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

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LONE WOLF & CUB v25: Chapters 122-127
LONE WOLF & CUB v26: Chapters 128-132
LONE WOLF & CUB v27: Chapters 133-137
LONE WOLF & CUB v28: Chapters 138-142:

I had a general notion of how this story ended although this is the first time I have actually finished it. Reading it is so much better than merely know what happens. On the surface, Itto Ogami is destroying Samurai culture from within Samurai culture but, in a larger sense, I think Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima saying that humanity has been in decline for quite some time now.  Lone Wolf & Cub is truly epic, and I have three ideas of what I might read next, as a follow-up.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK: This is my second time through Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, but my first time in a sitting. As originally released, this 12-issue series was spread out over years. Consequently, although I enjoyed each individual issue the first time through, I had kind of "lost the story" by the last issue. That's okay. That happens frequently with more complex stories, even ones that are not frequently delayed. But this time I must admit that I still kind of "lost the story" by the time I got to the end. Previously, I thought that issue #10 was the most important of the twelve, but this time I'm thinking it was #12. (#10 is the kind of meta-textual issue which explains in details what changes Dr. Manhattan made to Superman's history from 1938 to the present, but #12 explores the themes of the series.) That's something to keep in mind for my next read-through (which, admittedly, won't be for some time). 

It's funny how there are things that bug me and things that don't.  I can accept  all sorts of ridiculous things - spider-men, human torches, squirrel girls, I got no problem with these.  That some mundane could just throw on a costume and fight crime, that I find more fantastic.  Al Pratt should've been shot dead by the first armed criminal he encountered.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Captain Comics said:

Re: United States of Captain America: I'm waiting until I have all five issues until I start reading, but let me echo your comments, Baron. When this thing started, I referenced the last time an amateur tried cosplaying as the Star-Spangled Avenger, and ended up murdered by the Red Skull. (Roscoe something.) That would be the natural outcome of playing superhero without any training or technical/physical advantage. I was hoping the series would address that, but from your comments, I guess not.

What happened to Roscoe was a step down the road of making comics "realistic," and you all know where I stand on "realistic". If I can accept the fantasy of a vigilante donning a costume to fight crime in the first place, I can accept they can do it without a lifetime of Olympic-level training. 

The Baron said:

It's funny how there are things that bug me and things that don't.  I can accept  all sorts of ridiculous things - spider-men, human torches, squirrel girls, I got no problem with these.  That some mundane could just throw on a costume and fight crime, that I find more fantastic.  Al Pratt should've been shot dead by the first armed criminal he encountered.

Likewise for Batman, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Daredevil, Hawkeye .... 

"I have three ideas of what I might read next, as a follow-up."

Actually, that statement was premature, as one of the three was...

NEW LONE WOLF & CUB v1:

The original LW&C by Kazuo Koike (writer) and Goseki Kojima (artist) ran for nearly six full years from 1970 to 1976. Goseki Kojima died in 2000, after which Kazuo Koike "sank to the bottom of a very dark place." Then Brazilian soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo announced he had gotten his hair cut to lok like Daigoro's which snapped Kazuo Koike out of his depression. for 27 years fans had asked the question, "Whatever became of Daigoro?" At last Kazuo Koike was ready to tell that tale, but first he sought the permission of Goseki Kojima's widow. Once she approved, he chose Hideki Mori, who was inspired to become an artist by read the original LW&C, as his collaborator. 

The final battle took 33 episodes to unfold, interrupted by unexpected truces and natural disasters. I have never read New LW&C before because, until now, I have never finished LW&C. However, when the first volume of New LW&C shipped, I did flip through it, semi-spoiling the ending of the original. New LW&C (also published by Dark Horse in America) is presented in true Japanese fashion, not the left-to-right "flipped" version of the original. I would compare the difference in art between Goseki Kojima and Hideki Mori to the difference between Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson. This translation chooses to preserve far more of the original Satsuma dialect than the previous translation. The presentation of the Japanese sound effects in the new version is also more friendly to American ears. 

11 volumes. 

Currently re-reading my "The Rook" collection, and am halfway through the Warren Publishing earlies.

SUPERBOY: THE COMIC BOOK #1:

I've been in a kind of "Superman" mood lately, which has led to to re-watching the Superboy television show and re-reading the comic book based on it. I don't know how far I'll go, but so far I've watched the first four episodes of the TV series and read the first issue of the comic book. I don't generally like stories in any medium based on stories from another medium. That is, I don't care for movies or television shows based on comics books, nor do I like comic books based on TV or movies. Superboy: The Comic Book is an odd duck, though, being a comic book based on a TV show based on a comic book.

The TV show is pretty stupid, frankly. I didn't even bother to watch it when it initially aired. I didn't watch it until it was released on DVD, and then strictly for the cheesy camp aspect. But, perhaps oddly given the circumstances (or perhaps not), Superboy: The Comic Book is superior to to its source (it's direct source, anyway). Although the comic book didn't start until the second season of the TV series (as can be seen by the cover photo, which depicts Gerard Christopher rather than John Haymes Newton), the story actually takes place before season one, episode one. 

The art is by Jim Mooney and Ty Templeton, and Clark/Superboy and Lana are not drawn to look like Newton/Christopher of Stacy Haiduk, but rather their familiar comic book depictions. The stories, by John Moore, are meant to tell interstitial tales not covered on TV. So far, it's off to a good start. 

SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #1:

Still in my "Superman" phase, I moved on to Superman Adventures, a tie-in to the then-new animated series. At one time, the Batman Adventures comic book did a better job of presenting the kind of Batman stories I wanted to read than the actual Batman or Detective Comics, but I couldn't get past the simplistic, cartoony "animation style" artwork to really enjoy it. That style is used in cartoons because it's easy to animate, but there's really no practical need to use it in comic books (except for marketing purposes, I suppose). The Superman Adventures comic book is rendered in that same "cartoony" style, but it is at least justified here because it ties so closely with the animated series. In a true example of retroactive continuity (or perhaps simply "continuity"), the first issue takes place at a specific place on the timeline, specifically between episodes two and three.

NEW LONE WOLF & CUB v2: Daigoro has hooked up with Togo Shigekara of the Satsuma clan and his own training begins. Togo Shigekara speaks a dialect that even other characters don't necessarily understand. There are certain words in his speech that are left untranslated to reflect this, but they are defined in the glossary. He is carrying some sort of "secret letter" to Satsuma, but I don't think readers are supposed to know exactly what is going on at this point. (I don't, in any case.) Travelling with a child has slowed him down, so assassins have been sent to hurry him along a bit.

Unrelated to the story, I once spilled a cup of coffee on a stack of new books sitting upright on their bindings. The worst of the damage was sustained by a paperback of prose stories featuring the "War Doctor" and a HC collection of Wally Wood's "Dynamo" stories took some minor damage as well. Also, about one third of the pages of this volume are browned and wrinkled by coffee stains. (I had forgotten about that.) At least the front cover remains undamaged. 

I feel the need to split this week's comics into two posts. Let's start with Marvel, alphabetically. 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #32-33: In "This Week in Comics," Cap clued me in to this new storyline, "The Last of the Marvels." I like Carol Danvers as a character (and "Captain Marvel" as a concept), but I haven't really followed any of her solo series (beyond the original Ms. Marvel, that is). The last story I read was the one that established that Carol Danvers was a hybrid, born of a Kree mother and a human father. That one was pretty good. 

A lot has happened since. Most recently, she has defeated a character called Vox Supreme, who dressed her in a black suit that controlled her actions and sent her against the Avengers. In #32, she is attacked by a woman dressed in a similar suit, a woman who turns out to be Phylla-Vell, Guardian of the Galaxy and former Captain Marvel. Fearing that Vox is "collecting" former Captain Marvel, Carol tries to contact Monica Rambeau with no luck. She then heads to the apartment of Kamila Khan, the current Ms. Marvel, only to find her under attack by four other black-garbed characters, three male, one female. 

In issue #33, Ms. Marvel revives and the two fight off the four mysterious characters until help arrives. One of the black-garbed characters is revealed to Monica Rambeau, now known as Spectrum. Lauri-ell, Carol's "sister" (?) rescues Ms. Marvel and takes her to Tony stark while Carol pursues Vox and discovers that he is holding captive "Rhodey, Jessica, Jennifer, Monica, Noh-Var and Genis-Vell" (the latter of who is presumed dead). 

I feel as if I need to refresh my memory concerning the last few decades worth of Captains Marvel but, other than that, this story is moving along at a steady clip. 

DEFENDERS #3: There are some series that transcend "neat ideas" (such as "Galactus' mother). This is one of them.

SPIDER-MAN #74: Apparently this is a story that has been running for three years now. I bought it because it seeks to overturn "Sins Past" and "One More Day," the stories that drove me away from the Spider-titles for good (so far). Whether or not it succeeds is up to the individual reader, but I see several plot holes that were not addressed. Before the Goblin serum, before insanity, this story asks us to believe that Norman Osborn sold his son's soul to Mephisto for wealth and power. It also reveals that Gwen "children" from "Sins Past" (now known collectively as "Kindred") were clones all along. Also, that Harry Osborn was behind them, even though "Sins Past" occurred some time before he was resurrected following "One More Day" (although it does explain why he was resurrected). It does nothing to correct the injustice of Peter and Mary jane's daughter being written out of continuity.

To be perfectly honest, this is the kind of "con-con" (convoluted continuity) story that would have really appealed to me as recently as 20 years ago, but as long as I'm being honest, it's also the kind of story that embarrasses me for being a comic book reader for so long. I would never show this issue to a non-comics reader.

There is also a back-up feature in which Peter meets an old acquaintance of Uncle Ben's. He tells Peter that his Uncle Ben felt that himself felt that he used the excuse of helping strangers as an excuse to avoid responsibility to his family, to which Peter replies, "I... know. And I always thought... Wait. Is that what he meant? Don't tell me I've had it wrong this whole time..." I'm not really sure what Peter's referring to here. In Amazing Fantasy #15, Ben Parker had a grand total of two word balloons before he died. The first was, "You're not foolin' me, Petey! I know you're awake... and it's time for school!" and the second was. "Don't fatten him up too much, dear! I can hardly out-wrestle him now!" The Wit and Wisdom of Ben Parker would be a very thin book is what I'm saying.

It occurs to me that Spider-Man is Marvel's highest-numbered title. Avengers is numbered in the 40s and Fantastic Four in the 30s, but other than that, I don't think there's a single series that has lasted more that 30 issues, is there? Huh. After all these years, I have finally become Irwin Donefeld's theoretical "smart kid."

SPIDER-MAN #75: As much as I disliked #74, I liked #75. For one thing, I've always liked the concept of Ben Reilly... when done right (which, admittedly, wasn't very often). I'm not quite certain how he's alive (last I saw, he disintegrated in Pater's arms), but at least he's finally doing something smart. In a previous story, Dr. Octopus trademarked the "Spider-Man" name and likeness. Now the Beyond Corporation has bought the trademark and hired Ben Reilly to be Spider-Man. Ben enters the story to inform Peter that he will now have to share the identity. Actually, I would think Peter should be served with a "cease and desist" notice to protect Beyond's trademark, but perhaps that's coming. Spider-Man is going weekly for the next 19 weeks (ugh) as this plays out. I'll stick with it a while longer yet to see where it goes. 

Kamala Khan has an apartment?  Does she no longer live at home?

"I'm enroute to Ms. Marvel in New Jersey in the hope that I'm not too late..."

"[Vox] sent these 'dark suits' to Kamala's home, which means he knows her identity." 

The building is brick with a fire escape, on the third floor at least.

And now, the rest of the comics that shipped yesterday (plus one).

FIRE POWER #16: "Previously - While protecting the Johnson family, Ling Zan was away from her own when serpents attacked the scorched Earth clan and overtook the entire island. Agfter Owen was unable to reach Wei Lun, he became concerned that the Temple of the flaming fist could be next. Leaving the kids safe with their grandparents and under Reggie's charge, Owen, Kellie, and Ling zan headed out to investigate further, but they may not like what they find..." There now. Doesn't that sound good? And Fire Power runs the best LOC page in comics. By Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee.

HEY KIDS! COMICS! v2, #6: More roman a clef fun.

STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #25: This is the issue I had been looking forward to. I'm sorry to report that the last issue of this, the most anachronistic Star Trek series ever, did not live up to my expectations. It was very "early 21st century" in its attitudes and mores, but most issues have been well-written and entertaining. This ground (the end of the five-year mission) has been covered in comics at least three times before, but never so boringly. There's one quote from it I like: "A man is lucky if he is the first love of a woman. A woman is lucky is she is the last love of a man." That is a remarkably sexist thing for this otherwise PC series to go out on, but there it is. The beginning of a romantic relationship between Scottie and Uhura was hinted at, just as the beginning of such a relationship was hinted at in Star Trek V, which means in approximately 18 years (story-time) that plot point progressed exactly zero. If you haven't read any previous issue of this series, there's no reason to read this one.

NEW LONE WOLF & CUB v3: Togo has been falsely accused of treason, and the only path he sees before him is the one that Daigoro and his father traveled: meifumado, the road to hell. Looking at "The Kazuo Koike Library from Dark Horse Manga" advertised within brings back memories. I chose not to collect Samurai Executioner because I had so many unread volumes of Lone Wolf & Cub at that time, but I regret that decision mow. I likewise skipped Path of the Assassin, but I have a complete run of Crying Freemen (from Viz). Knowing I was a big Lone Wolf & Cub fan, Chris Fluit gave me the first volume of Lady Snowblood. I liked it, but passed it on to Bob. Had I known it was going to run only four volumes, I probably would have kept and completed it. 

Yesterday's selections have inspired me to delve into my backissue collection. I keep my comics in a vault, like Scrooge McDuck. I dive around in them like a porpoise, and I toss them up and let them hit me on the head.

SPIDER-MAN: Yesterday, I said that the last I saw Ben Reilly was when he disintigrated in Peter's arms. That's not entirely correct. In 2009 there was a six-issue limited series titled The Clone Saga which purported to be the story as it should have been told. If you've never read the "Clone Saga" before and are at all curious, you could save yourself a lot of time and effort and just read these six issues. It hits the highlights but changes the ending so that Ben Reilly survives. I'm not certain, but think this ending has been shifted over to canon.

Although "Sins Past" and "One More Day" soured me on Spider-Man, I do dip a toe in the water from time-to-time to see if the status quo has improved. A "new number one" in 2015 promised such a change. Peter was at this point in charge of a multi-million dollar corporation. I hadn't read Spider-Man for a while at that point, so I tried to pretend that the story evolved to that juncture, but as I understood, it just kind of "jumped ahead." Ultimately it didn't matter, because although I thought the direction was intriguing, I didn't care for the execution.

My next sample came two years later, in 2017, and it was a reexamination of the "Clone Saga" that brought me back. I gave it a much lengthier try-out, 13 comic book total, during the " Dead No More"/"Clone Consiracy" storylines. Ugh. Spinning out of this arc came Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider series by Peter David and Mark Bagley. I bought the first two issues then... simply forgot to buy the rest. (I see the series lasted 25 issues.) I think that my lack of enthusiasm can be at least partially chalked up to the fact that Marvel advertised a new costume for the Scarlet Spider, then stuck him back in that hooded, sleeveless sweatshirt that I didn't like back in the '90s.

CAPTAIN MARVEL: Here are some comics I bought because they featured the Kree Captain Mar-Vell (after a fashion), but I need to reread to refresh them in my memory: The Return (2007) is a Civil War tie-in that features a cloned Mar-Vell (or something). This one-shot led directly into a five-issue mini-series featuring this iteration. From there I have The Mighty Avengers #19 (a Secret Invasion tie-in), the three-issue Dead Avengers limited series (a Chaos War tie-in) and Secret Avengers #26-28 (an Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in). 

Regarding Carol Danvers, she was featured in a 50-issue series (2006), a 17-issue series (2012), a 15-issue series (2014), a 10-iisue series (2016) and another series which began in 2019 which I think is the same series I read two issues of yesterday. This list of series illustrates the problem I touched upon yesterday. Many of these series are available in tpb but, even if I were predisposed to read them, I'd have no idea where to start. (I could figure it out, but I'm not willing to put forth the effort.) 

I bought a "True Believers" reprint of the first issue of the 2012 series for a buck around the time the 2019 series began, but I haven't read it. I did read Generations: Captain Marvel & Captain Mar-Vell which spun out of... something, I don't remember. In 2018 I bought The Life of Captain Marvel limited series which detailed Carol Danvers' childhood and established the fact that her mother was Kree. That was a really good series and, although I followed it into yet another "new number one," I didn't pick up another issue until this week. 

DEFENDERS: Defenders is a traditional favorite of mine. My question is why can't Marvel release an ongoing Defenders series? I really liked the 2001 version by Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen, but that morphed into The Order and then just stopped. 2005 saw the release of a five-issue series by Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire who did for the Defenders what the did for the Justice League two decades earlier. The Last Defenders (six issues, 2008) featured Nighthawk heading up a team of second stringers. The classic "Big Guns" team turned up next in three issues of Hulk (2008 series), #10-12. 

I thought The Defenders (2012, by Matt Fraction and Terry & Rachel Dodson) was going to be ongoing, but I tried the first issue and didn't care for it. when it came to and end after #12, the completist in me snatched up the backissues but I haven't read them yet. The Best Defense was a limited series (compsed of five one-shots) in 2019, also featuring the Big Four. Which brings up up to the current Al Ewing series, which also is limited in finite. 

And that concludes my little trip down memory lane. 

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