THE SUPERMAN CHRONICLES VOL. 7 (DC, 2009)
Collects Superman Nos. 12, 13 and selections from Action Comics Nos. 41-43 and World’s Finest Comics No. 4 (cover dates October- December, 1941).
Lots of fun Golden Age Superman here. From the menace of Lex Luthor to the Archer, it is refreshing to Superman fight villains instead of your garden variety thugs. The story where he takes care of a baby was hilarious, and closer to the truth than most parents would care to admit. I truly dig on the Chronicles line of softcover trade paperbacks. I just wish that they would have raised the price by a buck or two rather than cut the page count by 24 pages. Oh well, it's all good and will come out in the wash so to speak, right?
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 600, 601, Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 36 and selections from Amazing Spider-Man Family No. 7 (cover dates August- October, 2009).
Wow, Issue 600 already? It seems like it was only yesterday that we got #500 (it was 'late '03 or early '04), and like last week when I rode my bike to the Book Bank to buy issue 300 the day that it came out (back when Venom was cool and had teeth instead of fangs and a tongue). Always nice to see old friends (Doctor Octopus, John Romita, Jr.'s pencils) with a new spin. With its now thrice-monthly publication schedule, Amazing Spider-Man should hit #700 in just 3 years time.
Collects Marvel Two-In-One Nos. 53-77 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual Nos. 4, 5 (cover dates July, 1979- July, 1981).
Marvel's Essential line of black and white phonebook sized trades have had an uptick in price of $3 while simultaneously having a slightly lower overall page count (from 500-560 to about 500). They are still the biggest bang for your entertainment buck that you will get in spite of this. I just wish that Marvel would follow DC and Dark Horse, who put page numbers on their phone books. The bulk of this book is written by the team of Ralph Maccio and Mark Gruenwald who provide excellent characterization for Benjamin J. Grimm, a/k/a the Thing, the anchor character for this title. Lots of great arcs here, lots of great artists here, this is just a lot of fun Bronze Age goodness.
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 602-605 (cover dates October- November, 2009)
Fred Van Lente is a solid Spider-writer, having cut his teeth with the character on the kid-friendly Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and now in the big leagues with this title. ASM remains a great read, and is my favorite title that Marvel is currently publishing.
Collects Wolverine/ Power Pack Nos. 1-4 (cover dates January- April, 2009)
This was as enjoyable as the rest of the Power Pack mini-series that have come out over the last few years. I wish that Marvel would try out a full-on series with Louise Simonson and June Brigman back on board and/or drop the cute-sy, mangish artwork.
Collects Captain Britain and MI13 Nos. 10-15 and Captain Britain and MI13 Annual No. 1 (cover dates April- September, 2009).
A satisfying end to the title. It's a shame that this book didn't catch on, as it had a great line-up: Captain Britain, Megan, Black Knight, Blade the Vampire Hunter, Union Jack, and Dracula as a nemesis.
Collects Creepy Nos. 16-20 (cover dates August, 1967- May, 1968)
There is a definite shift in quality from the earlier issues, with Archie Goodwin relinquishing much of the writing duty to hands less capable, ditto the artists stable. Not all was lost, as many of the greats still contributed to this series, just not as often. I have been told that the quality picks back up, and I hope so. This wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't as spectacular as the previous volumes.
Collects Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Nos. 75-96 and Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual No. 4 (cover dates February, 1983- October, 1984).
I started buying this title monthly with issue 92, and stuck with it well into the 140s, maybe even 150s. I bought pretty much every issue contained in this book as cheap-o back issues in the mid-80s, and it was a blast to go back and re-read these. Back in the day, I used to re-read the previous issue when a new issue came out, i.e I re-read issue 92 when 93 came out, etc. This continued until around Issue 100. I used to read my new purchases multiple times back then. These days, with trades and hardcovers, I haven't even read everything that I own once. I do have a system, though, and rotate stock religiously. I was a stockboy as a teenager, and the lesson of rotating the stock to keep it fresh is so ingrained into me, even when I put away dishes, etc., to this day. Bill Mantlo wrote this series until just before I started buying the title regularly, when Al Milgrom (who also handled the artwork with inker/finisher Jim Mooney throughout the entire book) took over. This is such a solid read, with great characterization and stories. Milgrom's artwork lives and dies by Mooney's solid inks. When Milgrom does his own finishes like he did in Secret Wars II, he sucks, but here he was on. I bought Annual #4 from the Book Bin on my 11th birthday that year. My Mom drove me there, and since it was a direct market retailer, they received their books 3 weeks ahead of newsstands like 7-11 where I did my regular purchases circa 1984. It was like taking a trip into the comic book buying future! The story was an even better read as an adult as it was as a child. OK, enough gushing and nostalgic rambling.
Collects The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones Nos. 13-24 and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Nos. 1-3 (cover dates January- December, 1984).
I bought The Temple of Doom mini-series off of the stands back in the summer of 1984. In the days before home video, comic book adaptations and trading cards were the only way to relive a movie, as they generally took years to appear on network television, and would often be edited like crazy when they did. That would change a year later, when we got our Beta in 1985.
On to the comics! These were all fun reads, with artwork by Herb Trimpe, Jackson Guice, and Steve Ditko. Issue 19 was particularly good, as it featured a dragon which bore a striking resemblance to Fin Fang Foom, from Marvel's late '50s/early '60s monster days. They never named him as such, but it was obviously a wink to that long forgotten tale. The Dark Horse Omnibus line is always a treat, with it's chunky page count and nice paper coupled with an appealing price point.
Collects Masquerade Nos. 1-4 (cover dates February- June, 2009)
More goodness from Alex Ross and the rest of the Dynamite crew. The Project Superpowers universe continues growing at a cautious pace, and my wallet is thankful for that. I am really enjoying these titles and am curious to see what happens next.
An interesting sidebar: My wife went into labor with my daughter the day that this trade came out. We went to the Dr.'s first thing in the morning and her contractions were far enough apart that we had hours before we were to report to the hospital. My wife, knowing that it was new comic book day, said we should go to the comic store and waited in the car while I picked this up. Now that is love. Would your wife let you pick up the week's new releases while she was in labor with your child? I didn't think so!