MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA STRANGE TALES VOL. 2 (Marvel, 2009)
Collects Strange Tales (Vol. 1) Nos. 11-20 (October, 1952- July, 1953)
Time was, I could never have dreamed of reading these stories. Now, thanks to the Masterworks, I have! These are inferior to EC's output at the time, but are decent and will help hold me over while Russ Cochran shops the EC license around since Gemstone has essentially collapsed.
Collects Mighty Avengers Nos. 16-20 (September, 2008- February, 2009)
Another sucktastic, bloated, made-for-the-trade "arc" by the Michael Bay of comic books, Brian Michael Bendis. I will suffer through whatever this man wrote that is currently in my backlog, but after that, I am done. The '90s are made fun of because of Liefeld's laughable "artwork". The 2000s will be laughed at because of Bendis' laughable "writing". Decompression is the writing equivalent of stylized '90s art.
Collects Sandman Mystery Theatre Nos. 1-4 (cover dates April- July, 1993)
This was an enjoyable Golden Age/ crime/ noir flavored comic. I'm on board for Vol. 2, and can't wait to get to it in the backlog.
Collects Promethea No. 1, Tom Strong No. 1, Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales No. 1, Tomorrow Stories Nos. 1, 6 and Top 10 No. 1 (cover dates June, 1999- April, 2003).
This is one of those off-brand (sort of; Wildstorm, whose parent company is DC, puts this line out) $4.99 sampler trades that I am such a sucker for. The bulk of this is written by Alan Moore, whose ideas here are hit or miss but never uninteresting. Tom Strong, Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales, and Promethea were all fun reads, and the Tomorrow Stories anthology stories were hit or miss. My friend loaned me the first Top 10 trade a while back, and I didn't much care for it then and I don't much care for it now. This book is an entertaining read, and at $5.00, you can't go wrong.
Collects Marvel Adventures Spider-Man Nos. 41-44 (cover dates September- December, 2008)
This series remains an enjoyable read. Why can't Amazing Spider-Man feature some more light-hearted, done in one stories like these, with some of the lesser villains? Man-Bull, the Puma, Orka, and the Lizard are all great.
Collects Eerie Nos. 1-5 (cover dates September, 1965- September, 1966)
Eerie, along with it's sister title Creepy, are the finest Horror comics ever made post-EC Comics. Most of the EC stable of artists contributed to this title, along with many Silver Age greats.
Collects Fantastic Four Nos. 525, 526, 551-553 (cover dates June, 2005 and January- March, 2008)
This was a X-Mas gift, and I really enjoyed reading it. I like the Fantastic Four, but haven't followed them since Byrne's run. These arcs featured two of the all-time great FF villains: Diablo and Doctor Doom. Fun for the whole family!
Collects Daredevil No. 178 and Power Man and Iron Fist Nos. 76-100 (cover dates December, 1981- December, 1983).
B-level ‘80s Marvel is still better than most A-level ‘00s Marvel. We get to see Kurt Busiek cut his teeth on this title. Most of these issues are self-contained, but multi-parters become more common towards the end of the book. Ernie Chan's artwork is good, and can be great, depending on the inker. Power Man and Iron Fist are street level heroes and, as such, typically fight street level villains. That is something that is missing from many modern comic books: the street level villain. Now, everything is some kind of Skrull invasion or Norman Osborn led conspiracy. These issues are dated, but lovably so.
Collects Secret Invasion Nos. 1-8 (cover dates June, 2008- January, 2009)
Crossovers, “events”, and Brian Michael Bendis all suck, and I am done with all three. This mini-series could have been so much more than it ended up being. I mean, they really could have undone most of the messy continuity and ret-cons* that have plagued Marvel in recent years, but it looks like they are instead going to super-size them with the whole Norman Osborn/ Thunderbolts Initiative garbage. It looks like I will be saving more money by not buying more modern Marvel comics. (*ret-con is short for retro-active continuity, where they will insert a back story into continuity that was never there before, often flying in the face of canon and logic.)
Collects House of Mystery (Vol. 2) Nos. 1-5 (cover dates July- November, 2008)
This is the new Vertigo series, and it is a very interesting read. This isn't the way that I would have re-launched a beloved "brand" like House of Mystery, though.
Collects selections from King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special No. 1, Spider-Man Family Featuring Spider-Man’s Amazing Friends No. 1, Spider-Man Featuring the Silver Surfer Magazine and Spider-Man Magazine: Great Power (cover dates October, 2006-2008).
These stories are a non-continuity hodge-podge with varying degrees of quality. The best ones are the ones with Iceman and Firestar, "reuniting" the cast from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends animated series from the early '80s. This was a bit on the light side in terms of content, and I am going to be more selective with these sidebar releases in the future.