hulk series that was just cancelled. Other than that, I went crazy on eBay and bought a whole bunch of Marvel Team Up issues and am going to work on finishing that whole run as I’m less than a dozen missing.

Conclusion

I enjoy reading comics. Especially now, the stories and art are great in almost every book that you get. I should know, I had a 50 dollar a week habit for a while. Like Magic the Gathering, which I enjoy playing, I am more of a collector. I love opening packs and seeing what cards I have and need to finish a set. With comics, I enjoy the books. There’s also something to be said for scratching that itch that you get when you realize there’s a book missing from your collection. I’ve been scratching that itch quite a bit recently. Stay tuned to see if I can keep the momentum.

State of DC Comics

As mentioned in my previous article on the state of Marvel comics, Chris and I have recorded a pilot for a new podcast. I am close to finishing the edit on that, so it should be available soon. I had hoped to take the occasion of the new show and my new interest in comics to write down a few words about the state of the two larger comics publishers. If you’ve read that article already, you know the deal. If not, here’s the short, short version. This isn’t an in depth analysis of the financial and social impact of DC Comics. It is simply the thoughts of one fan and the likelihood of that fan remaining for the foreseeable future. If that sounds like something you’d like to read, let’s get started!

The State of DC Comics (as I see it)

First, a little history. This is partly inspired by comments made in my Marvel comics article. It is also a result of my attempts to organize my comics. During those efforts, I ran across my issues of the 52 and Countdown weekly series. That led to a Google search for DC “continuity” surrounding those series and, more importantly, the series following. Apparently I stopped collecting comics after Week 41 of the Countdown series. In a conversation with Chris, I think that is because the local comic book store in town closed.

I was for years under the impression that these guys were just falling. Maybe their impact is what caused the final crisis and New 52? I may never know.

Chris got back into Batman during New 52. He also enjoyed Swamp Thing. I knew nothing about the actual plots of any of the books during this time. In the Marvel article, I touched on New 52 and Rebirth because Marvel seems to be in the same rudderless ship that DC was back then. I ignorantly made the assumption that DC used New 52 as a way to clean up their timeline and further ignorantly assumed that maybe Marvel was doing the same by rebooting so soon after their Legacy announcement.

In my searches, I found that New 52 was actually, other than maybe a few issues, an absolutely disaster. I don’t know if any of this is true, but I learned that Batman was actually his dad because it was Bruce who was killed and Wonder Woman declared war on Aquaman (maybe?) that destroyed all of Western Europe. It all reached a head when (as it often does when DC wants to reset continuity), Flash royally screwed up the timeline by going back in time to save his mother.

Seriously, there are a few things we can rely on in comics. Flash will mess up the timeline and any time Marvel wants to be taken seriously, they “end” the Fantastic Four.

That has led to Rebirth, which almost everyone agrees is the most successful relaunch of a comics line, maybe ever. It has been successful in one way that is personal to me. It’s kept me collecting comics. I might have gotten back into comics because of Secret Empire, but DC is the reason I’m still here. I’m enjoying nearly every story that I read from them. They have some of my favorite writers and artist working for them. Things right now are just really good.

My Future with DC Comics

I think I’ve made the point that I think that Rebirth has be overwhelmingly successful. It’s given me reason to keep buying comics and unlike previous times that I’ve gotten back into collecting, I have reasons to stay. First, DC Comics are really good right now. Secondly, the Rebirth reboot has given me a focus to the collecting. I might never be able to collect all 1000 Action comics, but there’s nothing preventing me from collecting the ones from the start of Rebirth. Finally, my kids are showing an interest in comics. Similar to my other hobbies, they are much more enjoyable when I can share with them.

In case you haven’t read my previous article, I’m much more optimistic about the future of DC Comics than Marvel right now. Chris and I have talked and I realize that the market is cyclical. Any time you have competitors, they generally take turns at the top. Right now is DC’s turn to be at the top. Thing is, I don’t see Marvel making the moves necessary to even compete, let alone make a run for that number 1 spot.

Speaking of #1, I just realized that they’re killing the Incredible Hulk line to make room for this one. Hulk has been so mistreated recently.

The one thing that worries me is that DC has given into market pressure and they’re raising some cover prices. While that might have been inevitable and that’s just what they believe the market can bear, it’s not an encouraging sign. I know I’m an old man who refuses to come into the present when it comes to game and book prices, but this is one thing that I truly can’t understand. Maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way. In addition to just getting with the times, I need to realize that this isn’t just a “32 page” book as I’ve said in the past. This is, often, a great story with accompanying art that should be appreciated. Besides, thanks to Chris, I now realize that only chumps pay full cover price.

Welcome Back?

Introduction

A few days ago, as we tend to do every now and then, Chris and I were talking about comics. This is only newsworthy because I haven’t been reading them for the last 6 months or so. You may remember last year that I had a 50 dollar a week habit that I had to quit because it was becoming financially untenable. I tried to go the same route as Chris and order from Midtown Comics, but I have been trained by Amazon to not pay anything for shipping and they charge. I then tried an alternate way of getting and reading them, but I didn’t have a good way to do that.

As a result, I have been out of the loop for quite a while. It’s not that I don’t like comics. In fact, I had been enjoying comics more than I had in a long time and more than many other fans seemed to have been enjoying them, Chris included. Oh, he’s solidly in DC’s corner, but has nothing but contempt for Marvel right now. I actually enjoyed most of the books from both companies when I was reading.

I was even in their corner through Secret Empire and Legacy. I may be faltering with their latest reboot of their most recent reboot of their reimagining of their lineup.

While we were talking, he mentioned that the final issue of the Dark Nights Metal series was imminent. I went into the series 100% on board, enjoyed all of the one shot tie in issues, and gave it a chance. However, as you will hear either in the “bonus” section of the podcast, we both got a bit tired of the series and the fact that it seemed to be getting a little out of hand. It isn’t explicitly why I stopped reading, but I did stop reading comics in the middle of the series. Chris assures me that it has gotten better and that I should give it another shot. As a result, in my words to Chris, “I’m acknowledging the existence of comics again.”

Marvel

Being an unabashed Marvel zombie for life (and it appears afterlife), I first checked out a couple of Marvel books. I went with two comics that I had really been enjoying in my most recent comics life, Dr. Strange and Old Man Logan. I don’t remember any of the other titles, but I think that there might have been a Spider-Man title in there and perhaps The Avengers (which Chris says is good). I looked into The Avengers, because I remember it being good before when Mark Waid was writing it and he still is, so it’s probably still a good title.

These guys. Perhaps not so much…

Dr. Strange was, as I said to Chris, Dr. Strange. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad, either. It was what Dr. Strange is supposed to be, I guess, and perhaps speaks to the holding pattern that Marvel comics is, and has been, for a few years now. They have not been able to translate the success of their movies and some of their TV shows into their comics. They keep trying things, but nothing is working.

The reason for this is obvious and both Chris and I have said it several times. It’s easy to get people into the movie theater. Every geek who’s ever gotten a girlfriend and had kids is an automatic audience. I speak from experience. I have taken my girlfriend, now my wife, to many Marvel movies. Now that my kids are getting older, I generally spare her and take them. She wants nothing to do with comic books other than for a while, she was reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Now, she just rewatches the shows with the kids.

All three kids did show an interest in the comics and they would read them after I was finished with them. Though, to be honest, Liam was only reading Secret Empire because he overheard me flippantly saying that Captain America is a Nazi and he’s at the age when he starts to learn about that part of history and was intrigued. Aiden only read Flash comics and much of what I got was too far above Quinn with the violence. But, and this is important, I only ever bought one copy of the books and rarely went out of my way to buy other books that I didn’t want to read.

Are we really going to discuss cover price again? You betcha!

Because, the fact of the matter is that the rate at which I was spending money on comics was absurd. I could not continue to drop that much money every week and I was at a minimum of books that I actually wanted to read. Truth of the matter is that I could have spent twice as much with all of the good content out there. Again, Chris had the idea of Midtown, which I probably should, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet. So, I just stopped buying.

I’m not completely back into comics, but I have taken that first step, so to speak. I think that’s usually in the context of quitting an addiction, but this is one from which I won’t ever be completely free. The other book that I read was Old Man Logan. Chris recommended it through his friend’s words, so I checked it out. This one was better than Dr. Strange and more in line with what I remember from last year when I was reading it. I’m not sure where the story is going, but it has an interesting take on the nature of reality and if it is just planned with no true free will. It’s always a question that has interested me, so I’m willing to keep giving it a read.

DC/Independent

After talking to Chris, I found the archives of one of my now defunct web pages. One of the articles was an article that I could have copied, done a fine and replace of “DC” with “Marvel” and released it as new content. It was during the time of the New 52 content and DC seemed just as rudderless and without direction as Marvel does now. I made the joke that in 3 years, if comics are still around, maybe Marvel will be good again.

Chris contends, and sales figures back him up, that DC is far superior to Marvel right now. I won’t argue that point. I will simply state that as I ease back into comics, I have not read a single DC title over the past two weeks. That is neither an endorsement nor a indictment. It simply is and I want to be intellectually honest about that. I haven’t read any independent books, either, but I hadn’t read nearly as many of them as DC and Marvel before the break.

What Does it all Mean?

Who knows? I should, but I don’t. I don’t have the money for comics. I don’t have the time for comics. I really enjoy comics and want to read them, but when? And, who is paying? I thought I found a way to solve both of those problems, but so far, it hasn’t worked as planned. I guess stay tuned to see if more review are forthcoming.

That, folks, it what we call a teaser.

Comic Haul! #2

Comic Haul #2 (Midtown Comics -link to site below)

Hey gang! I’ve got another comic haul to share with you. As you know, I’m running behind on sharing my hauls so this one is from the beginning of December.

Batman Lost #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

Gotta tell you, For the most part, I’m loving all of these Dark Nights Metal one shots. This one was really well done. It starts with an elderly Bruce Wayne reading a story from his past to his grand-daughter. The story she chooses is the first adventure he had as Batman. As he reads the story there are discrepancies from what he had originally wrote. I won’t give to much away but I’ll just say that it ties in nicely with the main Metal story. 9/10

Batman the Devastator #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

Another Metal one-shot. This issue tells the origin story of the Batman-Doomsday hybrid baddie. Batoomsday? Doombat? Eh..you know who I’m talking about. Anyways..SPOILER ALERT……………………….On Earth 0, Batman is forced to infect himself with the Doomsday virus in order to put a beating down on Superman who has gone…batty. Heh. You see what I did there? I’m not proud of it. Pretty action-packed issue. 7/10

Batman the Merciless #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

Metal one-shot. I’ll level with you, while this story was okay, it definitely wasn’t as good as the others. So what makes this one not as good as the others? Simply put, it’s wordy. Too wordy. Blocks of text friggin’ assault you on every page. Listen, I can understand that the writer has only one issue to fill in the backstory of the evil Batmen but this one felt too ambitious. Well if you’re curious…….SPOILER ALERT……………………………………..On Earth -11, Batman loses his woman, Wonder Woman to be exact. Ares kills her and Batman takes care of him..and then puts on his helmet, which he was warned not to do, and this turns him into The Merciless. Buy this issue if you’re trying to collect all of the one-shots, otherwise save yourself the money and be happy with my synopsis. 5/10

Mighty Thor vol. 2 #700 (Marvel Comics, 1st printing)

This issue starts the Death of the Mighty Thor storyline, which so far has been pretty good. Jane’s cancer is getting worse as a beast called Mangog shows up to unleash his final judgment on the gods of Asgard. War Thor, the blood thirsty badass that he is, decides that he can take it down and goes to fight it, leading to one of the biggest ass kickings I’ve seen in the pages of a comic book. I won’t tell you who is doing the kicking though. 8/10

Monsters Unleashed vol.2 #7 (Marvel Comics, Lenticular variant cover)

I..uh..I didn’t read it. I bought it for the lenticular cover that pays homage to Fantastic Four #1. Therefore I can’t give this a rating. N/ A

Spider-Gwen vol.2 #25 (Marvel Comics, Lenticular variant cover)

Ok, so this starts out with Spider-Gwen doing spidery stuff and..I…didn’t actually read the issue. I’m a mark for special covers!! Oh god, I grew up in the 90’s, I saw what all those prism, foil, and hologram covers did to the industry yet I cant stop myself! To be fair, this cover is the Lenticular version of one of my all time favorites, Amazing Spider-Man #316 so it was a no-brainer for me to pick it up. N/A

Batman White Knight #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

This is the first issue in a 7 part series. Batman, finally has enough of Joker and beats him half to death, the brutality of said beating is too much for Gotham City who now view Batman as a maniac and Joker, cured of insanity, as the hero. The Joker, now known as Jack, sets out to right his wrongs by trying to save the city from Batman. I really enjoyed this issue, it was a really fresh take on the Batman-Joker relationship and has become a must-read for me. 9/10

Batman White Knight #2 (DC Comics, 1st printing)

Issue 2 of 7. Jack (Joker) focuses on exposing corruption within the Gotham City PD, while he also forms an army of super villains. Meanwhile, public support is not on Batman’s side. This issue, while really good, didn’t quite have the pacing of #1, which made some parts feel slow. 8/10

Dark Nights Metal #3 (DC Comics, 1st printing, foil cover)

I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this but Dark Nights is getting confusing. I feel like there are too many side stories that Scott Snyder is trying to pull together into one cohesive story and it’s just not working. Listen, I loved the previous Batman series, even though it was very wordy (something I pointed out to Shawn a few times), but as Metal has progressed it feels like the overall story is suffocating in over-exposition. Is it awful? No, it’s still entertaining at times. To me, Capullo’s art is what is keeping me buying this series. It’s too bad that some of the art is getting covered up by huge text bubbles. 6/10

That’s it for this haul!

Midtown Comics:
www.midtowncomics.com

Comics Round Up: World’s Greatest

(Editor’s Note: A�We postponed this edition of Comics Round Up to give me an opportuinity to actually read the latest Batman and first issue of Metal. A�As I said to Chris, I ration my books so that I have something to read the entire week. A�I could have moved the books up by a couple of days, but what are we if we aren’t true to ourselves?)

Aquaman

The Good: A�This is a well written and engaging story. A�I’ve never heard of the writer or the artist, but they work well together to bring this story to life.

The Bad: A�While the story is good, the narrative style is a bit dense. A�I’ve complained about Batman being a “talkie” recently and this book has action, but there are just so many words on some of the pages. A�It’s distracting.

The Ugly: A�Well, I’ve added another book to the monthly pull that I initially said that I was only going to experience in trades. A�DC knew exactly what they were doing with this Rebirth event. A�There are so many new jumping on points and all of the books are great. A�My wallet is going to suffer badly.

The Verdict: A�I had virtually no experience with Aquaman previous to his introduction in Batman vs. Superman. A�I’m sure that I watched the old Justice League cartoon and he might have even had cameos in others like Scooby Doo (?), but I was one of those guys who always derided him as the dude who can swim fast and talk to fish. A�This book has changed my tune completely. A�I like the “King is Dead, Long Live the King” story and they’ve done it in a way that makes it feel not quite so much of a retread. A�I might have to shelve it again after the conclusion of this story, but that’s only because my monthly comic budget is pushing 200 at this point.

Justice League

The Good: A�Another perfect jumping on point to get started with another comic book that I haven’t read before. A�This one even has an interesting premise.

The Bad: A�That premise doesn’t quite live up to my initial ideal. A�I know this next statement might seems strange as this is the “bad” section of this review. A�However, the story isn’t bad. A�It just seems very slow. A�The whole book is the set up for a story that honestly isn’t as interesting as I had hoped.

The Ugly: A�I don’t think that I want to keep reading this story. A�However, I’m not a quitter, either. A�I’ve started the arc and now I might just have to keep going, but I won’t be happy about it. A�Hopefully, it gets better. A�Otherwise, I’m going to be out about 20 bucks and it’s going to get ugly in here.

The Verdict: A�I was very excited to meet the “future children” of the Justice League. A�I also thought it was cool to see that future. A�However, the overall arc of the story and narrative was just too uneven. A�I will give it one more issue. A�After all, the Venomverse intro event had a similar feel and I got some enjoyment from sticking with it.

Mr. Miracle

The Good: A�Tom King is one of the best writers in comics today. A�His Batman has been as good as (and, blasphemy!, maybe even better than) Scott Snyder’s, but I can’t say that with confidence. A�I only know Snyder’s Batman from The New 52 and that was good, but it didn’t have me on the verge of applause as Tom King often does. A�This book was no different.

The Bad: A�As is rapidly becoming a theme, I arrived way too late at the Tom King party. A�Chris was much more versed in his work than I am, meaning that when we were discussing this book, he said that he liked both King’s Batman and his work with Vision, a book that I haven’t read. A�Still, art is supposed to be his thing and writing my thing, so it was a bit embarrassing.

The Ugly: A�That opening scene. A�My goodness! A�I know that it’s often good to go for shock value, but I’m becoming much more aware of these types of things since there are kids in the house. A�Aiden had a friend sleep over the other night and he grabbed a stack of comics. A�I had to stop him and he asked, “Oh, they’re not appropriate.” A�I had to admit that I hadn’t read them and I didn’t know if they were or not.

The Verdict: A�Initially, I didn’t care all that much about this title. A�It seemed interesting, but it wasn’t really something that ultimately grabbed my attention enough to buy it. A�For some reason that changed when I saw an ad in one of the DC books that connected it to Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday. A�I’m always a sucker for the origins of comics and the old guys. A�I’m glad that I followed Jack Kirby on this one. A�They steered me in the right direction. A�I’m hooked after only one issue and can’t wait to see what happens next. A�I might have to go back and read some Vision now.

Wonder Woman

The Good: A�This story has been decent and has continued the theme of Diana trying to balance the expectations of Wonder Woman with the fact that she is living with humans who can’t possibly understand her burden.

The Bad: A�The writing is not nearly as good as it was with Greg Rucka. A�I’m still interested in the story, but I’m not as engaged by the characters or the story. A�Maybe it will get better, but this might be one that gets cut for later reading as trades.

The Ugly: A�I’m majorly upset that it has come to this. A�I’m almost positive that my current comic budget is not sustainable, even if I am teaching 5 classes next semester, but this is one of the books that I was sure would survive the cut.

The Verdict: A�When we last left DC, Wonder Woman was one of my favorite comic books. A�Now that we’re back, things have changed a bit. A�The book is still decent, but it isn’t the same. A�Since I don’t have the same connection to the character, writer, or artist as some other books that I might give more of a chance, this might actually be the first book to go if I decide that my budget is getting out of control.

Batman

The Good: A�I’ve already fawned over Tom King in the Mr. Miracle review, so I won’t repeat myself here. A�However, this book is a prime example why he is such a great writer. A�He wrote an entire comic book around the premise that Bruce Wayne invited the two sides of the war to dinner and created a story that I couldn’t put down. A�Both the set up and the execution were perfect. A�Great book.

The Bad: A�I struggle to find anything wrong with this book. A�In the past, I said if I had to find a flaw, it would be that it was too much of a “talkie” and not enough action. A�I can’t even say that anymore. A�This book was just so well executed, even though there was absolutely no action, that I just don’t care.

The Ugly: A�I have no idea if this is the plan or not, but for a war between the Riddler and Joker, there has been surprisingly little action. A�If they are going to blow it out with one huge blowout finale, that’s exactly what it’s going to be. A�The streets of Gotham will run red with the blood of both armies. A�It’s going to be brutal.

The Verdict: A�Batman is still the best monthly book right now. A�I might be enjoying some of the event books just as much and maybe more, but this book is the best thing to happen to me every month when it comes to comics. A�The writing is fantastic. A�The art is amazing. A�The stories are engaging and entertaining. A�If, as I suspect is possible, we are in fact going through another golden age of comics, people will point to this book as one of the primary reasons why. A�Superman might get the headlines and Wonder Woman might grab the lady readers, but Batman is DC’s flagship title and they are absolutely doing right by it. A�Superb.

Dark Nights: A�Metal

The Good: A�Snyder and Capullo. A�Capullo and Snyder. A�The introductory books contained art from Jim Lee and JR JR, too, but this one is back to basics. A�While it was fun to see the influence of the other artists, less is definitely more here. A�Just two guys who are amazing at working together to make great comics doing just that. A�It’s still early to tell if the combination will continue to work, but previous experience and the pacing of this book suggest that it will.

The Bad: A�Scott Snyder is one of these “talkie” guys that are so prevalent in comics these days. A�I have no idea if he is one of the first, as I remember the push for the current state of comics coming in the 1990s with Brian Michael Bendis and his tendency to push narrative and dialogue over the usual super hero shenanigans of punching and kicking their way through a book. A�However, he fits in very well with that crowd and his books can get a bit tedious at times.

The Ugly: A�There are a ton of open threads in this story right now. A�Scott Snyder said himself in an interview that some of the references and stories come from his earlier Batman books and that he’s been dropping hints for years. A�This book does some to tie up a few of those threads, but it adds even more. A�I’d like to think that he can bring everything all together in a coherent and satisfying fashion, but I worry when stories get this spread out.

The Verdict: A�When I first saw the announcement of this series, I texted Chris with a picture of the talent and the simple message, “I’m going to end up going broke.” A�That was before: A�(a) I had even read an issue. A�Now that I have, I realize the size and scope of this event and realize that it is possibly on par with Secret Empire, if not bigger and (b) I saw that it was a cross over event. A�If Secret Empire has taught me anything, it’s that I buy every stupid book in the event. A�Given that the first issue already has me looking forward to what comes next and wondering how many books this might hook me into eventually buying on a weekly basis. A�Well played, DC. A�Well played, indeed.

Comics Wrap Up: DC

(Editor’s Note: A�I know that I have the good, bad, and ugly format for review articles. A�However, these comics articles are often going to cover several titles and that format might cause the articles to become so long as to be cumbersome to read. A�I’ll work the good, the bad, and the ugly into the articles somehow, but they won’t be the focal point.)

The title of this article is a bit misleading. A�Unlike Marvel, which has hooked me into buying multiple new books with their Secret Empire event, I’ve only read Batman and Wonder Woman from the DC Rebirth universe. A�That may change with the “Metal” event or as I become more adventurous and branch out into other titles. A�For now, though, enjoy my first edition of comic Wrap Up for Wonder Woman and Batman. A�Only two titles lets me test out some things and figure out what works and doesn’t.

Wonder Woman

Part of the reason that I haven’t gotten into more DC books is that I have been having trouble figuring out starting points for the books that are unfamiliar. A�Due to having grown up an unabashed Marvel zombie, most of the DC books are unfamiliar. A�I’ve always liked Batman, used that to get into Batman/Superman title of the early or mid 2000s, branched out from that into Superman for a very brief time, and not much else.

From the looks of things, Aquaman 25 appears to be a good starting point, so that might be the next DC title that I start collecting.

The new Wonder Woman movie led me to check out the comic book. A�Luckily, the 2nd volume of the trade came out during one of my visits to the store, so I picked it up. A�I found it strange that Volume 2 was titled “Year One” because I then had no idea what the story of the first book might be. A�Having never read any Wonder Woman before, though, I was thankful for the origin story.

After getting the first volume second, which actually made sense in the context of the two books, I did some research. A�I discovered that the writer was intertwining two stories concurrently during a particular story arc. A�As an example, the first 12 issues alternate between the year one origin story and another story where Diana is trying to find her way back to Themyscira. A�The odd issues tell one story and switched to the other for the even issues.

Because I bought the trades, I haven’t been able to experience how they worked together and if it enhanced the narrative at all. A�However, I’m a huge fan of alternative story telling methods. A�I recently watched Shimmer Lake and it was told in reverse. A�Hopefully, he keeps it up and I will be able to see if and how it affects the flow of the stories.

“The Lies” are leading the “The Truth”, which looks similar to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer storyline, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

As far as the stories, they are of high quality. A�Having never read Wonder Woman, I only had the movie to give me any expectations. A�But the origin story moved quickly, set the scene and established characters. A�The other did the exact opposite and is serving to undermine the entire mythology. A�While they are antithetical and you might wonder why he’d immediately work so hard to destroy his creating, the stories oddly fit together. A�I see now how weaving them together A�heightens the drama and keeps the reader on edge. A�It is actually a brilliant strategy.

The Good: A�The stories are fantastic. A�They are well paced and complement one another and bring together what is an unorthodox story telling style that could have gone very badly.

The Bad: A�At least the first 2 arcs that I’ve read will be familiar to Wonder Woman fans. A�They might have switched some things up to modernize it a bit, but it is an origin story.

The Ugly: A�Infinite Crisis, The New 52, now Rebirth? A�Jesus, how many reboots do we need? A�At least they seem committed to this one for the long haul. A�Here’s hoping.

Batman

Unlike Wonder Woman, Batman has been a part of my life since I watched the old TV series with my father. A�I saw several Robins killed. A�Witnessed the Batman broken by Bane. A�Lived through watching the Tim Burton franchise lose all credibility when it grew “bat nipples”. A�Threw out an unenthusiastic “Meh” followed by a slightly less enthusiastic “this is fine” over the announcement and current reign of “Batfleck”. A�So, there’s little that they can do with the character that would surprise me.

So, even though I joined Batman around issue 23, I don’t have an incentive to fill in the first two dozen or so issues via trades. A�I will continue forward. A�If I have some left over some week in my comic budget (not likely), I will grab the trades and see if there’s anything new in the Bat’s history since Rebirth.

Remember when I said that not much could surprise me. Well, more on that in a bit.

As far as the story that I’ve read, I was wrong about there being no surprises. A�The first issue that I read involved a team up with Swamp Thing. A�While only a one off, it was so well written that it hooked me. A�Then, Batman (spoiler alert) proposed to Catwoman. A�Yeah, it’s a gimmick. A�But, holy crap, what a gimmick! A�Plus, the book is so well written with good pacing and dialogue that it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. A�Currently, they’re setting the stage for a huge arc with Joker and The Riddler. A�Chris has said a couple of times that this is his favorite book right now. A�I don’t know if I can say that unequivocally, but there aren’t many, if any books right now that I would put above it on my most anticipated every month.

The Good: A�Again, just good writing. A�Great story, characters are familiar.

The Bad: A�The pacing of the story is a bit odd. A�It’s a good story, but sometimes there’s a little bit too much talk and not enough action.

The Ugly: A�Oh man, that Catwoman thing has worked so far, but it could have been a book killer if they didn’t do it right.

Batman is great. A�Wonder Woman is great. A�For some reason, none of that has led me to explore other books. A�I grew up as a Marvel zombie, a Marvel zombie I remain, and some day I will die and rise from the grave as a true Marvel zombie. A�Secret Empire and the tie in issues have swallowed much of my comic budget. A�However, I’ve mentioned to Chris that the Trinity series looks intriguing and I might have to read some Justice League before the movie comes out in November.

Follow Up: World’s Finest Dicemasters Second Impression

(Editor’s Note: A�Apparently, this is our 200th article on the page. A�If you had told me when we started that we’d make it through these years and 200 articles, I might not have believed it. A�But, it’s proven to be a fun diversion and here’s to another 200 at least! A�Huzzah!)

I already wrote an article about the Dicemasters rainbow draft that the boys and I did for the World’s Finest set. A�I stated at the end of the article that I would not allow anything, not even the new Magic set, to distract me from my regained interest in the game. A�I was right about Magic. A�Hour of Devastation has barely even registered on my radar. A�However, I did not anticipate comic books becoming such an integral part of my life again.

It started off innocently enough. A�Similar to my last extended trips into the Marvel and DC universes, I got sucked in by a gimmick. A�Two gimmicks, in fact, this time. A�DC hooked me with a Wonder Woman movie that looked like it might actually give them more than just Batman. A�(Spoiler Alert: A�It does.) A�Marvel’s mega event, which I have recently learned will only serve to lead into their super ultra mega event, has me buying multiple books per week.

Wait, DC rebooted their reboot of a reboot? We gotta get us some of that!

One last story before I continue with my overall impression of the set. A�Chris went to catch up on recent comics and found several of them sold out. A�Since hearing that, I”ve been trying to figure out a way to get the books that I missed by taking a week off. A�Going forward, I’ll be okay because I just need to set up a pull list. A�But, among those I missed was Secret Empire #5. A�No!

But, this article isn’t about comics. A�I actually have two comic wrap up articles and a solo podcast to discuss comics coming this month. A�It just goes to show how much comics have been consuming my life in the last two months. A�Therefore, I need to shift my focus away from the books and to the dice long enough to write this article. A�Let’s do this.

Dammit, Leeroy.

The last A�time I did a Dicemasters set review as way back during the Age of Ultron days. A�I wrote up a top 10 in the style of an interview with Ultron. A�I am not going to do anything of the sort this time. A�There are several reasons why.

First, I only have limited (zing!) experience with the set. A�I’m not going to do extensive research on an old set just for a gag. A�Second, it is an old set. A�When I reviewed Age of Ultron, it might have even been a preview. A�Hey, we are sometimes on the ball here at 2 Generations Gaming. A�Third, and finally, I’ve resurrected a perfectly fine format to do reviews and previews.

The Good

As a noob who gets most of my enjoyment from how much fun I can have with a set, this seems like a very good set overall. A�In my previous article, I mentioned that I was able to find a couple of different synergies for my time. A�After a failed attempt at building a “Super” team, I settled on a hybrid Super/Bat Family team that worked very well together. A�The boys were able to hold their own, too.

Aiden went with the classic Villain archetype. A�Liam mostly put together a “good stuff” team, and our game was very close and back and forth the whole time. A�He may have even been able to beat me if we played according to the actual rules. A�Even Quinn, the youngest at 6, picked Krypto as one of his cards and then proceeded to try to build a “Super” team of his own. A�I think that he might have been the one who was cutting me. A�As Chris would say, “freaking ungrateful kids.”

I give you life and this is how you repay me? Pray that I am feeling merciful.

All four of us were able to build a suitably strong deck. A�That didn’t happen when we did the Pokemon event. A�That might have had something to do with the quality of the set. A�It might just be that Pokemon is not as good of a game for limited as Magic or Dicemasters. A�Who knows? A�What I do know for sure is that I’d like to test the theory with both games more.

The Bad

There wasn’t much bad that I can attribute to the set. A�Not only were we able to put together good teams for the event, but we also had fun discovering each card and some of the dice in the set are very cool. A�Harley Quinn’s die, for instance, is one that I remember being remarkable for the design. A�However, as Chris said, they’re only dice. A�While they can play around with both color scheme and hero icon design, it is still limited and the ultimate design is just a 6 sided die.

While that, by itself, isn’t bad, it’s not the greatest when you compare it to other games. A�Miniature games, most notably the other super hero game of Heroclix, naturally offer a much wider variety of design. A�The miniatures can take the art from the cards (another aspect of Dicemasters that showcases creativity) and give them life as 3D models. A�I understand that this is nit picking and somewhat comparing apples to oranges. A�However, I’d be lying if I said that Dicemasters is in any way comparable to the other games that I like playing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fun game. It’s just fun for entirely different reasons and would be a better game if the dice were just miniatures. True, it would be a completely different game. Oh heck, I admit it. This whole section was simply a straw man and I’m terrible at building up terrible arguments.

The Ugly

So, I couldn’t even really make an argument for the bad of this game, so I’m certainly not going to have much to say on the subject of “ugly”. A�All I will say is that Aiden had almost no mercy for his younger brother. A�He was a stone cold killer even though it was Quinn’s first time playing Dicemasters. A�Still, it didn’t sour him on the game because he said that he wants to play again and can’t wait to open the rest of the box.

Mine and Liam’s game was ugly because we didn’t follow the rules completely. A�Instead of recycling our KO’d dice back into our next roll, we put them back into the pool to be drawn who the heck knows when. A�Again, I have no idea how it might have affected the game other than he had something that did one damage to each fielded character, so we could have recycled dudes as new dice much quicker than expected. A�I must have a guilty conscience about that because I keep bringing it up. A�We are going to have to replay that game soon to clear my guilt.

a�?Yes! Yes, I killed him. Pull up the boards and you shall see! I killed him. But why does his heart not stop beating?! Why does it not stop!?a�?

Gods in the Palm of your Hand

(Editor’s Note: A�2 Generations Gaming is back with a celebration of all things DC Comics over the next couple of weeks due to our enjoyment of the new Wonder Woman movie. A�Next month is Spidey and Marvel!)

I believe I’ve mentioned the mobile version of MKX in one of my reviews recently. A�Even if I haven’t, just know that I’m not overly impressed with the game. A�Look, I know that it can’t be an exact port from the console versions to mobile, but I just felt that it could be so much more. A�Against my better judgement, I fell for the advertisement in MKX and downloaded Injustice 2 for the phone. A�I’ve heard good things about the console version. A� However, as a cheap old gamer, I don’t have either of the current gen consoles required to play it. A�Also, Kevin crushed my dreams by telling me that it would not be released on Steam. A�Therefore, I have to wait until another price drop or two (and Chris told me that one is imminent!) until I’m able to play that version.

As a result, even though I’m deeply disappointed in MKX and Injustice 2 is done by the same studio, I took the chance. A�Part of the reason is that Wonder Woman released this month and I had plans of doing a DC spectacular on the podcast and I needed some DC games to fill in the gaps on the web page. A�Just like the movies (more on that Friday), there haven’t been many decent DC related games other than the Arkham series. A�I remembered the Injustice name from the first game and, as always, hold out hope that things will get better.

Usually, I’m the guy on the left. Every now and then, I’m pretty sure that I’m standing in a puddle of piss.

Let’s start with my primary complaint about MKX. A�Combat, frankly, is boring. A�As I mentioned earlier, it is mobile, so it is unrealistic to think that an exact port is possible. A�However, I feel they could have adjusted the game to take advantage of the unique nature of mobile gaming and make it more strategy based than just tap, tap, tap. A�On a related note, I’ve found some additional strategy with the block mechanic, but even that is very limited. A�Injustice improves upon that.

Adding to the basic/combo attacks and block maneuver, each character has a jumping attack, a crouching attack, a rush attack, and even a ranged attack. A�Each of them is activated using a unique motion. A�The variety of moves makes it feel so much more like an actual fighting game than MKX. A�I will be investing much more time into Injustice 2. A�I’ve already weaved it into my regular rotation as I wait for cooldowns to expire in MTG:PQ and Sim City.

They’re not lying. In addition to the fact that there is an actual moves list, the characters have unique animations for their different moves. It is quite an impressive improvement on MKX.

So, the move set is more complete. A�Big deal. A�Hey, as far as I’m concerned, it is a big deal. A�That alone makes it work the price of admission. A�By the way, that price is free for both games. A�It’s a metaphor, okay?! A�However, that’s not all. A�There are several other reasons that Injustice 2 is a vastly superior game to MKX. A�Let’s explore them.

There are more and a wider variety of game modes. A�Alongside the campaign mode, arena (which is similar to faction wars), and resource missions (sort of a ladder style mode that is somewhat analogous to Shao Khan’s tower), there is also a robust story mode, operations, and something called challenges. A�As of this writing, I’ve played all of the modes at least once.

I’ve only played through part of the story, but the cut scene that I watched was entertaining enough to keep me interested and I will probably play through more eventually. A�Right now, I’d much rather play the other modes as they offer much better loot. A�Area pits you against random teams put together by other players with the computer as your actual opponent. A�Operations are a completely different way to play the game. A�You choose one (so far the only ones I have unlocked are one) of your characters to go on a “mission” which awards various prizes depending on the mission. A�It is not terribly interactive, but I appreciate the attempt at doing something different. A�Plus, they’re part of the daily objectives that award you hero shards to unlock a new Wonder Woman.

For some reason, I’m all about Wonder Woman right now.

The last improvement that I will discuss is the concept of class advantage. A�This may exist in MKX. A�If it does, though, I’m not aware of it. A�Injustice 2 makes it abundantly clear that even a noob like me can not only know about it but also have a basic understanding of the Rochambeau nature of the mechanic.

I probably could go on, but I’m blanking on other specific parts of the game that have impressed me. A�It’s just overall a vastly improved game over MKX and very much what I expected a mobile fighting game would be without having any actual expectations the first time that I played MKX. A�Does that make sense? A�Probably not, so let me try to unpack it.

As we’ve seen, unpacking issues usually becomes a trip into dark and scary places.

I hoped that MKX would at least be a decent emulation of the console version. A�In the graphics, animation, and sound departments, it was. A�For everything else, it was hopelessly not. A�I played the game because it kept me entertained for about 5 or 10 minutes (my usual attention span when it comes to mobile games), but I wished for more. A�Having my expectations somewhat diminished by the disappointment of MKX, I went into Injustice 2 figuring that it might just be the same and I’d end up deleting it from my phone in a month or two to make room.

Obviously, that hasn’t happened. A�I’m playing Injustice on a regular basis and it has now moved past Sim City as my second most played game after MTG:PQ. A�I don’t see it surpassing that game as, no matter how much it frustrates me, I really enjoy that one. A�I’m not sure what a game would need to do to become my favorite over MTG:PQ. A�It is just a solid mobile game with that MTG flavor that I enjoy so much.

In closing, I really, really like the Injustice 2 mobile app. A�There are a wide variety of characters with a complete move set. A�Several game modes keep the game feeling fresh even if mobile isn’t exactly the best way to experience a fighting game. A�It’s free and the virtual currencies are easy enough to obtain that I haven’t found myself considering a purchase at all. A�We all know that I will usually make my 10 or 20 dollar purchase to support the developers, but I haven’t figured out what that will look like for this one yet. A�So, download it and give it a try. A�I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.