Sunday, June 26, 2016


Crazy how things work out sometimes. Last month I received nothing in the mail, hence no Unboxing for May. But this month, it's a wealth of new trade paperbacks and one long-awaited hardcover, as well!

We'll start with DC, since I have one single item from them this month: the LEGENDS 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION. LEGENDS is a story I've wanted to read for years. My knowledge of DC history is a little spotty, but I understand this to be the very first crossover in the post-CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS DC Universe, and the story by John Ostrander, Len Wein, and John Byrne pits DC's heroes against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips. I think this will make a nice companion to my collection of Byrne's SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL trade paperbacks.

Now it's on to Marvel. First up is the AVENGERS EPIC COLLECTION: UNDER SIEGE. I have an old printing of this storyline, but it only contains about half the issues presented in this volume (and it predates Marvel's standard restoration practices, so it's pretty ugly to boot). Unless I'm mistaken, thanks to this book I now own the entirety of Roger Stern's classic AVENGERS run. I look forward to reading the whole thing sometime soon.

HAWKEYE AND THE THUNDERBOLTS volume 1 comes next, collecting THUNDERBOLTS issues 23 - 37, by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza, and Mark Bagley. Volume 2 has been solicited as well, and between those two books plus THUNDERBOLTS CLASSIC volume 1, volume 2, and volume 3, the full run of THUNDERBOLTS issues 1 through 50 -- a chunk I named #5 on my Twelve Favorite Marvel Runs a few years ago -- is now available in trade paperback format. Of course I will buy THUNDERBOLTS collections going beyond #50, but for me, this run of issues comprises the series' highest point.

A decade before the premiere of THUNDERBOLTS, the contents of SPIDER-MAN: TOMBSTONE volume 1 were originally released by Marvel. This book includes a nice-sized chunk of Gerry Conway's SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN from the late eighties, a run for which I have a massive amount of nostalgia. This was the Spider-Man I read as a ten or eleven year-old in elementary school. It's really the Spider-Man of my childhood, and it's hard to express how excited I am to have it in trade paperback format.

That said, Marvel's normally continuity-conscious collected editions department has really made an inexcusable error with this collection -- they're apparently reprinting only the SPECTACULAR issues and not Conway's contemporaneous WEB OF SPIDER-MAN stuff. The thing is, Conway basically treated SPECTACULAR and WEB as one bi-weekly series during his time on both titles, threading sub-plots through the two series -- meaning that reprinting only one title will result in a disjointed reading experience. (Example: this book collects only half of Conway's "Inferno" crossover storyline, which is absurd.)

I can only hope Marvel will reprint the WEB material as well, but it really should've all been done together, and the fact that they failed in this no-brainer of a decision puts a serious damper on my enthusiasm for this book and any eventual follow-ups. That said, there are two Conway WEB issues which link up with this volume due for collection later this year: the X-MEN: INFERNO CROSSOVERS trade comes out in December and will include WEB 47 and 48, Conway's first two installments as regular writer, which continue directly from two SPECTACULARs in this volume.

Lastly is the big one for the month -- perhaps the year -- the MASTER OF KUNG FU OMNIBUS volume 1. For many years, Marvel has been unable to reprint the classic SHANG-CHI, MASTER OF KUNG FU series due to copyright issues with the estate of Sax Rohmer (the series featured Rohmer's Fu Manchu character and his associates regularly throughout the run). However it seems that snag has been corrected, and this book has finally been released, with volume 2 already solicited, as well as a DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU OMNIBUS collecting the comic's magazine companion.

However! It seems as if this could be a limited release. I'll have some additional thoughts on the MASTER OF KUNG FU OMNIBUS, including my reasoning for this conclusion, in this very space next Sunday, so let's reconvene then for an in-depth look at this volume.


  1. Yes, LEGENDS is the first post-Crisis crossover (Wonder Woman gets a limited appearance due to the reboot). I'd say LEGENDS is more like the super-heroes vs. society manipulated by Darkseid and his forces (although it's Superman who gets direct contact). It's DC doing the 'Humans fear and hate the heroes' trope.
    You mention Byrne's Superman. Are you making a return to reviewing DC Comics soon?

    1. I definitely want to get back to DC eventually, and Byrne's Superman is something I'd like to look at. DC will finally release the last trade of his run early next year, so it'll be a possibility.

      That said, by December when I wrap up FANTASTIC FOUR, my blog will have been all Byrne for a full year. While I'm kind of tempted by the idea of following him directly and immediately from his FF to his Superman, retracing the same path he took thirty years ago, it's more likely I'll fill some space with another run first; probably one more Marvel thing before I go back to DC.

      And, that said, I like to keep Fridays open for other things, and I have some shorter DC runs and such on my bookcase -- so I'll probably do some kind of DC around the beginning of 2017.

  2. Good to know about the Tombstone book - I wasn't terribly interested in it (I've never read that material before) until I saw that it represents a pretty sizeable chunk of issues, and I'm more willing to try something new in trade like that (vs. just a short little four issue story being collected). Knowing it's effectively incomplete though gives me pause; I'll probably still check it out, but maybe wait to find it at a con vs. seeking it out online.

    1. Well I don't want to discourage anyone from TOMBSTONE if it was something they were considering. The way I see it, the chances of Conway's WEB getting a companion reprint series will depend on the sales of his SPECTACULAR work here.

      Just the same, I'm really irked that Marvel didn't lump them all together. It's just such a bizarre misfire from their collected editions people.