I completely agree with you about The Other History of the DC Universe. You made some good points I meant to. Taking a short break from my ongoing "projects," I read...
AVENGERS #291-300: I was a big fan of Roger Stern's Avengers, especially as drawn by John Buscema and Tom Palmer. Unfortunately, an editorial dispute with Mark Guenwald drove Stern from the book, but he was replaced by Walt Simonson, whose arrival heralded many changes. when Simonson took over, the Avengers ranks stood at seven. Immediately, Marrina turned into a monster, and the sub-Mariner left three issues, leaving Thor, She-Hulk, the Black Knight and Dr. Druid, with Captain Marvel as Chairman.
Dr. Druid fell under the mental control of Nebula (masquerading as a Kang) and began to manipulate the other members to vote him in as Chairman. Captain Marvel was injured in #293, and by #294 was gone, leaving the "Kooky Quartet" of Druid, Thor, She-Hulk and black Knight. It was that team which fought against the Council of cross-Time Kangs.
Interestingly, the story consisted of a three-dimensional depiction (well, two, actually) of a four dimensional concept: a Time Bubble, 20 years in the future, and 15 years in "diameter." I have no idea how long "20 years" is in "Marvel Time" but, as they tried to penetrate it, multiple other grouping of Avengers from diverse timelines were trying to penetrate it as well. What makes it interesting is, the group that does penetrate the bubble is not the one the book is about. By the time the mission is complete, Dr. Duid has been lost, She-Hulk quits in despair, and Thor takes the Black Knight back to Asgard with him, leaving the Avengers' roster at zero.
Issue #298 cover-features Jarvis for the first time since #201. One-by-one and in pairs, a new team of Avengers coalesces over the course of the next three issues, leading to #300 and one of the most interesting (if short-lived) rosters in the teams history: The Captain (formerly Captain America), Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, Thor and Gilgamesh. Would anyone care to guess where I plan to go in my reading after this?
The Union #1: Not overwhelmed by this.
MARVELS: SNAPSHOTS: CIVIL WAR: An issue set during Marvel's "Civil War" event. [I just deleted a loooong paragraph about why I hate Civil War. You're welcome.] I don't know why I thought I'd like this. Maybe I wanted to see if the whole mess could be encapsulated in a single issue. If you liked Civil War, you may want to check it out; otherwise, give it a pass.
STRANGE ADVENTURES #7: I liked Tom King's Mister Miracle, but I liked it more after I re-read the entire Kirby series. Maybe it's time to delve into that Adam Strange omnibus.
X-RAY ROBOT #1-4: This is a confusing series when read month to month, especially when several months pass between the first two issues. Read in one sitting it's easier to follow, but still guaranteed to give you a headache if you think about it to hard.
FIRE POWER #1-6: Bought, read, loved #1-3. I didn't realize I had missed #4 until I got home with #5, but I didn't do anything about it until #6 shipped this week. I've just read/re-read all six in a row and I'm thinking I may need to go back and re-read the OGN as well. this is like a combination of Frank Miller's and Chris Samnee's Daredevil but with no super-heroes. (That's not to say there are no super powers, but it's mainly martial arts intrigue.) If this is not one of the best books currently on the market, it's certainly one of the best I am reading (and if there's a better one out there I'd like to know about it).
I've been concentrating on one discussion or another here recently to the exclusion of new comics, so yesterday and today have been "catch-up" days. Today is...
AHOY! COMICS CATCH-UP DAY:
SNIFTER OF BLOOD #1-2: After two series of Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Terror, the title has changed its name. Although ("Snifter of Blood" does make more sense, I must admit, the reason given for the change is that "Season Two" #1 isn't any more likely to attract new readers than a #7 would have been. It really shouldn't make all that much difference because each issue is a standalone anthology and can be read in any order, but I guess new readers wouldn't know that. Going forward, successive series will be titled "Snifter of [something else]," such as horror, skeletons, eyeballs, etc.
PENULTIMAN #2: Apparently, Antepenultiman (Penultiman's android understudy) makes a better superhero than he himself does.
BILLIONAIRE ISLAND #1-6: By the time I got around to reading this, the entire series had already been collected in tpb. But I am a man of Faith, and I trusted that any series by the same creative team responsible for The Flintstones (and the same writer of Second Coming) would be worth reading. The series is pretty much what you'd expect from those creators and with the title it has. Work began on this series in 2018 and the entire script was in the can pre-pandemic. Consequently, readers will marvel at how closely "life imitates art." The story is set in 2044 on an artificial island named "Freedom Unlimited" (or "FU Island") and is the best social satire in comic book form since the 2002 Howard the Duck series. The major theme of the series is backlash, which is something that has already begun in reality.
Of course, all nine of these comics are supplemented by clever short stories and other features, as are all AHOY! Comics. I realize now that there are several AHOY! Comics I have missed. I may take this opportunity to switch to trades going forward.
TOMB OF DRACULA: I have now read through issue #37, plus Giant-Size #4-5. #37 introduces Harold H. Harold and Aurora Rabinowicz. Harold is a hack writer who has sold his editor on the idea of an "interview with a vampire." (Tomb of Dracula #37 was published in July of 1975, and Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, May 1976.)
MORE AHOY! COMICS:
HAPPY HOUR #1: Jerry and Kim are fugitive anti-happiness rebels in a near-future America where sadness is a crime. By Peter Milligan and Michael Montenat.
PENULTIMAN #3: I have read every comic book published by Ahoy! Comics so far and, whereas I pretty much like them all, there are some I enjoy more than others. (Even the ones I don't like as much have short stories, most of which I like as well.) Happy Hour and Penultiman are two of the better ones. Penultiman is by Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson.
A free copy of Penultiman #0 is available at ComiXology
Here are some facemasks designed by Ahoy! comics colorist Felipe Sobreiro.
Jeff, if you're enjoying the short stories, I don't think Ahoy is reprinting them in the trades. (They do option a single reprint right, though -- maybe there'll be a prose collection in the future?)
Last night I read Last Days of the DC Universe, a Death Metal tie-in which doesn't have a whole lot to do with the plot of Death Metal. It's just about the heroes taking one last quiet moment before a big crisis. The specifics aren't very important.
It's a mixed bag. I loved the Green Arrow/Black Canary story by Gail Simone and Meghan Hetrick, and the Superman story by Mark Waid (!) and Francis Manapul. There's a very nice Titans faming story as well. (And if you're tempted to read the first and second part of it together, as I did, read the Bat-Family story between them.) There are a few duds, too -- Wonder Woman and Aquaman -- but it's mostly a pretty good book.
"Jeff, if you're enjoying the short stories, I don't think Ahoy is reprinting them in the trades."
Hmm... that's a consideration.
"Would anyone care to guess where I plan to go in my reading after this?"
FANTASTIC FOUR #337-341, 343-346: After the Avengers' unsuccessful attempt to breach the time bubble, it made sense to follow up with the Fantastic Four's successful attempt. Starting with the same issue number with which he began his classic Thor run, Simonson's first FF (story and art) pulled out all the stops. In addition to elements from his Avengers run, Simonson added Rosebud II (Reed Richards' time sled), Death's Head, the Dreaming Celestial and more. When they thought they had successfully returned to their own time #343-344), they were actually in an alternate reality in which Joseph Stalin was still the Russian Premiere, Dan Quayle was President of the United States and both countries were on the brink of war. After that, they crash-landed on an island in the Pacific populated by dinosaurs from the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous Ages, without their powers, and a platoon of modern day soldiers.
This is a good run, and one I have never re-read since it was first released. I had been saving it for a rainy day, and there's no more of a "rainy day" than 2020.
FANTASTIC FOUR #347-349: I like team books, particularly those drawn by George Perez, John Byrne, Jim Starlin, Kieth Giffin, etc. Also on that list is Arthur Adams (although he has drawn too few team books to suit me). I generally don't like books written by writer/artists (John Byrne, Howard chaykin, Walt Simonson) quite as well as I think I would if they are not also drawn by the same guy, but these three issues, written by Simonson and drawn by Adams, are an exception. It is also an exception that, whereas I've not re-read the majority of Simonson's FF run since it was originally released, I have read #347-349 from time-to-time.
The story is very much tongue-in-cheek, featuring (as it does) the so-called "New Fantastic Four": Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider (with a cameo appearance by the Punisher). the "World's Greatest Comic Magazine" tag line changed by turns to "Goofiest," "Most Commercialist" and "Most Collectable." Arthur Adams is well-known for his enthusiasm for drawing monsters, and these three issues (set on Monster Isle and also featuring the Skrulls) gave him the opportunity to drawn many of them, not only 1960s Marvel monster comics, but also from such diverse sources toy box illustrations.
My favorite such monster is "Membrain Man" from the late '60s Mattel toy set "The Lost World," part of the "Strange Change Time Machine" line. I probably would not have known this is my cousin didn't have a set of these toys. This is a toy that would never pass today's standards... never, ever, ever. (Unfortunately.) the change platform was a little heat chamber. the heat would cause these little plastic "bricks" to grown and transform into monsters or dinosaurs or whatever. (Jimmy's were dinosaurs.) When you were done playing, you could put the little figure into a kind of vice that smashed it back into a square.
I seem to have strayed somewhat from the topic of my original brief. In summary, Fantastic Four #347-349 is fun.
FANTASTIC FOUR #350: This issue features the return of Doctor Doom for the first time in... well, it's unclear. then thing makes a very questionable intuitive leap this issue, so I was quite careful to read this issue slowly so that i could follow. At one point, Doom says, "I have never forgotten that I swore to revenge muself on you for my humiliating defeat during the battle of the Baxter Building!" [#40], to whuich the thing responds, "Ya mean ya been a robot every time we've seen ya since then?"
Wait, what? As John Cleese might say, "Explain the logic underlying that conclusion!" Upon close reading, however, I noticed many, many contradictions in this one issue regarding which Doom appearances were real and which were robots and I have concluded that the whole point of this entire issue was to muddy the waters.
Recently Read: As Miss Beelzebub Likes, vol.11, by matoba