Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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I haven't read any new comic books today, but a thing or two I intended to say yesterday did occur to me.

Re: Marvel Snapshots (or rather Alex Ross covers): . Alex Ross is the cover artist for this series. I don't often buy alternate covers, but when I do, an Alex Ross cover is often the swaying factor. Back when comics were, say, 60 cents apiece, I would routinely buy comics I wouldn't otherwise just because of the cover. Not at $4, though. Recently Marvel has offered a number of Alex Ross variants with no cover copy which I have, reluctantly, passed.

Re: Shazam! #15 (or rather DC movie casting): There's an ad on the inside cover which features photos of Captain Marvel "Shazam", Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Whenever I see a picture of Gal Gadot, I think how perfect she'd be cast as Marvel's Elektra. and whenever I see pictures of Jason Momoa, I wonder, "What's Vandal Savage doing in an Aquaman costume?" On the back cover is another picture of Gal Gadot, but before I realized it was an ad for Wonder Woman 1984, I was dead certain it was Donna Troy in her Darkstars uniform. 

Isn't it being a good story on its own enough of a point? Done-in-ones are fun!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SHAZAM! #15: The cover of this issue is of Captain Marvel (sorry, I will never get used to calling him "Shazam") sitting atop the head of a giant robot he has just defeated, striking the post of Rodin's Thinker, and posing the question, "What now?" Good question. Not only does it reflect the state of DC's publishing plans for 2021, but also that this is the last issue of the series. I'd recommend it, but what would be the point?

The story itself (about Billy Batson's interactions with a substitute teacher) was pretty good.

I also read X-Men: Marvels Snapshots #1 and liked it. Of course, I'm an old-school Cyclops fan, and was predisposed to like it. But it covered ground that nothing in this character's 57-year history had covered before. In all other origins, Scott's time in the orphanage is breezed over, and this time we actually get a look at it -- which addresses how the Summers brothers got separated. (Also ignored in earlier origin stories, because he didn't exist until Roy Thomas invented him in 1968.)

It's worth noting that Marvel has listed this book both as Marvels Snapshots: X-Men #1, and X-Men: Marvels Snapshots #1. Ditto the other Snapshots books. But when the first one arrived I checked the indicia, and they are putting the character name first. I guess because these are actually a series of one-shots united only by packaging rather than story, and are all #1s. I rather prefer this approach, as I can file X-Men: Marvels Snapshots #1 with the X-books, Spider-Man: Marvels Snapshots #1 with the Spider-books, and they also appear together in alphabetical lists.

I'm also catching up on all the X-books in preparation for X of Swords. I had bought and read all the House of X and Powers of X books off the stands last year so I could write about them, and the first issues of all the new titles. So I've had to catch up on Excalibur, Marauders, New Mutants, X-Force and X-Men. Next up are the new titles, like Cable, X-Factor, Wolverine and Hellions. I'm undecided about Fallen Angels, but I probably will if it's on Marvel Unlimited.

Speaking of which, while I bought all the back issues I needed (I found them online at cover price, so I was willing to), I've discovered that it's actually easier to read them on Marvel Unlimited than to tear the tape off a series of bagged comics. For one thing, that wakes up my wife. The only downside is the four-month lag, so I'll have to read hard copies of the most recent issues.

And they're not bad. They're good X-Men comics, if you don't mind everyone acting out of character. (Wolverine and Cyclops sharing Jean between them? Nothing in all three characters' histories would indicate they'd be OK with this. Vulcan acting like a typical teenage boy instead of the murderous psychopath he used to be? Huh.) It's almost like Hickman has jumped back in time and corrected everyone's mishandling over the years, and is substituting his own mishandling.

That actually sounds pretty bad. But we've all been through so many reboots at this point it's easy to accept another -- especially since the previous incarnation of the team had been written into a pretty dark corner. This sunnier approach -- hey, we're all immortal! Nobody's mad at anybody! Let's fight and dance and eff all day! -- is a soothing corrective.

Even Cable isn't a grouchy old man anymore.. He's a fun-loving teenager now, who was, at one time, dating all six of the Cuckoos. Man talk about wish fulfillment for a teenage boy ...

Also, I've noticed one error that Hickman has fixed, which is basically having the same popular X-Men in every book, to the detriment of the lesser characters. (Looking at you, Wolverine.) Not this time. Excalibur takes place in England, with characters that only appear there, and New Mutants and Marauders are pretty self-contained, too.

I will allow that some characters appear in more than one place. But it's not as gratuitous as it used to be. Wolverine does appear in three titles, but specifically the ones where he ought to: the main X-Men book, X-Force and his own solo title. Marvel Girl features in X-Men and X-Force. Cyclops' story takes place in X-Men, but he's apt to show up in cameo anywhere, as he is basically infrastructure, like Professor Xavier and Magneto. But the stories of most of the characters, like Beast, Colossus, Domino, Kitty, Storm, et al, take place in one book and one book only. Almost everybody gets a chance to shine somewhere.

Except maybe Nightcrawler, who is starting a mutant religion off camera. And X-23, who is trapped in an accelerated-time dimension. I've only seen Armor once so far. Banshee has only appeared in cameo. So I guess some characters are given short shrift. But I imagine, with this all-eggs-in-the-Krakoan-basket scenario, anyone can take center stage somewhere at any time. And I haven't gotten to the new titles, which may ameliorate some of it.

I'm also keeping up with Dark Nights: Death Metal, "Joker War" and Three Jokers, and I'll have more to say about those later.

DITKO IS... STRANGE: For those of you who are still kind of miffed that Marvel Masterworks Dr. Strange stopped just five stories short of including the complete Lee/Ditko "Dr. Strange" between two covers, be advised that Ditko is... STRANGE! does include the entire run... and it's HUGE!

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: Back in the DC Archives days, Legion of Super-Heroes Archives reprinted every LSH story from the beginning through Superboy #233 in 13 volumes, but that series came to a close in 2012. In 2017, released Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes picking up where the archives left off, but that series lasted only two volumes (through Legion of Super-Heroes #259). 

The Good News: A new volume (first in a series?) reprints #260-271.

The Bad News: It's a trade paperback rather than a hardcover.

"Ditko is strange, when you're a stranger..."

I too read X-Men: Snapshots #1, and I liked it. I’m not drenched in X-men lore, so this was a lot of fun for me, and this was really well done. I was ticked I didn’t get the Alex Ross cover, and if I really wanted to be a PITA, I would take this back to my LCS and exchange it, but it isn’t a big enough deal for me.

Also:

History Comics: The Roanoke Colony – I honestly didn’t know much about the colony’s story besides when the English returned, everyone was gone and CROATOAN carved into some wood. A lot happened before this discovery was made, including the people missing were the second batch who arrived at that location. It is narrated by two Native Americans who actually traveled to England with some other original settlers who had returned. Written and drawn by Chris Schweizer who is no stranger to historical comics with his fictional “Crogan” books. There are some pretty “out there” theories, but he backs those up with some research. This was really good.

Pulp by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Not that there recent stories have been bad, but this is my favorite of what they have done since “Fade Out”. Highly recommended.

Since I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for it, I also read Fire Power: Prelude and Fire Power #1. I think it lived up to the hype.

Detective Comics #1027. Mostly good. As always, too much Joker for me (one appearance is too much for me). I also didn’t like having two stories that were to be continued elsewhere. Outside of that I enjoyed it. Clocking in at 144 pages you get quite a bit.

Transformers 84 #1-3 – Simon Furman returns to the Transformers for a mini-series that is a prequel to the original Marvel series. Its only 4 issues and he packs a lot into these first 3. Tons of action, and I loved it. He also provides notes at the end of each issue, and that was fun. He is also trying to fix some continuity problems from that series, which I never would have noticed, but it is still neat.

Green Lantern Corps #45 & 46 – I’ve also been reading some back issues. Nothing real special about these two, it was just more along the lines of,”Holy crap! "Blackest Night" was a decade ago!?”

Captain Comics said:

It's worth noting that Marvel has listed this book both as Marvels Snapshots: X-Men #1, and X-Men: Marvels Snapshots #1. Ditto the other Snapshots books. But when the first one arrived I checked the indicia, and they are putting the character name first. I guess because these are actually a series of one-shots united only by packaging rather than story, and are all #1s. I rather prefer this approach, as I can file X-Men: Marvels Snapshots #1 with the X-books, Spider-Man: Marvels Snapshots #1 with the Spider-books, and they also appear together in alphabetical lists.

Listing books for sale in two places alphabetically makes a lot of sense. Hopefully, whoever is listing the books realizes that 20 copies ordered in both places is 20 copies, not 40. Early in the series League of Extraordinary Gentleman, my friend and comic shop owner missed ordering the second (or third) volume because Diamond listed it as "LOEG." Years ago when I was maintaining his website I made a point of listing all of the Constantine and Hellblazer TPBs is both the Cs and the Hs.

MARVEL CLASSICS COMICS: I pre-ordered this some time ago. If I'd've had better knowledge of the contents, I probably would have given it a pass. The idea of Classics Illustrated told in "The Mighty Marvel Manner" appealed to me, but what I was really hoping for was surprising and unexpected artistist pairing such as those I discovered back in the mid-2Ks when Marvel reprinted many of their romance comics. I was expecting interior artwork by the artists who did some of the covers (such as Gil Kane and John Bescema). what I got instead was third tier artists from Marvel's art stable in the Philippines.

Here's the list: "Sonny Trinidad, Yong Montano, Dino Castrillo, Jess Jodloman, the Tribe, Rod Santiago, Rudy Messina, Pete Lijauco, Michael Golden, Rico Rival, the Philippine Tribe, the New Tribe, Alfredo Alcala, Frank Bolle & more." Some of those names you will no doubt recognize; others I daresay you won't. All are at least solid journeyman artists, but none are really exciting, at least not here. Most of the issues seem to be illustrated by either Dino Castrillo or Jess Jodloman. You'll see  Michael Golden's name in there, but this is early in his career, and he illustrated only one of four stories in the Edgar Allan Poe issue.

If this still sounds good to you, go for it. Just don't make the same mistake I did. 

BATMAN: THREE JOKERS - BOOK TWO: I don't remember exactly what i said about Book One, but it was probably something like this: Intriguing concept, well-written and well-drawn, but I'm not sure if it's in "continuity" (whatever that is). 

X-RAY ROBOT #2: I probably should have re-read issue #1 before moving on to #2. (This first issue was pre-pandemic, so there was a five or six month gap between.) It's a pretty convoluted time-travel story, similar to The Man Who Effed Up Time.

STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #14: I have slowly been losing interest in this series from month to month. At first I thought the inclusion of information not revealed to fans until "the next generation" strengthened continuity, but now I see it as increasingly anachronistic. when this series first began, I was concerned IDW would take the title too literally and limit it to only 12 issues, but this seems like quite enough. This is not the last issue but, as it so happens, #14 presents a good stopping point. OTOH, in the next issue Harry Mudd runs for Federation President, so we'll see.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #9: An unusual-if-not-unique issue in which each page features a different character and is illustrated by a different artist, yet tells a single, cohesive story. 

Jeff, from what I can tell, that Legion volume -- Legion of Super-Heroes volume 1: Before The Darkness -- is a hardcover. (It better be..! It costs $50!) My Amazon order says its due on Feb 2, 2021. It also includes Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes 1-3.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

DITKO IS... STRANGE: For those of you who are still kind of miffed that Marvel Masterworks Dr. Strange stopped just five stories short of including the complete Lee/Ditko "Dr. Strange" between two covers, be advised that Ditko is... STRANGE! does include the entire run... and it's HUGE!

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: Back in the DC Archives days, Legion of Super-Heroes Archives reprinted every LSH story from the beginning through Superboy #233 in 13 volumes, but that series came to a close in 2012. In 2017, released Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes picking up where the archives left off, but that series lasted only two volumes (through Legion of Super-Heroes #259). 

The Good News: A new volume (first in a series?) reprints #260-271.

The Bad News: It's a trade paperback rather than a hardcover.

"(It better be..! It costs $50!)"

I didn't notice the price, but it wouldn't be the first time a DC product has been mis-solicited in its own catalog.

Thanks for pointing that out.

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