Currently Reading : BATMAN Vol1-3 by Tom King

Tom King in a few years has made quite a name for himself as a writer of Slims (comic books).

Always suspicious of hype, I went into his VISION quite skeptical. Long story made short, his VISION lives up to the hype. You can come into it not knowing anything, and be quickly swept away by the sheer power, and humanity and hurt; in a story about what it means to be human, in an inhuman world.


It truly is fabulous and if you have never read it, it is a highest recommendation. There is a just dropped hardcover available at remaining Bookstores everywhere.

His MISTER MIRACLE released half a dozen Slims in 2017, the issues were definitely good, though the final verdict is out till he sticks the landing this year. Like the VISION and his earlier OMEGA MEN, it is about a damaged character, a broken character. A slightly off kilter world view.  So far all titles are relatively intriguing and well crafted.  In the case of the VISION masterfully crafted.


Then we come to the books up for review this installment, BATMAN VOL 1-3 from the DC Rebirth Line of books, by Tom King.


The irrationality and poor decision making and erratic, even stupid, behavior; that worked well in the tale of a broken Android, a torn freedom fighter, and a suicidal God, does not work well in the BATMAN books.

The very conceit for the whole three volumes, is that Batman (the world’s greatest detective and inventor), is distraught about an emotionally damaged ward, and decides in a world of super scientists, magicians, and Gods, the only way to help his ward, is by stealing a mediocre villain, with the power to make people feel happy, so he can smile at Batman’s traumatized ward and make her feel happy. If that is not a brain-dead enough premise, it becomes even more moronic, when he decides to accomplish this by putting together a suicide squad and risking war and death, and doing this knowing it will wake a retired and sleeping dragon.

It is just the type of moronic plotting one tends to associate with brain-damaged villains seeking world conquest, not the resourceful Batman. And adding stupidity on stupidity, KIng redefines what drives Batman, to be not a sense of justice, or outrage, but a desire toward… (wait for it) Suicide.

And that definition doesn’t stick. Not with any interpretation of the character that makes sense. The desire to die doesn’t push you to be a beyond Olympic level athlete, it doesn’t push you to endure, it doesn’t push you to overcome.

Ultimately this addled definition is Tom King’s definition of the character, unfortunately, it seems to be the same broken, frayed creature that he tries to shape all the characters he writes into. And what worked with THE VISION, and THE OMEGA MEN, and seems to be working with MISTER MIRACLE, does inherently not work, does not graft, does not fit… onto the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Plus I can really do without the Yellow costumed Sidekick. I can do without the sidekick dynamic period. Either make him his own character (his own man) and get him out of the insipid yellow costume, or don’t have the character in the book.

Tom King is instead of tailoring the story to the character, seemingly making every character fit into the same story mold. All Tom King’s character are horrible tacticians, who make horrendous plans. That is not any type of Batman I want to read about. I picked up the three Tom King Batman volumes from the library to give a try, and I am so glad I didn’t buy them. It is surprisingly uninteresting, tedious, and disappointing reading.

Final Grade: AVOID






Currently Watching: PANELLOGY 85 & 86!! Watch these episodes before buying your next expensive hardcover!

I have recently found quite a few great Youtube shows courtesy of the Youtube channel on Roku.

A new favorite is Earl Grey‘s simply superb PANELLOGY. Two of his older episodes that I just watched are episodes 85 and 86, and as someone who purchases quite a few hardcover books, especially of the graphic novel or collected edition variety, his two episodes are essential viewing.

Get your copy here:


And can potentially save you quite a bit of money as they point out binding issues/defects to be on the look out for

Earl Grey, you definitely should do more of these ‘issues with collected editions’ type shows.

Informative stuff!





Deals of the Day! Amazon Edition!


‘With this CD on Winter & Winter, the Arditti String Quartet celebrates 40 years of cutting-edge performances. Long recognized as the leading string quartet in avant-garde circles, and admired for the brilliance and virtuosity of its performances of the most demanding works, the Arditti gave its first concert in March, 1974, and over four decades it has not stopped rehearsing, studying, performing, and recording the most challenging music of our time. This program consists of 14 short works by some of the most prominent contemporary composers — Wolfgang Rihm, Hans Abrahamsen, Toshio Hosokawa,Brian Ferneyhough, Brice Pauset, Mark Andre, Marco Stroppa, Liza Lim, Harrison Birtwistle, Hilda Paredes, James Clarke, Georg Friedrich Haas, Uri Caine, and Johannes Maria Staud — and the variety of their compositions makes this survey a fascinating exploration of innovative techniques and original concepts. Adventurous listeners will be impressed by the Arditti’s fearlessness and directness in approaching this uncompromising music, and the liner notes by violinist Irvine Arditti provide background information that will be helpful to those just discovering the group.’ — All Music

View/price it here:

FERNEYHOUGH:TERRAIN – with the 21st century’s most complex composer ‘s most famous CD out of print and commanding multiples of its msrp, this TERRAIN cd is a good way to sample some of the composers best works without taking out a mortgage. Great CD at an affordable price.

Get tge CD here:


Jack Kirby’s FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS – At over 1200pages this hardcover is big enough to go into battle with, or you can do something more traditional with it and enjoy it and put it on your bookshelf. Rushed out just at the end of 2017, to be part of the 100th Anniversary of Jack Kirby, it is easily the must own collected edition/graphic novel to have. The first printing does have a printing error, all that rushing I was talking about. One page is printed twice. It is an easily corrected error.

You can find details here:

I printed the correct page (found at the link above) on my color printer and slipped it in the book at the correct spot. Job done. And sure we can wait for a corrected edition, or future printing, but considering we have no idea when or if that is happening, my 10 cent fix more than suffices.

Get your copy, while it is still below cover price, here:


Come back next time for more… Deals of the Day!


GRAPHIC NOVEL Corner : This Week’s 17 MUST OWN Graphic Novels or Collected Editions!!

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Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu Omnibus Vol. 1 (Marvel Omnibus: Shang-Chi Master of Kung-Fu)

Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu Omnibus Vol. 2

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu Omnibus Vol. 1

S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus

The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Volume 1 (New Printing)

The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 2 (New Printing)

The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 3

Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol 3 Variant

X-Men – Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)

The Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 1 (New Printing)

The Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 2 (New Printing)

The Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 3

The Mighty Thor Omnibus   [MIGHTY THOR OMNIBUS] [Hardcover]

Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus – Volume 1

Captain America by Jack Kirby Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)

Werewolf by Night Omnibus

The Avengers Omnibus Volume 2


Averaging almost $100 a book, no one is going to confuse Marvel’s Omnibus line of high quality, oversized chronological reprints of their most popular and coveted books with cheap.

But for those with a fondness for these four color adventures of yesteryear these collections are a definite boon and a must have. Collecting between 20 and 40 issues of comics, including the letters pages for some, roughly 600 to 1200 pages of comic goodness, the cost is a deal compared to trying to get these issues individually, especially considering in some cases… original issues can run thousands of dollars.

And while these are reprints, they are reprints offered in a quality, oversized format signifigantly superior to the original cheaply produced issues.

From Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s game changing work on the FANTASTIC FOUR (collected in 3 Omnibuses) to Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy’s seminal work on MASTER OF KUNG FU (70s Kung Fu and Spy Goodness at its best! To be collected over 4 volumes) to the gold standard of comic craft with Chris Claremont and John Byrne and Paul Smith’s THE UNCANNY X-MEN , these are the books and runs… that are deserving of this top of the line production!

Any of the 17 books listed, sell themselves, as noted by how quickly and often these pricey books sellout. Don’t sleep on these 17 books. Get your issues before they become unavailable or prices go up!


Tell em HT sent ya!!



ALL NEW X-MEN VOL 2 HERE TO STAY – Collecting issues 6 to 10 of the series this is an interesting and fun premise for a miniseries, namely have the X-men of the past interact with the present. However for a series, it is a gimmick, an in-joke, that runs the risk of staying around too long, and outliving its sell by date. For the moment Marquez and Immonen art keeps it interesting, but already the premise is getting to feel belabored.

UNCANNY X-MEN VOL 1 REVOLUTION – Collecting issues 1 to 5 of the series the pluses are a strong, witty and fun script by Brian Michael Bendis, and some gorgeous art by Chris Bacchalo. The weaknesses are the layouts can be lost under muddy finishing/coloring, and a tendency, unsatisfying tendency, to end the very slight collections on a cliffhanger. It is a weakness that both volumes share.

Add to that the outrageous price of $24.99 for only 5 issues ($5 an issue!!!), a hundred thirty plus pages of story and the absence of a complete, standalone story becomes even more insulting.

It is a very petty and miserly and obscene ‘bleed your audience’ policy that Marvel has undertaken here, that does not deserve to be rewarded by purchasing these overpriced volumes. That said, I do feel the writing in these volumes is fun and entertaining and action-packed and worthy of a read if not a buy.

Just be aware that the cliffhanger ending, appropriate for a $3 monthly serialized comic, is wholly inappropriate for an overpriced $25 collected edition ; that you should be able to enjoy on its own without waiting months for the next volume.

GRADE : B-. Until the ending I was enjoying both volumes, but without an ending the volumes are very much like a great parallel bar routine where the athlete fails to stick the landing. Pretty, but ultimately disappointing and forgettable.

And add that exorbitant price point of $25 for 5 issues of material (and yes I realize the trade can be had for a little bit cheaper, but that is still overpriced as well) and it becomes a case of look, do not buy.

Borrow or rent these puppies for a quick read, then move onto something else, that you would not have any problems paying retail for; something you would not mind proudly adding to your bookshelf such as BATWOMAN VOL 1 HYDROLOGY. A book that I have also recently read.


DC publishing (the other big comic book company besides Marvel) has their own problems, however producing satisfying collections is generally not one of them.

DC hardcover collections, offer an issue more and two dollars less retail, and offer a contained story, something that Marvel’s new publishing initiative MARVEL NOW may want to take note of.

Marvel writers generally are currently doing good work (far better than their esteemed competition that with few exceptions is self-destructing due to editorial hubris), so to have that sabotaged by ghetto collections… possibly not the route Marvel wants to go.

To try the books and decide for yourself or to hunt them down for less than retail use the below links and this blog earns a couple pennies. If I’ve helped turn you on to something you would have otherwise missed (BATWOMAN HYDROLOGY is a must have for any art lover’s collection. It is exquisite), then please use the links below. Thanks:

All-New X-Men, Vol. 2: Here to Stay

Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1: Revolution

Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology (The New 52)

Batwoman: Elegy



THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK Vol 1 – Collects issues 1 to 5, written by Mark Waid. The first three issues do a nice job of introducing Waid’s status quo of a Banner utilizing SHIELD to help him achieve the scientific greatness that being the Hulk has denied. The cost? Making the Hulk into an agent of SHIELD. So lots of interesting ideas in the first three issues, unfortunately the last two issues stumble. The art by Leinil Francis Yu is exotic, intriguing, chaotic and all this combines to be sometimes impressive, sometimes muddy and confusing. Grade : The hardcover at a retail of $24.99 for 5 issues, translates to $5 per issue. So grossly overpriced even if the book was great, and great it isn’t. So worth renting or reading it from your local library, but not worth buying. C+.

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK Vol 2 – Collects issues 6 to 10, and suffers from the opposite issue of Vol 1, here the first three issues, drawn by Walter Simonson I found uninteresting, and the artwork a far cry from Simonson at his best. Completely forgettable. The final 2 part story stars Daredevil and sports far better art by Matteo Scalera and a far more intriguing story. GRADE : C-. Worth reading for the last two issues, if you can borrow it for free, otherwise just pass.

If you disagree with my assessment and want to try or buy it yourself, especially to find options to buy it well below retail go here:

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 2: Gods and Monster

Favorite AVENGERS Comic Book Covers! Pt 3 of 3: The Years 1977 to 1996

Working on the next MONARCHS OF MAYHEM in-between real life stuff, it’s going to come out tomorrow 14 Mar 2012, just because it’s going to take more hours to get ready. These posts take a LONG time, In the interim enjoy the following:

Podcast of the Day: John’s Old Time Radio Show #9! It’s a great podcast. After listening swing by John’s site leave him some good words and tell him where you heard about him. Thanks! -HT

And wrapping up my favorite AVENGERS covers from the original series, is pretty easy. Because after 1977, with very few exceptions the covers are just uninteresting at best and plain awful at worst. Much like the book itself, it was just stumbling from weakness to weakness.

Here then are the best covers in the last 20+ years of the books original run:

George Perez’s finest AVENGERS cover, and one of the most iconic covers of all time. Would make a great poster! This is the last GREAT A+ Cover of the AVENGERS!



It says a lot that the numbers jump over a hundred issues, before I list another cover. And this is gimmicky mess, but it was better than all the previous 100 covers. It just clarifies how bad the book got.

A mercy post.

The last one I could find even something remotely interesting in.

So needless to say you want great AVENGERS covers (and comics) stick to issues #181 and before. At least for the first Volume.

In 1998 creators Kurt Busiek and George Perez would launch a new AVENGERS series that largely just pays homage to the great years of the series, You can look at them almost as a remake of the Jim Shooter and George Perez run, that I mentioned in the previous post. But it’s done well enough by Busiek and Perez to be entertaining in its own right.

And then later would come the Bendis’ years, But that is a story for another installment. 🙂

Revisit the earlier posts here:

PT 1 of 3
PT 2 of 3