Pull List Roundtable 1/3/2018 – Batman and The Signal #1, Rogue and Gambit #1 & More

Mike Maillaro

  • BATMAN AND THE SIGNAL #1 – I actually think Duke has a lot of potential as a character, but DC doesn’t quite seem sure what to do with him. Hopefully this mini-series will give him something to do.
  • EXIT STAGE LEFT – THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICES #1 – DC has managed to put fresh spin on their Hanna-Barbera books. We did get a tease of SNAGGLEPUSS during the DC/Hanna-Barbera crossovers, and it was actually pretty dark. JETSONS #3 and DASTARDLY AND MUTTLEY #5 also come out this week.
  • GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #150 – Last issue of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY before INFINITY COUNTDOWN. I was actually enjoying this series with the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY trying to find corruption in the Nova Corps. There was supposed to be an issue 151 of this series, but it was replaced by an INFINITY COUNTDOWN: ADAM WARLOCK one-shot…drawn by Mike Allred!! Now that is a must buy for me!
  • X-MEN GRAND DESIGN #2 – While $6 is a bit much for this series, I did enjoy the first issue. It’s an attempt to bring all of X-Men continuity into one coherent history. I love the comic strip art here, and it’s just a fun walk through X-Men backstory.
  • Animosity Evolution #3
  • Babyteeth #7
  • Batman #38
  • Batman White Knight #4 (Of 8)
  • Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands #3 (Of 6)
  • Green Arrow #36
  • Green Lanterns #38
  • Harley And Ivy Meet Betty And Veronica #4 (Of 6)
  • Justice League #36
  • Nightwing #36
  • Superman #38
  • Paper Girls #19
  • Spawn #281
  • Astonishing X-Men #7
  • Captain America #697
  • Hawkeye #14
  • Phoenix Resurrection The Return Of Jean Grey #2 (Of 5)
  • Rogue And Gambit #1 (Of 5)
  • Star Wars #41
  • X-Men Gold #19
  • Secret Weapons #0

John Babos

Interesting start to 2018 with 8 books this week

  • Astonishing X-Men #7
  • Batman #38
  • Batman and the Signal #1
  • Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands #3
  • Deathstroke #27
  • Green Arrow #36
  • Nightwing #36
  • Superman #38

Am reading Nightwing now regularly with Sam Humphries as writer. I dropped Green Lanterns after he left and am intrigued by the Nightwing solicits.

Super Sons of Tomorrow has been fun and playing into broader Time Is Broken narrative across DC. Next chapter is in Superman #38 this week.

Batman and the Signal is a 3 issue mini-series with awesome art by Cully Hamner. I don’t read Batman regularly as TEC is my regular Bat pull, but am curious about this Secret Origin of Bruce Wayne or somesuch arc that’s solicited.

No Valiant this week and one Marvel to round out my largely DC pulls.

Matt Graham

  • Rogue and Gambit #1 – The Original Jean is coming back, nostalgia abounds in Astonishing X-Men, so it stands to reason Rogue and Gambit end up in the spotlight. Not that I’m complaining, as Rogue, Gambit, and their conflicted attraction is one of the pillars of my formative X-Men years. I imagine this is so for writer Kelly Thompson, because the preview I’ve seen slathers the thick accents and Southern slang onto the comfort food of a familiar complicated relationship.

Even Pere Perez’s panel acting and cinematography evokes Rogue and Gambit as we remember them: the will-they-won’t-they couple that’s hotter than a candy bar left on a car dash in summer and twice as messy. The art is bright and bold and expressive, and looks to serve Thompson’s tone and cadence as well as Michael Walsh did on Hawkeye.

The title itself holds the promise of our Southern lovebirds reuniting, but after Hawkeye, I think Kelly Thompson has something new to say about the couple while meandering memory lane. From what I’ve seen of this book, and with Hawkeye ending at #16, I hope this leads to a solid X-Men gig for Thompson.

  • Anomosity Evo #3
  • Babyteeth #7
  • Extremity #10
  • Astonishing X-Men #7
  • Hawkeye #14
  • Phoenix Resurrection #2
  • X-Men Gold #19
  • X-Men Grand Design #2

Babos: Was Rogue and Gambit announced as a 5 issue mini-series or was the presser silent to that giving impression it was an ongoing? I wish Marvel was transparent about its minis and it’s cancellation of ongoing series.

Matt: Far as I’ve seen it was just a 5 issue mini, but I agree publishers seem to play so vague about what is what these days. Dynamite and Marvel are equally annoying about it. Maybe because they want to curb trade waiting?

Babos: I only thought it was Marvel

Matt: Past few years Dynamite has had a habit of launching new series and only near the final two or three issues dropping the “4 of 5, 9 of 11” bit into the ship list. I ranted about it when Vampirella just did that following a creative change. They just handed the reins!

Babos: A few Legacy titles are minis now, Tales of Suspense #100 (of 5) looks weird in solicits and several ongoings cancelled. 2018 can only get better for Marvel?

Matt: I was under the impression Tales was always a five issue shot leading into…something. It’s why I waffled on adding it.

Babos: Legacy was always a stop gap for something else Alonso said. Not sure if those plans are changing under CB. However, Legacy is a damaged initiative and something must come after it fast.

Babos: Re: your Vampy and Tales comments, are minis something you stay away from? I thought Marvel also overreacted about their fear over minis. If the hook and creative team is good, minis can be profitable.

Matt: Good question with a spread of considerations.

The short version: If the comic is good I will buy it as it drops or in trade, depending on how I feel about it. I will even buy it twice in some cases, as I want to read it when it is new and have the story I enjoyed in a nice collected edition.

Long answer:

Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios’s Image Western, Pretty Deadly came out in 2013 as a five part mini. It came out monthly, with a 3 month delay between 4 (January) and 5 (April). As it was solicited as a five issue project, I decided to wait on trade, because I like my bookshelves over longboxes. I believe it was 3.50 or 3.99 USD at the time. Came out in trade at the end of April for $9.99 USD. I paid almost less than that thanks to Indigo’s discount and the exchange rate. I waited 8 months, but it was a story that did not demand a monthly invesetment, and in fact seemed better suited to reading all at once.

Pretty Deadly followed up with another 5 issue volume, and I sat that one out, too, banking on the cheap Image trade. I also read Low and Deadly Class in trade.

A large reason I wait for trade is Image and other creator owned books can see delays, or have meticulous plotting that I prefer to devour in one sitting, and usually both. Also, Image seems to sweeten that first trade in a series at a very low $9.99, while subsequent volumes price at $14.99. This holds true for Deadly Class, Low, Saga, and others.

With a preference for collected editions, a general savings (especially with Indigo and Amazon), and way to contain my enthusiasm/anxiety for some of my favourite serials, trades are the way to go.

Marvel doesn’t even entertain the value proposition. As far as I can tell, they’ve even cut trades from Six Issue Arcs to Five Issue, while the price goes up. Right away, that gives me…not incentive, let’s call it apathy about whether I buy something off the rack or wait for trade.

This is where I consider my Marvel love. X-Men is my favourite thing Marvel owns, through greatness and disaster, and I enjoy following most of the titles monthly. For books I truly enjoy, I’ll even double down on trades. I own everything X-23, but I still picked up the Omnibuses that came out, as example. I’ll absolutely get “back ups” of Gwenpool and All-New Wolverine in trade.

Because Marvel’s cover prices command most of my weekly comic budget, I choose to try new indies or check out DC and Valiant titles rather than commit to following ALL of X-Men and ALL of Spider-Man and ALL of Avengers. I only follow one Avengers book, Uncanny, and that’s because of Rogue and Wanda. The rest, I’m happy to trade wait or, even more damning to Marvel, just read friends’ copies off Comixology. And even then, knowing I’m not paying for those borrowed issues, I’m happy to wait until the arc is over.

I didn’t even read Civil War II until it was almost over. It might sound like reading monthly isn’t for me, but it comes from being burned a decade ago with Civil War and the Ultimates Volume 2 (and other Ultimate books, I believe) delays. There’s a point my confidence erodes and I’d rather just pay to read the finished product.

That brings me to minis. I budget for comics. It’s a conscious choice. I collect action figures, statues, LEGO, original commissioned art, guitars. I read books (and love rare editions) and play video games. I go to the movies at least once a week. I buy CDs and vinyl. I go to concerts. I have discretionary income, but I have many ways I spend it.

There are times making these pick lists where I think, “Damn, that new DC/Valiant/Other title looks great. Damn, I didn’t know Marvel was launching This Book and that DC had That Event hitting this week, too.”

I have to choose, because I often invest in minis or new series and then I add another mini, and try another new series. And more. And I don’t like bailing on a mediocre book, mini or ongoing, issue 1. I want to give it the first arc…which these days across the board tends to be a 5 issue investment. And they trade them sometimes within two weeks of the series ending.

All that established, let’s look at Marvel’s minis last year and how my money counted for them.

I went all in on Venomverse. I got the five issue event (got the connecting covers!), the Edge of Venomverse side stories, War Stories (which didn’t even add to the event like Edge, but it was fun). I would have been happy waiting for trade. I may even buy this in trade. However, I’m a reader of the 90s so I like Venom. It piqued me. I liked the talent involved from the anthology stories to the main event. Why wait if I was sure I’d be buying it? It has cool connecting covers to chase. I bought that mini.

Let’s compare this to two more Venom-centric events- Poison X and the already happening Venom Inc. Both annoy me because they are cross-overs into books I don’t currently buy. While budget wise it’s the same as throwing in a new mini or series, the collector in my just hates picking up random tie-ins for the sake of keeping up. Most important, unlike Venomverse, (even though Poison X is the follow-up to that, plus X-Men), I’m not that interested in the pitch. There’s a lot of comics I’m already not getting to without adding one I’m not interested in to the mix.

On that note, I read the Weapon H plot in Weapon X and Hulk by skipping Hulk. I found I missed nothing, even when I went back to read Hulk from a friend. I was also soured that right away with a new title there was cross-over with a book I don’t even care to read (Not a fan of Amadeus Hulk).

Tales of Suspense? I picked up issue one. I’m in it for the writer and because I love Widow and Hawkeye. I feel like Widow is coming back. However, I wasn’t looking to add another $3.99 book to the mix, and if this was just a tease and Widow doesn’t come back, I’ll be annoyed. If the story wasn’t great, I’d be annoyed. However, because of my love for the characters and the promise Widow would return, I decided to follow the miniseries live rather than wait for the trade. First issue was good, but I didn’t come out of it excited for next issue. May relegate this one to trade, but I’m already a fifth of the way in.

Not a mini, but I didn’t even by Legacy #1 because I wanted to hear if anything worth reading even happened. No one has told me so, and I just read a friend’s copy a week later anyway.

Rogue and Gambit. I’m in to buy it off the rack as it drops, purely on faith for Kelly Thompson (I enjoyed her bit of Power Rangers: Pink and Hawkeye) and a love for Rogue and the X-Men. As a 90’s X-Men fan, I devoured every four issue mini: Rogue, Gambit, Storm, Bishop.

I hope this lengthy late night reply explains my stance for you. I would say that I disagree that minis are bad or turning off readers or not “moving the needle”. I disagree for the same reason I find many ongoing titles bad, or with understandable turn offs to some fans, and think that projects like Legacy have many reasons for being lackluster.

A good story will sell. I will even buy it twice. It’s not the minis that are failing readers and retailers, it’s Marvel’s approach as a whole the past decade.

Mike Maillaro: Aftershock’s entire business model is miniseries basically. Or at least “one arc” then pause….another arc later if it warrants it. A few image books are the same way. I love that model. It feels less forced. Put out a comic if you have something to say not just because it has been a month since your last issue.

Babos: I don’t mind a mix of approaches from the bigger publishers, but just be transparent on what is a mini and what is an ongoing that is being cancelled. Why is that ethical approach something Marvel abandoned a few years ago?

I too like AfterShock’s approach and even Valiant’s which is sorta similar in some cases; mini’s and maxi-series.

Matt: What other books has Marvel played off this way? It sounds like classic Marvel ego and a refusal to acknowledge mistakes. If something does well, it was always a series because they were a market leader on the pulse. Doesn’t sell? It was always a short project.

I’m sure they’d prefer you buy it off the rack as it’s one more title to try and knock DC and the others out of the top 100 with.

Babos: Well, every cancellation by Marvel is covert. Either you figure it out by a lack of solicit or creator tells you on social media after fans notice the missing solicit. In terms of Legacy, Marvel implied that all books were ongoing; a handful were not.

Matt: What about Minis?

Babos: What about minis? Unless it’s an event mini like Phoenix Resurrection, Marvel didn’t really let you know it was a mini in their announcements.

Matt: 2018 will be interesting. Already off to a bad start cancelling my Gwenpool.

James Fulton

  • Rise of the Black Panther #1 – I am a huge Black Panther fan, and while I question Marvel’s thinking, despite all previous evidence, that this title can support a second one, I’m curious to see how Ta-Nehisi Coates and his co-writer will retcon some of T’Challa’s past to make it fit what they’re doing now. I’m hoping that the heart-shaped herb is still around, as I always liked that aspect of T’Challa’s development.
  • Secret Weapons #0 – I thought that the Secret Weapons miniseries was terrific, and am glad that Valiant is returning to it, even if I hate their reliance on prequel issues and random #0s.
  • X-Men Grand Design #2 – I loved the first issue of this, and am very pleased to see that the second one is coming out so soon afterwards. I’m sure that Ed Piskor is going to be back to unify X-Men continuity through other eras, and I can’t wait for more, especially when he gets to “my era” (i.e. from around the time Rogue joined the team through the Australian outback era).

Matt Graham: That will be the Dec 2018 one. *Cap America freezes self*