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2016 -2018 Weekly Comic Buys n' Reads
Topic Started: Jan 4 2016, 09:22 AM (9,874 Views)
Erick Von Erich
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It's a new year... and more of my endless babbling about re-reading old stuff while mostly ignoring what's hip n' trendy in modern comics.


New Titans #55
An inventory/human drama issue, as Wonder Girl gets a haircut and officially becomes "Troia". Her costume is made up of "gifts from the Gods (Titans)". She can project force fields, sorta' like "Sue Storm Lite".

Most importantly, Danny Chase is officially booted from the Titans. As soon as the team returns home, he runs up to Nightwing to tell him that Jason Todd has died, then says "no big deal. He knew the risks when he took the job". Nightwing is furious and almost beats him to a pulp. Nightwing then goes to visit Batman..and gets slugged by Bats for wanting to help.

I'm thinking Marv Wolfman finally caved in to fan pressure on Chase, but to the extreme. Like he said: "well, if you say he's a snot-nosed brat-- I'll give you a snot-nosed brat!! There! Mowahaha!" I think he was just pissed that fans didn't love him like he did; so now Chase is a jerk just to spite the fans.

Changeling is also grounded by Steve Dayton until he gets a 3.0 average in school. With Nightwing sitting back, the team is down to five: Troia, Cyborg, Jericho, Raven and Starfire.

New Titans #56
Spurred by a recent "Secret Origins" special that defined the missing 70's Titans (namely Flamebird, Bumblebee and Golden Eagle), this is a one-shot throwback issue featuring the Teen Titans and Titans West.

It deals with Gnarrk, the teenaged caveman (spelled as "Gnaark", "Gnaarrk" or "Gnarkk" throughout the story). Lilith is immediately connected to him as he's studied by STAR Labs for seemingly years. The story ends with saying that nobody knows what happened to Gnarrk or Lilith. So this basically wipes away anything that had happened with Lilith in the first 15 issues of this title... plus a few more stories with Azrael in the previous title.

New Teen Titans #57-59
The Wildebeest returns, again, controlling Cyborg and STAR Labs. Bumblebee temporarily re-joins the team through this caper. Nightwing returns at the end, then helps them turn the tables on the Wildebeest. The team attacks a nameless (but clearly seen) guy on Long Island and defeat him in his home... but another Wildebesst is seen laughing at the end.

Another new Troia power (since the plot needed it): she can project people's thoughts, if they're willing.

Nightwing then heads off to crossover with the Batman books and "A Lonely Place of Dying'-- the official introduction of Tim Drake. He names Cyborg as the team leader.

Issue 58 is also the debut of Tom Grummett as the main penciler on the book; over thumbnails by George Perez. So the big "return to glory" with Perez lasted all of 6 issues (he didn't pencil issue 56). In his defense, he was said to have had a serious bout of pneumonia. His pencils didn't look as crisp in this return; I attribute that to new inker Bob McLeod, though.
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Erick Von Erich
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New Titans #60
Part 2 of "Lonely Place of Dying", but it's also a transition from the previous Batman arc "Year Three" (which involved Nightwing). Dick goes back to Haly's Circus and helps solve a murder/corruption scheme. He's helped out by Tim Drake... who's been following and monitoring both Dick and Batman.

Seems a little funny that Tim is the ONLY person in the DCU who's been able to figure out Nightwing and Batman's ID's by reading news stories and looking at pictures.

The Titans, proper, make little more than a cameo. They call Alfred and that's it. You can also indulge your Inner Beavis if constantly reading lines like: "we need Dick" makes you chuckle.
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Erick Von Erich
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It's official: I'm no longer a devout follower of modern comics*. I wandered into a comic shop, last weekend, hoping to pick up the final issue of Marvel's "Secret Wars" mess. Was told that it was out, over a month ago, and that they had no back issues.

Wasn't upset about them not having it, because I realized that I didn't care.

I understand DC is doing yet-another reset. Marvel apparently just did so... basically so they can align more with their movie/TV universe. I imagine DC is doing the same. It makes sense and it's a great marketing move for both companies. Movies and TV are much more accessible than comic books.

Only problem is that it won't last. They put out too many comics, per month, that storylines will soon diverge from what they want to be standard and accessible (or the movie/TV universes).

DC and Marvel super heroes have become like Looney Tunes or Disney cartoons, respectively. This is not an insult; like I said, it's great marketing. Both companies are probably making more money than they ever have. Popularity is off the charts, as well. Everybody knows Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse... but not too many people are hung up about what those characters have been doing in their monthly serial adventures. That's the big difference and change in modern super heroes.

Sure, there will always be some clown who says: "well, in the comics..." but it's like the person who read the book before seeing the movie. Yeah, there are differences in ANY media translation. You don't gain any extra points because you are One That Knows. Not even a free small soda at the snack bar.



*I still like comics and super hero stupidity. Love 'em. Probably always will. I'm still getting my ONE comic book a month, though: IDW's GI Joe. But it doesn't feel like a "true" comic book and I'm actually hoping it ends soon. When I think "comic books" I think "DC and Marvel Super Heroes". I'd say they're about 90% of my 30+ long boxes.

Still gonna' re-read all my old crap, too. Hit a technical snag in my Titans re-do, but I should be able to pick it back up, next month.
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The Swigg Lebowski
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We've had a lot of dudes dropping titles from their list for similar reasons.

DC's "rebirth" is getting a lot of flak right now. A little over four years from the "new 52", and months after "DC You" makes DC feel like a reactionary publisher, with no true direction. Basically the TNA to Marvel's WWE.

That's not to say that dudes are happy with Marvel, though. I've heard lots of "Thats not my _____" when it comes to some of the character changes.

I feel like this is part of the bigger problem of being adults with the internet. We now know TOO MUCH about things we care about. Sports, Wrestling, Comics, Movies, etc. Whereas before we could speculate about things, and didn't have much information to go on, we now have detailed behind the curtain info that changes how we see and process things. For example: To learn what we now know about movies 30 years ago, you'd have to read Variety, or other "inside" trade publications. All you'd hear about a movie was when the trailer was released and the stars started doing press. Now, we know about when it's in concept, when it's greenlit, when it's cast, who's cast, what they had for lunch, how they got along on set with others, and what their dog thinks of the director. All of that changes how we feel about everything. It's definitely changed wrestling, comics, tv, and movies for me.
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Infinite Devil Machine
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Isn't this whole DC Rebirth thing an attempt to tie into Superman vs. Batman and the *shudders* DCCU?

I've had an idea floating around in my mind for quite some time now to help untangle the continuity of both company's long-running lines of books;

Start a series at Marvel based on; Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, Incredible Hulk, Captain America, The Avengers, and maybe... just maybe... Dr. Strange and The Guardians of The Galaxy using only the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity and preexisting films as the jumping off point for beginning these stories. Make it an entirely separate line of books, aimed at casual fans or just people who discovered these characters through the movies, and don't leave that version of those characters continuity. And please, for the love of God, don't try to intersect the MCU-branded comic's world with the Earth 616 mainstream Marvel continuity. And vice-versa. Keep these stories simple and action-packed. Get someone who can emulate the writing voice of Joss Whedon to write these. Stick with the movie designs and costuming. If there needs to be a new character introduced, stick to the same semi-"real world" designs the movies use.

Call it Marvel Cinematic Universe: Extended Cut - "Off The Screen And Back To The Page".

Also, DC could do the same thing. Same idea, same concept.

That being said, keep the Marvel 616 stuff the quagmire of plot threads, obscure characters, and baffling crossovers it already is. Just... I dunno... hire a Wikia editor to create an official Wiki portal for every big crossover with a lot of references, character bios, and explanations for all the shit that's going on. That'll make these impenetrable crossover stories slightly more penetrable for the average reader.
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The Swigg Lebowski
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It's too late, man. There's already an Agents of SHIELD comic that mirrors the TV show, with Coulson, May and the whole gang.

Also: Nick Fury, Jr.
Scrooge McSuck
 
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Erick Von Erich
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Infinite Devil Machine,Feb 17 2016
02:42 PM
Start a series at Marvel based on; Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, Incredible Hulk, Captain America, The Avengers, and maybe... just maybe... Dr. Strange and The Guardians of The Galaxy using only the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity and preexisting films as the jumping off point for beginning these stories. Make it an entirely separate line of books, aimed at casual fans or just people who discovered these characters through the movies, and don't leave that version of those characters continuity.

This was done, circa 2008-2010, with the "Marvel Adventures" line (I think that's what it was called). They released Iron Man, Thor and a few others, all following what was established in the movies. The art was a little scaled-down, too.

Problem is, as long as there are Comic Book Fans, they'll want to read the "real" stuff (Marvel 616) and not really care about the others. Sure, there will be surges in popularity of the other stuff (see: "Marvel 2099" in 1993, "Mutant X" in 1999 and "Ultimate Marvel" in 2001), but they usually die out within 3 years.

Comic Book Fans are a dying breed, though. New fans who get into it just want a fun, self-contained, story. Which is why stuff like "Superman: Red Sun" remains popular. I'm a little surprised that "Kingdom Come" isn't... but it really only works if you lived through the 90's surge in violence, guns and "kick ass" heroes.

Have a good buddy who likes to ask all sorts of questions about what's "right" for DC and Marvel. He's new to the whole thing and has been watching Justice League (animated) from 2001-2006, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes from 2010-2012, plus the modern movies. I just tell him to stick to the main points of each character-- don't stress over which details are "right" and "wrong".
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Erick Von Erich
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Marvel Two-in_one #61-63
Starts out very ambitious: Her, the female follow-up to (Adam) Warlock comes to Earth, wanting to mate with him... oh by the way, Warlock is dead. So she grabs Alicia Masters to help her, which brings the Thing running and completely random hero, Starhawk.

Soon, Moondragon also arrives and everybody hooks up with the High Evolutionary on a quest to find Counter-Earth and, possibly, Warlock's body. They find out that Counter-Earth has been hi-jacked and is currently being towed away by a group of 20-ft aliens called "The Prime Movers"... who were hired by the mysterious "Beyonders".

They find Warlock's body at his grave on Counter-Earth. Her tries to revive him, but realizes that Warlock's soul is actually trapped in the missing Soul Gem, and his body's worthless without it. Then things just...end.

Plenty of open plotlines from this; so who knows if they ever got resolved. What happened to Counter-Earth? Who are the Beyonders? What happened to Her? Is Warlock really alive? Who cares, cuz' next issue the Thing's back on Earth and we start a new story. I think this was around the time that the main FF title was taken over by John Byrne. So who knows if these plots were supposed to be followed-up on in "Fantastic Four". High Evolutionary and Counter-Earth were handled there, in the 70's.

There's also some weird gender-bending stuff in these MTIO's. Her was actually an attempt at a second Warlock. But for this model to "fulfill its destiny", it decided to become a female so it can mate with Warlock. Then add in the ongoing flip-flopping bodies of Starhawk and his wife, Aleta.
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Erick Von Erich
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New Titans #61
Part four of the Batman crossover "Lonely Place of Dying". Tim Drake is insistent that "Batman needs a Robin" and asks Dick Grayson to wear the suit again. Dick, of course, refuses and helps out Batman as Nightwing. Tim's glad Batman has a partner again, but still feels something is missing. Gee, WHAT could that be?

They track down Two-Face to a gimmicked warehouse, where everything's upside down, and the catch-all plot device of a BOMB goes off. Gee, ya' think Batman and Nightwing are dead?

The Titans have a few pages, this issue. Somebody's been calling them (presumably the Wildebeest), the hanging up. Wow, can the Titans stop a prank phone caller?! Oh, Jericho also shaved off his muttonchops a few issues ago, so now he looks like an 80's hair band member with his curly mullet.

Interesting letter points out something I didn't realize (or had forgotten): since "Crisis", the Titans have been left out of (most) DC-wide crossovers or plots. It's floated that this is because they're "Direct Only", which creates conflict with the "newsstand" titles. This Batman crossover is the exception-- but we're now in late 1989 and the direct market has been gaining a bigger foothold.
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Erick Von Erich
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New Titans #62-64
A three-part story that features the long-awaited (for real) return of (Deathstroke) the Terminator. Terminator gets suckered into smuggling a "were-person" virus (or "plague") into the US, thinking it was medical supplies. Unravels into a big conspiracy plot involving senators and businessmen.

The were-people (mostly were-rats, without the nighttime limitation) attack the Titans, taking out Jericho and Raven, while injuring Troia. Terminator and the Titans track down the main bad guy; named "Scourge"; and he dies in a ball of flame. A pretty mediocre story to bring back Terminator, so they pad things out by having the plague subplot, and its effects on Jericho and Raven, continue for a few more issues.

Some other developments:
-There's a LOT of blood and gore in issue 63. Guys getting their throats ripped out and stabbed, violently. Maybe they were pushing the "Direct Only" guidelines?

-Speedy returned to active duty as Nightwing's replacement in issue 60. Speedy's costume goes from sleeveless to short sleeves and back. Sometimes within the same page.

-Last two panels have Tim Drake showing up at Dick Grayson's apartment for training. Letters are in for "Lonely Place of Dying" and it seems, now that Nightwing's involved, the new Robin concept is a-okay with most folks.

-George Perez had stopped doing breakdowns and has left the book, again. Tom Grummett does a very capable job as his replacement. His style is a little like Perez meets, umm, Todd McFarlane, yet more refined. Very good use of perspectives. His faces always look a little pudgy, though. New inker Al Vey seems to help, as well.
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JimBob Skeeter
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God, the "Direct Only" line. Hadn't thought of that in YEARS. Speaking of that, what month/year were these three issues?
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JimBob Skeeter
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God, the "Direct Only" line. Hadn't thought of that in YEARS. Speaking of that, what month/year were these three issues?
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Erick Von Erich
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Don't have them in front of me, but I believe they're late 1989 into early 1990. I remember "Lonely Place of Dying" (intro Tim Drake) was coming out in late 1989, getting a big boost from the Batman movie. As part of that, issue 64 of "New Titans" features Batman prominently on the cover and in the story.

Also, due to the "Direct Only" thing, issues 60 and 61 were very pricey and hard to find for a few years. I didn't pick up issue 61 until late 1994. Think it was still about 6 or 7 bucks, at the time.
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Erick Von Erich
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New Titans #65
I was wrong: Batman is prominent on the cover of this issue, but doesn't appear in the story, at all. Dick Grayson takes Tim Drake on some practice missions, to refine his observation, patience and overall conduct. They eventually pursue some drug dealers, which leads them into the whole "Wereperson Virus" from the last few issues. Nightwing is reunited with the Titans and they save the day. Tim watches from the bleachers and leaves with Dick's official approval.

Another Tim Drake Approval: Changeling thinks he's another brat, like Danny Chase. Tim quickly quells the fire by being friendly and complimentary towards Gar. So the formula for a successful "New Robin" seems to be: 1- Don't be a dick 2- Get Nightwing's approval. Works for the story and, most importantly, with the readers.

During the fight, Raven temporarily turns all red-skinned, again, under the influence of the virus. Everybody thinks she's gone back to Trigon... which may be an intentional subplot, for the next 3-5 years. Terminator returns home to Africa, too. He worked very much like a "guest star hero" and was working, side-by-side, with the team.
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Erick Von Erich
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New Titans #66-67
Raven falls in love with Eric Forrester,a meta-human the team met at STAR labs in issue 49. He kinda' looks like Razor Ramon and is a "cyberpath" who can control electronics. Doing so also causes him to "absorb the souls" of others. So he wants to bang Raven and absorb her soul-self.

Basically a Raven/Jericho story, as it all ends in a big mystical brouhaha and Raven is reunited with her mother (again). Since Jericho was involved, I think this may be a "backdoor pilot" explanation for the mess that becomes the 1991-1993 "Titans Hunt".
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